By Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad
A … question, the answer to which should throw light on the question relating to the need of the Quran, is: Did earlier religions regard themselves as final? Or did they believe in a kind of spiritual progression which was due to culminate in a universal teaching for the guidance of mankind?
In answer to this, we must admit that a continuous narrative, in which the story of one Prophet is linked with that of another, is to be found only in the Bible. In reconstructing the stories of the Prophets, the help we derive from the Bible is invaluable. No other book revealed before the Quran can give us this help. To answer the question whether earlier teachings and earlier Prophets did or did not foretell the coming of a perfect Teaching and a perfect Prophet after them, we have to turn to the Bible.
When we do so, we find that God made many promises to the Patriarch Abraham. He was born in Ur of the Chaldees. From there he migrated with his father to Canaan. His father stopped on the way at Haran and died there. On his father’s death, Abraham was commanded by God to leave Haran and go to Canaan and had the following revelation:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3).
And again (Genesis 13:15):
For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
And again (Genesis 16:10-12):
And the angel of the Lord said unto her (i.e. to Hagar), I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
And again (Genesis 17:9-11):
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every manchild among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.