The essence of the article written by Mr. Ilyas Sattar regarding supposed contradiction in Promised Messiah's writings on the issue of St. Paul (as summarized by the author himself) is as follows :
- In the book "Jesus in India" Mirza Sahib proved that Hazrat Isa died in 120 AD.
- In the book "Anjam-e-Atham", Mirza Sahib has clearly stated that the seeds of Trinity were not sown until 120 A.D.
- In the book "Anjam-e-Atham", Mirza Sahib has clearly said that St. Paul made Hazrat Isa God.
- Paul died in 64 or 65 A.D. where as Hazrat Isa died in 120 A.D. Therefore Paul died at least 55 years before Hazrat Isa.
(Mr. Ilyas Sattar has also claimed that "It is a well known fact that St. Paul died in 64 AD or 67 AD")
- Since Paul must have given the doctrine of Trinity during his life time, this means that Hazrat Isa was made God at least 55 years before His own death. In other words by 65 A.D. Hazrat Isa was made God/Son of God while he died 55 years later in 120 A.D.
- While he (Jesus) was alive in Kashmir, he was being worshipped as God in Palestine.
Some of the sentences attributed to Promised Messiah (specially point 2 above) are not his own sentences. Rather these (along with conclusions drawn from them) are personal & wrong interpretation of Mr. Ilyas Sattar based on long passages of Promised Messiah (A.S). This issue will be discussed later in detail under the title of "Paul and Paulism".
First we will analyze the claim of Mr. Ilyas Sattar that : "It is a well known fact that St. Paul died in 64 or 67 AD".
The entire imaginary scenario (points 1 to 6 above) of Mr. Ilyas Sattar for proving supposed contradiction in Promised Messiah's (A.S) writings regarding St. Paul's issue is primarily based on his said claim. So, let's explore the basis and consequences of this so-called "Well Known Fact".
The Columbia Encyclopedia gives quite a detail of St. Paul's life and activities. But in the beginning it clearly cautions the readers regarding chronology of St. Paul's life by saying that "The chronology of St. Paul's life is difficult, but there is general agreement (within a few years) on almost all details. The hypothetical dates given here are according to one chronological system." (The Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition).
What a wonderful "Well known Fact" is this, which is based on "Hypothetical dates and merely general agreement on the same". It must also be noted that the general agreement on these hypothetical dates by the Christian world might be due to their own interest. Large majority of Christians follow the doctrines presented by St. Paul, so it is in their interest to show Paul's time as close as possible to Jesus (A.S) pre-crucifixion life.
The Encyclopedia Britannica gives Paul's year of death as 67 A.D but with a "?" mark. Britannica further mentions that "There are no reliable sources for Paul's life outside the New Testament. The primary source is his own letters. .... The story of Paul's conversion and missionary career is given in Acts, probably written many years after his death." (Encyclopedia Britannica).
It is interesting to note that :
- According to the world's most renowned Encyclopedia "there are no reliable sources of Paul's life outside the New testament."
- In the New Testament there is no mention of dates or even years of Paul's missionary career and death.
- Acts (Part of New Testament) which gives Paul's conversion and missionary career was written many years after his death.
In the light of above it is very clear that the chronology of Paul's missionary career or Death described in Encyclopedias are just approximations derived indirectly from the New Testament. That is why Britannica puts "?" mark after his year of demise and Columbia clearly describes it as "Hypothetical Dates".
Let's further explore Mr. Ilyas Sattar's so-called "Well Known Fact".
We know that "There are no reliable sources for Paul's life outside the New Testament" (Britannica) & that the New Testament does not mention Paul's year of demise. It implies that Mr. Ilyas Sattar considers the statement of Encyclopedia (regarding Paul's year of demise) which is derived indirectly from the New Testament as authentic to a degree that he is ready to pay US$ 250,000 to anyone who may prove it wrong. Well, if Mr. Ilays Sattar is really an honest man then he should follow the same principle & must give even more weight to an other important historical event which is not derived indirectly like the year of Paul's demise but is rather clearly and directly mentioned in the New Testament. The New Testament tells us that Jesus (A.S) met his disciples after the event of crucifixion. The disciples were frightened and thought that it might be the spirit of Jesus which had appeared before them. Sensing that, Jesus (A.S) assured them that he is physically there by giving them an argument that spirits do not possess flesh and blood as you see I do have.
