Mirza Ghulum Ahmad’s self-understanding as the ‘Promised Messiah’ and incarnation of all prophets
Professor Adil Hussain Khan sums up the extraordinary self-understanding of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslims, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:
Ahmad’s self-understanding is directly tied to his ahistorical worldview. By inserting himself into and claiming the prophecies of both the Bible and the Qur’an for himself, that of the Promised Messiah and the Madhi, Ahmad creates a narrative that does not correlate to the texts or history, and thereby elevates himself to prophet status by proclaiming:
Like a drum roll, these self-proclamations, “God has revealed unto me,” “God almighty has conveyed to me…”, are repeated extensively throughout his writings.
One of Ahmad’s most bizarre claims concerns God giving him the name of Mariam, the mother of Jesus, and then claiming to have become pregnant, metaphorically speaking, and subsequently giving birth to himself as Christ:
It must be noted here that the rationalizing of Ahmad’s extreme claims by his followers is almost always through the ‘metaphorical’ lens. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains the dynamics of metaphor: “When we resort to metaphor, we contrive to talk about two things at once; two different and disparate subject matters are mingled to rich and unpredictable effect.”
By relegating Ahmad’s truth claims to ‘metaphorically speaking,’ both Ahmad and his followers have no base line to distinguish between that which is true and that which is false, as within a metaphorical world any claim can be rationalized. When Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin and was asked, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus didn’t respond by saying, “Well, metaphorically speaking, I am.” He was clear in who He was: “I am (THE Christ, the Son of the Blessed), and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven,” (Mark 14:61–62)
Unlike Ahmad’s claims which are cloaked in metaphor and result in an “unpredictable effect”, Jesus’ claims as the Messiah, the Christ, were unambiguous and unequivocal, leaving no room for misinterpretation.
Ahmad also extended his ‘incarnational’ status to that of Krishna in the Haqiqat-ul-Wahi:
Ahmad asserts that God “has told me repeatedly that I am Krishna of the Hindus and the promised Messiah for the Muslims and Christians…Spiritually, Krishna and the promised Messiah are one and the same person.” Ahmad proclaimed himself not merely the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi, but also “an incarnation of Jesus Christ.”  Moreover, he claims that his grandeur “excels [that of] Jesus by a thousand measures.”
As one can see, the confusion within Ahmad’s understanding as to who he was is revelatory in itself. In fact, this confused, contradictory and ill-defined self perception is what eventually led to a split within the Ahmadiyya movement as professor Adil Hussain Khan explains:
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s self-MISunderstanding: “Contrary beliefs can exist, contrary truths cannot”
In the Ahmadi publication, The Messiah Has Come-The Man-The Message-The Movement, the question is posed, “Where is the Prophet all religions foretold for our time?” One-line references are then given from the sacred scriptures of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism, followed by the claim that,
The absurdity of this claim is evident when one considers the contradictory truth claims of each of these religions/ideologies. Even a perfunctory overview of the belief systems mentioned, exposes Ahmad’s deficient knowledge of the core tenets of these belief systems. In his short work “The Creed”, English writer and poet Steve Turner answers the question of whether all religions ‘converge’ into one united happy ‘theological family’:
We believe that all religions are basically the same
At least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.
As one can see, all religions may be wrong, but they cannot all be right. Every religion differs vastly on ‘matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation,’ and as such, the law of non-contradiction rules out the ‘truth’ claims that ‘all paths lead to God’ and that ‘all religions are the same.’ Even though pluralistic interpretations of religion, such as the Ahmadi’s espouse, possess a strong intuitive appeal, nevertheless, they possess two deficiencies which in the final analysis render them unacceptable:
Second, in order to avoid the latter problem, the Ahmadi’s radically reinterpret the beliefs of specific traditions in ways that fundamentally distort these beliefs.
