Coming of the Messiah
Jesus cannot return to the World
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
The Light & Islamic Review (US), September/October 1992 Issue (Vol. 69, No. 5, pp. 3–4)
As to the question, What are the arguments in support of this claim of mine to be the Messiah, let it be clear that it is confirmed by the authentic traditions that, at the time of the troubles brought about by Christianity, the man who would appear as the Mujaddid [Reformer] at the head of the century, in order to uproot the evil of the worship of Jesus, is the very Mujaddid called the Messiah. Afterwards, by misunderstanding the Hadith reports, people took it to mean that Jesus, on whom be peace, would himself descend from heaven to become the Mujaddid of the century, and would come at the head of the century, the majority of the Ulama holding that it would be the fourteenth century. But the error of this view is that the real intent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was that the Mujaddid, among the mujaddids of the Muslims, who would aid Islam in defending it against the Christian onslaughts, shall have the name ‘Messiah’ because of his work of the reformation of the Christian religion. But these people thought that in some age the Messiah himself would descend from heaven, although this is a clear mistake. The eloquent and profound statement of the Holy Prophet Muhammad did not contain this inappropriate, irrelevant and unreasonable suggestion that a prophet who, according to the Law of Allah, had been recalled to God and to the blessings of the Hereafter, having completed the days of his life, shall be sent again into this world of affliction and trials, and the prophethood which has been closed, and the Book which is the last of the books, shall be deprived of its eminence of being the last. Rather, it was prophesied as a very subtle metaphor that a time would come when the Christian people would reach the height of bias in their false beliefs in creature-worship and the crucifixion, and would become the Dajjal (Antichrist) because of their accomplished distortions and deceit. Then shall God, out of His mercy, send a heavenly Messiah for their reform, who would break their cross with clear arguments.
No Prophet after Holy Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)]:
For those who think and ponder, there was no difficulty at all in understanding this prophecy. For, the sacred words of the Holy Prophet Muhammad were so clear that they themselves pointed towards the interpretation that this prophecy certainly does not mean the return of an Israelite prophet to the world. The Holy Prophet had said repeatedly that no prophet would come after him, and the hadith La Nabiyya Badi (“There is to be no prophet after me”) was so well-known that no one had any doubt regarding its authenticity. And the Holy Quran, every word of which is absolute, in its verse “he is the Messenger of Allah and the Khatam an-Nabiyyin”, had also confirmed that prophethood has, in fact, ended with our Holy Prophet. Then how could it be possible that after the Holy Prophet Muhammad a prophet should come according to the real meaning of prophethood? This would have destroyed the entire fabric of Islam. To say that Jesus will come having been suspended from prophethood is a highly shameful and rude statement. Can a prophet of God like Jesus, His chosen one and possessing nearness to Him, be suspended from prophethood? Then what other way and manner was there by which Jesus could return to the world in person?
In brief, God by naming the Holy Prophet Muhammad as Khatam an-Nabiyyin in the Holy Quran, and the Holy Prophet himself by saying La nabiyya Badi in Hadith, had settled the matter that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet, in terms of the real meaning of prophethood. To make the matter clearer still, the Holy Prophet had also said that the Promised Messiah to come will be from among the Muslims. Accordingly, the hadith report in Sahih Bukhari, Imamu-kum min-kum, and the report in Sahih Muslim, fa-amma-kum min-kum, occurring at the exact place where the Promised Messiah is mentioned, clearly show that that Promised Messiah will belong to this very Umma [Nation]!!!
Death of Jesus:
Then the second verdict given by the Quran and Hadith in this respect was as follows. The Holy Quran has said in clear and plain words that Jesus has died. The verse fa-lamma tawaffaitani (“when Thou didst cause me to die” — words of Jesus in the Quran 5:117) clearly indicates that Jesus has died, and it is proved in Sahih Bukhari from Ibn Abbas, and also in Hadith reports of the Holy Prophet, that tawaffa here means “to cause to die”. It is futile to argue that this word tawaffaitani, which is in the past tense, here really carries the meaning of the incompleted action (maari), i.e., he is not dead yet, but shall die in the latter days. For, the meaning of the verse is that Jesus is pleading before God that his followers did not go astray during his life-time, but fell into error after his death. Hence, if it is supposed that Jesus has not died yet, then it has to be admitted simultaneously that the Christians have not gone astray as yet, because it has been clearly told in the verse that the going astray of the Christians came after the death of Jesus. There is no dishonesty greater than denying such a clear decision.
Considering that the clear words of the Holy Quran prove nothing other than the death of Jesus, that the Holy Quran calls the Holy Prophet as Khatam an-Nabiyyin, that the Hadith confirms both these points, and that the Hadith reports also say that the coming Messiah will be from among the Muslims, whatever race he may belong to, the question naturally arises that, in spite of such clear verdicts which prove that Jesus has died and that the coming Messiah will be an Ummati [follower], how did there come to be a consensus (ijma) on the point that Jesus shall in reality descend from heaven in the latter days? To this, the answer is that whoever claims that there is consensus in this matter is either highly ignorant or habitually perfidious and a liar. For, the Companions of the Holy Prophet did not need the details of this prophecy. In accordance with the verse fa-lamma tawaffaitani, they undoubtedly believed that Jesus had died. That is why at the time of the death of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Abu Bakr, sensing that some people were doubtful about his death, explained most forcefully that no prophet was alive, and all had died. He read out the verse “messengers before him have indeed passed away” (The Holy Quran, 3:145), and there was none who contradicted his explanation.
Then in addition to this, an imam, scholar of Hadith and Quran, and righteous man of the calibre of Imam Malik believed that Jesus had died. Likewise, Imam Ibn Hazm, whose grandeur of dignity does not need to be elaborated upon, believed in the death of Jesus. Similarly, Imam Bukhari, whose book is the most correct of all books after the Book of God, believed in the death of Jesus. In the same way, the scholars, experts of Hadith and commentators of the Quran, Ibn Taimiyah and Ibn Qayyim, who were the religious leaders of their times, believed in the death of Jesus. The chief of the Sufis, Shaikh Muhy-ud-Din Ibn al-Arabi, too explains in plain and clear words in his commentary that Jesus died. Similarly, other outstanding scholars, experts of Hadith and commentators of the Quran, have been consistently bearing witness to this. All the prominent men and Imams of the Mutazilah sect hold the same belief. Then what a fabrication it is to declare that Jesus’ going to heaven alive and his subsequent return is a belief by consensus (ijma). (Kitab al-Bariyya, pp. 183–189, footnote)