Different interpretations about the arrival of Imam Mahdi and Messiah

While most Islamic Schools of thought practically agree in principle on all interpretations of the Holy Qur’an (with only slight differences), the differences in understanding about the arrival of Imam Mahdi and the Messiah (or ‘return of Jesus’) are indeed large. We give you herewith two interpretations, the first one being the belief of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the second one as presented by a Shiah Scholar.

What are your views?  Which one is more logical?   (or should we simply ‘wait and see’ …?)

From the Ahmadiyya website:

Imam Mahdi

From the Traditions of the Holy Prophet it is evident that the Promised Messiah was to be a follower of the Holy Prophet. One Tradition tells us that
‘the Mahdi is no other than the Messiah’ [Ibn-e-Maja]

Another Tradition says:
‘How would it be with you when the son of Mary will descend among you and you will have a leader raised from among you?” [bukhari, kitabul-anbiya, chapter nuzul isa bin maryam]

These two Traditions leave no doubt that the Messiah himself will be the Mahdi. He would lead followers of the Holy Prophet and would be one from among them, not an outsider. To think that the Messiah and the Mahdi are two different persons is wrong. It is against the clear indication in the Tradition: ‘The Mahdi is no other than the Messiah.’ It behoves good believers to ponder carefully over the utterances of the Holy Prophet. If the utterances seem contradictory, it is for us to try and resolve the contradictions. If the Holy Prophet said, on the one hand, that the Mahdi will appear before the Messiah, and the Messiah will then join the Mahdi and his followers in worship; and, on the other, that the Messiah himself is the Mahdi, what are we going to do? Accept one utterance and reject the other? Is it not rather our duty to consider the two utterances carefully and try to reconcile one to the other? The two utterances can be reconciled at once if we use one of them to interpret the other. It seems that the promise of the advent of the Messiah was couched in words which suggested that the Messiah and the Mahdi were two different persons. This suggestion is corrected by the Tradition which says ‘No Mahdi but the Messiah’ This Tradition makes it plain that the other Tradition is metaphorical. It means that a follower of the Holy Prophet will arise for the purpose of revivifying the world, but would not have that rank of a prophet. Then the promise relating to the second coming of Jesus will be fulfilled in his person and he will announce himself the Promised Messiah. The Tradition, therefore, tells us that the Promised One will start his career as a Muslim reformer who will become invested with the office of Messiah. Divine prophecies have to employ metaphors. They would convey very little otherwise.

If our interpretaion of these Traditions is not correct, then there are only two alternatives left for a seeker-after truth, both of them absurd and dangerous. Either, we admit that the Tradition, which describes the Messiah and the Mahdi as one and the same person, is not a true Tradition, or, we admit that the Messiah and the Mahdi are two different persons and that the intention of the Tradition is to point to a difference of spiritual significance in the two. It may mean that the true Mahdi would be the Messiah. The other, Mahdi would be insignificant compared with the Messiah. It would be like saying, “Nobody knows but so and so.” When we say such a thing, we do not mean literally that nobody else knows. What we mean is that the given person knows very much more. However, both interpretations are dangerous. One requires us to treat, without good reasons, as spurious a Tradition which is a well authenticated one, true on all sound criteria. The other implies that the Mahdi, in comparison with the Messiah, will be as nothing. Such a thought would be contrary to the Traditions which teach that the Mahdi will be the Imam and the Messiah a follower who stands behind the Imam in a congregation. Both alternatives, therefore, are absurd. The only worthwhile interpretation we can put upon the Tradition is that they foretell the coming of a Messenger from among the followers of the Holy Prophet. This Messenger will first present himself as a reformer and later announce himself the Messiah of the prophecy. The same person will be the Mahdi as well as the Messiah. Except for this interpretation, there can be no plausible interpretation of the Traditions on the subject.

For more on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s interpretations please visit http://www.alislam.org

And now as comparison the interpretation from a Shiah scholar:     Dr Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Jesus Will Return with Imam Mahdi

Biblical Eschatology is a study of things to come. The Second Advent of Jesus is one of the eschatological issues in Christian theology. Mainstream Christians believe that Jesus, forty days after his resurrection ascended to heaven and he will return to Earth at the end of time. One of the main Biblical references for the second advent of Jesus is in the Acts of the Apostles.

“Upon saying this and while they were looking on, he was taken up and a cloud carried him up from their view. And as they kept gazing intently toward heaven as he was going away from them, two men in white clothing were standing by them, who also said: Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? This very Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come again in the same way you have seen him going to heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

For the past 2000 years, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the above and similar Biblical passages. Many Christians believe that Jesus will literally return. Others believe that the return of Jesus will not be physical, rather symbolic somehow. Others suggest that the church serves the same purpose. Most of the debates rotate around the above phrase ‘In the same manner’ as to whether it should be taken literally or figuratively.

