Bismillah al-Rehman al-Raheem
Anti Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam 26th May 2000
The following article was sent to me by a Qadiani from Singapore. Since the article is not currently available on any Qadiani/Ahmadiyya website, I am putting it on my website. Dr. David Mcnaughton has very kindly looked into the technical aspect of this article which is also being posted alongside it. - Dr. Rashid.
Subject: The Truth About Eclipses Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 20:28:37 -0600 (MDT) From: Mohamed Yazid To: Rashid , Mohamed Yazid CC: zarina , Mohd Ali , Sine Wave , aisyahmd , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, MasBakawali , Abdul Sukor , firstname.lastname@example.org, ALKHWARIZMI , lanang , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Shasha Sayang ,
The Truth About Eclipses
By Saleh Mohammed Alladin Retired Professor of Astronomy Osmania University–Hyderabad, India
In an article entitled the Fraud of Eclipses Idare Dawato-Irshad of the USA has made several allegations of falsehood against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. The eclipses relate to a prophecy of the advent of the Messiah.
The prophecy regarding eclipses is given in the following Hadith (i.e. Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw)):
For our Mahdi (Spiritual Reformer) there are two Signs which have never occurred before since the creation of the heavens and the earth, namely, the moon will be eclipsed on the first night in Ramadhan (i.e., on the first of the nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur) and the Sun will be eclipsed on the middle day of Ramadhan (i.e., on the middle day on which a solar eclipse can occur) and these Signs have not happened since the creation of the heavens and the earth (Dare Qutani, Vol.1, p.188)
We have inserted the brackets in the text of the Hadith in order to elucidate the meaning. We shall discuss this point later. In the quotation from Roohani-Khazain, Vol.17, p.133, given by the author the meaning of the Hadith is given instead of a literal translation, and no brackets are used.
If the lunar month is reckoned from the first sighting of the lunar crescent, the dates on which a lunar eclipse can occur are the 13th, 14th and 15th, and the dates on which a solar eclipse can occur are the 27th, 28th and 29th. The prophecy thus requires that the lunar eclipse should occur on the 13th Ramadhan and the solar eclipse on the 28th Ramadhan.
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat received his first revelation regarding his appointment as a the Divine Reformer in 1882. In obedience to Divine command he declared that he is the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th century of the Islamic era. In 1891 he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent was foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). He asserted that Almighty God had sent him to give spiritual life to the people. But the contemporary theologians rejected his claims and he met a storm of very violent opposition.
The prophesied eclipses then occured over Qadian on the specified dates of Ramadhan. The lunar eclipse occured after sunset on March 21st, 1894 (13th Ramadhan 1311 H) and the solar eclipse occurred on the morning of Friday April 6th, 1894 (28th Ramadhan). The Promised Messiah(as) then wrote the book Noorul Haq, (Light of Truth) Part-II, in which he declared that these eclipses were Divine Signs in support of his claim. The Promised Messiah(as) also drew attention in this book to several properties of the eclipses which make the signs very impressive.
The following allegations have been made in the article under review.
1. The Hadith of Dare Qutani regarding the signs of the eclipses is not authentic.
Reply to the first allegation:
The authenticity of the Hadith is supported by the following facts:
(a) The root of the prophecy lies in the Holy Quran since the eclipses of the moon and the sun are mentioned as important signs of the approach of Resurrection in the Holy Quran and the time of the advent of the Promised Spiritual Reformer is also the Latter Age. The Holy Quran says:
He asks: When will be the day of Resurrection? When the eye is dazzled, And the moon is eclipsed, And the sun and the moon are brought together, On that day man will say, whither to escape? (Ch. 75: vs.7-11)
When the solar eclipse occurs, the sun and the moon are in conjunction, i.e. they are in the same direction as viewed from the earth. Hence the words and the sun and the moon are brought together signify solar eclipse. The Hadith of Dare Qutani supports this interpretation and gives valuable details about the prophesied eclipses.
(b) The Holy Quran says:
He (Allah) is the Knower of the unseen, and He reveals not His secrets to anyone, except to whom He choses, namely a Messenger of His. (Ch.78: vs.27-28)
The unique nature of the prophecy and its magnificent fulfillment also indicate that the source is the Holy Prophet(saw). When the prophecy in the Hadith has been fulfilled the criticism against the narrators loses significance. The Promised Messiah(as) has discussed this point in his book Zameema Anjame Atham, Roohani Khazain, Vol.11, pp.333-334. We shall also revert to this in our reply to the sixth allegation. The Promised Messiah(as) has also replied to the objection raised against the narrators of the Hadith in Tohfae Golarviya, Roohani Khazain, Vol. 17, p.133.
