Ahmad even offered a prize of 10,000 rupees to anyone who could refute the book’s arguments and give even one-fifth of these proofs in favour of their own position – a prize that was never collected. In fact, the book even won the praise of Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi – a man who would become Ahmad’s most bitter enemy. Of the book, Batalvi exclaimed,
“It is well known that Satanic suggestions are mostly false but not one of the revelations received by the author of Braheen e Ahmadiyya have been proved false up to this day. These cannot therefore be considered Satanic suggestions. Can any Muslim follower of the Quran believe that Satan can be given knowledge, like the Prophets and the angels, of that which is hidden so that none of his disclosures should lack truth”
(Ishaat-us Sunnah Vol. VII no. 6 June/August 1884 pp. 169-170)?
I suppose this is also one of the arguments used by followers of a French doctor who became a Muslim in Egypt. I e, before Maurice Buccaille and Ahmad, this was already a commonplace among Muslims.
There is a problem. Satan is a fallen angel. He was not ignorant more than all other angels before he fell. He has gained knowledge since then:
- By what he has been able to observe himself.
- By what God has revealed to him.
- By what he is told by the demons under him.
- By what he is told by lost souls going down to him in Hell.
- By being a good mathematician and logician.
A strict foreknowledge or future contingents he has not in himself, only from the Lord he rebelled against, from God.
Therefore a prophecy about future events if stated as categorically going to be true and yet concerned with contingents, not with when the moon shall rise on such a date if no miracle intervenes, but like who shall live and who shall die, what side will win, and a few more like that, Satan does not know, and if it be hundred percent true, if it be sufficiently specific, so as to rule out guesses from probabilities masquerading as prophecy, if it contains no doctrinal error against previously revealed Divine Doctrine, then one must conclude it is from God and not from Satan.
But this is not the case with the prophecies of Apollo. Satan did not know beforehand that Oedipus would kill his father and for years live in a false, incestuous, but still tragically fertile "marriage" to his mother. But he knew how to tempt Oedipus to these things, and step one was making him ignorant of his real parents. That he could only accomplish by tempting them, which he did by false prophecy. Then he made sure the prophecy should come true, by further temptations to him.
He could probably from signs know something about Oedipus' genetic setup, as he had also observed the characters of Acrisius and Iocaste. So he could make a guess about the hastiness with which Oedipus would respond to certain temptations. And it worked.
Now, Buccaille seems to think, if the Qoran showed where the corpse of the Pharao had sunk in the Red Sea, it must be from the true god. No, such knowledge is certainly within Satan's capability.
Or if Muhammad knew before anyone else that the earth was round as a globe or before very recent astronomy that the Sun has an orbit around itself, that must be from the true god. No, every angel knows the true cosmology. Not every angel wants to show it correctly. And the part of earth being round as a globe was not miraculous knowledge in Muhammad's time, if the word even means that, since it was known by Greeks and remained knowledge among Christians - not all but some - that the earth was round as a globe. Plus a globe is hardly egg shaped, the earth is rather shaped like an orange. But bourtiqalii would of course reefer to the colour.
And the orbits of Sun and Moon, there is no detail given, and it can very well have been referring to their orbits around earth. Which as a Tychonian Geocentric I accept, on reasoning about main probability and about the supposed proofs for the contrary, but which would not have been beyond Satan's power to know about. So, whether that detail was about the one or the other, Satan would have known them.
It is absolute rubbish to claim “It is well known that Satanic suggestions are mostly false". On the contrary, they are often very much true, except for one little detail or two that gives away the falsity of the whole - and of the parts that one has no knowledge to test as yet.
In Evolution and Heliocentrism, there is so much wrong, that though it was Satan's plan these should be believed, he must have left a lot of room to mere human clumsiness in their elaboration - no need at all for them to be in every detail inspired by him.
The parents of Cyrus did not know about the prophecy of Isaiah, made centuries earlier, since they were not Jews it is not very likely they had knowledge of the prophecy, there is no evidence it was available in Persian. And the prophecy of Emmanuel, St Joseph could theoretically have manipulated it by calling the Son of God precisely Emmanuel, but he obeyed a voice that seemed to falsify it, adn called him Jesus. But still, Jesus, which is a correct Greek transcription of Yehshua, does mean everything that Emmanuel means. El means Yah, means the Lord God. Shua means helps, and that is implied in Emmanu, which literally means among us.
And in Isaiah 11, Isaiah foretold what would be made by the Messiah, once his tomb had become glorious through his resurrection: union of Judah and Ephraim - realised as the Church of Samaria was the first suffragan Church to the Church of Jerusalem. Conquest of Edom; Moab and Ammon - realised as the Church converted the peoples of Jordan. Conquest (in somewhat clouded words) of Mesopotamia and Egypt - well, you do have the Copts of Egypt and the Assyrian Christians of Mesopotamia belonging or having beloed to the Christian Church - and some of them still, correctly so, in union with Rome.**
But such really miraculous foreknowledge is lacking in the Qoran.
However, Buccaille claimed the Bible contained some falseness, giving it away as not from God. This is mainly on three items:
- He claims Holy Bible considered the Earth as flat, which is disproven. Now, Holy Scripture does not give that word as a description of Earth. It does give a description of circles in Isaiah, and of four corners. These taken together go well with the fact that the main landmass, called variously "Old World" or "Eurasia with Africa" does have four corners and these are on a globe.
- He claims Holy Bible considers the Earth as stationary, and he considers this disproven. Here I do agree the Bible has passages with this implication and even directly describing it, but then I do not agree Geocentrism were disproven.
- He claims Holy Bible gives a precise timeframe, excluding the Evolution, which he thinks is proven. I do agree the Bible does give such a time frame, but I do not at all agree it has been disproven by evolution.
In each of these cases I think God showed foreknowledge about what our present culture would be falsely thinking. He gave the Bible as a cure, to the specifically modern errors as to any others, and as Buccaille shows, the Qoran does not contain this valuable medicine. He even showed a difference in dosation. Flat earth would not be believed in vicious contexts, but it would be believed that the Bible taught it. The real text is such that the conclusion is avoidable. Heliocentrism and Evolution would be believed in very wicked and vicious contexts - from Giordano Bruno to the Communists. Hence, the Bible directly teaches the contrary.***
To return from Buccaille to Ahmad, let it be noted that the reward was given in rupees, and that this would not have interested very many Christians around the world. It was probably not known except to Muslims in India. And these, perhaps even Muslims anywhere, were not able to refute it. But a Christian would have been. So far, I have not read it.
Hans Georg Lundahl
St Mary Magdalen
*- See more at: Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
** Perhaps not with the right Pope, though.
*** It also directly teaches the forgiveness of the adulteress - on condition she sin no more. As reproof against Muslims who think every adultery must be punished, as reproof against laxists who think one can commit and continue knowingly throughout life an adulterous relation and still not even risk going to Hell.