The Return of Jesus in Islam
Muslim scholars irrespective of their denominations are quite unanimous that upon the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance) Prophet Jesus will also descend to Earth from the heavens. During that time, Jesus and Imam Mahdi will spread peace and justice on earth and the earth will attain unprecedented peace, justice and welfare. Jesus will be like the minister for Imam Mahdi and his main mission will be to correct the dogma of Trinity and to clarify his humane personality and servitude to God.
The Islamic doctrine of the descent of Jesus to earth is derived from a couple of Ayaat in the Quran and many hadith which are narrated by both Shi’a and Sunni narrators. The following are the most important reasons for this doctrine:

1. Jesus is still alive
As we learn in chapter 8, the holy Quran in a unique style denotes the false dogma of crucifixion. The holy Quran clearly states that Allah raised Jesus to Himself. Thus, Jesus has not tasted physical death yet. On the other hand,
‘Every creature shall have a taste of death’. (29:57)
In conclusion, Jesus must return to earth to live a physical life and die a physical death.
2. The People of the Book believe in Jesus before his death
The Almighty Allah states:
“And there will be none of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him before his death and on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.” (4:159)
Most interpreters of the Quran agree that the above Ayah is regarding the time of the return of Jesus to earth. During that time, there will be no Jews or Christians but those who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and a human being. According with this interpretation, the pronoun in ‘Before his death’ returns to ‘Jesus’ not a Jew or a Christian.
Shahr bin Houshab narrated: “Hajjaj bin Yusuf said to me: “There is an Ayah in the Quran that I’m baffled as to its meaning. I said: O Amir! Which Ayah is that? He said: “And there will be none of the People of the Book …” By Allah! I have ordered the execution of many Christians and Jews and I have witnessed their death, but none of them believed in the humanity of Jesus before his death.”
Shahr said: “I said to Hajjaj: This is not the meaning of the Ayah. (He meant the pronoun in that phrase returns to Jesus not the Jews and Christians). The meaning of the Ayah is that Jesus will descend to earth before the Day of Resurrection and there will be no Jews or Christians but believers in Jesus and he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.”
“Hajjaj asked from whom I had learnt that interpretation from. I replied: Imam Baqir, son of Imam Sajjad, son of Imam Husain, son of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib narrated this to me.” Hajjaj said: By Allah, you gained it from a pure spring.”
3. The followers of Jesus will be superior over disbelievers

Almighty Allah states:
“And when Allah said: O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection. Then you (Believers and disbelievers) will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matter in which you used to dispute.” (3:55)

The above Ayah is one of the controversial Ayaat in the story of Prophet Jesus. Some Christian preachers use this Ayah to prove the superiority of Christians over the adherents of all other religions whom they also call ‘Disbelievers’ until the Day of Judgment.

Christians assumed the Quranic phrase ‘Those who follow you’ equals Christians. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Christianity today is very different from the actual teachings of Prophet Jesus. The followers of Jesus were those who truly followed his teachings. According with the Quran, the dogma of Trinity is in full conflict with the teachings of Prophet Jesus. Thus, how could Trinitarians be regarded as the followers of Jesus?!

The examples of ‘Those who follow you’ from the time of Jesus till the advent of Islam are those sincere believers who believed in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and followed his teachings. With the rise of Islam, Muslims who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah are the true followers of Jesus. The disbelievers in return are those who never believed in Jesus as a Prophet such as the Jews or even the Christians who believed in the divinity of Jesus. Thus, Almighty Allah has made the true monotheists who believe in Jesus as His Messenger superior in their ideology over the disbelievers who do not believe in Prophet Jesus.

Another meaning for the Ayah is to say when Imam Mahdi (a.s) reappears and Jesus returns to earth, the true followers of Jesus who include all Muslims, Jews, Christians who truly followed Jesus will be superior to the disbelievers.

4. Prophetic narrations confirm the descent of Jesus
Numerous Narrations in both Sunni and Shi’a sources confirm and detail the descending of Jesus at the same time as Imam Mahdi. Renowned Sunni narrators such as al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu-Dawood and many others have narrated the Narrations of the return of Jesus at the time of Imam Mahdi and that he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.

Ibn Jouzi in his book ‘Tathkeratul-Khawas’ narrated: “Mahdi and Jesus will reunite. When it’s the time for Prayers, Mahdi will ask Jesus to lead the Prayers, but Jesus will say: You are more preferred to lead the Prayers. Then Jesus will pray behind him.”

According with the Narrations of his return Jesus will break the cross and abandon the meat of the pig. He will also abolish the Jazyah for the People of the Book of his time will have no excuse to adhere to their false principles. They must either convert to Islam and hence no Jazyah will apply to them or will be executed by Jesus. Jesus will live on the earth for 40 years before he dies. Imam Mahdi will pray on his body and will attend his burial in pubic.

The Return of Jesus and the Seal of Prophethood
One of the theological problems about the return of Jesus is the paradox between this concept and the seal of Prophethood. Undoubtedly, Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet and Messenger of God. With Prophet Muhammad, prophethood ceased to continue. Then how could one of the previous prophets return to earth after Prophet Muhammad?

