Jesus in Ahmadiyya Islam
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The Ahmadiyya movement believe that Jesus survived The Crucifixion and migrated eastward towards Kashmir to escape persecution. He went on to spread his message to the Lost Tribes of Israel after he had carried out his mission to the Israelites in Judea. Living to old age, he later died a natural death in Srinagar, Kashmir.
The Ahmadiyya Movement consider Jesus a mortal man and a prophet of God, born to the virgin Mary, in line with contemporary Islamic views on Jesus. Ahmadiyya however diverges from the majority Islamic view that Jesus was raised up to Heaven and remains alive there.
According to Ahmadiyya, a literal interpretation of some of Jesus' miracles in the Quran (such as creating birds and bringing the dead back to life) is inconsistent with the Quran and attributes a semi-divine status to Jesus. This understanding is therefore rejected for a hermeneutic approach to understanding the Quranic verses on account of these actions. For example, Jesus bringing the dead back to life is understood in the context of bringing back a 'spiritual' life to people who were spiritually dead.
Ahmadi scholars consider the contemporary Islamic views of the second coming of Jesus (see Ahmadi prophetology) as inaccurate. The view of Jesus' expected return in person is deemed as mistaken since the return of an Israelite prophet after Muhammad is seen as violating the finality of Muhammad's prophethood and of the Islamic dispensation. Jesus is believed to have died a natural death, like all other prophets. In the Quran and Hadith there is an absence of the use of terms such as return or second coming with reference to Jesus' advent in the end times.The movement interpret the prophecies concerning Jesus's end time advent as allegorical - expressing the coming of a person (from within Islam itself) being in the "likeness" of Jesus. The prophecies are merged with those concerning the coming of the Mahdi. Both the terms Jesus Son of Mary and Mahdi (as used in Islamic eschatological literature) are understood interchangeably as two titles for the same person. Ahmadis believe these prophecies have been fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the movement. Ahmadiyya believe that the Turin Shroud is authentic.
Ghulām Ahmad, in his treatise Jesus in India (Urdu: Masih Hindustan Mein), proposed a post-crucifixion journey arguing that Jesus survived crucifixion and travelled to India only after his apparent death in Jerusalem. He expressly rejected the theory of a pre-crucifixion visit (as Notovitch had postulated).
The first response in English to Ahmad's teaching came in a book by Howard Walter, an Urdu-speaking American pastor in Lahore, The Ahmadiyya Movement (1918). Walter, like later scholars, identified the Islamic version of the Barlaam and Josaphat story as the primary source of Ahmad's evidence despite the fact that the four chapters of his book are arranged around evidence from the Gospels, the Quran and hadith, medical literature and historical records – respectively.
While the material of Notovitch and Ahmad has been examined and dismissed by historians such as the Indologist Günter Grönbold (1985) and Norbert Klatt (1988)., it has been supported by others such as the archaeologist Fida Hassnain and the writer Holger Kersten.
In 1978, Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the third Khalifa, travelled to London where the international conference of Jesus’ Deliverance from the cross was held at the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington. This was attended by a number of scholars and academics who presented papers discussing the circumstances surrounding the Crucifixion of Jesus, after which the Ahmadiyya viewpoint regarding the death of Jesus was presented. Nasir Ahmad also gave a lecture dealing with the subject of Jesus’ survival from death upon the cross, his travel to the east, the Unity of God and the status of Muhammad.
In 2003, the possibility of Roza Bal being Jesus' tomb was discussed in a BBC documentary by Richard Denton, Did Jesus Die?. Jesus' possible travels to India are also discussed in the 2008 documentary Jesus in India by Paul Davids.
Jesus on the Cross, survival, journey to Kashmir and death
Death of Jesus
- Jesus had prophesied that his fate would be like that of Jonah (the story of Jonah is one of survival).[Matt 12:40]
- Jesus was placed on the cross for only a few hours. Death by crucifixion usually takes several days. While he was on the cross his legs were left intact, and not broken as was the normal procedure. This would have prevented death by respiratory distress. As blood and water were reported to have 'gushed' from the spear wound, this was sign of a beating heart.
