Older Book Reviews (1899 – 1999)
Jesus in India: A Review of the World Literature (1899-1999)
By Dr. Tahir Ijaz and Qamar Ijaz Ph.D.
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” – Joseph Brodsky
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Ray Bradbury
Seek knowledge, even if it means crawling on your hands and knees to China” – Muhammad
Books are masters who instruct us without rods or ferules, without words or anger, without bread or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if you seek them, they do not hide; if you blunder, they do not scold; if you are ignorant, they do not laugh at you.” – Richard De Bury“
Publications supporting post-crucifixion and/or Jesus in India theory
We are extremely pleased to have received the following book reviews from two distinguished gentleman who frequent The Tomb of Jesus Christ Website: Dr Tahir Ijaz and Dr. Qamar Ijaz.
The Tomb of Jesus site have always been careful not to associate this subject with any particular religious viewpoint or ideology, presenting Buddhist, Muslim, New Age and other views on the historical Jesus. Dr. Ijaz and Dr. Qamar Ijaz are members of the Ahmadiyya Community.
Despite their particular affiliation, their summaries are so good and un-biased that we decided to include them here as an important part of the website. We think that these reviews will be very helpful to you, the reader, and we hope that you enjoy them.
The following is a selected review of books published in the last 100 years on the historical reconstruction of the life of Jesus after the crucifixion. More specifically, those studies that have examined the evidence of Jesus’ death in India are reviewed.
Masih Hindustan Mein (Jesus in India) – Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Qadian, India, 1899
The first work that discussed the migration of Jesus to India in a comprehensive and scholarly manner was the work Jesus in India or Masih Hindustan Mein, by Hazrat Ahmad of Qadian. The work was completed in April 1899, but could not be published until shortly after his death in 1908.
The monograph first outlines evidence from the New Testament that Jesus may have become unconscious when taken down from the cross, and had his health restored by his disciples.
Hazrat Ahmad gives a lengthy list of ancient medical textbooks which describe the healing ointment “marham-i-Isa” applied on the wounds of Jesus, hence indicating an old Eastern tradition of Jesus recovering from the torture of crucifixion. Evidence is given from Islamic sources – the Quran and Hadith that Jesus died a natural death.
Subsequent chapters relate the journey of Jesus to the East, drawing mainly from old Islamic books of history such as Rauzat-us-Safa.
One of the more remarkable features of Jesus in India is the scholarly dissertation on whereabouts of the Lost Tribes of Israel, and evidence that these tribes were scattered throughout Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Western China. It is these same tribes Messiah had to preach to, writes, Hazrat Ahmad, to fulfill his mission to the Lost Sheep of Israel, as the New Testament relates.
Hazrat Ahmad intended Jesus in India to be the first part of a much larger project and intended to add more chapters. Unfortunately, plans for a three men expedition to Afghanistan, Kashmir and surrounding areas to gather more evidence for his book never materialized for various reasons.
Nonetheless, his followers were able to supply more information on the historic account of Jesus’ migration and the tomb in Kashmir, which though not in Jesus in India, is extant in Ahmadiyya writings.
Hazrat Ahmad’s companion Maulvi Abdul Karim relates that Ahmad received a letter describing a platform near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, which is known as the platform of Prophet Yuz Asaf.
The local tradition states the Prophet arrived from Syria about two thousand years ago, and there is a jagir attached to this platform granted by the Afghan government (Al Hakam Vol. III No. 24 July 1899).
Another disciple and the first successor of Hazrat Ahmad, Hazrat Nurruddin, a long time resident of Kashmir, was able to collect over five hundred signatures from the local population attesting that the tomb of Yuz Asaf was indeed, the tomb of Hazrat Isa (Jesus).
Yet another companion, Maulvi Abdullah, sent to investigate the tomb, wrote a lengthy letter describing the tomb, and reviewed the local tradition regarding the person entombed.
The book Jesus in India has become the classic work on the subject, and formed the groundwork and basic template for future studies for both Ahmad’s disciples and Western scholars interested in the subject.
f Jesus did not die upon the cross? A Study in Evidence – Judge E.B. Docker, London, 1920
The book is a critical examination of the Gospel testimony, written by a judge from Australia. Unfortunately, the book has never been reprinted, and is not widely available. Copies do exist in some of the larger academic libraries in the United Kingdom, such as Oxford University.