The answer to the above paradox is that Prophet Jesus will not return to earth to bring a new Shari’a Law. Thus, he will pray behind Imam Mahdi. In fact, Imam Mahdi who is the 12th and the last successor of the Prophet of Islam will lead the world. The main purpose of the return of Jesus to earth is for him to prove to the Jews and the Christians the truth about himself.

‘Christians’
The names by which the disciples were known among themselves were ‘Brethren’, ‘The faithful’, ‘Elect’, ‘Saints’ and ‘Believers’.

The title ‘Christian’ for the followers of the teachings of Jesus is historically a Greek-given name not a God-given name. In Greek, the adjectival ending -ianos denoted the adherents of an individual or party. So, adherents to Christ were called Christianos which is developed in English to Christians. The name ‘Christian’ was first given by the Greeks or Romans, probably in reproach, to the followers of Jesus.

There is no record of any disciple calling another believer a Christian or of Jesus applying that designation to himself. Luke in Acts (11:19-30) writes that “The disciples were called Christians,” not that “the disciples called themselves Christians.” According with the Acts (11:26) the title of ‘Christian’ was first used at Antioch for the disciples.

When disciples under the persecution of the Jews sought refuge in Antioch which was a Greek city, they were named in reproach by pagan Greeks as ‘Christians’ meaning those who believe in the one who claimed to be the Christ. In the early stages of Christianity to be called ‘Christian’ would most probably equal execution.

Although this title initially carried some negative sense, over time Christians accepted it, as to them it would be an honour for them to be related to Christ (The Messiah; Al-Maseeh in Arabic). Hence, the title was universally accepted. On the other hand, the Jews who did not believe Jesus was the Messiah scorned the followers and the disciples of Jesus as “The sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5) meaning the followers of the one who was merely born in Nazareth.

The only God-given title for the followers of the teachings of Jesus is given by Allah in the holy Quran. The holy Quran has never referred to the followers of Jesus as Christians (Al-Maseehiyoun in Arabic) or Nazarenes. The term used in the Quran for his followers is ‘Nasara’ meaning the helpers, the singular of which is ‘Nasrani’ meaning ‘The helper’.

Just like the term used for those believers in Medina who supported Prophet Muhammad and hence were called ‘The helpers’. The reason as to why the holy Quran is calling the adherents of Jesus ‘The Helpers’ stems from a conversation between Jesus and his disciples.

According with the Quran when Jesus began his mission he asked his disciples who would be helping him in the cause of God. The holy Quran states:
“O, you who believe! Be you helpers (in the Cause) of Allah as said Jesus, son of Mary, to the disciples: Who are my helpers (in the Cause) of Allah? The disciples said: We are Allah’s helpers.” (61:14)

Therefore, contrary to the name given to the followers of Jesus by the Romans or the Jews, the Quranic title for them is a God-given name and designates their devotion to Allah. Another title used frequently in the Quran for both the Christians and the Jews, is the appellation of ‘People of the Book’ which is a very honourable title confirming that they historically belonged to the community of the faithful people who originally had a divine Scripture.

The Characteristics of the ‘Nasara’
In the story of Prophet Moses (a.s) I dealt with the status of the People of the Book in the Quran. The People of the Book are sometimes condemned in the Quran not merely because they are Jewish or Christians. They were castigated due to their wrong actions.

The Quran, whilst emphasising that Christians did, theologically, go astray by believing in the erroneous dogma of the Trinity, respects and admires their good deeds and moral behaviour. Almighty Allah in Surah al-Maédah (Chapter 5), Ayah 82 states:

“And you will surely find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: We are Nasara (Christians). That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.” (5:82)

This love and compassion is a Godly gift to them, as Allah in Surah al-Hadid (Chapter 57) Ayah 7 states:

“And We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him (Jesus) compassion and mercy.” (57:7)

On the other hand, however, Muslims are commanded not to trust and make close friendships with the Jews and the Christians. Allah in Surah Ma’edah (Chapter 5) Ayah 51 states:
“O, you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends (Or protectors or helpers), they are but the friends (Or protectors and helpers) of each other. And if any amongst you take them as friends, then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the wrong-doers.”

The message of this Ayah is like the following Ayah in which relying u (on the wrong-doer) is forbidden.
“And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor you would then be helped.” (11:113)
Thus, God condemns only the wrong-doers whoever they may be.

SOURCE:
 

Maseeh-e-Maood wa Imam Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as)

Maseeh-e-Maood wa Imam Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as)

5 replies

  1. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community understands that Jesus died, like all other prophets (and indeed all humans) before and after him:

    Al Islam
    The Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
    Muslims who believe in the Messiah,
    Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as)

