Intro
In the history of Islamic scholarly activity and in the context of 4:157, every Islamic scholar, muffasir, mujadid and etc believed that Esa (as) would physically return to the planet, that part of issue was never debated.  However, the “substitution theory” was challenged by the Mutazalite’s and specifically Al-Zamakhshari.  In Todd Lawson’s book, “Christ and the Crucifixion”, he writes that Al-Zamakhshari was the first Muslim to ever challenge the “Substitution-theory” as well as the last (See Lawson, page 103).  Lawson divides the past 1400 years into 3 distinct eras.  Pre-Tabari Tafsir, which is 687–923, the classic and medieval tafsir’s are 923-1505, and the final category is called modern developments.  Its important to note that in the first category, the Pre-Tabari Tafsir era, all Tafsir’s gave the “substitution theory” and never questioned the grammatical prose of “Shubbiha Lahum”.  The earliest translations and commentaries by Ibn Abbas and Al-Makki indicate that the proper translation is “But so it was made to appear to them”.  In fact, in the “Pre-Tabari Tafsir era”, Lawson researched and quoted 13 top scholars from this era, and they all gave the same opinion about Shubbiha Lahum, i.e. that it referred to the “Substitution theory”.  In conclusion, Zamakhshari was a heretic as were all Mutazalite’s, and they differed amongst themselves, however, they were in with the ruling family (the abbassids) and had Ibn Hanbal executed and continued to sway islamic opinion.

How many times does “Shubbiha Lahum” occur in the Quran?
“””Some form of sh-b-h appears in the Quran 12 times and in 8 separate verses.  2:70, 3:7 (twice), 13:16, 2:118, 6:99 (twice), 2:25, 39:23 and 4:157.  The meaning of the root varies, of course, according to the 6 different forms it assumes in these contexts.  The most frequent meaning is a function of the 3rd-form verbal usage, ‘to be similar or nearly identical to the point of confusion of true identity’ (see Lawson, page 32).”””  

Additional data on the Mutazalites and how they died and were a heresy
http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/hmp/13.htm

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan adopted the Mutazalite position on Islam +Quranism
It is important to note that MGA wasn’t the first person in British India to revive a dead heretical scholar, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the first.  Sir Syed Ahmad Khan used Mutazalite ideas, like for example, prayers being meaningless was a Mutazalite belief, as well as Sir Syed’s.  MGA and his team refuted this position, and thus broke away from Sir Syed.  The reason was, MGA was using his prophetic revelation as the means to legally tell Muslims to change, whereas, Sir Syed was simply using reason and logic.

MGA on this specific sentence, “”Shubbiha Lahum”?
MGA seems to have been silent on this specific topic.  In fact, MGA doesn’t seem to have ever even referred to the substitution theory.

MGA on Al-Zamakhshari?
It seems that MGA or his team of writers wrote about Al-Zamakhshari in 1908.  References to his work appear in Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya Volume 5, which was published posthumously, per the order of the Khalifa (Nooruddin).  Search the PDF and you will find that MGA and his team quoted Al-Zamakhshari in terms of the death of Esa (As).  MGA quoted Zamakhshari in Malfuzat also.  He refers to him in terms of 66:12 and the famous hadith wherein it is stated that everyone was touched by Satan except Esa (as).

Ahmadiyya cherry picking
Al-Zamakhshari believed in the second coming of Esa (As) (physically), he also believed in Abrogation, the concept that the Mahdi and Esa (As) were different people, abrogation and many others things that Ahmadis disagree with.  Hence, Ahmadi’s are taught to cherry pick the things that they need and discard the rest of any scholars writings, this is academically dishonest. Zamakhshari also believed in the ending of prophets.  And he never endorsed the concept of the Ummati-prophet.

Shabbir Ally on Al-Zamakhshari
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan also copied the Mutazalite’s, and specifically Al-Zamakhashari and thus believed that Esa (as) was on the cross, and then died afterwards.  This is nothing new, even Ak Shaikh and Akber Chauhdry believe the same, Muslims are allowed to believe in this way.  However, none of these people ever believed that esa (As) lived 90 years after the event of crucifixion and died in India, thus Ahmadiyya have no right to reference Al-Zamakhshari, or Shabbir Allr.  Shabbir Ally believes just like Zamakhshari, that Esa (As) died, was actually hung on the cross and will still physically return.

Neal Robinson 
Under Construction

Links and Related Essays

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/01/02/mufti-muhammad-sadiq-was-a-student-of-noorudin-pre-1891/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/03/24/ahmadis-follow-19th-century-science-they-are-stuck-physics-of-the-night-journey-of-prophet-muhammad-%EF%B7%BA-the-multi-verse/

https://www.google.com/search?q=ibn+hanbal+was+killed+by+the+mutazlies&oq=ibn+hanbal+was+killed+by+the+mutazlies&aqs=chrome..69i57.4423j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/hmp/13.htm

https://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=1&tTafsirNo=2&tSoraNo=4&tAyahNo=158&tDisplay=yes&Page=1&Size=1&LanguageId=1

http://aaiil.org/text/articles/reviewofreligions/1913/reviewreligionsenglish_191312.pdf

http://aaiil.org/text/books/others/khwajanazirahmad/jesusinheavenonearth/ch08lightholyquranbirthjesuschrist.shtml

http://aaiil.org/text/articles/others/2007/twoclassesbelievers.pdf

https://www.premier.org.uk/Topics/Society/Religion/Islam-s-apologist-Why-I-believe-what-the-Koran-says-about-Jesus

https://www.alislam.org/library/books/Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya-Part-5.pdf

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/?s=Lawson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Zamakhshari

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%CA%BFtazila

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substitution_hypothesis

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