After a review of the entire evidence, the author lends support to the view of the swoon theory and the eventual migration of Jesus from Palestine. The relevant portions are quoted below (can be found quoted in JD Shams’ book Where did Jesus Die?):
“I must note here the old legend which I have before referred to. A modern version of it was given in the periodical The East and West, some years ago. Briefly, it is to the effect that Jesus did not die on the cross, but recovered under treatment with a miraculous ointment being applied to his wounds, which healed in the space of forty days; that he journeyed to India to preach to the lost tribes of Israel, and eventually died in Kashmir, where a tomb is pointed out to this day as his”.
“Though I do not know of any evidence tending to establish the substantial truth of this account, I desire to point out there is nothing unreasonable or improbable about it. We are told from other sources that there are to the present day in Afghanistan and Bactria tribes of unmistakable Hebrew type. It is surprising to find the number of passages in the New Testament writings which if they do not corroborate the story, at least consonant with it. Is it unreasonable to suppose that Jesus, finding it unsafe to remain in Judea or Galilee longer than the forty days during which he is said to have instructed his disciples in the things concerning the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3) should feel called to carry the message of the Kingdom to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” (page 71)
He goes on to conclude: “”It may be that after preaching to the lost tribes of the House of Israel, in those remote regions Jesus died in Srinagar, and was buried at the tomb that now bears his name.” (page 77)
Dug Jesus pa korset? (Did Jesus Die on the Cross?) -Hugo Toll, Sweden, 1928
Dr Hugo Toll was a Swedish physician who made a detailed study of the question of whether Jesus died on the cross, particularly from a medical point of view.
He reconstructs the event of the Cross, and the punishment meted out to Jesus.
It would be unusual, according to Dr Toll for an otherwise young healthy man to die in such a short time.
The Roman punishment of crucifixion resulted in death to the victim usually after days, due to exhaustion, hunger or attacks from birds of prey.
It is more likely that Jesus went into a state of unconsciousness. His feeling of thirst and loud utterance of the dramatic words ‘it (the drink) is finished’ just before he ‘died’ is more consistent with fainting.
Furthermore, the ‘blood and water’ which gushed out according to the Gospel of John when the Roman soldier pierced the body of Jesus proves the heart was still beating, according to Dr Toll.
If one accepts only the apparent death of Jesus, the events narrated in the Gospels have a natural explanation. He was a wounded man, still in pain, so much so that he would not allow Mary Magdalene to touch him.
Dr Toll gives credence to the view that Jesus, leading a low profile existence after the crucifixion, in all likelihood departed from the region. He states that in the East there is a community known as the Ahmadiyya who believe Jesus survived the crucifixion and migrated to Kashmir.
Qabr-i-Masih – Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, Qadian India, 1936
The author was a companion of Hazrat Ahmad, and served as missionary and teacher. He was proficient in Hebrew. His book, written in Urdu, is a detailed study of the death of Jesus in Kashmir and history of the tomb in Srinagar. He traveled to Kashmir in 1925 and completed his research in three years.
One of the outstanding features of the book is the evidence he has provided of old Hebrew inscriptions and old Israelite graves. Some eighteen archeological sites are described. In addition, to further bolster his claim that the people of Kashmir are indeed Israelite descendents, he has given an extensive list of Kashmiri words and their meanings, and the similarities to Hebrew expressions.
He has described the tomb of Yuz Asaf in one of the chapters and has summarized the Kashmiri traditions identifying the entombed person as Hazrat Isa (Jesus).
To our knowledge, the book, unfortunately, has never been translated in English, though the authors provided a transliteration in English of his extensive list of Hebrew and Kashmir words a few years ago (unpublished).
Where did Jesus Die? – J.D Shams, Qadian India, 1945
The author was a prominent missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, and the book was completed during his term as Imam of the London Mosque in England.
The first portion reviews the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion, and some of the inconsistencies and contradictions in the New Testament account are discussed.
There is a short chapter on the Shroud of Turin, giving an account of a German study of the Shroud, that reached the conclusion that Jesus did not die on the cross based on the blood stain evidence.
In chapters 8 and 9, the author reviews the role of Paul in introducing many pagan elements in the original teachings of Jesus, and thus, creating a schism amongst the early followers of Jesus.
Following the overview of the anthropologic and historical evidence of the Israelites having domiciled in Afghanistan and Kashmir, the book describes the tomb of Jesus, giving references from books of history such as Ikmal-ud-din.
Towards the end of the chapter on the tomb of Jesus, the author reviews the oral and written traditions and includes quotations from the custodians of the tomb, linking the name Yusu Asaf with Isa. Maulana J.D Shams goes on to quote such works as Tarikh-I-Azami (a history of Kashmir written about 200 hundred years ago) which states Yuzu Asaf was a Prophet of God who came to Kashmir from a foreign land.
