The concept of the second coming of religious teachers who have passed away is the cause of much confusion, misunderstanding and uncertainty especially amongst the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.
The Jews are awaiting their Messiah, even though he has already appeared, unrecognised by them, in the form of Jesus Christas. The Christians believe there can be no prophet after Hazrat Jesusas and that he alone will descend from the heavens and return in his physical form in the latter days. The Muslims are awaiting the Mahdi and also believe that Hazrat Jesusas will return in his physical form. They also believe that the expression Khataman Nabiyyeen means that Hazrat Muhammadsa was the last prophet to be sent by God and that no other prophet can return even though they still expect Jesus Christas, a Jewish prophet, to someday re-appear in his physical form and as the Messiah.
Hazrat Jesusas made it clear that a second coming of one who has passed away means the coming of someone else in his power and spirit, and likened John the Baptist to Elijah, whom the Jews were expecting before the advent of their Messiah:
“For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”
In the world of religion there are two different types of prophets:
- A law-bearing prophet
- A prophet who teaches and upholds the law and who is subordinate to the law-bearing prophet he represents
Jesusas, the first Messiah, was sent by God for the benefit of the tribes of Israel and in order to fulfil God’s covenant with them. Hazrat Jesusas claimed he was sent only to uphold the Mosaic Laws and not to change them nor to create a new religion. He was a Jew, and as such practised and taught only those laws given to Hazrat Mosesas.
Similarly, Ahmadi Muslims believe that the second Messiah came in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah, whose advent was foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. He was a Muslim and was sent to uphold the original Islamic laws, and was bound not to change them or to create a new religion.
Before continuing, it is important to understand what the difference between a Messiah and a prophet is.
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh, the fourth Caliph of the Promised Messiahas, has explained this: “prophets are so many but all of the prophets were not called Messiah. A Messiah teaches supreme sacrifice in the name of religion while other prophets were given permission by God to defend themselves with the sword, if the sword was raised against them. Messiahhood lies in this central attitude of supreme sacrifice and it is this that differentiates it from prophethood.”
As seen through religious history, many times precedents are set and patterns can be detected. With the followers of each prophet, history repeats itself to provide signs and comfort for those looking for Divine Guidance. Following this, similarities and ties can be found between these two Messiahs: Hazrat Jesusas and Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. The following is a brief study of some of these commonalities.
Birth of the Messiahs in relation to the Founders of their Dispensations
A striking resemblance is that both of the Messiahs appeared within the same time period after the world’s two great law-bearing prophets: Mosesas and Muhammadsa.
The date of birth of Hazrat Mosesas can be determined by the fact that the Exodus took place circa 1215 B.C.E. in the last year of the reign of Pharaoh Merenptah. Hazrat Mosesas is believed to have been about 60 years of age at the time, so his birth occurred around the year 1275 B.C.E. Jesusas was born around the year 6 B.C.E. making the interval between him and Mosesas 1269 years.
The year of birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa was 570 A.D. and that of Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas 1835 A.D., the interval between the two being 1265 years.
It is recorded in Matthew 2:2-10 that a special ‘star’, commonly known as the ‘Star of Bethlehem’, appeared in the sky at the time of the birth of Hazrat Jesusas, which ‘three wise men’ (magi) saw as a sign of the birth of the ‘King of the Jews.’ This ‘star’ is thought by some to have been Halley’s Comet. Likewise, in Matthew 24:29-30, Hazrat Jesusas foretells of his second advent in the latter days and refers to the darkening of the sun and moon and ‘shooting stars’.
Before the birth of Ghulam Ahmadas, the darkening of the sun and moon took place on 19th May, 1780, in North America and for many days in the summer of 1783 over large areas of Europe, North Africa and Asia and the falling of stars from heaven was witnessed on the 12th and 18th of November, 1833, in the Western Hemisphere, when showers of tens of thousands of meteors heralded the imminent birth of Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, the second advent of Jesus Christ. Halley’s comet also appeared in 1835 at the time of his birth.
In 1891, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas proclaimed to the world that Almighty God had revealed to him that he was the Promised One, both Mahdi and Messiah. He was ridiculed and his opponents used to say, “How can he be the Mahdi, when the heavenly signs of the eclipses had not heralded his advent?”
On Thursday 21st March, 1894, which was the thirteenth day in the month of Ramadan, there occurred a spectacular eclipse of the moon in the eastern Hemisphere. On Friday 6th April of the same year, and on the 28th day of Ramadan, an eclipse of the sun occurred for two hours. Both these eclipses were spectacular on the horizon from Qadian in India, the homeland of the claimant, through to Mecca.
The following year, a set of similar eclipses was witnessed in the Western Hemisphere on March 10th and 26th, 1895, in the blessed month of Ramadan. The Promised Messiahas claimed that these signs were manifested by God Almighty as a sign of his truthfulness.