- Jesus prayed to be rescued from death on the cross. [Matt 21:22]
- Pilate, having sympathy for Jesus, secretly devised to save him by setting his Crucifixion shortly before Sabbath day.
- The Gospel of John records that Nicodemus brought myrrh and aloes [John 19:39]. These healing plants, particularly aloe plants, are considered medicinal and applied to wounds. It would make little sense applying them to a dead body.
- According to the Bible “He that is hanged is accursed of God.” [Deut 21:23]; something Paul of Tarsus imputed to Jesus.[Gal 3:13] However, since the word "curse" would signify a satanic connection, divine antipathy and displeasure, spiritual impurity, faithlessness and disobedience to God; Jesus' being from God and the beloved of God, does not allow for him to have become accursed at any moment and therefore for him to have died on a cross.
- After he had awoken from his swoon ("resurrection"), Jesus bared his wounds to Thomas [John 20:25-27], showing he did not have a supernatural, resurrected body, but a wounded human body. He was also seen in the flesh by a large number of his followers, baring the same wounds that he had suffered from his ordeal on the Cross. [Luke 24:38-39]
- After his wounds had sufficiently healed Jesus left the tomb and met some of his disciples and had his food with them and walked from Jerusalem to Galilee. [Luke 24:50]
- In his post-crucifixion appearances, Jesus left the tomb in the darkness of night [John 20:1]; he appears to have been moving away from the source of danger[Luke 24:28-29]; he showed himself only to his disciples, people whom he trusted and not the general public[John 14:22]; and met them under the cover of darkness at night[John 20:19]. This behaviour is uncharacteristic of one who had just miraculously succeeded in defying death at the hands of his enemies, having been given a new eternal life with an immortal physical body, and is more consistent with one who had just survived it and was avoiding their (that is both the government agencies and the public) notice lest he be recaptured.
- Jesus stated that he was sent only for the "lost sheep of the house of Israel"[Matthew 15:24] and prophesied that he would go to seek out the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel (residing beyond the Palestine region) [John 10:16]. The Jews of Jesus's time believed that the Lost Tribes of Israel had become dispersed in different lands. [John 7:34-35]
- When Joseph requested Jesus' body from the cross [Mark 15:43], Pilate asked a centurion if Jesus was already dead [Mark 15:44]. The centurion confirmed that Jesus was already dead [Mark 15:45]. This centurion was a believer that Jesus was the son of God [Mark 15:39].
- There are no accounts in the gospel of Jesus ascending into the heavens, aside from accounts that were absent from the earliest written gospels.
After surviving crucifixion, Jesus fled to Galilee. Jesus (along with several disciples) later left Palestine to further preach the Gospel to the Lost Tribes of Israel [John 10:16] – that had scattered as far as Afghanistan and northern India. He eventually settled in Kashmir where he was given the name Yuz Asaf (meaning “Leader of the Healed”/"Son of Joseph"). See also The Natural Death of Jesus
Ahmadiyya state that there are at least 30 verses of the Qur'an that suggest that Jesus did not ascend to Heaven but instead died a natural death on Earth. The verses in Chapter Al-Nisa (4:157-158) indicate that Jesus did not die on the Cross but that God had “raised” Jesus unto Himself (not into heaven).
[4:157] And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah;’ whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this conjecture into a certainty;
[4:158] On the contrary, Allah raised him to Himself. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.
As the Quran speaks of God being Omnipresent in the Earth and in the hearts of mankind, God's existence is not to be misconstrued as being confined to the Heavens alone, making any bodily movement towards God impossible.
Thus Ahmadis interpret the Arabic word for raised in these verses to mean “exalted”. In other words, Jesus' spiritual rank and status was raised to come closer to God as opposed to dying the accursed death which his adversaries had wished for.
To further support the view of Jesus having died a mortal death, Ahmadis interpret the verse in the Quran 5:75:
[5:76] The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; surely Messengers the like unto him had passed away before him. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how We explain the Signs for their good, and see how they are turned away.