The Achilles’ heel of the assumption that all paths lead to the same destination, or as the Ahmadi state, “these teachings converge into the true Islam and toward the One God,” is the problem of conflicting truth-claims. Every religious tradition makes truth-claims and some of these truth-claims contradict the truth-claims of other religious traditions. (See my article, All paths lead to God…or do they?, here)
The stark contradictions within Ahmad’s claims of being the various incarnations of prophets/leaders of contradictory belief systems expose the incoherence of Ahmad’s worldview, mental state, and extreme cognitive dissonance in holding an array of contradictory beliefs, ideas, values, and truth claims. Contrary to the pluralistic ideology of Ahmad and the Ahmadiyya movement, all religions are not fundamentally the same and only superficially different, but they are all fundamentally different, and at best, superficially the same.
Take Christianity and Islam for instance. The eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ 1st century disciples, and those presiding over His crucifixion, multiply attest to His death on the cross (Luke 23:46; Mark 15:37). Scholars of all stripes, whether they be antagonistic to religion, atheist, liberal, conservative, religious, or non-religious, agree on this historical fact—that Jesus died by crucifixion. However, the Qur’an states, “but they did not kill him, nor crucify him, but so it was made to appear to them…” (Sura 4:157)
Both of these statements cannot be true—either Jesus was crucified and died or he didn’t. (Ahmadi favor a more creative rendition of the crucifixion verse, which is most apparent in the interpretive translation by Malik Ghulam Farid. I have included the comparison of the two translations in the Reference section below entitled: The Qur’an-Comparing translations of Ahmadiyya and Orthodox Qur’an)
Ghulam Ahmad’s claim to a prophetic role in all religions has been rejected by each of the religions he professes to represent–Islam, Hinduism, Sikism and Buddhism. I will offer one example of such a refutation here. In his treatise, A Buddhist Response to Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (of Qadian), Dr. Adrian Chan-Wyles reveals Ahmad’s nescience of both Buddhism and Christianity, as well as his motives in trying to conflate the two religions to support his claim as the Promised Messiah:
Ahmad’s assumptions are obviously incorrect in their conclusions, as he is trying to co-opt the non-Islamic, and non-theological teachings of the logical and rational Buddha, into the theology of Islam, via the person of Jesus Christ…To do this he must misinterpret Buddhist history and philosophy, reducing both to Islamic theological rhetoric…Ahmad clearly demonstrates this tendency by both embracing certain aspects of Buddhism that serve his cause, and firmly rejecting those aspects of Buddhism that contradict his cause. The problem with Ahmad’s research is that what he embraces within Buddhism, he misinterprets (from a Buddhist perspective), and what he rejects (as being un-Islamic and against god) is the very functional essence of what makes Buddhism unique amongst emancipatory world philosophies and religions. 
In regard to Ahmad’s self-proclamations and the contradictions entailed therein, professor Alfred Mall offers an explanation which highlights Ahmad’s lack of knowledge of religio-philosophical traditions:
Although I have not highlighted Ahmad’s political activism and how it influenced his revelations, I find Professor Mall’s comment insightful as to the role that political posturing played in at least one of Ahmad’s self-proclamations of being the incarnation of Krishna, the Hindu avatar:
A True Prophet Cannot Lie
Another stark example of Ahmad’s state of mind was his confusion about his age:
Considering the above failed prophecy, should one consider Ahmad a true prophet, or the Promised Messiah if he continued to change his age to coincide to prophetic predictions?. This is one example of a number of failed prophecies by Ghulam Ahmad. As the Bible states, “[W]hen a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. (Deuteronomy 18:22)
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and Jesus Christ
Ahmad’s attempts to create an affinity between himself and Jesus plays a prominent role in Ahmad’s polemics against Christianity, and is highly significant in the worldview of the Ahmadi movement. The restoration of the superiority of Islam over Christianity was perceived by Ahmad as a principal goal of his mission. As Yohanan Friedman concluded:
Ahmadi are zealously committed to disproving Jesus’ death on the cross and his bodily resurrection and ascension, since this would destroy their faith and position as the following statement from Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, the second successor to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, confirms:
Ahmad made claims about the historical Jesus as described in the Bible which would be considered blasphemous to both Christians and Muslims. He believed the Jesus of the Qur’an was a sinless prophet, but the Jesus of the Bible was an alcoholic, a liar, and a false prophet who had gone insane:
• Jesus in the New Testament “had the habit of uttering obscenities and frequently using foul language…he had also to some extent the habit of lying.”
