Posted by: mystic444 | July 11, 2010

The Death of Jesus in the Qur’an

And so for breaking their pledge, for rejecting God’s revelations, for unjustly killing their prophets, for saying ‘Our minds are closed’ – No! God has sealed them in their disbelief, so they believe only a little – and because they disbelieved and uttered a terrible slander against Mary, and said ‘We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God.’(They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him – God raised him up to Himself. God is almighty and wise” (Qur’an 4:155-158; Abdel Haleem translation/interpretation).

I suppose it’s pretty clear by now that “despite” the fact that I am a Christian (though perhaps ‘loosely’ so, according to ‘orthodox’ standards), I have come to have a great admiration for Islam and its Qur’an (or Koran). The more I read in that book, the more spiritual beauty I see; and the more I desire to defend that overall delightful religion from slanderous attacks.

Yet for all my admiration, there are still things that ‘trouble’ me about Islam and the Qur’an. I mentioned a couple of these in the last paragraph of my article “Islam’s Relationship to Judaism and Christianity”: the emphasis on the torments of hell, and the emphasis on rituals such as formal prayers (and the ‘proper’ position and direction one must face), official days of fasting, and pilgrimage. The above quoted verses from the Qur’an are another source of ‘trouble’ for me. It would seem obvious that those verses deny the historical reality of Jesus’ crucifixion and death (and consequently of his resurrection from that death). Yet anyone the least bit familiar with Christianity will know that the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus are ‘part and parcel’ of the Biblical Christian message. Not only do all of the 4 Bible ‘Gospels’ contain accounts of those events, and according to the book of Acts and all of the letters of the apostles – as well as the book of Revelation – it was a basic, foundational element of apostolic preaching; but Jesus himself ‘prophesied’ his coming death and resurrection on a number of occasions.

As instances of this consider these passages from the Gospel of Mark (they all have their parallels in Matthew and Luke). Right after that famous response of Peter to the question, “Who do you say that I am?”, when Peter replied that Jesus was the Christ (Mark 8:27-29), we find this contrasting account: “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke the word openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned around and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (verses 31-33). Peter fully believed that Jesus was God’s anointed messenger, and it was simply unthinkable to him that God would permit His anointed to be killed; rather God was going to set Jesus up on a throne to rule over all the nations, wasn’t He? So he actually rebuked the anointed one! Yet Jesus in turn rebuked him, saying that his denial of Jesus’ prophecy of his own death and resurrection was in fact opposition to the things of God.

Then Mark 9 records the ‘transfiguration’ scene, in which three of the disciples were given a foreshadowing of the glory of Christ which was to be revealed when he came in his kingdom within the lifetime of some of the disciples. Jesus then cast out a demon from a child – which the disciples had been unable to do. Then verses 30-32 say this: “Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and he did not want anyone to know it. For he taught his disciples and said to them, ‘The Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And after he is killed, he will rise the third day.’ But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask him.” Once again, Jesus has foretold his death and resurrection.

Again, in Mark 10:32-34, Jesus spoke of his coming death and resurrection: “…Then he took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to him: ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and scourge him and spit on him, and kill him. And the third day he will rise again.’

In Mark 12:1-12, Jesus told the story of a land owner who planted a vineyard and leased it out to others for them to take care of it. Then the land owner went away; but at various times he sent servants to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the lease holders (part of the lease payment). But the tenders of the vineyard treated those servants violently – beating them up, stoning them, and even killing some of them. Finally the owner of the vineyard sent his own son, thinking surely he would be respected. But instead the lessees murdered the son. Naturally, the owner killed the lessees in retaliation, and leased his vineyard out to others. The meaning of this story was obvious. The land owner was God; the servants were the prophets who had been sent to Israel in past years; the son was plainly Jesus. Just as the Israelites had murdered other prophets before Jesus, they would now murder Jesus himself. The resurrection was not explicitly stated by Jesus in the story; but it was implicit in the quotation from Psalm 118:22 and 23 which Jesus made in confirmation of his story (Mark 12:10 and 11): “Have you not read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” The ‘stone’ was first rejected by the ‘builders’ – which in this context included the murder of ‘the son’ – and then afterward exalted to the position of ‘chief cornerstone’. God’s retaliation against the ‘vinedressers’ was fulfilled in the violent conquest of Israel and Jerusalem by the Roman armies, which armies were seen as the agents of God himself. The other “vinedressers” to whom God ‘leases His vineyard’ are those people from every nation who honor and obey God, the ‘landowner’, and ‘bring forth fruit’ for Him.

The ‘trouble’ I have with the Qur’anic passage in ‘Sura’ (chapter) 4 is compounded though by this fact: not only is the death and resurrection of Jesus a basic and inseparable part of the Biblical ‘Gospel’, foretold by Jesus and proclaimed by all of the apostles; but the Qur’an itself speaks in at least 3 passages – and possibly a 4th – of the death of Jesus. Most of what I am about to say was suggested to me by ‘a friend of a friend’, who is a Christian missionary in a Muslim country. One of the things I particularly liked about this missionary is that, contrary to most missionaries with whom I am familiar, he was interested in showing that the ‘holy books’ of various religions (in this case specifically Islam and Christianity) are not actually in conflict, but teach essentially the same message from the One God. Apparently in his teaching, a Muslim should not have to repudiate the Qur’an in order to embrace the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no doubt things about his understanding of the Biblical message with which I would disagree, but I like that attitude.

