Question:
Salaam un Alaikum, It is learnt that according to Ahmad Sirhindi, a non shia, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) "possessed during his life time two individuations, the bodily human and the spiritual angelic, symbolised in the two M (meem) of his name" and thus "by the end of one millenium the bodily manifestation had completely disappeared and the first M (meem) was replaced by Alif, in Islamic letter mysticism the symbol of Uluhiyyat (Divinity)" and thus "Muhammad became Ahmad" (Muhammad Ahmad shud). We want to know what is this concept of Alif and Meem and how Muhammad became Ahmad and what is the Shia belief in this regard as what we know that Prophet (s.a.w.s.) name was Muhammad but he had been mentioned in previous scriptures as Ahmad. Jazakallah, Was-salaam.

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Answer:
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful Dear Brother Shabib Salam alaikum Thank you for your question. We would like to answer your question in three parts as follows: A) Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi: In some of his writings, Sheikh Ahmad speaks in strange words as if he is the Mujaddid Alf Sānī (مُجَدّد ألف ثاني), meaning the "Reviver of the Second Millennium". Through a series of unprecedented and fictitious remarks, he says: QUOTE ((There are two kinds of Wilayat for Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him and his Infallible Household]: 1) Wilayate Mohammadi (ولاية محمّدي), which is a result of Mahboobiyyat (مَحبوبيّت or the status of being the beloved of Allah) combined with Mohebbiyyat (مُحِبيّت or the status of having enthusiastic love for Almighty Allah); 2) Wilayate Ahmadi (ولاية أحمدي) which is merely a result of Mahboobiyyat. Wilayate Ahmadi is superior to Wilayate Mohammadi and also closer to Ahad (احـد) (the One: an attribute of Almighty Allah). The loop of letter Meem (مـ) in the word Ahmad (احمـد) is actually the hook of obedience to the Creator, which distinguishes the servant from his Lord. The two loops of Meem in word Muhammad (محمـد) refer to the two manifestations of his holy character: the first Meem is the symbol of his human body, and second Meem, his holy spirit. By the end of one millennium after Holy Prophet’s demise, his bodily manifestation had completely disappeared and the first M (meem =م ) was replaced by Alif (أ) as the symbol of Uluhiyyat ألوهية) =Divinity); thus, the manifestation of his celestial spirit reached the culmination of perfection and "Muhammad became Ahmad"; that is, Wilayate Mohammadi was transformed into Wilayate Ahmadi. Wilayate Ahmadi, which is superior to Wilayate Mohammadi, is closer to Ahad and far beyond humanity. So, with the ascension of Wilayate Mohammadi into heavens, the deal with his people narrowed down; and the light of his guidance, which was due to the humanity, was lessened; and the attention which was paid to his people was decreased; and he totally turned his attention to the real qiblah قبلة (Almighty God). Hence, after a thousand years, the darkness of disbelief, apostasy, and heresy prevailed; and the light of Islam and Holy Prophet’s tradition diminished.)) (1) UNQUOTE According to such fictitious and unprecedented imaginings (which may be results of some implications about the secrets of alphabetic letters as well as some poetic verses from Sheikh Mahmoud Shabestari’s Gulshan Raz), Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi considers the advent of a Reviver of Second Millennium to be necessary at that time. He has mentioned the same theory in his book “The Origin and the Resurrection” (Mabda’ wa Ma’ad) in other words: ((After a thousand years, Mohammadi's truth has elevated from his position and joined the truth of Ka'bah, where it is called Ahmadi Truth (حقيقت احمدي) and became a manifestation of Ahad. In such a case, the position of Mohammadi Truth (حقيقت محمدي) will remain void until the end of the time (آخرالزمان) when Jesus Christ descends to the earth and accepts the Sharia (religion) of Muhammad (pbuh). Then the truth of Jesus will elevate from his position and shall be settled at the position of Muhammad's truth.)) (2) However, Sheikh Ahmad does not specify that until the descent of Jesus (AS), whether the position of Muhammad's truth will still remain vacant, or the Reviver of the Second Millennium shall occupy it (?) In another letter to his son (Sheikh Mohammad Sadiq), Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi highlights more explicit viewpoints in this regard. He writes: ((In the past history, whenever the world was filled with