In this verse Jesus is compared to the previous Messengers, all of which had died a natural death and none of whom had ascended bodily to Heaven.
From the following verse in Al-Imran, the Quran clarifies that all messengers before the Prophet Muhammad had died:
[3:145] And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him. If then he die or be slain, will you turn back on your heels?...
This verse pertains that all previous prophets including Jesus had died.
If Jesus and Moses had been alive, they would have had no choice but to follow me.
[Kathir vol II, p 245 and al yawaqit wal Jawahir, part 2, page 24]
(Sanad of hadith???Authenticity level???)
Jesus son of Mary lived for 120 years, and I see myself as only entering upon the beginning of the sixties.
[Kanz al Ummal, part 6, p.120]
(Sanad of hadith???Authenticity level???)
As Muhammad has lived and died after some 60 years, it means that Jesus is also dead. As Muhammad is dead, this states that there likewise was a death of Jesus. During the Mi'raj, Muhammad had seen Jesus in the second heaven along with John the Baptist. Thus, it means Jesus is dead because the dead do not dwell amongst the living.
Second Coming of Jesus
The Hadith and the Bible indicate that Jesus will return during the latter days. Islamic Hadith commonly depicts that Jesus, upon his second coming, would be an "Ummati" (Muslim) and a follower of Muhammad and that he would revive the truth of Islam rather than fostering a new religion.
Similarities to Jesus
The movement interprets the prophecised Second Coming of Jesus as being of a person "similar to Jesus" (mathīl-i ʿIsā), rather than that of Jesus of Nazareth himself. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad professed that the prophecy in traditional religious texts were greatly misunderstood to interpret that Jesus of Nazareth himself would return.
Ahmadis consider that the founder of the movement, in both his teachings and character as well as his situation and struggles, was representative of Jesus.
|Correlative events||Jesus (Christianity)||Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (Ahmadiyya)|
|Time of appearance||Jesus appeared around 13 centuries after Moses, a law-giving prophet and initiator of the Judaic dispensation||Ghulam Ahmad appeared around 13 centuries after Muhammad, a law-giving prophet and initiator of the Islamic dispensation|
|Rejection by mainstream religious bodies||Jesus was rejected and suffered abuse and humiliation by Jewish mainstream||Ghulam Ahmad was rejected and suffered abuse and humiliation by Muslim mainstream|
|Non-law bearing Prophethood||Jesus gave no new laws and was a follower of the Torah||Ghulam Ahmad gave no new laws and was a follower of the Quran|
|Disparity with conjectured prophecies concerning advent of Messiah||Jesus had not fully satisfied all the literal expectations regarding his advent so he was rejected by orthodox Jewish teachers||Ghulam Ahmad had not fully satisfied all the literal expectations regarding his advent so was rejected by orthodox Muslim teachers|
|Considered by the religious mainstream to be a false messiah on account of having died a humiliating death||The Jewish mainstream viewed that Jesus had died on the cross in a humiliating way therefore consider he was a false messiah||The Muslim mainstream view that Ghulam Ahmad had died a humiliating death from cholera therefore consider he was a false messiah|
|Initiation from a land under foreign occupation||Jesus came in an area (Judea) that was under the rule of the Roman Empire||Ghulam Ahmad came in an area (Punjab) that was under the rule of the British Empire|
|Non-violence towards occupying powers||Jesus did not take up arms against the Romans and neither taught his followers to do so||Ghulam Ahmad did not take up arms against the British and neither taught his followers to do so|
|Global Dominance||Christianity rose to become a majority religion in a period of 300 years since inception||Ghulam Ahmad prophecised that (Ahmadiyya) Islam will become a majority religion within 300 years from his time|
The Ahmadiyya movement assert the expected arrival of a Latter Day Messiah is historically represented across all major faiths. The prophecy regarding a latter day messiah had diverged into separate theories and distinct interpretations and this filtered through to different religious movements. This prophecy nonetheless was originally only intended to refer to a single Messiah. As such, Ahmadis declared that the Messiah concerning all major world faiths has been unified by the advent of a single Promised Messiah (Ghulam Ahmad).
