The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
presenting Islam as peaceful, tolerant, rational, inspiring
1. Islam
2. Publications
3. Activities

U.K. Jamaat Newsletter
4. Ahmadiyya Movement
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
6. Non-English material

Discussion forums
Site Statistics
Contact us
Search the website


From the July 1999 Bulletin of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha`at Islam Lahore UK

A Discussion

The following report was received from Mr Tahir Naeem, our representative in Glasgow.

Every year during Ramadaan a radio station operates from Glasgow, which is given the name Ramadaan Radio. This year Maulana Sheikh al-hadith Amir of Jamaat-i Islami Mardan and an ex-member of the Pakistan parliament delivered a speech on the Finality of Prophethood. There was a question-answer session after the speech. I tried to ask the Maulana some questions but he responded that because his replies will be very long, it will be better for me to speak to him personally in the mosque. I made an appointment with him for January 21st, in the evening and I arrived there in the company of some friends on the appointed hour.

After some time the Maulana arrived with two companions. My first question was:

"What is your opinion about the people who believe that Jesus died a natural death.?"

Maulana responded that he had not come to deliver a Fatwah against anyone, however so far as Jesus was concerned we should believe that,while still alive, Jesus was taken up by Allah with his body to Himself and it should be a part of our faith to believe that in the last age Jesus will again be sent to this earth. My second question was:

"In accordance with the teachings of the Quran Allah is everywhere. He is closer to us than our life-vein. This being so, I cannot follow what is meant by raising Jesus up to Himself. Jesus should be alive here on earth, somewhere."

In reply Maulana told me that I appeared to deny the miracle of the miraj.*
[*Note: Ascension of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.]

I replied that the same principle applied to miraj. Allah did not have to take the body of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) anywhere. In any case, by believing the miraj to have been a spiritual experience rather than a physical one, does not negate its miraculous nature. Maulana's reply was whether I would give my own intellect importance over hadith. He added that, whereas human intellect was given importance in Islam, there are some issues whose truth cannot be fathomed by intellect. For such matters one has to have help from hadith. He also said that when, regarding Jesus, Muhammad (peace be upon him) had said that Allah had taken him to heavens with his body while still alive and that Jesus will one day return to earth, then why did I ignore what the Holy Prophet had said.

My reply was:

"The issue is not of believing or disbelieving what the Holy Prophet said. The issue is whether he actually said these things in the first place because these beliefs cannot be supported from the Holy Quran. There are many Muslim elders and intellectuals who believe that Jesus died a natural death."

Maulana said that I had mentioned Muslim scholars and elders; so would I give more importance to the views of these scholars or that of Imam Abu Hanifa. I said:

"No one can question the greatness of Imam Abu Hanifa but be, too, was a human being. It is not a sin to disagree with him. What would you say about Imam Malik."
[Note: Imam Malik believed Jesus has passed away.]

On this Maulana became very angry and shouted: "Believe or I am leaving." However, others present interceded and Maulana sat down again and asked me whether I would give preference to the views of the few people I had mentioned and disregard the views of the whole of the Muslim ummah. I replied that this was not an argument that religious matters should be decided on the basis of majority. If this principle is held to be correct then Islam could not have started because, at that time, the disbelievers of Makka, also advanced the same argument; further asking the Holy Prophet why he wanted to take them away from the forefather's religion.

At this point, I put before the Maulana an English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran distributed by Saudi Arabia. In it, it is said that there is a difference of opinion amongst the ummah about death of Jesus; one belief is that Allah raised him to the heavens alive and this is believed by most Muslims. Maulana said that I was reading the commentary. I should prove what I was saying was correct from the translation of the Holy Quran. I then put before the Maulana those verses of the Holy Quran where the word tawaffa is used to mean death. Maulana did not even bother to look at the verses I was putting before him. He just said that regardless of these verses, when the word tawaffa is used for Jesus, it means he was bodily taken up to heavens while still alive and does not mean death. On this I asked for a translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi who has translated the word tawaffa when related to Jesus, as death but added the word "temporarily" in brackets; this has changed the meaning of the verse. Thus he translates verse 53 of Al-Imran as:

"O Jesus I am going to cause you to die and (temporarily) raise you up to Me."