    Jesus – A Humble Prophet of God

    Death and “Ascension” of Hazrat Jesus(as), Son of Mary

    The greatest hurdle for the non-Ahmadi Muslims in accepting Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Founder of Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, as the Promised Messiah and Mahdi is their belief regarding Hazrat Eisa (peace be on him); that as soon as the Jews resolved to lay hold on him, God raised Hazrat Eisa(as) to Heaven, and in place of him, caught hold of one of his enemies and, making him in the same appearance as Hazrat Eisa(as), had this enemy of Jesus(as) put on the Cross instead of Jesus(as) himself. They further believe that he is still in Heaven since his ascent, without undergoing any change, and this very Hazrat Eisa(as) will descend for the reformation of the Muslims, and to make Islam dominate over all other religions.
    This concept of the non-Ahmadies is entirely against the Holy Quran, the Traditions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be on him) and the consensus of the early scholars of Islam, as shall be explained in this series. Insha Allah.
    The Holy Quran
    In the last section of the Fifth Chapter of the Quran, on questioning from God, whether he taught Trinity to his people, Hazrat Jesus(as)‘ denial is mentioned in clear words. It is further stated by him that he is not even aware of their associating him with God. Then continuing his exoneration from the blame, he says:
    “I said nothing to them except that which Thou didst command me– `Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord’ and I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst cause me to die, Thou hast been the Watcher over them, and Thou art Witness over all things.” (5:118)
    The corruption of the Christians has been categorically stated in the Holy Quran:
    “Indeed they are disbelievers who say, `Surely Allah is none but the Messiah, son of Mary’.” (5:73) “They are surely disbelievers who say’, `Allah is the third of three; `there is no God but the One God.” (5:74)
    As God in the name of Hazrat Jesus(as) declares that Christians became corrupt after the death of Hazrat Jesus(as), how can we think that Hazrat Jesus(as) is not dead but alive in heaven?
    Imam Bukhari in his book, Sahih Bukhari–the most authentic book after the Book of God, has quoted the saying of Hazrat Ibn Abbas(ra) under the commentary of Verse 5:118: “Qaala Ibno Abbasin Mutawaffeeka Mumeetoka“, i.e., Hazrat Ibn Abbas(ra) said, the meaning of Tawafee is death.
    Imam Bukhari has named a Bab (Chapter)–Babo Tawaffiyo Rasool-ullahi Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam, in which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be on him) has connoted the meaning of Hazrat Jesus’(as) Tawaffee as that of his own Tawaffee. The Holy Prophet(saw) said:
    “On the day of Qiyamat some people of my Ummat would be taken towards Hell. Then I shall say, `O my Lord! these are my companions’, Then it would be said! `thou don’t know what they innovated after thee’. Then, I shall say as the righteous servant said: `I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst cause me to die, Thou hast been the Watcher over them.’” (Bukhari Kitabul Tafseer, Vol. 3, p. 79, Vol. II, p. 159)
    Again, we also read in the Holy Quran:
    “O Jesus! indeed I will cause thee to die and exalt thee to Myself, and will clear thee of (the charges of) those who disbelieve, and will place those who follow thee above those who deny thee, until the Day of Resurrection.” (3:56)
    Hazrat Jesus(as) was exalted (or raised) to God after his death like all other righteous servants of God. The words `exalt thee’ or `raise thee’ come after the words `cause to die’. We have no right to change the order of the Holy Quran. It is reported that the Holy Prophet(saw) was asked, whether he would make the circuit of Safa first or that of the Marwa. He replied, Abdao Bima Bada-Allaho–I shall start with what Allah has started. Hence, we have to keep the order of the Quran. The meaning of Tawaffee has already been given.
    Another verse of the Holy Quran runs thus:
    “And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, (all) Messengers have passed away before him. If then he die or be slain, will you turn your back on your heels?” (3:145)
    In this verse of the Holy Quran the passing away of all the Messengers who came before the Holy Prophet(saw) has been pronounced; and the passing away has been adjudged only in two ways–either by death or through assassination. Had there been any third way of passing away (like that of ascending to heaven) it should have been mentioned by God. As a matter of fact this verse (3:145) has been revealed specifically to declare the death of Hazrat Jesus(as), as the passing away of other Messengers had already been mentioned in 5:76 wherein Allah says:
    “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.”
    It is an admitted fact that the ceasing of Mary’s eating was due to her death, hence, on the same analogy, the ceasing of Hazrat Jesus’(as) eating too was due to his death, as both have been mentioned equally.
    Regarding the above quoted verse (3:145), it should be noted that when the Holy Prophet(saw) died, the companions became stupefied with grief. Hazrat Umar(ra), of all persons, was so afflicted by grief that he unsheathed his sword and declared that whosoever said the Holy Prophet(saw) was dead would lose his head. He began to say that the Holy Prophet(saw) had disappeared temporarily from their midst, even as Hazrat Moses(as) had disappeared on a call from God. Hazrat Moses(as) returned to his people after forty days, so would the Holy Prophet(saw). None of the companions dared to resist and deny what he said. Imam Bukhari reports:
    “Abdullah Bin Abbas narrated that Abu Bakr came out while Umar was conversing with the people. He said to Umar to sit but he refused to comply with. So, the people turned towards him (Abu Bakr) and left Umar. Then Abu Bakr said: Whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead, and whoever amongst you worshipped Allah, let him know that Allah is Living, there is no death for Him. Allah has said, `And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him…’ The narrator says, by God, the people did not know that God had sent down this verse until Abu Bakr has recited it. So, the people in their entirety learnt it from him; then, whosoever amongst the people heard it recited it. Then Saeed Bin Musayyeb has told me, that Umar swearing by God said, did not know of this verse till he heard it from Abu Bakr, and consequently his legs could not support him, he staggered and fell down in an outburst of grief.” (Bukhari Kitabun Nabiyye Ila Kisra Wa Qaisara, Musnad Imam Abu Hanifa, p. 188, Hamamul Islamiyya, p. 54, Bukhari, Vol. 2, Manaqib Abu Bakr)
