The Truth Message – Part – 2: The Lost Tribes of Israel
It is a historical fact that the Israelites were divided into 12 tribes of which two were in the country where Jesus taught his Gospel and was put on the cross and the other 10 were scattered in other lands. The assigned Divine mission of Jesus would not have been complete, much less could it be described as successful, without his appearance among the remaining 10 tribes representing a vast majority of the Israelite people.
The choice here is either to admit that Jesus failed to comply with his Divine mission – an obvious contradiction of terms in regard to any prophet – or that he did travel to that part of the world where the remaining 10 tribes, representing an overwhelming majority, had settled.
We read in the Bible that Jesus Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matthew 15:24) and that he had come … to seek and save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
Now if the Jews living in Palestine are to be regarded as lost, then the Israelites who had settled farther afield must certainly be so regarded, for they were lost physically as well as spiritually. Jesus further said that he had come to seek that which was lost and this can by all means apply to the Israelites who lived further away from Palestine. The Jews of Palestine were around him and, therefore, it was not necessary for him to seek them.
Our first evidence comes from the Gospels: The star which indicated the birth of Jesus (pbuh) appeared in the East. (Matthew 2:2) Guided by this star certain wise men undertook a long journey and visited the place of his birth. This shows clearly that they had been waiting for his appearance. As the promise of the appearance of Messiah and the signs of his advent had been given to none but the Israelites, therefore, the men that came from the East on seeing the star must have been Israelites.
Second evidence comes from the second book of Esdras details how the ten tribes of Israel had not returned to their own land but had left their place of captivity for a place which to them looked even farther away from their own land, i.e. further towards the East, and to a place called Asareth.
Tabaqat-i-Nasiri confirms the case saying: …in the time of the Shansabi dynasty, a people called Bani Israel (Children of Israel) used to live in Asareth and were engaged in trade.
Thomas Ledlie in his book, More Ledlian, writing on the origin of Afghans, gives cogent reasons for connecting Asareth with Hazara District in the North West Frontier Providence of Pakistan; and the territory of Kashmir adjoins that of Hazara. But the old boundary of Asareth in Swat was just on the opposite bank of the Indus river, and, higher up near Chilas, it ran into Kashmir territory.
St. Jerome, who wrote in the fifth century of the Christian era while discussing the Dispersion of Israel, stated: “… Until this day the ten tribes are subjects to Kings of the Persians nor has their captivity ever loosened.”
Another eminent scholar, Dr. Alfred Edersheim, in his book entitled, The Life and Times of Jesus, the Messiah, says that vast numbers of Israelites, estimated at millions, inhabited the trans-Euphrates provinces – the great mass of the ten tribes was in the days of Christ, as in our own times, lost to the Hebrew nation.
We read in the Jewish Encyclopedia under the heading Tribes: Abraham Farissol identifies the River Ganges with the River Gozan and assumes that the Bani-Israel of India are the descendants of the lost ten tribes.
Let us look more closely at the history of the people of these regions.
The claim of Afghans to be Children of Israel is not merely founded on tradition. It is supported by ancient monuments, old inscriptions and historical works which are still to be found in manuscripts in their possession which detail the history of genealogies of the Afghans tribes.
The most ancient manuscript available to us is: rauzat uo Albab fi Tawarikh-ul-Akabir wal Ansab – The Garden of the Learned in the History of Great Men and Genealogies – by Abu Suleman Daud bin Abul Fazal Muhammad Albenaketi which was written in 717 A.H. and in which the author traces the ancestry of the Afghans to the Israelites.
The people of Kashmir, Afghanistan, parts of India and the surrounding lands represent the lost tribes of Israel. Let us examine whether this contention can be proved by historical and other forms of evidence.
Bukhtawar Khan in his most valuable universal history Mirat-ul-Alam – the Mirror of the World, gives a vivid account of the Journeys of the Afghans from the Holy Land to Ghor, Ghazni, Kabul and other places in Afghanistan. Similarly Hafiz Rahmat bin Shah Alam in his Khulasat-ul-Ansab and Fareed-ud-Din Ahmad in Risala-i-Ansab-i-Afghana give the history of the Afghans and deal with their genealogies. They both prove that the Afghans are the descendants of Israel through King Talut.
Sir Alexander Burnes in his book Travels into Bokhara states: The Afghans called themselves Bani Israel, that is Children of Israel. The Afghans look like Jews and the younger brother remarries the widow of the elder.