Maulana Shams concludes that the tomb deserves more archeological investigation, as inscriptions or other documents may be discovered.
Jesus in Heaven on Earth – Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, Lahore, Pakistan, 1952
A lawyer by profession, K.N Ahmad completed his book after extensive travel in Kashmir. His book is probably the most detailed on the subject, spanning over 400 pages. The book has five parts. Part I reviews the sources of information, including Hebrew, pagan and Christian sources and finally Islamic sources. Part II is on the birth of Jesus, and discusses the genesis of the son-god theory, which ultimately lead to the Trinity Dogma.
Following the discussion of the death and mission of Jesus in Parts III and IV, the author goes into detail on the historical evidence of lost tribes of Israel having domiciled in Afghanistan and Kashmir in Part V and provides quotations from ancient historical works of Kashmir on the tomb of Jesus.
Two important works he has quoted are TarikhiKashmir (c 1400 A.D) by Mulla Nadiri and Bhavishya maha Purana, an old Hindu document from 115 A.D. He has included a photograph of the relevant pages, important especially for TarikhiKashmir, since apparently only one copy exists, and is in very poor condition. Mulla Nadiri relates the arrival of Yuzu Asaf, a Messenger of God, from the Holy Land and further states that Yuzu Asaf has traditionally been identified with Isa (Jesus).
The Hindu purana mentioned above describes a meeting of Isa-Masih, Messenger of God with a local ruler in Northern India at the time. Indeed, Mulla Nadiri refers to the purana and identifies Yuzu Asaf and Isa as possibly being the same personages.
Another important contribution of Khwaja Nazir Ahmad is the detailed analysis of Afghanistani and Kashmiri customs, habits and traditions and comparison to Israelite peoples. Moreover, an impressive list is provided of communities in these countries, which by name match those found in the Bible, with the relevant Biblical reference.
The author is guilty of some magical thinking, which does distract from the otherwise scholarly work. He writes that Hazrat Solomon literally flew through the air to Kashmir to visit a temple in his name. However, the current editors have removed such references in the revised edition that was released recently.
Jesus in Rome – Robert Graves and Joshua Podro, London, 1957
The book is actually a sequel to an earlier work entitled Nazarene Gospel Restored published a few years earlier by the same authors. Robert Graves was a novelist and playwright, and Joshua Podro a rabbi. In that earlier book, the authors opine that once one removes the fictitious elements from the Gospels, which were introduced much later, the essential conclusion that emerged is much different. His disciples saw Jesus after the crucifixion alive, and thus he did not die in the first instance.
In Jesus in Rome, the authors conclude that Jesus must have renewed his missionary activity elsewhere after surviving the crucifixion. The authors contend that Jesus collapsed into a coma on the cross, and was revived by certain disciples. They quote Bishop Ignatius (died 110 A.D) as stating that Jesus was still alive ‘in the flesh’ some twenty years after the crucifixion. This remarkable quotation from Ignatius is found in his ‘Letter to the Smyrneans’.
In Chapter five of Jesus in Rome, entitled ‘The Tomb of Jesus’ they state that the tradition of the tomb of Jesus in Kashmir, is “the only extant legend with any historical plausibility that brings the post-crucifixion story of Jesus to a simple and natural end (page 68).”
The authors summarize the above-mentioned work (Jesus in Heaven on Earth) and quote extensively from it.
Rauzabal and other Mysteries of Kashmir – Mohammad Yasin, published in Srinagar, Kashmir, 1972
The author of the monograph is a lawyer and former research associate at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In the preface he makes clear he is not presenting new facts or references from ancient historical works, but only presenting them in a more “scientific and logical manner” and staying away from religious controversy. He is not from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, though he fully acknowledges that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wrote the original treatise on the subject and brought to the world this truth. The book is written in point form, and is rather brief.
Christ in Kashmir – Aziz Kashmiri, published in Srinagar, Kashmir, 1973
The author was an editor of an Urdu weekly magazine Roshni in Srinagar and has previously written Urdu books on the subject entitled Hazrat Isa aur Isayat and Masih Kashmir Mein. He is also not from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. After reviewing the very name Kashmir, and pointing to its Israelite origin, he discusses the evidence linking the people of Kashmir to the Lost Tribes of Israel, based on physical features, customs, and traditions. He has also given a list of Kashmiri words and compared them to the Hebrew terminology. In the written traditions of Yuzu Asaf in Kashmir he has quoted the same documents as previous scholars.
Did Jesus Redeem Mankind? – Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, published in Qadian, India, 1973
The book is the English rendering of the Urdu commentary by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, on a chapter from the Quran, Surah Maryam. The book was published eight years after his death. Basic Christian doctrines of Original Sin, divinity of Jesus, and Trinity are discussed both in the light of the Bible and the Quran. The book is certainly “hard core” theology, but yet is very readable, with abundant anecdotes of debates he personally had. Towards the end of the book, the author outlines the rationale for Messiah’s journey to Kashmir, after showing from the New Testament itself that Jesus survived the crucifixion.
The Myth of the Cross – AlHaj A.D Ajijola, published in Lahore, Pakistan, 1975
The book is written by a non-Ahmadi Muslim, dedicated to Nigerian Muslim youth subjected to “vigorous propaganda by the Christian missionaries.” He essentially concludes that Jesus was saved from death upon the cross and nursed to recovery by his disciples. He went on to preach to the lost sheep of Israel, scattered from Ethiopia to India (page 48) .The author is careful not to be too explicit and chooses his words carefully, apparently fearing scrutiny from the orthodox Muslim community.
Unfortunately, he has plagiarized portions of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad’s book, Introduction to the study of the Holy Quran. Chapters 3,4,5,7, and 8 are exact reproductions from Hazrat Ahmad’s work, which deal mainly with the unreliability of the New Testament testimony, and the scope of Jesus’ mission.
Jesus died in Kashmir – Andreas Faber-Kaiser, published in London, 1977
The book by Andreas Faber-Kaiser represents the most detailed treatment on the subject by a Western scholar. He mounted a personal information gathering expedition to Kashmir. He is a scholar of comparative religion and an accomplished journalist.
The 1977 publication is an English translation of the original Spanish version published a year earlier. The book has been translated into other languages subsequently.
In his book he describes a group of people living in Kashmir today who style themselves “Bani Israel.” The travel of Jesus and his death and tomb in Kashmir are discussed. Ample photographs are given. Faber-Kaiser goes on to write that the local inhabitants call it the tomb of Hazrat Yuz Asaf, Nabi Sahib, Shahzada Nabi, or Hazrat Isa Sahib. He also mentions a family he met who claim to be descendents of Jesus, and one member of the family, possesses a genealogical table that traces ancestry to Jesus.
Faber-Kaiser states that his research gives credence to the Ahmadiyya view of the post crucifixion life of Jesus, however, he stresses his work should not be considered an Ahmadiyya tract and does not owe its origins to any sect or denomination.
Faber-Kaiser was one of the speakers at the 1978 London Conference, mentioned next.
Truth about the Crucifixion – published by the London Mosque, London, 1978
The book Truth about the Crucifixion is a collection of transcripts from the International Conference on the Deliverance of Jesus from the Cross held in London in 1978.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community organized the event. The international panel of speakers included (title of speech in brackets): Muhammad Zafrullah Khan (Jesus Prophet or God); MM Ahmad (Lost Tribes of Israel); A. Faber Kaiser (He did not die on the Cross); Fida Hassnain (Tomb of Yuz Asaf); B.A Rafiq (Deliverance of Jesus from the Cross: Biblical Evidence); A. Madsen (Deliverance of Jesus from the Cross: Quranic and Islamic Evidence); R. Skolfield (Some observations on the life of Jesus); Sheikh Abdul Qadir (Jesus Travels to India and Kashmir); Kurt Berna (The International Foundation for the Holy Shroud); L. Filip (New Viewpoints on Jesus’s Activity Beyond Palestine).
Also included in the text is the speech of Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the time.
Truth about the Crucifixion perhaps represents the best overall summary of important research done to date, all in one volume.
Deliverance from the Cross – Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, London 1978
The publication of this book was meant to coincide with the above-mentioned conference. The book provides the Ahmadiyya-Islamic perspective of the birth, ministry and post-crucifixion life of Jesus. Chapter eight on the travel of Jesus to Kashmir is one of the more interesting chapters. An important reference is given regarding Oxford scholar O.M Burke, who wrote the book Among the Dervishes.
In that publication, which is quoted extensively by Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, an account is given of a religious community near Herat, Afghanistan who are followers of Jesus. The community believes that following the crucifixion, Jesus preached to them. He is also known as Yuzu Asaf, the Kashmiri.