    Now, if the companions present on this occasion thought that Hazrat Jesus(as) had been alive in Heaven for 600 years, they would have stood up and pointed out to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), that it was wrong to say that all the earlier prophets had died. If Hazrat Jesus(as) could remain alive, why not the Holy Prophe(saw)? All the companions who heard this verse (3:145) and heard Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra)‘s argument based upon the verse, not only remained silent but began to rejoice over it and went about the town reciting it. This proves beyond doubt that the companions agreed with Hazrat Abu Bakr’s(as) interpretation of the verse that all prophets before the Holy Prophet(saw) had died.
    Another verse of the Holy Quran which proves the death of Hazrat Jesus(as) is:
    “We granted not abiding life to any human being before thee. If then thou shouldst die, shall they have abiding life?” (21:35)
    God loves the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him) more than He loves anyone else. He was the purpose for all creation as Hadith says: “Had I not created thee I would have created neither heaven nor earth.”
    Hence, if any man deserved to remain alive and ascend to heaven, it was our Holy Prophet(saw). If he has died in the usual way, other prophets have died in the same way. We know too well that the deniers of the Holy Prophet(saw) challenged him and asked him if he could perform the miracle of ascent to Heaven? They said:
    “We will not believe except if you ascend to Heaven. And we will not believe in your ascent unless you bring to us from Heaven a Book which we may then read.” (17:94)
    In reply to this challenge, God did not empower the Holy Prophet(saw) to show the miracle which the Holy Prophet’s(saw) deniers asked him to show. Instead, God made the Prophet say: “Holy is my Lord! I am not but a man sent as Messenger.” (17:94) Knowing this, how can we think the Holy Prophet(saw) should rise to Heaven, but die in the normal way and be buried here in this earth, and Hazrat Jesus(as) should go to Heaven and remain alive for these two thousand years?
    “And those on whom they call beside Allah create not anything, but they are themselves created. They are dead, not living; and they know not when they will be raised.” (16:21,22)
    Hazrat Jesus(as) is also among those to whom they call beside Allah (5:73), hence, he is dead.
    The Traditions
    The Holy Prophet(saw) said:
    “If Moses and Jesus had been alive, they would have had to believe in me and follow me.” (Zurqani, Vol. VI, p. 54, Tibrani Kabeer, Alyawaqeet Wal Jawahir, Vol. II, p. 23)
    During his last illness, the Holy Prophet(saw) said to his daughter Hazrat Fatima(ra):
    “Once in every year, Gabriel recited the Quran to me. This year he recited twice. He also told me that every succeeding prophet has lived to half the age of his predecessor. He told me that Jesus, son of Mary, lived to 120 years. Therefore, I think, I may live to about 60 years.” (Mawahib-ud-Duniya by Qastalani, Vol. I, p. 42, Kanzul Ummal Vol. 6, p. 160)
    The Scholars
    Imam Malik said Hazrat Jesus had died. (Majma Biharul Anwar, Vol. I, p. 286) The opinions of Imam Bukhari, Ibn Abbas, and the companions of the Holy Prophet have already been indicated.
    Refutation of Arguments Given in Support of Jesus’ Physical Ascension to Heaven
    ARGUMENT: Allah says in the Holy Quran: “…But they killed him (Jesus) not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubt, with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow, for a surely they killed him not; Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” (4:158-159)
    REFUTATION: It is absurd to think that one who is neither killed, nor put to death by putting on the Cross has necessarily ascended bodily to heaven. Do the Non-Ahmadies believe that Hazrat Musa(as) or the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him) are alive in heaven as they were neither killed nor put to death by crucifixion? Besides, the Arabic words Maa Salabooho do not deny the fact of Hazrat Jesus’(as) being nailed to the Cross but deny his having died on it as is clear from Arabic lexicon. They say Salaba Ash-Shaia, i.e., he burned the thing. Salabal Izama means, he extracted the marrow out of the bones. Salabal Lissa means, he crucified the thief, i.e., he put him to death in a certain well-known manner (Lane & Aqrab). In crucifixion one was nailed to a framework made in the form of a cross and, being kept without food and drink, slowly died of pain, hunger, fatigue, and exposure.
    ARGUMENT: The words Wa Laakin Shubbiha Lahum in verse 4:158 means that the likeness of Hazrat Jesus(as) was cast upon another person–Judas or somebody else who was then crucified in place of Hazrat Jesus(as).
    REFUTATION: The curious part of it is that there is not only one story that speaks of the casting of the likeness of Hazrat Jesus(as), there are several stories. But intelligent commentators like Abu Hayyaan have discarded all such stories. The word Shubbiha means, he was made to appear like, or was made to resemble. Now the question arises, who is the person who was made to appear “like one crucified”. Clearly it was Hazrat Jesus(as) whom the Jews tried to crucify or slay. Nobody else can be meant here, for there is absolutely no reference to any other person in the context. The context cannot be twisted as to make room for somebody else of whom no mention at all is made in the verse. To what then was Hazrat Jesus(as) made like? The context provides a clear answer to that question. The Jews did not kill him by crucifixion, but he was made to appear to them like “one crucified”, and thus it was that they wrongly took him for dead. It was thus Hazrat Jesus(as) who was made to resemble “one crucified”. This interpretation is not only in perfect harmony with the context but is also clearly borne out by all relevant facts of history.
