- Religion and Philosophy
The Return of the Messiah, Son of Mary (peace be on him): The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Part 2
The Return of the Messiah, Son of Mary (peace be on him)
I begin in the name of the Lord, Most gracious, Most merciful. And I begin with bidding you all peace, blessing and salvation.
This is the second in a series of Hubs I undertook to convey an as-objective-as-possible account of why I committed myself to the Ahmadiyya movement in Islam in the hope to dispel misconceptions, particularly among Muslims. In the previous hub, I wrote of the Islamic concept of finality-of-prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This hub is about the concept of the return of Jesus (Son of Mary) – possibly the greatest of end-times belief system now held by more than half of world’s population: Muslims and Christians. Both Muslims and Christians expect Jesus (peace be on him) to, naturally, take their side and declare the other as the Anti-Christ (or Dajjal as known in Islamic eschatology).
Although this hub is primarily based on the Islamic dispensation of the coming of the Messiah, I would strongly urge Christians to read along. Christians who are in study, who know of the prophecies in the Books of Genesis and Deuteronomy regarding God raising a great nation through the progeny of Ishmael (peace be on him), and who know that Christian Eschatology points to the end of the 19th century (which was wildly abuzz with rapture celebrations, though ending in disappointment) as the moment for the return of Christ, would have a keen interest. Christian truth-seekers would also find it very intriguing that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used the term "Jesus Son of Mary" for the latters-day messiah to come.
The Language of Scripture
It bemuses me that people spend a lifetime reading scripture and reflect such unfamiliarity with it. Parables is the language of scripture, whether the Gospels, Quran, the Vedas or other holy books. Parables set forth as examples have the benefit of explaining something briefly and quickly. The other benefit of parables and similes is that everyone can understand it—rich or poor, intelligent or not. The story drives the point home clearly, no matter how complex or lengthy the actual course of events behind it. Jesus (pbuh) particularly was known to speak and preach in parables. The Holy Quran itself proclaims this manner of speech, such as the promise of Paradise as Gardens of Bliss under which rivers flow. However, verse 13:35 of the Holy Quran (given below) makes it clear that this is an example in order to explain the matter in terms we can understand easily. The actual form of Paradise may differ, but this essence will not.
[13:35] The similitude of the Heaven promised to the God-fearing is, that through it flow streams, its fruit is everlasting, and its shade. That is the reward of those who are righteous; and the reward of the disbelievers is Fire.
[18:54] And, surely, We have explained in various ways in this Qur’an, for mankind, all similitude (or examples), but of all things man is most contentious.
The Quran states that prophets, like other human beings, must live and die according to the rules of the physical universe. These rules are constant, consistent, and universal. I would like to present as evidence the following two verses of The Holy Quran:
[5:75] The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; surely, Messengers like unto him had indeed 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.
[3:144] And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him. If then he dies or be slain, will you turn back on your heels? And he who turns back on his heels shall not harm Allah at all. And Allah will certainly reward the grateful.
These verses state that Muhammad (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh) lived and died like other messengers of God before them. And despite Muhammad’s(pbuh) great status with God Almighty, if he is killed in battle, will people abandon this movement and religion which is from the All-Powerful God? The verse appears to hold the purpose to straighten perception and thinking about messengers of God.