• “Alas!…three prophecies of the Messiah proved to be outrightly false!”
• The Gospels provide “clear proof that Jesus had actually become insane due to epilepsy.”
Ahmad also denied the miracles of Jesus and the prophets. His reason for denying the miraculous nature of the Prophets’ lives becomes obvious from his own words:
In his attempt to further denigrate the Jesus of the New Testament (and Qur’an), Ahmad relegates Jesus miracles to ‘mesmerism’ and naturalistic means:
“The Christians have written about many miracles of Jesus, but the fact is that he performed no miracles.”
“Let it be known that this practice (of mesmerism) is not as honorable as it is deemed by the public. If I had not regarded this practice as detestable and hateful, I would hope that, by the grace of God Almighty, this humble one (me) would not have been inferior to Messiah, the son of Mary, in showing wonderful acts (of mesmerism).” 
As I mentioned above, Orthodox Muslims will find these statements blasphemous. The vast majority of Ahmadiyya members are not aware of Ahmad’s degradation of Jesus, who in orthodox Islam is the most revered prophet, only surpassed by Muhammad himself. The reason for this is that Ahmad’s most offensive statements are available only in Urdu and have never been officially translated into English.
The Ahmadiyya worldview is essentially the worldview of Ghulam Ahmad. In proclaiming himself as the ‘Promised Messiah,’ and the second coming of Jesus, he was in a position among his followers to rewrite the 1st century history of the Jesus of the Gospels and remake the historical Jesus into an ahistorical 19th century caricature of Ahmad’s confused imagination.
In regards to the second coming of the historical Jesus of the Bible, the prophetic record given by Jesus Himself is unmistakably clear as to what signs will proceed and be manifest at His second coming:
The only sign proceeding Jesus’ Second Coming that Ghulam Ahmad has fulfilled is that of Jesus’ warnings of false christs and false prophets arising before His return. Ahmad fails to fulfill the performing of “great signs and wonders,” but even without these, he has “led many astray.”
Mirza Ghulum Ahmad’s missional strategy vs Christianity
Ahmad’s motivation and purpose in detaching the historical Jesus from history is summed up in Ahmad’s missional strategy of engaging Christians:
The Ahmadiyya publication, Death on the Cross–Ten Arguments from the Bible, (published in 2011) affirms this claim:
Once again, the Ahmadi lack of biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, and the wresting and editing of scripture is glaring. (Definition of wresting: distort the meaning or interpretation of (something) to suit one’s own interests or views.) The wresting of sacred texts, regardless of the religion, is standard fare within the Ahmadiyya interpretive methodology.
As I covered in my two part series, Was Paul an Apostle or a ‘Hijacker’?, Paul was not “the real founder of Christianity.” In fact, Ibn Ishaq in his authoritative biography, The Life of Muhammad (written in the 8th century), confirms Paul as a follower of Christ along with the other apostles. If Paul was “the real founder of Christianity” and corrupter of Jesus’ message, surely he would not be included with the rest of the disciples in the early Islamic traditions. The Ahmadi publication takes the above scripture, 1 Cor. 15:14, out of the context to bolster their claim that Jesus did not die, and as such, did not rise from the dead which means that the Christian faith is futile. However, the Ahmadi conveniently left out the conclusion of Paul’s argument for Jesus’ death and resurrection:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.(1 Corinthians 15:12–26)
My Ahmadi friends may object to my choice of quotes and claim that I am ‘cherry picking’ from Ahmad’s writings. However, I do not believe that to be the case. Considering the number of current publications that are designed to fulfill Ahmad’s position on engaging Christianity as stated in the above quotes, there certainly is evidence that Ahmad’s mission to “prove to Christians that Christ is forever dead” and thereby “wipe the Christian religion off the face of the earth,” is continuing to be carried out be the current Ahmadiyya members.