(c) Hadhrat Ali Bin Umar Albaghdadi Ad Dare-Qutani, the compiler of the Hadith, was a very respected saint and was scrupulously careful in recording the saying of the Holy Prophet(saw). Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz, Muhaddis of Delhi, another eminent elite of Islam, comments about Imam Dare- Qutani in his book Naubatul Fikr thus:
Imam Dare-Qutani once said, ‘O residents of Baghdad. do not even think that any narrator would be able to refer any false or incorrect statement to the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw) during my life time.’ Naubatul Fikr, (Footnote p.52).
(d) The article under review has expressed doubts as to whether the narrator of the Hadith is really Hadhrat Imam Baqar. Muhammad Bin Ali is considered as Hadhrat Imam Baqar in Iqtirabus Saat by Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan Saheb (p.1061). A photocopy of the relevant page is given in The Advent of Imam Mahdi - A Great Heavenly Sign by Muhammad Azam Ekseer, Rabwah 1994, p.88. In this connection it may also be noted that Allama Shaikh Shahabuddin Ibn Al Hajar-al Hashimi wrote:
Muhammad Bin Ali, an elite among the Ahle-Bait, narrates that there will be two signs for Imam Mahdi which have never been shown to mankind since the creation of the heavens and the earth. One of these is the eclipse of the moon on the first of its nights in the month of Ramadhan, and the eclipse of the sun on the middle of the days. (Kitabul Fataw Al Hadeeslyya, p.31, Egypt)
(e) The signs of eclipses are mentioned in the collections of Hadith of both Sunni and Shia sects. Eminent Muslim scholars have mentioned these signs in their books. Books of other religions also mention eclipses as signs of the Promised Divine Reformer. For details see Review of Religions, November 1989, The Advent of Imam Mahdi - A Great Heavenly Sign, (in Urdu); The Great Heavenly Sign of Eclipses of the Moon and the Sun, by Muneer Ahmed Khadim, Qadian 1994 (in Urdu); The Truth of Hadhrat Imam Mahdi as vindicated by the Signs of Solar and Lunar Eclipses by Saleh Mohammed Alladin, 1988, (in Urdu); Article entitled Fulfillment of Celestial Signs - Veracity of the Holy Prophet of Islam, by Anwar Mahmood Khan, Minaret, April-June 1994.
2. The Hadith has been misinterpreted. The words first and middle stated in the Hadith do not signify 13th and 28th but signify 1st and 15th.
Reply to the second allegation: In the article under review, the Hadith has been understood as meaning the lunar eclipse would occur on the first of Ramadhan and the solar eclipse would occur on the 15th of Ramadhan. As the author has himself admitted this event is astronomically impossible. Interpreting the Hadith in this way makes the Hadith meaningless. As the Promised Messiah(as) has mentioned, the purpose of the Hadith is not to promise some extraordinary prodigy but to provide a criterion for the recognition of the Imam Mahdi which is not shared by any other person (Zameema Nuzoolul Masih, Roohani Khazain, Vol.19, p.141).
The notion of a lunar eclipse occurring on the first of Ramadhan is also very unreasonable. The lunar crescent of the first night is often seen with difficulty. Detecting the eclipse on it would be a formidable problem. It may also be noted that the lunar crescent of the first of Ramadhan is called Hilal and not Qamar. In the Hadith the word Qamar is used and not Hilal.
According to the laws of nature, a lunar eclipse occurs at full moon (and this happens only on the 13th, 14th and 15th of the month) and a solar eclipse occurs at conjunction when the moon cannot be seen at all (and this happens only on the 27th, 28th and 29th of the month). The Hadith therefore implies that the lunar eclipse would occur on the first of the possible nights, i.e. on the 13th and the solar eclipse would occur on the middle of the possible days, i.e. on 28th.
