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in the Service of Islam by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui
> The Death of Jesus Christ
Books Section > Ahmadiyyat in the Service of Islam by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui Sahib > The Death of Jesus Christ
We are placing this chapter next to the reforms carried out by the Promised Messiah as this reform, which was of no consequence before, had assumed vital importance when the Christian rulers and proselytisers set all out to convert the Muslim subjects to their own religion. It has already been shown in an earlier chapter how the common Muslim belief that Jesus Christ was sitting with his physical body in heaven, to be reposted to the earth to save Islam and the Muslims when they would be in dire religious distress, was being exploited to show that he was superhuman (divine) and superior to the Holy Prophet of Islam. And the Muslims had no answer to it when the Holy Quran was quoted to show that no human being, not even a prophet, could go to heaven with his physical body (17:93) or stay there without food or abide (21:8) as the Muslims believed. And as Jesus was to be the ultimate saviour of the Muslims too, why not accept him as such as the Christians do?
So Hazrat Mirza Sahib's life-long campaign to prove that Jesus Christ had died and that his second advent was to be 'as an Imam from among the Muslims' (Bukhari and Muslim) was to deflate and crush completely the Christian 'blitz' on Islam and the Muslims. And Hazrat Mirza Sahib's own appointment by Allah to be the Promised Messiah was opportune, as:
(a) All the circumstances in which the advent of the Promised Messiah was prophesied had come about.
All this, so favourable to Islam and the Muslims, was naturally repugnant to the Christian proselytisers. What is surprising is that the Muslim ulama [religious clerics], barring those who joined him, and the Muslim masses who were ignorant of the truth and had blind faith in the ulama and pirs (hereditary religious leaders), all turned hostile to Hazrat Mirza Sahib. Although some of the more enlightened ulama have now accepted the death of Jesus Christ, as will be shown later, the vast majority of the ulama and pirs still believe Jesus Christ to be alive in heaven with his physical body, to come again to the earth to save Islam and the Muslims. Apart from its disastrous consequences, shown above, if Jesus Christ is alive and due to come himself again, then Hazrat Mirza Sahib's claim to be the Promised Messiah is untenable. That is why we had promised a detailed discussion of the fact of Jesus Christ's death.
What is not apparent to the layman's eyes was clear to those knowledgeable of the implications of the controversy. The Promised Messiah, on his deathbed, said:
'Let Jesus Christ die. Therein lies the death of Christianity.'
How correct he was! For, read what the Christians themselves think of the ascension of Jesus, alive and with his physical body, to heaven. St. Paul, founder of the present-day Christianity, said:
'If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching meaningless, and your faith meaningless. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ; whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not ... and if Christ be not raised your faith is in vain' (I. Corinthians 15: 14- 17).
In modern times, Sir Norman Anderson O.B.E., former Professor of Oriental Law and Director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies of the University of London, has said in 1977 in his booklet The Evidence for the Resurrection:
'If Christ be not risen then the whole of Christianity is a fraud, foisted on the world by a company of consummate liars or at best deluded simpletons' (p. 1).
So we are not wasting the reader's time in proving the death of Jesus Christ and his burial on this earth. We shall, insha-Allah, prove that Jesus had not died on the cross from the Bible itself and from Christian evidence recently come to light, and that he died in the course of time and lies buried in Kashmir from the Christian authors as well as Muslims. But before that, for us Muslims, the evidence of the Holy Quran and of the Holy Prophet of Islam is of greater importance. So we will take it up first.
'Therein (i.e., the earth) shall you live, and therein you shall die, and therefrom shall you be raised' (7:25).
The Arabic word which we have translated as 'abiding forever' is thulud, which means 'to be immune from decay and to endure in an unchanging condition,' or, 'to persist in one condition' not being subject to change, (Raghib, pp. 153-154).
Depends on Food:
'We did not send before you (Muhammad) any messengers but they surely ate food' (25:20).
So that Jesus could not live in heaven, for nearly two thousand years by now, without physical food, which the Muslims, including the ulama, who believe him to be physically alive, admit he is doing without. They also believe that he abides unchanged, which is disproved not only by the verses already quoted under the previous heading, but also by the following verses:
'And whomsoever We cause to live long, We reduce to an abject state in creation. Do they not understand?' (36:68).
'The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; and messengers before him had indeed passed away' (5:75).
The second verse explains the first one, both being similarly worded, that 'passing away' (qad khalat) means dying, as indeed it does even otherwise. The Holy Quran uses the expression 'pass away' in the sense of dying very frequently (e.g., 2:134, 13:30, 46:18, 33:38).
