To understand the subject matter of this book, the following preliminary
knowledge is necessary. At the time when Hazrat Mirza arose, most Muslims
held the belief that according to the Quran Jesus did not die but was
raised up to heaven where he was still alive to this day; and on the
basis of certain prophecies contained in Hadith, they also held the
belief that Jesus would descend among the Muslims at the time of their
worst downfall and lead them to victory over their formidable foes.
As regards the first belief, Hazrat Mirza proved that, in fact, according
to the Quran Jesus had died in his own time, as is the law of God and
of nature for all human beings. This implies that the belief in his
return could not be correct. However, Hazrat Mirza showed that the Hadith
prophecies in question could be interpreted, in the light of well-known
religious principles and historical precedents, as referring to the
coming of a Muslim saint in the likeness of Jesus. Hazrat Mirza applied
these prophecies to himself and thus claimed to be the Messiah who had
been promised to appear among the Muslims -- the Promised Messiah.
At that time, a tiny number of Muslims already believed, on rational
rather than purely Quranic grounds, that Jesus was dead and not alive
in heaven. When Hazrat Mirza raised this issue forcefully, there was
much uproar and fury at first, but gradually an increasing number of
Muslims, apart from those who became his followers, came to accept his
incontrovertible case based on the Quran; and now hardly an educated
Muslim can be found who holds that Jesus has not died. This ever-growing
group has, however, to decide what to make of the Hadith prophecies
speaking of the return of Jesus. The tendency, particularly among modernists,
is to deny the authenticity of the Hadith reports containing the prophecies.
Where, they ask, does the Quran speak of the future coming of a Messiah?
It was in response to a question from a critic holding such views that
Hazrat Mirza wrote this book. As the critic also belonged to a school
which altogether rejects the system of Hadith as valid religious authority
in Islam, Hazrat Mirza first discusses the general issue of the authenticity
of Hadith. Then the bulk of the book, as indicated by the title, cites
evidence from the Quran itself about the coming of a Messiah among the
Muslims, and shows that the Hadith prophecies are based on certain fundamental
teachings of the Quran.