A Muslim Times Original
By Abdul Alim
I grew up reading a lot of interesting fiction. Some of it was interesting stories with good moral lessons and some was just plain wild and mesmerizing. The most fascinating were those, where things happened always supernaturally, there were heroes who would not die and somehow kept rising and resurrecting from the dead, and then there were stories where things got made without any human effort, presumably by strange beings or entirely on their own.
I graduated from those stories to fantastic religious folklores in my teens as my elders told me how Sufis fly through thin air, how prophet Jesus, son of Mary, was lifted up physically into the sky by God and how trees can become tables if you sat and waited long enough.
As I started my practical life as a medical doctor and started to observe human suffering, I started discovering how fragile my own and the life of my patients was. I tried to go back and lose myself again in the fiction that had sustained me so far only to discover, to my utter discomfort, that all anesthesia of convenient mythology had vanished and that I could no longer find peace in that engaging fiction.
I struggle to be rational every day in the face of an onslaught of bad news and only more fiction to confront it. One would think that as we emerge out of our childhood fantasies, reason would increasingly occupy and provide peace to our mind. And yet, today, to my utter surprise, I still meet, highly intelligent adults, including friends and fellow workers, who seem utterly content in the fiction that has somehow failed me. I am absolutely surprised by people who I meet every now and then who tell me that they seriously believe even today that if they sat for a million years, a tree could somehow become a table. They are proudly rational and atheistic. They are however prone to some lapses of occasional doubt and weak moments and some level of dialogue can still take place.
What is perhaps more disturbing and surprising is being invited to a spiritual salvation by my Christian and non Ahmadi-Muslim friends based on interesting fiction that could almost be lifted verbatim out of my childhood story books. I have been repeatedly told by some of my Christian friends how believing in God being three in one can relieve all my suffering. Stranger still is the part where you must believe that one part of this God killed another third of its part to relieve my personal suffering. And then of course, this one third part somehow still survived in another supernatural form for me to find and live through in my personal experience. The fiction of salvation from my Muslims friends demands that I wait for a two thousand year old man, who according to them is still living extra terrestrially in his human form, to emerge one day as a hero to offer me immediate relief from my suffering. They have of course studied physics and have passed all their exams with flying colors. I cannot explain how they reconcile their scientific knowledge with this supernatural fiction.
All this does not help. My human essence rebels against being satisfied with only fiction and defying my inclination to logic and reason. Thanks to my merciful, One living God, I discovered the best myth busting book that one can ever find, the Qur’an. Having read it and understood it directly through revelation, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, made me understand that true resurrection takes place not through someone having been killed and becoming inexplicably spiritually alive, but through God sending other humans who are true image of a previous reformer or a prophet. The mythology of Greek gods, introduced into Judaism, Christianity and Islam has created interesting fictional characters, just like the ones I found fascinating in my childhood, but are unfit for taking me through real temptations and challenges of life that I face every day.
The easiest, most logical, rational and intelligent explanation of resurrection is not that Jesus was killed for our sins and rose on the third day as a spirit, but that he successfully went through a trial, survived with God’s help and mercy and lived a full human life completing his ministry and died a natural death. He foretold the advent of the Great Prophet “like unto Moses”. The Bible and the Quran both prophesied about the coming of another Messiah, in the image of Jesus, who will be a follower of Muhammad and Islam, who will heal the wounds inflicted by unsuccessful treatment of human suffering through fiction. For me, therefore, Jesus was resurrected spiritually, in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi, not after three days but after two thousand years as foretold in the holy scriptures.
Religious reformation has always happened logically practically and rationally. Supernatural beliefs can serve to create illusion but do not create lasting peace or salvation. Like all prophets, both Jesus and Mohammad (peace of God be on both of them) have died. God ordained human reformation and salvation through a real resurrection, and that was to happen like all natural and logical events. A child, on the nature of Jesus was born in Qadian, in 1835, and claimed to be the Jesus- Messiah in Islam and a reformer to all religions.
Accepting this continuous traditional divine plan of human reformation by God is the real Easter for me. This thorough logic stands me in good stead in today’s troubling times. By accepting the Muhammadan Messiah, I have found peace that stands on eternal truth of human nature and an all inclusive salvation, not just on interesting fiction that rests on exclusivist dogma.