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Books Section > The Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib > Chapter VII : Messiah of the Muslim Ummah


Chapter VII : Messiah of the Muslim Ummah:

He it is Who raised among the illiterates a Messenger 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 manifest error - and others from among them who have not yet joined them,. And He is the Mighty, the Wise. 1

For its spiritual progress and purification, the Muslim ummah needs only the guidance of the Holy Prophet:

Earlier, in Chapter IV on Descent of son of Mary, I showed that it was an insult to this ummah that for its own reformation, and for the predominance of Islam in the world, it should depend on anyone else besides the Holy Prophet Muhammad. This is the same ummah for which Abraham and Ishmael had prayed:

Our Lord, and make us both submissive (Muslims) to Thee, and (raise) from our offspring, a nation (ummah) submissive to Thee.2

And for the guidance and teaching of this ummah, they prayed:

Our Lord, and raise up in them a Messenger from among them who shall recite to them Thy messages and teach them the Book and the Wisdom, and purify them. 3

It was in fulfilment of the Prayer of Abraham that the Holy Prophet said:

"I am (the result of) the prayer of Abraham." 4

It was in the same messenger about whom it was said in the Quran:

He it is Who raised among the illiterates a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His messages and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom. 5

This subject, which has been dealt with in the Quran at two other places, also shows that the teaching and purification of this ummah depends entirely on the Holy Prophet. Jesus Christ was only appointed for the Israelites 6, for a particular period; the period of his prophethood did not extend to the day of Resurrection and the scope of his teaching was also limited. The Holy Prophet was raised for all mankind, for all times to come, to impart complete and perfect teaching to his followers in all branches of human faculties and his period of spiritual blessings extends to the day of Resurrection. The Holy Prophet alone is responsible for the guidance, teaching and purification of his ummah. Human life comes to an end quickly, but the spiritual power of the Holy Prophet keeps on working even when it is transferred to the next life; it is carried on by the Holy Prophet himself, or by his followers trained by him. If this ummah needs a Messiah, and according to the traditions it does, it can only be the person who has been taught and purified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad; that is, a follower of his. It cannot be a person in whose teaching and purification the Holy Prophet had no hand to play and who was appointed by God independently and was directly taught the Book and the Wisdom, as the Quran says about Jesus:

And He will teach him the Book and the Wisdom. 7

If Jesus, who has already been taught the Book and the wisdom, comes again for guiding and teaching the Muslim ummah, it causes two great wrongs. Firstly, the teaching and purification of the ummah did not remain the work of the Holy Prophet but became the responsibility of Jesus. This, in fact, nullifies the prophecy and the prayer of Abraham and also the Divine promise which indicates that the work of guidance of the ummah would be done by the Holy Prophet for all time to come. Secondly, the guidance of the ummah was transferred to a person whose spiritual power and teaching, whose example and mission, were all confined to a limited circle. To remove this wrong notion, in Chapter 62 of the Quran it has been clearly stated that nobody else from outside will appear in this ummah, but others from among them who have not yet joined them will also partake of the spiritual blessings of the Holy Prophet. As the Holy Prophet guided, taught and purified his immediate followers and companions, he would do the same to those who would come later and his spiritual power was not limited in scope and time like that of other prophets.

Jesus was not taught and purified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

As long as the teaching of the Holy Prophet is considered perfect and his spiritual power is believed to extend to the day of Resurrection, this is going to be a formidable obstacle in the way of an Israelite Messiah appearing for the reformation and purification of the Muslim ummah. Some people have tried to remove this obstacle by saying that Jesus Christ had received his teaching from the Holy Prophet during the time of the Holy Prophet's ministry. But this is a futile argument. When God Himself says in the Quran that He had taught Jesus the Book and the Wisdom (3:47) before the appointment of the Holy Prophet, on what grounds can the statement made in this verse be considered wrong? Besides all this, if Jesus used to come down daily to receive training from the Holy Prophet, in which verse of the Quran or in which hadith is this recorded and why has this occurrence of his daily descent and (physical) ascent, (those who believe him to be alive believe in his physical ascension), not been mentioned anywhere at all? Every event of the life of the Holy Prophet is recorded in history. At what time did Jesus get his training? Did he get it along with the companions of the Prophet, or separately inside the Holy Prophet's houses, or somewhere which was specified for this purpose? If it is said that Jesus received his training at the time of the Ascension (Mi'raj) the only mention is that the Holy Prophet saw John and Jesus together. In none of the traditions about the Mi'raj is it mentioned that the Holy Prophet gave Jesus any kind of training. Even if we suppose that some sort of training was given to Jesus at that time, we must not forget that the Mi'raj took place in the Makkan period of the Prophet's ministry and the Quran was partly revealed by then, so only a part of the teachings of the Quran could have been imparted to Jesus. When were the other details of the Shari'ah (Law) taught to him - details about which the Holy Prophet himself did not know anything during the time of the Mi`raj? How could Jesus then give guidance and training to the Muslim ummah when he himself knew about half of the Quran and was unaware of the greater part of the details of the Shari'ah and of the Hadith?