Now, despite this rule, God Almighty makes it abundantly clear in The Quran that He has power over all things, His Decree never fails, and all matters return to Him for decision. He informs us of the existence of the Ghaib (the unseen) and The Angels-- dimensions or agencies where by His Decree would be executed. In verse 22:40 God Almighty explains that He sometimes moves nations against other nations so that His mosques, churches and synagogues can be protected. Although events such as the parting of water for the Israelites to escape Pharaoh’s pursuit are mentioned in The Quran, what we are informed of here is that God implements His will per a prescribed system. Whereas prophets are said to have possessed miracles, no prophet has ever returned from the Heavens. In fact, Jesus Christ (pbuh) was addressed in this regard with the belief the Jews held that prophet Elijah (pbuh) will descend from the Heavens on a chariot of fire as a harbinger to announce the advent of the Promised Messiah. Jesus (pbuh) replied that, as goes with second advents, John the Baptist (pbuh), known as Yahya (pbuh) in Islam, has returned in the power and glory of Elijah (Matthew 11:13-15) . . .For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
The Allegory of Mary and the Son of Mary in The Quran
The Second Coming
Second Coming Part 2
The question now is: do Mary (may God be pleased with her) and Jesus (pbuh) appear as examples in the Quran. They do. Below are verses10 through12 from Chapter 66 of the Holy Quran:
[66:10-12] Allah sets forth for those who disbelieve the example of the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two righteous servants of Ours, but they acted unfaithfully. So they availed them naught against Allah, and it was said ‘Enter the Fire, ye twain, along with those who enter.’ And Allah sets forth for those who believe the example of the wife of Pharaoh when she said, ‘My Lord! build for me a house with Thee in the Garden; and deliver me from Pharaoh and his work, and deliver me from the wrongdoing people. And the example of Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity — so We breathed into him of Our Spirit — and she fulfilled the words of her Lord and His Books and was one of the obedient.
In the last verse 66:12, note that Mary (may God be pleased with her) is given as an example of a righteous believer, male or female. Down that same verse where it is mentioned of ‘breathing Our Spirit into’, the gender remarkably switches to male on Mary. If your Quran does not point this out, then refer to some Arabic source or means to confirm. The proof is in the word, Feehe – fanafakhna feehe. We know that there was a physiological discourse where Mary gave birth to Jesus (pbuh) the Messiah. In Chapter 19 of the Quran, she had withdrawn from society to hold fast to her Lord. There she conceived The Messiah by way of a virgin birth after the Spirit was breathed into her—as given in verse 21:91 where the gender for breathing into is feminine, feeha, unlike 66:12. Since the Quran gives Mary as an example of a righteous believer who gave birth to a Messiah, it can be inferred that the Heavens have so accorded-- before prophets of God attain the level of prophet-hood and announces to the world as such and begin the dispensations of their mission and message, they move through a stage of withdrawal and submission to God Almighty impregnated with The Spirit, just as the physiological discourse undertaken by Mary (may God be pleased with her).
There is a Sahih Bukhari Hadith [Book#54, Hadith#506] (Hadiths are sayings and traditions of the prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him) interwoven with these verses of the Holy Quran that supports this interpretation. It is a saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) narrated by Abu-Hurrairah in explanation of verse of 3:36 which mentions the birth of Mary and her mother’s prayer of submitting her to God for refuge from Satan. In the Hadith, prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says that everyone is scarred by the touch of Satan when they are born, with the exception of Mary (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh), Son of Mary. If this is to be taken literally, then it would mean that even prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was not exempt from Satan’s touch-- since he enjoys the position of ‘Seal of the Prophets’, we know this is not possible. Therefore, the references here have to be allegorical. What is likely meant by Son of Mary are all those prophets and messengers of God Almighty who attain this zenith—a spiritual parallel of the virgin birth conceived by Jesus (pbuh). They withdrew from the world to some remote dwelling for an uninterrupted communion with their Lord and in suspense of their outward prophetic dispensation. Imam Al-Zamakhshari, in his renowned commentary of The Holy Quran called “Al-Kashshaaf” (the Revealer) agrees with this interpretation of the hadith.