The exact verses of the New Testament clearly recording above said historical fact are :
And as they spake these things, he (Jesus) himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they beheld a spirit.
And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and wherefore do questionings arise in your heart?
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself : handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having.
And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here anything to eat?
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish.
And he took it, and ate before them.
(Luke 24:36-43 ASV)
Is this honesty that on the one hand a clearly mentioned historical fact which tells us that Jesus was physically seen after the event of crucifixion is not acceptable to Mr. Ilyas Sattar, whereas on the other hand just an approximation, derived indirectly from the same New Testament is presented as a "Well known Fact" by him????
The purpose of the above discussion was :
- To highlight the dishonesty of Mr. Ilyas Sattar by exposing his double
- And to demonstrate that Paul's year of demise described in Encyclopedia are just approximations (or rather merely an agreement ) and therefore can not be challenged as well established fact as claimed by Mr. Ilyas Sattar.
Now we will discuss the issue in the light of in-depth historical background.
The most important point to be noticed is that Jesus (A.S) was a Messenger to the children of Israel only (Holy Quran 3:49). This fact is also clearly mentioned in New Testament so it is written in Matthew that Jesus (A.S) ordered his disciples to preach Israelites only and never go to Gentile (i.e. Non Israelites). Following are verses from New Testament in this regard which explain the matter:
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
(Matthew 10: 5-6)
In view of the above, according to Holy Quran (As well New Testament) the Real followers of Jesus (A.S) were Israelite only. And Holy Quran (and Promised Messiah in his explanation of the Holy Quran) had said about only those Real Christians (i.e. Israelite Christians) that they remained on the right path till the death of Jesus (A.S).
In the following passages it will be shown that as far as Israelite Christians are concerned, they strongly opposed Paul's concept regarding Christianity and therefore Paul was compelled to move towards the west and started his missionary work there amongst the Gentiles (Non-Jews or Non Israelites).
Paul's background and his missionary work.
As far as Paul himself is concerned, he did not belong to "the House of Israel" (i.e. Bani-Israel). Referring to the ancient history of the Ebionites, A famous critic of Christianity, Hyam Maccoby writes :
"A source of information about Paul that has never been taken seriously enough is a group called the Ebionites. Their writings were suppressed by the Church, but some of their views and traditions were preserved in the writings of their opponents, particularly in the huge treatise on Heresies by Epiphanius. From this it appears that the Ebionites had a very different account to give of Paul's background and early life from that found in the New Testament and fostered by Paul himself. The Ebionites testified that Paul had no Pharisaic background or training; he was the son of Gentiles, converted to Judaism, in Tarsus, came to Jerusalem when an adult, and attached himself to the High Priest as a henchman. Disappointed in his hopes of advancement, he broke with the High Priest and sought fame by founding a new religion." (The Mythmaker, page 17).
Britannica also states that he was born in Tarsus (Now in Turkey) and Columbia Encyclopedia says that Paul's father was a Roman citizen. We also find that He (Paul) never met Jesus (Britannica).
It must be kept in mind that Jesus (A.S) spent years living with and teaching a group of twelve disciples. Paul's severe differences with these disciples can be found in the following passage from Galatians:
"But though we, or an angel of heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. . . . For I neither received [the gospel] from man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. . . . I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it . . . But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb . . . To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles I saw none, save James the Lord's brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia" Galatians 1:8-21.