The mujaddid of the fourteenth century Hijrah was made the like of Jesus:

In short, the Messiah for the Muslim ummah can only be that person who belongs to this ummah and who has been trained and purified by the Holy Prophet himself. No other person can be the Messiah for the ummah of Muhammad. I have discussed it before, that the descent of the Messiah only means the descent of a like of him, (see Ch. IV), as the descent of Elias (Elijah) meant the coming of a like of him in his power and spirit. 8 Thus when God appointed the mujaddid of the fourteenth century it was openly declared by him that he bore a strong resemblance to Jesus. One of his visions mentioned in Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah (p. 253) bears testimony to this, where he says:

"I saw in a dream Jesus, on whom be peace, and he and I had a meal together at one place and in the same dish and during the meal we were quite intimate with each other, like two real brothers or like two companions and bosom friends of long standing." 

And on page 499, sub-footnote of the same book, he says:

"It has been made manifest to this humble one that by virtue of his meekness and humility, and his trust and sincerity, and the signs shown by him, and of the light that he possesses, he resembles Jesus in his previous life and that the nature of this humble one and that of Jesus bear a strong resemblance to each other as if they are pieces of the same jewel, or, they are fruits of the same tree. They are so close to each other that to a spiritual eye there does not seem to be much distinction between the two. There is also another obvious resemblance, namely, that Jesus was the follower and servant of the faith of a perfect and high-standing prophet, namely Moses, and his gospel was a branch of the Torah and this humble one is also one of the lowly servants of that majestic Prophet who is the chief and crown of all prophets" 9 (i.e. the Holy Prophet Muhammad).

The knowledge of this likeness was given to him by God:

When the mujaddid of the fourteenth century declared his strong resemblance to Jesus, he did not know at that time that he himself was going to be appointed as the Promised Messiah. In his book, Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, it has clearly been mentioned that he was raised as a mujaddid for the Muslim ummah, and through him it is destined that Islam will spiritually predominate over all the other religions, and with his advent a great movement for guidance will be established, and he had such a strong resemblance to Jesus as if they were two pieces of the same jewel. In that book, the old view about Jesus' descent has been mentioned too, in the same manner. In the same Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, where he remarked about his likeness to Jesus and his bearing a strong resemblance to him, as he was informed about it by God, at the same place he wrote about the second coming of Jesus:

"When Jesus, peace be on him, returns to this world, Islam will spread all over the world but it has been made manifest to this humble one that he ... resembles Jesus in his previous life ... therefore God, the Gracious, right from the beginning, has made me a co-sharer in the prophecy about the Messiah. In other words, Jesus conforms to the above prophecy externally and physically, and this humble one conforms to it spiritually and rationally, which means that the spiritual dominance of Islam which will come about by high and conclusive arguments, is destined through this humble servant." 10

These statements clearly show that they were simply based on truth and were absolutely free from any pretence or fabrication. If the author had not declared on the basis of divine visions and inspiration, that he bore a strong resemblance to Jesus as if they were two pieces of the same jewel, and his real intention was to make a claim of being the promised Messiah at a later stage, on account of these visions, he would never have mentioned the second advent of Jesus. The above writing makes him free from every accusation of pretence and shows that whatsoever God revealed to him up to that moment he conveyed it to the world. God told him that he had a great resemblance to Jesus and he conveyed this to the public in his writings, but at the same time he stated the old view concerning the second coming of Jesus. A person who is appointed by God does not overstep the limit of what God had clearly informed him. Thus, there is a clear distinction between these two statements. Where he mentions the second coming of Jesus, this old view is expressed in general words. But when he mentions his likeness to Jesus the words are very clear:

"but it has been made manifest to this humble one."

Thus, along with information from the Unseen, his pen was also made to commit a mistake, so that it may always remain clear evidence that nothing was pre-planned by him when he declared his resemblance to Jesus and that, in fact, this news was given to him by God. Any person may commit a mistake, but God saves a prophet from committing such a mistake when his saying sometimes becomes a command of the Shari'ah (Law). But for the one who is supposed to refer to "Allah and His messenger", 11 there is no harm if he commits such a mistake. 12 However, this mistake has made it clear that his being the like of the Messiah was an inspiration from God and was not based on any of his personal opinions. Perhaps the commission of such a mistake was necessary because John had committed a similar mistake about the second coming of Elias. When Jewish priests asked him:

"Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not." 13

Although Jesus said about him "This is Elias, which was for to come" 14 and that "he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias", 15 John was made to commit the same mistake so that he might be free of all pretence.

