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Ahmadiyyat Today (II)

MARCH 1985 JESUS & THE HOLY QURAN 21 JESUS AND THE HOLY QURAN By Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad Amir and Missionary Incharge, Ahmadiyya Community, USA Man is the crown of the creation. He has been granted authority and power over all other creatures of the world. There is a purpose for every creation and man, above all, has a very special and par- ticular purpose. He is not to pass this life like other lower animals and creatures, i.e., to eat, drink and die. His supreme aim in life as explained by the Holy Quran is: “/ have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship me.” (51:57) During his sojourn on this earth, man is to realize and worship God Almighty and attain spiritual heights. But who will lead man to this elevation? Who will show him those paths of spiritual light and glory? God did not leave mankind to grope in the darkness but ar- ranged specially to lead him to those blessed avenues. For this pur- pose, God Almighty sent his messengers from time to time in all regions of the world. They were the special people chosen by God to lead mankind to the true paths and to pull humanity from darkness into radiant light. It is recorded in the scriptures of practically all the major religions of the world that whenever humanity goes astray, God arranges to send His chosen ones to lead them to the right course. It is not strange, and history bears out this fact very clearly, that a prophet was always raised amongst a people whenever they drifted away from heavenly paths. It is also a historical fact that they all faced bit- ter opposition from the same people amongst whom they appeared and whose welfare, uplift and progress they cherished. What was the cause? It was because these men of God swam against the current. They opposed the existing order and prevailing system and gave a new set of rules. They preached honesty and truth, love and affec- tion for their fellow beings, respect for parents and elders, care for the poor and needy, and so on. But the highest aim of these heavenly people was to establish the Unity of God Almighty, the foun- tainhead of all the virtues, which the people of that time had aban- doned. 22 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS MARCH 1985 But the society, the masses, who were knee-deep in immorality, were not prepared to abandon their luxurious and wordly life. This was the principal cause of the opposition against these prophets. But God had established a law in this regard and the Holy Quran has ex- plained it in the following words: “Allah has decreed: ‘most surely I and my messengers “will succeed'”. (58:22) The history of every prophet is a witness to this universal truth. All the prophets of God succeeded sooner or later and the system and order which they had brought from God prevailed and their op- ponents either joined the fold or vanished and were decimated. Jesus Christ commands a special place amongst these prophets and dear ones of God. The Holy Quran has mentioned about him in detail at various places. A large portion of humanity today believes in him, not as a human being or a prophet but as God or son of God. Let me quote here a passage from a booklet “Is Jesus God” issued by ‘Worldwide Church of God’. It says: ‘Since God the Father created all things by Jesus Christ and since all things including man were made by Jesus Christ; He (Jesus) is our maker and therefore, God and His .life which He gave was of greater value than sum total of all human beings”. Why this misconception crept amongst the people about this great prophet and beloved of God? One reason was the mode of his birth. The Gospels say that he was born of virgin Mary without the assistance of male agency. The Quran also mentions the same thing. But, if someone is born of a virgin or without the help of a male, this is no criterion of becoming God or son of God. The Quran compares the birth of Jesus to the birth of Adam: “Surely the case of Jesus with Allah is like the case of Adam.” (3:60) If God has the power to create Adam without any agency, male or female, why can he not create Jesus from a female alone and without the help of a male. Therefore, if Jesus can be God or son of God then Adam will be a bigger and mightier God or son of God. So ac- cording to the Holy Quran, Jesus is not God or son of’God. He is a human being like all other people but he is surely a prophet of God. Another very significant incident presented about his divinity is his death and resurrection. As mentioned earlier, all prophets of God MARCH 1985 JESUS & THE HOLY QURAN 23 faced bitter opposition at the hands of their people in propagating their mission. Jesus also faced such situation at the hand of contem- porary Jews. Throughout his ministry of about three years, he was confronted and heckled by the divines and scholars of the Jewish na- tion. But as he was inspired by God, he was always triumphant and his opponents were always vanquished. As a last resort, the Jews planned to ensnare him in legal technicalities and eliminate him by killing him. It is a long story of treacheries, false witnesses and incrimination by his enemies in an effort to succeeded in proving a crime against him which was to be penalized by capital punishment on the cross. The main purpose of this condemnation was to prove that he was a false Messiah as it was written that “he that is hanged is accursed of God.’ (Deut. 21:23) Jesus knew well that if they were successful in killing him by cruci- fying him, their claim about his falsehood will be justified and no one will be able to convince them about his Messianic mission. They had brought him before the Great Sanhedrin, listening to his case before 71 members of the council and condemning him to death on the cross. As they could not carry out this punishment themselves, they brought this case before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. He listened to the whole case but did not find him guilty and wanted to set him free but the Jews forced his hand. Therefore, the Roman Governor had no other choice except to give in to their demands. As a result Jesus was nailed to the cross. The joy of his enemies was un- bounded on their victory that they had succeeded in hanging the false Messiah on the cross and thus making him accursed in the eyes of their fellow beings, according to the Law of Scriptures. How strange it is that Christians too accepted that their Lord died on the cross and became accursed. Let me explain what the word ‘curse’ means. This nauseating word is related directly to the heart alone. He whose heart is black, vicious, sinful, foul and rotten by running away from God, he who is deprived of God’s blessing, he who is deprived of the love of God and is blind like a devil, he who has lost the true and heavenly path and he who has severed every link and loyalty to his Creator and there is hostility and spite and enmity between him and God, God loathes him and he loathes God, he is the one who is accursed. How can one use such a nauseating word for Jesus who was a beloved of God. There was never a time on Jesus when he detested and loathed God. He never even thought that he was removed from God or was 24 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS MARCH 1985 an enemy of his Creator. His heart was always filled with the love and the light of his Lord. This is what we will have to think and believe about Jesus if we consider him to be accursed or to have died an accursed death. But what is the verdict of the Holy Quran about his death? It clears him of all the incriminations brought against him by his enemies, the Jews. It says: “And for their saying, ‘We did slay the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’ whereas they slew him not, nor did they bring about his death on the Cross, but he was made to ap- pear to them like one crucified and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no certain knowledge thereof but only pursue a conjecture. On the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself.” (4:158-159) Again we read: “(Remember the time) when Allah said, O Jesus, I will cause thee to die (a natural death) and will clear thee (of the charges) of those who disbelieve and exalt those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.” (3:56) See, how the Quran states clearly that Jesus did not die an accurs- ed death. The Jews failed to kill him on the cross. He died just like any other human being and like all other prophets and was exalted in the eyes of God like other heavenly messengers. It states another prophecy as well and that is those who will believe in him will always be exalted above those who disbelieve in him. History of the last two thousand years bears out this fact without the least doubt and needs no explanation. Then again the Quran clears this great prophet from being accurs- ed, When Jesus speaks about his birth and his death. He says: “That I was blessed on the day I was born and I will be blessed on the day I die and I will again be blessed when I shall be given life again.’, (19:34) See, how Quran exonerates and announces about the blessings the day he was born and the day he died and the day he will be raised again. How lovely is this description and the word accursed is kept far away from this beloved one of God. The Quran mentions about Jesus in very admirable and loving words and says that he was a messenger of God: “And He (i.e., God) will teach him the book and the wisdom MARCH 1985 JESUS & THE HOLY QURAN 25 and the Torah and the Gospel. And (will send him) as a messenger to the children of Israel.” (3:49-50) Again while giving glad tidings about his birth to Mary, his mother, God says in the Holy Quran: “When the angel said, ‘O Mary, ‘Allah gives thee glad tidings of (a son) through a word from Him; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honored in this world and in the next and of . those who are granted nearness (to God).” (19:46) See how the Quran says that he is honored in this world and in the next and he is one of those who are granted nearness. The Quran has never mentioned that he was ever removed from God or was ever ac- cursed or his heart was ever far away from God. Let me end with a prayer of Jesus Christ for the people who believed in him as mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Said Jesus, son of Mary, ‘O Allah, our Lord send down to us a table from heaven, spread with food that it may be to us a festival, to the first of us and to the last of us and a sign from Thee; and provide sustenance for us, for Thou art the best of Sustainers. Allah said, ‘surely I will send it down to you; but whosoever of you disbelieves afterwards—/ will surely punish them with a punish- ment wherewith I will not punish any other of the peoples”. (5:115-116) What a majestic prophecy of the Holy Quran about the Christian nations. God accepted Jesus’s prayer and, in the beginning, Chris- tians were granted empires and kingdoms and now in the end for the last two hundred years Christian nations were again granted large kingdoms. But what about the warning at the end of this verse. If they disbelieve, the punishment will also be unique, special and unusual. Imagine only the horrors of the two world wars. Nearly twenty milh’on people lost their lives. Others who suffered untold sufferings physical, social and economical, are innumberable. And God knows what dire punishment is yet in store in the form of a future nuclear wax. This dreaded calamity and hell upon earth is looming large over the heads of today’s humanity and what a catastrophe it will be, cannot even be imagined. So let the followers of Christ take heed and follow the way God has explained, for their own safety and the security of the whole human race.