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South Africa court case (1982-1985)

Contents of the Evidence

16. Birth of Jesus
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
6. Non-English material

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The Evidence
Section 16:
Birth of Jesus

Translator’s Note:
This issue had to be dealt with in our evidence since the defendants had pleaded that Lahore Ahmadis are kafir because they reject the virgin birth of Jesus, and believe that he was conceived by Mary in wedlock through her husband. This Section shows that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself believed in the virgin birth, as do the defendants, and therefore this argument cannot be used against him (16.1:1). As regards the Lahore Ahmadiyya view, it must be pointed out that belief in the virgin birth of Jesus is by no means a fundamental of the Islamic faith, nor is it conclusively proven from the Holy Quran. It is shown here that Hazrat Mirza gave his followers freedom to deduce from the Quran that Jesus had a father. He told enquirers that his own belief on this issue was purely personal, based on following the majority Muslim view, rather than on any specific Divine guidance (16.1:6).

The Section then gives detailed arguments from the Quran and Hadith to show the grounds for believing that Jesus had a father (16.2). It goes on to quote the views of many Muslim scholars who either did not accept the virgin birth, or considered it permissible in Islam to reject this belief (16.3). Then the opinions held by prominent followers of Hazrat Mirza are given, also showing that it is by no means essential to believe in the virgin birth (16.4). At the end, the Lahore Ahmadiyya position is set out as given by Maulana Muhammad Ali (16.4:iii): Whichever view of the birth of Jesus a person takes, it does not affect his faith or practice of Islam in any way.

16.1: Views of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

From the very beginning, Muslims have differed on the issue of the birth of Jesus. Some believe that he was born without the agency of a father, while others hold that he did have a father. This is not an issue of faith but an issue of history. Accepting Jesus as a prophet is what is required of a Muslim in terms of faith.

1. As regards our Imam, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, he personally believed that Jesus was born without the agency of a father. He wrote:

  1. “One of the doctrines we hold is that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were both born miraculously. ... And the secret in creating Jesus and John in this manner was the manifestation of a great sign. ... And the first thing He [God] did to bring this about was the creation of Jesus without a father through the manifestation of Divine power only.” (Mawahib ar-Rahman, pp. 70 – 72)
  2. “The ground on which this is based is his [Jesus Christ’s] creation without the agency of a human father, and the detail of this is that a certain section of the Jews, i.e. the Sadducees, were deniers of the Resurrection, so God informed them through some of His prophets that a son from among their community would be born without a father, and this would be a sign of the truth of Resurrection.” (Hamamat al-Bushra, p. 90)
  3. “The [Arya Samajist] lecturer also objected to Mary bearing a child by the Holy Spirit and to Jesus being born from Mary alone. The reply is that this was done by the same God who, according to the Arya Samaj teachings, creates millions of people in the beginning of every new creation, just as vegetables grow out of the earth. If, according to the Vedic teachings, God has created the world millions of times, nay times without number, in this manner, and there was no need that men and women should unite together in order that a child should be born, where is the harm if Jesus Christ was born similarly?” (Chashma Ma‘rifat, p. 217)

2. Exactly the same view was advanced by Shah Wali-ullah of Delhi in his book Ta‘weel al-Ahadith, written in the eighteenth century.

3. When ‘Master’ Imam-ud-Din of Gujrat was about to write his book Al-Tanqih fi wilada-tul-Masih, in which he proved Jesus to have a father, he wrote letters to various Muslim theologians including Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, asking for their opinion on this issue. By order of Hazrat Mirza, the following reply was sent:

“In reply to your post-card of 19 September 1894, it is stated that at the present time the Promised Messiah is engaged on such important religious matters that he cannot devote his attention elsewhere. He says that if the Almighty God were to reveal something to him about this, you would certainly be informed. One’s concentration does not work under one’s own direction. When God wishes to reveal something in the interest of mankind, He directs His servant’s attention towards that point.

Yours humbly, Abdul Karim, Qadian, 23 September 1894.”

Those who come from God do not say or do anything without the command of God. Hence Hazrat Mirza replied that God had not disclosed anything to him about the birth of Jesus. If God were to reveal something, he would let him know.