In fact, all that I have said above is to end this discussion and prove that the mujaddid (renovator) of the fourteenth century was going to be the Promised Messiah. The descent of the son of Mary only meant that a perfect like of him would appear in this ummah. But before this reality was manifested to him, the mujaddid of the fourteenth century was told that he bore a perfect resemblance to the Messiah. In reality, the Promised Messiah was going to be the like of the Messiah. He also declared that he conformed to the prophecy of the second advent of Jesus "spiritually and rationally." Thus the likeness as well as the mission of his advent was the same as was that of the advent of the Messiah.

The Promised Messiah can only be the person on whom the truth about the descent of the Messiah was manifested:

When the truth of the descent of the son of Mary was made manifest to the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement and he was told in clear words:

"All praise belongs to Allah, who has made thee the Messiah, son of Mary," 16

(that is, the one who was promised), an uproar of opposition started against him. If, however, the subject was considered in a cool and dispassionate manner, the whole issue was not difficult to understand. If it is not proven from the Quran and the authentic Hadith that Jesus was raised to heaven with this body of clay and that he was still alive, his death has to be accepted. And when it is established that he is dead, the descent of the son of Mary can only mean the appearance of a like of him in this ummah. That like of him was a person whose services in the cause of Islam were acknowledged (by Muslims all over India). His writings in support of Islam had such an impact that it was admitted that such contributions had not been made during the last thirteen hundred years. This was the person, the truthfulness of whose revelations was established by their fulfilment, and there was no reason to doubt his good intentions and there was no pretence on his part and it was, in fact, the word of God which declared him to be the like of the Messiah. And above everything else, it was he who removed the veil of ambiguity from the prophecy (about the coming Messiah) and made the truth known to all and sundry that a mistake was committed, on the one hand, in believing that Jesus had gone to heaven alive, and on the other, in interpreting the prophecy about his descent as if he were actually going to come down from above. This was the person whose claim of being a mujaddid was accepted for five consecutive years. Who else could be the rightful claimant of this prophecy? But it was natural that he should also face severe opposition as had come to the share of the other spiritual guides and leaders according to the Divine practice.

The first reason why the mujaddid of the fourteenth century Hijrah was going to be the Promised Messiah - dominance of Christianity in the world:

Apart from what has been mentioned above, there are many other reasons which clearly indicate that the mujaddid of the fourteenth century should have been the Promised Messiah of the ummah of Muhammad. The mujaddid of every century is raised to remedy the particular ailment from which Islam suffers during that period. If we study the condition of the world prior to the fourteenth century we find that Christianity had made Islam its chief target for attacks. We see Christian missionaries spreading all over the Islamic countries and their onslaughts on Islam increasing in intensity all the time. Many Muslims went over to Christianity and some of them became great enemies of Islam and started a campaign, sometimes unbearable to the Muslims, against the Holy Prophet Muhammad, his companions, his wives, and the pure teachings of the Quran. Now look at events which have happened before our eyes and then read the prophecy of the Holy Prophet concerning the descent of the son of Mary - that the coming Messiah will break the Cross. The Cross, in fact, represents the doctrines of Christianity. If this prophecy was not going to be fulfilled in this age, the age of the most distressful time for Islam, when was this prophecy going to be fulfilled then? The teachings of Islam were being attacked from all sides, its virtues were made to appear like vices and all kinds of charges were being fabricated against it. Belief in the doctrine of the Trinity and the crucifixion of Jesus was considered to be the only source of salvation for the world. If the son of Mary, who had to counter the Christian doctrine, did not appear now, when was he going to appear? In short, if on the one hand, the saying of the Holy Prophet that the task of the coming Messiah was the breaking of the Cross, that is, invalidating the false doctrines of Christianity, and on the other, in view of the intensity of Christian attacks against Islam, the only appropriate time was the present century for averting these attacks, then the mujaddid of this century had to be the Promised Messiah of this ummah.

The second reason - present-day condition of the Muslims:

If the Messiah of this ummah should be a like of the previous Messiah, as is evident from the Quranic verse of istikhalf, (24:55), it is necessary that this likeness should become evident in the events surrounding the times and the present age. When we look carefully, we observe that the circumstances with which the Israelite Messiah was faced are more or less being repeated in the fourteenth century of the ummah of Muhammad. The condition of the Muslims represents the same kind of degradation and decline which had taken place among the Israelites at the time of the advent of the Messiah. Israelites had completely lost their kingdom; the kingdoms of Muslims have been lost or have become extremely weak. The rich among the Israelites were fond of living a pleasant life, oblivious of the needs of the community. The same is true of the rich among Muslims. For the sake of religion they are not willing to spend anything. For the needs of their community they act in a niggardly manner but for their own pleasures they spend their wealth lavishly. The `ulama of the Children of Israel indulged in an ostentatious style of life and were led far astray from the true path of piety and righteousness. Similar is the condition of the `ulama of Islam, with a few exceptions; they are neglectful of the true needs of their religion, unmindful of the propagation of Islam and do not bother at all about dealing with the allegations against Islam by its opponents. The one thing they enjoy most, however, is declaring one another heretics and infidels and as being outside the pale of Islam. They are wasting all their knowledge and energies in minor disputes. As for the sajjadah nashins 17 they also do not pay any attention to the propagation of Islam. Both these groups are mostly concerned with filling up their pockets with money. According to the Quran, they belong to the category of: Those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah. 18

