ARIF KHAN: Belonging to the Ahmadiya Muslim community, it’s almost an article of faith, the Jesus in India story. So for me living in a Western world brought up with ideas about Jesus that you see all around you, very much Christian ideas, I had to reconcile “Is this true? What is my belief founded upon?” Traditions of Jesus traveling to the East and having a presence in other faiths I think would drastically change the way Christianity is viewed. If this idea was embraced by all the faiths, it would mean that Jesus, instead of being a dividing figure could be a central point for them to all come together.
Jesus Christ currently divides the Abrahamic faiths. The biggest source of tension between the Muslim world and the Christian world comes down to the position of Jesus Christ. The position of Jesus also led to persecution of the Jews, arguably it was related to the Holocaust.
Thus, its true to say that millions of people have died due to these differences. Hinduism and Buddhism appear to have no direct link with the Abrahamic traditions leading to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
"Jesus in India" has the potential to relate and link them all.
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ARIF KHAN: Or the other view is that very much within the laws of nature he was on the cross for a short period of time, he was taken down, he was treated with aloes and myrrh, which have very strong healing properties, and there’s the suggestion that his body was tended to by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, so the other viewpoint is that they were able to nurse him back and revive Jesus essentially, and that he was able to recover in time and then continue with his mission.
Aloe and Myrrh appear in lots of places in the modern world, in particular aloes. They have healing properties. You can read my article on this topic here.
ARIF KHAN: When he does speak to his disciples, you hear of Him meeting in secret, and this makes absolute sense if he was physically alive and he had survived this crucifixion, because he would have still been a wanted man.
Some of the New Testament Gospels talk about Jesus appearing in closed rooms and walking through walls. These post-Crufixion sightings can be viewed as a supernatural event. However, in the New Testament itself, we have evidence that even Jesus himself went to lengths to show his disciples that he was alive and a man, not a spirit or apparition:
"While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
"They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
(NIV: Luke 24:36-39)
ARIF KHAN: When Jesus was asked to give a sign he even said categorically that the one sign I will give you is the sign of Jonah. And he stated how Jonah spent three nights and three days in the belly of the whale, and he would spend a similar period in the belly of the earth. And if we look at Jonah, Jonah went into the whale and came out of the whale very much alive. And if Jesus is highlighting this, then it suggests this is exactly the way he thought things would happen with him.
Christian Apologists say that the only parallel being drawn by Jesus to Jonah was the time period - three days - but this is their interpretation. The words of Jesus are there for everyone to see. This is chosen by Jesus as the 'one sign' that he will show:
"A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." (Matthew 16:4)
ARIF KHAN: Whether or not there was a Roman guard out there is very sort of disputable and unlikely. And even if there was a stone in front of the tomb they could still roll that away and there would still be access to the tomb. Even the Biblical accounts talk about the Marys appearing on the morning of the resurrection to try to anoint the body, and they definitely were going to visit the tomb, so there definitely was a means of access to that tomb.
The tomb in question belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. The Bible tell us that he was a secret discple of Jesus and that he obtained the body of Jesus from Pontius Pilate and took it to this tomb that he had bought. Why did he have this tomb? Was it a conincidence that it was close to the scene of the Crucifixion? Or was there a plan in action here?
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ARIF KHAN: There’s a Hindu works called the Bavishya Maha Parana, which talks about a figure known Issa Masih, and again we get the similar Issa, which is how the Koran refers to Jesus – Issa, Yusaf – these are all related words. And it exactly pinpoints Issa Masih as being around the time of 100 A.D. and it talks about a king meeting with Issa Masih, and it talks about him just in passing, and the figure said he had been born of a virgin, that he had taught a religion of peace, and that he had been persecuted in his homeland to the point where he had to flee to the East.
This Hindu work is the most important document about Jesus in India. It is the central document that the Channel 4 documentary 'Hidden Story of Jesus' viewable here.
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ARIF KHAN: The inhabitant of that tomb is Yuz Asouf is the name given to us. Some researchers have said that this name is a translation of Jesus the Gatherer, and they belief that Asouf means gatherer, so Jesus the Gatherer. Others have said it means “The Leader of the healed.”
ARIF KHAN: The direction of the tomb is in the Jewish direction, east-west facing, which suggests that the inhabitant of that tomb would be a follower of Moses, would be of Israelite origin, because this was the direction they buried their dead in.
More information about who is in the tomb is given to us by a) the carved footprints b) sign post outside the tomb c) inscriptions at the local 'Temple of Solomon' d) High Court Decree about the tomb and e) many oral traditions and family legends about the Tomb.
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ARIF KHAN: There was a scattering of the Jews as far as Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, that whole area, to the point where out of the twelve original tribes of Israel, only two were to be found in Jerusalem.
They were scattered across the East by Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, around 600 BC.
ARIF KHAN: Now Jesus Himself has said that His mission was to gather the lost tribes of Israel. And this was always the mission of the Jewish Messiah was to unite the tribes of Israel, bring them back. So it’s His obligation to now go and preach to those brothers and sisters who are dispersed throughout the East.
DNA tests have shown that the Bani Israel of India are indeed of Israelite origin. This research was performed by Tudor Pariftt at University College London. Read an article on this work here.
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ARIF KHAN: The mainstream orthodox Muslim viewpoint is that it was not Jesus Christ placed upon the cross. But even in orthodox Muslim circles that viewpoint has varied widely. There’s a famous Muslim scholar named Ahmad Deedat who’s written and given many lectures, and despite being very Orthodox in his views, he was definitely of the opinion that Jesus actually survived the crucifixion. He was placed on the cross, he appeared to be dead where in fact he was still alive. But ultimately, whether you believe in a physical resurrection, or if you believe in Him fainting and then surviving and reviving, you still end up at the end of the story with a live Jesus.
Ahmadi Muslims explicitly believe that Jesus survived the Crucifixion, but Ahmadi Muslims point out that this understanding is not only completely in keeping with the Quranic account, but also makes sense from the Bibical account.
ARIF KHAN: If we were able to pinpoint one moment in religious history where Judaism, Islam and Christianity diverge that is the divergent point, because at the point Jesus dies on the cross for Jews, he’s a failed Messiah, that’s the end of the story. God would not allow his Messiah to die, so that’s the end of it. From the Christian point of view the death and then the resurrection is essential to their faith as well. Now from the Muslim point of view, they believe that Jesus was lifted to the heavens – again, because they do not believe he could have died on the cross, because they do not believe that a prophet of God would be allowed to die in this way because it would be a sign of Him having failed in his mission.
The Crucifixion is the most controversial event in religous history. The Quran talks about it in the following way:
"And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah;’ whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this conjecture into a certainty;" (Holy Quran - 4:158)
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