4. Hazrat Mirza was also a great research scholar. Apart from expressing his personal beliefs on this point, he also wrote about the Law of Creation in a general context as follows:

  1. “Man originally was not created from sperm, but one being was created from another. After that, the second law took effect, by which human beings are created from sperm.” (Chashma Ma‘rifa, p. 215)
  2. “Every human being is born of a male and a female. If you follow this chain to its origin, then mankind will prove to have descended from Adam and his wife.” (10 June 1903)
  3. “Every sensible person must admit that the first era was a period of pure Divine creation, when the general law prevailing was that everything was accomplished without means. ... To draw a parallel between that era and the circumstances of the present times is not correct; for instance, no child is now born without a mother and a father. If, however, man’s creation in the beginning had depended upon the pre-existence of parents, how would the world have come into being?” (Barahin Ahmadiyya, Part IV, p. 335)

5. When refuting certain exaggerated beliefs about Jesus, Hazrat Mirza made the following points for the purposes of argument:

  1. “Jesus worked with his father Joseph for 22 years as a carpenter.” (Izala Auham, footnote, p. 303)
  2. “One should not at all be surprised that Jesus, like his paternal grandfather Solomon, may have shown this miracle of wisdom to the opponents of the time.” (ibid., p. 304)
  3. “The Christians cannot stand their ground against Islam because they have taken as god a man who had a father, four brothers and two sisters, and was constantly persecuted by the Jews.” (Ruhani Khaza’in, No. 2, vol. x, p. 53)

6. As the question of the birth of Jesus is not decided conclusively in the Holy Quran, but ambiguously, when people read this scripture some draw one conclusion and some take the opposite view. Hazrat Mirza undoubtedly held the belief personally that Jesus was born without the agency of a father, but he gave his followers freedom in interpreting the Quran. This is why they had the best understanding of the Holy Book. As a result of this freedom, some even differed with Hazrat Mirza himself on some points. In his life-time, some of his followers held the belief that Jesus had a father (for instance, his right-hand man and successor Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, for whose views see 16.4). Hazrat Mirza always showed tolerance and broadmindedness, as shown by the following recorded incident:

“Once Hazrat Mirza asked Shaikh Qamar-ud-Din of Jhelum to show him the verses of the Quran from which the Shaikh had concluded that Jesus had a father. At first, the Shaikh sahib, out of respect for Hazrat Mirza, remained silent. But upon Hazrat Mirza repeating the question, he mentioned the arguments from the Quran that he knew. Hearing the arguments, Hazrat Mirza said: ‘Your arguments are certainly strong, but until God gives me to understand this point, I will follow the views of the majority of Muslims’. ... Hazrat Mirza said to Hakim Fazal Din [who had complained about Shaikh sahib’s belief]: ‘How can you declare as heretic someone who bases his arguments on the Quran?’” (Mujaddid Azam, Life of Hazrat Mirza, vol. ii, p. 1342)

16.2: Arguments from Holy Quran and Hadith


One law of creation by God relates to the beginning when nothing existed. This law, by which God brought things into being originally, is known in the terminology of the Holy Quran as the law of Ibda’ (or origination). It is a manifestation of His Divine power, and only He knows how the creation was originated in the beginning. After that, the second means of creation began, by which God created everything from a pair. This second law of creation is termed the law of I‘ada (reproduction or repetition) or the law of Zauj (pairing). These laws have been referred to in the Holy Quran as follows.

1. The Laws of Origination and Reproduction

  1. “Surely He originates the creation and reproduces it.” (The Holy Quran, 85:13)
  2. “God originates the creation, then reproduces it, then to Him will you be returned.” (30:11)

2. The Law of Zauj or Pairs

  1. “Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs, of what the earth grows, and of their own selves, and of that which they do not know.” (36:36)
  2. “He has created for you pairs from amongst yourselves, and pairs from amongst cattle. Thus does He cause you to spread.” (42:11)
  3. “And We have created you as pairs.” (78:8)
The male-female pairs in man and animals cause the species to propagate.

3. The Divine Law of Human Birth

  1. “Then [after the first creation] He made his progeny from an extract of insignificant water [i.e. sperm].” (32:8)
  2. “Surely We have created man from sperm mixed [with ovum].” (76:2)
  3. “O people! Surely We have created you from a male and female.” (49:13)
  4. “Let man see what he has been created from. He is created of water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs.” (86:5 – 7)
  5. “Surely He has created the pairs, the male and the female, from the sperm when it is cast.” (53:45,46)
This is the law relating to the creation or birth of a human being as set forth by God in the Holy Quran. No human child can be born contrary to this law of pairs.