Similarly, Dr. Joseph Wolff, in his book, Narrative of a Mission to Bokhara in the Years 1843-1845, was wonderfully struck with the resemblance which the Yusuf Zayes and the Khaibaries, two of their Afghan tribes, bear to the Jews.
The same is affirmed by J.B. Farser in his book: An Historical and Descriptive Account of Persia and Afghanistan where he quotes: According to the Afghans’ own tradition they believe themselves to be descendents from the Jews… They preserved the purity of their religion until they embraced Islam.
Again, we have the evidence of George Moore in his famous work: Lost Tribes published in 1861. He cited numerous facts to prove that these tribes are traceable to the Afghans and the Kashmiris. Sir William Jones, Sir John Malcolm and missionary Chamberlain, after full investigation, were of the opinion that the Ten Tribes migrated to India, Tibet and Kashmir through Afghanistan.
Moore has mentioned only three eminent writers on the subject. But reference can be made with advantage to General Sir George Macmuun, Col. G. B. Malleson, Col. Failson, George Bell, E. Balfour, Sir Henry Yule and Sir George Rose. They, one and all, independently came to the same conclusion.
Among more recent writers on the ancestry of Afghans, Dr. Alfred Edersheim states as follows:
Modern investigations have pointed to the Nestorians and latterly, with almost convincing evidence (so far as it is possible), to the Afghans as descendants from the lost tribes.
Similarly, Sir Thomas Holditsh, in his book, The Gates of India says: But there is one important people (of whom there is much more to be said) who call themselves Bani Israel, who claim descent from Cush and Ham, who have adopted a strange mixture of Mosaic Law in Ordinances in their moral code, who (some sections at least) keep a feast which strongly accords with the Passover, who hate the Yahudi (Jew) with a traditional hatred, and for whom no one has yet been able to suggest any other origin than the one they claim, and claim with determined force, and these people are the overwhelming inhabitants of Afghanistan and Kashmir.
It will, therefore, be acknowledged that ethnical and historical evidence, both ancient and modern, establishes that Afghans are the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, whose descent can be traced back to the tribes of Israel as has been mentioned in some of the quotations reproduced above.
The Kashmiris who also claim to be Bani Israel (that is, Children of Israel) and call themselves Kashar which is a Hebrew word meaning right. But let us probe further into this claim and examine what historical and other evidence is available to substantiate it.
The first three early historians of Kashmir, namely Mulla Nadiri (1378-1416) in his book: Tarikh Kashmir (History of Kashmir), Mulla Ahmad in his book Waqqya-i-Kashmir (Events of Kashmir), and Abdul Qadar Bin Qazi-ul-Quzat Wasil Ali Khan in his book Hashmat-i-Kashmir, have all categorically stated that the inhabitants of Kashmir were the descendants of Israel. The last mentioned author adding that they had come from the Holy Land (Israel).
Apart from these three Muslim historians of Kashmir, Hindu scholars like Pandit Narian Kaul in his book: Guldasta-i-Kashmir and Pandit Ram Chand Kak in his work: Ancient Monument of Kashmir: describes Kashmiris as being of Jewish countenance of descent.
Francis Bernier (a courtier at the Court of Emperor Aurang Zeb) states that the inhabitants of Kashmir struck him as resembling Jews, having the countenances and manners of the Israeli people.
George Foster in his famous work: Letters on a Journey from Bengal to England, writes:
On first seeing the Kashmirians in their own country, I imagined from their garb, the cast of their countenances, which were long and of a grave aspect, and the forms of their beards, that I had come among a nation of Jews.
The Rev. Claudius Buchanan talks about the discovery of an ancient manuscript of Moses in Hebrew which was written on a roll of leather 48 feet in length and about which he was told it was brought from Kashmir.
The Kashmiri pundits claim that they had come from Persia and beyond and that some of their people had settled on the Malaber Coast. Mr. Henry Wilson in his book: Travels in Himalayan Provinces writes: … the physical and the ethnical character, which so sharply marks off the Kashmiris from all surrounding races, has always struck observing visitors to the valley and they have universally connected them with the Jews.
Major H. W. Bellew in his book: Kashmir in Kashgar: refers to the dress of Kashmiri men and women and their features and infers from these and other facts their descent from the Jews.
Similarly, Mr. Cowley Lambert in his book: A Trip to Kashmir and Laddakh: refers to the physical appearance of the Kashmiris and concludes that they have a most unmistakable Jewish cast of face.
