Firstly one has to understand that the statement of Ahmad(as) of the Qur’an being lifted in 1857 is only an interpretation which will make sense to one if he focuses properly.
Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
And We sent down water from the sky according to measure, and We caused it to stay in the earth — and surely it is We Who determine its taking away — (Chapter 23 Verse 18)
The tafseer of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad(ra) states:
“This verse gives the first illustration of how God supplies the physical and spiritual needs of man. All life, it says depends on water which descends from heaven, in the form of rain, snow or hail. Similarly, spiritual water descends from heaven in the form of Divine revelation without which no spiritual life can exist. The verse purports to say that if men out of their perversity and ingratitude reject the Divine Message and the heavenly Water which God has sent down, they will become deprived of it. The parallelism in the physical and spiritual life of man with which this sura has opened, is further developed in the present and the next few verses.
The words “and surely it is We Who determine its taking away, refer to a well-known law of nature. The verse means to say that God sends down rain but rain-water does not stay in the earth permanently. It disappears by evaporation or flows into the seal through streams and rivers. The earth again becomes dry and then fresh rain is needed to make it fertile. The same is the case with Divine teaching. It powerfully influences the lives of men and brings about a great change in them for a certain period. Then it begins to be neglected, ignored and misinterpreted and so a fresh revelation is needed. This law of God came into operation with the life of man on this planet and it will remain in operation till the end of time.
The verse also embodies an implied reference to a prophecy of the Holy Prophet about his second advent in the person of the Promised Messiah and about the spread of ireligiousness and spiritual darkness in the centuries before the latter’s advent, when there was to remain nothing of Islam but its name and nothing of the Qur’an but its written words (Mishkat Kitan al – Ilm) and belief would have gone up to the pleiades (Bukhari, Kitab al-Tafsir) (5 Volume commentary, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad(ra)
One has to remember that this is an interpretation of Ahmad(as) and it makes sense. Whether you want to accept it or not as a non Ahmadi Muslim is a different story.
This statement becomes clear when one focuses on the Qur’an and ahadith properly.
Allah it is Who created the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, in six periods; then He settled on the Throne. You have no helper or intercessor beside Him. Will you not then reflect? He will plan the Divine Ordinance from the heaven unto the earth, then shall it go up to Him in a day the duration of which is a thousand years according to what you reckon. (Chapter 32 verses 5-6)
According to our interpretation the divine ordinance here refers to nothing other than Islam. But when would this happen to this beautiful religion that the people become misguided and go astray? This hadith of the Prophet Muhammad(saw) beautifully explains this.
حَدَّثَنِي إِسْحَاقُ، حَدَّثَنَا النَّضْرُ، أَخْبَرَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ أَبِي جَمْرَةَ، سَمِعْتُ زَهْدَمَ بْنَ مُضَرِّبٍ، سَمِعْتُ عِمْرَانَ بْنَ حُصَيْنٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” خَيْرُ أُمَّتِي قَرْنِي ثُمَّ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَهُمْ ثُمَّ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَهُمْ ”. قَالَ عِمْرَانُ فَلاَ أَدْرِي أَذَكَرَ بَعْدَ قَرْنِهِ قَرْنَيْنِ أَوْ ثَلاَثًا ” ثُمَّ إِنَّ بَعْدَكُمْ قَوْمًا يَشْهَدُونَ وَلاَ يُسْتَشْهَدُونَ، وَيَخُونُونَ وَلاَ يُؤْتَمَنُونَ، وَيَنْذُرُونَ وَلاَ يَفُونَ، وَيَظْهَرُ فِيهِمُ السِّمَنُ ”.
Narrated `Imran bin Husain:
“Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘The best of my followers are those living in my generation (i.e. my contemporaries). and then those who will follow the latter” `Imran added, “I do not remember whether he mentioned two or three generations after his generation, then the Prophet (ﷺ) added, ‘There will come after you, people who will bear witness without being asked to do so, and will be treacherous and untrustworthy, and they will vow and never fulfill their vows, and fatness will appear among them (Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Hadith #2)
This would occur after the 300 years of Islam being at its rise. After that The Holy Prophet(saw) has himself stated “, ‘There will come after you, people who will bear witness without being asked to do so, and will be treacherous and untrustworthy, and they will vow and never fulfill their vows, and fatness will appear among them”This is also what refers to the Qur’an being lifted up which means that the Muslims would not abide by the words of Allah.