Now, let’s look for any historical record that supports this interpretation. Following is the English translation of an excerpt (on page 207) from an Urdu book called ‘Irfaan’ written by an Islamic scholar named Faqir Nur Muhammad Sarwari Qadri who was a follower of the renowned 17th century Sufi Saint Sultan Bahu. The translation of this excerpt is as follows:
“Henceforth, Allah Almighty illuminated the light of The Holy Quran in the breast of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) the discourse of which was such that he felt the dispensed Holy revelation bear seed within himself. Meaning, just like Mary he became pregnant with the burden of a developing spirit inside him. [Here the author inserts a verse from The Holy Quran (19:22) that speaks of when Mary became pregnant with prophet Jesus(pbuh) and withdrew from society] The Holy Prophet(pbuh) then turned to a remote area away from the bustle of populace towards the cave of Ghar-e-Hira. There he awaited in solitude for the harvest of his spiritual seeding. He would go there often awaiting the coming out of the spiritual Jesus(pbuh) in him.”
Sahih Bukhari Hadith: Prophet Muhammad (saw) Shown the Previous Messiah and the One to Come
When seen with Moses (pbuh), Jesus (pbuh) is described as having red complexion and curly hair. When a Son of Mary is seen protecting ka'ba from dajjal (anti-christ), he is described as having brown complexion and straight hair.
Narrated Ibn `Abbas:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I saw Moses, Jesus and Abraham (on the night of my Ascension to the heavens). Jesus was of red complexion, curly hair and a broad chest. Moses was of brown complexion, straight hair and tall stature as if he was from the people of Az-Zutt."
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ كَثِيرٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا إِسْرَائِيلُ، أَخْبَرَنَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ الْمُغِيرَةِ، عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم " رَأَيْتُ عِيسَى وَمُوسَى وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ، فَأَمَّا عِيسَى فَأَحْمَرُ جَعْدٌ عَرِيضُ الصَّدْرِ، وَأَمَّا مُوسَى فَآدَمُ جَسِيمٌ سَبْطٌ كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ رِجَالِ الزُّطِّ ".
Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 3438, Book 60, Hadith 109
The Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned the Masih Ad-Dajjal in front of the people saying, Allah is not one-eyed while Masih Ad-Dajjal is blind in the right eye and his eye looks like a bulging out grape. While sleeping near the Ka`ba last night, I saw in my dream a man of brown color the best one can see amongst brown color and his hair was long that it fell between his shoulders. His hair was lank and water was dribbling from his head and he was placing his hands on the shoulders of two men while circumambulating the Ka`ba. I asked, 'Who is this?' They replied, 'This is Jesus, son of Mary.' Behind him I saw a man who had very curly hair and was blind in the right eye, resembling Ibn Qatan (i.e. an infidel) in appearance. He was placing his hands on the shoulders of a person while performing Tawaf around the Ka`ba. I asked, 'Who is this? 'They replied, 'The Masih, Ad-Dajjal.' "
حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ الْمُنْذِرِ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو ضَمْرَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، قَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ذَكَرَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَوْمًا بَيْنَ ظَهْرَىِ النَّاسِ الْمَسِيحَ الدَّجَّالَ، فَقَالَ " إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِأَعْوَرَ، أَلاَ إِنَّ الْمَسِيحَ الدَّجَّالَ أَعْوَرُ الْعَيْنِ الْيُمْنَى، كَأَنَّ عَيْنَهُ عِنَبَةٌ طَافِيَةٌ ". " وَأَرَانِي اللَّيْلَةَ عِنْدَ الْكَعْبَةِ فِي الْمَنَامِ، فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ آدَمُ كَأَحْسَنِ مَا يُرَى مِنْ أُدْمِ الرِّجَالِ، تَضْرِبُ لِمَّتُهُ بَيْنَ مَنْكِبَيْهِ، رَجِلُ الشَّعَرِ، يَقْطُرُ رَأْسُهُ مَاءً، وَاضِعًا يَدَيْهِ عَلَى مَنْكِبَىْ رَجُلَيْنِ وَهْوَ يَطُوفُ بِالْبَيْتِ. فَقُلْتُ مَنْ هَذَا فَقَالُوا هَذَا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ. ثُمَّ رَأَيْتُ رَجُلاً وَرَاءَهُ جَعْدًا قَطَطًا أَعْوَرَ عَيْنِ الْيُمْنَى كَأَشْبَهِ مَنْ رَأَيْتُ بِابْنِ قَطَنٍ، وَاضِعًا يَدَيْهِ عَلَى مَنْكِبَىْ رَجُلٍ، يَطُوفُ بِالْبَيْتِ، فَقُلْتُ مَنْ هَذَا قَالُوا الْمَسِيحُ الدَّجَّالُ ". تَابَعَهُ عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ عَنْ نَافِعٍ.