The Quran, however, provides us with decisive proof that the mujaddid of the fourteenth century shall, in fact, be the Promised Messiah. Every word of this Book contains such arguments that after a little deliberation, many complicated problems can be solved. Prophecies concerning the future of Islam found in the Hadith are, in fact, based on the Holy Quran, or in other words, are an exposition of the Quran. In case of ambiguity, or difference among them, the best method is to go back to the Word of God. Says the Quran:

Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will make them rulers (khalifahs) in the earth as he made those before them rulers. 19

In this verse the word kama (as) has established a likeness in the khilafat of Moses and that of Muhammad. Again, in the verse: as We sent a messenger to Pharaoh, 20 the word kama (as) shows a resemblance between Moses and Muhammad, (peace be upon both of them). It must be remembered, however, that the resemblance or likeness does not mean that they should resemble in all details; resemblance in the most important aspects of their dispensations is enough. For instance, the resemblance of Moses to the Holy Prophet is not found in every detail but only in the most important aspects of their lives. Moses was granted a Shari`ah (Law) which was a source of guidance to the Israelites in every way. After Moses, there appeared among the Israelites no prophet who brought such a detailed law, although a few commandments were revealed to them according to the needs of the time. When the Holy Prophet appeared, he was also granted a Shari`ah, with the difference that this was meant for the whole of mankind. Similarly, Moses was not only given the Law but he was also granted rulership - this, he did not inherit, but he became a king by virtue of his being a prophet. The same is true about the Holy Prophet. With prophethood he was also granted rulership (kingdom). There is another similarity between the two dispensations. The condition of the Israelites at that time was despicable and with the advent of Moses a new period of honour and glory started for them. Similarly, the condition of the Ishmaelites was not worthy of much mention till the Holy Prophet appeared among them and a new era of fame and prestige began for them. In short, the resemblance which was indicated in the above verse by the word kama (as) was found in the most important aspects of these dispensations and not in every detail.

As I mentioned above, to further establish the resemblance between the Holy Prophet and Moses, God also showed some aspects of this resemblance among the successors of the two prophets. The first khalifah of Moses Joshua, the son of Nun resembled Hazrat Abu Bakr, the first successor of the Holy Prophet. Both were spiritual leaders and kings. In the later history of Muslims, in some most important respects, the history of the Israelite nation also seems to be repeated. The destruction of Baghdad presents a spectacle of the destruction of Jerusalem which was destroyed twice. And the verse of the Quran about the Children of Israel: Certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, 21 also refers to Muslims. But the most important aspect of this resemblance which I want to mention here is that, fourteen hundred years after Moses, there occurred a great change in the khilafah of Moses, (i.e. the advent of the Messiah and with him the termination of the chain of prophets in the ummah of Moses). This kind of change could not happen in the ummah of Muhammad because the khalifahs in the ummah of Moses were going to appear for a limited period but in the ummah of Muhammad khalifahs were going to appear till the day of Resurrection. As has been mentioned above, the Muslim nation resembled the nation of Moses in many respects; therefore, like the nation of Moses, it was destined that a Messiah should appear in the nation of Muhammad. This becomes clear to those who study the Traditions of the Holy Prophet. Signs given about the advent of the Promised Messiah and the condition of Muslims at the time of his coming were very similar to the condition of the Israelites at the time of the advent of Jesus Christ. However, the coincidence of events of a certain age does not determine the time of the appearance of a person. Therefore, it was necessary to make the resemblance more conspicuous so that the Messiah in the nation of Moses appeared. Generally it is thought that Jesus appeared fourteen hundred and fifty years after Moses. Even if this view is correct, that is enough to show resemblance between the two events, but the latest researches have made it clear that the time of the advent of Moses was not more than fourteen hundred years before Jesus. This has been admitted by some biblical commentaries. Therefore it was necessary that since Jesus appeared in the beginning of the fourteenth century after Moses, it was also necessary that fourteen hundred years after the advent of the Holy Prophet, the Messiah of this ummah, who was going to be the mujaddid of the fourteenth century, should appear.