There is an interesting anecdote about the second verse. It was revealed after the Battle of Uhud, during which a false report spread that the Holy Prophet had been killed by the enemy. Some Muslims gave up the fighting because of this false report. They are reprimanded in this verse. But it was put to good use by Hazrat Abu Bakr when the Holy Prophet did actually pass away. The Muslims just couldn't believe that he had left them. And as the hypocrites of Madinah used to spread false reports about his death to dishearten the Muslims, Hazrat Umar drew out his sword (and stood in the Holy Prophet's Mosque outside his humble living quarters) announcing that he would cut off the head of anybody who said that the Prophet was dead. At this stage, Hazrat Abu Bakr arrived. He went into the hut of his daughter Hazrat Ayesha, where the Holy Prophet had been lying ill. Having ascertained that he had indeed passed away, Hazrat Abu Bakr came out, ascended the pulpit, and addressed the Muslims who had assembled in large numbers by then. He recited the verse:
'And Muhammad is but a messenger; messengers have already passed away before him. If, then, he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels?' (3:143).
And Hazrat Abu Bakr went on to announce:
'He who used to worship Muhammad, let him know that he is indeed dead. But he who worships Allah, then let him know that Allah is Ever-Living, Ever-Subsisting; He never dies.'
All the Companions of the Holy Prophet who were present hanged their heads in submission to the Divine verse quoted by Hazrat Abu Bakr, and to the telling words he had added, and cried in sorrow and grief at their great loss.
This was the first occasion of ijma, (consensus) of the Companions of the Holy Prophet, which carries weight next only to the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet himself. Had any of the Companions believed that Jesus Christ, a prophet, was then alive, they had the courage to get up and point out. But not one of them did. If this clear verse of the Holy Quran and the consensus do not carry conviction to any Muslim, what else can?
All False Gods are
'And those whom they call on besides Allah created nothing, while they were themselves created. Dead are they, not living. And they know not when they will be raised' (16:20-21).
Jesus is more called on (besides Allah) than any other being falsely taken for a god. According to the above verse he is very much dead.
A curious theory is now propounded in reply to our telling argument above. They say that Jesus would be demoted from prophethood when he comes back! There is no authority for this in the Holy Quran, the Hadith or any previous religious book in the history of Islam. Who has ever heard of the demotion of a prophet? And what an insult to him! And what is so special and irreplaceable about Jesus Christ that he alone of all the prophets (including our Holy Prophet) should be kept alive and in reserve to save Islam and the Muslims when they are in dire peril? According to the Christian reports themselves, he was the least successful of all prophets for he could make only twelve converts (the Disciples), one of whom betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver, another of whom repudiated him and cursed him thrice to save himself (and this was Peter, the chief Disciple), while the rest fled in fear when Jesus was crucified, his alleged death by crucifixion being in itself a proof of his failure. On the other hand, our Holy Prophet has been declared even by the Encyclopaedia Britannica (article 'Koran') to be the most successful of all reformers. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was justified in wailing in a Persian couplet:
'They (the ulama) consider Jesus Christ to be alive till Doomsday (by which he is to reappear)'
Specific Mention of
'When Allah said, O Jesus, I shall cause thee to die and exalt thee in My presence.' (3:54).
Here, exaltation in Allah's presence is the counter-assurance that, far from becoming the accursed of God, he will be exalted in His presence.
When Hazrat Mirza Sahib quoted the above verse among many others to prove the death of Jesus, the maulvis gave a curious interpretation of the word tawaffa (translated by us as 'causing to die a natural death'), that it meant 'taking as a whole,' and then the verse in question meant, according to them, that he was picked up by Allah whole (body and soul) and raised to His presence. Hazrat Mirza Sahib quashed the above fallacious interpretation by saying:
(a) That the word tawaffa, when used for Allah's dealing with a mortal's end, means nothing but taking away the soul and causing him to die, but never taking away the body too. And he challenged his opponents to prove the contrary from the language of the Holy Quran, the Hadith, or even from the prose or poetry of ancient or modern Arabic, promising a reward of Rs. 1000, which was in those days a very large sum, 'even though I may have to sell a portion of my property' to find the sum (Izala-e-Auham).
But nobody came forward to accept the challenge.
(b) That the Holy Quran uses the word in other places to mean nothing but taking away the soul and causing to die a natural death (e.g., 4:97, 8:50, 10:46, 13:40, 32:11, 40:77, 12:101).
Hazrat Imam Malik also believed that Jesus was dead (Majma' al-Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 1, p. 286). Imam Ibn Hazm too believed in the death of Jesus (Jalalain ma'a Kamalain, p. 109). And so on.
In modern times, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan pronounced that Jesus Christ was not alive but dead.
Curiously enough, even the Christian translators of the above verse translated it to mean that he died a natural death. This was against their own faith. But they could not go against the dictates of the Arabic language. They have translated the verse in question as follows:
George Sale: 'O Jesus, verily I will cause thee to die.'