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 3439, 3440, Book 60, Hadith 11
Narrated Salim from his father:
No, By Allah, the Prophet (ﷺ) did not tell that Jesus was of red complexion but said, "While I was asleep circumambulating the Ka`ba (in my dream), suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion and lank hair walking between two men, and water was dropping from his head. I asked, 'Who is this?' The people said, 'He is the son of Mary.' Then I looked behind and I saw a red-complexioned, fat, curly-haired man, blind in the right eye which looked like a bulging out grape. I asked, 'Who is this?' They replied, 'He is Ad-Dajjal.' The one who resembled to him among the people, was Ibn Qatar." (Az-Zuhri said, "He (i.e. Ibn Qatan) was a man from the tribe Khuza`a who died in the pre-lslamic period.")
حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الْمَكِّيُّ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنَ سَعْدٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي الزُّهْرِيُّ، عَنْ سَالِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ،، قَالَ لاَ وَاللَّهِ مَا قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعِيسَى أَحْمَرُ، وَلَكِنْ قَالَ " بَيْنَمَا أَنَا نَائِمٌ أَطُوفُ بِالْكَعْبَةِ، فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ آدَمُ سَبْطُ الشَّعَرِ، يُهَادَى بَيْنَ رَجُلَيْنِ، يَنْطِفُ رَأْسُهُ مَاءً أَوْ يُهَرَاقُ رَأْسُهُ مَاءً فَقُلْتُ مَنْ هَذَا قَالُوا ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ، فَذَهَبْتُ أَلْتَفِتُ، فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ أَحْمَرُ جَسِيمٌ، جَعْدُ الرَّأْسِ، أَعْوَرُ عَيْنِهِ الْيُمْنَى، كَأَنَّ عَيْنَهُ عِنَبَةٌ طَافِيَةٌ. قُلْتُ مَنْ هَذَا قَالُوا هَذَا الدَّجَّالُ. وَأَقْرَبُ النَّاسِ بِهِ شَبَهًا ابْنُ قَطَنٍ ". قَالَ الزُّهْرِيُّ رَجُلٌ مِنْ خُزَاعَةَ هَلَكَ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ.
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 3441, Book 60, Hadith 111
The Messianic Parallel
Now, there are other references to support this theory. It may not be fair to say that the terminology of the return of Son of Mary is purely metaphorical speaking to the harvest of a prophetic seeding. The next question, one may ask, is that did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) speak of anything regarding this prophecy that relates to Jesus The Messiah (pbuh). Below is a renowned Hadith found in the respected works of Al-Tirmidi (Kitabul Imaan, Chp 19, page 26) which is part of the Saha Sitha or six most authentic compilations of Hadiths. This saying of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is as follows:
There will come a time upon my followers when they will come to resemble the Jews like the shoe on one foot resembles the shoe on the other. If anyone from the Jews committed adultery against his mother then someone from my followers will do the same. The Jews divided themselves into 72 sects. My followers will divide into 73 sects. All of them will be in the Fire except one-- they are the ones who will be following me and my companions.
So, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is speaking of the coming of the Son of Mary, and he is also speaking of his followers or Ummah becoming like the Jews. Below is a comparison of the parallels of the two Messiahs (peace be upon them), Jesus of Nazareth and Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . . .
1. Prophet Jesus appeared as a Messiah in the Mosaic dispensation and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad appeared as a Messiah in the Mohammedan dispensation after approximately 1,300 years in each instance.
