Life Span of the Messiah
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Life Span of the Messiah

Life Span of the Messiah

The opponents of the Promised Messiah Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas often raise the allegation that the Messiah was to live for 40 years after his second descent, but since according to their false calculations, he did not live up to forty years, he cannot be the Messiah. They make all sorts of false calculations against his age. Some claim he lived for seventeen years, some claim sixteen and a half years, and some go to the extent of saying he only lived for seven years since he claimed Prophethood in 1908. All of these calculations are completely baseless.


Before this allegation is answered, it is important to note that if we take this calculation literally, and claim that he will no doubt live exactly for forty years, it would contradict the Qur’anic teachings.


Firstly, it is important to remember, that according to the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty alone has the complete knowledge of the events which are to take place in the future. For example, Allah States in the Qur’an:


وَعِنْدَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ


Meaning, “With Him are the keys of the Unseen, none Knows that but He” (Chapter 6 Verse 60)


Even the opponents of Ahmadiyyat are forced to admit that there has never been in the history of mankind that an individual was given his exact span of life and nor has anyone been given the exact date with the money, and the year. Allah Makes this clear in the Qur’an as well. He States:


قُلْ لَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۚ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ {66}


Meaning, “Say, None in the heavens and the earth knows the Unseen save Allah; And they do not know when they will be raised” (Chapter 27 Verse 66)


According to this verse, it would be impossible for the Messiah who was to come, to have the knowledge of the day of his death. However, if we take this tradition to mean exactly 40 years, then such a point would be doubtful. According to this interpretation, not only the Messiah but every human being would be able to calculate his day of death and the entire world would know the knowledge which Allah States only He is aware of. Secondly, no one would be able to accept the Messiah if this was one of his major signs, to live to exactly forty years as no one would know of his truthfulness until his death.


Imagine, that the Messiah has ascended to the heavens 2000 years ago, and will now live another 40 years in his second coming. What kind of health would such a person have? The Holy Qur’an itself states:


وَمَنْ نُعَمِّرْهُ نُنَكِّسْهُ فِي الْخَلْقِ ۖ أَفَلَا يَعْقِلُونَ {69}


And him whom We grant long life — We revert him to a weak condition of creation. Will they not then understand? (Chapter 36 Verse 69)


Hadhrat Isaas was indeed a human being and there is no such verse of the Qur’an which excludes any human being from this Law of Allah of decay and deterioration. It is obvious that Hadhrat Isaas went through this as well and reverted to a weak state. Now how would such a weak person be able to accomplish all of the tasks assigned to him? Would he have the strength to run around the entire world and physically break every cross and kill all of the pigs of the world? Would he have the strength to lead an army and kill a one eyed monster and his group of 70,000 infidels? Every sincere Muslim would deny such a concept of the Messiah as it is completely against the Qur’an.


In reality, this tradition could have an indication for something else. For example, that the Messiah would serve the faith and defend Islam for a really long time, as the Promised Messiahas did.


The anti Ahmadis try to say that the Promised Messiahas made his claim of being the Messiah and Mahdi in 1891 and that is equivalent to his descent, and therefore he lived for 16 years after his claim. However, such a calculation is not proven from the Qur’an, nor the sunnah. This is the calculation which the anti Ahmadis have themselves started, which contradicts the Qur’an completely.


In reality, when we want to see the span of a claimant of Prophethood, we should look at the precise moment of when that claimant has been chosen as a Prophet of Allah. According to the Holy Qur’an, He bestows Prophethood on whom He Pleases. Allah States:


عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَدًا {27} إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِنْ رَسُولٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَسْلُكُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ رَصَدًا {28}


Meaning, He is the Knower of the Unseen and He reveals not His secrets to anyone except to a Messenger of His whom He Chooses” (Chapter 72 Verses 27-28)


Therefore, a person can be called a Prophet of Allah or a Messenger of Allah from his first revelation. There is in no explicit year of when the Promised Messiahas first received his revelation, but we can calculate his span through his own writings which give us an idea of what his span of Prophethood was around.


No opponent denies that Hadhrat Ahmadas passed away in the year of 1908. When a figure of 40 years is subtracted, we come to the year 1868. Hence, according to the verse of the Holy Qur’an, Hadhrat Ahmadas should have received divine revelation in the year of 1868 or before. Our literature has sufficient evidence to prove that the Promised Messiahas had been a recipient of Divine revelation years before his claimant of being the Messiah and Mahdi. For example, in his famous book, Sat Bachan, which was written between September and November 1895, he stated:


Thirty years ago, I was given knowledge of his (Hadhrat Guru Nanak) circumstances in very clear visions…. In a state of vision, in those days I met him or had other experiences resembling a meeting. Since a long time has passed, the vision experienced originally has escaped my memory. [Satt Bachan, first edition, 1875, p. 29 footnote, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 10, p. 141 footnote]


This knowledge was bestowed on Hadhrat Ahmadas 30 years before he had written the book Sat Bachan. He proved that Hadhrat Guru Nanak in reality practiced Islam despite many thinking that he had come to bring a new religion. The opponents themselves know that Guru Nanak is considered a founder of a religion, but based on divine revelation Hadhrat Ahmadas made the truth about this saint of Islam clear. I now challenge to the anti Ahmadis to calculate the span of prophethood of the Promised Messiahas according to the Qur’an. Since they have trouble with counting, I will assist them in doing so. It is my honour to not only defend the Prophet of Allah today, but also help the ignorant anti Ahmadis with some simple subtraction. If we subtract 1865 from 1908, we reach 43 years. Since Hadhrat Ahmadas fulfilled this sign, I now pray that the anti Ahmadis change their view and do accept the Prophet of Allah.


In reality, there is much uncertainty as to what the Holy Prophetsaw truly said about the age of the Messiah. For instance, of the reports is as follows:


‏يخرج الدجال في أمتى فيمكث أربعين لا أدري يوماً أو أربعين شهراً، أو أربعين عاماً، فيبعث الله تعالى عيسى بن مريم‏.‏ صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فيطلبه فيهلكه، ثم يمكث الناس سبع سنين ليس بين اثنين عداوة


“The anti Christ will appear and will remain for forty, I do not know, forty days or forty months or forty years. Then Allah will raise Jesus, son of Mary, who will purse him and slaughter him. Thereafter, people will survive for seven years and there will be no enmity between any two.”(Sahih Muslim)


This hadith tells us that after the Messiah has killed dajjal, the people will survive for a period of only seven years. According to this hadith attributed to the Holy Prophetsaw , holding the belief that the Messiah would survive beyond a period of 7 years after Dajjal is killed, would be unreasonable, as the hadith makes it clear that those who have a pure nature will pass away because of the breeze which will come from Syria. This same hadith quoted above, makes it clear that ” None will remain upon the face of the earth having the smallest particle of good or Faith in him but he will die”


Now according to this tradition the Messiah would not live beyond 7 years after the annihilation of the Dajjal since not a single righteous soul is expected to survive after this cold breeze which was to come from Syria. The Dajjal according to our opponents is suppose to be killed within 41 days of the coming of the Messiah. According to this tradition in the view of the non Ahmadi Muslims, the Messiah is only suppose to live to seven years and 41 days. This is why it is important to study all the traditions to understand what is being said. If we do not look at the full picture and take everything literally, a lot of problems arise. Commenting on the age of the Messiah, Hadhrat Maulwi Sher Alira stated even when we look at the work Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Allah spoke to Hadhrat Ahmadas which is near the year of 1868 and 1869. Allah revealed:


“Your God is well pleased with what you have done. He will bless you greatly, so much so that Kings will seek blessings from your garments.”


Ahmadas stated:
Thereafter in a vision, I was shown those kings; they were riding upon horses. Since my attitude of humility and lowliness was adopted purely for the sake of God and His Messengersa, Allah, the Perfect Benevolent, did not desire to leave it unrewarded. [Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah, part 4, pp. 520–521 sub-footnote 3, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 1, pp. 621–622 sub-footnote 3]


From this angle, the prophecy is also beautifully fulfilled and Hadhrat Ahmadas lived much more than four decades.


I will now share some extracts of the Promised Messiahas commenting on the view of the non Ahmadi Muslims, and the age of the Messiah:


” In this era of internal divide and disunity, how many people will your imaginary Messiah and Mahdi wield the sword against? Do the Sunnis not consider the Shiites worthy of being put to the sword? And do the Shiites not deem the Sunnis worthy of being utterly annihilated by the sword? Thus, when according to common belief, each sect considers the other to be liable for punishment, upon how many battlefronts will each sect fight a Jihad? But remember, God needs no sword. He will cause His religion to flourish on earth through heavenly signs and none shall be able to stop Him. And, remember that Jesus shall never descend again. The confession he shall make on the Day of Judgment, as mentioned in the verse

فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي

clearly shows that He will not reappear in the world. On the Day of Judgment he will plead ignorance of the decline of the Christians. If he had returned to the world before the Day of Judgement, would he respond to God by saying that he knew nothing of the decline of the Christians? Hence, this verse demonstrates that he has clearly admitted to not returning to the world again, for if he was to come back to earth before the Day of Judgement and if he was to dwell therein for forty years, he would be uttering a lie before God Almighty by declaring that he knew nothing of the state of the Christians. What he ought to have said was that at the time of his second advent he witnessed almost four hundred million Christians in the world, and that he was well aware of their having gone astray, and that he was worthy of reward for converting all the Christians to Islam, and for breaking their crosses. What an utter lie it would be for Jesus to say that he had no knowledge of this matter” (Noah’s Ark, Page 123-124)