Apart from these, there are many other references in the Quran and the Hadith which indicate that this fourteenth century was the period for the appearance of the Promised Messiah. That is why most of the people expected the advent of the Messiah during this period. Not only Muslims but Christians also were expecting his second coming because, according to them, all the signs of his coming had been fulfilled. This was the view of the `ulama of Islam, too. Nawab Siddiq Hassan Khan, a great Indian scholar had expressed the same view. He had openly admitted in his books that the signs of the coming of the Messiah had appeared. Even before that, Mujaddid Alf Thani Sirhindi had mentioned in his Letter 68, vol. II of Maktubat, p. 136, that the time of the appearance of the Mahdi was nigh. That means that the remote signs of the appearance of the Mahdi had started to appear and in our age the nearer signs have also been fulfilled. Shah Waliullah of Delhi has derived the period of his coming by the words charagh Din. Nawab Siddiq Hassan Khan gives a clear indication on this point. He says:

"All the minor signs have appeared; total change has taken place in the world and among the people living therein. Islam has become entirely weak, knowledge has been taken away and the spread of ignorance and fallacy is rampant. Wickedness, immorality and corruption, malice, jealousy and extreme love of the mundane things and lack of effort in earning an honest living and becoming negligent of the Last Day and holding the interests of the world over the life Hereafter are the order of the day. These are the main signs of the appearance of this age." 22

He goes on to write in a similar strain:

"The occurrence in the thirteenth century of great tribulations and disasters of great intensity is something which was known to all and sundry. We were children and heard the old women saying that even the beasts have sought protection from this century." 23

This is the general testimony of the people, that this age was the age of the appearance of the Promised Messiah.

Signs of the advent of the Promised Messiah:

I have intentionally left out the details of some of the signs because they will unnecessarily prolong the discussion. I have taken only those testimonies which herald the appearance of the Messiah and whose fulfilment is agreed to by all. This is, in fact, a criterion for the truthfulness of a claimant. Some of these signs are so clear and evident that every one of them is in itself a proof that the mujaddid of the fourteenth century should be the Promised Messiah of this ummah. For instance, in a hadith concerning the descent of the Messiah it has been clearly stated:

"She-camels will be abandoned, so they will not be used going swiftly" (from one place to another). 24

This shows that the work of transport which is carried out by camels from one place to another will be carried out by some other means (of transport). There is a reference on the subject in the Quran also:

And when the camels are abandoned. 25

How clearly has this sign been fulfilled. Then there was another sign, that at the time of the appearance of the Mahdi, during the month of fasting, the moon and the sun would be eclipsed in the same month. This happened in the year 1894 on the 13 Ramadhan when the moon was eclipsed, and the sun was eclipsed on the 28 Ramadhan. Then there was another sign of the appearance of a star having two horns, which has also been fulfilled. Another sign was that from the east fire would emerge, the trace of which would be visible in the sky. Thus from the east such a fire appeared from Java and for six months its glow was visible in the sky. Another sign of this age was that the pilgrimage would be terminated, that is, some temporary obstructions would hinder its performance, and so it happened. Although the House at Makkah would remain a place of asylum and assembly till the day of Resurrection, due to some temporary obstructions the Hajj was intercepted. Then the spread of plague was also one of the signs of the age - twenty years have passed since this sign was fulfilled in India. There are other signs, too. For instance, different men and nations are being united, circulation of books and papers is going on a large scale, men want to appear like women and women want to appear like men; women are in greater number than men; money lenders are making big profits; adultery, fornication, lust and transgression are found in abundance. Was it possible for a human being to generate all these signs, which were foretold thirteen hundred years ago, at one time by his own efforts?

This is enough to prove that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian was the Promised Messiah, because in this age he was the only claimant to the office of mujaddid of the fourteenth century Hijrah. When he is the mujaddid and he has also foretold of his likeness to the Messiah, then after establishing the death of Jesus and explaining the reality of the descent of the son of Mary, there is no room left except to accept his claim of Messiahship. The exposition of a prophecy is generally hidden from common eyes and made clear at the hand of one who comes to fulfil that prophecy, because the reality of a thing is only known at a time when its manifestation is shortly due. Assuming the descent of the son of Mary meant the physical coming of Jesus from above, the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam is not right. But if the descent of Jesus did not mean his actual coming, then Hazrat Mirza is that person who has fulfilled that prophecy because he has solved the mystery surrounding this great problem. This problem had become so complicated that nobody could clear it up by his own efforts unless he was divinely guided.

Apart from these, the Divine practice is that prophecies are covered with a veil till the time comes for their fulfilment. All the great prophecies which were related to the Holy Prophet were not applied by any other person oto himself, as for instance, the prophecy of Moses that a prophet like him would be raised among his brethren 26 or the prophecy of Jesus that after him the Paraclete would come who would guide everyone to all truth. 27

The true nature of these prophecies only became manifest at the time of the advent of the Holy Prophet. Similarly, at the advent of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, not only the truth of the prophecy about the descent of the son of Mary, but also all the prophecies relating to the latter ages, became clear. The appearance of the Anti-Christ, the dominance of Gog and Magog, the rising of the sun from the West, were all extremely complicated matters. I propose to discuss them in detail in another book. 28

Three main works of the coming Messiah:

There is another aspect to this problem - whether the work which the Messiah had to do was in effect accomplished by the Promised Messiah or not. What actually was that work? It was the formation of a great movement for the propagation of Islam as has clearly been mentioned in the Quran:

And from among you there should be a party who invite to good. 29

It is this work that Muslims in this age had almost neglected.

