Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

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Did Jesus die on the cross or did He only swoon? Who should we believe: Jesus or Mirza Ghulam Ahmad?

1. The biblical evidence demonstrates Jesus died on the cross.

Photo of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam.

Jesus taught He would die

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16 verse 21)

The Gospels record Jesus’ death on the cross

The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. (Gospel of John, chapter 19 verses 32-35)

The Apostle John was an eyewitness to Jesus’ death on the cross

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.
The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,”
and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (Gospel of John, chapter 19 verses 16-30)

Pilate ascertained that Jesus was dead

It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached,
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.
When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. (Gospel of Mark, chapter 15 verses 42-45)

2. The medical evidence demonstrates Jesus died on the cross.

After looking at crucifixion in the ancient world an article in one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world concluded:

Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right rib, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.1

3. The historical evidence demonstrates Jesus died on the cross

  • Josephus (Jewish historian born around 37 AD and died 100 AD) refers to Jesus’ death (Antiquities 18.3.3).
  • Tacitus (AD 55-120), a renowned historian of ancient Rome wrote around 115 A.D. that Christ was “executed” by Pilate (Annals 15.44).
  • The early enemies of Christianity (e.g., Celsus and Lucian), conceded that Jesus was put to death.

4. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad appealed to unreliable evidence when he dismissed the fact of Jesus’ death on the cross

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad mistakenly claimed,

in the Gospel of Barnabas…it is written that he was not put on the cross, nor did he die thereupon. We could very well point out that though this book is not included in the Gospels and has been rejected summarily, but there is no doubt that it is an ancient book, and was written at the same time as the other Gospels. Can’t we, therefore, view this book as an ancient chronicle and make use of it as an historical document? And can’t we conclude from this book that at the time when the event of the cross took place, people were not unanimous as to Jesus having died on the cross? (Jesus in India, 22-23)

The simple and historical answer to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s questions is, “No.” The Gospel of Barnabas was not written by the Barnabas who lived in the 1st century AD. Indeed, this work appears to have been written in the 16th century AD, “The Gospel [of Barnabas] is considered by the majority of academics (including Christians and some Muslims) to be late and pseudepigraphical…” (Wikipedia; see also Gospel of Barnabas)


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a false Messiah because he denied the historical fact of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus, the true Messiah, warned about men like Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,

Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24 verses 4-5)

…if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.
See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24 verses 23-26)

Friend, prayerfully consider these things and read the Gospel of Matthew. I invite you to embrace Christianity as the truth and only way of salvation. Jesus said, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24). Believe in Jesus and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and you can have certainty that you will inherit eternal life. This certainty is rooted in what God has done in the real world with respect to the death of Jesus on the cross, His burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.


You may also be interested to learn more about:

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and The Gospel of Barnabas

Jesus’ Death on the Cross and the Qur’an


References about Mirza Ghulam Ahmed

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Wikipedia

Ahmad, M. M. “The Lost Tribes of Israel: The Travels of Jesus”, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – comprehensive list of books written by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

F.P. Cotterell, “The Gospel of Barnabas,” Vox Evangelica 10 (1977): 43-47.

William D. Edwards, MD; Wesley J. Gabel, MDiv; Floyd E. Hosmer, MS, AMI; “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ”; Journal of the American Medical Association 21 March 1986; Volume 255, 1463.

Yohanan Friedmann, Prophecy Continuous – Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background; Oxford University Press (2003).

John Gilchrist, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, chapter 9: A Study of the Ahmadiyya Movement.

Gospel of Barnabas, Wikipedia Entry

Günter Grönbold, Jesus In Indien, München: Kösel 1985.

Philip Johnson, Did Jesus go to India?

Norbert Klatt, Lebte Jesus in Indien?, Göttingen: Wallstein 1988.

Matthew W. Maslen, Piers D. Mitchell, “Medical Theories on the Cause of Death in Crucifixion”; Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine; 2006:185-188.

Christine Schirrmacher, “Has the True Gospel of Barnabas Been Found?“; Institute for Islamic Studies of the Evangelical Alliance in Germany, Austria, Switzerland.

Steven Masood, Jesus and the Indian Messiah.

Norbert Klatt, Lebte Jesus in Indien?, Göttingen: Wallstein 1988.

Matthew W. Maslen, Piers D. Mitchell, “Medical Theories on the Cause of Death in Crucifixion”; Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine; 2006:185-188.

Christine Schirrmacher, “Has the True Gospel of Barnabas Been Found?“; Institute for Islamic Studies of the Evangelical Alliance in Germany, Austria, Switzerland.

Steven Masood, Jesus and the Indian Messiah.

Nicolai Notovitch, Unknown life of Saint Issa 1894.

Jay Slomp, The Gospel of Barnabas in recent research

Wilfred Cantwell Smith, “Ahmadiyya” in the Encyclopaedia of Islam

Lee Strobel, “The Medical Evidence: Was Jesus’ Death a Sham and His Resurrection a Hoax? in The Case for Easter.

Frederick T. Zugibe, The Crucifixion of Jesus, A Forensic Inquiry

Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

The Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community