Epigraph: Is he, then, who knows that what has been revealed to thee (Muhammad) from thy Lord is the truth, like one who is blind? But only those gifted with understanding will reflect. (Al Quran 13:20)
Source: Review of Religions
By Asif M Basit, UK
Translated from the Urdu by Shehzad Ahmad and Farhaad Ahmad
One of the signs foretold by the Prophet Muhammadsa regarding the advent of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias was that he would “break the cross.1 However, the manner in which this has been interpreted by contemporary Muslim scholars not only appears to be quite inappropriate and comical, but even insulting. They seem to have misunderstood the role and character of a person who alone was destined to be the saviour of the followers of all faiths. The literal interpretation that prevailed the literature of the majority of the contemporary scholars of Islam was that the Imam Mahdi and Messiah would spend his time physically breaking any cross that he would come across anywhere in the world, whilst in his remaining time he would literally kill all the swine. To believe that the Imam Mahdi would go around every village and town with a tool in his hand trying to literally break every cross, would not only trivialise the imminence and stature of the Messiah and Mahdi, whose advent was to serve as a reformer for all Muslims, but would belittle the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa who had referred to him as a reformer and Prophet of God.
The True Meaning of “Breaking the Cross”
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, stated:
It begs the question as to what is meant by referring to the Messiah as the “breaker of the cross?” Will he break a wooden cross? Of what benefit will that be? It is quite obvious that if he was to go around breaking wooden crosses it could not be deemed to be a very noble task and no benefit would come out of it. If he was to break wooden crosses, the Christians would instead make crosses out of gold, silver or steel…It certainly does not mean that the Messiah would go around breaking wooden crosses hung up by Christians…In fact, the statement is profound and full of meaning…One must ponder and question whether our claim is supported clearly or not in that the breaking of the cross does not mean breaking wooden or steel crosses physically (which Christians dangle around their necks as shirk), but instead symbolises a great truth which I have come with. I have announced completely transparently that Jihad is forbidden in this day and age, because just as the Messiah is charged with breaking the cross in spirit, so too is he charged with abolishing all religious wars, thereby necessitating the Fatwa [edict] against Jihad. Thus, we say that to take up the sword or any weapon in the name of religion is a great sin.
What does “breaking the cross” really mean? Pay great heed to this fact that the time of the advent of the Messiah has been associated with the time of the triumph over the cross, and it was the Messiah that was to come for this purpose. It is, therefore, very clear that the purpose of the advent of the Messiah was to completely falsify the Christian ideology with arguments and proofs that were to be strengthened by heavenly succour and miracles. He would show how the religion of the cross is completely false and would make this manifestly clear to the whole world, and millions of souls would come to know and admit that Christianity in reality cannot be a means of mercy for mankind. It is for this reason that all our focus is on the cross – is there any stone left unturned for defeating the cross? The death of Jesusas itself has shattered the cross into pieces and when the fact is proven that Jesusas did not die on the cross, but in fact died a natural death in Kashmir, anyone from among the intellectuals should come forward and tell us that what is then left of the cross?
Thus, it is very clear that God Almighty was going to send the Messiah when the “cross” was going to be dominant, meaning the false ideology of Christianity [i.e. the Christian ideology no longer in it is original form, having strayed far away from its original teachings by introducing concepts such as the Trinity and Atonement] was going to be at large and for its spread and propagation every type of method would be deployed, and darkness and falsehood (which in other words is shirk or idolatry), and the worship of the dead would be spread all over the world. At such time, the person God Almighty would send would be charged with purifying the world from its state of darkness and falsehood, and save them from the curse of worshipping the dead. In this manner, he would break the cross. Although, it may appear that the task of abolishing all religious wars on the one hand and that of breaking the cross (the latter possibly compelling such wars) on the other are contradictory; however, this only appears as a contradiction to those who lack insight and have not truly understood the purpose of the Messiah’s advent. In fact, the very words Yadha ul Harb explain the reality of the meaning of “breaking the cross,” which as already noted, does not mean literally breaking crosses made out of wood or other materials, but in fact connotes the defeat of Christianity, achieved purely through present unassailable and rational arguments and clear proofs, as God Almighty states, ‘so that he, who had already perished by a clear proof, should perish, and he, who had already come to life by a clear proof, should live.’ (Ch.8, V.43).
At the time of the advent of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, Christianity was at its peak. The Promised Messiahas once described the situation in the following words:
Never has there been a greater period of such a dangerous trial for Islam, in fact since the inception of Prophethood, there has never been so. Apart from philosophical and scientific arguments anyone with expertise in any field employs it as a means to try and attack Islam. Both men and women are preaching and through various schemes are trying to detach people from Islam and want them to incline towards Christianity. If one goes into clinics, one would see how alongside giving medicines to patients, the Christian faith is being proselytised, and at times women and children who are admitted into the hospital, are refused care until they became Christians. Christians were also preaching disguised as religious mendicants. In short, they adopted every possible means for this purpose. One single Christian newsletter or article is published in thousands…if all the literature that has been written against Islam was to be put together, its pile would be a mile high. In fact, without exaggeration, I say that if it was piled up, it would be taller than some of the mountains, and if they were put in a line, it would exceed many miles.