Question: Did Imam-i Rabbani state that the Mahdi would appear 1,000 years after the death of our Prophet or 1,000 years after his own death?
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani stated that Hadrat Mahdi would appear 1,000 years after his own death. In fact, 1,000 years after the demise of our master the Prophet is the time of Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani. If Hadrat Mahdi were supposed to appear 1,000 years after our master the Prophet, he must have appeared 400 years ago. As a matter of fact, Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani says, "Before the emergence of Hadrat Mahdi, a bright comet will come up in the east. A comet has appeared now, but it should be known that these appearances are different from the ones that will take place at the time of the Mahdi's emergence because the Mahdi will come at the beginning of the century. But now 18 years have elapsed since the beginning of the century" (Vol. 2, Letter 68).
[As is seen, he states explicitly in the piece above that in spite of the fact that a comet came up it was still impossible for Hadrat Mahdi to appear during his time simply because 18 years elapsed since the beginning of the Islamic (hijri) century. In the present day, 30 years have elapsed since the beginning of the Islamic century.]
"Though the number of scholars sent from among the Ummah of the Messenger of Allah 1,000 years after his demise is a few, they will be very high so that they can strengthen Islam thoroughly. Our master the Messenger of Allah informed us that Hadrat Mahdi would come. He will come after 1,000 years, and 'Isa 'alaihis-salam, too, will descend from the sky after 1,000 years" (Vol. 1, Letter 209).
[He states clearly in the above-quoted passage that Hadrat Mahdi will come after 1,000 years. That is, he states that Hadrat Mahdi will come 1,000 years after his death. If he were to come nowadays, couldn't Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani have said, "He will come 1,500 years after the death of our Prophet"?]
"The end of this Ummah began 1,000 years after our Prophets death, that is, with the second millennium [in the hijri year 1011], for there will be a great change in people and a strong alteration in things with the elapse of 1,000 years. Since Allahu taala will not change this religion until the end of the world, the freshness and strength of the early ones has been seen on the last ones, and thus He is strengthening Islam at the beginning of the second millennium. To prove this word of ours, we will point out Hadrat 'Isa and Hadrat Mahdi as strong witnesses" (Vol. 1, Letter 261).
[He states in the above-quoted piece that Islam will be strengthened with the passage of every 1,000 years. The one who strengthens Islam at the beginning of the second millennium is Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani, who is described as the restorer of the second millennium. A thousand years after his death, the job of strengthening Islam will be carried out by Hadrat 'Isa and Hadrat Mahdi.]
Hadrat Muhammad Mazhar, son of Ahmad Said Faruki, says the following in his book in which he writes the biography of Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani:
"A new mujaddid, that is, strengthener of the religion, appears at the beginning of every century, but there is a world of difference between mujaddids coming every hundred years and those coming every thousand years. Difference between these two kinds of mujaddids is equal to and even more than the difference between a hundred and a thousand. The time of Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani can be described as follows: During the earlier dispensations, whenever an Ummah degenerated and the earth was covered with darkness, a new great prophet called Ulu'l 'azm would come, and a new religion would be revealed to him. The best Ummah is the Ummah of Muhammad 'alaihis-salam, and the Prophet of this Ummah is the finality of all prophets. Scholars among this Ummah are like the prophets of Children of Israel. This fact is stated in a hadith-i sharif. It was decided (by Allahu taala) that existence of scholars in this Ummah would be sufficient (for Muslims). Therefore, 1,000 years after our master the Prophet, a noble person with perfect marifat, knowledge, and wisdom is necessary to take the place of one of the past prophets called Ululazm, for the latest period of the Muslim dispensation begins 1,000 years after our master the Prophets death because the elapse of one thousand years is a matter of paramount importance and it is a major factor in the changing of situations. Since there will not be any change in this Ummah and in this religion, it is without doubt necessary that the standard of spirituality and the firmness of guidance possessed by the earlier Muslims be reinstated in the later generations. Thus, Hadrat Imam-i Rabbanis blessed person was equipped with all the perfections peculiar to prophethood and messengership and was distinguished from others owing to these high ranks" (Manakib wa Makamat-i Ahmadiyya-i Saidiyya).
According to what Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states, Hadrat Mahdi will appear 1,000 years later than his own demise and will be the mujaddid of the third millennium. (Islam's Reformers)
As is seen, none of the Islamic scholars came to the conclusion that Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani said Hadrat Mahdi would appear 1,000 years after the demise of our Prophet, but all of the Islamic scholars stated that the mujaddid that would appear 1,000 years after the demise of our master the Prophet was Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani.