In the ‘White Paper,’ great importance is given to ‘Allama Iqbal. His views are considered superior to all. Let us see what he has to say about the Second Coming of the Messiah. It is the central point of difference between Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and other Muslims. We believe that the old Jesus(as) will not descend physically but his re-advent would take place in the form of another person who would bear the name Jesus(as). ‘Allama Iqbal writes:
As I understand the significance of the movement, the Ahmadi belief that Christ died the death of an ordinary mortal, and that his second advent means only the advent of a person who is spiritually like unto him, give the movement some sort of a rational appearance… (Islam and Ahmadism, with a reply to Questions raised by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, by Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, printed at Brandreth Road Lahore on Feb. 17th 1936, p. 22–23)
That leaves no room for escape for those who oppose the Ahmadiyya perspective. All believe with absolute certainty that the awaited Messiah would be a Prophet of Allah. The only point of contention is, how will he come, will he be a new person in the spirit of the Jesus of old, or would it be the self-same Jesus. The thinkers of Islam, whom our opponents declare to be reliable, states that the coming of a new person in the spirit of Jesus is a rational doctrine. Indeed, Ibn-e-Khaldun has said so in very clear words and has expounded his reasons for its validity.
‘Allama Iqbal was actually raised under the influence of western civilization and he viewed Islamic teachings in the light of the Western philosophy. The fact is that he neither agreed with the Ahmadiyya perspective, nor with the perspective of our opposing clerics. All he says is that the Ahmadiyya doctrine is more rational and logical than the non-Ahmadi doctrine. But he does not go into his own belief.
If you look at what the ‘Allama thinks of the Second Coming of the Messiah, we find he totally denies it. He claims all these ahadith and other writings about the Second Coming of the Messiah and associated narrations are not true. So we have Ibn-e-Qayyim saying that stories about Jesus(as) ascending to the heavens are fiction and ‘Allama Iqbal saying that the stories about Jesus(as) descending from the heavens are fiction. In one of his poems, written in 1905, he says:
Witness the manifestation of the glory of thy Lord, in the lofty state of your heart.
Abandon all hope of the advent of the Mahdi and Jesus.
(Baqiyat-e-Iqbal, by ‘Abdul-Wahid Mu‘ini, p. 451, published in Lahore)
One can argue he said this in a poetic vein and therefore should not be taken seriously. However, in his prose writings, we find that he says:
In my opinion, traditions pertaining to the advent of Mahdi, Second Coming of Messiah, and the appearance of Mujaddids, owe their origin to the Iranian and non-Arab way of thinking. They have nothing to do with the Arab concepts or the true spirit of the Holy Qur’an. (Iqbal Namah, vol. 2, p. 230–231, Letter addressed to Chaudhry Muhammad Ahsan)
I have reviewed his other writings and the ‘Allama is convinced that this concept is a foreign concept which crept into our beliefs in the Latter Days. So now, we have a ‘Thinker of Islam’ held in high esteem by our opponents who is totally rejecting the Coming of Messiah and the Mahdi and we have the sayings of the Holy Prophet(sa) emphatically stating that the Messiah and Mahdi will come and it is incumbent on us to believe in him and support him. Who are you going to follow: Your ‘Thinker of Islam’ or the Holy Prophet(sa)? Are you going to accept the Messiah of the past or the Messiah from the ummah of the Holy Prophet(sa)?