Ahmadi's believe that all world faiths will gradually move towards Ahmadiyya; and that such a process will follow a correlative pattern of circumstances and take a similar amount of time to what it took for Christianity to rise to dominance (roughly 300 years).
Contention with Mainstream Islamic beliefs
The Encyclopedia of Islam states that the post-crucifixion journey of Jesus towards the East and his natural death as an aspect of Ahmadi belief is one of three primary tenets that distinguish Ahmadi teachings from general Islamic ones, and that it has provoked a fatwa against the movement.
The claim that Mirza Ghulam was a prophet forms a point of contention with mainstream Islam, as it views this as a contradiction to the Quranic and Hadith teachings of Muhammad. Contemporary Islamic scholars view the Ahmadiyya belief as a contradiction with a verse in the Quran, Chapter 33 (The Combined Forces), verse 40:
"Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and Seal of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing."
Further, in the farewell sermon of the Prophet Muhammad, delivered just prior to his death, he warned his followers and all of mankind with the following message:
"O People! No Prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore O People! and understand words that I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray."
Ahmadis believe however, in accordance with the Hadith traditions, that the "Last" of the Prophets is meant to signify the "Very Best" and "Most Exalted Law Giver Prophet" among all the Prophets and that the farewell sermon had only signified that no prophet would come immediately after the Prophet Muhammad had died.
The movement believe the interpretation of "finality" that is upheld by the mainstream Islamist view, paradoxes the Hadith concerning the second advent of Jesus altogether. For instance if Jesus is expected to return physically, as contemporary Islamic scholars uphold, it would be completely implausible considering that at the same time it is impossible for any Prophet to come after the Prophet Muhammed.
The Hadith indicated when the Prophet Muhammad had declared himself as the Last of the Prophets, with the same breath he had also declared his mosque as the Last of the mosque.
Ayesha narrated that the Prophet (Allah's prayer and salvation be upon him) said :
" I am the last of the Prophet and my mosque is the last of the mosques of the Prophets. The most rightful of the mosque that may be visited and for which the vigours of the journey may be borne are the Masjid Haram and my mosque; and a Salah in my mosque is more excellent than a salah in any other mosque by one thousand times, except the Masjid Haram."
(Reported by al-Bazzar and authenticated by Sheikh Albani in Sahih Targhib No. 1175)
This Hadith implicates the view of Muhammad as being the "Last" in the absolute sense. If the Prophet Muhammad declared his mosque being Last of the mosques then by the same interpretation this would have effectively invalidated all other mosques. But this Hadith also mentions that "the last of the mosques of the Prophets", which is known as Masjid - e - Nabawi, the Prophet Muhammad lived there and is also buried there. But this hadith does not show "last of the mosques" rather it shows "last of the mosques of the Prophets". Ahmadiyyah are decepted because of wrong interpretation of Hadith.
The Ahmadiyya understanding of the term Seal of Prophets with reference to Muhammad, establishes that a prophet cannot come after Muhammad from outside the Islamic dispensation. Nor can one whose prophethood is independent of Muhammad. Jesus' ministry, according to the Quran, was limited to the Israelites and since he received his prophecy independently of Muhammad, his physical return after the advent of Muhammad, (as contemporary Muslims expect) violates the Seal of Prophethood.
Consensus of Companions of Muhammad on Jesus' death
Ahmadi scholars profess that when Prophet Muhammad died, the Sahaba were grieved. Umar, angered and upset, took out a sword, and said that he would kill anyone who said Muhammad is dead. At this instance Abu Bakar quoted:
[3:144] And Muhammad is but a messenger; the messengers passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful."
The Ahmadiyya sect believes that because no companion said Jesus is alive in heaven and he would come physically in Second Coming, the implication invariably is that Jesus died a natural death (and not on the Cross).