oppression (ظلم), one of the Arch-Prophets (أنبياءاولوالعزم) was appointed by Almighty God among the people to revive a new Sharia. However, in the Ummah of Islam - which is ‘the best among other religions’ and whose Prophet is the Very Last Prophet of God - Ulama (Muslim scholars) have been given the rank of the Prophets of the Children of Israel (أنبياء بني إسرائيل); thus, the existence of Ulama in Islam has proved to be sufficient and therefore no need for Divine Prophets to emerge. Hence, at the beginning of every hundred years, a great Muslim Aalim (scholar) shall be selected to revive the Sharia. At this time, when we are at the beginning of a new millennium, there must be an omniscient Muslim scholar to be the vicegerent of Arch-Prophets.)) (3). Sheikh Ahmad never calls himself as the Reviver of the Second Millennium in his writings; however, it is apparent from the context of his wordings and expressions that he views himself as the owner of this position. Anyway, he was publicly known as the Reviver of the Second Millennium (Mujaddid Alf Sani) only after he was named as such by Maulana Abdul-Hakim Sialkouti, a renowned scholar of his time who firmly believed in Sheikh Ahmad’s ideas. (4) It should be noted that although Sheikh Ahmad was much competent at different branches of science at his time (including Islamic Jurisprudence, hadith, Kalaam (theology), literature, Hikmat, and mysticism), he was a very haughty man who used to express weird claims. This fact can repeatedly be traced in his own writings as well as in the scripts of his disciples and the books of authors who were the followers of Naqshbandi sect (a major Sunni spiritual order of Sufism). Sheikh Ahmad also claimed to have achieved the position of ascension (عروج) and traversing the spiritual stations of Friends of Allah (اولياء) and the Rashidun Caliphs (خلفاء راشدين). Furthermore, as mentioned above, he claimed that he had attained a status close to the status of Khatamiyyat (خاتميّت or the position of the Seal of Prophets). Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi also considered himself as the vicegerent of Arch-Prophets and the Reviver of the Second Millennium. He even went further and claimed that the Wilayat of Prophet Moses (ولاية موسوي) and Wilayat of Prophet Muhammad(ولاية محمّدي) were both combined in his Wilayat (!); taking the attribute of Mohebbiyyat (مُحِبيّت) from one and the attribute of Mahboobiyyat (مَحبوبيّت) from the other. (5) In another script, Sheikh Ahmad noted that the purpose of his own creation was the fact that Wilayat of Prophet Abraham be turned into Wilayat of Muhammad (pbuh); and, the beauty of Prophet of Joseph (صباحة يوسفي) be intermixed with the comeliness and charm of Prophet Muhammad (ملاحة محمدي) (6). Somewhere else in his writings he claimed that he had attained the status of Haqq-ul-Yaqeen (حق اليقين or the Truth of Certainty). He then claimed that the Haqq-ul-Yaqeen of others, if compared with his Haqq-ul-Yaqeen, is not but Ilm-ul-Yaqeen (علم اليقين or the Knowledge of Certainty); and concludes that anyone (i.e himself) who attains such high rankings, which have been gifted to him as a heritage of Divine Prophets, is the Reviver of the Second Millennium. (7) Sheikh Ahmad considered himself a deputy to Yadollah (The Hand of God) (8), and said that “Since the creation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) had reached the culmination of perfection, a part of his creation’s clay was left, which was used for ‘my creation’ (!) (9) Such strange words and weird illusions are abundant in his writings. Consequently, his contemporaries, with the exception of Naqshbandi followers, did not agree with his opinions and objected to him. (10) For example, Abdul Haq Mohaddes Dehlavi, although a practitioner of Naqshbandi sect (both of whom being Khwaja Baaqi Billlah's disciples), refrains to mention Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s name in his famous book entitled Akhbar-ul-Khiyar (اخبار الخيار) which is a collection of the biographies of Sufi dignitaries. Also Abdullah Ghasouri, in his book معارج الولاية و مدارج الهداية, while describing the life history of Mohaddes Dehlavi, has narrated a detailed letter from him where he completely refutes Sheikh Ahmad's words and ideas. (11) and (12) B) What does Shiah say in this relation? We could not find such invented remarks and impressions (as uttered by Sheikh Ahmad) in Shiah narratives regarding the difference between Ahmad and Muhammad. In some Islamic narratives, where we come to the comparison between the two names of Ahmad and Muhammad, we can see an emphasis