Does nuzul mean to physically descend from the sky?


Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam

“When religion is interpreted without rationality, when faith is divorced of reason, all that they give birth to are myths without legitimacy and legends without substance.” (Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh, Khalifatul Masih IV Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth, p. 699)

Today, Muslims who claim that Prophet Jesusas is still alive believe that Allah the Almighty physically raised the Messiah of Nazareth to the Heavens to save him from being crucified. It is indeed a strange thing that these Muslims assert. 


Alluding to this matter, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“It is impossible for us to think that Jesus, the Messiah, is alive in Heaven while Muhammad, our Holy Prophetsa, lies buried in the earth. We cannot think so. We believe that in spiritual rank, the Holy Prophetsa stands much higher than Jesus. How can it be that God raised Jesus to Heaven on the slightest sign of danger to his life, but did not raise the Holy Prophetsa even as high as the stars when the Holy Prophetsa was pursued by his enemies from place to place?” (Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, Khalifatul Masih II, Invitation to Ahmadiyyat,p. 15)

Many articles have been published in Al Hakam proving the demise of Prophet Jesusas, such as:

• Why the Latter-Day Messiah was named Isa Ibn-e-Maryam

• Proving the death of Jesus from the Holy Quran: “‘O Jesus, I will cause thee to die a natural death and will exalt thee to Myself”

• Jesus’ return: Metaphors and Quranic proof he died

• The true meaning of rafa‘a: Proof that Jesus has passed away

In this article, we shall focus and look at the Arabic word, “nuzul”, which some Muslims present in their favour to prove that Prophet Jesusas is still alive in Heaven and will one day descend.

As the literal meaning of “nuzul” is “descent”, it is unfortunate that most Muslims have been misled by this and have concocted notions that completely contradict the Holy Quran and the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa.

We find many examples in the Holy Quran and in the ahadith where the word nuzul has been used which does not mean to physical descend from the Heavens or the sky. The verses are mentioned below:

يٰبَنِيۡۤ اٰدَمَ قَدۡ اَنۡزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكُمۡ لِبَاسًا يُّوَارِيۡ سَوۡاٰتِكُمۡ وَ رِيۡشًا ؕ وَ لِبَاسُ التَّقۡوٰي ۙ ذٰلِكَ خَيۡرٌ ؕ ذٰلِكَ مِنۡ اٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَذَّكَّرُوۡنَ

“O children of Adam, We have indeed sent down to you raiment to cover your shame, and to be an elegant dress; but the raiment of righteousness – that is the best. That is [one] of the Signs of Allah, that they may remember.” (Surah al-A‘raf, Ch.7: V.27)

A simple look at this verse proves that nuzul, or anzalna, does not and cannot only mean to physically descend. Throughout the entire existence of humanity, who is it that will say or declare they have seen articles of clothing and garments physically descend from the sky? Clothes do not fall from the sky. They are made here on earth. I wonder if a person who awaits the physical descent of Prophet Jesusas would translate this verse to mean that clothes physically descend from the sky. The matter, however, does not end there. The Holy Quran, elsewhere, states:

خَلَقَكُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّفۡسٍ وَّاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنۡهَا زَوۡجَهَا وَ اَنۡزَلَ لَكُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَنۡعَامِ ثَمٰنِيَةَ اَزۡوَاجٍ ؕ يَخۡلُقُكُمۡ فِيۡ بُطُوۡنِ اُمَّهٰتِكُمۡ خَلۡقًا مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ خَلۡقٍ فِيۡ ظُلُمٰتٍ ثَلٰثٍ ؕ ذٰلِكُمُ اللّٰهُ رَبُّكُمۡ لَهُ الۡمُلۡكُ ؕ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا هُوَ ۚ فَاَنّٰي تُصۡرَفُوۡنَ

“He created you from a single being; then from that He made its mate; and He has sent down for you of the cattle eight pairs. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in threefold darkness. This is Allah, your Lord. His is the kingdom. There is no God but He. Whither then are you being turned away?” (Surah al-Zumar, Ch.39: V.7)

Here, nuzul, or anzala, does not refer to physical descent. In this verse, the word anzala has been used for cattle; however, who is it that will say they have seen or claim to have seen cattle, bulls, or cows physically coming down from the sky? Obviously, nobody will say such a thing. Surely, the folk of his town will say that he has either lost it, is no longer sane, or that his eyes and mind have deceived him.