In that same prophecy it was related that the community of the Promised Messiahas would spread by the four winds in the heavens and earth. The prophecy has been enhanced by that revelation given to the Promised Messiahas: “I will cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth.”
What Is the Relationship Between Jesus Christas and Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas?
In a question and answer session, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadra explained:
“Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas claimed to be a spiritual representative of Jesus Christas following the same attitude in life which denounced the use of force and coercion in the name of religion, that is the spirit of Christianity or rather, should be the spirit of Christianity that was taught by Jesus[as]. This teaching was that in the face of coercion or oppression in the name of God, one should try to show patience and ‘if struck on one cheek, offer the other one as well.’ This form of sacrifice would eventually win more hearts than would be the case with the use of the sword. This is exactly what is happening in Ahmadiyyat under Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian and so we believe that he was true in his claim that he is a true representative of the spiritual Jesus Christas.”
Images of the Messiahs
It is very interesting to note that today, only two images of prophets of God can be observed and identified and they are of the two Messiahs.
Admittedly the image on the Shroud of Turin and the stains on the Shroud of Oviedo (Sudarium) have yet to be confirmed as that of Jesus Christas after his crucifixion, but in the near future the use of forensic science may well confirm or discount them as genuine. However, even apart from the shroud, many renderings of Hazrat Jesusas can be seen, especially in churches.
The Promised Messiahas was very reluctant to have his photograph taken because he said it could lead to a form of ‘idol worship.’ However, he said:
“The permission that I have given to use my photograph is based on the need of the Europeans. I have received some letters from Europe and America wherein it is mentioned that having seen the photograph they have arrived at the conclusion that this is just the same Messiah. The photograph, at times, helps the physician diagnose the disease. So far as the Shariat is concerned it preserves all such things for a longer period of time as are useful to the people.”
The Nearness of the Graves of the Messiahs
The Holy Qur’an destroys the myth that resonates in Christian and some Muslim denominations that Jesus did not die but awaits his physical return to earth. It states:
“And I [Jesus] 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.” 
The Promised Messiahas, using evidence from the New Testament, Buddhist and Hindu archives, as well as receiving revelation from God Himself, claimed that Hazrat Jesusas survived crucifixion and left Palestine to seek out the remaining ten lost tribes of Israel and in doing so travelled East towards Afghanistan and northern India where he is said to have preached for many years and eventually died and was buried in Kashmir.
“He [Jesusas] answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’”
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
The tomb of Jesusas can be found in Khanyar Street, in the city of Srinagar where it can still be visited. The tomb is Jewish, as attested by the direction the grave is facing. Next to the grave is a footprint engraved in stone, an artistic rendition of the wounds of crucifixion.
As mentioned earlier, in the near future the use of more advanced forensic science may well confirm or negate whether the Shroud and the body within the grave are linked, perhaps by DNA or other scientific identifying source.
The Promised Messiahas was born in Qadian, Punjab, in northern India, and after his demise, was buried in Qadian. Hence the two Messiahs lay interred about 260 road miles from each other, in the soil of the Indian sub-continent.
The 16 Distinctions Mirrored in Both Messiahs
When the first Messiah came, namely Hazrat Jesusas, he was assigned with 16 religious distinctions to show that he was truly the Messiah that the followers of Hazrat Mosesas were waiting for. Similarly, the same 16 distinctions were given to the second Messiah so that both had a perfect resemblance. The Promised Messiahas discussed each distinction and how it was mirrored in his advent, in his writings:
“The first similarity between the two is that they are both promised. There have been thousands of saints and men of God in Islam, but the advent of not even one of them was promised. It was only the advent of the one who was to come with the name of the Messiah that was promised. In the same way, before Jesusas there was no prophet in Israel whose advent was promised, only the Messiah’s advent had been promised.
The second similarity is the loss of kingdom. There is no doubt that a short while before the advent of Jesusas, the Israelite kingdom had been lost. In the same way, before the birth of the last Messiah, the Islamic kingdom in India had disappeared from this country due to all sorts of misconduct, and the British kingdom had been established in its place.
The third is that in the time of the first Messiah the Jews had become divided into many sects and were in need of an arbiter who would decide between them. Likewise, at the time of this last Messiah, the Muslims have become divided into many sects.
The fourth similarity is that just as the first Messiah was not commissioned to fight with the sword, the last Messiah has also not been commissioned to fight with the sword. In fact there can be no question of such a thing when the age has shown that no heart can be convinced with the sword and no civilized person now takes up the sword for the sake of religion.
Fifth: In the time of the first Messiah, the character of the Jews had become thoroughly corrupt. Their divines in particular were deceitful, worshippers of the world, and greedy for worldly gain and honour. The same is the case with common Muslims and the majority of the Muslim divines in the time of the last Messiah.