They even possess a book of his traditions. It appears that the community is composed of descendents of the original followers of Yuzu Asaf, who have adhered to certain Christian traditions, and at the same time embraced Islam.
Jesus Lived in India – Holger Kersten, Germany, 1983
The English version of the book was released in 1986, translated from the German. The author is a teacher and traveler and interested in Oriental studies. He visited India to retrace the steps of Jesus’ actual life, having heard of the theory of Jesus in India in early 1970s.
He received help from Professor Fida Hassnain in gathering and summarizing the ancient Indian literature of Jesus’ life in India. The anthropologic evidence of the Lost Tribes of Israel having domiciled in Kashmir and Afghanistan is also reviewed.
He does rely on documents of dubious authenticity such as Notovitchs’ – ‘The Unknown Life of Jesus’, to show that Jesus also visited India in his youth, as have many other scholars mentioned in our current review.
The journey of Jesus to India is discussed in detail in Chapter 6. No new evidence is provided apart from one reference to certain traditions of Kurdish tribes in Turkey.
One ethnologist from Luxembourg, who spent several years with these tribes in Turkey, mentioned there are oral traditions of Jesus residing in Eastern Turkey after the resurrection. Kersten provides no further details.
Interestingly, there are traditions in Persian books of history, such as Rauzat-us –Safa of Jesus’ sojourn in Turkey mentioned by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Jesus in India. Also, in the early 1900s, some first century Syriac documents entitled ‘The Odes of Solomon’ were discovered.
These belonged to followers of Jesus in what is now modern day Turkey. It is clear from these documents that Jesus survived the ordeal of the crucifixion, and due to intense persecution, migrated.
Holger Kersten has produced more books, focusing on the Jesus’ connection with Buddhism and Eastern Mysticism, and has had particular appeal amongst the New Age movement.
Lost Cities of China, Central Asia and India – David Childress, Illinois, USA 1985
The author of the book describes his journey to Kashmir and Western Tibet in Chapter 15, starting his Chapter with a quote from the Quran:
|‘And they killed him not, nor did they cause his death on the cross (4:157).’|
After reviewing the events of the Crucifixion as related in the New Testament, he concludes that there is a possibility that Jesus survived the crucifixion.
Next, he takes the reader on his personal journey to the tomb of Jesus. He quotes Kashmiri traditions, which relate that Jesus, also known has Yuz Asaf, lived in the valley two thousand years ago.
After the visit to the tomb, and describing its interior, he writes in conclusion:
|“I reflected on this extra-ordinary experience. I did not know if that really was the tomb of Jesus, and probably never would, unless some new evidence came to light….I was grateful to have stalked one of the world’s great teachers and travelers of the world. In fact Jesus is know in the Koran and to Islamic scholars as the Great Traveller and Chief of Travellers!”|
The Fifth Gospel – Fida Hassnain and Dahan Levi, Srinagar, Kashmir, 1988
Without doubt, Professor Fida Hassnain is currently the leading authority on the historical study of Jesus in India. He was the Director of the Kashmir State Archives and Director of Archaeological Research and Museums, Kashmir. He retired in 1983.
He has extensively studied the tomb of Yuz Asaf- as much as the current custodians would allow. A transcription of his speech for the London Conference in 1978, mentioned above, was included in the book Truth about the Crucifixion and entitled “Tomb of Yuz-Asaph.”
The Professor dedicated The Fifth Gospel to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Nicolas Notovitch and Pandit Sutta (author of Bhavishya maha purana) for “opening new vistas of research into the hidden life of Jesus Christ.” The aim of the book according to the authors was to inform the West that the East has significant source material on the life of Jesus in India.
Following a review of the evidence that Jesus survived the crucifixion, Professor Hassnain discusses the ancient literature of Kashmir, which according to him, confirm that Jesus found Israelites there.
Another book by Professor Hassnain entitled A Search for the Historical Jesus (see below) describes in greater detail and clarity his investigation of the tomb of Yuz Asaf and review of the historical documentation (see below).
Jesus and Moses are Buried in India – Gene Matlock, USA, 1991
The new edition with additional material will be available within a year (personal communication with the author) Gene D.Matlock’s book is now available. His book can be order through our Books page. It was published in 2000. A review of the book will appear some time in the future.
Jesus in India – James Deardorff, San Francisco, 1994
This book is divided into four parts: Jesus and reincarnation; Jesus’ lost years in India; Jesus’ survival of the crucifixion; Jesus’ travel after crucifixion. Deardorff attempts to put Jesus back into a solid eastern context – a man who learned wisdom from the East and returned back to the East.
