The Ahmadi Religion of Peace & Light

Prophet Mani PBUH - His Life and Teachings

Prophet Mani PBUH is one of the great prophets of God. What do we know of his life and teachings?

History across the globe is replete with stories of good souls who came to this world with the intention of guiding and reforming the people, making those beaten down and rejected realise their potential and uprooting tyrannical systems and leaders. One such man whose story has been pushed to the edge of our reckoning is Prophet Mani, ‘The Light King’.

His call exemplified the key fundamentals of recognizing God’s proof in creation; he came claiming a divine successorship, and only called to the supremacy of God’s will. He exemplified and embodied divine knowledge attempting to install a kingdom of heaven on earth extolling peace, harmony and justice to all mankind. His call therefore resonated with that of the other prophets who have been sent to humanity from the same, One true God, such as Prophet Muhammad pbuhaf who was from his lineage.

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. He who has more integrity has indeed greater honour with God. Surely God is all-knowing and well-informed.” – Holy Quran 49:13 

BIOGRAPHY

The true identity of his parents and his birth have been shrouded in mystery. His birth as Mani was recorded as 215AD on the eastern banks of the Tigris river, Iraq, near Edessa at a time of bitter conflict between Persia and the Byzantine empire, and the name of his mother was Mary. Babylonia was caught in the melee, just as it is today in modern Iraq. However it seems likely with many observers stating the  calendar is not accurate that these timelines require considerable readjustment. Either way he was born into a world with pure religion having been manipulated by self seeking Magi priests and distorted Zoroastrianism, Chaldean paganism, and Mandean ritual in the heartlands of Asia.

Early Years

Early on, he showed significant potential as a painter and poet, when at 12 years old he received his ‘Twin’ angelic guide as he revealed to King Bahrain, who advised him,

“Withdraw from the sect, no people belong to you, your concern is with purifying the soul and
abandoning the passions, but the time for public appearance has not yet come for you are
now still too young.”

This angelic guidance was pivotal to his apprenticeship in faith, monotheism and the importance to extol the edicts of the righteous call enabling him to,

“…See the Whole and become one body and one spirit.”

The same Angel returned when he was 24 years old.

“Now the time has come for you to go out and proclaim your authority as God’s prophet. This is from myself and my Lord who sent me and has chosen you for his message. He has now bidden you to invite people to your truth and to proclaim the good news of the truth from before him and persevere in that with all your zeal.”

Remarkably, Mani also acknowledged a belief in Ahru Mazda, who commissioned Zoroaster to start his call to people in Persia. Mani claimed support from the same,

Those who follow me and put their hope in God, Ahura Mazda and want the pure and righteous select to be their leaders, they are the ones saved and find salvation from the cycle of rebirths and attain eternal redemption.” – Apocryphal epistle of Mar Ammo ascribed to Mani

This is of primary importance, as today Imam Ahmed Al Hassan PBUH has confirmed Ahru Mazda is in fact the same Jesus PBUH who was the spiritual guide for both Mani and Zoroaster in their age. The question remains was this only an interaction with Mani or is the connection far deeper? This subject is something we must return to truly understand the link between Jesus, Mani, and Mohammed pbut. Who truly were Mani’s physical father and mother?

Character and Mystic

He was a renowned ascetic and was often referred to as ‘the beggar’ for the way he lived such a humble life. He sought to treat all with gentleness and affection and was received with adoration by his adherents. They were full of praise and gratitude. 

A precious ‘Kephalaia’ gives us further insight into his supernatural mysticism.

This cloud which is visible to you which you see, I shall show you and make clear to you how it has come up. – From a Kephalaia

He then described how different formations of clouds are derived from different combinations of elements of fire, water, wind, light and air.