The story is told that when reviewing a scientific paper, physicist Wolfgang Pauli remarked, “This isn’t right. This isn’t even wrong.” By this Dr. Pauli meant that the paper had no grounding in scientific reality. In a similar way, Ahmadiyya Muslim beliefs about Jesus (and every other religion Ahmad claims to represent) have no grounding in historic reality. They are grounded in the ahistorical worldview of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, whereby he prevaricates, interpolates, and rationalizes in order to adapt prophecies to his method of interpretation. By way of contrast, the Christian faith and worldview is grounded in historically verifiable evidence, both within the historical eyewitness narratives of the New Testament and that of extra-biblical sources, that coheres with reality as we know it. The value of eyewitness testimony is stated by the pre-Christian Roman dramatist Plautus:
In summary, Ahmad’s credibility fails on numerous counts:
(2) He contradicts, reinterprets, and edits the Bible (and the Qur’an) to suit his own agenda.
(3) His prophetic roles do not square with reality—Moses and Jesus were monotheists, while Krishna is considered one of a pantheon of millions of gods by Hindus, and Buddha was agnostic.
(4) His mystical claims to be God, Jesus incarnate, Mary, Muhammad, and other spiritual leaders border on mental illness. 
(5) His assertions that Jesus was a false prophet, an alcoholic, a liar, a profane person, and insane are plainly blasphemous. In attacking the Bible to defend the Qur’an, Ahmad shows that he cannot be relied on for sound judgment or fundamental honesty.
A Message to my Ahmadi friends
When speaking with one of my Ahmadi friends, I said, “You realize that you’re alone on a worldview ‘island’. There is no one, whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, etc., that finds your position as per Ahmad’s claims credible.” His answer was, “Oh, we don’t mind being on an island.”
I invite you, my Ahmadi friends to please step off your worldview ‘island’ and consider with an open mind, the true evidence for the historical Jesus, the one and only promised Messiah as found in the Holy Bible. I ask that you read, without prevaricating, interpolating, and rationalizing the scriptures through the ahistorical worldview lens of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Find or ask your Christian friends for a copy of the Injeel/New Testament and read the exciting and awe inspiring 1st century eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ disciples and followers, who walked with Jesus and were witnesses to His teaching, power and majesty. As you read, let Jesus’ words speak to your heart and mind. As Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life… if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 6:63; 8:31-32) As Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples testified:
When Jesus was on trial before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish religious leaders) He spoke plainly and truthfully as to who He was/is:
Jesus declares under oath before the high priest that He indeed is the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy and is the Messiah, the Anointed of God:
This is one of over 300 prophecies given by the prophets which Jesus fulfilled. (See article: Did Jesus Fulfill Old Testament Prophecy?) Which prophecies did Mirza Ghulam Ahmad fulfill? Are you willing to stake your life and eternity on the claims of a man whose claims are incoherent and whose mental state was one of contradictions and confusion, living in a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance? If you love truth, and you are willing to follow the evidence where it truly leads, then you will find the truth as Jesus promised:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7–8)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16–17)
 Adil Hussain Khan, From Sufism to Ahmaddiyya—A Muslim Minority Movement South Asia, Indiana University Press, 2015, pg. 60
 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Jesus in India, Islam International Publication, (republished) 2015, pg. 12, 13
 Maududi, The Qadiani Problem, p. 119
 Kashti-Noh, pp. 46-47
 (Appendix, p. 85)
 The Ahmadiyya Movement, 2.
 A Short Sketch, 11.
 Our Teaching, 13.
 ibid, Adil Hussain Khan, pg. 51-52
 Steve Turner, The Creed, 1993, here
 Adrian Chan-Wyles, A Buddhist Response to Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (of Qadian), 2016, here
 Alfred Mall, A Critical Study of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, 1977, pg. 128
 ibid, Mall, pg. 22, 23
 ibid, Mall, pg. 69
Ahmad’s recorded confusion of his age: 1) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Albashari (Publication at Qadian, n.d.), Vol. ii, p. 2. 2) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mawahib al-Rahman (Publication at Qadian, n.d.), p. 21. 3) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Arbain (Publication at Qadian, 1900), p. 30.