2. Heavenly signs were ordained for the advent of both Messiahs. In the case of Jesus Christ (pbuh) the three wise men followed astrological signs (referred to as The Star). In case of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(pbuh) the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated that Solar and Lunar eclipses will occur at certain times-- this prophecy of the darkening of the Sun and Moon are also mentioned in The Holy Quran and The Holy Bible.
3. Both men were highly renowned religious scholars and activists as a Jewish Rabi and a Muslim Imam respectively.
4. Both Messiahs appeared when Judaism and Islam were broken into 72 or many sects.
5. Both Messiahs were met with a storm of opposition by the religious clergy of Jews and Muslims and declared heretics. Both clergies indulged in slander and character-assassination of the Messiahs. The 12th century Sufi saint Mohyeddin Ibne Arabi wrote in his renowned work of "Futuhaat Al-Makiyya" that when Imam Mahdi comes, the so-called Muslim scholars of that time will be his enemies.
6. Clergies of both, Jews and Muslims, had misinterpreted prophecies of the coming of Messiah to mean that the Messiahs will consolidate a worldly kingdom for them by way of war and conquest. Both clergies further misinterpreted and leveled the charge that their Messiahs did not fulfill prophecies by ushering in an era of end to religious conflict and establish world peace.
7. An terrible ideology of violence was adopted by factions in both religions when the Messiah appeared to both. This ideology among certain Jewish sects sought a return to Davidian glory by cleansing the holy land of foreign Roman rule, gentiles, and Hellenistic Jews to establish the rule of the Kingdom of God. Some Muslims sects today seek an ultimate victory through a violent concept of Jihad to return to glory-days of the Rashideen Caliphate. Both, the Jewish and Muslim Messiahs commanded the Jews and Muslims to lay down the sword and abandon this flawed and corrupt ideology of violence. The clergies rejected this.
8. In the case of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) the Jewish clergy gathered in the body known as The Sanhedrin to pass an edict or fatwa of heresy against Jesus and then approached a State body (The Roman State of Judea) to press for an official verdict against Jesus. In the case of Hazrat Ahmad (pbuh) the Muslim clergy gathered in the body known as "Ribbat Al-Aalim Islami" (World Muslim League) in Saudi Arabia to pass a fatwa of heresy and then approached the State of Pakistan to amend its constitution to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims.
9. Both messiahs and their followers came to be known as highly forbearing in face of violent persecution and not reacting with violence. Both Messiahs emphasized deeply on praying for protection from God Almighty. Followers of Jesus came to be known to ‘turn the other cheek’ when attacked. After 86 Ahmadiyya Muslims were massacred in Lahore (Pakistan) in 2010 during Friday prayers, per the order of Ahmadiyya Caliph (leader), no revenge was taken and the one captured culprit was handed over to police unharmed.
10. The Jewish clergy leveled the charge of Nabi Isa(as) declaring himself as the ‘Son of God’ and a 'God' and superseded Prophet Moses’s(peace be on him) status. The Muslim clergy leveled the charge on Ghulam Ahmad that he claimed to be a new and independent prophet superseding the authority of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Both Messiahs defended against the false accusations.
11. Both clergies attempted to kill their respective messiahs. Both were unsuccessful in the endeavor according to the Islamic tradition (in Christianity Jesus dies on the cross).
12. Both Messiahs were accused of an accursed death by the clergies in an attempt to strip their claims of being Messiahs– how could God Almighty allow His Messiahs to die accursed deaths? The Jews believe that Jesus died on the cross while Muslims believe that Ghulam Ahmad died of cholera, both considered as accursed deaths.
13. The followers of both the Messiahs were subjected to intense persecution and cruelty under various regimes. Several of their followers were killed for just believing in the Messiahs. Such martyrdom, in the early Christians and in Ahmadi-Muslims is considered a great honor. In both cases, the persecutors were unable to impede the growth of the movements.