4. No Change in Divine Laws

“And you will not find any change in the laws of God.” (33:62; 35:43)
Neither Jesus nor anyone else is outside this law of God, since the Holy Quran considers Jesus to be a mortal messenger. This is the first ground for holding that the birth of Jesus in fact took place under the law of pairs, as is the case with other human beings, and he was not born without a father. Let alone the question of a human individual being born without a mother or father, if it is supposed for the sake of argument that God could have a son, even that could not happen without the law of pairs, as the Holy Quran says: “How could God have a son when He has no consort” (6:101).

As God has clearly laid down in the Holy Quran His law of creation by pairs, unless He equally clearly states that He created Jesus, or some other individual, in contradiction to this law in a novel manner, one must accept that the means by which God brought about his birth were all according to the law of pairs. The issue here is not the unlimited power of God, as to whether He can create a human being without a father, for He has the power to create a human being even without a single parent. The question is only whether it can be proved from the Holy Quran and authentic Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad that God caused Jesus to be born without a father. When God Himself explains a law of creation through pairs, then unless He also says that He demonstrated His power by going against that law in a specific case, we cannot take any event as infringing that law. Our community does not give any importance to this particular issue (of the birth of Jesus); nonetheless, it is the duty of every Muslim to make known his sincerely and honestly drawn conclusions from the Holy Quran. Believing Jesus to have had a father or to have been born of a virgin does not affect our religious beliefs at all, because the issue of Jesus’ birth has no place in the fundamentals of the Islamic faith.

As with other prophets, the prophethood of Jesus too must be acknowledged by a Muslim. The details of how and where he was born, where he spent his life, and where he died, are not constituents of faith. These are historical questions, knowledge of which can be acquired by research. In fact, modern research about Jesus has progressed so much that matters previously unknown are no longer secrets. Muslims and Christians have written hundreds of books on these topics.


1. Birth of Jesus in the Holy Quran

The first chapter of the Holy Quran to deal with the birth of Jesus is The Family of Amran, chapter 3 of the Holy Book. At the outset (3:6) this chapter teaches Muslims the principle that some verses of the Holy Quran are “decisive” or “basic”, and some others are “allegorical”, “figurative”, or not clear-cut, and that the latter type of verse should be interpreted according to the definite, unambiguous teachings of the former type of verse.

At the beginning of the chapter, God has mentioned the spiritual blessings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, that only those who follow the Holy Prophet shall be loved by God. In support of this claim, the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is cited to show how in former times an Israelite woman attained nearness to God by following a prophet. Then the Holy Quran mentions the spiritual favours Mary received due to her following of her prophet.

In the history of Mary recorded here, the Holy Quran has given three main points of guidance to Muslims. Firstly, the Holy Prophet Muhammad is commanded to announce to people: “If you love God then follow me. God will love you and forgive you your sins” (3:31). It is conveyed in this verse that those who follow the Holy Prophet shall become the lovers and the beloved of God. To prove this assertion, the Quran adds that if you study the histories of the great prophets, such as Noah, Abraham and Moses, you find that amongst their followers there arose many men and women who were loved by God, who were spoken to by Him and guided by Him at every step. The example given is that of Mary. The verses point to her purity of character and devotion to God, even during her childhood and youth. Due to her piety and righteousness, angels used to descend upon her and guide her by disclosing news of the future. The Muslims are told that if they too want angels to descend upon them, and God to speak to them and guide them at every step, like Mary, they should become pure and devoted to worship. And if they follow the Holy Prophet Muhammad perfectly, God would give them the spiritual blessings He bestowed upon Mary. This is one reason for the Quran to give the history of Mary at this point.

Secondly, when God grants His revelation and knowledge of the future to His righteous servants, those people who are worldly-minded and have gone astray from Divine guidance consider these revelations of the holy ones to be based on the recipient’s own desires and make many false accusations against the righteous servants of God, as the Jews did against a lady as holy and pure as Mary. When God gave Mary, before her marriage, the news of the birth to her of a great son, this revelation which gave her comfort, and increased her faith, was used by the Jews to level all sorts of false allegations against her. The Holy Quran refuted every one of these charges and not only proved her to be pious, godly and pure, but instituted among the Muslims an honour and title named after her, so that whoever would follow the Holy Prophet Muhammad perfectly and purify his character, in God’s sight he would be the like of Mary or the like of the son of Mary. Thus did the Holy Quran not only clear Mary of the Jews’ allegations against her, but bestowed upon her a high regard in the religion of Islam. Many righteous saints have there been amongst the Muslims who received from God the title ‘Mary’ and styled themselves as ‘Mary’ or the ‘son of Mary’.