The first of those 4 verses to which I will refer, I was already familiar with. The other 3 were directed to my attention by this ‘friend of a friend’. So first, in chapter (Sura) 19 of the Qur’an, the story is told of the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary. In this story, after Jesus was born Mary made a vow of silence for the space of one day. So when her family or friends saw her with the baby, and exclaimed in horror that she must have sinned since she, being unmarried, has a child, the infant Jesus spoke up for her. This is what he said (I am using the translation/interpretation of Muhammad Asad for these quotations): “[19:30] [But] he said: “Behold, I am a servant of God. He has vouchsafed unto me revelation and made me a prophet, [19:31] and made me blessed wherever I may be; and He has enjoined upon me prayer and charity as long as I live, [19:32] and [has endowed me with] piety towards my mother; and He has not made me haughty or bereft of grace.  [19:33] Hence, peace was upon me on the day when I was born, and [will be upon me] on the day of my death, and on the day when I shall be raised to life [again]! Now that obviously fits very well with the Biblical account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. So several months ago I wrote to a Muslim doctor whose blog I like to read to ask him if that wasn’t a contradiction with the statement in chapter 4 of the Qur’an that the Jews did not crucify or kill Jesus. He responded that it was Muslim belief that Jesus was taken up to God without dying; but that he will, sometime in the future, return to earth to live out a normal lifetime and die a natural death. He will then rise from the dead with everyone else at the Resurrection at the Last Day. Meaning no offense to my Muslim friends, I see that idea as pure invention on the part of the ‘interpreters’. There is, to my understanding, no place in the Qur’an that actually teaches such a future physical ‘return’ of Jesus, and yet future death. It is simply a resort to interpretive gymnastics in order to avoid what would otherwise seem to be a contradiction between statements in the Qur’an. It is the same sort of thing I have written against in Christian theology of the ‘Last Days’. Jesus, and his apostles, plainly taught that he was going to return in his kingdom while some of the then living disciples were still alive; within that existing generation. Because ‘interpreters’ have convinced themselves that he did not in fact return during the 1st century, they have resorted to all sorts of ‘gymnastics’ to explain how that coming of Christ is still future to us. As I have attempted to show in a number of my articles – on the last days, the Olivet Discourse, and ‘Second Coming’ passages in the letters of Paul – that kind of interpretation is really dishonest, and completely unnecessary. When the Biblical prophecies are interpreted in keeping with Biblical use of metaphor, it can be easily seen that the ‘Second Coming’ referred to events surrounding and leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army. The only difference is that there is in fact a clear historical death and resurrection in the 1st century to which this Qur’anic statement can refer. The Biblical statements of a ‘coming in his kingdom’ of Jesus Christ require an understanding of Biblical metaphor; there is no need to understand metaphor to understand the statements about Jesus’ death in the Qur’an. Perhaps a small amount of metaphor will be necessary to understand the passage in Sura 4 which says Jesus was not killed, in order to not have a contradiction. But the death of Jesus was a plain historical event, not a metaphorical event.

The other two references to the death of Jesus in the Qur’an, which are clear, are 3:55 – “Lo! God said: “O Jesus! Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto Me, and cleanse thee of [the presence of] those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee [far] above those who are bent on denying the truth, unto the Day of Resurrection. In the end, unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to differ”; and 5:117 – “Nothing did I tell them beyond what Thou didst bid me [to say]: ‘Worship God, [who is] my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer.’ And I bore witness to what they did as long as I dwelt in their midst; but since Thou hast caused me to die, Thou alone hast been their keeper: for Thou art witness unto everything.” These verses, also, can be seen to be clear references to Jesus’ death at the hands of wicked men “bent on denying the truth”  about 1980 years ago, and his consequent resurrection and ‘exaltation to the Father’s right hand’.

The other possible reference to Jesus’ death in the Qur’an – which is not so clear, though – is 2:87, “For, indeed, We vouchsafed unto Moses the divine writ and caused apostle after apostle to follow him; and We vouchsafed unto Jesus, the son of Mary, all evidence of the truth, and strengthened him with holy inspiration. [Yet] is it not so that every time an apostle came unto you with something that was not to your liking, you gloried in your arrogance, and to some of them you gave the lie, while others you would slay?” History would tell us that Jesus was one of the ‘apostles’ of God whom the Jews slew. The mention of 2 specific names in the verse – Moses and Jesus – would seem to be a deliberate reference to one prophet who was frequently denounced by the people of his own generation (Moses), and one who was killed by the people of his generation (Jesus). But it’s not clear enough in that passage to be pressed.

Are these 3 or 4 statements about Jesus’ death in the Qur’an, then, a contradiction to 4:157 unless one performs those ‘interpretive gymnastics’ to make them refer to a death still in our future after a physical ‘second coming’ of the Christ? While at first blush it might appear so, thanks to the comments of that ‘friend of a friend’ I mentioned I have come to believe it is not so in actuality.

Sura (chapter) 8 of the Qur’an tells of the battle of Badr, near Medina, two years after the Muslim believers had migrated from Mecca due to the intense persecution against them there. An army had come from Mecca to attack the Muslims who were now living in Medina. The Muslims, though greatly outnumbered, were able to defeat the Meccan army. Verse 17, though, says this: “And yet, [O believers,] it was not you who slew the enemy, but it was God who slew them; and it was not thou who cast [terror into them, O Prophet], when thou didst cast it, but it was God who cast it: and [He did all this] in order that He might test the believers by a goodly test of His Own ordaining. Verily, God is all-hearing, all-knowing!” Here was a battle in which the Muslim believers had fought and killed their enemies; yet Gabriel speaking through Muhammad says it was not they who did the killing, but God! The obvious teaching of the passage is that the believers were to recognize that it was not through their own strength or military prowess that they had gained the victory, but God had given them the victory. It’s a theological interpretation of a very literal battle. The Muslims killed their enemies, yet theologically speaking they didn’t do it – God did.

This is how I believe 4:157 and 158 should be understood. The Jews did reject Jesus and have him crucified. As the Christian apostles said, they ‘crucified the Lord of glory’ (1 Corinthians 2:8). Yet, theologically speaking, it was not they who did it, but God. (Remember, those Qur’anic verses spoke of God causing Jesus to die). It only appeared to the Jews that they had crucified and killed the Messiah, because it was God who was behind it all the while. The Christian apostle Peter brought both aspects together when he said: “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:23 and 24, NIV). Again, the Christians said this when they were praying together after the release of Peter and John from prison: “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen” (Acts 4:27 and 28 NIV). I believe what Gabriel was saying was that while it appeared to the Jews that they had triumphantly put this man whom they considered an impostor – a false Christ – to death, it was not really they who had done so at all. It was God who brought about the crucifixion and death of His anointed, in keeping with His predestined purpose and the prophetic Scriptures; and then when all had been accomplished he raised Jesus to Himself thus triumphing over all the opponents of the anointed Prophet. And that gives a second, though related, meaning to the statement that it was only made to appear that the Jews had killed the Messiah: it looked like it for 3 days, but then God raised him from the dead because it wasn’t possible that the Christ should remain in its grip. God turned their victory into defeat.