14. In the case of the followers of the first Messiah Jesus (pbuh) they endured persecution for 300 years before Constantine I ended their persecution and they converted their situation to one of prominence. The Messiah in the Mohammedan dispensation, Hazrat Ahmad (pbuh) also gave a prophecy of a similar three century period for his movement to reach prominence.
During the time of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be on him) there was an intense opposition campaign by the Muslim clergy of India who unanimously opposed him. Two hundred Islamic scholars of India signed a document declaring him and his followers as heritics. Tanzeem Khatame Nabuwat or The Organization for Defence of Finality-of-Prophethood, established as opposition to the Ahmadiyya Muslims, represents most other sects of Islam. In 1974, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and his Imams organized the World Muslim Leage meeting attended by 140 Muslim scholars for the purpose of a unanimous opposition and declaration against the Ahmadiyya community. In that same year, Pakistan's national assembly through an act of legislative law declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims. The Nawai Waqt Pakistani newspaper reported that apart from the Ahmadiyya community, Imams of all known 72 sects (an exact number-match to the prophecy above by Prophet Muhammad pbuh) of Islam were present in the assembly and agreed with the decision!!!
Messianic Parallel of Messiah vs Terrorism
The Raising up to Heaven, so what does it mean?
You may ask then, how does such a widespread belief of Jesus Christ’s (pbuh) physical raising up to heaven in the Islamic and Christian traditions come to be? If this really is a grossly misconceived concept.
In the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ’s (pbuh) raising up to heaven after his supposed death and resurrection does not appear in Gospel of Luke till around 100 years after the crucifixion. The very first of the Canonical Gospels, the Gospel of Mark, does not mention the resurrection. This makes the matter suspect to interpolations, distortion, and even willful misconduct that oft occur as authority in religion crafts notions that will make their case stronger i.e. The Council of Nicea. It also causes grave inconsistencies with passages in The Bible where Jesus (pbuh) makes appearances after the crucifixion—these have been poorly explained away as ghostly appearances specially as St. Thomas explores Jesus’s wounds and in one verse Jesus is hungry and asks for food.
In the Islamic tradition, the notion of a physical ascension to heaven stems from the verses 4:157-158 of the Holy Quran which state that the Jews failed in their attempt to have Jesus crucified and that Allah had raised Jesus. The Arabic term for the “raising” used in the verse is R’faa. This terminology has been used several times in the Quran. All the verses below where the word raise or exalt is underlined you can cross-check that the Arabic term in the Quran used is a form of R’faa. An examination of these verses reveals that R’faa means to exalt or to raise in rank, not to bodily ascend to heaven.
[12:100] And he raised his parents upon the throne, and they all fell down prostrate before God for him. And he said, ‘O my father, this is the fulfillment of my dream of old. My Lord has made it true . . .
[12:76] Then he began with their sacks before the sack of his brother; then he took it out from his brother’s sack. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not have taken his brother under the King’s law unless Allah had willed. We raise in degrees whomsoever We please; and over every possessor of knowledge is One, Most-Knowing.
[58:11] O ye who believe! when it is said to you, ‘Make room!’ in your assemblies, then do make room; Allah will make ample room for you. And when it is said, ‘Rise up!’ then rise up; Allah will raise those who believe from among you, and those to whom knowledge is given, to degrees of rank. And Allah is Well-Aware of what you do.
[6:83] And that is Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We exalt in degrees of rank whom so We please. Thy Lord is indeed Wise, All-Knowing.
[35:10] Whoso desires honor, then all honor belongs to Allah. Unto Him ascend good words, and righteous work does He exalt. And those who plot evils — for them is a severe punishment; and the plotting of such will perish.
[43:32] Is it they who would distribute the mercy of thy Lord? It is We Who distribute among them their livelihood in the present life, and We exalt some of them above others in degrees of rank, so that some of them may make others subservient to themselves. And the mercy of thy Lord is better than that which they amass.
[56:3] Some it will bring low, others it will exalt.
[19:56-57] And relate Idris in the Book, he was truthful, a prophet. And we raised him to a high station.