    The second meaning of the expression Shubbiha Lahum is, that “the matter became confused to them.” This interpretation is also clearly borne out by history, for, although the Jews asserted that they had put Hazrat Jesus(as) to death by suspending him on the Cross, they were not sure of it and the circumstances being obscure, the matter had certainly become confused to them. The fact that the Jews themselves were not sure whether Hazrat Jesus(as) had actually died on the Cross is supported by the Bible and by all authentic historical facts.
    ARGUMENT: The words in verse 4:159 Bal Rafa’ahollaho Ilaihi –“Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself” clearly shows that Allah lifted Hazrat Jesus’(as) body to heaven.
    REFUTATION: As a matter of fact the referred Arabic words simply mean that Allah exalted him (Hazrat Jesus(as)) to Himself. Here the exaltation is the exaltation of the soul of which the Jews were trying to deprive him by putting to death through crucifixion, but Allah frustrated them in their evil designs. The detail of their failure is given in Part One of this publication.
    In the Holy Quran, the Traditions of the Holy Prophet(saw), the Commentaries and in the Arabic idioms, whenever the word Rafa’a is used by Allah for a human being, it always connotes exaltation of ranks and spiritual nearness, because no fixed abode can be, or has ever been, assigned to God as the Holy Quran declares: “And He is Allah, both in the heavens and in the earth.” (6:4) “So withersoever you turn, there will be the face of Allah.” (2:116) “And We are nearer to him than even his jugular vein.” (50:17) Hence, Rafa’a Ilallah does not necessitate one’s physical ascension to heaven, rather this Rafa’a–exaltation is achieved on this very earth.
    As a matter of fact that word Rafa’a has never been used in the entire Holy Quran nor in the Traditions of the Holy Prophet(saw) as a connotation of physical ascension to heaven as is clear from the following references:
    Wa Lau Shi’naa La Rafa’anaaho Bihaa Wa Laakinnahoo Akhlada Ilal Ardhi–“And if We had pleased, We would have exalted him thereby; but he inclined to the earth.” (7:177) Here the commentators are unanimous in their interpretation of the exaltation of the ranks of the referred person. It is never meant to indicate the intention of physically raising up the referred person to heaven.
    Wa Rafa’anaaho Makaanan Aliyyaa–“And We exalted him (Hazrat Idris(as)) to lofty station.” (19:58) Likewise see: 24:37; 80:14-15; 56:35; 58:12.
    Idha Tawaza Al-Abdo Rafa’ahollaho Ilas Samaa Is-Saabiati–“When a person shows humility, Allah lifts him up to the seventh heaven.” (Kanzul Ummaal Vol. 2, page 53) This Hadith clearly shows that even if the word Samaa (sky) had been used here instead of Allah, the verse could not have meant anything else but spiritual honor and exaltation. Will the non-Ahmadies believe that every act of humility literally lifts a person up to heaven in both body and spirit? Certainly, there can be no bigger folly than such an inference. Why then draw such inference in the case of Jesus(as)? Why should he be sent up to heaven alive? Was not this earth sufficient for him as the Quran declared: Alam Najalil Arza Kifaatan Ahya’an Wa Amwaatan–“Have We not made the earth sufficient for the living and the dead?” (77:26-27)
    All the Muslims are aware of the fact that there occurs the word Warfa’anee (and exalt me in ranks) in the prayer which the Holy Prophet(saw) used to pray between two Sajdas (prostrations). (Kitab Ibn Maja) All the Muslims supplicate this prayer between two Sajdas in their Salat, but does any one ever think that he is supplicating for his physical ascension to heaven? Or, is there any doubt regarding the Holy Prophet(saw)‘s Rafa’a (exaltation of ranks) despite his sojourn on this very earth?
    In the Commentary of the Holy Quran known as Tafseer Saafi under the verse Maa Muhammadun Illa Rasool Qad Khalat Min Qablihir Rusul (3:145) the demise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him) has been mentioned in he following words: Hatta Idha Da’a Allaho Nabiyyahoo Wa Rafa’a Hoo Ilaihi–“Until when Allah called His Prophet and exalted him to Himself.” Now here are words Rafa’a Hoo Ilaihi used for the Holy Prophet(saw) had never been interpreted as his corporal ascension to heaven. Is it not strange and outright blasphemy to interpret the word Rafa’a for the Holy Prophet(saw) as exaltation of his ranks, and for Jesus(as) as his physical ascension to heaven?
    ARGUMENT: Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And there is none of the people of the Book must believe in him before his death and on the Day of Judgement he will be a witness against them.” (4:160) As Jews and Christians have not all believed in Hazrat Jesus(as), therefore, he must be alive with his physical body in heaven, and after descending from heaven in the last days he shall turn them into believers.
    REFUTATION: Although the words of verse 4:160 do not show that Hazrat Jesus(as) is now sitting in the sky in his physical body, yet the fantastic conclusion is drawn. But it is forgotten that if Hazrat Jesus(as) be supported to be alive, even then all Jews and Christians cannot believe in Hazrat Jesus(as); because many generations of them are dead. How can they then believe? So it is clear that if they have all to believe in Hazrat Jesus(as), it must be supposed that along with him the Jews and Christians are also alive, which is obviously absurd. Besides, if the interpretation of the Non-Ahmadies is accepted for the sake of argument, then it establishes contradictions in the Holy Quran as is clear from the following references:
    “Nay, but Allah has sealed them because of their disbelief, so they believe no but little.” (4:156)
    “So, We have caused enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection.” (5:15)
    “When Allah said, O Jesus, I will cause thee to die…and will place those who follow thee above those who disbelieve, until the Day of Resurrection.” (3:56)
    These verses clearly show that all Jews shall not believe in Hazrat Jesus(as), hence, the interpretation of the Non-Ahmadies is entirely wrong. The correct translation of the verse 4:160 without twisting words so as to yield far-fetched meanings is: “And there is none among the People of the Book but will believe in it (the crucifixion of Jesus) before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection, he (Jesus) shall be a witness among them.” What the Quranic verse lays down is that every Jew and Christian must according to their creeds, continue to believe in the death of Hazrat Jesus(as) on the Cross. The Jew because he wants to show that according to Deuteronomy 21:23 the curse of God fell upon Hazrat Jesus(as), and the Christian because he wants to affirm the doctrine of Atonement as mentioned in Galatians 3:13. So both these peoples go on sticking to this absurd and unfounded belief (Jesus’(as) death on the Cross) in the face of all reason and all established facts of history. The attempts to make the words La Yominanna Bihee Qabla Mautehee (will believe in it before his death) mean “will believe in him (Jesus) before his (Jesus) death” is simply ridiculous. The context spurns the idea, as does the second reading of the expression, viz., Mautihee (his death) reported by Ubayy in Ibn Jareer, Vol. 6, page 13.