The second special work assigned to the coming Messiah was "the breaking of the cross," which clearly shows that this age will witness the dominance of the Christian religion and the work of the Promised Messiah will be to remove the mistakes of Christian doctrines about Jesus.

The third thing which we particularly notice in the work of the Messiah is the Divine promise which is found in the verse:

that He may cause it to prevail over all religions. 30

That is, his work was going to make Islam dominant over all other religions. The commentators of the Quran have agreed that this dominance would take place during the time of the Promised Messiah. Some of them admitted that this dominance would not be by sword but by arguments and reasoning, as is mentioned Ruh al-Ma`ani:

"It is said that dominance means to reach the height by clarity of arguments and the light of (spiritual) proofs."

Thus these were the three important tasks assigned to the Messiah and we have to see whether or not Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be on him), was able to accomplish them all.

The first task of the Messiah was to prepare a jama'at for the propagation of Islam - the Founder of the Movement succeeded in doing so:

The first priority for the Founder of the Movement was to establish an organisation for the propagation of Islam and this is now an accomplished fact. In this age, when Muslims had become entirely neglectful of this mission, the Founder of the movement established a jama'at exclusively for disseminating the knowledge of Islam all over the world. That zeal of propagating Islam was inborn in him, as was shown by his activities prior to his being appointed a mujaddid. When he was appointed a mujaddid, he was divinely commissioned to form a jama'at. The pledge he asked the members to take was:

"I will hold religion above the world."

He would remind his followers again and again that the only purpose of his advent was to manifest the truth of Islam to the world. When Muslims were generally negligent of the needs of their religion it was the Founder of the movement who started an organisation solely for the propagation of Islam. It was generally thought that the best way to serve Muslims was to think of some stratagems to improve their worldly conditions. This was not what the Founder had planned. He founded an organisation purely for the sake of propagating Islam and he did succeed in his mission.

The second task of the Messiah:

The second task of the Messiah was the "breaking of the cross"; that is, removing the mistakes of the Christian doctrines about Jesus. This work was, in fact, done by the Quran, but some errors had crept in among Muslims on account of which they became neglectful of this work. One of these errors was that Jesus was alive in heaven. Christians took great advantage of it and used it as a great weapon against Islam and thus misled many Muslims from the straight path. As a matter of fact, the belief in the death of Jesus Christ, which is the basis of the claim of the Promised Messiah, completely destroys the foundation of the Christian doctrines, for if Jesus did not rise from the dead and is not still alive, then the doctrines of Atonement and the Trinity do not have a leg to stand on. Jesus in that case did not bear the sins of mankind and could not be raised to the pedestal of godhead, but being a mortal, and like a righteous servant, was saved from the accursed death of the cross and later on died a natural death like other messengers. These are not just mere claims but are facts which are corroborated by the scriptural history of Christianity. Christians have themselves admitted that if Jesus was saved from death on the cross and died a natural death there is not a hope for the Christian religion to survive. Thus the task of breaking the cross was, truly, accomplished by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. It is, however, true that those raised by God for the reformation of mankind only come to sow the seed. In a similar way, the foundation of this work has been laid down by the Promised Messiah. Along with it God has created such conditions that people on their own are becoming disenchanted with the Christian doctrines because these doctrines cannot stand any rational test. A very large number of Christians now regard Jesus as a moral preceptor only, as an example for their practical lives. In fact, they neither consider him God nor his blood as an atonement for their sins. With a little consideration, one can arrive at the conclusion that the Christian beliefs are on the wane in the hearts of men. Actually, no other Messiah is needed for breaking the Cross now; the work has already been started. This, then, was the time for the appearance of the Messiah - when the Christian religion was in its full ascendancy.

