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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

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Alleged contradiction in Hazrat Mirza’s argument that Jesus had died before Christians adopted Trinity
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Alleged contradiction in Hazrat Mirza’s argument that Jesus had died before Christians adopted Trinity

The following question was sent to us:

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib said the seed of Trinity was sown by St. Paul (after Jesus’s death). Ironically St. Paul died before Jesus (if Jesus is believed to have lived 120 years). The following website give references to Mirza Sahib’s writing, and also throws a challenge to his followers to answer this question. Please have a look at it.

Our reply

Let us first make the objection clearer to our readers. The Holy Quran says:

“And when Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah? He will say: Glory be to You! it was not for me to say what I had no right to (say). If I had said it, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Your mind. Surely You are the great Knower of the unseen. I said to them nothing save as You did command me: Serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when You did cause me to die You were the Watcher over them. And You art Witness of all things.” (5:116–117)

From this passage Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has concluded that Jesus should have died before Christians adopted their wrong belief in the doctrine of Trinity. Therefore Jesus must have died long ago, and cannot be alive now, as the Christians adopted this doctrine long before the Quran was revealed. However, in his book Anjam-i Atham, Hazrat Mirza has written that the concept of Trinity was introduced into Christianity by Paul and that the adoption of such false doctrines started during the time of the disciples of Jesus. Now since Hazrat Mirza has also elsewhere put forward the thesis that Jesus died in Kashmir at the age of 120 years, this means that Christians had actually adopted the wrong belief in Trinity while Jesus was still alive because Paul as well as the disciples of Jesus died much earlier than Jesus if he died in around 120 C.E.

In answering this objection, first we must think over the exact meaning of Hazrat Mirza’s point that according to these verses:

“if Jesus has still not died till today, then the Christians still have not deviated from the right beliefs”.

Those who believe that Jesus has not died, such as the author of this article at the above link, also believe that he will return to this world. So if he has not died then when he returns to this world, he will become a witness again to the beliefs of his followers. According to 5:117, Jesus will reply to Allah (on the Day of Judgment) that when he witnessed his followers’ condition they held the right beliefs. So his coming now would testify that the Christians still have not deviated from the right beliefs!

Regarding the statement of Hazrat Mirza that the corruption of Christian beliefs began during the era of Jesus’ disciples (which would be while Jesus was still alive on earth), in fact he writes that it was the seed of the belief in the Divinity of Jesus that was planted during the disciples’ era. But that seed did not become the dominant Christian belief till the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E. Please see the following link about early Christian history:

It tells us that prior to this Council “no one person had the authority to decide matters of belief and practice”. Moreover:

“Two conflicting theories about the deity of Jesus were argued at the time: Arius (250 - 336 CE) proposed that Jesus and God were very separate and different entities: Jesus was closer to God than any other human being, but he was born a man, had no prior existence, and was not a god. … Athanasius (296 - 373 CE) argued that Jesus must be divine, because otherwise, he could not be the Savior.

Both Arius and Athanasius had large, evenly matched followings among the bishops.”

So even in 325 C.E. it was far from an agreed Christian belief that Jesus was God, as a half of their bishops believed him to be a mortal man.

The above article goes on:

“The council, under intense pressure from Emperor Constantine, resolved its deadlock by a close vote in favor of Athanasius. The dissenting bishops were offered two options: to sign the settlement at Nicea or be exiled. The bishops produced the Nicene Creed, which declared that Jesus Christ was "of one substance with the Father." This did not immediately settle the question of the divinity of Christ; many bishops and churches refused to believe in the council’s decision for decades.”

So, even after the holding of this Council, its decision was resisted by many for some time.

Therefore, during the time that Jesus was still alive (in Kashmir, let us say up to 120 C.E.), the belief in his divinity was a minority Christian creed since even in 325 C.E. it had only just overtaken the correct belief.

The reason why the objector wants to prove that Hazrat Mirza is wrong (in his argument that if Jesus is still alive today then Christians have not yet deviated from the right beliefs) is that his own belief is that Jesus is alive today, and he is trying to show that Christians can take Jesus to be God even while he is alive.

However, his belief is actually disproved by this very same passage of the Quran. What the verse says is that on the Day of Judgment Jesus, in answer to Allah’s question as to whether he taught people to worship the Trinity, will say that he never taught any such doctrine while he was with his followers but when “You caused me to die (falamma tawaffaitani)” then after that “only You could witness their condition”. Under the interpretations that our opponents give to falamma tawaffaitani, namely that it means “when You took me up” or “when You terminated my stay on earth”, etc., Jesus’ answer becomes absurd. As their belief is that Jesus is still alive and will return to this world and fight all unbelievers including Christians and make Islam supreme and die after completing his mission, how can Jesus say to Allah on the Day of Judgment that after his departure “only You were the witness of my people” if he has been back to earth and has seen the Christians believing him to be God, and has indeed then corrected them?

So even if someone considers that the objector has shown a contradiction in Hazrat Mirza sahib’s writings, the objector’s own belief is still disproved by this verse.

Finally, we point out that it is established conclusively that falamma tawaffaitani means “When You caused me to die”. In the section in Sahih Bukhari on ‘Commentary of the Quran’, a saying of Ibn Abbas is recorded under this very verse (5:117), to the effect that tawaffa means maut or death, and a hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is added that he too, on the Day of Judgment, when seeing some of his later followers being taken to hell, will say just what Jesus said: “I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when You did cause me to die You were the Watcher over them.”

— Zahid Aziz.