    ARGUMENT: Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And behold I did restrain the children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou did show them the clear signs.” (5:111) This verse clearly shows that the Jews could not even touch Hazrat Jesus(as). But if it is accepted that he was hanged on the Cross, his hands bled, and he was taken down from the Cross after suffering a lot of troubles, then this verse proves false.
    REFUTATION: There is not a single word which connotes that Allah restrained the Jews from violence to Hazrat Jesus(as), hence, the Non-Ahmadi translator Allaama Yusuf Ali had no other choice but to put the words “violence to” in brackets. The verse does not mean that Jesus suffered no persecution at the hands of enemies. A similar expression has been used with regard to the early Muslims in the Quran: Yaa Ayyuhalladheena Aamanudh-Karoo Ni’Amatillahi Alaikum Idh Hamma Qaumun An Yabsotoo Ilaikum Aidiy-hum Fa Kaffa Aidiyahum Ankum (5:12)–“O ye who believe! remember Allah’s favor upon you when a people intended to stretch out their hands against you, but He withheld their hands from you.” But it is a well-known fact that they had to pass through grievous trials and tribulations. As a matter of fact the reference in the verse (5:111) is to the attempts of the Jews to kill Hazrat Jesus(as) on the Cross, from which accursed death God delivered him. Similar protection was promised to the Holy Prophet(saw) (in 5:68) but that did not mean that his enemies would not be allowed to do him any physical harm whatsoever. It only means that they would not be permitted to take his life so as to render him unfit for his work.
    ARGUMENT: The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be him) is reported to have said: Kaifa Antum Idha Nazala Feekum Ibno Maryama Wa Imaamokum Minkum –“How would it be with you when the son of Mary will descend among you and you will have a leader raised from among you.” (Bukhari, Kitabul-Anbiya, Chapter Nazul Isa bin Maryam) The word Nazul, it is argued, signifies that Hazrat Jesus(as) must come down physically from the high heavens, hence, he is physically alive in heaven. Besides, the Holy Prophet(saw) said that the son of Mary will come, so it must be Hazrat Jesus(as) himself who should come personally.
    REFUTATION: In the first place, there is no word Minas-Samaa from heaven, mentioned in the Tradition. No doubt there are two points which need explanation: One Nazool and the other Ibn Maryam. It should be remembered that the word Nazalamay mean “he descended” but it cannot by any stretch of meaning, signify “he descended physically from the heavens”. There is not the slightest justification for this.
    The same word is used about the coming of the Holy Prophet(saw). Says the Holy Quran: Qad Anzalallaho Ilaikum Dhikran Rasoolan Yatloo Alaikum Aayaatillahi–“Allah has indeed sent down to you a Reminder, a Messenger, who recites unto you the clear signs of Allah.” (65:11-12) But No one can say that the Holy Prophet(saw) came down from the heavens physically.
    Then God says: Wa Anzalnal Hadeeda–“And We sent down iron” (57:26), and we know that it is not thrown down from the heavens. Likewise the word Nazool has been mentioned about cattle in 39:7; about raiment in 7:27. Even this word had been used for each and every thing in 15:22 where Allah says: Wa In Min Shai-in Illaa Indinna Khazaainohoo Wa Maa Nonazzilohoo Illaa Biqadarin Ma’aloom–“And there is not a thing but with Us are the treasures thereof and We send it not down except in known measure.” Hence, it appears that all things in nature descend from God–are gifted by God–and yet they do not drop from Heaven. Their creation takes place in and on and through this very earth. Therefore, the word Nazool (descend), when used for the coming of the Messiah, can have no other meaning. It can only point to the importance, the blessedness and the spiritual significance of the Promised Messiah. It is not in the least intended to suggest that he would physically drop from Heaven to earth.
    IBN MARYAM–Son of Mary:
    As the promised Imam was to be the Messiah, therefore, the Holy Prophet(saw) called him the son of Mary. The name of one is generally given to another when there is striking resemblance between the two. Abu Sufyan, after meeting Heraclius, said to his companions: Laqad Amara Amrubno Abee Kabshata Innahoo Yakhaafohoo Maliko Banee Asfara–“Of a certainty, the son of Abee Kabshah has succeeded, because even the king of Bani Asfar fears him”. (Bukhari) Everyone knows that the Holy Prophet(saw) was not the son of Abi Kabshah, but Abu Sufyan calls him as such because he believed in the Unity of God like the son of Abi Kabshah.
    Metaphors abound in all languages. Is it not a fact that a person who excels in the virtue of charity, is metaphorically called Hatam of Tai? If the name Ibn Maryam is the name of a known individual, is not Hatam the name of a known individual? If by giving this name to another person, nobody is misled into thinking that this person is the original Hatam, need anybody think that when the Promised One is named Isa Ibn Maryam or Jesus(as), son of Mary, it must mean the self-same Hazrat Jesus(as), son of Mary, who appeared almost 2000 years ago?
    Hence, when it is narrated in the Traditions that Jesus son of Mary will come, it should not be taken literally but rather to be understood in the metaphorical sense as has been interpreted by a scholar of great repute and regenerator of his century, Mohyuddin Ibn Arabi, when he says: “His descent in latter ages will be with a different body.” (Tafsir Araisul Bayan, Vol. I, P. 262) So the inference of Non-Ahmadies from the above quoted tradition of Bukhari to prove the physical life of Jesus in heaven is altogether repugnant to the teachings of the Quran, the common metaphors, and to the high spiritual status of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be him).