Mission and Apostles

The mission began on home turf reaching the court of King Shapur, who granted Mani’s followers protection in the lands and eventually embraced the call. However, later on under pressure from the clergy, he imprisoned Mani, denying him food, though when Mani healed his horse he was restored to prominence and the state religion changed in tandem. The call of ‘the living truth’ spread to India and Africa over a period of some 10 years, preaching through the power of light, leading to the conversion of Augustine of Hippo. He preached to them the Hope of Life and there chose out a good selection of disciples. Also he reached out to West Asia and the Sassanid dynasty leading to a flourishing in Syria, Iraq, and Persia despite persecution from other creeds. He eventually returned home establishing a church. As the call grew, the rulers rose up against Mani, incited by the various sects of the age. He wondered how people preferred to bear tyranny and tried to shackle his pure message, rather than embrace his divine call. As with all pure religions of God there was a group of devoted apostles who would act as missionaries and advisors, and just like with Jesus and Mohammed pbuhahf and the tribes of Moses pbuh, this consisted of 12 in number. These pure devotees adored him, such as Amu, Sissin, his constant companion, who tried to draw out the light and bring immortality out of death.

They were sent far and wide, to places such as Babylon, Edessa and Ahwaz. In later years the call spread to China amongst the Uygur and to Rome in the 3rd Century.

Many have alluded to the duality belief and worship of Jesus as a divine messenger only by the Bogomil, Cathar and Waldensians, as an indication of their being offshoots of this call. Fundamentally, we see how his call was shackled by the animosity of the people. Once an apostle asked his Luminary,

“O please, our Lord, give us two Manis who resemble thyself and come down like thee! Good and serene and kind must they be….When our Luminary heard these words, he nodded and said, See I, a single Mani has come to preach the good. Will they have not given me the chance to speak freely, yet in truth done the work of the Mystery, the world resists me heaping calumnies on me through sects. I brought out the impurity within and planted the tree of wisdom. If now two men come to the world, where would they be able to bear them or welcome them?”

DOCTRINE

Of his original doctrine, only a few Syriac fragments remain, with at least 7 or 8 books having been penned such as the Homilies and ‘Treasure of Life’ and a book of psalms. Of course many words have been twisted to a degree to satisfy the whims of the scholars of the age.
Overlaps with gnostic Christianity abound in texts such as the Hymn of the Soul embedded in Acts of John.

DUALITY

A foundation stone of the Manichean faith is the aspect of duality. This alludes back to a key point, if God is Good why is there evil in our world? Mani PBUH reminds us that God is in fact not the direct creator of this world, but darkness is a by-product of light, so once light exists then darkness does as well, as they are 2 polar opposites and co-eternal sources, so this Cosmic struggle predates creation. Mani tells us that his twin angels revealed before these two forces were in equilibrium with a separate king over each realm, darkness and light. God’s Kingdom and beauty is beyond compare and this did not go unnoticed by Satan leading to an upsurge of envy and his decision to capture the light and subdue it for himself. Therefore darkness swallowed the light resulting in the mixing of these forces, and we are fundamentally a product of this conflict. This concept of duality is not isolated to Manichaeism. Other scriptures promulgated this reality. Apocryphal and Yazidi texts state the Lord of darkness fashioned the body of Adam out of an altered black mud. The arrogance of Satan permeates through their texts,

“In the secret cave of my wisdom it is known there is no God but myself, knowing this who dares then worship the false gods of the Quran and Bible?”

Mohammed Baqir PBUH, the fifth Imam of Shia Islam revealed also that the Devil created the world, 

“Creation of these realms is hard to fathom, not everyone knows the way to knowledge
and its secret is well concealed. In the beginning was God the only eternal God and nothing
else, from terror sprang the light, the High king lent Azazel (dear one of God) his light and
using this light he shaped his creations , this arrogant one told God you are God and I am a
God and both these spirits we have made.”

This stance prevented Satan from accepting the ultimate truth that all his creation is from the light of God and his own power derived from God alone and by himself he can do nothing.

