This article by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi discusses the evidence that Jesus Christ (as) did not die on the Cross, but instead survived the crucifixion and migrated to India. (Reprinted from the Review of Religions 1903)
After noticing briefly the evidence drawn from the Gospels and that furnished by the Ointment of Jesus(as) and the medical works pertaining to it, to the effect that Jesus(as) did not die on the Cross, we will now consider very important evidence showing that after being delivered from the Cross, Jesus(as) did not go up to Heaven but went to some other country.
Before citing it however, we wish to draw the reader’s attention to the absurdity of the story of the ascension of Jesus (as).A thinking mind is repelled at the idea that Jesus (as), either before, or after his crucifixion, went up to Heaven and the mind rejects the story as evidently false. It is a strict Divine law prevailing in the world that no one can go up to Heaven or comedown from there with this body of clay. This Divine law finds illustration in the story of Elias.
It was necessary that Elias should come down from Heaven before the appearance of Jesus (as) and it was the chief sign by which the true Messiah was to be distinguished from the false claimants. But Jesus (as) himself was obliged to take the words of Malachi speaking of the bodily descent of Elijah in a spiritual sense, and to state that his second advent was to be taken only metaphorically. How are we to understand then that the ascension and descent of Jesus (as) are to be taken literally? The Word of God is against such a supposition, and there is not a single instance of any bodily ascent or descent since the creation of the world On the other hand, we have the authority of Jesus (as) himself that such statements are to be taken metaphorically. To persist in such a course is to walk in the path of destruction.
It is more over absurd to suppose that a prophet should leave his work incomplete to take a rest in Heaven. In the Gospels, Jesus (as) admits that he has other sheep and it was therefore his duty to deliver the message to them. The reference to this passage is really to the Israelite nations who did not live in the centre but had settled abroad in distant countries and
A righteous man shudders at the idea of ascribing such a grave crime to Jesus(as)that he went up to Heaven before discharging his duties completely. Nor can we attribute such an absurd and non-sensical transaction to Almighty God, that He should take away a living man who has the capacity to do good deeds and who can do important service and great benefit to his fellow human beings, and seat him in heaven suspending him from the exercise of his ministry and of the important functions thereof. Is this not equivalent to the infliction of solitary imprisonment on the man? Was it not far better for Jesus(as)to spend all those long years of his life in the service of mankind, and in doing good to his dispersed people, tracing their footsteps in the different lands in which they had settled? Only in this case would he have deserved the glorious title of the “Travelling Prophet” which is usually given to him. What for did he go up to Heaven leaving his important duties of ministry undischarged, when he knew his people to be involved in serious errors? What was the fault of the poor Israelites who had awaited his appearance for generations and who were yet quite ignorant of it? Why did he leave them in the dark and not offer them his helping hand?
We will now consider the evidence which shows that travelling through different countries Jesus (as) came to Kashmir at last, and passing the rest of his days there, was buried after his death in the KhanYar Street of Srinagar. We learn from the united testimony of Christians as well as Muslims that Yuz Asaf was the name of a prophet whose time is exactly the same as that of Jesus (as)and who came to Kashmir after a long journey. He was not only known as a Nabi (prophet) but also as a Shahzada (prince). It is moreover stated that he came from Syria, the country in which Jesus (as) lived. His teachings also have a striking resemblance with the teachings of Jesus (as), so much so that some of the parables and phrases of his book are the same as those which are still to be met with in the Gospels.
INSIDE THE TOMB OF JESUS(as)
There are two tombs, one of Sayyid Nasrud Din and the other of Yus Asaph.The book Ikmal-ud-Din (C.1000 years ago) states that Yus Asaph addressed a disciple: ‘My departure from this world hath drawn near; so you must perform your duties and must not swerve from the truth.’ Then he bade the disciple build him a tomb, and stretching out his legs, turned his head to the west and face to the east, and yielded up the ghost.’ The Promised Messiah(as) states in his book Jesus(as) in India that this tomb has an opening like the sepulchre.‘This is a delicate point which when pondered over will lead investigators in this field to a great and important conclusion.’ The coffin of Jesus(as) lies under this room and can be reached through a narrow staircase.[From The Muslim Herald, June 1978 – photo by John Calder]
These facts and similarities are so striking that even the Christians have been obliged to admit that the person who went under the name of Yuz Asaf and prince-prophet was one of the followers of Jesus (as). It is for this reason that he is held in such great honour,and a church has been erected in honour of his name in Sicily. It is also on account of the close resemblance of Yuz Asaf with Jesus (as) that the story of Yuz Asaf was translated into almost all the languages of Europe and read so vastly. The zeal with which Christian Europe worked and the interest which it took in spreading the story of Yuz Asaf’s life is in itself strong evidence that if the Christians never recognised the actual identity of these two personages, they at least admitted a strong and close connection between them and took Yuz Asaf for a disciple of Jesus (as) if not for Jesus (as) himself.