I pointed out that if the word "temporarily', added by the Maulana, is deleted, death of Jesus stands proven even by this translation. However Maulana continued to refer me to hadith and would not touch upon the Holy Quran. He continued to ignore the copies of the Holy Quran open in front of him; only once did lie look at the first page of the English translation to see whose translation it was. I told the Maulana that if he wanted me to give the hadith preference over the Holy Quran then that was not possible for me. I also pointed out to him how at one time, Muslims belonging to different schools of thought used to fabricate hadith to contradict those of the opposite point of view. Maulana agreed with this but he continued to give more weight to hadith as against the Holy Quran. He continued to say that because the Holy Prophet Muhammad had interpreted the word tawaffa as "taking up alive with the body", this is the interpretation that should be accepted.

Upon this I referred him to the incident when, at the time of the demise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Umar had pulled out his sword and declared that he will behead any one who says that Muhammad (peace be upon him) has died. At that time Hazrat Abu Bakr had recited the verse of the Quran which runs:

"And Muhammad is a messenger of Allah, all prophets before him have passed away; if he now passes away or is killed, will you then turn away".

On hearing these words, Hazrat Umar put away his sword. Now, if Hazrat Umar had believed that Jesus had been bodily taken up and he was still alive in the heavens, he would have said that if Jesus can live for thousands of years, so can Muhammad (peace be upon him). The fact that Hazrat Umar calmed down proves that he believed that Jesus had died a natural death, just like all other prophets. I also referred Maulana to verse 117 of AI Mai'da which clearly speaks of death of Jesus but the Maulana was not inclined to accept any Quranic evidence.

Now I questioned the Maulana about the Finality of Prophethood. Let me add here that on Radio Ramadaan in his speech Maulana had said that because Jesus had been made a prophet, he shall always remain a prophet. Reason being that once this status is granted by Allah it is never removed. I said:

"You say that the Holy Prophet is the Last Prophet and after him the door of prophethood has been closed for ever. However, during your radio broadcast you said that Jesus . . ."

Here the Maulana interrupted me because he had probably understood what I was about to say. He did not appear to want his words broadcast on the radio to be repeated. He started shouting:

"When did I say this, I never said anything . . ."

I attempted to put the question again and Maulana started shouting again that he never said anything; and he would not let me complete the question. I then requested the Maulana to at least let me complete my question so that others, who were present, may know what I wanted to ask. When Maulana realized that I was determined to ask my question, he said:

"I did not say anything, I just repeated what Muhammad, the messenger of Allah, said. That is that Jesus was a prophet of Allah, he is a prophet of Allah and he shall remain a prophet of Allah. Upon his Second coming, he shall come as a follower of Muhammad but his status will still be that of a prophet.* He will be raised on the day of judgement as a prophet."
[*Note: This is exactly what the Qadiani jamaat says about Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. So, both Sunnis and Qadianis believe that after the Holy Prophet Muhammad a prophet will appear. The Sunnis believe an old prophet, Jesus, will come. The Qadianis believe a new prophet has appeared. The debate between them is not whether a prophet can, or cannot, appear after the Holy Prophet but who will be that prophet.]

I ended the discussion by saying that it was clear from these words that Maulana did not believe in the Finality of Prophethood because according to him the last prophet to appear would be Jesus. The greatest benefit of this discussion was that non-Ahmadi Muslims present realized that who accuse us of denying the Finality of Prophethood are, in fact, guilty of doing so themselves. They are waiting for someone who was a prophet, who is a prophet and who shall remain a prophet and who shall he raised as a prophet on the last day. A Maulvi sahib present said: "Beliefs of Abdullah Yusuf Ali are themselves doubtful"! He was referring to the English translation and the commentary published by Saudi Arabia I had put before them, which spoke of the differences amongst Muslims regarding the death of Jesus. I have recorded this discussion and played it back to many non-Ahmadi friends. The benefit of such debates is that while they increase our own knowledge and understanding, they also raise in the minds of the listeners the question: "Are the matters of faith being expounded by Maulvis in accordance with the Holy Quran"?

Website created and published by: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha`at Islam Lahore Inc. U.S.A.
Contact us.