There is robust scientific, archaeological and historical evidence to suggest that Jesusas travelled to Kashmir after the events of the crucifixion in order to reform the lost tribes of Israel. The Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Mirza Ghluam Ahmad of Qadian, has dealt with this subject matter in his epic book ‘Jesus in India’ in a comprehensive manner. These lost tribes were the Jews that were exiled by the King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire Bukhtanasar (Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the city and the temple of Jerusalem in 587 BC, after a siege that began in 589 BC). The deported Jewish population emigrated eastward towards Afghanistan, Kashmir and India via Persia and Media. These were the very tribes that Jesusas set out to preach to after surviving the events of the crucifixion; the eastward journey of Jesusas ended in Kashmir. Jesusas took the message of God to these tribes, who accepted Christianity. Jesusas foretold his followers about the advent of a great prophet after him and directed them to accept him. In obeyance of these teachings, the followers of Jesusas in Kashmir accepted the Great Prophetsa of Arabia at the time of his advent and embraced the religion of Islam. The aim of this short article is to review the evidence that Jesusas was actively involved in proselytisation of the lost tribes of Bani Israel, residing in the regions of Kashmir and neighbouring areas.
Is there any evidence from the historical literature that a prophet resided in Kashmir in ancient times?
The study of the history of Kashmir suggests that long before the advent of Islam, a prophet preached in Kashmir. An eminent and well respected Kashmiri writer called Mullah Khaleel has been reported to have said that even before the Holy Prophetsa, Kashmiris followed a prophet of God and followed a divine book. The historical writings of that era suggest that Kashmir was regarded as a place from where spiritual guidance was sought. A famous ode to Kashmir suggests the presence of a religious prophet in the land of Kashmir, who was the guiding light for the whole region. The ode can be translated as “Kashmir is a place from where the words and directions come; the one chosen by Allah utter these words”. This ode was written by a famous Royal Court poet.
Historical Hindu literature mentions the presence of a most revered reformer with the name of ‘Ishai’; ‘Ishai’ is probably an alternative form of Jesus (Isa)as. A poem entitled ‘The Poems of a Yogi’ says, “My friend, to what country did Ishai go, and what country went John? My Friend, where is the guru of the gurus, and where is your mind resting? My friend, Ishai has gone towards Arabia, John towards Egypt. My friend, Ishai is the guru, my guru. The mind of the yogi rests only in the yogi”.
The Sanskrit Traditions also give the description of this prophet, who was born to a virgin. The essence of some historical Sanskrit writing translates as the following: “Once he went up to the mountain covered in snow where he saw a white handsome King in white clothes. The King said ‘I am the reformer who was born to a virgin. I am here to reform the people and establish the truth. I am here to purify the soul’”. The extract continues with deeply philosophical religious concepts pertaining to spiritual purification.
A famous fountain in Kashmir is called ‘The Prophet’s Fountain’, which is about seven miles north of Trahgam; it is suggested that the Jesusas visited this fountain and delivered his sermon here. This is in concordance with the Biblical prophecies of Jesusas preaching to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
In summary, historical Hindu literature and Sanskrit traditions support the notion that a fair-skinned Prophet, who called himself the son of a virgin, preached religious practices and teachings in the mountains of the Ladakh and Tibet. His name is quoted to be ‘Ishai’, which is probably an alternative form ‘Isa’ (the name of Jesusas in one of the local languages). This evidence points to the fact that Jesusas preached to the people of Kashmir.
Does Kashmiri architecture show any impact of the teachings of Jesusas?
Architectural artefacts tend to be durable and hence can be a valuable source for the study of the historical religious beliefs of a nation. The world famous Architect, Norman L. Koonce, has suggested that the goal of sacred architecture is to make “transparent the boundary between matter and mind, flesh and the spirit”.