    SOURCE: https://www.alislam.org/articles/natural-death-of-hazrat-jesus-son-of-mary/

  2. My personal understanding / reasoning:

    I sincerely belief that at the time of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) no Muslim believed that Jesus did not die. Otherwise when the time of Mohammad’s (saw) death came surely some of them would have said ‘how can he (saw) die when Jesus did not’? No one asked this question.

    Most likely this belief ‘creeped’ into Muslim belief (partially) when large numbers of Christians entered Islam, for instance in Egypt.

    Our Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was the greatest of all prophets and the greatest of all men. He lived and died according to the rules of nature. In all religious history all prophets lived according to the rules of natures. They were born, they grew up, they work in the day and sleep at night, they die.

    All prophets took time to convince their followers. Some believed, some did not.

    It is therefore against all nature that a Mahdi or Messiah will come and BANG everything will change.

    Consequently I feel that the Ahmadiyya Interpretation is logical and I follow it as good as I can, with all my weaknesses, which Allah may forgive.

    OK, promise, if and when the Shiah Mahdi and 2000 year old Jesus body will / would return, we can all reconsider, until then … let’s follow the Ahmadiyya interpretation !

    Just saying…

  3. Rafiq: we have different interpretation
    According to God’s word.

    Revelation 22:12; Listen! say Jesus, I am coming soon, I will bring my rewards with me to give to each one according to what he has done.I am the first and the last, the beginning and the end

    Revelation 21:7″ Listen says Jesus: I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

    So I strongly believe that Messiah will come from Christianity, Not from Prophet Muhammad’s followers

    With love ❤️

    • according to our understanding totally mixed up explanation. Our beloved prophet Mohammad – peace and blessings be on him – brought the final revelation, the Holy Qur’an, and now we should have another Prophet from before who does not know this final revelation? Strange idea.

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