Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
LANGUAGES and BRANCH WEBSITES: *
* THE LAHORE AHMADIYYA MOVEMENT:
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
* OTHER LANGUAGES and BRANCH WEBSITES:
* Click to:
6: The Second Advent:
The second advent of Jesus is considered to be another proof of Christ's greatness as compared with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, and the matter is argued thus:
It is admitted by the Muslims that some time before the Day of Judgement, the Antichrist, the greatest seducer and the spreader of unbelief and irreligion, will make appearance, and to destroy him and to bring back the corrupt followers of Muhammad to the right way and to establish the right religion, the Messiah will descend from the heaven ... If, therefore, Muhammad was the Prophet of the last ages and the last of the prophets, why was it not destined that he should rise from his grave and remove this last tribulation? Why was it that the promised Messiah was entrusted with the work of the final overthrow of irreligion and corruption?
It is a grave misunderstanding that the Holy Qur'an speaks anywhere of the return to life of Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ will come after the Holy Prophet is just the reverse of what the Holy Qur'an says:
And when Jesus, son of Mary said, O children of Israel! surely I am the apostle of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Torah and giving the good news of an Apostle who will come after me, his name being Ahmad" (61:6).
This is a very clear statement, and it is rather strange that in spite of the express words that the Holy Prophet will come after Jesus, it is thought that Jesus must come after the Holy Prophet.
Again, as regards the successors of the Holy Prophet, the Holy Qur'an is very clear:
Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them successors in the earth as He made successors those before them" (24:55).
The promise is given here in the plainest words that successors will be raised to the Holy Prophet from among the Muslims, and the coming of an Israelite prophet as a successor to the Holy Prophet is clearly against this. Jesus Christ cannot therefore be one of the successors of the Holy Prophet.
Another very clear testimony against the advent of Jesus Christ as a reformer among the Muslims is that he is plainly stated to be "an apostle to the children of Israel" (3:48). If he were destined to be also an apostle to the Muslims, the Holy Qur'an would have added words to that effect. His description merely as an apostle to the Israelites is also conclusive testimony against the idea of Jesus' coming back to this world.
The clearest testimony on this point is however furnished by the following verse of the Holy Qur'an: "He it is Who raised among the illiterates an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them His messages and purifies them and teaches them the Book and the wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error, and others from among them who have not yet joined them" (62:2-3). These verses make it clear that the Holy Prophet was not only the purifier and teacher of the Arabs, of his companions among whom he made his appearance, but also the purifier and teacher for ever of the whole Muslim world, of those who came after the companions, those who had not yet joined the companions. But as he could not live for ever, his purifying power and his office of teacher were transmitted to his companions who taught the next generation, and that generation again became the purifier and teacher of the one following it, the process continuing to the Day of Judgement. This verse thus does not leave any room at all for an Israelite prophet to become the purifier and teacher of the Muslim people. Least of all can it afford room to Jesus Christ, of whom we are plainly told that God himself did "teach him the book and the wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel" (3:47). The Holy Prophet Muhammad therefore cannot be the purifier and teacher of Jesus Christ, for as the Holy Qur'an says, being a prophet, he was taught and purified directly by God. If he therefore comes to this world, the continuity of the teaching and purification by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, would be intercepted after his appearance, it would be Jesus and not Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, who would purify the Muslims and teach them the Book and the wisdom. But as this is inconceivable in the face of the clear words of the Holy Qur'an quoted above, Jesus Christ cannot appear even as a reformer among the Muslims.
In fact, the finality of prophethood in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, which is one of the basic doctrines of the religion of Islam, is wholly opposed to the appearance or re-appearance of any prophet after him. The Holy Qur'an teaches us in plain words that prophethood was brought to perfection in the person of the Holy Founder of Islam, and the work attached to the office of a prophet was completed in the revelation granted to him; and therefore as no work remained to be done, no prophet was needed, be he an old prophet or a new one. A prophet could only appear if there was any work for him, but as not the least work which could be done only by a prophet, remains to be done, there is no need of a prophet, and if one comes, there is no place for him in Islam. But it may be said, why then do the most reliable collections of the sayings of the Holy Prophet contain prophecies of the advent of Jesus, son of Mary, if there is no work for a prophet according to the plain teachings of the Holy Qur'an? The fact is that prophecies can only be interpreted in such a manner as not to contradict the plain teachings of the Holy Qur'an, and therefore the prophecy of the advent of Jesus son of Mary must be interpreted in such a manner as to be consistent with the doctrine of the finality of prophethood in the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
The truth is that the prophecy of the second advent of Jesus Christ could not have meant his personal re-appearance in the world even if it had not been opposed to the fundamental Islamic doctrine that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, was the last of the prophets of the world, and this is a point on which the Gospels, which also contain this prophecy, shed the clearest light. A Christian at any rate has not the least reason to expect the personal second coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11). The matter does not rest there. In another revealed book in the Old Testament collection we are as certainly told of the reappearance of Elijah in the world: "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal. 4:5). Thus Elijah, according to the Bible, had not only gone up into heaven, but it was further necessary that he should come back before Christ made his appearance. Such was the faith of the whole of the Israelite nation at the advent of Christ and it was based on the clearest words of their sacred Scriptures.
One of the first questions which confronted the claims of Jesus Christ was, as it should have been: where was Elijah?