on the superiority of Ahmad. Based on a narration from the Holy Prophet himself, he was called Mohammad as he was praised in the earth, and was named Ahmad as he was more praised in the heaven (13). Another manifestation of the superiority of Ahmad can be seen in a hadith from the Holy Prophet (pbuh) narrated by Imam Ali (pbuh) and Ubay ibne Ka'b. Some virtues and superior attributes of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) compared with other divine prophets have been emphasized in this hadith, among which is naming him as Ahmad. (14). It should be noted that sometimes Ahmad, along with Muhammad, are considered to be the only two main names of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). As an example, there is a narrative by Imam Ali (pbuh) that says there are only five prophets - among all Prophets - who were called with two names, the last of whom was the Prophet of Islam who had two names of Muhammad and Ahmad (15). Of course, the spiritual status of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his creation in light (خلقة نورية) and his stopping in the veils of divine attributes and realizing these traits in the descending order (before reaching the body of Abdullah son of Abdul-Mutallib), as well as the promising news by divine prophets and priests and others about his coming, is a detailed topic that you can read about in volume 15th of the book Bihar al-Anwar. (16) C) Mohammad in Islam; Ahmad in previous religions: It should be noted that Ahmad, too, has been a famous name of the Holy Prophet even in Islam. This is confirmed by the fact that the contemporary poets of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) have praised him in many of their poems with the name of Ahmad. (17) Certain narratives indicate that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has had different names in different religions: in the Book of Abraham: Mahi (ماحي); in Torah: Haad (حاد); in the Bible: Ahmad; and in the Holy Quran: Muhammad (pbuh). (18) Of course, such narratives may seek to express his most famous name in the scriptures because the names of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) are numerous in the Quran. (19) and (20(

Refrence:

(1) احمد سرهندي، مكتوبات امام رباني، به كوشش حسين حلمي استانبولي، استانبول،‌ق/1977م؛3 /مكتوب شماره 96. (2) See: Rizvi, A.A., A History of Sufism in India, New Delhi, 1983; II/214. (3) احمد سرهندي؛ همان، 1/مكتوب شماره 224 . (4) نك: كشمي، محمدهاشم؛ زبدة المقامات، لكهنو، 1302ق، ص176. (5) احمد سرهندي؛ همان، 3/مكتوب شماره 94،95. (6) همان، 2/مكتوب شماره 6، 97. (7) همان، 2/مكتوب شماره 4. (8) همان، 3/مكتوب شماره 87 . (9) همان، 3/ مكتوب شم 100. (10) See: ibid, II/223-218. (11) See: Friedmann, Y., Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, Canada, 1971; 95, 90-88, 7, and Rizvi, ibid, II7-6/. (12) مطالبي كه بيان شد، اقتباسي از مواضع مختلف مدخل احمد سرهندي در دانشنامه بزرگ جهان اسلام است كه توسط پروفسور فتح الله مجتبايي تاليف شده است: مجتبايي، فتح الله؛ احمد سرهندي، دايرة المعارف بزرگ اسلامي،‌1375،‌ج7، ص48 به بعد. (13) نكـ‌: قمي، علي، تفسير، نجف،1387، ق2/365 ؛ براي روايتي مشابه ، نكـ : كليني، محمد، الكافي، به كوشش علي اكبر غفاري، تهران، 1391ق؛ ج6، ص 34؛ ابن بابويه، محمد؛ علل الشرائع، نجف، 1385ق/1966م؛ ج 1صص127 ـ 128؛ همو، معاني الاخبار، به كوشش علي اكبر غفاري، قم،1361 ش؛صص51ـ 52 ؛ الاختصاص، منسوب به شيخ مفيد، به كوشش علي اكبر غفاري ، قم جماعه المدرسين ، الاختصاص، ص 34 (14) نكـ : احمد بن حنبل، مسند، قاهره ، 1313ق ، ج1، ص 98و 158 ؛ سيوطي، الدرالمنثور، قاهره ،1314ق؛ ج 6، ص214. (15) ابن بابويه؛ عيون اخبار الرضا(ع) ، نجف ، 1390ق/1970م؛ ج 1، ص 192 و نكـ : بيهقي، احمد، دلائل النبوه، به كوشش عبدالمعطي قلعجي، بيروت، 1405ق/1985م؛ ج 1، ص 159 ، به نقل از خليل بن احمد. (16) بحار الأنوار - ط مؤسسةالوفاء نويسنده : العلامة المجلسي جلد : 15. (17) براي ملاحظه برخي از اين اشعار رك سبحاني، جعفر؛ مفاهيم القرآن؛ مؤسسة التاريخ العربي ـ بيروت، جلد : 3 صفحه : 510-516. (18) وفي الفقيه: عنه (عليه السلام) إن اسم النبي(ص) في صحف إبراهيم: الماحي، وفي توراة موسى (عليه السلام): الحاد، وفي إنجيل عيسى (عليه السلام): أحمد، وفي الفرقان: محمد (صلى الله عليه وآله) التفسير الصافي نويسنده : الفيض الكاشاني جلد : 7 صفحه : 181. (19) براي تفصيل نام هاي پيامبر(ص) در قرآن،‌نك:‌جعفر سبحاني، همان، ص516. (20) در اين پاسخ بخش هايي از دو منبع ذيل عينا ترجمه شده است: مجتبايي، فتح الله؛ احمد سرهندي؛ دانشنامه بزرگ اسلامي ، ج7، ص 48 به بعد و پاكتچي، احمد؛ احمد؛ دانشنامه بزرگ اسلامي؛ ناشر: مرکز دائرة المعارف بزرگ اسلامي1373؛ ج 6 ، ص 680 به بعد. ---------------------- Feedback Team for website in AhlulBayt (a.s) Portal www.abp-miftah.com www.ahl-ul-bayt.org


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