[3:56] When Allah said, ‘O Jesus, I will cause thee to die and will raise thee to Myself . . .
In verse 3:56 above note that Allah says that He will cause Jesus (pbuh) to die and then will raise him. Everyone knows that Jesus Christ (pbuh) suffered much persecution and had few followers during his lifetime, but Allah fulfilled his promise that He will establish Jesus’s legend by exalting his status which was later also affirmed by The Holy Quran and Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, the verse is stating that Jesus Christ (pbuh) has, in fact, died. Bearing the belief that Jesus Christ (pbuh) was bodily raised up to heaven and is still alive some 2,000 years later makes it impossible to reconcile with the verses 5:75 and 3:144 of The Holy Quran I have given above in the Hub which are strongly asserting the point that both Muhammad and Jesus (peace be upon them) were only Messengers of Allah and like all messengers before them, they too will pass away in the same manner.
Now it needs to be disclosed here that The Holy Quran does use the word R'faa in the sense of a physiological raising such as in Surah Rahman verse 7 where Allah is speaking of His raising up of the Heavens or firmament. However, to my knowledge, it has not been used in such a sense with reference to prophets or believers as is outlined by the above verses.
Below are some Hadith which also support the argument that the Jesus Christ (pbuh) who came to the Israelites 2,000 years ago has, in fact, 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).
- "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).
- In Bukhari, it is reported that in the spiritual event known as The Miraj, the Holy Prophet(pbuh) saw Prophet Yahya (John The Baptist) and Jesus (peace be on them both) in the second heaven. If Prophet Yahya is dead, then Jesus Christ is dead, for the dead do not keep company with the living.
- The family of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) were also agreed on the death of Jesus(pbuh). Imam Hasan (may Allah be pleased with him), recounting the events relating to the death of Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), stated, "he (Ali) died during the 27th night of the month of Ramadan, the same night that the spirit of Jesus was raised to heaven." (Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad, vol III Page 26).
Also, to re-emphasize the point again, when Jesus Christ (pbuh) was himself questioned about the raising up to heaven of Prophet Elijah (peace be on him) and his prophesized return as harbinger to The Messiah, Jesus had explained that the raising and the return-prophecy were both allegorical.
Shattering a myth: The real meaning of "Raising Up To Heaven"
The Christians have Jesus (pbuh) returning riding a cloud and subsequently built imagery of him being surrounded by thousands of Angels. If Jesus's return was to be so supernaturally spectacular why would he and the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) warn us of false prophets? That many will come in his name and deceive many. The supernatural event makes the risk of false prophets redundant.
The mainstream Muslim notion has Jesus (pbuh) descending upon a white minaret east of Damascus with his hands resting upon the shoulders of two Angels and heavenly water dripping down from his forehead. Then Jesus (pbuh) and the Imam Mahdi (as a separate figure) will establish the rule of Islam in the world by way of war and conquest not sparing anyone’s life who would reject their religion. This would apparently occur in complete contradiction to the injunction of The Holy Quran that there can be no compulsion in religion.
The literal interpretations of these prophecies are doubtful. Any prophet to come or who has already come hopefully will not take up sides along religious politics, but will take up the side of the righteous.
In this Hub I have cited verse of The Holy Quran and verse from the Gospels which support the case that the second advent of Jesus Christ (pbuh) was to be a highly allegorical event in the same spirit as second advents have occurred in the past. It is difficult to accept it as something that creates grave inconsistencies in the nature of prophetic discourse that we have known so far and in contradiction to scripture.
In the next Hub, I will take up another subject often raised by Muslims in their united opposition to the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam--- that the Ahmadiyya were planted by the British rulers of India at the time in a supposed attempt to quash the concept of Jihad and mitigate any uprising. This is also related to the current events surrounding the issue of terrorism in the name of religion.
Disclaimer: The contents of this Hub do not officially represent The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam or the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The official website of The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam or The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is www.alislam.org. I write these Hubs in my personal capacity.