 Haqiqat al-wahy, pg. 39
 Tiryaq al-qulub, pg. 35, 36
 Yohanan Friedman, Prophecy Continuous-Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and its Medieval Background, University of California Press, 1989, pg. 117-118
 Bashir-ud-din, Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, p. 15
 Roohani Khazain (Satt-Bachan), 10:296, as quoted in Syed Rashid Ali, “Jesus (pbuh) in Ahmadiyyat,” Anti Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, March 2005, http://alhafeez.org/rashid/jesus.htm (accessed 2010-02-27).
 Roohani Khazain (Anjam Aatham), 11:289, cited in S. Ali.
 Roohani Khazain (Ijaz-e-Ahmadi), 19:121, cited in S. Ali.
 Roohani Khazain (Satt-Bachan), 10:295 footnote, cited in S. Ali.
 Anjam-i-Atham, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 11, P. 291, addenda
 Anjam-i-Atham, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 11, P. 290, Addenda
 Azalah-i-Auham, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 3, P. 257
 Tawzih Miram, English tr. pp. 6-77
 Ghulam, Azala Auham, pp. 560-61
 See http://www.irshad.org/exposed/false.php for a list of failed prophecies.
 The best way to appreciate this is to read large swaths from the Tadhkirah,
available online at http://www.alislam.org/books/.
The 22-volume set of Roohani Khazain (“Spiritual Treasures”), cited above, is available in PDF format in the Urdu section.
 ibid, Alfred Mall, pg. 137
Research books, papers, articles re the Ahmadiyya movement
Aaron Goerner, Is the Qur’an the Word of God?, here-This is an excellent book in which Pastor Goerner addresses the challenges put forth by Ahmadiyya members via his email correspondence with them.
Eric Pemet, The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Watchman Fellowship Profile, 2010, here
Dr. Alfred Mall, A Critical Study of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, 1977, here
Mirza Ghulam’s Tirade against Jesus Christ-In light of His own words, Compilation, here
Tahir Hussain, The Last Avatar, here
The Qur’an-Comparing translations of Ahmadiyya and Orthodox Qur’an
From Adil Hussain Khan’s book, From Sufism to Ahmaddiyya—A Muslim Minority Movement South Asia, pg. 44-46:
A synopsis of the current position begins with the assertion that it is impossible
for any human being to physically ascend to heaven. It may be worth
mentioning here that most Ahmadis would also reject the physical ascent of the
Prophet Muhammad to heaven during the night journey (isrā and mi῾rāj). To explain
the whereabouts of Jesus, Ahmadis argue that Jesus did not die from crucifixion,
even though he was indeed hung on the cross and crucified. The problem
with this position for many mainstream Muslims is that it appears to be a direct
contradiction of the Qur᾽an. This can be illustrated quite clearly by comparing
different translations of the Qur᾽anic account of the crucifixion. (Sura 4:157) Abdel Haleem
translates the crucifixion verse like this:
of God.” (They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was
made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of
doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not
kill him . . .
Ahmadis favor a more creative rendition of the crucifixion verse, which is most
apparent in the interpretive translation by Malik Ghulam Farid:
of Allāh”; whereas they slew him not, nor did they bring about his death
on the cross, 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 certain
knowledge thereof, but only pursue a conjecture; and they did not arrive at a
certainty concerning it.
The Ahmadi translation of the next verse, (Sura 4:158) which describes Jesus’s ascension
to heaven following the crucifixion, is also worth comparing to non-Ahmadi
translations. Abdel Haleem translated the verse: “God raised him [Jesus] up to
Himself (rafa῾ahu ᾽llāhu ilayhi).” The Ahmadi translation of the verse reads:
“On the contrary, Allāh exalted him [Jesus] to Himself.” The traditional interpretation—
as seen when comparing the two translations—is that Jesus was physically
raised to the heavens. This view is consistent with the Christian account of
Jesus’s ascension. The Ahmadi rendition reinterprets the verse to show that Jesus
was only raised in spiritual status and not raised physically to the heavens.