2. Prophets’ Ancestors in the Holy Quran

The Holy Quran has not just left the matter at explaining the law of procreation through a pair of parents, but where it mentions the prophets collectively, it states that they all had ancestors (on the father’s side). We give below a translation of the Urdu rendering of verses 6:83 – 87 of the Holy Quran by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a very famous Indian Muslim scholar and writer of this century:
“And (look), this was Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. ... And We gave to Abraham, Isaac and (Isaac’s son) Jacob. We guided them all to the right way, and had guided Noah before Abraham. And from the descendants of Abraham, We guided David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward the doers of good (for their good). And to Zacharias, John the Baptist, Jesus and Ilyas — all of these were of the righteous. And also to Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah and Lot — We graced them over the people of the world. And of their fathers and descendants and brothers, many did We guide aright. We elevated them and guided them to the right path.”

(Tarjuman al-Quran, vol. i, 1st ed., pp. 433 – 434)

In the above verses, amongst the prophets whose ancestors are mentioned is included Jesus as having ancestors in the same manner as the other prophets. Had Jesus been born without a father, he could not have been mentioned amongst the prophets whose ancestors are referred to.

3. Holy Prophet Muhammad’s explanation

After the Holy Quran, the next authority is the Holy Prophet Muhammad, to whom this Book was revealed, and who had the best understanding of its meanings. The whole world can err in interpreting a particular point of the Holy Quran, but the Holy Prophet cannot. He is the premier commentator of the Holy Quran, and an explanation given by him has precedence over every other person’s explanation. So the verdict that the Holy Prophet gave on the birth of Jesus, during his discussion with the visiting Christian delegation from Najran, must be considered by a Muslim to be the most correct in this matter. This discussion is recorded as follows:
“The commentators of the Holy Quran say that the delegation [of Christians] from Najran came to the Holy Prophet. It consisted of sixty mounted men, of whom fourteen were their prominent men. One of them was called al-Aqib, who was their leader and whose real name was Abdul Masih. ... A third was Abu Haritha ibn Alqamah, who was their religious head. He was in charge of their schools, and was the most respected of them. He had mastered all their literature, thus acquiring a deep knowledge of their faith. The Roman [Byzantine] emperors held him in high honour and had built churches in his name. These people came for an audience with the Holy Prophet. ...

“After their prayers, their leaders began talks with the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet asked them to adopt Islam. They replied that they were already following Islam. He told them that they were wrong because they believed God to have a son, and that their worship of the cross and eating the flesh of swine was contrary to Islam. The Christian leaders replied that if Jesus was not the son of God, then who was his father? Thus they continued to debate with the Holy Prophet about Jesus. Eventually, the Holy Prophet asked them: ‘Do you not know that there is no son but he bears resemblance to his father?’ They replied, ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Do you not know that our Lord maintains everything, guards and sustains it?’ They replied, ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Do you not know that Jesus was conceived by a woman as women conceive, and she gave birth to him as women give birth, and fed him as children are fed? And he used to eat food, drink water, and answer the call of nature?’ They replied, ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Then how can your claim be true.’ They could not answer and became silent.”

(Asbab Nuzul al-Quran by Allama Abul Hasan Ali Neshapuri, 2nd edition, p. 53)

Therefore, in reply to the Christians’ questions as to who was Jesus’ father, the Holy Prophet Muhammad silenced them and rendered them speechless by expressing the view (as it appears to us) that Jesus had a father. Had the Holy Prophet believed that Jesus was born of a virgin, he could not have given this reply. This discussion between the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Christian delegation from Najran is recorded in almost all standard classical commentaries of the Holy Quran such as Tafsir Ibn Jarir, Tafsir Kabir, etc.