While this way of looking at 4:157 and 158 may be quite strange to my Muslim friends, and Christians also who are familiar with those verses, it does fit the two Scriptures (the Bible and the Qur’an) together very nicely – removing the ground of conflict between Islam and Christianity. One doesn’t have to renounce either Scripture to accept the other. A Muslim who might accept this explanation, and therefore acknowledge the historical reality of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, would still not have to accept the traditional theological explanations of the significance of that death. That is, he wouldn’t have to accept the idea of ‘substitutionary, vicarious atonement’ – that Christ took the punishment of our sins in our place. I am aware that the Qur’an teaches that no person can bear another person’s punishment, and no one can be given the reward for another person’s righteousness (although I don’t have enough familiarity with the Qur’an to be able to point out specific references, and I don’t have a concordance of the Qur’an to help me). But the Bible also teaches this truth. For instance, Ezekiel 18:20 says: “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.” The only way in which Christ bore men’s sins is that he willingly endured the unjust ‘punishment’ which their wickedness inflicted upon him, without defense or retaliation; it was ‘wicked hands’ that crucified him. For the prophet Isaiah to say in chapter 53 that “the LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all” is simply an affirmation that the actions of wicked men were brought about by God’s determined counsel and foreknowledge. God caused Jesus’ death, as the Qur’an says, but it was the wicked hands of men that accomplished what God caused.

I ask any Muslims who read this to please accept this as a friendly challenge to reexamine a traditional understanding of certain verses in the Qur’an, and traditional teachings; not as an antagonistic attack. The Qur’an says to argue with the people of the Book only in a good way; and that is what I am attempting here. I have certainly challenged traditional Christian Biblical understanding many times, and will no doubt do so again. (Actually, I did so at the end of this article, didn’t I? I challenged the doctrine of vicarious atonement. But I’ve done that before also). I guess it’s about time I challenged someone other than ‘orthodox’ Christians! 😀 .

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Responses

  1. shia Shiites scholars believe quran is destorted PROOF from there own mouth

    A clue left in the Quran that Jesus will be crucified and raised to life and lifted un to God. It is a strong proof that the Shiites scholars claim of Quran’s destorted is true. Now read the verse from the Quran:

    Al-Imran (The Family of Imran)
    إِذْ قَالَ اللّهُ يَا عِيسَى إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ فِيمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ (3:55)
    Basit – Hussari – Minshawi
    Ith qala Allahu ya AAeesa innee mutawaffeeka warafiAAuka ilayya wamutahhiruka mina allatheena kafaroo wajaAAilu allatheena ittabaAAooka fawqa allatheena kafaroo ila yawmi alqiyamati thumma ilayya marjiAAukum faahkumu baynakum feema kuntum feehi takhtalifoona

    Topics discussed in this Verse:
    [Jesus:raised to Allah]

    3:55 (Asad) Lo! God said: “O jesus! Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto Me, and cleanse thee of [the presence of] those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee [far] above those who are bent on denying the truth, unto the Day of Resurrection. In the end, unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to differ. [45]

    • Thanks for reading and commenting on the article. I was hoping that I might draw forth some comments seeking either to show that my understanding of the passage in Sura 4 was untenable, or that I had perhaps found a more correct understanding of the passage. If you’re saying that at least some Shiite scholars would agree with the interpretation I presented, that would of course be encouraging to me.

      I can’t personally get involved in disputes between Shiites and Sunnis at this time. However, I had no intention in my article of saying that the Qur’an itself was ‘corrupted’; my only question was as to the accuracy of the prevailing interpretation of a verse or two within the Qur’an. It would seem to me that any actual ‘corruption’ of the text of the Qur’an would prove the promise in 15:9 (and 85:21 and 22) – that God would guard the Qur’an from such ‘corruption’ – to be false; and therefore that the Qur’an did not in fact have a Divine origin. That would not seem to be a viable option for most (if not all) Muslims.

    • Esaiah 29:11 And all these things shall be to you as the words of this SEALED BOOK, which if they shall give to a learned man, saying, Read this, he shall then say, I cannot read [it], for it is sealed. 12 And this BOOK shall be given into the hands of a man that is unlearned, and [one] shall say to him, Read this; and he shall say, I am not learned. 13 And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men. 14 Therefore behold I will proceed to remove this people, and I will remove them: and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the understanding of the prudent.

      THERE MANY SO CALLED MUSLIM WHOSE BELIEVE AT THE END OF THEIR LIPS BUT NOTHING IN THEIR HEART!

      THEY BELIEVE THE COMMANDMENTS AND DOCTRINES OF MEN [THE HADISTS]!

      ALLAH SAYS IN HIS GLORIOUS QURAN 45:06

      These are the verses of ALLAH which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement after ALLAH and His verses will they believe?

  2. Wow. Great article Mystic!

    If we are to truly put Paul’s teaching into practice, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians%204&version=NIV
    it is clear in order to “answer” or “respond” we must listen first.

    I once knew of a missionary that worked with Native Americans and he would often use the story of the White Buffalo to introduce them to Christ.

    Understanding and showing respect for others’ beliefs is truly showing the grace Paul proclaims.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. First Verse
    Yusuf Ali
    29. But she pointed to the babe. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?”
    30. He said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;
    31. “And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;
    32. “(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable;
    33. “So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”!
    Maududi
    [29] (In answer to this) Mary merely pointed towards the infant. The people said, “How shall we talk with him, who is but an infant in the cradle?”20
    [30-33] Whereupon the child spoke out, “I am a servant of Allah: He has given me the Book and He has appointed me a Prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I may be. He has enjoined upon me to offer Salat and give Zakat so long as I shall live. He has made me dutiful to my mother,20a and He has not made me oppressive and hard-hearted. Peace be upon me on the day I was born and peace shall be on me on the day I die and on the day I am raised to life.”21

    Here, Isa(AS) is speaking. Allah(SWT) is relating Jesus(AS) speech. So, Jesus is saying this about himself for peace on the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he shall rise up again. However, there is another similar statement that is used earlier in the chapter. This time Allah(SWT) is directly saying it about Yahya(AS) or John the Baptist. Here it is:

    Yusuf Ali
    12. (To his son came the command): “O Yahya! take hold of the Book with might”: and We gave him Wisdom even as a youth,
    13. And piety (for all creatures) as from Us, and purity: He was devout,
    14. And kind to his parents, and he was not overbearing or rebellious.
    15. So Peace on him the day he was born, the day that he dies, and the day that he will be raised up to life (again)!

