31. Why do Ahmadiyyah Muslims call their messenger the Messiah?

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born with his twin sister on the 11th February, 1835. His twin sister died a few days after birth. On his birth five villages that had earlier been confiscated by Sikhs who took power in the Punjab restored the stolen property to the family. This was the time forecast by tradition for the coming of the promised Messiah or The Mahdi or ‘Guided One’ would appear at the start of the 14th century of the Hegira. The Christians of the time also taught that Jesus would return as the Messiah at a time of wars, famines, epidemics and tribulations. Muhammed prophesied that the Messiah would come at the eclipse of the moon coinciding with an eclipse of the sun on the 13th day for the moon and the 28th day for the sun of Ramadan. These events happened five years after Mirza Ghulam Ahmad announced that he was the Guided Teacher whose advent had been foretold. He was regarded as the perfect spiritual reflection of Muhammed. He said his task was to revive Islâm.

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was denounced by Muslims, Christians and Hindus as Satan himself. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad refuted this rejection by saying that Islâm held the door open for the recognition of prophets for all peoples at all times through the Qur’an. He also claimed that Jesus’ second coming was not that he himself was coming but a prophet in his place just as John The Baptist had been the return of Elijah. This allowed Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to make the claim that he was the Messiah, the spirit of Jesus returned to the earth. He announced that he was the ‘Champion of God.’

The ‘Guided One’ left it in no doubt that Muslims understood clearly the roles and functions of the ‘Mahdi’ and ‘The Promised Messiah’ and that the Promised Messiah would make Islâm prevail over all other religions including Hinduism and Christianity. This prophetic idea is not new. Isaiah who lived in the 8th Century BC prophesied this in Isaiah 2 verses 1-5: ‘The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it, and many peoples will come and say, ‘Come let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob; that he might teach us concerning His ways, and that we might walk in His paths.’ For the Law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem and He will judge between the nations and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. ’ Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian died on the 26th May 1908. His successor was Nurid Din.

Orthodox Islâmic theology rejects the Messianic claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian even though he did not reject Islâm. Sheiks and imams of Sunni Islâm openly state that the founder of the Ahmadiyyah movement was not a Prophet and the members of his movement are not Muslims.

Christians reject Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim to be the Messiah. Their basis for rejecting him is found in the Bible in Matthew 24 verses 24-25 ‘For false Christ’s (Messiahs) and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible even the very elect. Behold I have told you in advance.’ Again in Mark 13 verses 22-23 we read exactly the same words. 1 Peter 2 verse 1 states: ‘But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers, among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master (Jesus Christ) who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.’

Finally, in the Revelation of the Apostle John who was caught up in the Spirit of God on the Lord’s day and he heard behind him a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet and in chapter 19 verses 10 – 21 of these visions we read:

‘Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True (Jesus Christ), and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’ Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.’ And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him (Jesus Christ) who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Woe to him who is a false prophet. ’ To be a true prophet one must have the testimony of Jesus, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Only God knows the future. In 1 John 4 verses 2-3: ‘By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.’