This prophecy was published in 1905. The prophecy foretold the Great War of 1914-18, which shook Europe and perplexed the peoples of the world.
The prophecy apparently speaks of an earthquake, but the description of this earthquake indicates that it was to be a worldwide calamity resembling an earthquake. Other revelations on the subject also indicated a calamity other than an earthquake. I first quote the revelations containing the prophecy.
“A fresh sign. Shock of a fresh sign.”
“Houses will disappear even as all thought of Me has disappeared. You will see the earthquake of the appointed day. Allah will show you the earthquake of the appointed day. Dominion on that day will be for the One, Relentless God.”
“An earthquake resembling Doomsday. Save your lives. I descended for your sake. We will show many Signs for your sake. We will destroy whatever the world is building. Say, “I have God as my witness – will ye believe?” I have saved Israel from detriment. The Pharaoh and Haman, the armies of both, are in the wrong.”
“I will come to thee with the armies and will come suddenly.”(This revelation was repeated multiple times.)
“A mountain fell; and came an earthquake! A Volcano!”
“Avenues useful for Arabs. Arabs set out from their home.”
“Boats sail that there may be duels” and “Raise the anchor.”
The ‘earthquake’ in the prophecy was described by Ahmad (as) in some detail in an Urdu poem. He wrote:
“The earthquake was to bring destruction to human beings, villages and fields. A man caught naked will not have time to dress. The earthquake will entail special hardship for travelers. Many will stray far from their appointed routes to escape the terrors of the earthquake. Depressions will be produced in the earth. Streams of blood will flow. Streams of water running downhill will become red with blood. The calamity will involve the whole world. All men, great and small, all governments, will break under its impact. Especially will the Czar be reduced to a state of misery. Even birds will suffer. They will lose their sense and forget their sweet songs.”
As Ahmad (as) was getting revelations related to this great calamity, he also prayed,
“O God, do not let me see this earthquake”
Thereafter he wrote that instead of a few days, this grand ‘earthquake’ would occur within the following sixteen years. When he published this prophecy, he appended to it a note which said:
“It might be that it is not an ordinary earthquake but some terrible disaster which should bring about a scene of the judgment Day, and a severe destruction should come upon lives and buildings” (Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, vol 5, p. 120)
The grandeur of the prophecy lay in the many Signs which it foretold, the foretelling of which does not lie in the power of man. The prophecy laid down a time limit. It also said that the events it foretold had not been seen at such a scale before in the history of man.
The Prophecy and the Events of World War 1
1) Start: According to the prophecy, an unfortunate event was to be followed by a world-wide ‘earthquake’. The Great War started exactly in this way. The heir-apparent of Austria-Hungry and his wife were assassinated. The assassination resulted in war.
2) Time: An important sign of the war was the time limit of sixteen years. The revelations about the war were received in 1905; the war started in 1914, i.e. within sixteen years from the date of the prophecy.
3) Universality: The prophecy said that the ‘earthquake’ would involve the whole world. This feature too was fulfilled in a remarkable manner. Before the Great War, calamities universal in scope were not known. This war was the first world calamity. No part of the world remained outside or escaped the effects of the war.
4) Suddenness: The earthquake was to occur suddenly: ‘I will come to thee with the armies and will come suddenly’ states the revelation. World War 1 began suddenly with the assassination of the Archduke, Franz Ferdinand.
5) Travel: The prophecy says the calamity will prove very hard on travellers, who will lose their way and stray far from their routes. This is what happened. On land, because of fighting armies and their movements, normal routes became blocked. On the sea, owing to submarine warfare, boats carrying passengers were constantly in danger. When the war started, several hundred thousand persons were stranded in enemy countries. Many of them had to reach their own countries by circuitous routes. Troops of different countries also had to travel by longer routes, shorter routes having gone into enemy possession.
6) Destruction: A description of the war contained in the prophecy is the breaking of hills and the destruction of cities and cornfields, and this is what happened. Many hills disappeared because of bombing or because of mines which had to be cut through them. Many cities were completely ruined. Wherever the forces of one country advanced into another, the destruction of farms followed. Artillery lines were spread over thousands of miles. The resulting destruction was beyond calculation.
7) Bird-life: The prophecy points to the ill-effects of the calamity on birds. Day and night bombing and the destruction of trees proved highly detrimental to bird-life. In battle areas bird-life came to an end.