    Maududi
    [12] To John We said, “Observe the Divine Book with a firm resolve.”
    [13-15] We blessed him with “judgment”10 while he was yet a child, and bestowed on him tenderness of heart11 and purity from Ourself; and he was very pious and dutiful to his parents, and he was neither arrogant nor disobedient. Peace was on him on the day he was born and on the day he died, and peace shall be on him on the day he will be raised to life.12

    The reason why the Muslim does not see any error with this is because it fits that all human beings, including Prophets of God, will be born in this Earth, live and die, and then be resurrected for the Day of Judgement. Not only that but, those who believe, including Prophets of Allah(SWT), will not suffer more than one death. That is in Surah Dukhan 44:56,
    56. Nor will they there taste Death, except the first death; and He will preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire,-
    As well, some scholars disagree as to the meaning of “did not crucify.” Some say that he was put on the cross but not killed. Others say that he was neither physically put on the cross and did not die. Because to be crucified, also is includes dying which did not occur.

    Second Verse
    Yusuf Ali
    55. Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.
    Maududi
    [54-57] Then the children of Israel began to plot (against Jesus) and Allah also devised His secret plan, and Allah is the best of devisers. (It was to carry out His secret plan that) He said, “O Jesus, now I will recall51 you and raise you up to Myself and cleanse you of (the uncongenial company and the filthy environment of ) those who have rejected you and will set up those who follow you above those who have rejected you52 till the Day of Resurrection. And ultimately all of you shall return to Me: then I will judge between you in what you differ, and punish with a grievous punishment, both in this world and in the Hereafter, those who have adopted the attitude of disbelief and rejection and they shall have none to help them. And those, who have believed and done good deeds, shall be given their rewards in full. And note it well that Allah does not like the transgressors.”

    Note 51:
    The word (mutawaffi) in the Arabic text is from (tawaffa) which literally means “to take and to receive” and “to seize the soul” is not its lexical but metaphorical meaning. Here it means “to recall from mission.” Allah recalled Jesus because the Israelites had rejected him in spite of the clear Signs he had brought. They had been disobeying God for centuries and, in spite of many a warning and admonition served to them, their national character was rapidly deteriorating. They had killed several Prophets, one after the other, and had grown so audacious as to demand the blood of any good man who ventured to invite them to the Right Way. In order to give them the last chance for turning to the Truth, God appointed among them two great Prophets, Jesus and John (God’s peace be upon them), at one and the same time. These Prophets came with such clear signs of their appointment from Allah that only such people dared reject them as were utterly perverted and prejudiced against the Truth and were averse to following the Right Way. Nevertheless the Israelites lost their last chance also as they not only rejected their invitation but also had the head of a great Prophet like John cut off openly at the request of a dancing girl. ‘And their Pharisees and Jurists conspired and sought to get Jesus punished with the death sentence by the Roman Government. Thus they had proved themselves to be so obdurate that it was useless to give the Israelites any further chance. So Allah recalled His Prophet Jesus and inflicted on them a life of disgrace up to the Day of Resurrection.
    It will be useful here to bear in mind the fact that this whole discourse is meant to refute and correct the Christian belief in the God-head of Jesus.

    Three main things were responsible for the prevalence of this belief among the Christians:
    (1) The miraculous birth of Jesus.
    (2) His concrete and tangible miracles.
    (3) His ascension to heaven about which their Scriptures were explicit.

    The Qur’an confirmed the first thing and made it plain that the birth of Jesus without a father was only a manifestation of the infinite powers of Allah. He can create anybody in whatever manner He wills. His miraculous birth, therefore, is no reason why he should be made a god or a partner in Godhead.

    The Qur’an also confirms the second thing and even recounts the miracles performed by Jesus, but makes it clear that all those miracles were performed by him, as a servant of Allah, by His leave and not as an independent authority. It is, therefore, wrong to infer that Jesus was a partner in Godhead.

    Now let us consider the third thing. If the Christian belief in “Ascension” had been wholly baseless, it could have been refuted by pointing out that the object of their worship, the so-called “Son of God”, expired long ago and had become one with dust, and that they could see, for their full satisfaction, his grave at such and such a place. But the Qur’an does not declare this explicitly. On the other hand, it not only uses such words as give at least a vague suggestion of his “Ascension”, but also denies that Jesus was crucified at all. According to it the one who gave a loud cry at his last hour, saying, “Eli” Eli, lama sabachthani?” and the one whose picture they carry on the cross, was not Messiah at all, because God had recalled to Himself the real Messiah before the crucifixion took place.
    It is thus clear that those people who try to prove the death of Jesus from these verses, really try to show that God is not able to express Himself clearly and unambiguously. (May God protect us from such a blasphemy!)

    The problem, that I see, with Mohammad Asad translation is that there is no word using “die”. Arabic word for “death”is mawt. So, I do not know where Asad, got this translation of the word as it is not in the Arabic.Even the word “killed” is not used. As that is “qatalu” but in the Arabic, it does not exist. I think this is a mistake on the translation of Asad.

    Third Verse

    Yusuf Ali

    87. We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of apostles; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you an apostle with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!

    Maududi

    [87] And We gave Moses the Book and sent after him a train of Messengers in succession. Then We sent Jesus, son of Mary, with clear Signs and supported him with the Holy Spirit.93 Then how is it that whenever a Messenger came to you wish that which did not suit your lusts, you grew rebellious against him, and repudiated some and slew others.

    Here Allah(SWT) is talking about the Jews about how they would deny and kill their prophets. One can think that the ones they denied includes Moses(AS) and the ones that they slew includes Jesus(AS). But it is not the case. Rather that they used to deny and kill their prophets. As they were trying to do with Jesus(AS) by not recognizing him and wanting to kill him. I came across this website that goes into this a little thru the Arabic language.
    “In the science of balaghah, we learn that this descriptive word-or sifah implies an established state of the person who is described with this quality. Allah spoke about the Jews and how they disbelieved in some of the prophets and some they even killed. This was mentioned in the past tense in surah al baqarah. However when we look at the ayah, we see a special rule of balaghah that gives us more meaning that what is found in the English translation. Allah said about them, “fa fareeqan kadh’dhabtum wa fareeqan taq’tuluun.” “So a group of them you denied and a group of them you killed.” Allah spoke about them saying that they denied a group of the prophets. He used the past tense verb kadh’dhabtum. However, we find in the end of the ayah he said that some of them they killed by using the PRESENT TENSE verb ‘taq’tuluun’. In the science of balaghah, we learn that if a present tense verb is used in a past tense context it then signifies what is called ‘istimraar’ or continuance. Therefore the meaning of this ayah in the context of balaghah is that the jews used to deny and kill the prophets and that they will continue to kill-in this case killing the followers of the prophets way and true path. This is mentioned in tafseer of al aluusee and in tafseer ibn sa’uud. “

    Fourth Verse
    I agree that with the idea that in reality God killed them but it was thru their actions of fighting. They were fighting but in reality God was the one that was allowing them to die by their hand. However, I do not see this a contradiction with the view of the Muslims on Jesus.