Heas also stated:


” Thus if someone were to ask how it is possible for another Prophet to come after the Holy Prophetsa who is Khatamun Nabiyyin, the simple answer is that no Prophet—new or old—can come in the manner in which you people seek the descent of Jesusas in the latter days, while you also believe that he will be a Prophet and that he will continue to receive Prophetic revelation for forty years, and will thus surpass the period of the Holy Prophet’ssa Prophethood.” (A Misconception Removed, Page 3)




“It is evident from these verses that Jesusas will say, “As long as I lived, the Christians did not go astray, but when I died, I knew not what became of them.” Hence, if we suppose that Jesusas is still alive, then we will also have to believe that the Christians have not yet gone astray and are still following the true religion. Jesusas will also defend himself by saying that he only knew about the condition of his people as long as he was with them, but was unaware of what they did after God had caused him to die. So, if we believe that Jesus will return to the world once again before the day of resurrection and fight the infidels alongside the Mahdi, then—God forbid—we will have to consider this verse as false, or else we will have to admit that Jesusas will lie to God on the Day of Judgement and try to conceal the fact that he had returned to the world and fought the Christians for forty years together with the Mahdi. Anyone who truly believes in the Holy Quran will find that this single verse is enough to negate the concept of Jesus returning from heaven in order to fight alongside a bloodthirsty Mahdi. Whoever holds such a belief forsakes the Holy Quran.” (Lecture Lahore, Page 61)




“Their other sin is that they believe Jesusas to be alive. This is in contrast to the categorical statement of the Holy Quran, which says:


فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنْتَ أَنْتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ


They interpret this verse to mean, ‘When You raised me to heaven in my physical body…’ It is a strange interpretation that only applies to Jesusas! The Holy Quran clearly states that this question will be put to Jesusas on the Day of Judgement, therefore, according to their interpretation of the word

مُتَوَفِّيكَ it has to be believed that Jesusas will not have died prior to his appearance before God on the Day of Judgement. And if the verse فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنْتَ is taken to mean, ‘How could I have ever known about the condition of my people after You had caused me to die?’, this interpretation would also be wrong in the context of their belief, for God would reply: “Why are you lying to Me that you do not know about the condition of your people, while you have been to the world a second time and have stayed there for forty years, and have waged wars against the Christians and have broken the cross?” Another thing that follows from their interpretation is that the Christians have not gone astray and are still on the right path because Jesusas is still alive in heaven! They should really die of shame! In conclusion, remember that the ‘Seal of Prophethood’ does not break if a follower of the Holy Prophetsa is honoured with revelation, inspiration and Prophethood, and is even given the title of ‘Prophet’ through obedience to him, for such a person is only a follower and is nothing in himself. All his excellence is, in fact, the excellence of the Prophet whom he follows. And he is not called a Prophet, but a Prophet and a follower. But the coming back of a Prophet, who is not a follower, will surely go against Khatm-e-Nubuwwat.”(Fountain of Christianity, Page 61)


Ahmadas also stated:


” God caused ‘Isaas to die as the plain and explicit verse of God i.e.

فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنْتَ أَنْتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ

bears witness. The meaning [of this verse], in the context of the relevant verses, is that on the Day of Judgement God will ask ‘Isaas, “Was it you yourself who taught your followers ‘Believe in me and my mother as gods?’ “. To this he will reply, ‘As long as I remained among them I was witness over them and was their custodian, but after You caused me to die, how could I know what the heresy was with respect to which they had gone astray!’ Now, if one desires one can take the verse to mean ‘When You caused me to die;’ or if one so desires, without abandoning one’s unjustified obduracy, one can take it to mean: ‘When You raised me to Heaven with my physical body.’ In any event, this verse proves that ‘Isaas will not return to this world. For had he come again to this world and had he [having returned to this world] broken the Cross, then in that case it would not be possible that ‘Isaas, who is a Prophetas of God, should tell such a blatantly plain lie in the presence of God on the Day of Judgement viz., ‘I have no knowledge whatsoever that after me my people adopted a false creed and made me and my mother gods’. Can a person who returns to this world and lives in it for forty years and fights battles against Christians, tell such detestable lie—i.e. ‘I am totally ignorant of it all’—even though he is a Prophet?” (The Will, Pages 17-18)


To add on to the allegations again the age of the Messiah, Qur’an gives different standard for the truthfulness of a claim which should also be presented.

