When according to a prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), a lunar eclipse occurred on the 13th of Ramadhan and a solar eclipse on the 28th of the same month in 1894, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was informed that if people did not heed this important Sign and did not accept him, they would meet with divine punishment on a considerable scale. Ahmad (as) wrote:
“The lunar and the solar eclipses were two grave warnings from God. Their occurrence in the same month should serve as an admonition and point to the divine punishment which those who persist in hostility must receive.” (Nur-ul-Haq, part 11)
Soon afterwards, as a step towards the fulfillment of the prophecy, he was moved to pray. Thus in one of his Arabic poems (1894) he said:
“When iniquity and ungodliness rose to a deadly height; even as flood reaches its dangerous level, I wished from God that a pestilence should come and destroy; For, according to the wise, it is better for people to die than to become involved in fatal misbelief and misguidance”.
Then in 1897, in his book Siraj-Munir, he quoted a revelation of his:
“O Messiah for men. Rid us of our Pestilences”.
Commenting on this he wrote:
“Wait and see how and when these warnings fulfil themselves. There are times when prayers bring death, and times when they bring life”
When this last prophecy was published, plague had already made an appearance in Bombay. It stayed for a year and disappeared. There was a feeling of relief. Its spread had been prevented by the public health authorities. But a warning from God pointed the other way. When general complacency had been induced by the belief that the disease had come and gone, when the Punjab, except for one or two villages, seemed quite safe, when in Bombay its ravages had been more or less halted, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) issued a statement in which he said:
“I am constrained to write about an important matter and this owing only to overwhelming sympathy. I know that those devoid of spiritual feelings will tend to ridicule my statement. Nevertheless, out of sympathy for them, it is my duty to warn people. The warning is this. Today, February 6, 1898, Monday, I saw in a dream that angels of God were planting black seedlings in different parts of the Punjab. The seedlings are ugly dangerous looking, black and stunted. I asked some of the angels about them. I was told that they were the seedlings of plague which was about to spread in the country. It did not become quite clear to me whether this was to be next winter or the winter after the next. But the scene and the experience were full of terror. I am reminded also of a revelation of mine about the plague. It said, ‘Verily Allah does not change the lot of a people unless they first change their hearts.’ It seems that the plague will not disappear unless extreme sin and transgression disappear first.”
At the end of this warning the Promised Messiah added some Persian verse:
If my friends could see that which I see, tears of blood would they shed and say good-bye to the world.
The bright sun has become dark for the sins of men, the earth has thrown up the plague to frighten and warn.
If you but knew, you would liken this calamity to the calamity of Doomsday, there is no cure for it but the cure of good deeds.
I say all this out of sympathy for you: It is for you to think over, use then your wisdom today, you wise and alert.
It appears from these prophecies that in 1894 the Promised Messiah prophesied a general calamity. The description of this he himself elaborated into a pestilence. Then, when the plague first made its appearance in India, he issued a special warning to the Punjab against the impending destruction. He described the threatened calamity as the calamity of Doomsday and said that there was to be no escape from it unless there was a change of heart.
What happened subsequently is terrible beyond words. The plague started in Bombay as though its worst effects were to be there, but Bombay recovered and the Punjab became its center. So deadly and so widespread was it that the death toll rose to thirty thousand per week and several hundred thousand died in a year. Hundreds of doctors were appointed. Many different kinds of treatment were invented. But to no avail. Every year the plague flared up with added virulence. The Government authorities looked on helplessly. A general feeling arose amongst many that this was the consequence of denying the Promised Messiah. As a result, several hundred thousand people joined the movement of Ahmad (as).
The epidemic continued to rage until Ahmad (as) was told by God that ‘the plague was over, only fever remained’. After this declaration by Ahmad (as), the plague began to decline steadily. This clear prophecy compels assent by believers and deniers alike.
1) The warning about the plague was given a long time before its occurrence and a long time before medical science was able to predict its appearance anywhere.
2) When the plague made its first appearance people were warned that the attack would be repeated annually.
3) People were also warned that the attack on the Punjab would be the most virulent. It was in the Punjab that it was at its worst and that the largest number of deaths took place.
4) Doctors assured the people again and again that the epidemic had been controlled, but Ahmad (as) declared that the epidemic would not abate until God let it. As everybody knows the devastation continued for full nine years.
5) At last God Himself, out of compassion, promised to reduce its virulence. The Promised Messiah was told that ‘the plague had disappeared, only fever remained’. After this revelation the worst of the epidemic was over. However, a serious malaria epidemic broke out in the Punjab. Not a single household remained immune from it.
How could a man make such a grand prediction of a future event with such clarity? Why did the plague hit the Punjab hardest? Why did it not affect Ahmad (as) and his close ones? Why did it continue unchecked until Ahmad (as) wrote that it would abate. These are signs for a people who reflect.