Fulfilment of Messianic prophecies
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad regarded the prophecies and concepts in Hadith and bible concerning his advent in an entirely metaphorical light. For example, he wrote:
The second special aspect of the prophecy, which relates to the advent of the Promised Messiah, is that he will break the cross, slaughter the swine and kill the one-eyed Antichrist. Every disbeliever who is touched by his breath will die instantly. The spiritual interpretation of this special aspect is that the Promised Messiah will crush under his feet all the glory of the religion of the cross, that he will destroy with the weapon of conclusive arguments those who are afflicted with shamelessness like swine, and who devour filth like pigs, and that he will wipe out with the sword of clear proofs the opposition of those who possess only the eye of the world and are bereft of the eye of the faith in place of which they have only an unsightly taint. Not only such one-eyed ones, but also every disbeliever who views Islam with contempt will suffer spiritual extinction through the glorious breath of Messianic reasoning. In short all these signs are metaphoric, the significance of which has been fully revealed to me. Some may not appreciate it at this time but after waiting for sometime, and despairing altogether of the hopes that they now entertain, all of them will accept it.” (Izala-e-Auham, Volume 3, Pages 141-143)
Breaking of the Cross
The Islamic Hadith describe that Jesus would, upon his second coming, "Break the Cross". Ahmadis interpret this to mean that he will "make plain the error of the creed of the cross". Ghulam Ahmad's teachings of Jesus, being a mortal man who survived crucifixion and died a natural death upon earth, is considered as a testimony of the prophecy being fulfilled. Ahmadi's believe the followers of Christianity will gradually come to accept the same teaching and this will repeal the central doctrines of the divinity of Jesus, Atonement and Resurrection. In turn, the traditional Christian reverence for the cross and doctrine of the immortality of Jesus will become untenable.
Ending of wars
In 1894, Ghulam Ahmad had declared that the contemporary Islamists views of Jihad of the sword and Holy War was a misrepresentation of Islam that was invented during the Dark Ages and advocated for these beliefs to be ended in its entirety. The Ahmadiyya Movement contend that any military jihad in Islam is permitted only as an exclusively religious defensive measure in very strictly defined circumstances and those circumstances do not exist at present. As a result, early Ahmadis had faced virulent opposition from extremist groups, some of whom protested that Ghulam Ahmad was put in place by the British Government to appease Muslims. Ahmadis believe that in the modern era, the "Jihad of the pen" (intellectual reasoning) is the only potent way of espousing and spreading the Islamic teaching and this has taken the place of "Jihad of the sword" as per scriptural prophecies. As such the movement consider the prophecies in the Hadith relating to ending of religious wars had been fulfilled by Ghulam Ahmad teachings.
Journey from Palestine to India
According to Ghulam Ahmad, (and further developed by the next generation of Ahmadi writers such as Khwaja Nazir Ahmad in 1952), Jesus taught the message of Jewish messianism to his disciples and to the people living in Palestine. After surviving his ordeal on the cross, Jesus remained in Palestine for a short time before leaving from there. Jesus was declared a criminal and therefore, decided to leave Palestine with his mother Mary, his wife Mary Magdalene and his apostle Thomas the Apostle. Thereafter, Jesus traveled toward Asia.
From Palestine to Iraq
With these three companions, he went first to Iraq. Here he met his disciple, Ananias. He met his rival Paul who later became a Christian. In Nusaybin, he got another tension at the hands of a cruel king. He was arrested again. Prophet Jesus along with his mother performed some miracles and impressed the king. The king gave him permission to go to Parthia kingdom. There was a strong Jewish community living there.
