Jesus’ Survival from the Cross

What the Bible tells us about this intriguing episode.

[ Tr a n s l a t o r’s note: All references to the verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in italics, is taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib( r a ). Where the Pr o m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ) has himself stated a certain inter- pretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. Compiled and translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad God has placed within a human being three types of controlling factors: the mind, the heart and the tongue. The mind uses reasoning and intelligence and its job is to be occupied at all times in formulating ideas and forming ever new thoughts, explanations and arguments. The mind has been assigned the duty of assessing the results and conclusions of various formu- lations. The heart, on the other hand, is the ‘king’ of the whole being. It does not use argument and proof because it has a link with the King of Kings [i.e. God Almighty] and that is why it is sometimes informed with a clear 4 Review of Religions – April 2002 The Pure Heart Presented below is a compilation, in translation, of excerpts taken from Malfoozat relating to the topic of the purity of heart. Malfoozat is the title of the ten volumes that contain the collection of discourses, speeches and addresses of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. and evident revelation and sometimes with a secret or hidden revelation. Another way of stating this is to say that the mind is a ‘Vi z i r’, a ‘Minister’ . Ministers are statesmen and in this capacity the mind is occupied with formulating ideas and schemes as well as the means and consequences. The heart has no business with all t h a t . Within the heart God has placed the power of instinct just as an ant manages to reach exactly the place where there is something sweet. The ant does not have any proof of the fact that there is something sweet at a certain place. It reaches there because God has provided it with the instinct that guides it. In this sense the heart shares a similarity with the ant because it too has an instinctive sense within it that guides it and that does not depend upon proofs, arguments, conclusions and results. However, it is quite another matter that the mind is able to and does provide such proofs for the ‘heart’. One meaning of the heart is apparent and physical. The other meaning of the heart is spiritual. The literal meaning of the term Qalb [Arabic for heart] is that which moves around or returns. As the heart is the source of circulation of blood in the body, it is referred to as Qalb. In the spiritual sense its meaning is that the progress that a human being wishes to achieve is also based around the ‘heart’. Just as the circulation of blood, crucial for sustaining human life, originates from the heart, so the spiritual progress is dependent upon the spiritual heart. Some ignorant people including some philosophers of today who place the mind at the centre of all the best activity, do not know that the mind is only the seat of cognitive powers of reasoning and argument. The power of thought and memory is in the mind but there is an aspect of the heart that makes it the ultimate sovereign. The activity of the mind has a contrived element about it that is not present in the case of the ‘heart’. That is why the heart bears a resemblance to Rabb- ul-Arsh, that is, the Lord of the Heavenly Throne. The ‘heart’ is 5 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002 able to recognise [spiritual truths] without proofs and arguments, purely through its instinctive powers. That is why it is stated in a Hadith of the Holy Prophet(sa): Istafil qalba, that is, ask your heart for a verdict – it does not state ‘ask your mind for a verdict’. It is to the ‘heart’ that the ‘cord’ of God is linked and no one should consider this a far fetched idea. It is, indeed, difficult and abstruse but those who purify themselves know that the heart does possess such noble qualities. If the heart did not possess such qualities, then the very existence of the human being would have been considered useless. The Sufis and those who carry out spiritual exercises know this well that the heart has been seen giving out light in the form of pillars of light that reach towards the skies in a straight line. This experience is certain and well witnessed. I cannot here state specific examples but those who have to undertake such exercises or those who have decided to journey through the different stages of Salook, that is mystic initiation, they have found this to be true according to their experiences. It is as if there is a fine thread connecting Arsh and Qalb, linking the Divine Throne and the spiritual heart. [At this stage] the Qalb finds pleasure in the commands it receives (from its Lord God) – it is not dependent upon external proofs and evidence. It becomes Mulhim, that is, one who is a recipient of Divine Revelation, and internally converses with God and forms verdicts. However, it is true that as long as the heart remains only a heart, it becomes a proof of the condition illustrated in the following verse of the Holy Qura’n: If we had but listened or possessed sense (Ch.67: v.11) that is, there is a time when a human being does not possess the powers of heart and mind. Then there comes a time when the mind develops its powers and faculties and then a time comes when the Qalb becomes engulfed by light – a light bursts 6 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002 forth and it is illuminated. When the time comes for the ’heart’ to come to the fore, the human being attains spiritual maturity