4. Mary’s marriage in the Holy Quran

After all this proof, there was no need to mention specifically events such as Mary’s marriage, but to provide a conclusive argument to the people of the world, the Holy Quran has also mentioned this. It tells us that before Mary’s birth her mother had dedicated the child in the womb to Divine service in the Temple. When Mary was born, her mother prayed to God thus:
“I have named her Mary, and I seek protection in Thee for her and her offspring from the devil.” (The Quran, 3:36)
From this prayer it appears that, despite the fact that she devoted Mary to the Temple, it was not her intention that her daughter should remain a spinster for life. Rather, she knew that on growing up Mary would marry and have children. So she prayed not only for Mary but also for her offspring. When Mary reached the age of training, her mother gave her in the charge of Zacharias at the Temple. Under him she received the best spiritual upbringing, and upon reaching youth, prayers were enjoined upon her. As the Quran records:
“O Mary! obey thy Lord, and prostrate and bow down with those who bow down.” (3:43)
After this, the Holy Quran mentions that guardianship about which there arose a dispute. The Quran is a very orderly Book, and here all the events are narrated in chronological sequence. First Mary’s birth is mentioned, then her being entrusted to the charge of Zacharias, then her righteousness, purity and saintliness, and then the command to her to obey God and keep up prayer. These events lead up to her reaching adulthood. Then, that guardianship is mentioned which means entering into matrimony. It was necessary to deal with the question of marriage when a girl reached adulthood, but as she had been devoted to the Temple, neither they, nor her parents could propose a match. As was customary, it was decided by casting lots as to who should take charge of her as his wife. Such a decision was believed to be the Divine verdict. And as Mary was well-known for her piety and noble character, it was natural that many should contend to have her as wife.

While all these matters were being discussed, it was natural that, hearing about them, all sorts of worries should arise in Mary’s mind. So God set her mind at rest through His angels and gave her the happy news of a great son. She expressed astonishment at this prophecy in the words:

“How can I have a son when no man has touched me, nor have I been unchaste.” (19:20)
As she was not married at the time, or because there were hindrances in her way as one dedicated to the Temple, or because the sudden news of a son before marriage would be astonishing for a virgin, Mary expressed surprise as to how this would happen. The angel replied: “God says, It shall be so,” i.e. it would be according to the natural law of mating that is being referred to. In other words, all the obstacles will be removed and she would be married, and the child would be born in the chaste manner. This same point has been mentioned twice elsewhere in the Holy Quran:
  1. “And Mary, daughter of Amran, who guarded her chastity [by marriageahsanat].” (66:12)
  2. “And she who guarded her chastity [by marriageahsanat].” (21:91)
In these verses, Mary’s marriage is mentioned, for the Arabic word ahsanat is used to mean marry. In the Holy Quran the words muhsanat, muhsineen, and tahassun-an (all from the root h-s-n) mean, respectively, married women, men who enter into marriage with women, and to marry. In the light of this, the words ahsanat farja-ha occurring in the above two verses mean that Mary guarded her chastity by marriage.

It is incorrect to assert that these words mean that Mary guarded her chastity by remaining a virgin. Muhammad Asad, a distinguished present-day Muslim scholar, in his recently published English translation and commentary of the Quran, entitled Message of the Quran, comments on these words as follows:

“... it is to be borne in mind that the term ihsan ... has the tropical meaning of ‘abstinence from what is unlawful or reprehensible’, and especially from illicit sexual intercourse ... thus, for instance, the terms muhsan and muhsanah are used elsewhere in the Quran to describe, respectively, a man or a woman who is ‘fortified (by marriage) against unchastity’. Hence the expression allati ahsanat farjaha occurring in the above verse as well as in 66:12 with reference to Mary, is but meant to stress her outstanding chastity and complete abstinence, in thought as well as deed, from anything unlawful or morally reprehensible.”

(Note 87 on verse 21:91, p. 500)

Hence this expression is applicable to remaining chaste by marriage as Asad says.

In short, the Holy Quran has discussed all aspects of the issue of the birth of Jesus, without leaving anything out, and said, in our view, that he was not born without a father, but had a father, as did all prophets, and as do all human beings.

These are a few points of principle about Jesus’ birth which we have concluded from the Holy Quran. If you disagree with our conclusions, please ponder over the Holy Quran because it invites everyone to think and reflect upon it. However, as the Holy Quran is a clear and decisive Book, please do not let alien beliefs influence you, for the Holy Quran is far and above these.

16.3: Muslim Views

1. The Batiniyya

The sect known as Batiniyya deny the virgin birth:
“And they deny that Jesus was born without a father.”