These properties of the eclipses were known not only to the scientists but also to others who were not scientists. Thus Nawab Siddeeq Hasan of Bhopal wrote in his book Hijajul Kiramah that according to astronomers the lunar eclipse does not occur on any date other than 13th, 14th and 15th and the solar eclipse does not occur on any date other than 27th, 28th and 29th (Hijajul Kiramah p.344).
3. The eclipses did not occur on 13th and 28th Ramadhan in 1894, but occurred on 14th and 29th of Ramadhan. Hence even our inter-pretation is not justified.
Reply to the third allegation: The third allegation has been that the eclipses had occurred in 1894 on the 14th and 29th of Ramadhan and not on 13th and 28th. This is not correct. The date of Ramadhan depends upon when the lunar crescent was first sighted and this cannot be decided with certainty by the astronomical calculations alone in many cases since this depends also upon meteorological conditions. The calculations do indicate that there was a possibility of sighting the moon on the evening of 8th March 1894 if meteorological conditions were good but meteorological conditions were not favorable and the lunar crescent could only be observed in the evening of 9th March from Qadian (see Review of Religious, July 1987). The age of the moon at sunset on 8th March was 22.7 hours (Review of Religions, September 1994).
As Dr. Mohammad Ilyas has mentioned: On the basis of recorded accounts, sightings of the moon younger than 20 hours are rare and sightings of more than 24 hours are not uncommon although the visibility may at times require it to be more than 30 hours old. (Islamic Calendar, Times and Qibla, by Dr. Mohammad Ilyas, Berita Publishing SDN BHD, 22 Jalan Liku, Kuala Lumpur, 1984).
The lunar eclipse was seen from Qadian after sunset on 21st March. Hence it was the 13th of Ramadhan when the lunar eclipse occurred. The solar eclipse occured in the morning of 6th April. Hence it was the 28th of Ramadhan when the solar eclipse occurred. The Promised Messiah(as), has been repeatedly mentioning that the eclipses have occurred on the dates required by the prophecy, see for example, Noorul Haq Part II, Roohani Khazain, Vol.8 p. .209; Zameema Anjame Atham Roohani Khazain, Vol.1, p.334.). Even our opponent Muhammad Abdullah Memar has written that the eclipses were seen on the 13th and 28th of Ramadhan.
4. The lunar and solar eclipses have occurred on 13th and 28th of Ramadhan thousands of times whereas the Hadith states that these events have not occured before.
Reply to the fourth allegation: The fourth allegation is that lunar and solar eclipses have occurred on the 13th and 28th of Ramadhan thousands of times whereas the Hadith states that these events have not occurred before.
In reply to this allegation we state that the Hadith does not imply that eclipses did not occur on the 13th and 28th Ramadhan ever before but it implies that such eclipses never happened before as signs. The Promised Messiah(as) wrote:
We are not concerned with how often solar and lunar eclipses have occurred in the month of Ramadhan from the beginning of the world till today. Our aim is only to mention that from the time man has appeared in this world, solar and lunar eclipses nave occurred as Signs only in my age for me. Prior to me, no one had this cir*****stance that on the one hand he claimed to be Mahdi Mauood (Promised Reformer) and on the other, in the month of Ramadhan, on the appointed dates, lunar and solar eclipses occurred and he declared the eclipses as signs in his favor. The Hadees of Darqutani does not say at all that solar and lunar eclipses did not occur ever before, but it does clearly say that such eclipses never occurred earlier as Signs, because the word ‘Takoona’ is used which denotes feminine gender; this implies that such a Sign was never manifested before. If it was meant that such eclipses never occurred before, ‘Yakoona’ which denotes masculine gender was needed and not ‘Takoona’ which denotes feminine gender. It is clear from this that the reference is to the two signs because signs are feminine gender. Hence if anybody thinks that lunar and solar eclipses have occurred many times before, it is his responsibility to show the claimant to Mahdi who declared the solar and lunar eclipses as his signs and this proof should be certain and conclusive and this can only happen if a book of the claimant is produced who claimed to be Mahdi Mauood and had written that the lunar and solar eclipses which occurred in Ramadhan on the dates specified in Darqutani are the Signs of his truth. In short, we are not concerned with the mere occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses even if they had occured thousands of times. As a sign this has happened at the time of a claimant only once and the Hadees has proved its authenticity and truth through its fulfillment at the time of the claimant to Mahdi. (Chashma-e-Marifat, Roohani Khazain, Vol.23, pp. 329 - 330)