Original Revelation of Ahmad (as) about his age in Arabic
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) received the following revelation around the year 1965.
“Your age will be eighty years – a few years less or some years more and you will live long enough to witness your distant progeny” [Tadhkirah page 9]
He was around 30 years at the time of this revelation. The prophecy said that he would live almost another four to five decades. He elaborated on the prophecy thus:
“The real words about the promise in the revelation assign the age between 74 and 86” [Zamima Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya Vol 5 page 97 margin]
Then it was revealed to Ahmad (as) in 1891:
“We shall bestow upon you a good life; eighty years or thereabouts” [Tadhkirah page 243]
This same revelation was repeated again in the year 1900. The prophecy was repeated one more time in the Urdu language in 1906.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) with some of his companions
This was a grand prophecy. It was grand because of two reasons, both beyond the control of man. Firstly, it meant that Ahmad (as) would not die before the assigned age. Most Muslim clerics in India had turned against Ahmad (as) and had branded him a heretic. He was also hated by some Christian Missionaries and Arya Samaj activists whom he had directly challenged and defeated in debates. There had been attempts on his life and he had no extra protection from the government either. Yet, he prophecized that no one would be able to harm him and he would live a comfortable long life.
Secondly, it also meant that he wouldn’t live beyond the assigned age. Living to the age of ninety for instance would have proved the prophecy wrong.
Thus, according to this prophecy, Ahmad (as) passed away at the ripe age of 75 and half years.
How his age was calculated
Some opponents question his age at demise. To calculate the age of any person, we need to know their birth date and date of demise.
Date of Demise
Ahmad (as) passed away on the 24th of Rabbi-us-Sani 1326 AH (Islamic Calendar), or 26th May, 1908.
Date of Birth
His date of birth is NOT recorded in any book because at the time of his birth, it wasn’t a custom to remember dates of birth and there was no official registration as well. Different writings contain different estimates of his age. Ahmad (as) writes:
“God knows the real age but according to my knowledge, my age is near 70 years at present in the year 1323 AH. God knows best” [Zamima Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya Vol 5 page 193]
This shows he wasn’t sure of his age but there are certain signs and clues in his writings using which we can calculate his true date of birth, which calculates to the 14th of Shawwal 1250 AH or 13th February, 1835 (a Friday).
Calculating Ahmad’s (as) Date of Birth
The following evidence has been helpful in calculating his date of birth: The Promised Messiah (as) writes:
“This humble one was born in the month of Phalguna on a Friday on the 14th night of the moon” [Zikr-e-habib by Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahib pages 238 & 239]
His date of birth can be scientifically calculated by checking what date coincides with:
1. The Hindu month of Phalguna
2. 14th lunar night
The 14th of the lunar calendar in the month of Phalguna coincided with a Friday in the years 1832 and 1835. [For detailed steps of the scientific calculation, click here]. When we analyze other writings of Ahmad (as), we come to know that this is his true date of birth. He writes:
“This is strange and I see it as a sign of God that right in the year 1290 AH, this humble self had attained communion with God”[Haqiqatul Wahi page 199, first edition]
At another place, he writes:
“when I reached the age of 40, God blessed me with his word and revelation” [Taryaqul-Quloob, page 68 first edition]
Then in another place, he writes in one of his poetic verses:
“I was 40 years old in this world; When I was blessed with God’s revelation”
This confirms his year of birth being 1250 AH.
To summarize, it has been proven beyond doubt that that the Ahmad’s (as) date of birth was 14th Shawal, 1250 or 13th February, 1935, on a blessed Friday. Thus his age at demise calculates to be 75 years, 6 months and 10 days which is in perfect fulfillment of the revelation!
Opponents of Ahmad (as) present certain writings that seem to prove that his age was less than what it calculates to be. It is important to understand that those wordings do NOT mention an accurate date but an estimate only. There are numerous people in the third world even today who do not know their dates of birth and can only estimate their age. Most people in the villages of India and Pakistan respond to the question of their age in words such as ‘almost forty’, ‘between ‘seventy and eighty’ etc. Ahmad (as) lived almost two centuries back. His not knowing his exact date of birth is no surprise. All his writings mentioning his age are mere estimates.
However as shown above, scientific calculations have been employed to calculate Ahmad’s (as) exact date of birth.
“On 23rd of August, 1903 a leaflet was published from me against Dowie which states that I am around 70 years in age and Dowie, as he mentions, is a young man of 50.” [Tatma Haqiqatul Wahi page 71 and Majmooa-ishtaharat vol 3 page 564]
If Ahmad (as) was 70 in the year 1903, at his death in 1908, his age calculates to 75 by the Solar calendar and 77 by the Lunar calendar.
Testimony Of His Opponents
1) Maulvi Sanaullah Amritsari who was a staunch opponent of Ahmad (as) writes:
“Mirza Sahib has said that his demise would be near 80 years of age and perhaps he has fulfilled all those conditions” [Ahl-e-hadith 3rd May 1907 page 3 column2]
In 1907, Maulvi Sanaullah was questioning why Ahmad (as) hadn’t died when according to prophecy, the time had come! Exactly after one year, Ahmad (as) passed away.
2) Maulvi Sanaullah probably wanted to prove that Ahmad (as) had reached 75 years of age and should die now according to his own prophecy. He writes in another place:
“A person who is older than 70 years of age (as is Mirza sahib himself)…” [Tafseer-e-sanai Matbooa 1899 Hashia 4 under ayat Inni mutawaffeeqa ]
If his age was more than 70 years according to Maulvi Sanaullah in the year 1899, at his demise in 1908, his age calculates to be: 70 +9 = more than 79 years of age.
3) Another blood-thirsty enemy of Ahmad (as), Maulvi Hussain Batalwi, wrote in Risala Isha’at-us-sunnah vol 15, page 191 in 1893 thus:
“He’s already 63 years old..”.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) remained alive for 15 years after this! Thus his age according to Batalwi would calculate to 63 + 15 = 78 years.
Another reason why Batalwi’s testimony is more valid that his other adversaries is that he was Ahmad’s (as) close friend from childhood and would have a better idea of his age.
In the presence of such clear testimony of even his opponents, the allegation that his age at demise was not as predicted stands no ground.
Ahmad (as) also prophecized his own death
Ahmad (as) himself prophecised his own demise in clear words not just three years before his death but subsequently on numerous occasions. This is discussed in the next blog entry.
In short, the age prophecy was another grand prophecy that met fulfillment at God’s hand for it is outside man’s power to predict his age in his days of youth. The Prophecy was fulfilled literally and points to the truth of the Promised Messiah (as). Who on earth can predict his age at demise in his robust youth? Indeed it is only one bestowed with the knowledge of the future, knowledge from the all-knowing God!
*(as) = alaih-e-ssalam = on whom be peace