The American City of Zion, Illinois witnessed a powerful Sign of God near the beginning of the 20th Century. It was an undeniable proof of acceptance of prayer and the victory of Love over Hatred. We ask that you the reader revisit a portion of
Dr. John Alexander Dowie, an American faith healer, had a profound hatred of Islam and its prophet, the Holy Prophet Muhammad. In fact, he was known to use the most profane language in describing the Holy Prophet of Islam -- whom he referred to as "the king of impostors."
He not only prophesied that Islam would meet its destruction at the hands of
In 1902, one of the issues of "Leaves of Healing," a
"That nation, that people and that kingdom that will not recognize him and the Christian Catholic Church of the
In a remote and distant little town in
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian took note of Dowie’s tall talk. He addressed a polite letter to him which was published in a relatively unknown English magazine, The Review of Religions, in the issue of September 1902. Ahmad’s request was simple. He made a plain invitation saying:
"Since Dr. Dowie is the messenger of the powerful deity who was crucified by the Jews, I would entreat him to refrain from destroying the whole body of Muhammadans living on the face of the earth.
Alexander Dowie did not take notice of this polite invitation. He ignored this straightforward assertion and continued to be abusive. His followers encouraged Dowie to accept the invitation. In the issue of
"My part is to bring out the people from the East and the West, from the North and the South and to settle them in the cities of
In the face of this boastful language, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad still tried to reason with Dowie. He repeated his plea and invited Dowie to a more convincing method of deciding who is the liar. Using, in his usual way, the language of moderation, Hazrat Ahmad said:
"Whether the God of Muhammadans or the God of Dowie is the true God, may be settled without loss of millions of lives which Dr. Dowie’s prediction intended. The method is simple and plain. Without threatening the whole body of Muhammadans with destruction, he should choose me as his opponent and pray to God that of us two, whoever is the liar may perish first. I look upon the son of Mary as a weak human being, although I recognize him as a Prophet of God, while Dr. Dowie takes him as the Lord of the Universe.
"Which of us is on the right path is the real point at issue. If Dr. Dowie has the courage to accept the challenge, he will hereby open a way for all others to follow and accept the truth. "Dowie fixes the appearance of the Promised Messiah within the next 25 years, while I give him the tidings that the Promised Messiah has already appeared. Let Dr. Dowie, like an honest gentleman, obtain permission from his Lord to accept the challenge and take his stand against me.
"I am an old man of 66 years and Dr. Dowie is eleven years younger (Dowie was 55) therefore on grounds of age he need not have any apprehension. Moreover, I am suffering from various diseases and my life does not depend on health but upon the Will of God. If the self made deity of Dr. Dowie has any power, he shall certainly allow him to appear against me and procure my destruction in his lifetime, and he will have in his hand a clear manifestation of his mission."
Hazrat Ahmad waited for a reply to his challenge, but none was forthcoming. On
"It should be borne in mind that Dr. Dowie has not given any reply to my challenge made in September last (1902) nor has he even so much as mentioned it in his paper (i.e., Leaves of Healing). For an answer to my challenge, I will wait for a further period of seven months from this day (i.e., August 23, 1903).
"If he accepts the challenge within this period and fulfills its conditions,as published by me, and makes an announcement to the effect in this paper, the World will soon see the end of this contest. I am about 66 years of age, while Dr. Dowie is about 55 years. Therefore, compared to me he is still young. Since the matter is not to be settled by age, I do not care for this great disparity in years. The whole matter rests in the Hands of Him, Who is the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and Judge over all the Judges and He will decide it in favor of the true claimant.
"But, if Dr. Dowie can not even now gather courage to appear in the contest against me, let both the continents bear witness that I shall be entitled to claim the same victory as in the case of his death in my lifetime. If he accepts the challenge, the pretension of Dr. Dowie will be settled.
"Though he may try hard as he can to fly away from the death which awaits him, yet his flight from such a contest will be nothing less than a death to him and the calamity will certainly overtake him in
The text of the handbill of
At one point, during the next few years, Dowie, who had been silent and kept himself out of this contest with Ahmad, unwittingly entered this contest, when he described Ahmad as a "Worm," and said he could kill him with his foot.
“God has informed me: I will reveal a fresh sign which will be a great victory. This will be a sign for the whole world. (i.e., its appearance will not be confined to India only). The sign will be at the Hand of God and everyone should wait for it. God will manifest this sign shortly. It will be an evidence of divine help. It will be in testimony of this humble being who is being abused by all. Blessed is he, who hearkens this sign.”
Within a fortnight of the publication of this handbill came the death of John Alexander Dowie in the first week of March. The death of Dowie within the lifetime of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad caused a great sensation. The news of the death of Dowie was extensively published in the
It was not merely the death of Dr. Dowie that received publicity, but also the disgrace and the shame which this modern, self-proclaimed, “Elijah” faced at the hands of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Also. It was noted that both the contenders invoked divine help and assistance and how tellingly the words of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad were fulfilled.
There is much more to the story of Zion, Illinois USA and the fate of a False Prophet.