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” – Hebrews 3:4

In Christianity, Jesus said that my Kingdom is not of this world, that people were either sons of the Devil or sons of God. The tempter Devil showed all the kingdoms of this world to him and said, I will give this all to you if you only bow down and worship me. Jesus personified the mandate of Mani,

“Where have you come from? Say, we have come from the light from where the light came into being by itself established itself and appeared in their image. I say if you are whole you will be filled with light, but if divided you will be filled with darkness.” – Gospel of Thomas 61

Also, we find in Zoroastrianism the devil or Angra Mainyu was pitted against Ahura Mazda. Zarathustra taught the same principle concerning the mixing of light and darkness, with the goal of life to retrieve light from darkness and how the creator of this world is the devil. Dr Amandala represents the faith says,

“Evil is complete and independent of good… pairs of opposites God is not the source of both, if so it would be a contradiction and chaos, if evil comes from him He is not all good or deserving of our worship, if he is all good only good should exist so evil existing must be independent of his will, if he for some purpose wills both good and evil then he himself is imperfect, if he wills only good, someone else wills evil, the Devil.”

Clearly, God is benevolent and light and darkness only comes from the personification of evil, the devil. The vital point to recognize is that the demon who controls this world is also a created being and not the absolute 1 true God. Mani then teaches us in response, as a mercy and salvation, God sent emanations of light sparks into the devil’s creation as conscious souls, like divers who remove the shiny pearl from the coarse and unrefined Oyster, in order to purify the light that had become entangled in the darkness. The first five fold potencies, powers of light, were aspects of the complete human mind, and remarkably, we know today from the 7th Covenant these 5 pure souls , the first creation of God, Mohammad, Ali, Fatima
Hassan and Hussain pbut.
So once the light was planted in the clay, the goal of the wise is to reawaken the Adamite consciousnesses to their heavenly origin, so they would become willing to undertake a path of self purification to realize the divine within themselves. Therefore the spirit to overcome the tendencies of the body, such a philosophy dovetails perfectly with the beliefs of other religions such as Christianity, Buddhism and the struggle of the self, emphasized by Mohammad PBUHAHF. Finally, there would be a showdown with light triumphant, so we must choose our destiny.

Articles Of Faith

In turn this led to the manifestation of this awakening through certain symbolic acts of devotion, including fasting, self-purification and ritual prayer. The key was to magnify God consciousness in the heart of the believer so they would willingly renounce the self to become more altruistic and virtuous. As darkness and evil began to prevail on earth It became increasingly apparent for the need for God to send a liberator to the nations in order to eradicate ignorance and facilitate this conscious shift. Of course one such visionary was Mani himself. Mani would encourage his pure and devout servants to sit down in contemplative meditation, to turn away from lusts of the body and increase in what is pious. He taught the importance of daily prayer, at key times of midday afternoon and sunfall, 4-7 times per day in unison with Islam. Adherents would stand with palms open to the sky and also perform ablution,

“Now indeed man stands up washes in flowing water and turns towards the greater luminary
standing.” – Al Nadim’s Fihrist. 333:14

The face of prayer being the sun and moon was not just symbolic, it was the light of God from the
first light.

“It is the gate of life and Vehicle of Peace for this great Aeon of the Light, But Satan knows that it is the door for the soul’s escape, so he put a strong injunction in his law that none should honour it.”

If the moon was absent, they would turn to the North.
Zoroastrians perform the ritual prayer facing the fire, but only as a conduit to the absolute God, who said,

“We therefore bow before thee with confessions of guilt to Ahura Mazda, all good thoughts, words well said and deeds well done with these, we would approach thee. ” -Yasna 36:5

Islamic prophecies remarkably reveal how some of the most unlikely people would embrace the truth in our era, those like the supporters of Mani pbuh.

“We therefore bow before thee with confessions of guilt to Ahura Mazda, all good thoughts, words well said and deeds well done with these we would approach thee. ” -Yasna 36:5

Islamic prophecies remarkably reveal how some of the most unlikely people would embrace the truth in our era, those like the supporters of Mani pbuh.

“If the riser emerges those that were on this matter, will go out of it and the likes of the worshippers of the sun and the moon enter.” – Ghaibat Al Numani pg 332

As with the keeping of the Islamic pillars of faith, alms giving and charity were encouraged and fasts kept. This was in a prescribed month, when the new light and sun was in Aquarius, and they would break the fast at nightfall.

