True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Death of Jesus Christ
Belief in the death of Jesus Christ is regarded to be the most important feature of the Ahmadiyya Movement. There have been Muslim divines like Imam Bukhari and Imam Malik who believed in the death of Jesus Christ. Imam Bukhari in his collection of Hadith has reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that
the significance of mutawaffi-ka is mumttu-ka (i.e., I will cause you to die).1
That is he has not accepted the meaning of tuwaffa as the taking of body and soul together as was accepted afterwards by some people. Imam Malik, similarly, believed in the death of Jesus Christ:
wa qala Malik-un mata,
i.e., and Malik said he died.2
Belief in the death of Jesus Christ by two persons of such great calibre shows that there must be others also from the earlier Muslim divines who entertained a similar belief. The Companions of the Holy Prophet seem to be all agreed upon this point. Because at the death of the Holy Prophet, those Companions who could not believe the sad news to be true were silenced by Abu Bakr by the recitation of the verse:
“And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; messengers before him have already passed away.”3
All the Companions of the Holy Prophet were thus duly convinced that like all other prophets, their Prophet too had left this mundane life. This was the consensus of opinion of the Companions of the Prophet over the death of Jesus Christ. Had anyone of them believed that Jesus was alive he should have pointed it out.
In this age, too, the late Sir Sayyid Ahmad of Aligarh, Mufti Muhammad ‘Abduh and Sayyid Rashid Rada of Egypt, believed in the death of Jesus Christ. Many other ‘ulama’ of India also share this belief but are afraid of declaring it in public, as such a belief is sufficient to stigmatize them as pro-Ahmadi. People have grown suspicious to the extent that anybody who just mentions it, is considered to have secret alliance with the Ahmadiyya Movement. As the claim of Hazrat Mirza [Ghulam Ahmad] is based on the death of Jesus Christ, the Muslim ‘ulama’ and some of the present-day translators of the Holy Quran are much hesitant in accepting this belief as true.
Apparently, the question of the life and death of Jesus Christ is neither one of the fundamentals of Islam nor a part of its furu‘ (lit. branches). Why is it, then, that it has become one of the distinguishing features of this movement? As it has been discussed before, the main object of the Ahmadiyya Movement is the propagation of Islam, particularly in the West where it has to face the onslaughts of the Dajjal (Antichrist); the belief in the corporal existence of Jesus Christ is the greatest obstacle in the propagation of Islam among Christians. If Jesus Christ is alive in heavens with his body of clay for the last two thousand years and does not partake of food and is above the needs and necessities of this material life without suffering any change in his body, he is certainly not of the human species. If he is actually endowed with these peculiarities, his body is immortal. This is the argument which is put forth by Christians very forcibly. Muslims who believe in the continued existence of Jesus Christ fall an easy prey to them. The natural corollary of their strange belief is that Jesus Christ is far above a human being, rather a co-sharer in Divinity. It is not worthwhile under these conditions to go and preach Islam to Christians. For this reason, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad laid emphasis on eradicating such a false view about Jesus Christ.
- Sahih al-Bukhari, 65:12. ↩
- Imam Muhammad Tahir of Gujrat, Majma’ Bihar al-Anwar (Lucknow, India, Nawal Kishore Press), Vol. I, p. 286, and Ikmal al-lkmal Sharh Muslim, Vol. I, p. 265. ↩
- The Holy Quran, 3:144. ↩