    Hope this helps. I am not a scholar, just want to make that clear. So, I hope this helps in understanding. Also, I was watching a very interesting video of a man who converted to Islam from Christianity. He was someone who wanted to go very deep into Christianity and become a minister. I think you should check his video out because he was someone who got into the crucifixion of Jesus and how he came to his conclusion. I am not asking you to see this so you can become Muslim, but rather to see other conclusions that others have come to. I think it will be interesting to see it.

    It is on youtube. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmd1CbkjZy8

    [http://www.englishtafsir.com/] – Maududi Translation

    [http://www.harunyahya.com/Quran_translation/Quran_translation_index.php] – Yusuf Ali Translation

    [http://www.angelfire.com/ar/rawdah/04Golden.htm] – Arabic language for the 2:87 verse

    • Thank you very much for your response. This is just the kind of response I was hoping for: both well reasoned and respectful.

      I don’t believe that the passage in Sura 8 “contradicts” the traditional Islamic interpretation of Sura 4 concerning the crucifixion and death of Jesus (who is blessed of God); I merely suggest that it opens the door for an alternative understanding of the Sura 4 passage. It leaves me the possibility of accepting the reality of the crucifixion and death (and resurrection) of Jesus without having to maintain that the Qur’an teaches a falsehood on that matter.

      For me, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are a certainty – although I emphatically deny the traditional Christian understanding of the significance of that death and resurrection (“substitutionary sacrifice”). And since I am certain that it was God who raised Jesus from the dead, his resurrection does not indicate that Jesus was himself God, the “second person of the Trinity”,any more than the ability to perform miracles indicated his “deity”. But his death and resurrection were rather clearly predicted by the Hebrew Prophets; Jesus himself predicted his death and resurrection, saying it had to be in order to fulfill the Prophets; and the apostles of Jesus all preached that death and resurrection. They were all convinced of its truth.

      So if I believed that the Qur’an definitely denied that death and resurrection, I would have to say the Qur’an taught falsehood and therefore was not of God. That presents a problem to me, since I have “fallen in love” with the Qur’an; it “speaks to my soul”. This interpretation gives me a way to “reconcile” the Bible and the Qur’an. I believe that there is only one God, and God is a unity (not “trinity”). Jesus is a man whom God chose to be His messenger to men; God gave him the authority and ability to perform his “mighty works”, God caused him to be put to death, and God raised him from the dead and took him to Himself. I also believe that Muhammad (who is blessed of God) is a man chosen by God to be His messenger to men, and God put His words in Muhammad’s mouth. Thankfully, relating Sura 8 to Sura 4 relieves me of all question as to the full authenticity of God’s revelation through Muhammad.

      On the matter of why Muhammad Asad translated “Tawaffā” as “cause thee to die”: one of the online Qur’an sites I use offers a large number of English versions for comparison. When I was researching this subject of the death of Jesus in the Qur’an, I noticed that about half of them translated Sura 3:55 as Jesus dying, or being caused to die. The translation of Ali Quli Qara’i gave the following footnote on that word, giving a large number of references where it is either translated “die” or obviously refers to death.

      “87. ^ Tawaffā means ‘to exact fully’ something, ‘to receive in full,’ ‘to take one’s full share,’ and in the present Qur’ānic context it is used in the sense of taking away of the soul, either temporarily, as during sleep (as in 6:60), or permanently, as at the time of death (as in 3:193; 4:97; 6:61; 7:37,126; 8:50; 10:46; 12:101; 13:40; 16:28; 22:5; 32:11; 40:67, 77; 47:27). In verse 39:42, it is used to refer to the taking of the soul both during sleep and death: ‘It is Allah who takes (yatawaffā) the souls at death, and those that have not died during their sleep. He retains those for whom He has decreed death, but releases the rest for a specified term.’ The passive form of the verb, tuwuffiya means ‘to die,’ ‘to expire,’ and to ‘pass away.’ It occurs in 2:234, 240. In a tradition, Imam ‘Alī ibn Mūsā al-Riḍā (‘a) explains that Jesus Christ (‘a) ‘‘was raised alive from the earth to the heaven. Then his soul was taken away between the earth and the heaven. After he was raised to the heaven his soul was restored to his body, and hence the words of God, the Almighty and the Glorious, ‘When Allah said: ‘O Jesus, I shall take you[r soul], and I shall raise you up to Myself. . .’ ’’ (‘Uyūn akhbār al-Riḍā, Tehran: Intishārāt-e Jahān, n.d., ed. Sayyid Mahdī al-Ḥusaynī al-Lājwardī, vol. 1, p. 215; cf. Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 14, p. 338).”

      The ‘tradition’ he referred to seems far fetched to me, but otherwise the note is very informative.

      I started watching the video, but stopped after 30 minutes so I could write this comment. I’m pretty sure I have seen another video of one of his talks before – earlier this year – but I’ll definitely go back and finish this one. It’s very interesting.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I enjoy such communication. I believe that I can properly call my self “Muslim”, though with a somewhat different “take” on some things. I am definitely devoted to the One God, and believe in all his Messengers and Prophets. I put no “partners” with God.

      God’s mercy and peace be with you.

      • From a thought, the discussion could be as what does “death” mean. I mean for us, in this world, we can be medically dead but not really die. There are people who seem that they have “died” but then became “alive” again. Then, in this case, they really did not “die”. Just a thought on how we can define what death is and whether or not Jesus really “died”.

        The essential core of Islam is believing in Allah(SWT), the Angels, The Books, The Prophets(peace be upon them all), The day of judgement, and Qadr(divine decree). If you accept these things fully, then you are indeed a believer. Your indeed a Muslim.