Allah has Clearly Stated in the Qur’an, that a false claim would not prosper:


وَلَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا بَعْضَ الْأَقَاوِيلِ {45} لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِالْيَمِينِ {46} فَمَا مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ عَنْهُ حَاجِزِينَ {48} وَإِنَّهُ لَتَذْكِرَةٌ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ {49}


And if he had forged and attributed any sayings to Us,We would surely have seized him by the right hand,And then surely We would have severed his life-arteryAnd not one of you could have held Us off from him. And verily, it is a reminder for the righteous(Chapter 69 Verse 45-49)


These verses are beautiful proofs which show the truthfulness of Ahmadas as well. It is clear that one who lies about revelation from Allah, is bound to be destroyed. this was revealed to the Prophet Muhammadsaw and he live for 23 years after his first revelation, which tells us that a sign of ones truthfulness, is living for 23 years after his first revelation. However, this does not apply to any random person claiming to prophethood rather more signs are also required, for example the previous sign mentioned of Surah Yunus. Some non Ahmadi Muslims have tried to claim that these refer to Muhammadsaw alone, but this is false. How can we use this as an argument for his truthfulness, if it is confined to himsaw? If this shows the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsaw, it can also be used to judge another persons truthfulness. The claimant must seriously be claiming propheethood and would have to attribute the revelation to Allah and should announce the revelations to th world as well. His previous life should also be clear of any lie or dishonest act. This refers to when the person has claimed revelation from Allah, rather than when they first claimed prophethoood. Ahmadas received his first revelation in the late 1860s and passed away in 1908, showing that he was indeed a truthful prophet. Allah continued to reveal to him till his last breath, and continued to bless his progeny and his followers. Allah is with this community, as it is His Own community and is continuing to Bless this Jamaat.


Ahmadas states:


“O ye people, be certain that I am being helped by a Hand Which shall always support me. If your men and your women, your youth and your elders, your commoners and your elite, all join together to pray for my destruction, to the extent that through constant prostrations noses start to rot and hands become useless, even then Allah will not listen to your prayers and He will not stop until His will is accomplished. And even if not a single human being supports me, the angels of Allah will be with me(Ruhani Khazain Volume 17, Arbaeen page 400)




“In this regard one of my friends, with the purest of intentions, presented the question that in the verse Lau taqauwwala ‘alaina only the Holy Prophetsaw has been addressed, and how can it be inferred therefrom that if another person forges a lie [against Allah] then he would also be destroyed? The answer I provided him is that this statement is presented asan argument; and among the many proofs of the truthfulness of prophethood, this is also a proof. As such, the statement of Allah is only proven true if a false claimant [to divine revelation] is destroyed, otherwise this statement cannot be an argument against those who disbelieve, nor can it be established as a proof before him. Rather, he can assert that the Holy Prophetsaw was not saved from destruction for 23 years because he was truthful. Instead, the reason is because forging a lie against God is not a sin for which He punishes anyone in this world. For if this was a sin and the Sunnah of Allah required that a false claimant be punished in this world, then there should have been examples of this, but you accept that there are no such examples. Quite the contrary, there are many examples where people forged lies against God for 23 years or even more, but they were not destroyed. Now tell us, what would be the response to such an allegation?”(Arbaeen IV, Ruhani Khazain Volume 17 page 434-435)


Heas also stated in his challenge:

” In Lahore, Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf Sahib, Dila‘dar of Canals, under the false doctrines of ignorant and misguided clerics, … has stated confidently that if anyone falsely claims to be a Prophet or a Messenger or a commissioned one by God, and thus seeks to mislead people, he can survive such imposture for twenty-three years and even more. What he means to say is that the survival of such an impostor for more than twenty-three years cannot be a proof of his truth. He also stated that he can cite the names of many people who made such false claims and continued to assert for more than twenty-three years that they were recipients of God’s word…. Through this announcement, I demand from Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf Sahib to cite such an instance as promised in his signed document. I know for certain that this principle, which is set out in the Holy Qur’an by God Himself, can never be contravened….


It is for this reason that I have made this public announcement together with an offer of five hundred rupees as an award for the citation of a single instance to the contrary, and I am prepared to deposit this amount in any government bank in advance. If Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf Sahib and those who think like him, whose names I have mentioned in this announcement, will cite an instance with adequate proof in accordance with the Holy Qur’an, in which a person who falsely claimed to be a Prophet or a Messenger or a commissioned one of God, continued to publish his alleged revelations for more than twenty-three years, I shall pay such a person the sum of five hundred rupees in cash. They will be at liberty to cite such an instance from anywhere in the world within a fortnight of the publication of this announcement.” (Arabain, No. III, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 17, Pages 387-402)


This belief of a one who claims he has received revelation, not being able to live for more than 23 years, is not only the belief of Ahmadi Muslims. Allama Sa’d’-ud-Din Taftazani wrote in Sharahul Aqaid:

” The Reason renders it impossible that these things should accumulate in any other than a Prophet, in a person about whom Allah the Exalted knows that he is fabricating a lie upon God and yet grant him a respite for 23 years.” (Sharah Ul Aqaid)