8′) Trenches: Another sign of the war was depressions and general destruction of the land surface. In France, Serbia and Russia, excessive bombardment produced deep depressions. Fighting involved the digging of trenches. Countries which saw the fighting became full of these dug-outs.
9) Death: Another sign of the war mentioned in the prophecy was that streams of blood would flow. The West had not seen a deadlier conflict than World War I. So much blood was shed at times that for miles waterways in the locality would turn red.
10) Buildings: Another sign was that ‘things’ which the world was trying to build would be wiped away. This is what happened, both in the physical and in the metaphorical sense. Many well-known buildings in Europe were destroyed. Destruction was also wrought to the foundations of European life.
11) Israel: The prophecy contains the revelation, ‘I will relieve the children of Israel.” This indicates that the calamity was to result in some advantage for the Jews. This feature of the prophecy also received a clear fulfillment. The foundation of the state of Israel occurred primarily because of World War 1 and was laid while World War 1 was raging, when Lord Balfour declared in 1916 that the Jewish people would be settled in Palestine. The Allied nations promised to compensate the people of Israel for injustices done to them in the past. In accordance with these declarations, Palestine was taken from Turkey and declared the national home of the Jews. Jews from different countries were encouraged to settle in Palestine. A very old demand of the Jews, that conditions promoting their national cohesion should be created for them, had been met.
12) Pharaoh: The prophecy goes on to say that the Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts are in the wrong. This is an obvious reference to the German Emperor, who thought himself God or at least God’s Deputy, just as the Pharaoh of Moses thought he was ‘God of his people and Mighty’. Haman in the revelation refers to his ally, the Emperor of Austria, who had little will or personality and was totally obedient to the German warlord.
13) Super Powers weakened:The revelations assert that on that day, God Almighty will be the Universal King. This description also indicates a war in which powerful states were to be involved against one another. The great powers, according to the prophecy, would become weak. The Dominion of God was to be re-asserted by powerful Signs.
14) Naval warfare: The revelation ‘Raise the anchor’ points to the entry of different nations into naval encounters against one another. Another revelation says, ‘Boats sail that there be duels.’ This is a picture of the vessels going in one direction and another in search of naval encounters. Many more sea vessels were used in World War I than had been used ever before. Vessels of small size, destroyers, and submarines were used on a scale completely unknown before.
15) Arabs: A part of the revelation stated: ‘Avenues useful for Arabs. Arabs set out from their home.’ This hinted at the advantages which the war was to bring to the Arab nations and the way Arabs were to exploit the opportunities it offered. The Arabian people greatly benefited from World War 1, in that through it they fulfilled their long-desired wish of parting from the Ottoman Empire.
16) Sin: Another sign was the destruction of cities and places noted for their godlessness. ‘I will obliterate habitations much as they have obliterated My name.’ It is generally agreed that Eastern France was the worst part of Europe from the point of view of sensual indulgence. From this part was sent the wine consumed in different countries of Europe. It was also the rendezvous of pleasure-seekers from Western countries. In accordance with the prophecy this part suffered the most. Pleasure resorts crashed and crumbled, and were wiped out as God’s name had been wiped out from them.
17) Victory: One sign mentioned in the revelations was ‘Our victory’. This clearly indicated that victory was to come to the side which possessed the sympathy of the followers of the Promised Messiah. This is what happened. The Promised Messiah prayed for Britain, and God helped Britain out of this terrible calamity.
18) Czar: The prophecy states that ‘Even the Czar at that moment will be in a pitiful condition’. The office of Czar-hood is referred to here, and the end of the institution of the Czar as a whole. World War 1 caused the downfall of the Czar as he was forced to sign a declaration that his family would never institute their monarchy over Russia again. This part of the prophecy merits a detailed discussion and will be discussed in a subsequent blog entry.
The war was over. The Czar died a pitiful death. The rulers of Germany and Austria had surrendered their crowns. Cities had been laid waste. Hills had disappeared. Millions of men had died. Rivers of blood had flowed and destruction had stalked the land. But alas! the world still asked for signs and arguments to prove the authenticity of the Divine Messenger. God’s resources are limitless. His punishment is as ready to come as His forgiveness. But blessed are they who are willing to understand, who will hasten to make peace with their Lord rather than continue at war with Him. They heed His Signs and do not pass by them as though they did not see them. They draw the Compassion of God, receive His blessings and prove a blessing for the world.
The fulfillment of this grand prophecy saw the fulfillment of numerous prophecies at the same time. If not God, who gave Ahmad (as) the knowledge of the future?