(Tahzib al-Ikhlaq, by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, vol. i, p. 382)

2. Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (d. 1898)

This famous Muslim social reformer and educationist of nineteenth century India denied that Jesus was born of a virgin. See his Commentary of the Quran Tafsir al-Quran, published by Munshi Fazl Din, Kashmiri Bazaar, Lahore, vol. ii, pp. 24 – 35. See also no. 6 below.

3. Ahl-i Hadith

From the Ahl-i Hadith sect, Maulavi Hafiz Inayat-ullah of Wazirabad explains the account given in the Holy Quran (19:16 – 29) as follows:
“Mary left her husband’s house, which was on the western side, in displeasure and went and stayed at her parents’ house on the eastern side. She was not inclined to return. Meanwhile, the truth came out and Zacharias was also grieved. Recourse was had to both prayer and medicine, which God blessed, and addressing him revealed that He would grant her a son. At this Zacharias let this revelation be known to her husband, and told him to go and tell Mary about it and bring her home. But when he got there, she made the same complaint which prevented her return, and asked for a divorce. ‘I seek refuge (divorce) from you, that we cannot have relations.’ She also mentioned her state of health. After some discussion, he told her that the revelation had said clearly that this union would be blessed and God would grant a pure boy. She wondered that since he, her husband, had not touched her, how she could have a son? He explained things to her and told her that her guardian (Zacharias) had sent him to inform her of the revelation and bring her home. At last, she returned with him, and at the appropriate time became pregnant. Then she had to accompany her husband on a long journey for some worldly purpose. It so happened that her pains started when they were near a palm tree in Bethlehem. She lamented the fact that it had not happened in a better place, so that she would have been relieved of it less painfully. The owner of the tree, who happened to be sitting under it selling his dates, out of sympathy let her pick any dates that she wanted, whenever she felt the need, and let her drink from a stream flowing under the tree as much as she wanted. He told her to rest, and if anyone spoke to her, to just say that she had undertaken a fast of silence. She then returned back to her people, and seeing the baby in her arms they objected that this type of domestic life, in breach of her parents’ vow, was against the religious law. They added that her father did not break his word, nor did her mother like such things. Mary pointed to her guardian, Zacharias, that they should talk to him, as he had been responsible for it. They said that her marriage had set a bad example for others, and that other children dedicated to the Temple would also marry after growing up, disrupting the whole organisation.”

(Uyoon Zamzam fi milad Isa ibn Maryam, Darul Hadith, Gujrat, Pakistan, 1963, pp. 172 – 176)

4. Ghulam Ahmad Pervez

This present-day theologian, author and founder of the Idara Tulu‘-i Islam institute in Lahore, writes:
“If you bear in mind this point about the creation of a human being, the significance of the verse in question (‘Surely the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam’) becomes clear. In other words, whatever belief the Christians may hold about Jesus’ birth, they are told that in God’s eyes his birth was like the birth of any human child, which from its inception reaches its completion through a number of stages. Thus did it happen with Jesus. ‘O Prophet! what is revealed to thee about Jesus being a human being, and about his birth, is the truth from thy Lord; so there is no room for thee to argue or debate’ (3:59).

“The Holy Quran has called Jesus the like of Adam also because, according to the Gospels, he used to call himself the son of man. For instance: ‘Then he came to the disciples and said to them, Sleep and take rest, the time has come and the son of man is handed over to the sinners’ (Matthew, ch. 26). Hence, he who calls himself ‘the son of man’, his birth is like the birth of Adam (or man). He is the son of man, and born like a human.”

(Shulah Mastur, pp. 132 – 133)

5. Sayyid Sulaiman Nadawi

He was a famous Indian Muslim theologian of earlier this century. He wrote:
“Jesus had a mother and, according to the Gospel account, brothers and sisters as well, and even a human father.”

(Khutbat Madaras, p. 51)

6. Muslim Newspaper Sidq

In his paper Sidq, Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi of India (d. 1977) received the following enquiry:
“I have seen two letters of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, dated 7 August 1870 and 8 April 1882, addressed to Maulavi Mumtaz Husain. In both these letters Sir Sayyid has emphasised that (God forbid) Jesus being born without a father is not proved from the Holy Quran. His birth, says Sir Sayyid, was a natural human birth. However, in verse 20 of the chapter Mary of the Holy Quran, Mary says to the angel Gabriel: ‘How can I have a son when no man has touched me, nor have I been unchaste’.”
— Yours faithfully, Abul Wafa Sadiqui, Delhi – 6
The reply given was as follows:
Sidq — Yes, the majority of ulama have taken this verse, and other verses, in the meanings which are well-known. But Sir Sayyid and his co-thinkers have interpreted these verses to mean, for instance, that the obstacles in the way of Mary becoming pregnant were removed — whether this conclusion is correct or not, this interpretation does not make one subject to a verdict of heresy (kufr).”