“Put on the clothes of saints; communion with fasting and good deeds.” – Mani.

As Mohammed pbuh would later remind his adherents,

“Work with hands to benefit himself and give from what he earns to help the needy and perform good deeds.” – Prophet Muhammad PBUHAHF

Dietary requirements were strict and Mani revealed how fruits and vegetables, figs, juices contained light matter and were therefore more conducive to self purification. As they say today, you are what you eat. Prophet Mohammed emphasized a similar diet of fruits encompassing how they bring blessings and cure disease. Mani revealed further commonalities with Abrahamic religions and of the Orient, such as faith in the unseen. In the Book of Giants 4, angels such as Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel are identified with the same benevolent God, who act as intermediaries to messengers and prophets, or are assigned to collect the souls of the deceased. Once again the Yazna reveals Ahru Mazda sends Archangels, guardian angels into the world to act as a support to humanity. This extended to Mani who himself was visited by his Twin, Jesus pbuh.

“Whoever is an enemy to God and His Angels and His Messengers, and Jibril and Mikal, (Angel Gabriel and Michael, respectively) then surely God is an enemy to the disbelievers.”
– The Holy Quran, 2:98

Another critical aspect was regarding reincarnation and with relation to heaven and hell. Mani teaches the return of the soul multiple times, just as his twin Jesus did.

“When you see your likeness you are happy, but when you see your images come into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear.” – GT 84

He also preached a doctrine concerning a shift from higher to lower forms. A disciple Amu recounted a redemption story highlighting karmic law and the mercy of God through his Prophet.

“On our way father Mani sat on a mule, a big lion came to meet us, with an arrow in
its side weeping. Mani told us to keep it still while he removed it. Mani informed them it was
Pilate, who condemned Jesus, but in his favour he uttered one phrase, my hands are pure
from the blood of the righteous one, on account he received forgiveness.” – Manichean
Homilies, 91 

In Islam we see a common thread with the return of the soul in Haft Shareef where sinful people incarnate as animals in maskh (disguise) such as monkeys and pigs,

“…taste of the lower penalty before the supreme one.” – Haft Al Shareef, Door 62.

The truth spelled out in the scriptures is crystal clear,

“And He is the One Who gave you life, then will cause you to die, and then will bring you back to life.” – The Holy Quran, 22:66

Ultimately, Mani denies Jesus as an absolute God, just like Mohammed. Worship God my lord and your Lord, he is in fact the Luminous soul or spiritual guide, messiah incarnate in a physical sense. Whilst the Suffering Jesus is actually a lookalike who replaced him, saving Jesus from the crucifixion. Just like in the Islamic creed,

“They claim ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of God’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him another was made to resemble him to them.” – The Holy Quran, 4:157

As Mani said Jesus is still crucified on every tree. Critically, Mani sought to remind people that God sent a succession of messengers including Jesus PBUH. This began with Adam PBUH including Enoch , Abraham, Buddha, Zorastrustra, Hermes, Plato. As Mohammed pbuhahf later emphasised,

“And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you of some of them We have related to you their story and of some We have not related to you their story.” – The Holy Quran, 40:78

Mani came to synergise all these disparate religions and unite all peoples under one common banner. Such a reformation would end the divide and conquer tactics of Satan that has led to so much disharmony and cruelty on earth and facilitate the flowering of the human race to reach its zenith and divine aspect.
Likewise Mani ensured he left no dispute and clarified a successor when he gathered his
companions selecting Sisin. Mani confirmed he gave his hand that he would help strengthen his brethren after him. He emphasised the significance of 12 followers just like Jesus and Mohammed PBUT.

“You did appoint 12 teachers and 72 overseers; make Sisin leader over your children.”  – Manichean Homilies.

It was also clarified how after Sisin, his word laid upon Innai, that he should place himself as leader of the sect in his place. It is just like in Islam where Mohammed pbuh appointed his cousin as decreed by God to Imam Ali PBUH.