He believes that Jesus taught reincarnation, a philosophy he learned in India as a youth. For example, in support of his theory, he quotes the saying of Jesus that John the Baptist is the Elijah of the past, as proof.
Deardorff reviews the hypothesis of the resuscitation and refers to Docker, Graves, Khwaja Nazir Ahmad and of course, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He states history records Jesus post crucifixion life in Hindu legends (Bhavishya Maha Purana), Buddhist legends and Greco-Roman stories (Life of Apollonius of Tyana).
News of Jesus’ mission and longevity would have reached back west, and quotes patristic literature, specifically Bishop Ireneus of the second century A.D, as confirming Jesus lived to a great age and continued preaching amongst his people.
In summary, the author concludes that historic evidence points to Jesus’ death in India.
A Search for the Historical Jesus – Fida Hassnain, London, 1995
In a follow-up to his previous work The Fifth Gospel, Professor Hassnain published A Search for the Historical Jesus giving considerable more detail. The book has 21 chapters, covering history of the Bani Israel in Northern India, birth of Jesus, travel to India as a youth, crucifixion, Turin Shroud, resurrection, and tracing his journey back to India.
The final few chapters deal with the tomb itself locally known as the Rozabal, and review of the Kashmiri history of the person entombed.
He writes that as Director of Archaeology of Jammu and Kashmir State, he was able to study the tomb in greater detail and even make repairs. In 1975, when Professor Hassnain was exploring the wooden sarcophagus located within the shrine, he came across a wooden cross and a slab of stone with foot impressions depicting wounds. “Both Yuzu Asaf and Jesus had one thing in common” writes the Professor, “wound marks on their feet.”
Interestingly, further research by German scholars confirmed that the wound position represented in the carving matched those found on the Shroud of Turin. Thus these discoveries by Professor Hassnain connected Yuz Asaf with Jesus and, in turn the man on the Shroud.
Professor Hassnain reviews the ancient Kashmir records and concludes that the historical information supports the view that Jesus migrated to, and settled in Kashmir. He writes: “it appears to me that the time has now come to ask the people of the West to join hands in the rediscovery of the historical Jesus.”
One interesting quotation Professor Hassnain brings to light is from an ancient work entitled Kamal-ud-Din, from approximately 960 A.D. It helps one to understand why, if Jesus lived in India and his followers prospered, there is no longer a trace of his mission, apart from the tomb. It appears there was a community in Kashmir at one time called Nasara, followers of Jesus, though now wiped out.
According to Kamal-ud-Din, the Nasara priests realized that their brethren in Central Asia had accepted the Holy Prophet of Islam. Shortly thereafter, sometime after 570 A.D, they also converted to Islam. The Nasara Christians lost their separate identity sometime before the 10th century A.D.
The above quotation in Kamal-ud-Din, combined with the discovery of a Hebrew Gospel in India amongst Israelites by the Christian scholar Panteanus in the 2nd century A.D, and evidence of persecuted Nasara communities in Persia from old inscriptions proves that the sun of Christianity did rise in these regions.
Due to persecution and conversion, the Nasara were assimilated by other religions and became forgotten as an independent entity. This can be compared to the virtual disappearance of non-Christian religions in Europe when Pauline Christianity spread rapidly there.
Christianity a Journey from Facts to Fiction – Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Tilford, Surrey, UK, 1996
This book is an excellent summary of Ahmadiyya Muslim beliefs. He explores the theological issues of Divinity, Trinity and Atonement and its relation to reason and offers possible explanations as to the origins of such doctrines.
The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven, according the Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, is a later interpolation in the Gospel texts. In the first place, the Gospels of Matthew and John do not mention it. Certain versions of Mark and Luke mentioned the Ascension; however since the discovery of Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest known version of the Bible) it is clear these are later additions by scribes. Codex Sinaiticus makes no mention of the Ascension in any of the Gospels.
The author writes that Ahmadi Muslims are often criticized for holding the belief that Jesus left Palestine and went all the way to India, finding it “far-fetched”.
However he replies:
|“Ahmadis are left wondering as to which distance is longer, the one from Palestine to Kashmir or the one from the earth to the farthest reaches of heaven. Again Ahmadis wonder happened to the promise of Jesus Christ that he would go in search of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. If he departed straight from Palestine to sit on the right hand of his father, did he forget about his commitment or was his promise impossible for him to keep? It is either this, or as we suggested earlier, should it be expected that the Lost Sheep of Israel had earlier ascended to heaven where Jesus went in their pursuit?” (Page 97-8).|
From Palestine to Kashmir – P. Choudhury, New Delhi, India, 1996
The author of From Palestine to Kashmir dedicates his book to “Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Brotherhood.” The first few chapters discuss his view that India is the land of the Bible starting with the garden in Genesis, and ending with Jesus preaching in India, where he died. According to the author, this is one of the reasons that Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity have so much in common – a common spiritual heritage of India.