Sixth: The first Messiah was raised under the Roman Emperor Caesar. This distinction is shared by the last Messiah, in that I too have been raised under Caeser [British Empress Victoria]—only this Caesar is better than the Caesar who ruled in the time of the Messiah
Seventh: The Christian faith ultimately penetrated into the people of Caesar. I too partake of this inasmuch as I perceive that both in Europe and America great interest is taken in my claim and arguments. Hundreds of journals and newspapers have published my claim and the reasons in support thereof…
Eighth: A comet had appeared in the time of the Messiah and the same comet appeared again in my time…
Ninth: When Jesusas the Messiah was put upon the cross, the sun suffered an eclipse. Likewise, when I was denied, not only did the sun, but the moon also suffered an eclipse in the month of Ramadan, and not once but—in accordance with the Hadith—twice. These eclipses were mentioned in the Gospels, the Holy Qur’an, as well as Ahadith.
Tenth: After the persecution of Jesusas by the Jews, there was a severe outbreak of plague among them. Likewise, there was a severe outbreak of plague in India in my time.
Eleventh: The Jewish divines tried to condemn Jesusas as a rebel. He was persecuted and the Jews sought to have him sentenced to death. The Divine decree has Propagation, Establishment of a Holy Jama’at, and Instructions associated me with him in this regard as well. I too was charged with conspiracy to murder and attempts were made to show that I was a rebel…
Twelfth: When Jesusas was put upon the cross, a thief was also put upon the cross at the same time. I have been associated with him in this incident as well. On the day that I was discharged from the case of conspiracy to murder, in accordance with a categorical prophecy that I had published widely in advance, a Christian thief had also been produced in the same court…
Thirteenth: When Jesusas was produced before Pilate and it was demanded that he should be sentenced to death, Pilate declared that he had not found any sin in Jesusas which should make him deserving of death. In the same way, Captain Douglas, the District Magistrate, in answer to one of my questions told me that he did not charge me with any offence.
It appears that Captain Douglas was more steadfast and had greater regard for justice than Pilate, inasmuch as in the end Pilate exhibited cowardice and became afraid of the vicious divines of the Jews, but Captain Douglas showed no such fear…
Fourteenth: Jesusas, having been born without a father, was not an Israelite and yet he was the last prophet in the Mosaic dispensation who appeared in the fourteenth century after Mosesas. I too am not one of the Quraish and have been raised in the fourteenth century after the Holy Prophetsa and have appeared at the end.
Fifteenth: The world in the time of Jesusas had taken on a new aspect. Roads had been built, the mailing system had been regulated, the military structure had been improved, facilities had been created for travellers, and the system of justice had been made much more transparent. Similarly, in my time, life has become much more comfortable. Railways have also been built, an indication of which is given in the Holy Qur’an…
Sixteenth: Jesusas resembled Adamas as he was born without a father. I also resemble Adamas as I was born a twin. Muhyud Din Ibn-e-‘Arabi has recorded that the last Khalifah in Islam would be of Persian origin (i.e., would be a Mughal) and would be born a twin. A girl would be born first and then he would be born. That is how I was born, on a Friday morning. A girl was first and I was born after her.”
In Islamic teachings it is narrated in the traditions that Jesus son of Mary will come again. 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, Mohyyud Din Ibn-e-‘Arabi, when he says: “His descent in later ages will be with a different body.”
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, the Imam of the age and the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam prophesied:
“Remember, that no one will descend from heaven. All our opponents who are alive today will die and no one will see Jesus son of Mary descending from heaven. Then their next generation will pass away and no one of them will see this spectacle. Then the generation next after that will pass away without seeing the son of Mary descending from heaven. Then God will make them anxious that though the time of the supremacy of the cross had passed away and the world had undergone great changes, yet the son of Mary had not descended from heaven. Then the wise people will suddenly discard this belief. The third century after today will not yet have come to a close when those who hold this belief, whether Muslims or Christians, will lose all hope and will give up this belief in disgust. There will then be only one religion that will prevail in the world and only one leader. I have come only to sow the seed, which has been sown by my hand. Now it will sprout and grow and flourish and no one can arrest its growth.”
- Matthew, 11:13-14 New International Version.
- Matthew, 5:17.
- Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, “Q&A (18/4/1999)”, The Review of Religions, May 2002.
- Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, “Q&A (18/4/1999)”, The Review of Religions, May 2002.
- Malfuzat, Vol. 8, pg. 149-151.
- The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ma’idah, Verse 118.
- Matthew, 15:24.
- John 10:16.
- See Matthew 24:29, the Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Qiyamah, Verses 9-10. And Sunan DarQutni.
- It is very interesting to note, although further research will have to be made, that Pontius Pilate is alleged to have been born in Fortingall, Perthshire, Scotland and Captain M.W. Douglas was also born (1863-1957) in the U.K.
- The Essence of Islam, Vol. 4, pp. 197-202.
- Mohyyud Din Ibn ‘Arabi, Tafsir Araisul Bayan, Vol. 1, p. 262.
- Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Tazkarat-ul-Shahadatain, p. 64-65.