Masood Ashraf, USA
In the Gospel of Matthew, there is a story that talks about three wise men from the East coming to Bethlehem, who were led by what they thought was a bright star in the sky towards baby Jesusas in search of a newborn king.
These men were also commonly known as Magi, which means wise men. The word “Magi” could include everyone who is an expert in their field.
By the Middle Ages, most believed that three Magi visited the Christ child and that they were kings who symbolised the three ages of man. In keeping with Matthew’s account that the Magi journeyed from the East, writers first suggested that the kings were Persian. Later commentators proposed that they represented the three known continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. From a wide assortment of names suggested for the Magi, those that eventually prevailed were Gaspar (or Caspar), Melchior, and Balthasar. But the names, like the lands of origin, were never consistently assigned to a particular king.
But the question arises, is it possible to have a bright star in the sky that leads someone directly to a place? It is quite impossible. It is like chasing the moon as a kid and just when you think you have got it, it is not reachable.
However, there is a lot of truth to the story, but not as modern-day Christians portray it. It is important to understand that it was the combination of their wisdom, intelligence, and foresight of time and events related to the Holy Scriptures and many timeline prophecies that led them to seek Jesusas.
Past civilizations bear witness to the extraordinary revolution that occurs on earth and in the skies when God Almighty sends His prophets to reform mankind. A great number of signs, including celestial signs and out-of-the-ordinary universal phenomena, are witnessed before and after the appearance of these messengers.
Professor Gary Durham, writes, “First, they would have followed the insights given them in the prophecies of Daniel concerning the timing of the Messiah’s birth and death. The most important of these is the ninth (9th) chapter of Daniel, where the Angel Gabriel gives Daniel a cryptic calendar organised according to the sacred system of Heptads (seven-year cycles) and patterned forward on the structure of the Exile, which the Jews were about to complete, and which Daniel had read in the Prophet Jeremiah, would be 70-years long and was about to be completed in Daniel’s old age. Therefore, this is the reason Daniel falls down and prays for the restoration of Jerusalem in the first part of chapter nine.”
He further writes, “We are told that the heavens will be used to communicate once again at the second coming of the Messiah. Jesus tells us in Luke 21:25, ‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring of the seas.’” (https://pcnh.church/blog/2021/12/17/the-magi-how-did-they-know)
The Promised Messiah of the Age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian, writes:
“There was also a prophecy that in those days [of the Messiah and Mahdi], the star Dhus-Sineen would appear, which also appeared in the time of Jesusas and before that, during the time of Noahas. Now, everyone knows that it has appeared. News of its appearance was also published in Urdu and English newspapers.” (Ayyam-us-Sulh, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 14, p. 313)
The Promised Messiahas says, “God has shown so many signs in my support. Some signs are of the nature whereby, for my sake, God caused a number of heavenly and earthly calamities as a testimony to my claim.” (Haqiqatul-Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 22, pp. 70-71; Essence of Islam, Vol. V, pp. 2-4)
Pharaoh Ramses of Egypt’s 19th dynasty had decreed that all baby boys were to be slaughtered or thrown into the Nile River to eradicate all potential threats against him. Further evidence from the analysis suggests that there is a deeper meaning behind the events that took place during that time period. Comparatively, it is recorded in the Bible that King Herod of Judea initiated a similar plan to murder all the male infants in Bethlehem when he learned that the wise men left without telling him where the Christ child was born.
The internal fear of a possible threat propelled these individuals to meticulously plan a scheme that would guarantee their success and eliminate all possible hindrances. But we do have to give them credit for recognising the time of the advent of a Prophet.
One of the companions of the Promised Messiahas, Sufi Ahmad Jaan Sahib, recognised the Imam of the age even before the Promised Messiahas made the claim. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa in a Friday sermon stated that Sufi Sahib’s farsightedness is evident from the fact that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas was to be the Promised Messiah. Sufi Sahib went on to write an Urdu poetic couplet addressed to the Promised Messiahas:
ہم مریضوں كى ہے تمہى پہ نظر
تم مسیحا بنو خدا كے لئے
“We, the ailing, look up at you alone. For God’s sake be the Messiah!”
Before passing away Sufi Sahib advised his children to accept Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas as he had known him for much time before them. The true Messiah had come, the inevitable success of God’s will evident once again. Regarding this event, the Promised Messiahas himself wrote this couplet:
اسمعوا صوت السما ء جاءالمسیح جاءالمسیح
نیز بشنو از زمیں آمد امام كامگار
“Cool breeze from heaven is crying Messiah has come, Messiah has come, and earth is also proclaiming loudly that Imam has come, Imam has come.”
In another Urdu couplet, the Promised Messiahas has also said:
وقت تھا وقتِ مسیحا نہ كسى اور كا وقت
میں نہ آتا تو كوئى اور ہى آیا ہوتا
“This was the time for the Messiah, not any other time. If I had not come, someone else would have come.”
Anyhow, a logical conclusion we can draw from the story is that the Magi did see a bright star appear in the sky and they knew that it was time for the Prophet to appear. However, the star did not lead them, but it did affirm their inkling and they were looking for any sign that would lead them to that great Prophet and upon learning that there was a birth without a father in Bethlehem, they decided to make the long journey to investigate it. Three wise men did not get to see baby Jesus contrary to the popular nativity scenes till he was two years old. The Bible tells us, after three wise men refused to reveal where that great king was born to king Herod, the king decided to kill all babies under two years old. Also, upon arrival, we have been told, the individuals left gifts with religious significance for the baby, including frankincense, gold and myrrh. These gifts were meant to signify that he would face inevitable hardship and persecution as previous prophets had gone through. They also prayed for Jesusas and left knowing that they were old and would not see Jesusas grow up as an adult and claim prophethood.
We are told in Luke that the heavens will be used to communicate once again at the second coming of the Messiah. “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring of the seas.” The world ought to look harder to see if the second coming of the Messiah has happened and if the heavens and earth bore any testimony to this. It would certainly find this to be the case and find how Allah the Exalted showed heavenly signs in favour of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah, may peace be on him.