  4. […] can consider the work of others such as Mark D, Siljander ( as seen here)…or one can go either here , here and here. Do I agree with folks on all points? By no means..but where they line up with […]

  5. I think “The Apocalypse of Peter” about Jesus (pbuh) laughing on the tree would be sufficient for me. Peace.

    • God’s peace and kindness be with you, also, Surya.

      Thanks for your reference to “The Apocalypse of Peter”. It’s a bit confusing to me. I did an Internet search for that Apocalypse; and in 2 or 3 places I found copies of an “Apocalypse of Peter” that had nothing at all to say about the crucifixion – they only spoke of the Judgment and gave very vivid descriptions of hell and Paradise. They were quite different from what I found at the “Answering Christianity” web site.

      Then I discovered that there are 2 different documents called “Apocalypse of Peter”. The one containing the reference to the laughing Jesus (PBUH) sitting on a tree is apparently generally referred to as “The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter”. But I find the language of that “Apocalypse” to be virtually unintelligible. It appeared to me that ‘Peter’ said there that the laughing Jesus (PBUH) on a tree was the incorporeal body of Jesus; and the crucified Jesus was the material body. If that is what is being said, it would not coincide very well with the belief that it was Judas who was crucified, and that the still alive physical Jesus observed the crucifixion of Judas who was made to appear to be Jesus.

      But, like I say, I find the language of that “Apocalypse” to be unintelligible, so I may be mistaken. On the other hand, “Answering Christianity” may just be quoting and highlighting the portions that appear to them to corroborate their story of Judas being the crucified one – while ignoring or obscuring those statements that don’t correspond with their viewpoint.

      Thanks, though, for bringing it up. As I said in my article, even though I still accept the reality of the crucifixion of Jesus, I absolutely deny the doctrine of ‘substitutionary atonement’ which has been built around the death and resurrection of Jesus. So ultimately it makes very little difference to my viewpoint -‘doctrinally’ speaking – whether or not Jesus was actually crucified. If he wasn’t crucified, and didn’t die and rise again, then I would lose what is to me a very beautiful ‘dramatization’ of the teaching of Jesus that we must all take up our crosses and follow him – that is, put to death our sinful impulses, and “rise in newness of life” toward God. But the truth of that necessity (which, stated in other words, is just repenting of and forsaking sinfulness and turning to righteousness) would remain unchanged.

  6. I cannot see how the Quran can be in harmony with the Bible when the Quran clearly commands th ekiling of the Jews and Christians

    • Martin – While that is a very common objection, it is totally without foundation. I have written quite a few articles on Islam in the past couple of years; it all began with my desire to find out if it is really true that the Qur’an teaches Muslims to kill all ‘infidels’. I very quickly found that accusation was untrue, and wrote my very first article on Islam – entitled: Does Islam Proclaim That All Infidels Should be Killed?

      Not too long afterward I wrote an article entitled Islam’s relationship to Judaism and Christianity.

      No doubt you have in mind one verse of the Qur’an which those who have an agenda to discredit Islam like to quote: 9:29. I have recently written several articles about that verse and its context. The main argument is that just as Christians will demand that particular verses of the Bible be interpreted in their contexts, so Muslims will insist that verses of the Qur’an be understood within their contexts. That context is first the immediately surrounding verses; but it also includes the Qur’an as a whole, and the historical context within which it was given.

      It will be seen that 9:29 says that some “from among the People of the Book” are to be fought – not all “People of the Book”. Within the immediate context, the wider context, and the historical context, it will be seen that those “from among” the People of the Book who were to be fought were those who had first attacked the Muslim community or had supported others who had attacked the Muslims. Islam most certainly teaches defensive fighting, but not unprovoked aggression or fighting people just because of what they believe or don’t believe.

      The particular articles I wrote on 9:29 and its context are: Careful Readers of the Qur’an Become Terrorists!; “Fight Christians and Jews Because of What They Believe”; and “The People of the Book” and “Shirk”. In addition, I wrote an article on whether 9:5 (“the verse of the Sword”) ‘abrogates’ peaceful verses: More About Abrogation in the Qur’an.

      Additionally, you might check out Islam: A Religion of Hate??? and “Slay The Infidels Wherever You Find Them”. Or, just go to the ‘categories’ section on the right side of the article page, click on “Islam” and read through any of the many articles I have written on the subject. I, at any rate, have become absolutely convinced that the accusation that Islam is a hateful religion which teaches the murder of everyone who doesn’t accept it is a thoroughly ‘exploded’ idea. 🙂

      • Hi , I was just reading a few of your articles and you seem very intelligent, but the first couple of ayats u wrote at the start of this article about Muslims denying the crucifixion of Jesus was very clear to me that there was no contradiction. Allah (swt) says , they did not kill him but only they were made to believe that but he rose him up to him. Simple: they committed the acts of killing someone but in reality , Allah rose him up. So to them, it seemed as if they killed him. I don’t see where it seems to be contradiction. To be given the favor / blessing of Islam is a great blessing so don’t allow the shaytaan to fool you and divert you into falsehood. How could Jesus who Allah. Said “be” and he was, could truely have been killed, when Allah created him through immaculate conception. Not possible , only through God right? Just like we humans die only by what Allah allows right? So just because the bible says he was killed or died, if it said that, because I read that Jesus said” if I go”, then only can the true spirit come. Allah has given the final message in Quran that he was not really dead , he rose him up to him. Why would that be so hard to believe, in the bible or Quran when he was created through immaculate conception. I mean that doesn’t take a rocket scientist. Perhaps my 7 year old could figure that out. No disrespect intended, but Inshah Allah u are on your journey to the truth and u are rightly guided. And may Allah give u good in this life and in the next . Ameen.

        • Peace be with you, Muslimah123; and I appreciate your comment.

          The ‘contradiction’ is (if there is indeed a contradiction) that the Biblical writings say explicitly that Jesus (peace be with him) died/was killed, and on the third day rose from the dead. The Bible does not say that Jesus ‘appeared to be’ dead, and then on the third day ‘woke up’ from sleep or a coma. In fact, it seems that the Christian apostle Paul considered the resurrection of Jesus proof of the general doctrine of resurrection; to deny Jesus’ resurrection was to deny that there is such a thing as a resurrection of the dead.