and the heart rules over the mind. At that stage, the powers of the mind do not have supremacy over the heart. It should be noted that the different states of the mind are not specific to the believers alone. Hindus and others all use the mind alike. Those who are involved in worldly affairs and in trade and business all use the powers of the mind and their mental faculties develop to the full. Every day new ideas and inventions are made to further their affairs. In Europe and the new world you can see how well people have used their mental capacities and how frequently and how many new inventions they make. However, when the work of the Qalb is carried out, it is then that a person becomes God’s. It is at that time that all inner powers of rule and control become under the power and rule of the ‘heart’ which attains a firm control, power and strength. It is at such a stage that a human being becomes a complete human being. This is the time when he becomes a living proof of the [following verse of the Holy Qura’n where God states]: I have breathed into him of My Spirit. (Ch.15: v.30) It is a time when even the angels prostrate before him. At that time he becomes a new human being. His soul is filled with pleasure and joy. It should be remembered that this pleasure does not resemble the carnal pleasure of an adulterer, nor does it resemble the enjoyment that is gained by listening to beautiful singing. No, it does not resemble any such thing and one should not be deceived by this. The pleasure of the soul is attained when a person’s being begins to melt and flow like water at the thought of and fear of God. It is at such a stage that he becomes the ‘Kalima’ , that is, ‘the word’ and the essence of this [the following] verse begins to work within him: 7 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002 Verily His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it ‘Be’ and it is. (Ch.36: v.83) People have been greatly mistaken about the use of the term K a l i m a – t u l l a h, meaning the ‘Word of God’ in relation to Jesus and have tended to consider it to be due to some special quality possessed by Jesus whereas this is not so. This term, in fact, applies to any human being when he emerges purified from the darkness that surrounds his soul and from all the impurities and imperfections that engulf him. When such a high state of purity is achieved, a person becomes Kalima-tullah, that is, the ‘Word of God’. You should remember that a human being is the ‘Word of God’ because there is within him a soul that is referred to in the Holy Qur’an as Amr-e-Rabbi, that is, that which comes into being at the Command of God [and is under the Command of God]. However, due to their foolishness and ignorance, people do not generally appre- ciate the significance of the soul and as a result they imprison their soul and shackle it with all kinds of ‘chains’ [that are ‘created’ by their worldly pursuits]. This has the consequence of turning the light and clarity of the soul into a dangerous darkness, taking away its ability to ‘see’ and thus turning the soul into something that is so opaque that it becomes undetectable. However, when a person repents and turns to God, thus removing the cloak of a dark impure life, the light within the heart begins to shine and he begins to move towards the real ‘fountainhead’ until the highest point of righteousness is reached. At this stage all the impurities are removed and what remains is only Kalima-tullah. This is a very fine and subtle point of deep spiritual insight and one that may not be easily understood by everyone. [Malfoozat, Vol.1, pp.404–408]. 8 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002 You will know that during Bai’at, the Oath of Initiation [into Ahmadiyyat] I include this promise from the initiate: ‘I shall give precedence to faith over worldly matters’. This is so that I may see what steps are taken by those who have taken the Oath of Initiation in fulfillment of this promise. It is the case that if a person acquires even a small piece of new land, he leaves behind his home and goes and establishes himself on the newly acquired land and it is necessary that he should go and live there in order to inhabit that piece of land. (Even the likes of Muhammad Hussain [who was an outspoken opponent] had to go and stay at the Bar). Hence, when I give you a new ‘land’ and a land that can give eternal fruits if it is kept clean and cultivated with effort and hard work, why do people not come and make their homes here? If a person takes this ‘land’ with such carelessness that after ‘Bai’at’ even a few days visit [to Qadian to be with the Promised Messiah(as)] is so difficult and burdensome to him, then what hope can there be of a ‘ripened crop’ from this ‘land’. God has referred to the heart, Qalb, also as land, or earth, [as for example, in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an, it is stated]: Know that Allah is now quickening the earth after its death. (Ch.57: v.18) How much effort has to be made and care taken of land [before it can give crops and fruit]. A person buys a bullock to till the land. He then carefully sows seed in it after which he has to ensure that it is kept well watered. In short, a great deal of effort goes into the cultivation of the land and unless he makes his own personal effort and supervision, nothing comes of it. It is related that a person saw written on a stone that farming is nothing but hard work so when he started farming, he left everything to his servants. H o w e v e r, when he came to check his gains, he found that 9 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002 not only there was no gain, he had to pay out to clear his