The architecture of Kashmir and Afghanistan provides strong evidence that the religious teaching of Jesusas had a profound impact in those geographical areas. Perhaps the strongest archaeological evidence comes from the architect of the Temple of Marttand. The Temple of Marttand is the finest example of what is known as the Kashmirian style of architecture, and was built by the most noted of the Kashmir kings, Lalataditya, who ruled between the years 699 and 736 a.d.Interestingly, this temple has a striking resemblance with the Temple of Jerusalem.
The writings of archeological experts and eminent travellers corroborate this. Mr Godfrey Thomas Vigne, (1801–1863) an accomplished lawyer and traveller spent seven years touring the north-west regions of India in 1824. During these journeys, he visited Kashmir, Ladakh, and other parts of Central Asia. He published the accounts of these travels in ‘A Personal Narrative of a Visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, and Afghanistan,’ London, 1840, 8vo, and in ‘Travels in Kashmir,’ London, 1842, 8vo. Mr Vigne said, “I had been struck with the great general resemblance which the temple bore to the recorded disposition of the ark, and its surrounding curtains, and in imitation of which the temple at Jerusalem was built; and it became for a moment a question whether the Kashmirian temples had not been built by Jewish architects, who had recommended them to be constructed on the same plan, for the sake of convenience merely. It is, however, a curious fact that in Abyssinia, the ancient Ethiopia, which was also called Kush, the ancient Christian churches, as I am informed by Mr. Wolff, are not unlike those of Kashmir, and that they were originally built in imitation of the temple, by the Israelites who followed the Queen of Sheba to Aksum, the capital of Tigree, where she resided with her son Menelik, whom she had by Solomon, who (Menelik) took possession of the throne of Kush, where his descendants are at this moment the Nugus, or Kings, of Abyssinia”.
Mr James Fergusson, one of the leading architectural historians in the 19th century, was widely regarded as a specialist of Indian architecture; he was awarded many honours and titles including Vice-President of the Royal Asiatic Society and Vice President of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Mr James Ferguson was regarded as an authority on the Temple of Jerusalem. He wrote in 1876 “The temple itself is a very small building, being only 60 feet in length by 38 feet in width. The width is of the Façade, however is eked out by two wings or adjunets which make it 60 feet. Also it realises the problem that you so earnestly set themselves to solve— how to build a temple with three dimensions equal but yet should not be a cube. Small however, as a Jewish temple was, it was more than twice as large as this one. At Jerusalem the temple was 100 cubits, or 150 feet in length, breadth and height. At Marttand these dimensions were only 60 feet. But it is one of the points of interest in the Kashmiri Temple that it reproduces in plan, at least the Jewish temple more nearly than any other known building”. This remarkable similarity in the architectural structure of these two Temples is a practical testimony of the impact of proselytisation by Jesusas of the Kashmiri people.
Not only the places of worship, but also the historical places of burial in Kashmir conform to the Jewish teachings. The pattern of ancient graves in Kashmir is completed in concordance with Jewish practices (Figure 2). The ancient Kashmiri graves are an exact replica of open graves, with a window towards the West, as found in the ancient Jewish graves.,
Is there evidence of the impact of the teachings of Jesusas on the customs and practices of the Kashmiri people?
The evidence that can be gleaned from the similarities in the customs and practices of the ancient Kashmiri and Jewish populations, suggest that the teaching of Jesusas had a significant impact on the lives of Kashmiris.François Bernier (1625 – 22 September 1688) was a French traveller, who was the personal physician of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, for about 12 years. He wrote Travels in the Mughal Empire, based on his own extensive journeys and observations.