Taking all these facts into consideration, viz that Yuz Asaf has (as admitted by the Christians themselves) a very close connection with Christianity, that his time is the same as the time of Jesus(as), that his life and teachings were translated with an ardent zeal into the different languages of Europe, that a church was erected in his memory, that the moral teachings of Yuz Asaf are admitted to have much in common with those of Jesus (as),and that Yuz Asaf called his book Bushra or Gospel like Jesus(as),every unprejudiced mind will be of the opinion that Yuz Asaf was no other than Jesus(as)himself.
If the Christians cannot accept him on this evidence, as the same prophet Jesus (as)who is known as Jesus(as)of Nazareth, the burden of proof lies on them to show that any disciple of Jesus(as) was known as a prince-prophet or that any one of his disciples ever represented the teachings of Jesus (as)as being his own and called them his own Gospel. Such a proof is however far from being in their hands, for none but Jesus (as)son of Mary, was ever called the Shahzada-Nabi or prince prophet.
Of the books relating to the story of Yuz Asaf, the Muslims have some books which were written over a thousand years ago. One of these is ‘I kmal-ud-din ’which gives the story at length and in which it is also stated that YusAsaf called his book Bushraor the Gospel. Besides this book here are some other books and writings to be found at Sri Nagar where the tomb of YuzAsaf is situated, in which it is written that the prophet (i.e. the prophet who lies buried in the Khan Yar street of Srinagar ) who went under the name of Yuz Asaf and was also called Isa-nabi(or Jesus(as), the prophet) and Shahzada-nabi or prince-prophet was one of the Israelite prophets who came to Kashmir about 1600 years before these books were written or about 1900 years before our time.
The Muslim residents of Kashmir are not the only depositories of these books, but it is also said that the Hindus have a book relating the story of Yuz Asaf in their own language.
With this evidence before him, seeker after the truth must reach the conclusion that the tomb of Yuz Asaf at Srinagar is the tomb of none but Jesus (as) himself, especially when he considers the combined force of this evidence.
There is the Gospel which leads us to the conclusion that Jesus (as) did not die on the Cross, but that he was only in a swoon. To this Jesus( a s )himself bore witness when he said that he would show to the Jews the sign of Jonah the prophet. If he died on the Cross and it was his dead body that was put into the grave, his circumstances had not the least resemblance to the circumstances the prophet Jonah. The gospels moreover inform us that he came out of his grave alive, that his wounds had not yet healed, that he met his disciples but forbade them to inform the Jews of them a t t e r, that he went away to Galilee, his native land in their company, and that with them he partook of food. Such is the testimony of the Christian Scriptures. Along with this is To be considered the evidence of medical works whose united testimony shows that an ointment,which to this day is known after the name of Jesus(as) and his apostles, was prepared by the latter for the wounds of the former and its use healed his wounds. But as Jesus (as) feared that the Jews would again seize him, he left that country and went away to some other place. This is not only our opinion but more than fifty other thoughtful German critics of the Bible have held the same view. Besides these there are other ancient writings showing that Jesus (as) lived for a long time after the event of the crucifixion and travelled in far and distant lands, this being the reason of his being known as a travelling prophet. This is admitted by the Muslims for they believe that after being entrusted with his mission, Jesus (as)travelled indifferent lands for a long time. From all these facts, the conclusion is evident that Jesus(as)did not at all rise to Heaven as is generally supposed by his followers. Moreover, as the occurrence of these facts is probable, being according to the ordinary course of nature, on the other hand the ascension to Heaven is improbable in the highest degree as it is quite incredible and contradicts our unvarying experience.
The events we have described are acceptable to reason, while the Christian theory is repelled by it. There is no ground for rejecting that which is not only probable in its occurrence but is actually proved by strong evidence, and accepting a dogma whose occurrence is not only not proved by any trustworthy evidence but is also improbable in the highest degree.Finally, we wish to say a few words to the Editor of the Halal,a Christian Arabic Magazine which denies the burial of Jesus(as)at SriNagar in its issue of April1903, No.11. It is neither just nor reasonable that facts which have been demonstrated to be true,should be rejected only from religious prejudice. The Editor’s rejection of the facts narrated by us is the more surprising when we see him admitting that Yuz Asaf was in fact a prince and a prophet who is mentioned by that name in ancient documents and that he had come to Kashmir from some other distant country.
