Chapter 4 verse 160
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Chapter 4 verse 160

People of The Book Would Believe?


وَإِنْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا{160}

And there is none among the People of the Book but will believe in it before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection, he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them —(Chapter 4 Verse 160)


This verse is one of the ayahs in the Qur’an which has a lot of confusion revolving around it within the non Ahmadi Muslims. If this verse is read within its context, and the other ayahs of the Qur’an are also given attention, the true meaning becomes crystal clear.


Some non Ahmadi Muslims have referred to “qabla mauthihi” referring to Isaas being alive, but this is simply ridiculous for many reasons. Isaas was firstly successful in his mission and was granted a clear victory as all other prophets were. Having victory was never the entire world accepting the prophet, as there has always been a party of people who reject the Messenger of Allah at his appointed time.


Now this ayah was revealed right after the ayah which states that The Messiah Son Of Mary, was neither killed nor crucified. This is continuing onto the misconception that Isaas was killed on the cross. The Surah and Ayahs being discussed show the state of the Christians and Jews and how much faults they have. It would not make sense for all of a sudden, Allah to state that they would all become believers. The “hi” mentioned in “la yu minanna bihi” refers to the Ahlul Kitab and is referring to their confusion of believing that  Isaas died on the cross. The “qabla mauthihi” does not refer to Isaas rather to the person of the Ahlul Kitab. This shows that all of them will hold the false belief that Isaas died on the cross and without this their faith is in vain. This verse also relates to the conjecture of the Jews which relates to whether Isaas was actually killed by the crucifixion or not. The words qabla mauthihi refer to the Jew or Christian himself and shows us that the Jew or Christian does not possess definite knowledge with regards to the true outcome of the crucifixion. Before their death, they will testify to the truth of Allah’s Book, that they do not possess definite knowledge regarding the outcome of the crucifixion.


The argument that qabla mauthihi refers to Hadhrat Isaas is alive is further proven wrong by other qiraah. Ibn Jarir has quoted five narrations containing qabla mauthihim which further shows it is plural rather than for Hadhrat Isaas alone. It is stated:

حدثنـي إسحاق بن إبراهيـم بن حبـيب بن الشهيد، قال: ثنا عتاب بن بشير، عن خصيف، عن سعيد بن جبـير، عن ابن عبـاس: { وَإنْ مِنْ أهْلِ الكِتابِ إلاَّ لَـيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ } قال: هي فـي قراءة أبـيّ: «قبل موتهم».

This tells us that from Hadhrat Ibn Abbasra we see that the qiraah of Hadhrat Ubay Bin Ka’abra had qabla mauthihim written. In regards to Hadhrat Ubay Bin Ka’abra the Prophet Muhammadsaw stated:


خُذُوا الْقُرْآنَ مِنْ أَرْبَعَةٍ مِنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ وَسَالِمٍ وَمُعَاذٍ وَأُبَىِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ

Narrated Masriq:


`Abdullah bin `Amr mentioned `Abdullah bin Masud and said, “I shall ever love that man, for I heard the Prophet () saying, ‘Take (learn) the Qur’an from four: `Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu`adh and Ubai bin Ka`b.’ (Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith #4999)


Some try to say Hadhrat Ibn Abbasra stated it refers to Hadhrat Isaas, but in reality that narration is daif because of Ubay Bin Al Abbas who is one of the narrators of the athaar(statement attributed to sahaba) who is a weak narrator. Some also attribute false narrations to Hadhrat Ibn Abbasra but in reality he also believed as the Ahmadi Muslims.


Furthermore, this ayah does not exclude anyone from the people of the book. Every single Ahlul Kitab is included because of the Arabic words used. The furthest the non Ahmadi Muslims can stretch this is to say that it refers to all people of the book from after this revelation came to the Prophetsaw. According to the interpretation of the non Ahmadi Muslims, all would have to believe in Isaas before their death, but how about the millions who have died already without accepting himas? Will they all come back to life and accept Isaas even though the Qur’an says the dead do not come back to life physically? The Arabic puts together the words “in” and “min” which is referred to as “hasr” in Arabic grammar and includes all. No one from the people of the book can be excluded. Once again some do try to claim that it refers to the Jews present at that time, but this is not mentioned in this verse. Secondly, ahadith state that there would be 70,000 Jews who will be with the Anti Christ which further shows that not all would accept him.


Secondly, the ayah right after states that “And on the day of resurrection, he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them”. This shows that it will be on the day of resurrection where Jesusas will be a witness against the Jews and Christians, rather than before the world ends as the non Ahmadi Muslims believe. Secondly, it states that heas would be a witness against them. Why would Isaas be a witness against them if all of them accepted himas?


Now the biggest complication with their interpretation of this ayah is it creates contradiction in the Qur’an. This Book of Allah cannot have any contradiction as Allah States:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا{83}

Will they not, then, meditate upon the Qur’an? Had it been from anyone other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much disagreement.(Chapter 4 verse 83)


The Qur’an is the greatest book and has no contradictions in it at all. Here are many clear ayahs that prove that disbelievers would remain till the Day of Judgment:

فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِمْ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَكُفْرِهِمْ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَقَتْلِهِمُ الْأَنْبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَقَوْلِهِمْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ ۚ بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا {156}



Then, because of their breaking of their covenant, and their denial of the Signs of Allah, and their seeking to kill the Prophets unjustly, and their saying: ‘Our hearts are wrapped in covers,’ — nay, but Allah has sealed them because of their disbelief, so they believe not but little —(Chapter 4 Verse 156)


This ayah is mentioned just a couple of verses before the verse being addressed. It clearly tells us that in regards to the Jews, a minority of them believe. Allah has sealed them because of their disbelief which caused only a little of them believe.