Allah the Almighty further states:

هُوَ الَّذِيۡ يُرِيۡكُمۡ اٰيٰتِهٖ وَ يُنَزِّلُ لَكُمۡ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ رِزۡقًا ؕ وَ مَا يَتَذَكَّرُ اِلَّا مَنۡ يُّنِيۡبُ

“He it is Who shows you His Signs and sends down provision for you from heaven; but none pays heed save he who turns [to God].” (Surah al-Mu‘min, Ch.40: V.14)

In this verse, Allah the Almighty has said that He sends down provision from Heaven. Both the words مِّنَ‭ ‬السَّمَآءِ  and‮ ‬يُنَزِّلُ   have even been used; however, food, mangoes, bananas, oranges, grapes etc. do not physically fall from the sky.

We also find a hadith narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari were the words نَزَلَ  and‭ ‬مِنَ‭ ‬السَّمَاءِ‮ ‬ have been used:

أَنَّ الأَمَانَةَ نَزَلَتْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فِي جَذْرِ قُلُوبِ الرِّجَالِ، وَنَزَلَ الْقُرْآنُ فَقَرَءُوا الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلِمُوا مِنَ السُّنَّةِ

The Holy Prophetsa said, “Honesty descended from the Heavens and settled in the roots of the hearts of men [faithful believers], and then the Holy Quran was revealed, and the people read the Quran, [and learnt from it] and also learnt it from the sunnah.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Itisam bil Kitab wa Sunnah, Hadith 7276)

Now, looking at this hadith, along with the interpretations of nuzul as explained by non-Ahmadi Muslims, does this mean that honesty was a physical thing which literally and physically descended from the sky and took root in the hearts of men?

The question now remains, why has Allah the Almighty, in His infinite wisdom, used the word nuzul for such things as cattle, garments, provision etc.? 

The matter is quite clear and simple. All these things that are of great benefit to mankind, Allah is stating that these beneficial things are sent by Him through His immense blessings. To take them all in its literal sense and say they all physically descend from the sky is absurd.  

So, with the above-quoted verses of the Holy Quran, it becomes evidently clear that the word nuzul does not mean to physically descend from the sky. In fact, like all things, it must be studied and looked at in its true context to understand its real meaning and purport. For example, animals,  livestock – an‘am in Arabic – for which the word  nuzul has been used, has proven to be of most use and benefit to mankind through the usage of its meat, skin, wool and it also provides and gives milk etc.

With regard to the word nuzul, the Promised Messiahas, on one occasion, stated:

“The word that has been used for the advent of the Messiah is nuzul (i.e. to descend) and not ruju (i.e. to return). Firstly, the appropriate word for someone who is expected to return is ruju and this word has never been used for Jesusas. Secondly, the word nuzul does not imply a return from Heaven. A person on journey is referred to as a nazeel.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 7)

I end this short piece hoping that Muslims around the world, who await Prophet Jesus’ coming down, may one day see and witness the truth of Hazrat Ahmadas. Centuries will go by, but no one will physically descend from the sky. The Promised Messiah, who was to come, has come and has fulfilled the prophecy made by the Holy Prophetsa.  

“Let Jesusas die for therein lies the glory of Islam.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 458)

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  1. جزاک اللہ
    For your detailed discussion.

    We can only pray that non-Ahmadis can see the light of truth and understand the Holy Quran with the vision given by promised messiah.


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