One of the queries he wished to address on his journey was “Whether it be true that Jews have a long period resided in the kingdom of Kachemire; whether they be in possession of the Holy Scripture, and, if so, whether there be any discrepancy between their Old Testament and our own?”. He writes “There are, however, many signs of Judaism to be found in this country. On entering the kingdom after crossing the Pire-penjale Mountains, the inhabitants in the frontiers struck me as resembling Jews. Their countenance and manner, and that indescribable peculiarity that enables a traveller to distinguish the inhabitants of different nations, all seemed to belong to that ancient people”. Mr F Brenier further said “You are not to ascribe what I say to mere fancy, the Jewish appearance of these visitors have been remarked by our Jesuit Fathers, and by several other Europeans, long before I visited Kachemire”.
Mentioning the Jewish influence on the people of Kashmir, François Bernier said “A second sign is the prevalence of the name of Mousa, which means Moses, among the inhabitants of this city, notwithstanding they are all Mahometans”.
The recorded evidence of the preaching activity of Jesusas comes from the writings of popular Kashmiri Scholar Abi Saeed Ghanim Al-Hindi, which alludes to the fact that the ancient Kashmiri Kings used to hold a religious Council similar to Sanhedrins.
Such councils were an important part of Jewish religious practice and existed amongst Palestinian and Iraqi Jews. Abi Saeed writes in his book that he lived in a town in India (in Kashmir) where 40 scholars used to sit on the right side of the King at the Royal Court. Their role was to study the four Holy Scriptures of Torah (Old Testament) Injeel (New Testament), Zabur (scrolls of David) and Suhufe Ibrahim (Scriptures of Ibrahim) and issue religious edicts. In fact, Abu Saeed was referring to the Sanhedrin (The ancient Jewish court system). On one occasion, the Sanhedrin discussed the prophecy about a great Prophet of Arabia in the latter days. Abi Saeed was a respected Kashmiri scholar and his testimony supports that in Kashmir practice of Sanhedrin took place in accordance with the Jewish practices of the time.
The impact of Jesus’as teachings in Kashmir is acknowledged by several eminent, independent historians including Sir Francis Younghusband. He referred to the claim of the Promised Messiahas that “Jesusas resided in Kashmir some 1900 years ago, as a saint of the name of Yus Asaf, who preached in parables and used many of the same parables as Christ used, such as, the parable of the sower. His tomb is in Srinagar.” Sir Francis Younghusband says in his book ‘Kashmir’: “When the people are in appearance of such a decided Jewish cast it is curious that such a theory should exist; and certainly, as I have said, there are real Biblical types to be seen everywhere in Kashmir, and especially among the upland villages. Here the Israelitish shepherd tending his flocks and herds may any day be seen”.
According to old Kashmiri traditions the ancient name of Kashmir was Kashiph or KashiphMir. It is suggested that the Casiphia as mentioned in Ezra viii. 17 was in fact Kashmir; the prophet Ezra was the prophet sent for the Levites from Caiphia (Kashmir) to help with the holy tasks that only Levites were allowed to carry out.
As mentioned earlier, the historical places of burial in Kashmir also conform to the Jewish teachings. The pattern of ancient graves in Kashmir is completed in concordance with Jewish practices (Figure 2).
Given the history of eviction of Jews by the King of Neo-Babylonian Empire Bukhtanasar (Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the city and the temple of Jerusalem in 587 BC after a siege that began in 589 BC) even today the term Bookht Nassoor is regarded as the most derogatory and insulting term in Kashmir.
There is strong supportive evidence in the historical writings of Kashmiri, Sanskrit and independent scholars, indicating the presence of a prophet in Kashmir. This fair-skinned prophet is reported to have talked in the language of parables, had values similar to Jewish teachings and claimed to be born to a virgin. We propose that this was in fact the prophet Jesusas, who emigrated to Kashmir in order to preach to the lost tribes of Israel after surviving the events of the crucifixion. In support of this argument, we present the remarkable similarities in the customs (the places of burial), religious practices (the Sanhedrin) and architecture (the Temple of Marttand) of Kashmiris’ and Jews. This is evidence of Jesus’as proselytisation activities in Kashmir. The striking resemblance in the aforementioned practices could have only resulted from the physical presence and influence of Jesus’as preaching and teachings.