And although the ulama [religious clerics] continued to oppose the only interpretation possible, which Hazrat Mirza Sahib put on it, better sense is now beginning to prevail. Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami, in his commentary on the Holy Quran called Tafhim-ul-Quran, has half-heartedly conceded under the verse in question (4:57) that it does not make it clear that Jesus Christ rose to heaven with his earthly body.
Another Muslim commentator on the Holy Quran, Muhammad Asad, in The Message of the Quran, in his footnote 17 under the verse 4:57, rejects the theory of the bodily ascension of Jesus.
In the world-famous Al-Azhar University of Cairo (Egypt), the Senior Professor Shaikh Mahmud Shaltut, who later became the Rector of the University, gave the following fatwa (ruling) on a reference made on the question of the death of Jesus Christ to the Senate of the University. After a learned and comprehensive discussion, the learned authority concluded:
'To sum up, there is nothing in the Holy Quran, nor in the sacred traditions of the Holy Prophet, which endorses the belief, to the satisfaction of one's heart, that Jesus was taken up to heaven with his physical body and is alive there even now, and would descend therefrom in the latter days' (Al-Risalah of Cairo, Vol. 10, No. 462, p. 515).
In a recent issue of The Muslim World League Journal (October 1981), monthly organ of the Rabita al-Islami (published from Makkah, Saudi Arabia), near the close of an article entitled 'Jesus in the Scriptures as Seen by Muslims,' the author, Shaikh Zakariya Idrees Oseni of Nigeria, writes:
'Whatever be the case, the Islamic belief is that Jesus died a natural death after God had saved him from crucifixion. The stories of his ascension after he had been saved from crucifixion, which we find in some Arabic books, are obviously taken from Christian sources and should not be taken very seriously by Muslims with discerning minds.'
Could there be a clearer vindication of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib?
Jesus Died Before
Christians Went Astray:
'And Allah said, O Jesus, did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah? He replied, Glory be to Thee! It was not for me to say what I had no right to say. I said to them naught save as Thou didst command me: Serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord: and I was a witness of them so long as I was amongst them, but when Thou didst cause me to die, Thou wast the Watcher over them. And Thou art Witness of all things' (5:116-117).
Could there be clearer testimony of the Holy Quran than this, that Jesus had died before the Christians deified him?
Jesus' Escape to
Kashmir and Death:
'And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign (of how We help the believers), and We gave them refuge on a plateau having fruits and springs' (23:50).
Nobody knew what and where that place was until it was revealed to Hazrat Mirza Sahib that it was Kashmir where he lies buried, in its capital city Srinagar, in the mohalla (ward) called Shan Yar, under the name of Yuz Asaf. The revelation was timely, to drive the last nail in the coffin of Jesus Christ. Hazrat Mirza Sahib sent a delegation to Kashmir to collect evidence about this startling revelation. He himself had never been to Kashmir. After the delegation returned and reported, he wrote a book Masih Hindustan Mein ('The Messiah in India'). That was the first book on the subject. Then Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, Bar-at-Law, wrote a masterly book on the subject called Jesus in Heaven on Earth (the Valley of Kashmir was described by the Mughal conqueror Babar as 'Paradise on earth,' and since then the title has stuck). Not even one iota of the evidence produced by the learned author has been contradicted by any Christian author. On the other hand, a book Jesus Died in Kashmir has been written by Mr. A. Faber-Kaiser, who, after a visit to Kashmir and ascertaining all the evidence on the subject, confirmed that the revelations made by Hazrat Mirza Sahib were true. There have also been articles in German magazines from a journalist who visited Kashmir and found corroborative evidence that Jesus lived and died in Kashmir.
As is well known to the students of the Bible, Jesus always spoke of having come to search for the 'lost sheep of Israel.' These were the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who had migrated eastwards from Palestine, and with whom all contact was lost in the ancient days of lack of communications. Recent independent research has shown that they settled in the region now comprising Afghanistan, the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, and in Kashmir. And so, after being rejected by the two tribes of Israel settled in Palestine, it was but natural for Jesus to complete his prophetic mission to go in search of the lost tribes of Israel whom he found in the region mentioned above, and to whom he preached with much greater success. Anybody who knows Kashmir would agree that it is 'the plateau with fruits and springs' as described in the Holy Quran (23:50).
Evidence of the
'Had Moses and Jesus been alive,' said the Holy Prophet Muhammad, 'they would have had to follow (obey) me' (Al-Yawaqit wal-Jawahir, p. 240; Fath al-Bayan, Vol. 2, p. 2).
Discussing their faith about the divinity of Jesus, the Holy Prophet told the Christian delegation from Najran:
'Do you not know that our Lord lives for ever, while Jesus died?, (Asbab an-Nuzul, by Imam Ali Hasan Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahid of Neshapur, published in Egypt, p. 53).