Unfortunately, rather than working on the thesis himself, and undertaking meaningful research on the subject, he has reproduced word for word entire pages from Imam Shams work mentioned above, entitled Where did Jesus Die? He does not even mention Shams’ book in the references given at the end of the book, and in no way gives any indication that he has lifted words from another source!
He concludes that Jesus died in Kashmir, which he states is the Land of the Bible.
In Search of the Loving God – Mark Mason, Oregon, USA 1997
Mark Mason is a Christian whose purpose of writing this book is for ‘resolving past traumas of Christianity and bringing to light its healing spirit’ It is meant to be a self-reflection on how Christianity can improve and be more relevant and appealing to people. He exposes the medieval church as being power-hungry and guilty of atrocities.
In Chapter 4 entitled “The Mystery-Shrouded Life of Jesus” he reviews the evidence that Jesus may have spent the so-called “lost years”, his formative years, in India. Furthermore, quoting mainly from Holger Kersten, he pieces together the post-crucifixion life of Jesus, including a description of the tomb in Srinagar, Kashmir. He includes a reference of an early Church Father, Ireneus of the second century, who wrote that Jesus lived to be an old man and remained, in Asia, with his disciple John, up until the time of Emperor Trajan, whose rule began in 98 A.D.
His final appraisal of the historical data is interesting. What if Jesus did die a natural death in Kashmir?
|“My own belief is that this should not adversely affect Christian faith. Whether Jesus actually physically died on the cross is a minor point. The important thing is that he suffered for the sins of all, and indeed, if he didn’t physically die he would have suffered much more (have died a worse �?death’) due to the pain of recovering, than he would have if he had just quickly died and been miraculously raised to life.” He finally concludes: “Jesus may have visited India and may have even returned there after the crucifixion.”|
The Christian Conspiracy – Joseph Macchio, USA, 1999
The book by J. Macchio is an “e-book” or electronic book, and not available on paper. It is accessed through the site newhopeent.com. Like the previous work by Mason mentioned above, this particular book, by a Christian, is a Christian introspection of sorts.
The purpose of writing this book is to outline and chronicle the replacement of what he calls the “original Christianity” by man-made creeds and dogmas. He asserts there was far more diversity of Christian beliefs, including different views as to the nature of Jesus, the resurrection, and his whereabouts after the incident of the Cross. However such views were suppressed and almost crushed by a certain faction of Christianity that ultimately became the orthodox movement. Destruction of gospels and other works by an arbitrary and edited canon of four ensued and continued unabated for centuries.
Beneath the dogma and theology, the author maintains the original Jesus of history exists and can be traced. Certain clues can be ascertained from apocryphal and patristic literature. For instance, the author writes that the dogma of the Ascension of Jesus forty days after the resurrection became official Church doctrine, though the reality is that there are a number of traditions indicating that Jesus was on earth at a time when he was supposed to be in heaven. For instance the gospel entitled Pistis Sophia from the 3rd century A.D mentions that Jesus spent eleven years with his disciples preaching after the crucifixion. Moreover the Church Fathers Ireneus and Ignatius both believed Jesus was still on earth decades after the crucifixion.
J. Macchio traces the path of Jesus to India, relying and quoting from Kersten’s book Jesus Lived in India. About the Kashmir tomb Macchio writes:
|“the very fact that Jesus, tomb is visited by Moslems, Hindus and Buddhists as well as Christians, shows us that Jesus is revered in the East as a universal prophet and teacher whose doctrines are considered applicable within the context of several religions.”|
Like many of other authors, Macchio is of the opinion that Jesus also traveled to India as a youth, and learned eastern mysticism, Hindu philosophy and other spiritual concepts. As mentioned before, the identification of Jesus as an eastern man, who brought Hindu and Buddhist concepts into Palestine and later returned to that mystical place called India, is gaining popularity among Western writers, especially among the New Age circles.
Jesus Son of Mary – Qazi Muhammad Barkatullah, Philadelphia, USA, 1972
The Tomb of Jesus – Sufi Motiur Rehman Bengali, 1946
A small booklet summarizing Ahmadiyya Muslim Beliefs and an overview of the history of the tomb at Srinagar.