(Sidq Jadid, Lucknow, 7 April 1972)

7. Allama Al-Sayyid Abdul Qayyum Qayoomi:

“It is a matter of great astonishment that despite the facts that Mary was married and went to live with her husband, that she and Joseph were declared wife and husband, that they lived together, and that everything took place, yet the son to whom Mary gave birth had no father! God forbid, God forgive us! Thank God that, in this book, by proving the marriage of Mary, her living with her husband, and Jesus having a father, from the Holy Quran, the Gospels, books of Hadith, and statements of Sunni Muslim scholars, in a most detailed and factual manner, we have refuted the false belief that Jesus had no father and established the reality with daylight clarity.”

(Haqiqat al-Masih, Gujrat, Pakistan, 1964, p. 237)

8. Muhammad Asad

In his recently published English work, The Message of the Quran, Muhammad Asad comments as follows:
“In connection with the announcement of a son to Mary, the Quran states in 3:47 that ‘when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, Be, and it is’: but since neither the Quran nor any authentic Tradition tells us anything about the chain of causes and effects (asbab) which God’s decree ‘Be’ was to bring into being, all speculation as to the ‘how’ of this event must remain beyond the scope of a Quran-commentary.”

(Note 15 on verse 19:11, p. 459)

Hence, according to Asad, “neither the Quran nor any authentic Tradition” tells us that Jesus was actually born of a virgin. Consequently, not the slightest blame can attach to any Muslim who believes that Jesus had a father.

16.4: Views of followers of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad


1. Book Nur-ud-Din

Maulana Nur-ud-Din expressed the following view:
i. The Islam taught to us by that Divine Scripture, the Holy Quran, does not say anywhere that to become a Muslim you need to believe that Jesus had no father.

ii. The Holy Prophet has not told us that a part of Islam is to believe that Jesus had no father.

iii. Our beloved holy Companions, our four leaders of jurisprudence, and other great Imams, have nowhere instructed us that it is necessary to believe that Jesus was born without a father.

iv. Our respected Sufi saints have not exhorted us anywhere in their teachings that to attain the ranks of Divine nearness, to accomplish self-reform, and to acquire noble morals, it is necessary to believe that Jesus had no father.

v. Besides Jesus, how many prophets, messengers and appointed ones of God, have there been! Is the genealogy of any one of them recorded in the Holy Quran? In fact, God says, ‘None knows the hosts of thy Lord, save He’. So it is not necessary to know of the existence of everyone, let alone how they were born.”

(Book Nur-ud-Din, pp. 181 – 182)

2. Comments on book about Jesus having a father

When ‘Master’ Muhammad Saeed sent his book Sa‘adat Maryamiyya, about the birth of Jesus through the agency of a human father, to Maulana Nur-ud-Din for an opinion, he gave the following reply:
“God does not waste anyone’s effort. He says: ‘Whoever desires the Hereafter and makes an effort for it, and he is a believer, these it is whose effort is rewarded.’ When it is accompanied by your sincerity and the backing of the Quran, you become deservant of Divine gratitude. ... I myself have held these beliefs since childhood, but you have not given the arguments which I had in my mind. However, Hazrat Mirza had said: ‘I have not been told by revelation to devote energy on this point. Otherwise, this is no great issue, and if there is Divine support I can write about it. Therefore, I am silent, and will remain silent till a Divine command comes.’ This is a particular matter. But your labour cannot be worthless.”

(Published in Periodical Paigham Sulh, 22 March 1929)

3. Reply to an enquiry

Shaikh Muhammad Jan, secretary of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman of Wazirabad, made a written enquiry from Maulana Nur-ud-Din in 1911 which ran:
“Sir! If a person amongst your disciples does not believe that Jesus was born without a father, is this to the detriment of his faith?”
The answer was given as follows:
“As far as my understanding goes, this issue is not a part of faith. There is no explicit direction in the Holy Quran or Hadith to the effect that one must hold this belief. If someone’s research forces this conclusion [that Jesus had a father] upon him, he cannot help it. This is my view — Nur-ud-Din.”