No sword is needed for the proclamation of Islam:

The third work for the coming Messiah was to bring about the dominance of Islam by spiritual proofs and intellectual arguments against all religions. First of all, the thought should be discarded from one's mind that Jesus, (peace be on him), would convert people to Islam by the sword. Islam was never spread by the sword nor would the sword ever be needed for its propagation. It was only the truth of its principles that made Islam conquer the hearts of men and the same will happen in the future. The Holy Prophet did not need the sword for the propagation of Islam, nor can religion ever be propagated by means of the sword. The Holy Prophet had to wage wars only in self-defence and those wars were needed till religious freedom was established for all. As regards Islamic wars, it is clearly mentioned in the Quran that their objective was that the cloisters of monks and Christian churches, synagogues and mosques should be saved from being pulled down. 31 Thus the Messiah of this ummah will only follow the practice of his Prophet, that is, he cannot wage a war for the propagation of Islam. There is religious freedom found in this country. Nobody is killed for accepting Islam nor is anyone driven from his home. Therefore, as the previous Messiah had no concern with the sword, so too, during the time of the Messiah of the Muslim ummah, God has created such conditions that he and his jama'at will not need any sword to spread Islam; the message will be spread by spiritual signs and intellectual arguments. That is the way Islam will gain dominance over other religions.

The significance of predominance (izhar) of religion:

It is worth remembering that the predominance of Islam does not at all mean that all the other religions will perish from the face of the earth. This itself is against the teachings of the Quran, which says that differences among religions will always exist:

and they cease not to differ. 32

The predominance of religion, however, means that one religion will dominate the others and, in general, learned and intelligent people will accept it and its followers will surpass in numbers the followers of other religions and nobody will be able to defeat it by intellectual arguments.

Signs for the predominance of Islam are in sight:

If we look carefully we will notice that clear signs for the predominance of Islam are visible. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement has laid down a few principles, derived from the Quran, against which the followers of other religions find themselves helpless. Moreover, the world has taken a new turn. Communications and personal contact among men and nations by correspondence and other means have increased immensely, and it seems as if different countries have become like different wards of the same town and the difficulties which were found in conveying some message to another part of the world have disappeared. Another point in support of the predominance of Islam is that a natural desire has been created generally in the hearts of men to investigate the tenets and beliefs of other religions. The religious fanaticism or hatred of earlier times is gradually becoming a thing of the past. Even the followers of Christianity, who, on account of their strange beliefs and principles, considered all other religions false and of satanic origin, are now admitting that there is some truth in other religions as well. Religious meetings are now held for the comparative study of different faiths. Nothing like that has happened before in the world. Similarly, a change is observed in literature published on religious subjects where, again, religions are studied on a comparative basis. All these conditions lead to the conclusion that this is the age destined for the predominance of Islam in the world.

A principle of profound value:

While making a comparative study of religions, a very sound principle was advanced by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. The principle is that any book which is considered the revealed word of God should not only lay down the basic doctrines of religion in clear terms, but should also furnish relevant arguments and proofs to support them. If that book refutes a false doctrine, it should do so by giving adequate reasons for doing so. The Founder followed this principle every time he was engaged in a religious controversy, or at the time of making a comparative study of religions. In the year 1893, while having a debate with a Christian missionary, `Abdullah Atham, he strictly adhered to this principle during the course of his discussion. In an inter-faith meeting at Lahore in 1896, he also brought this point to the notice of the audience 33 and in his other writings also he emphasised it repeatedly. It is no exaggeration to say that no one in Islamic history has ever brought this principle forward at the time of a religious controversy. This is such a strong and valid proof for the truthfulness of the teachings of the Quran that no follower of any religion has so far been able to adhere to this principle in proving the truthfulness of his respective religion. And this point, according to the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, is of the greatest value as far as the teachings of the Quran are concerned. All other scriptures, except the Quran, fall short of this standard. Obviously, when heavenly books are silent on a subject and say nothing in support of their doctrines, what right does a humble follower have to advance arguments based on his own human knowledge and present them as if they are of heavenly origin? The real object of religion is to offer man light and guidance which he cannot discover by his own intellect. When that basic guidance is not found in those scriptures, unlike the Quran, how can they be of any use to their followers?

The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement addressed himself to the followers of all religions:

The excellence of Islam, the Holy Prophet, and the Quran which the Founder has expounded in his writings and the replies he gave to various objections raised against Islam cannot all be discussed in this small treatise; this would need another book on the subject. The real mission of the Founder in defence of Islam began with his book, Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, which he started writing in 1880. For about thirty years, that is, till his death in 1908, he was busy in the service of Islam. He wrote about eighty books, the greater part of which deals with giving decisive proofs for the validity and superiority of Islam over other religions. According to the Quranic verse:

…that He (God) may cause it (Islam) to prevail over all religions, 34

the Founder addressed himself to all religions. He pointed out mistakes in their doctrines; he dealt with the objections of those who denied God; those who denied the institution of prophethood; and those who denied the Unity of Godhead. He pointed out the doctrinal errors of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Arya Samaj and Brahmu Samaj. He showed that the Quran dealt with all these errors in a comprehensive manner. To Sikhism, his approach was that its founder, Guru Baba Nanak, was, in fact, a follower of the teachings of Islam - he believed in the Unity of Godhead (Tauhid) and regarded the Quran as a source of salvation; he prayed in the Muslim way, kept the fast, performed the pilgrimage, and conformed to the other articles of Islamic faith.

