Members of the Qadiani Jamaat say that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet “without a shariah”. (Note: It is a separate subject as to what he himself meant by this term. Briefly, he meant one spoken to by Allah through wahy-i wilayat, whose revelation has no authority over the principles by which Islamic shariah is derived.). The question arises, What powers and authority does a prophet without a shariah have, according to the Qadiani Jamaat conception?
This entire is taken from: http://ahmadiyya.org/WordPress/2013/08/21/how-prophet-without-shariah-became-prophet-with-shariah/
This question was answered by no less a personage than Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifa 2, in a khutba delivered on 4th July 1924. It can be read on their website www.alislam.org in the collection of his khutbas, Khutbat Mahmud, vol. 8, pages 448 to 460. I have extracted pages 454 to 457 from this which can be read at this link.
In the document at the above link, I have marked the relevant Urdu passages by a red line in the margin, which I translate below. The bolding is mine.
“Thus, those who receive the word of God are not ordinary human beings. … Such persons, whether with a shariah or without, hold the same status. If someone is called “without shariah” it only means that he brought no new command. Otherwise, no one can be a prophet who does not bring shariah. Of course, some bring a new shariah and some bring again the earlier shariah.
Therefore, ‘prophet with a shariah’ means that he is the first to bring the revelation. The Holy Prophet Muhammad is a prophet with a shariah, which means he brought the Quran first, and the Promised Messiah is a prophet without a shariah, which means he was not the first one to bring the Quran. Otherwise, he also brought the Quran.”
Regarding hadith and its transmission by reporters, he writes from the last line of page 454 over to page 455:
“You tell us, if one man hears something from a person’s own mouth, and another man hears it through other people, whose report will be trustworthy? It will be that man’s report who heard it himself. We do not say that the Promised Messiah could abrogate something said by the Holy Prophet Muhammad. But what others say [as to what the Holy Prophet said], is something they heard which was passed from one person to the next. So the question is not whether the Promised Messiah was a prophet with a shariah or without a shariah, but it is a question of the narrators, as to which narrator is more reliable. Is it those ten or twenty narrators who relate a hadith by passing on what they hear from one person to the next, or is it he who is the Messiah of God, who hears from God and tells it?”
“It should also be remembered that when one prophet comes, the knowledge about the previous prophet comes only through him. It cannot be obtained directly. Every prophet is like a hole for viewing the previous prophet. A wall is placed in front of the earlier prophet and nothing of him can be seen except by looking through the prophet who has now come. This is why there is now no Quran except the Quran presented by the Promised Messiah, and no hadith except the hadith seen by the light of the Promised Messiah. And there is no prophet except him who is seen by means of the light cast by the Promised Messiah. In this way, the Holy Prophet Muhammad can only be seen if we look by means of the light of the Promised Messiah. If someone wants to see anything of the Holy Prophet through any means other than the Promised Messiah, he will see nothing. Similarly, if someone tries to see the Quran through other means, the Quran he will see will not be the Quran with which Allah ‘guides whom He pleases’ but it will be the Quran with which Allah ‘leaves in error whom He pleases’.”
“The state of the books of Hadith is that you can draw any conclusion from them. It is the work of a prophet to tell us which hadith is the result of human interference and which is the real word of the Holy Prophet.”
From the entire khutba it is clear that he is addressing his own Jamaat members here, and refuting the belief held by some of them that as the Promised Messiah was a prophet without a shariah therefore his rulings are not conclusive and binding.
We see here that when the reality of the powerlessness of a prophet without a shariah dawned on some members of the Qadiani Jamaat (that such a prophet is akin to the last powerless Mughal emperor of India, who could only do the bidding of the British East India Company!), Mirza Mahmud Ahmad then shifted the status of the Promised Messiah towards that of a prophet with a shariah. Since much of the shariah is based on Hadith, and reports in Hadith have been transmitted and compiled by human beings who were not appointed by Allah, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad exploited this as a loophole to place the revelation of the Promised Messiah over all Hadith. By this trick, he remains in name ‘prophet without a shariah’ but becomes in fact ‘prophet with a shariah’ because he can define and set Islamic shariah through his own revelation!
Let us now see what Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself said about the authority of Hadith.
He writes in three different books as follows. In the first two extracts, he is directly addressing his followers.
“You must value hadith because they are attributed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Unless they are belied by the Quran and Sunna, you also must not belie them. You ought to adhere to the hadith of the Holy Prophet so much so that for everything which you do, and everything which you refrain from doing, you find some support in a hadith. However, if there is a hadith which is in clear conflict with what is explained in the Quran, you must think about making it reconcile with the Quran. Perhaps the conflict is due to your own misunderstanding. If the conflict cannot be resolved by any means, then discard that hadith as not being from the Holy Prophet.” (Kishti-i Nuh, Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 19, p. 63).
“It should be the duty of our Jamaat to act on any hadith which is not in conflict with the Quran and Sunna, no matter how low the standard [of authenticity] of that hadith may be, and to prefer it over man-made Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). And if no solution is found in hadith, not having been found in the Sunna or in the Quran, then they should act on the Hanafi Fiqh.” (Review on debate between Muhammad Husain Batalvi and Abdullah Chakralvi, Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 19, p. 212).
“He who denies those hadith of our Prophet which are free of criticism and not in conflict with the Quran, he is brother of the devil and has surely bought curse for his soul and wasted his faith. The Quran has precedence over everything, and the revelation of the hakam [i.e. the Promised Messiah] has precedence over those hadith which are doubtful, but on condition that his revelation is completely in accord with the Quran, and on condition that those hadith do not accord with the Quran and it is found that their statements are opposed to the statements of the pure scripture [i.e. the Quran].” (Mawahib-ur-Rahman, Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 19, p. 288).
What a world of difference between the great respect shown by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad towards Hadith, and the casual dismissal of Hadith by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad as “something they [the narrators] heard which was passed from one person to the next”!
As Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has so carefully elaborated, all hadith are to be accepted and acted upon, except those which are in conflict with the Quran and the Sunna of the Holy Prophet. Even for such hadith, we must do our best to reconcile them with the Quran. It is only if that proves impossible that His revelation has precedence over such hadith (i.e. the hadith which would be rejected anyway), but on condition that his revelation is in accord with the Quran, meaning that his revelation in such cases should be interpreted in such a way that it accords with the Quran.
Anyhow, now Qadiani Jamaat members have to explain how Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a prophet “without a shariah” when their second khalifa says that his revelation occupies a higher position than any hadith whatsoever, because he hears his revelation directly from God while every hadith was heard from a human narrator by a narrator who passed it further down. Therefore, according to this, Islamic shariah is now to be determined by the Quran first, the revelation of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad second, and the hadith third.
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