debt. At this stage he began to suspect that something was wrong. A wise person advised him that what was written on the stone was true but it was his own foolishness that brought such a bad result. He further advised the farmer that he should himself take charge of the land, only then would he reap any benefit from it. The nature of the heart is exactly like this [in terms of reaping rewards]. He who looks down disre- spectfully upon the land [newly placed in his care through his initiation into Ahmaiyyat] does not receive any blessing or favour from God. Re m e m b e r that I have been appointed for the reform of humanity and as such whosoever comes to me, becomes the beneficiary of such favours. However, I state this clearly that he who comes and takes the Oath of Initiation in a callous manner, repeating only the words, and then disappears so that we do not even know who he is and where he has gone, for such a one there is nothing – he came empty handed and he left empty handed. [Malfoozat, Volume 2, pp.70–71]. Some people consider that merely by visiting some holy person and without any effort or inner purification, they will be able to join the fold of the Truthful. This is just wishful thinking. You should study the Holy Qur’an to see that you cannot win the pleasure of God unless you too endure hardship and tribulation as did the Prophets of God. Some of their ordeals and suffering was so extreme that, [in the words of the Holy Qur’an]: Until the Messenger and the believers who were with him, cried out: When will the help of Allah arrive? Surely Allah’s help is nigh. (Ch.2: v.215) It has always been the case that the servants of God were put 10 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002 through many an ordeal and hardship before they were accepted by God. The Sufis have written about two paths that lead to success in this struggle. One is the path of Salook . This is the path of people who, by using their own intelligence and wisdom, adopt the path of God and His Prophet(sa). [God, addressing the Holy Prophet(as) states in the Holy Qur’an]: S a y, ‘if you love Allah, follow me: then will Allah love you’. (Ch.3: v.32) That is, if you wish to become the loved ones of God then you should follow the path of the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ). He is the Perfect Guide and he is the Prophet who underwent such extreme hardship and suffering that the like of it has never been seen anywhere in the world. His quest was such that it did not let him rest even for a day. Now, the followers [of this Prophet] will only be those who truly and sincerely follow his every word and every deed. The true follower is he who follows in every way. A person who has scant regard [for Divine injunctions] and a harsh atti- tude [towards others] is not liked by God. Such a person will, instead, come under the wrath of God. The injunction to follow the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ), places an obligation on the seeker to first study the whole history of the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) and then to follow in his footsteps. This is what is mean by Salook, [that is, Initiation]. There are in this 11 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002 WHEN THE HUMAN SOUL IS FACED WITH PAINFUL ORDEALS AND TRIBULATIONS, THE EXPERIENCE AND THE CONSEQUENT HUMILITY MAKES IT RADIANT. JUST AS IRON OR GLASS WHILE POSSESSING THE CAPACITY TO SHINE, SHINE ONLY AFTER THEY HAVE UNDERGONE A LENGTHY PROCESS OF BURNISHING AND THEN THEY SHINE SO BRIGHTLY THAT IN THEM IS REFLECTED THE FACE OF THE PERSON LOOKING IN. STRIVING IN THE PATH OF GOD ALSO WORKS AS A PROCESS OF BURNISHING. path numerous ordeals and hardships. It is only after showing stead-fastness in the face of numerous hardships that a person becomes a Salik, that is a ‘Devotee’. The status of the people on the path of Jazb is greater than those on the path of Salook. [The term Jazb i m p l i e s absorption of the love of God]. Those who strive on the path of Jazb are not left at the stage of Salook. God deliberately puts them through ordeals and tribulations in order to draw them closer to Himself through the eternal power of absorption, that is, Jaazba-e- Azli. All the Prophets of God were M a j z o o b, that is, they were drawn to God and were absorbed in God. When the human soul is faced with painful ordeals and tribulations, the experience and the consequent humility makes it radiant. Just as iron or glass while possessing the capacity to shine, shine only after they have undergone a lengthy process of burnishing and then they shine so brightly that in them is reflected the face of the person looking in. Striving in the path of God also works as a process of burnishing. The burnishing of the ‘heart’ should be to such a degree that the ‘face’ is reflected in the resulting ‘mirror’ [of the ‘heart’]. What is meant by ‘reflection of the face? The meaning of this is to become the fulfillment of the saying, ‘Create within you morals in accordance with the “character” of Allah’. The heart of the S a l i k, that is, the Initiate, is a ‘mirror’ that is burnished so much through undergoing experiences of great suffering and tribulation that the reflection of the moral qualities of the Holy Prophet(sa) are fixed upon it. This occurs at a time when, having undergone numerous spiritual exercises and inner purification, there remains no resentment or impurity within. It is only then that this status is attained. Every Muslim believer needs this kind of cleansing to some extent. No believer will find salvation whilst being without the ‘mirror’ of the heart. [Malfoozat, Vol. 1, pp.27-28]. 12 The Pure Heart Review of Religions – April 2002