In his last illness, during which he died, the Holy Prophet entered the mosque from his adjoining hut, leaning heavily on two men, and addressed the gathering as follows:
'O people! I hear that you fear the death of your Prophet. Did any prophet before me live on that I should be expected to live on amongst you?' (Al-Nawar min al-Muwahibil-Dinnya, Egyptian edition, p. 317).
In the Mi'raj (Ascension), the Holy Prophet saw all the dead prophets, including Jesus in the third heaven along with Yahya (John the Baptist) (Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 6, p. 120).
The Holy Prophet further described Jesus Christ thus:
'I saw Jesus, Moses and Abraham. Jesus had a reddish complexion, curly hair and a wide chest' (Bukhari, Kitab al-Anbiya, Chapter 4).
On another occasion, the Holy Prophet saw a long dream in which he saw the Dajjal (Anti-Christ), and also saw 'a man of wheatish complexion with straight hair. I asked who it was. They said, This is Messiah, son of Mary' (Bukhari, Kitab al-Fitn, Chapter 27). So the Messiah seen with the Dajjal was undoubtedly the Promised Messiah. The two Messiahs looked to be, and were, different persons, although because of the close spiritual affinity they were referred to by the same name. That way, the Holy Prophet compared his most important companions to Abraham, Moses and Haroon (Aaron) because of their close spiritual affinity with them. But that did not make them the same persons.
Evidence of the
'And for their (the Jews,) saying, We have killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the messenger of Allah, and they killed him not, nor did they cause his death on the cross, but he was made to appear to them as such.'
Footnote No. 645 says:
'The following points may be noted:
(1) Jesus remained on the cross for a few hours only (Mark 15:25, John 19:14) but death by crucifixion was always tardy.
Dean Farrar in his Life of Christ writes on page 429:
'They rolled the fine linen round the wounded limbs.'
Both these Christian authors believed that Jesus was being treated for his wounds-done only to a man still alive. David Friedrich Strauss, a German theologian of high standing, writes in his book A New Life of Jesus (Vol. 1, p. 410):
'Crucifixion, they maintain, even if the feet as well as the hands are supposed to have been nailed, occasions but very little loss of blood É So if Jesus, supposed indeed to be dead, had been taken down from the cross after about six hours, there is every probability of his supposed death having been only a death-like swoon from which, after the descent from the cross, Jesus recovered again in the cool cavern, covered as he was with healing ointments and strongly-scented spices.'
Dean Farrar in his Life of Christ (p. 421) also thinks that Jesus might only have been 'in a syncope,' which is partial or complete unconsciousness. Two other Christian writers, Das Heiligthum and Die Wahrheit, in their book Supernatural Religion, write:
'Thus the apparent death (of Jesus) was that profound faintness which might well fall upon an organism after some hours of physical and mental agony on the Cross, following the continuous strain and fatigue of the previous night.'
The same can be said of the theory of Ascension. The Christians believe it to be with his physical body, whose existence after the crucifixion they cannot deny. It is doubtful if any intelligent man in this age of science can apply his mind and thereafter accept the bodily Ascension. If it had really taken place, it would have been the biggest event in Jesus' life. And yet two of the four Gospels don't mention it at all. The other two lukewarm references (Mark 16:19 and Luke 24:51) have been found to be later interpolations by such biblical authorities as Rev. Professor J.R. Dummelow (who wrote his Commentary on the Holy Bible with the assistance of forty-two Biblical scholars) and by Peake, another scholar of renown, in his Commentary on the Bible.
No wonder that the Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible, published in 1957, has omitted these words, and the verse reads:
'Then he (Jesus) led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them.'
This is very correct. But the question is where did he go and what happened to him thereafter? These questions are already answered above, and even the open-hearted Christians (Faber-Kaiser: Jesus Died in Kashmir) now believe what Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib wrote on the basis of Divine revelation nearly one hundred years ago, and which is now proved by historical and documentary evidence (collected in Khwaja Nazir Ahmad's Jesus in Heaven on Earth), that Jesus Christ eventually went to minister to 'the lost sheep of Israel' (the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel) and died at the ripe old age of 120 years (as stated by our Holy Prophet and quoted earlier in this chapter). The author has had the honour and privilege of visiting his tomb (known as that of Yuz Asaf, the Prophet) in Mohalla Khan Yar, Srinagar. As I approached it eagerly, with no other thought than that of seeing this historical grave, something struck my heart as I reached within a few yards of the small tomb, and I felt overawed. For the first time, I realized that I was approaching the last resting-place of one of the greatest prophets of Allah, who is revered both in Christendom and the World of Islam.
in the Service of Islam by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui
> The Death of Jesus Christ