From the above passage it is clear that there were serious contradictions between the Gospel which Paul was preaching and the Gospel which the trained disciples of Jesus were preaching. This passage also makes it clear that Paul did not avail himself of the opportunity to learn from those whom Jesus taught face to face. Paul instead claimed that his revelation came directly from Jesus Christ, making instruction from Jesus' trained disciples unnecessary for him. Given this attitude, it would not be surprising if Paul did more talking than listening during the fifteen days he spent with Peter. It is clear from his above attitude that he was unable or unwilling to eliminate contradictions between his own doctrine and that of Jesus. It is surprising that someone who had chosen a profession of lifelong ministry should fail to avail himself of the opportunity to learn from those who had been taught by Jesus himself.
This was about Paul himself now as far as his missionary work is concerned one finds no evidence about Paul's influence among Israelite Christians till 125 AD. Rather Paul's own doctrines in the name of Jesus spread outside Palestine within the Pagan Faith during his whole life. Paul himself admitted that his audience were Gentiles, so he wrote :
" But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; (Galatians 1:15-16)
"And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles (Galatians 2:2)
Note: The word Gentile is translated as "Other Nations" or "Ghair Quom" in the Urdu version of Bible Printed by "Pakistan Bible Society Lahore".
The Columbia Encyclopedia also introduce Paul as "The Apostle to the Gentile (i.e. Apostle to Non Jew or Non Israelite)". Further, Hyam Maccoby in his research titled as " The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity" explains :
" The first followers of Jesus, under James and Peter, founded the Jerusalem Church after Jesus' death. They were called the Nazarenes,...... The Nazarenes did not believe that Jesus had abrogated the Jewish religion, or Torah. Having known Jesus personally, they were aware that he had observed the Jewish religious law all his life ............ The Nazarenes were themselves very observant of Jewish religious law. They practiced circumcision, did not eat the forbidden foods and showed great respect to the Temple. The Nazarenes did not regard themselves as belonging to a new religion; their religion was Judaism. ....... The Nazarenes became suspicious of Paul when they heard that he was preaching that Jesus was the founder of a new religion and that he had abrogated the Torah. After an attempt to reach an understanding with Paul, the Nazarenes (i.e. the Jerusalem Church under James and Peter) broke irrevocably with Paul and disowned him. (The Mythmaker, Pages 15-16)
Thus keeping in view above facts, Mr. Ilyas Sattar's assumption that "while he (Jesus) was alive in Kashmir, he was being worshipped as God in Palestine" reflects his total ignorance to history. Contrary to his said assumption, it is apparent from above facts that IF Paul's preaching period was before 120/125 A.D even then his doctrines did not penetrate among Israelite followers of Jesus i.e. Real Christians, (Specially those living in Jerusalem / Palestine) during his lifetime or even many years after his demise.
In brief the seed of trinity sown by Paul in the name of Jesus amongst "Gentiles" remained isolated from Real Christians in the beginning. It grew as a plant amongst Israelite Christians at quite a later stage and years after the demise of Paul. Thus as per saying of Holy Quran the Real Christians remained on right path (i.e. unaffected from Paul's doctrines) till the Death of Jesus i.e. 120 or 125 AD and so there is no contradiction in Promised Messiah's writings whatsoever.
The main debate among Ahmadi and non Ahmadi Muslims is regarding what Holy Quran say about Demise of Jesus.
Promised Messiah (A.S) had presented very strong arguments from Holy Quran regarding demise of Jesus (A.S). He had presented 30 verses of Holy Quran in support of demise of Jesus. Its now more than 100 years and opponents are still not able to present even a single verse from Holy Quran which explains in clear words that Jesus was ascended to heaven Bodily.
(Note: It is common sense that anyone claiming abnormal phenomenon has to prove it very very precisely and without any shadow of doubt). A big and renowned name in recent Muslim Scholars, Molana Abul Aala Maudodi was compelled to admit this fact that "The words of the Holy Quan do not clarify that Jesus was ascended to heaven bodily" (Rasail-o-Masail page 59 Islamic publications).
It is a proof of our opponent's intellectual defeat that instead of discussing the actual controversy and presenting verses of Holy Quran in support of their doctrine regarding Jesus being raised bodily to heaven, they are hiding their faces in irrelevant debates. They may use all their evil tactics to misguide the masses, but one thing is sure that they can never turn day into night.