          Nevertheless, if the Qur’anic statement was simply that the Jews did not kill Jesus, but it only appeared that way, I would consider it simply an argument about terminology – exactly the same as modern day arguments about the “Near Death Experience”. There are quite a lot of people these days who have been declared dead by competent doctors, but who have then revived or ‘come back to life’ after a few minutes (or in a rare instance or two, after a few days). The question is, were they really ‘dead’ or did they just ‘seem to be’ dead? People argue back and forth about the matter. I could readily accept that the definition of death is that it is a state from which there is no return (at least until ‘the Day of Resurrection’); and therefore when a person does ‘die’ and then revives, he was really not dead but only appeared that way due to the fact that the life was undetectable to men. In that case, Jesus did not die, but only appeared to be dead and the Christian apostles – not knowing the difference – spoke according to the appearance of things (just as we speak of the sun ‘rising’, although we in fact know that is scientifically incorrect).

          The main difficulty lies in the statement: “They did not kill him, nor did they CRUCIFY him”. It is this statement that has led many (if not most) Muslims to believe that the Qur’an teaches that someone else was made to look like Jesus and was then crucified instead of Jesus. It is this doctrine of ‘substitution’ that I am just not able to accept.

          I have watched videos, though, of Ahmad Deedat and Imran Hossein maintaining that inherent in the very definition of crucifixion is the idea of death by hanging on a tree. Because Jesus did not die (but God temporarily ‘took his soul’ as happens when we sleep), he was not actually crucified. Ahmad Deedat termed it being “crucificted” rather than being “crucified”.

          While that may be true – and I would be quite happy to accept that explanation – it seems to me that it doesn’t explain the fact that the Qur’an speaks as if the ‘apparent’ crucifixion and death of Jesus were two different things: “they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him”. If the idea of death is inherent in the definition of crucifixion, why was it not simply said either that “they did not crucify him” or “they did not kill him”? If the explanation of Ahmad Deedat and Imran Hossein is true, it seems more than a bit redundant to state it the way the Qur’an does.

          Nevertheless, that explanation may be true. Who am I to say that redundancy can not be a useful and effective linguistic tactic at times? And if Jesus only ‘appeared’ to be dead simply because God decided to return his soul after 3 days – his body gave every indication of death, not mere sleep or coma – then for all ‘practical’ purposes it amounted to the same thing as ‘death’ and ‘resurrection’. If God could ‘restore the soul’ of Jesus when the only thing that kept him from being ‘dead’ was that God was going to restore his soul, then God can at some time in the future restore the souls to those who are truly ‘dead’. So Paul could still be correct that Jesus’ ‘apparent’ resurrection was proof of ‘the resurrection of the dead’.

          So that I am not misunderstood, though, let me state the disclaimer that a future resurrection of dead bodies is not a part of my belief system. I believe in ‘resurrection’ in two senses: (1) when the soul leaves this physical ‘earthly’ body, it takes on another non-physical ‘heavenly’ body; and (2) the soul will later take on another physical ‘earthly’ body by being reborn in this earthly life (in what we call ‘reincarnation’). This process of birth-death-rebirth will continue until we have worked out all the ‘karma’ we have accumulated. I stated what I did about a future general ‘resurrection of the dead’ merely to point out that for a Christian who believes in that future general resurrection, the teaching that Jesus only ‘appeared’ to be dead – as Muslims like Imran Hossein and Ahmad Deedat have presented the teaching – would not stand in opposition to the doctrine, or that the case of Jesus was ‘proof’ of it.

          • Okay i understand where you are coming from but truth is truth and proof is proof. Let me start by saying it is not my intention to cause people to loose their belief in God, His divinely-inspired prophets and messengers, or the holy scriptures that they brought. who read and study these pages to be considerate of those who are committed to believe in the scriptures of the Bible and not use this material as a tool for attacking and harming the faiths of others.

            May Almighty God guide all of us to the truth, amen.

            An examination of the Bible is necessary today because of the many questions being raised by religious people of all circles, including Jews and Christians, as to its inconsistency with contemporary church teachings as well as its inconsistency within itself.

            Today, there are thousands of different versions of the Bible in circulation and the transcript has been freely translated from one language to another numerous times. According to Bible scholars themselves, the original scripture is no longer extant. It is nowhere to be found. We have no idea if what we are reading and implementing into our lives and belief system is, indeed, God’s teaching.

            Muslims believe in the same Omnipotent, All-powerful, Unseen God that the Jews have believed in since Adam. However, unlike the Jews, Muslims join in with the Christians by also believing in Jesus as the “Christ”; “Messiah”; “Logos”; and “Miraculous Conception”; as well as all the previous Biblical prophets and their original scriptures that they brought. Muslims also believe that God is merciful and just to His creatures. So, they deny the concept of the ‘Original Sin’ [all children are born into the sins of their parents] and the ‘Sacrificial Lamb’ concept which requires the blood of Jesus, peace be upon him, to atone for the sins of the sinners. This being the case, how can Muslims say that God is just and that His revelation, the Bible, is corrupted? Where is it in God’s great plan that His revelation loses all credibility? These are all very excellent questions.

            It is a known fact that Jesus was regarded by his followers as a prophet and that what he preached was written down into physical form by his disciples. However, God placed the responsibility on humans to preserve the integrity of this message over time. When the people failed in their duty, it was made necessary for the Holy Quran to come into existence in order to correct the teachings that were changed. By God’s mercy He revealed His will once again to Muhammad over 600 years later, and his companions similarly wrote it down and compiled it into what became known as The Holy Quran. By God’s justice He promised that He would preserve it therefore making it the last revelation to humanity. Today an actual seventh century Quran, complete and intact, is on display in a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

            Amazing Revelation

            Strange as it may seem I came across astonishing information. By Allah’s Mercy I have learned the Arabic language sufficient enough to read the Holy Quran in the original language. I have found the answers to problems of understanding meanings of scriptures in the Bible while studying the Holy Quran.

            Every Arabic Quran in the world today is, letter for letter, identical to this ancient script. Due to this preservation, the Quran exists today exactly as it did over 1,400 year ago in a language which is still alive today. I have found the Quran’s teachings to be quite clear, consistent, and practical for application even in today’s so called “modern world.”

            The whole idea behind this work is to present the clear truth about the Bible, the Quran and the two religions of Islam and Christianity. If you do not have a good Bible, it would be a good idea to acquire at least two. Namely, the King James Version (based on the 1611 AD edition) and the Revised Standard Version (published in 1953). As you go through the many Biblical inconsistencies which I will be referring to in this material, please refer back to your Bible and examine it objectively.