How to solve the internal disputes among Muslims:

The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement not only effectively dealt with the basic doctrines of other religions but he also directed his attention towards finding a solution for the internal disputes among Muslims. According to the Hadith, the Promised Messiah was going to play the role of an arbiter and judge for Muslims also. About the Shi'ah sect, he wrote a separate book. 35 In respect of other differences among Muslims he dealt with the subject at several places in his books. Most of the disputes among Muslims arise out of different traditions (riwayat). Therefore, he laid down a principle that any tradition which is not in accordance with the Quran and is against it, is not acceptable, because the Quran has precedence over Hadith. This principle alone is sufficient to settle all the internal disputes among Muslims. There is indeed one Book for the whole of the Muslim ummah and if traditions are made subservient to this Book, it can bring about unity among Muslims and all their minor differences can be settled.

A unique hero:

In short, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement was a unique hero in the field of religion in this age. He wielded his pen to refute all false doctrines and gave the right direction in all religious controversies. He showed the world the bright face of Islam. In the inter-faith meeting at Lahore, the reply to the five questions he gave according to the Quran impressed everybody and all of them unanimously agreed that his treatise surpassed all others presented at that meeting. The amount of work the Founder did in the field of religion is such that its parallel cannot be found in the life span of a person during the last thirteen hundred years. This proves that through him was fulfilled the Divine promise that God will cause Islam to prevail over all religions. Now it is up to his jama'at to carry on this mission of showing the beautiful face of Islam to the world; that is the only purpose for which this jama'at was founded.

This chapter is headed: "Messiah of the Muslim ummah", and I have not mentioned the Mahdi. In fact, I need not write much on this point. If the Messiah and Mahdi were two separate persons who were going to appear in the Muslim ummah, then it was impossible for Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim to omit mentioning the prophecies concerning the appearance of the Mahdi in their collections. This shows that either Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim did not consider the traditions about the Mahdi authentic or they did not regard the Messiah and Mahdi as two separate persons. This view is supported by a hadith mentioned in Ibn Majah which says:

"There is no Mahdi except `Isa." 36

This hadith has been mentioned by Hakim in Mustadrak also. Similarly, in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, while talking about the descent of the Messiah, it has been mentioned about him:

"Imam, Mahdi, arbiter and judge, thus he will break the cross and kill the swine." 37

Here the coming Messiah has also clearly been called the Mahdi. Thus the authentic traditions rather agree on this that there is no separate Mahdi, and Isa is, in fact, the Mahdi. Traditions about a warrior Mahdi have been considered defective by the great scholars such as Ibn Khaldun. And their omission by Bukhari and Muslim in their collections show that such traditions are defective.

Footnotes to Chapter VII:

1 62:2-3.

2 2:128.

3 2:129.

4 Ahmad ibn Hanbal, p.262.

5 6:2.

6 3:48.

7 3:47.

8 Ch. IV : 10, 11, 12. see Luke 1:17.

9 Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, p. 499, sub-footnote.

10 Ibid., sub-footnote, pp. 499-500.

11 4:59.

12 Even a prophet can make a mistake in interpreting a prophecy or a dream.

13 John 1:25

14 Matthew 11:14.

15 Luke 1:17.

16 Tuhfa-i Baghdad, p.20

17 Occupiers of the places which were once the spiritual seats of the renowned Muslim saints or Sufis (with their graves generally found within the premises). (SMT)

18 3 : 76. This is true even today. Appeal from the custodian of the Shrine of Ajmer (India), which is regularly sent to persons and institutions all over the world, is self-explanatory.

19 24:55.

20 73:15.

21 17:4.

22 Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 394.

23 Ibid. p. 395.

24 Mishkat al-Masabih, 25: 5.

25 81:4.

26 Deut. 18:18.

27 John 14:16.

28 See Ahmadiyya Movement (Tahrik-i Ahmadiyyat) translated from Urdu into English, ch. III, The Anti-Christ and Gog and Magog, pp. 171-250. (SMT).

29 3:103.

30 9:33; 48:28; 61:9.

31 22:40.

32 11:118.

33 Ref. Teachings of Islam. It is surprising that some of the basic dogmas accepted by the followers of various religions do not find any support in their religious scriptures. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity is not mentioned in the Gospels, nor is the theory of Re-incarnation mentioned in the Vedas. The Old Testament does mention belief in God, but no argument or proof is given in support of it. The Quran on the other hand does talk of the Unity of God but also gives reasons for accepting such a belief. (SMT).

34 9:33 ; 48:28 ; 61:9.

35 Sirr al-Khilafah.

36 Sunan Ibn Majah, ch. Al-Sharat al-Sa`ah, p. 302.

37 Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 2, p. 411.

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Books Section > The Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib > Chapter VII : Messiah of the Muslim Ummah

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