Allah further States:

إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَىٰ إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ فِيمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ {56}

When Allah said, ‘O Jesus, I will cause thee to die a natural death and will exalt thee to Myself, and will clear thee from the charges of those who disbelieve, and will place those who follow thee above those who disbelieve, until the Day of Resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, and I will judge between you concerning that wherein you differ. (Chapter 3 verse 56)


Allah makes it clear that He will place those who follow Isaas above those who disbelieve until the day of resurrection which shows us that for this to happen, disbelievers must exist till the Day of Judgment.


Allah also States:

وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَهُمْ فَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَأَغْرَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ وَسَوْفَ يُنَبِّئُهُمُ اللَّهُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ {15}

And from those also who say, ‘We are Christians,’ We took a covenant, but they too have forgotten a good part of that with which they were exhorted. So We have caused enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection. And Allah will soon let them know what they have been doing.(Chapter 5 verse 15)


This ayah has clearly stated that Allah has taken a covenant from the Christians and has caused enmity and hatred among them till the day of resurrection. Now for them to have enmity and hatred they have to exist. Allah further states similar in regards to the Jews:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ يَدُ اللَّهِ مَغْلُولَةٌ ۚ غُلَّتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَلُعِنُوا بِمَا قَالُوا ۘ بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ يُنْفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَلَيَزِيدَنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا ۚ وَأَلْقَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ كُلَّمَا أَوْقَدُوا نَارًا لِلْحَرْبِ أَطْفَأَهَا اللَّهُ ۚ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ{65}

And the Jews say, ‘The hand of Allah is tied up.’ Their own hands shall be tied up and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are wide open; He spends how He pleases. And what has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will most surely increase many of them in rebellion and disbelief. And We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection. Whenever they kindle a fire for war, Allah extinguishes it. And they strive to create disorder in the earth, and Allah loves not those who create disorder. (Chapter 5 verse 65)




This ayah is also really clear and states that the Allah Has Caused enmity and hatred till the day of resurrection in regards to the Jews. In the very next ayah Allah states:

وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَكَفَّرْنَا عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلَأَدْخَلْنَاهُمْ جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ{66}

And if the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We would surely have removed from them their evils and We would surely have admitted them into Gardens of Bliss.(Chapter 5 Verse 66)


Allah clearly States that If the People of the Book had Believers and been righteous. This shows that they will not believe nor be righteous as a whole. Again Allah States:

وَلَا يَزَالُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِنْهُ حَتَّىٰ تَأْتِيَهُمُ السَّاعَةُ بَغْتَةً أَوْ يَأْتِيَهُمْ عَذَابُ يَوْمٍ عَقِيمٍ{56}

And those who disbelieve will not cease to be in doubt about it until the Hour comes suddenly upon them or there comes to them the punishment of a destructive day. (Chapter 22 Verse 56)

The dhameer can refer to Hadrat Isa (as) as well as Hadrat Ahmad (as) refers to this in Izala-e-Auham. The meaning of the verse is explained by the context. The verse before mentions that the Jews and Christians are in doubt as to whether Isa (as) is killed. This is a miraculous claim and it ends both Judaism and Christianity as the Qur’an is challenging them on this. Allah is saying they have no certain knowledge about his death and are in doubt regarding the crucifixion. This was fulfilled in the Prophets life as no one came forward. They were in doubt regarding the crucifixion. The entire generation died without raising an objection to it, and thus a great intellectual miracle of the Qur’an was demonstrated.

There are four main interpretations for this verse:

a) It refers to the Jew himself and Allah is saying that before the Jew dies, he is shown a vision that Hadrat Isa (as) is truthful but it is too late for him to accept or benefit. (View of Ibn Abbas (ra) and his students)

b) It refers to all of the true Ahle Kitab as they did accept the Prophet Muhammad (sa)

c) It refers to the miraculous birth of Hadrat Isa (as)

d)Hassan al-Basri said it refers to Najashi and his companions and they believed in Nabi (sa) which meant they truly believed in Isa (as)

e) It refers to the verse before that these people are in doubt regarding the crucifixion and they will believe in this qaul of Allah before they believe in the natural death of Hadrat Isa (as) because if he did not get crucified, then he must have died naturally

The true meaning of this verse can be understood from the writings of Hadhrat Ahmadas. He explains that the pronoun “hi” in “la yu’minanana bihi” refers to the belief of the People of the book in the Holy Qur’an, as the previous verses mention. Meaning, it refers to their conjecture as to whether Hadhrat Isaas was killed by crucifixion or not. Bihi refers to the crucifixion or the views of the Ahlul Kitab regarding this event. They do not refer to Isaas as the non Ahmadis try to claim. It refers to the actual Jew or Christian that he does not possess definite knowledge about the crucifixion. Simply, prior to believing in the death of Isa (as), they will testify to the truth of Allah’s Claim (openly or privately), that they are in doubt about the outcome of the crucifixion.

Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh has further explained this verse through another angle as well.