Now what was to happen when Islam ascends to the heavens for 1000 years? That has also be explained by the Prophet Muhammad(saw) beautifully.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
While we were sitting with the Prophet (ﷺ) Surat Al-Jumu’a was revealed to him, and when the Verse, “And He (Allah) has sent him (Muhammad) also to other (Muslims)…..’ (62.3) was recited by the Prophet, I said, “Who are they, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” The Prophet (ﷺ) did not reply till I repeated my question thrice. At that time, Salman Al-Farisi was with us. So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) put his hand on Salman, saying, “If Faith were at (the place of) Ath-Thuraiya (pleiades, the highest star), even then a man from these people (i.e. Salman’s folk) would attain it.” (Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith #4897)
This is who we believe Ahmad(as) is. This is the same man who the Prophet Muhammad(saw) prophesied about to come in the fourteenth century. Now I ask the non Ahmadis why they have not found a mujadid for the fourteenth century? This is the clear reason and in fact no mujadid has come since Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) since Mujadids do not come during khilafat as the khalifa is the mujadid. The hadith states:
حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ دَاوُدَ الْمَهْرِيُّ، أَخْبَرَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي سَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ، عَنْ شَرَاحِيلَ بْنِ يَزِيدَ الْمَعَافِرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي عَلْقَمَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، فِيمَا أَعْلَمُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْعَثُ لِهَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ عَلَى رَأْسِ كُلِّ مِائَةِ سَنَةٍ مَنْ يُجَدِّدُ لَهَا دِينَهَا
Narrated Abu Hurayrah:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Allah will raise for this community at the end of every hundred years the one who will renovate its religion for it(Sunan Abi Dawud 4291)
This hadith is clear however this system of mujadidyyat includes the khalifa so In reality Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was the first mujadid after the Holy Prophet(saw) and after the khilafat ended then mujadids came who were not apart of the khilafat-e-rashida. In the same way no mujadid has come (excluding the Ahmadi khulafa) for the last 100 years after Ahmad(as) so for my non Ahmadi brothers where are they? Did the prophecy of the prophet Muhammad(saw) fail? Of course not. The mujadid’s are in front of us and by Allah the mujadid of this century is Mirza Masoor Ahmad (may Allah strengthen his hands)
Moving forward there is also a hadith which shows the messiah and mahdi would come in the fourteenth century. A hadith of Ibn Maja states:
حَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ الْخَلاَّلُ، حَدَّثَنَا عَوْنُ بْنُ عُمَارَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى بْنِ ثُمَامَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَنَسٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ جَدِّهِ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ الآيَاتُ بَعْدَ الْمِائَتَيْنِ ” .
It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that Abu Qatadah said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The signs (will come) after two hundred (years).’(Sunan Ibn Maja hadith #4057)
Both these ahadith are accepted by the non Ahmadis as well. The first hadith has stated that someone would come to revive the religion and this hadith makes it clear that the signs would begin to manifest after 200 years. Now we need to see what these 200 years in reality refer to. They are after a specific time of 1000 years since the word in the hadith uses mi’atain which means 200, but along with it is the definite article of al which refers to specify something. This is not only a Ahmadi Belief rather Hadhrat Mulla Ali Qari has stated “Perhaps the definite article Al in the word al-mi’atain refers to that period of 200 years as well following 1000 years (meaning 1200) and this is the time of the advent of the Mahdi as well”
The past scholars agree that the 200 years refer to the 200 years after which bring us to 1200 years. This shows us that the mahdi would come at the completion of the 12th century, hence the 12 century where the signs would manifest in the favour of the messiah and mahdi. One may ask why 200 years are mentioned and why does this not refer to the first 200 years. The answer to this is quite simple. No grand sign was shown in the first 200 years nor any unique signs. Majority of the signs have been being fulfilled in our age. Another question that arises is why can we not say these are normal signs? The answer to this is quite simple as Allah has always been showing normal signs but the hadith says that he would manifest after 200 years showing us that it has not happened yet.
“This humble one came in an era which is the era in which the Promised Messiah(as) should have appeared, because the Hadith Al Ayatu Ba’dal Mi’atain which means that grand signs would take place in the 13th century, clearly and categorically substantiates that the appearance or birth of the Promised Messiah(as) take place in the 13th century. The fact is that smaller signs had begun to manifest themselves even from the blessed time of the Holy Prophet(saw). Hence, undoubtedly, al-ayat refers to grand signs, which could not have in any way manifested themselves within 200 years. As such, the scholars have come to an agreement that Ba’dal Mi’atain refers to the 13thcentury and Al-Ayat refers to grand signs which are the advent of the promised Messiah, Dajjal, Gog and Magog, etc. And every individual can understand that in this age, which is the era of the advent of the promised Messiah, no one has made the claim that I am the Promised Messiah, except this humble one. As a matter of fact, in this period of 1300 years there has never been a claim from any Muslim that I am the Promised Messiah”