Crumbling of the Cross -Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqi, Lahore 1973.
This book is essentially an abridged form of Jesus in Heaven on Earth, with no new significant information.
Jesus did not Perish on the Cross (Jesus Nicht am Kreuz gestorben) – Kurt Berna. Zurich, Switzerland, 1975.
This is an English translation of the original German book published in 1962. The author reaches the conclusion that Jesus did not die on the cross based on the blood stain evidence on the Shroud.
Testimony of the Shroud – Rodney Hoare, New York, USA, 1979
An account of the blood stain evidence on the Shroud of Turin, concluding only a body capable of generating heat, therefore a living body, was wrapped in the Shroud. The author believes he died shortly thereafter, or less likely, traveled to Pakistan or even as far as North America.
Jesus among the Lost Sheep – Aziz A Chaudhry, London, UK, 1992
A book summarizing Ahmadiyya Muslim beliefs on the account of Jesus’ journey to Kashmir.
The paper would not be complete without mentioning the scholarly contributions of the late Sheikh Abdul Qadir, a Pakistani who published a series of articles throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. His articles appeared in such magazines as The Review of Religions, The Muslim Herald, Al-Furqan and Al-Fazl.
The titles of some of his articles were, “Last Verse of Mark’s Gospel”, “Discovery of a New Coptic Gospel”, “Mary, Mother of Jesus, in the East”, “Bhavishya Maha Purana”, “Messiah in the East”, “History of the Tomb of Yuz Asaf”, “The Odes of Solomon.” Much of his research was summarized in his speech delivered at the London Conference in 1978.
The article “Mary, Mother of Jesus, in the East” will be described in more detail since it is a topic that is not addressed as often. It appeared in the January 1964 edition of The Review of Religions. The Quran states that both Jesus and his mother Mary were made a sign, and given refuge on an elevated land. Like the situation with Jesus, the whereabouts of Mary after the event of the crucifixion has been a mystery.
Some traditions relate she was taken unto Heaven, since no tomb of Mary has ever been described in the Palestine or neighboring regions. Another early Christian tradition (from St Epiphinius, 315-403 A.D) relates that Mary was entrusted under the care of the disciple John, and traveled with him to Asia (Parthia). The apocryphal Acts of Philip also relates John’s departure eastward to Parthia.
It appears that due to intense persecution by the Jews in the Roman Empire, Jesus’ disciples migrated eastward to Parthia, where presumably they caught up with Jesus himself. The apocryphal work Pistis Sophia also mentions Mary was with Jesus on earth some eleven years after the crucifixion.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir continues to reconstruct Mary’s travels with references to such works as Rauzat-us-Safa, which states Mary accompanied Jesus during his travels. Another work is Bihar-ul-Anwar, (appears to be based on Christian traditions) which mentions Mary with Jesus and other disciples in what is now modern day Iraq. The first Epistle of Peter in the New Testament also refers to followers of Jesus in Babylon (Iraq).
Finally, Sheikh Abdul Qadir discusses the tomb of Mary that does exist in Murree, Pakistan, though another tomb has been identified in Kashgar as belonging to Mary. Further archaeological research can disclose the truth.
Publications Opposing The Jesus in India Theory
The Essene Odyssey- Hugh Schonfield 1984
A portion of the book is devoted to understanding the origin of the name “Yuzu Asaf” from Buddhist and Kashmiri sources. He concludes that the Jewish tomb in Srinagar is likely that of a great Essene teacher, the name being similar to “Joseph.” The figure of Yuzu Asaf came to be associated with Jesus and even the Buddha, due to religious influences over time.
Strange Tales about Jesus: A Survey of Unfamiliar Gospels – Per Beskow, Philadelphia, USA 1985
|“The Ahmadiyya legend is generally supported by references to diverse Oriental sources, which are said to confirm the theory, but which in fact do not carry any weight at all.”
Jesus’ Tomb in India – Paul Pappas, Berkeley, California, USA 1991
|“Although the Ahmadis claim to have the tomb of Jesus in Srinagar, India, no historical evidence has been offered to confirm its authenticity except for questionable works based on oral legends. In addition, the Ahmadis have failed to produce any archaeological or anthropological evidence that the grave of Yuz Asaf might be that of Jesus. Therefore, the Ahmadi thesis is based only on the revelation of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement.” (Page 154)
Jesus starb nicht in Kashmir, (Jesus did not die in Kashmir). – S. Landmann, Germany 1996.