Similarly, Mr. James Milne in his book: The Road to Kashmir: states that the three races (Afghans, Afridis, and Kashmiris) have large aquiline features and skins which have been well described as subdued Jews.
More recently, Sir Francis Younghusband, who for many years was the British Representative in Kashmir, writes: Here may be seen fine old patriarchal types, just as we picture to ourselves the Israelitish heroes of old. Some, indeed, say… that these Kashmiris are the lost tribes of Israel and certainly as I have already said, there are real biblical types to be seen everywhere in Kashmir and especially among the upland villages. Here the Israelitish shepherd tending his flocks and herds may any day be seen.
We also find a Christian missionary who lived in Kashmir for many years (C. E. Tyndale Biscoe) who contends: … the Kashmiris belong to the lost tribes of Israel as many of them have such Jewish noses, also their love of money and of getting the better of their neighbors is a strong one.
A recent Indian writer, Mr. V. Rangacharya, in his book: History of Pre-Moslem India describes the inhabitants of Kashmir to the North West Frontier of Kashmir to be very Jewish.
Here then, we have an overwhelming accumulation of historical evidence emanating from a large number of independent and objective scholars, from different countries, belonging to different religions, all asserting the close connection of the Afghans & Kashmiris to their Israeli descent.
For living evidence go and look for yourself: Proof is visible in ethnic features, which no one can concoct or fabricate, in the dress which they wear, in names of persons which they carry, in names of places where they live – indeed, an all permeating reflection of their origin and past.
Biblical Names: Khawaja Nazir Ahmad in his book “Jesus in Heaven on Earth” has in fact listed some 405 such names in Afghanistan, Kashmir and parts of Pakistan and India which show strong similarities and common origin with biblical names. Those interested can have recourse to this valuable piece of research.
Jewish Traditions: The evidence of common ancestry and heritage is also to be found embedded even deeper in traditions, folklore and fables which resound with stories of Jewish flavor and origin. There is a well in Afghanistan and also in Kashmir called Chahi Babal, that is Well of Babylon, associated with angels like Harut and Marut.
Babylonian Artifacts: Archaeological discoveries also point in the same direction of common ancestry and the pottery found in Afghanistan and Kashmir bears close resemblance to that found in Babylon and associated with the Jews.
Symmetry with Syria: The ancient temples in Kashmir have little in common with Buddhist or Brahmanical architecture and have more affinity with the Jewish synagogues and pediments of Syrian origin. G. T. Vrine in his book: Travels in Kashmir, Laddakh and Iskardoo: raised the question whether the Kashmiri temples had not been built by Jewish architects. Similarly, Dr. James Ferguson, an authority on Indian and Eastern architecture, notes as a point of interest that temples in Kashmir reproduce, in plan at least, the Jewish temple more nearly than any other known building.
There is also the famous Takhte Sulaiman in Srinagar which is associated in Kashmiri tradition with the visit of King Solomon and is described as an exact replica of the throne of Absalom, the third son of David, in the Woods of Ephraim not far from Jerusalem.
The mass of evidence on the settlement of the lost tribes of Israel in Kashmir, Afghanistan and the surrounding lands is indeed formidable. It is to be found in religious books, in books of history and research by ancient and modern writers belonging to different countries and different faiths. The adherents of these faiths violently disagree on many fundamentals of life and faith but reveal a rare unanimity and consensus on the descent of the Afghans and the Kashmiris from the ancient Israeli stock.
The evidence is indeed all permeating. It is reflected in their distinctive features, in language, in names, in dress, in customs, in traditions, in folklore, in pottery, in architecture, in monuments – in fact in every conceivable aspect of human life and activity. It is difficult to reject or ignore this mass of evidence in the absence of strong reason and at least a semblance of evidence to the contrary.
(This paper was presented at the International Conference on Deliverance of Jesus from Cross held at Commonwealth Institute, London, on June 2-4 1978)
A Good News: Do you now that Jesus is supposed to come back again? Yes, that’s absolutely true! People arent’ expecting in vain – His re-advent is prophesized in our Holy Books and his advent is awaited not only by Christians but also by Muslims.
Re-Advent of Jesus Prophesized by… a great prophet: “By the One who owns my soul, it is nigh, of a certainty that the son of Mary will appear among you. He will be a judge, he will be just; So he will break the cross (by bringing forth the truth), kill the swine (swinish character employed by humans) and he will stop war (bring eternal peace).”
Look for the ‘wonderful news’ in the continued blogs.
But before that, let’s stop for a while and discuss few beliefs… few beliefs which demand immediate attention.