The truth is that the story of Jesus(as)’ ascension to Heaven is so plainly absurd that no evidence is required to disprove it. Even if the evidence and facts which we have stated above, had not been stated the judgement of reason would have been against the ascension of Jesus(as). He showed all the weaknesses which are the common share of humanity, and on many occasions he was beaten by the Jews. When the devil told him to cast himself down from the pinnacle, he could not do it and thus gave proof of his power-lessens. He did not show a single quality or any power, which should entitle him to be ranked as superhuman. Nay, many a prophets worked mightier miracles than him. Where are we to find the necessary amount of conclusive evidence and the convincing arguments that he did in fact rise to Heaven and that hies alive there to the present moment? Even if such a thing as ascension to Heaven had been possible, such a step on his part was improper and unjustifiable. He had not yet fulfilled his mission and was far from having completely dis-charged the duties entrusted to him. There were many Jewish tribes dispersed in other countries that had not yet even heard the name of their Messiah and to whom it was Christ’s duty to deliver the message. We are not aware if any Jewish tribe had settled in the Heavens for whose reformation it was necessary for Jesus(as)to traverse the aerial regions. Just as on the one hand it was contrary to reason that Jesus(as)chose the cross for himself and committed suicide, it is equally unreasonable to suppose, on the other that he is wasting precious years of his life by sitting idle in the Heavens. He ought to have spent his time in working for the welfare of his people. Can anything more absurd be conceived of than that a man should first commit suicide for the sake of others and then being restored to life he should go up to Heaven and pass the rest of his days in idleness there? A reasonable person cannot but condemn such stories as those of ascension and resurrection as pure falsehood. A true narrative is not only attested as such by evidence but it is also supported by reason.A false story on the other hand is devoid of both sorts of proof; it has not the necessary evidence and is rejected by reason. But every evidence against their cherished theory is rejected by the Christians without any reason. Take another circumstance. It is admitted by the Christians generally and stated in encyclopedia Brittanica that the apostle Thomas came to India and became a martyr at Mylapore. It is further stated that a brother of Jesus(as)came with him. On the other hand, it is well established that in those very days a prince-prophet came to India from Syria who was also of Israelite origin and that he subsequently died and was buried in Srinagar, Kashmir.How can it be denied then that the Israelite fugitive who went under the name of prince-prophet and who stated that a book called the Gospel had been given to him by God, was in fact no other than Jesus(as)Christ? All these facts and the conclusions that follow from them are plain enough, but alas the Christian Missionaries love darkness and hate light. All the signs have been fulfilled and the time has come, but their supposed Messiah has not come down from the Heaven as yet. The sixth thousand from Adam which according to the Word of God was represented by the sixth day, and in which it was necessary that the Promised Messiah should have come has come to an end but Jesus(as)has not yet made his appearance. A thousand years have passed since the devil was let loose but Jesus(as) who according to the prophetic word had to throw the Devil into an eternal dungeon is still absent.The plague, which was foretold in the Gospel as a sign of the Messiah, is making a horrible devastation in the country but still no sign of the coming of the Messiah. The star, which was to denote the advent of the Promised Messiah, made its appearance along time ago, but their Messiah his yet nowhere to be found.Ye Christians of Europe and America! And ye seekers after the truth! Know it for certain that theMessiah who was to come has come and it is he who is speaking to you at this moment. Heaven and earth have shown signs and the prophecies of the holy prophets of God have seen their fulfillment . Almighty God has shown through me thousands of signs and has furnished arguments of my truth in every way. I say to you truly that if the heavenly signs, which have been shown on my hands, had been shown by Jesus(as), son of Mary, the Jews would have been saved from destruction, except such as were the sons of perdition. Who is not aware of the effect of Jesus(as)’ signs on the mind of the Jews?Only one instance is sufficient to illustrate it, vis. The case of Judas Iscariot, the favorite apostle for whom a throne had been promise din Heaven, but who apostatised even in the presence of the master.Not only did he by his apostasy deprive himself of the promised throne but he also threw Jesus(as)into innumerable difficulties. All ye that are desirous of perpetual happiness and eternal salvation, fly to me, for here is the fountain which will purge you of all impurities, and here you will find the salvation which is the fruit of certainty and a strong faith and perfect knowledge. Know it for certain that your trust in the blood of Jesus(as)is a vain trust.Had he been crucified not once but a thousand times, even then he could not have saved you.Salvation is in faith and love and certainty, not in the blood of a man. Time is giving you the warning that the theory of a bloodbath is false theory; therefore,repent of such beliefs while there is time, and before you are called to stand before the throne of God.Almighty God has sent me in this age that I might bear witness that all faiths have become corrupt,and have been tainted with falsehood, with the only exception of Islam. If the truth of my testimony is not sealed by Divine authority, I am not true but if the witness I bear is confirmed by the Divine seal being impressed upon it, remember lest you bring yourselves under the judgement of God by rejecting truth. A weak mortal, the son of Mary is by no means the son of God. To me is given the spirit against which no one can stand. If you know that there is none among you who with the assistance of the spirit can withstand the holy spirit that has been given to me, be sure that your silence would bring you under the judgement of God.
And peace be unto those who follow the truth.