The prophecy I now proceed to narrate proves the Might and Dominion of God in the innermost depths of the earth as over its surface. The prophecy relates to the great earthquake which hit the Punjab on April 4, 1905. The earthquake fulfilled this prophecy and the fulfillment was, for all faiths, a proof of the truth of Islam and of the Promised Messiah. In December 1903 Ahmad (as) published a revelation in Al-Hakam, December 24, 1903,warning of an impending earthquake.
“A shock of earthquake” (Dec 1903)
“Destruction will come over temporary habitations as well as settled places” (June 01. 1904)
This was followed by another claiming that the earthquake will affect Punjab. On June 8, 1904 the warning was repeated:
“Permanent and temporary residences in this part of the country shall be swept out of existence but all those people who shall be within the four wall of your following, We shall preserve and protect in this deadly incident”
The revelations were soon published in the Ahmadiyya newspapers. Their literal fulfilment was utterly remote. Many thought they related only to the severity of the plague. But God meant otherwise. God meant the eruption of the volcanic hill at Kangra. This hill was supposed to be dead and inactive. It had a goddess made of stone installed on it to which superstitious Hindus made offerings. Geologists thought the hill had lost all capacity for harm; there was nothing to fear from it. Temples had been built all around, at great cost, and had existed for several hundred years. Devotees lived in these temples. Thousands of pilgrims visited them every year.
As the words of the revelation show, the earthquake was to deal particularly severely with mahalluha (temporary habitations), residences, camps, hotels, sarais, military barracks. The arrangement of words in the revelation pointed to something significant. It was that the worst effects of the earthquake were to appear over an area full of temporary dwellings. Such dwellings exist only in cantonments, holiday resorts and places of pilgrimage. The earthquake of the prophecy was to visit an area of this kind.
Day before the Earthquake
On April 3, 1905, a day before the grand earthquake, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) received a revelation informing him that the hour of destruction that he had been imformed about had arrived.
“Death is at the door” (April 03, 1905)
Earthquake hits Kangra
He also saw a dream about an impending disaster on the same day. It was early on April 4, 1905. Morning prayers were hardly over. For miles around Kangra, the earth suffered a severe shaking. Kangra, its temples, and its sarais were completely destroyed. Eight miles away was the cantonment of Dharmsala. The military barracks there was razed to the ground. Bungalows built by Englishmen for use during holidays were reduced to rubble. Dwellings at Dalhousie and Bakloh were also destroyed. Towns and villages all around suffered. As many as 100,00 buildings were reported to have been demolished by the earthquake. At least 20,000 people are estimated to have been killed and 53,000 domestic animals were also lost. There was also major damage to the network of hillside aqueducts that fed water to the affected area. The total cost of recovering from the effects of the earthquake were calculated as 2.9 million (1905) rupees.(1)
Experts – geologists and others – wondered why the earthquake had come. Little did they know that the earthquake was the result of the denial and derision heaped upon the Promised Messiah. It had come to alert people to the importance of his claim.
The Promised Messiah foretold many other earthquakes in the future, and they came in their time. Many may yet to come. The Bible and the Quran also mention prophecies of earthquakes in the time of the Promised Messiah. It is a law of God stated in the Quran that He does not destroy a town before sending a Messenger to its people. Why were so many habitations destroyed? Its high time that people started praying to God and accept His Chosen and Sent One.
Who gave Ahmad (as) the knowledge of the Earthquake at Kangra? How did he know one day before that death was at the door? Who informed him of future events, if not God Himself?