Iraq to Iran and Afghanistan
From Iraq, he went to Iran where he was honourably received by the Persian Jews. Five centuries before Cyrus the Great had conquered Babylon and the Jews were freed. Many of the Jews went to live in Iran and were known as Persian Jews. Jesus preached here and went on to Bactria (Afghanistan). At that time, Persia was a great center of Judaism. He professed the advent of the coming of a great prophet named Muhammad to his fellowmen in these areas specially in the area of Afghanistan. He met with the first king of Parthia who honored him. The Pashtun people have a tradition in their royal and non-royal functions and consider themselves to be the sons of Children of Israel. Many of these Persian Jews who had been receiving the teachings from Jesus proselytized to Muslims at the time of Muhammad and accepted his call. Qais Abdur Rashid, his name is this and the original was Kish.
Final places of Jesus-Kashmir, Tibet and India
Reasons for coming to India
According to Ahmadiyya sources (Islam International Publications Ltd.) the Tribes of Israel who had migrated to eastern countries seeing the attraction in Hinduism and Buddhism had themselves become Hindus and Buddhists. They subsequently became unaware of their religion. Jesus and Thomas the Apostle had later arrived in India to restore the abrahamic teachings to these tribes.
Jesus Meets King Shalewhin
The king along with his companions went to the peak of Himalayas to meet a man who was a dignified person of fair complexion in white clothes sitting in the mountain. When the king asked who he was, the man replied "I am the Messiah, born of a virgin."
He told the king he had come from a far off place where he has suffered at the hands of his people. When the king asked what religion he adhered to, he said that his religion was of peace, love and purity of heart. The king was impressed, so he paid homage to him.
Tomb of Jesus
During his initial research into Jesus' death, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad postulated that Jesus may have been buried in either Galilee or Syria. After investigating further he eventuality uncovered evidence to conclude that the tomb of Jesus was located at the Roza Bal shrine in Srinagar, Kashmir. Based upon this evidence, Ahmadis today believe the tomb of Jesus is located in the Srinagar region of Kashmir.
Ghulam Ahmad, and later Ahmadi writers cite various evidences for identifying the grave as that of Jesus: The Bhavishya Maha Purana Official Decree, The Glass Mirror, Tarikh-i-Kashmir, Qisa-shazada, The Garden of Solomon (Bagh-i-Sulaiman) of Mir Saadullah Shahabadi Kashmiri (1780 A.D.), Wajeesut Tawarikh, Ikmal-ud-Din (962 AD), The Ain-ul-Hayat, The Acta Thomae, Takhat Sulaiman (Throne of Solomon, a hill in Kashmir), Tahrik-i-kabir-Kashmir, Rauzat-us-Safa. Ahmadis believe that these sources testify to the view that Yuz Asaf and Jesus are the same person.
Haji Mohi-ud-din Miskin, writing in 1902, three years after Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1899, is the first historian to mention that "some" connect the shrine of Yuzasaf as the grave of Hazrat Isa Rooh-Allah (Jesus the Spirit of God).
The building constructed is named "Roza Bal" or "Rauza Bal". " Rauza " is generally a term used to denote the tomb of a celebrated personality, i.e. noble, wealthy, or saintly. A local scholar and supporter of the theory, Fida Hassnain, has claimed that the tomb is arranged with the feet pointing in the direction of Jerusalem, and claimed that this is in accordance with Jewish tradition.
Ahmadis give the Yuz Asaf enshrined in the tomb the epithet Shahzada Nabi, “Prophet Prince”. The majority Srinagar Sunni Muslim community reject the Ahmadiyya claims that the tomb is that of Jesus and consider this viewpoint as blasphemous.
Tomb of Mary
The Ahmadis also believe that Mary had accompanied her son on the journey to Kashmir.
Muslim and Persian documents — the Tafir-Ibn-I-Jarir, the Kanz-al-Ummal, and the Rauzat-us-Safa — have references that contribute to the theory of Jesus' escape. Some of these also mention that Jesus was accompanied by Mary, and there is another burial place in Pakistan, along his theoretical route to Kashmir, known as Mai Mari da Ashtan, or "resting place of Mother Mary."
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- The Natural Death of Jesus
- The Life of Saint Issa (Nicolas Notovitch)
- Jesus a humble prophet of God
- The Tomb of Jesus Website
- A buddhist perspective
- Holger Kersten's book “Jesus Lived in India”