(Al-Mahdi, January 1915)


1. In a booklet entitled Izhar Haqiqat, published just before the death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din by the Ansarullah group of Qadianis, containing signatures of forty prominent men of the Ansarullah, they answered an objection raised by someone against Maulana Nur-ud-Din to the effect that he was associated with those who believed Jesus to have a father. It is written in this reply:
“You should first answer whether he [the Maulana] was associated with the Promised Messiah, or not. Prove from Islamic law that those who believe Jesus to have a father should be excluded from Islam, or should be declared transgressors and disbelievers like those who deny the caliphs.”

(Izhar Haqiqat, p. 23)

2. Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the head of the Qadianis, replied to a Christian preacher in 1913 as follows:

“The reverend says that all Muslims are agreed upon this issue, except Sir Sayyid who has rejected it on rational grounds, but that no one has rejected it on the basis of the Holy Quran. However, I will go on to show that he is wrong in saying that no one has rejected it from the Holy Quran. I will prove that people have shed light on this from the Quran itself and have proved that Jesus was not born without a father, but was born like the rest of the world. What I mean to say is that there have been differences on this issue, and that some people have believed Jesus to have had a father.”

(Tashhiz al-Azhan, April 1913, pp. 165 – 170)

3. In 1917, the following reply was given on behalf of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to a question about the birth of Jesus:

“The Khalifat-ul-Masih II [Mirza Mahmud Ahmad] says that it is not on the basis of a clear verdict that he believes Jesus to have been born without a father, but it is a mere deduction, against which other people deduce the opposite view. However, historically the Ahmadiyya community has held the belief that Jesus had no father.”


In his famous Urdu commentary of the Quran, the Bayan al-Quran, Hazrat Maulana writes:
“Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, and so do Muslims generally. But there are Christians who do not believe this, and also Muslims who do not. There is, however, one difference. If, in fact, Jesus was not born without a father, it does not have any effect on any religious belief of the Muslims because it is not part of their faith to believe in the virgin birth. But the very foundations of the structure of Christianity are uprooted if it cannot be proved that Jesus was born without a father. For if he had a father, then Mary did not conceive of the Holy Spirit, nor was Jesus divine, nor is the doctrine of atonement correct.

“So, Jesus not being born of a virgin uproots Christianity altogether, but does no harm to Islam. A Muslim equally believes in the prophethood of Jesus, whether he had a father or not. He only wants to consider what the Holy Quran says, or what can be established from the Holy Prophet’s Sayings. If these record birth without a father, he will accept that, otherwise not. Nor would being born without a father show him to be superior to the prophets who had fathers because, for that matter, Adam and Eve had no father, and the Bible mentions Melchizedek who was ‘without father or mother’, see Hebrews 7:3. In this case, these three would be considered superior to Jesus. But, in fact, the very argument is wrong that one born without a father is superior.

“Besides this, a Muslim does not hold that Mary conceived from the Holy Spirit. If he was born without a father, this would merely be one of the wonders of creation, that Mary possessed both types of faculties. In fact, it is not even a miracle because it is necessary for a miracle that someone should be a witness or observer. But none except Mary could be a witness to her conceiving without a husband. What sort of a miracle would this be? So all we have to determine is what the Holy Quran and the Hadith disclose about this.

“God Himself says that He has put into effect the law for mankind that after the beginning this race propagates by the sperm, and He says that He makes man from the sperm of the male mixed with the female ovum. So unless God explicitly says that He created Jesus against this law of mating, and in a different manner, we would have to accept that the means which God brought about correspond to this law. There is no question here of whether God has the power to do such a thing or not. He can create someone without a father or a mother. The question is only whether it can be shown from the Holy Quran or authentic Hadith that God made Jesus without a father. When He Himself explains a law, then unless He Himself says that in a certain case He displayed His power as against that law, we cannot take something to have happened in breach of His law. So if some person concludes from the words of the Holy Quran that Jesus was born without a father, let him believe it. I do not draw this conclusion from the Quranic words. Though I do not consider this issue to be of any great importance, I think that it is a Muslim’s duty to make known his honestly and sincerely drawn conclusions from the Quran. Believing Jesus to have had a father, or believing him not to have had a father, does not affect our religious beliefs or practical actions in any way.”

(Bayan al-Quran, footnote 427 under verse 3:46)

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