With Passover, Easter, and many other religious observances around the corner, millions worldwide are also preparing for Yawm Al Masih Al Ma’ud, Promised Messiah Day. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will commemorate their modest but revolutionary beginnings reflecting on their religious commitments coincidentally near the Spring Equinox.
After Divine directive, the Imam Mahdi or Guided Precept His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, anointed by God as the Messiah of the age (peace be upon him), accepted bai’at (oath of allegiance) for the very first time in Ludhiana of Punjab, India from a handful of faithful followers. This auspicious day was Saturday, March 23rd in the year 1889. Giving the good news himself His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him) announced:
'I have been commanded that the seekers after truth should enter into the covenant of bai‘at with me for the purpose of learning the way of true faith, true purity of faith and the love of the Lord and of discarding an evil, slothful and disloyal life. Therefore, those who perceive some of such strength in themselves should come forward to me. I shall be the sharer of their sorrows and shall try to lighten their burdens. God will bless them through my prayers and my attention towards them, provided they are wholeheartedly ready to comply with the conditions of the covenant which are divinely determined. This is a divine command that I have conveyed today. The (Divine) revelation in Arabic in this context is:
(Arabic) 'When you have made up your mind put your trust in Allah; and construct the ark under Our supervision and Our revelation. Those who make the covenant with you enter into a covenant with Allah. The hand of Allah is above their hands.'' (Haqqani-Taqrir bar Waqi‘ah Wafat-e-Bashir, December 1, 1888, Majmu‘ah Ishtiharat, vol. 1, p. 188 and Sabz Ishtihar, p. 24, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 2, p. 470, and Tadhkirah p. 214-215).
A humble forty entered into this spiritual ark, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, constructed and founded by the Divine Guide, but as this was ordained by God Almighty it was bound to flourish and expand, despite bitter opposition, into the tens of millions today stretching to the ends of the earth. Although, a great majority still are unaware of his arrival and resurrecting deeds, as Jesus, the Messiah and Messenger of God to the house of Israel (peace be upon him) predicted over 2000 years ago that his second coming would be as quiet and swift as a 'thief in the night' (Matt. 24: 36-44, I Thes. 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10).
Prophet Muhammad, the Holy Founder of Islam, (peace and blessings be upon him) not only prophesied this grand event over 1200 years prior but also stressed its importance; '…When you hear about Mahdi (Guided One) find him and pledge allegiance to him even if you have to crawl over snow because he is Khalifatullah (Vicegerent of Allah) the Mahdi (Guided One)' (Ibn Maja, Kitab al-Fitan #4084 as quoted by Kabbani, p. 231).
Intriguingly, the Holy Quran also foretells the coming of His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and how the people would receive him, through his spiritual counter-part Jesus, the Messiah for the Children of Israel (peace be upon him): 'And when said Jesus son of Mary; ‘O children of Israel, surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you fulfilling what went before me from the Torah, and bringing good news about a Messenger coming after me. His name is Ahmad.’ Yet when he came to them with manifest proofs, they said, 'This is clear deception.'' (Holy Quran, Chapter the Ranks, 61:7).
Although this recorded prophecy initially relates to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it points just as well to Prophet Muhammad’s spiritual son whose name literally is Ahmad. Here it is important also to note that the name Ahmadiyya was adopted not because of the personal name of the Promised Messiah, but, in fact, because the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was known also as Ahmad, among other names.
Promised Messiah Day thus serves as both a celebration as well as a serious re-evaluation of self as believers who are blessed to be in the prophesied community of God’s latter-day chosen elect, promised by virtually every religion. May God make us worthy is His eyes to be included among the pious souls embarked on the Spiritual ship of the latter-day Noah and Jesus; his holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (peace be upon him)!
Finally, I extend warm well wishes to fellow believers for their upcoming observances. Let’s make the most of our holidays by strengthening our commitments to religion and society as we celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promises.