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? (Matt. 17:10)"
Had the least doubt existed about this prophecy in the mind of Jesus, he would have at once told his disciples that there was no such prophecy, that Elias had died and he would never come back. But no; he admitted that the prophecy was true and that it was necessary that Elias should come.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist" (Matt. 17:11-13).
How did the disciples come to know that the prophecy of the advent of Elias before the appearance of the Messiah was fulfilled by the coming of John the Baptist? Because of John it had been said: "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias" (Luke 1:17).
What do all the circumstances narrated above show? It was written that Elias had been received into heaven and there was a prophecy that he would come before the advent of Christ. A question was put to Christ and he said that the prophecy of the coming of Elias had been fulfilled by the appearance of John the Baptist. The reason was that John had come in the spirit and power of Elias. The significance of this is clearly and conclusively this -- that when the second advent of a person is spoken of, it is not his personal re-appearance that is meant but the appearance of someone else in his spirit and power. Such is the verdict of Jesus Christ, and it is conclusive against everyone who follows Christ or accepts him as a prophet. No Christian in the world can go against it, and he is bound to put the same interpretation upon the second advent of Jesus Christ as Jesus Christ put upon the second advent of Elias. There is not the slightest difference between the two cases.
If, however, there is no room for a Christian to escape the conclusion arrived at above, a Muslim is equally bound by the judgement of one whom he considers to be a prophet of God. All that the latter can say against that conclusion is that the record is not genuine, but the double testimony of the Old and the New Testaments gives him no ground for such a supposition in this particular case. It cannot be denied that there was a prophecy as to the second advent of Elias; it is equally more certain that Elias himself never came back into the world. Moreover, a corruption like this in the Gospels, going as it does against the claims of Jesus, could not have been the work of a Christian, and therefore, it is sure that the question was put to Jesus and he gave this answer. Nor had there been a corruption in the Old Testament in relating this prophecy, for if it had been so, Jesus would not have admitted the truth of the prophecy. The case being so clear against corruption on this particular point, a Muslim is as much bound by the decision of Christ as a Christian, for both admit him to be righteous.
Further consideration shows even more clearly that from a Muslim's point of view, the decision given by Jesus Christ assumes a greater importance. For, whereas there was no objection if Elias himself had re-appeared, there are other grave difficulties besides those referred to above in the personal re-appearance of Jesus Christ. In the first place, the reports which speak of his advent add the words wa imamukum minkum, i.e. and he is your imam from among yourselves. These words are conclusive against his being an Israelite. The Messiah that appears among the Muslims must be one of themselves, not an outsider, no prophet but an imam or a spiritual guide. Secondly, the most trustworthy collection of reports is the Sahih al-Bukhari and in this collection we find the two Messiahs, the Israelite prophet Jesus Christ and the Promised Messiah, described differently.
In two reports, the Israelite prophet is described as ahmar, ja'd, i.e. having a white complexion and curly hair, while in two others narrated in the same chapter the Messiah that is to appear among the Muslims at the time of the great tribulation of the Antichrist is described as adam, sabit, i.e. of a white colour mixed with black and having lank hair see Sahih Bukhari, chapter Bada al-khulq). Now these two entirely different descriptions settle it conclusively that the Messiah that must appear among the Muslims is a man quite different from the Israelite prophet, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad was not only aware of this fact, but he also made it known to his followers by giving the two descriptions.
In fact, even if it were possible for Jesus Christ to re-appear in the world, he could not have done the great work of regenerating the whole world which the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, have been doing and can do. So great was the spiritual power of the great World-Prophet that not only did he bring about an immediate transformation of so great a magnitude that the transformations wrought by the reformers of the world dwindle into insignificance before it, but he also imparted that power to his followers in the same high degree so that even prophets have not been able to do what men like Abu Bakr and `Umar have done. And therefore even to-day, the followers of the Prophet can do what Jesus Christ was not able to do when he was in this world. The Gospels tell us that he could not bring more than five hundred men to the path of rectitude, but to-day we can witness the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, bringing thousands, nay hundreds of thousands, to the right path. And if Jesus Christ was unable to correct even the small Israelite nation, how could he be a match for the mighty tribulation of the Antichrist? It was a work which could be done only by a follower of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and therefore a Mujaddid, a reformer promised to the Muslims at the commencement of every century, was entrusted with it. It was the Mujaddid of this, the fourteenth century (of Hijrah), who was called a Messiah because he not only appeared in the spirit and the power of the first Messiah, but also corrected the errors connected with the name of a former Messiah, as he himself says:
As God has given me a light for the Christian people, I have therefore been named the son of Mary.
And he has in fact broken the cross, this being his chief work according to the most authentic reports, because he has shown from the Gospels that the death of Christ did not take place on the cross, as has been wrongly supposed by the Christians for nineteen centuries, but that having escaped with wounds, he died a natural death afterwards, having lived to the ripe old age of 120 years, as a report expressly says. It was "through the blood of his cross (Col. 1:20)" that salvation was purchased:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (I Cor. 15:14).
Christ never died on the cross and he never rose from the dead: the preaching of the Christian missionary is therefore vain and vain is also his faith. The Christian religion laid its foundation on the death of Christ on the cross and his subsequent rising; both these statements have been proved to be utterly wrong on the strength of the historical testimony afforded by the Gospels themselves, and with the foundation the whole superstructure falls to the ground.