The historical evidence points to the fact that Jesusas emigrated eastward. Then, he was actively engaged in preaching and reforming the lost sheep of the House of Israel in Kashmir and its neighbouring areas. Jesusas took the message of God to these tribes, who accepted the prophecy of Jesusas about the advent of a great prophet after him and directed them to accept the Great Prophetsa of Arabia at the time of his advent and embrace the religion of Islam.
1. Dr. Amtul Razzaq Carmichael, “The Lost Tribes of Isreal in India – A Genetic Perspective”, The Review of Religions, March, 2012, http://reviewreligion.wpengine.com/6107/the-lost-tribes-of-israel-in-india-a-genetic-perspective/.
2. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be onefold, and one shepherd” (Jn 10:16).
3. Media is a place located in the northwestern portions of present-day Iran.
4. “But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (Jn 14-26).
5. Mullah Khalee, Jan Puri Tarikhe Kashmir Maharajah Gulab Singh Kee Tasneef (trans: The History of Kashmir; Writings of Maharaj Gulab Singh).
6. Diwaney Haji Mohammad Jam Qudsi (trans: Memoirs of Haji Mohammad Jam Qudsi), 1056.
7. Isa is the name of Jesusas in one of the local language.
8. Miguel Serrani, The Serpent of Paradise: The Story of an Indian Pilgrimmage (UK: 1963), 78.
9. Boshia Paran Botee Sirg KHAND 3. Adhya 2 Asjloke 21-31.
10. Boshia Paran Botee Sirg KHAND 3. Adhya 2 Asjloke 21-31.
11. Sheikh Abdul Qadir, Bani Israel Lay Teen Gurooh (Afzal, Dec. 10 1979). Hasmat Kashmir Kay Qalmi Nuskhay (Punjab University Libraray Lahore, Calacutta Museum and British Library).
12. “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”
13. Sir Francis Edward Younghusband, “The Project Gutenberg eBook, Kashimir”, Gutenburg, May 7, 2012, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/39642/39642-h/39642-h.htm#Page_114-116.
14. G T Vigne, Travel in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo. The countries Joining the Mountain Course of the Indus, vol. 1 (London: 1844).
15. James Fergusson, “James Fergusson and Indian Architecture”, Tokyo University, 2001, http://www.kamit.jp/08_fergusson/ferg_eng.htm.
16. James Ferguson, History of Indian and Eastern Archetecture (London: 1876), 286.
17. Muazna Muzahib, Kasmir mein Bani Israel and Hazrat Isaas ka Qiyam uzz Tarikh(Trans: The History of Prophet Jesusas and Bani Israel in Kashmir) August, 2012, 44.
18. James Turner Barclay, The City of the Great King: or, Jerusalem as it was… (Philadelphia: 1858), 184.
19. F Brenier, Travels in the Moghul Empire, 1656-58 (1891), 428
20. F Brenier, Travels in the Moghul Empire, 1656-58 (1891), 430.
21. F Brenier, Travels in the Moghul Empire, 1656-58 (1891), 430.
22. F Brenier, Travels in the Moghul Empire, 1656-58 (1891), 430.
23. Assolul Kafee, Kitabul Hajja, 334.
24. Sir Franics Edward Younghusband, “A Corner of the Village of Pahlgam, Lidar Valley”, Gutenberg, May 7, 2012, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/39642/39642-h/39642-h.htm#Page_129.
25. Mohammad Azam Deeda Murree, Tarikh Kashmir Uzma, Urdu Trans. (Lahore: 1995), 28.
26. “And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God” (Ezr 8:17).
27. Muazna Muzahib, Kasmir Mein Bani Israel and Hazrat Isaas ka Qiyam uzz Tarik (trans.: History of Bani Israel and the Prophet Jesusas in Kashmir), August, 2012.
28. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be onefold, and one shepherd” (Jn 10:16).