His Later years and Martyrdom

During this later phase the Sassanid dynasty came to power founded on the reemergence of Zoroastrianism and the orthodox Magi. These zealots of the book sought to crush any kingdom that strayed from their way, bringing Shapur into the spotlight. Whilst Mani sought to wean the King of violence and vainglory, the King slipped from piety and grace. Unsurprisingly, Shapur buckled under pressure from the new regime and cast aside Mani, exiling him to protect his power and title. It was recorded that Mani spent about one year in solitary communion in a cave penning a new thesis entitled Ertenk. It was mentioned how a doctor came from Babylon, and cured a young girl. It was told after the nobles of Turan embraced his message. Here he left for China where the faith became predominant for a while. After the death of Shapur he hastily returned to Persia harkening the new King to,

“…Save men from sin and to let everyone have the chance to live.”

This king’s son died and his replacement was full of cruelty and vainglory, vehemently opposed to Mani. At this point he travelled up the Tigris, sensing the danger and only reaching Hormizd. Forbidden to proceed further by King Bahram 1. Mani knew he would have to face down these tyrants and proceeded to Ctesiphon the winter capital. Mani like his predecessor Jesus seemed to know he was facing his impending demise,

“Gaze at me and sate yourselves, my children, for I shall withdraw myself physically from you.”

He then informed his disciples to take care of his books and look after the widows and orphans and reminded the elect to take care of their duty to teach the spiritual life to the hearers as their lives depended on it. By now there was much political intrigue and subterfuge surrounding Mani and his
entourage and his fate was sealed. He was accused by the Magi for disturbing the empire and
of spreading ‘lying screeds’ and ‘false doctrines.’ Once he arrived in Belipat, the priesthood
turned out in the droves, crying out to the Godless judge,

‘…a man has appeared fighting against us and bringing our affairs to nought. We implore thee, o King, to do away with him, for he is a teacher who leads men astray!”

He clearly threatened their status quo, and they would stop at nothing to destroy him. Consequently Mani was brought before the king where he explained how he had cured many of the King’s servants of demonic possession and fevers.
Mani explained how he was sent by an angelic force to guide to the law of life, and teach the
commandments of Christ to a wayward nation. He expressed how this knowledge was
revealed before and as custom became concealed by the rulers of the day. Of course this
truth enraged the King who retorted with a response that seems to repeat in all ages of how
God chose to reveal this truth to a ‘vile unfit foreigner’ as opposed to the ruling monarch.
At this stage Mani’s feet, back and neck were fettered in iron chains, the
courtiers mocked him and danced in front of him, before assigning him to the dungeons for
26 days. Mani was finally condemned by the ruling authority, who made what is sweet now bitter. His speech at his last hour revealed his reliance on God and willingness to die for
truth. God mercifully granted him the ability to see his ‘Twin’, his Father who was waiting to open the gate on high for him. His main concern was for the orphans and widows who would be left behind and to finally deliver his soul from the ‘filthy abyss’ and surrender his body to the dark Lord of this creation. His final words were an instruction to use his place of rest to strengthen the brethren. The reaction of his apostles exemplifies their immense devotion,

“O, Father is (it that) you are going from us leaving behind your children to be orphans after you?” – Homilies, 53

If it was not enough to torture mock and maim an innocent God fearing prophet, three days later, they calculatedly mutilated and desecrated the corpse. Mani’s skin was stripped off, filled with grass, and certain medications to inflate it and then given as prey to the birds. We know today the term Mannequin derives from this. Mani had gone forth and fulfilled his duty to spread the message of light and had paid the ultimate price. It is a well known fact that the more you stand for truth, the stronger the resistance from the dark forces will be.

“No prophet is welcome in his homeland; doctors don’t cure those who know them.” – Jesus Christ PBUH

 Mani remained steadfast despite these attacks and the extent of the hatred he endured and torture he faced is a testimony to the brilliance of his light. Once again the light king had failed to be granted his divine and exclusive right to sit on the throne as God’s chosen King. He had thousands of converts and thousands more became martyred. However, the martyrdom was not in vain and his legacy lives on. Mani remains a beacon of light, empowering others to stand firm and fight against tyranny and oppression today. 

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