            Do not let pride, ego, bias or prejudice affect your judgment as you review the pages. If you do not free your mind and heart from these obstructions, then it will be near to impossible to see the light of truth to which we will be referring so often.

            Bear in mind also, that if a book were revealed from Almighty God to the humans, it should not have even a single mistake or error anywhere in it. Otherwise, it would indicate that it is not from a Perfect God, but rather from an imperfect human.

            While traveling around the world, I have found that many Jews and Christians are opening their eyes to this fact and are willfully accepting Islam and the Last and Final Testament of Almighty God (the Holy Quran) wholeheartedly.

            We have to examine the facts in order to be able to better understand the value of this information on our society today. One statement that is clear and repeated often these days is that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today and the largest religion in the world today with over 1.5 billion souls claiming to be Muslims. The word of God has been preserved in the Holy Quran and has been changed in the Bible. So, I am merely attempting to produce material which will help to clarify the matter. Due to the many years of traditional religious teachings and upbringing, it may be very difficult for you to accept this. If you are sincere in your heart and pray to the One Who Created you in the first place, then it will be totally up to Him to Guide you to all truth, not me. Islam is a complete Way of Life and it is based on total surrender to Almighty God, submission to Him in complete obedience and sincerity and in peace.

            Is ‘King James’ Version The Actual Bible?

            Note: The word “Bible” comes from the Koine Greek word “biblios” and it simply means the same as the word “book” in English. Nowhere in the Bible do we find the word “Bible.” However, it is interesting to note the word “kitab” (Bible in Arabic) appears many times in the Quran, referring to the Bible and the People of the Book (Jews and Christians).

            Let me begin by saying that the King James “version” of the Bible is in English. There was no English language until the year 1066 AD when the Normans invaded the Saxxons. Therefore the English Bible cannot be anything like what any of the prophets spoke or understood, as it did not exist in their times.

            Next, my grandfather, who was a devout and wonderful Christian man gave a gift of the Holy Bible to my sisters and I almost fifty years ago. It was an authorized version of the Bible, being The Revised Standard Version of the Bible which was a revised version of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which was a version of the King James Version, published in 1611, which was revised and corrected for the first time in 1612, etc. I was very much impressed with the easier to read text and clarification of some of the wording which was presented in this version and began to read the Bible on a daily basis for hours at a time. The removal of the Elizabethton English terms, phrases and expressions made the Bible a more accessible and understandable and intimate Book for me. But that is not all the RSV did for me and many others, as well.

            My love and respect for the Word of God increased the more that I spent time reading and understanding the message. The Bible became my most prized and respected book in my life. I often turned to it throughout the rest of my life in times of joy, happiness, sadness, troubles and pain. It was my compass, my road map, my weather vane and my friend. However, there were still some problems with this IMPROVED VERSION of the Holy Bible. It began to disturb and concern me to the extent that I made consultation with my father, who was also an ordained minister and student of the Bible since childhood. Based on his research and background in the origin and sources for modern day Christianity, I began to go deeper into the problems which had plagued my thinking and faith since childhood.

            I prayed to Almighty God and then found the answers to some of the problems were spelled out very clearly in the very beginning of the exact same book. I have that book lying in front of me on my desk as I write this article and would like to quote to you from some of the PREFACE page iii and iv:

            “The King James Version has with good reason been termed ‘the noblest monument of English prose.’ Its revisers in 1881 expressed admiration of ‘its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of express… the music of its cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm.’ It entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personal character and the public institutions of the English-speaking peoples. We owe to it an incalculable debt.”

            “Yet the King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for a revision of the English translation. The task was undertaken, by authority of the Church of England, in 1870. The English Revised Version of the Bible was published in 1881-1885; and the American Standard Version, its variant embodying the preferences of the American scholars associated in the work, was published in 1901.”

            “Because of the unhappy experience with unauthorized publications in the two decades between 1881 and 1901, which tampered with the text of the English Revised Version in the supposed interest of the American public, the American Standard Version was copyrighted, to protect the text from unauthorized changes. In 1928 this copyright was acquired by the International Council of Religious Education, and thus passed into the ownership of the churches of the United States and Canada which were associated in this Council through their boards of education and publication.”

            “…. decision was reached that there is need for a thorough revision of the version of 1901..””In 1937 the revision was authorized by vote of the Council.”

            “Thirty-two scholars have served as members of the Committee charged with making the revision, and they have secured the review and counsel of an Advisory Board of fifty representatives of the co-operating denominations.”

            “Each section has submitted its work to the scrutiny of the members of the charter of the Committee requires that all changes be agreed upon by a two-thirds vote of the total membership of the Committee.”

            “The problem of establishing the correct Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Old Testament is very different from the corresponding problem in the New Testament.”

            “For the New Testament we have a large number of Greek manuscripts, preserving many variant forms of the text. Some of them were made only two or three centuries later than the original composition of the books.”

            “For the Old Testament only late manuscripts survive, all (with the exception of the Dead Sea Texts of Isaiah and Habakkuk and some fragments of other books) based on a standardized form of the text established many centuries after the books were written.”

            “The present revision is based on the consonantal Hebrew and Aramaic text as fixed early in the Christian era and revised by Jewish scholars (the ‘Masoretes’) of the sixth to ninth centuries. The vowel signs, which were added by the Masoretes, are accepted also in the main, but where a more probable and convincing reading can be obtained by assuming different vowels, this has been done.”

            “… vowel points are less ancient and [less] reliable than the consonants.”

            “Departures from the consonantal text of the best manuscripts have been made only where it seems clear that errors in copying had been made before the text was standardized”

            “Most of the corrections adopted are based on the ancient versions [translations into Greek Aramaic, Syriac, and Latin], which were made before the time of the Masoretic revision and therefore reflect earlier forms of the text.”

            “Sometimes it is evident that the text has suffered in transmission, but none of the versions provides a satisfactory restoration. Here we can only follow the best judgment of competent scholars as to the most probable reconstruction of the original text.”

            “Many difficulties and obscurities, of course, remain.”

            “Where the choice between two meanings is particularly difficult or doubtful, we have given an alternative rendering in a footnote.”

            “If in the judgment of the Committee the meaning of a passage is quite uncertain or obscure, either because of corruption in the text or because of the inadequacy of our present knowledge of the language, that fact is indicated by a note.”

            “It should not be assumed, however, that the Committee was entirely sure or unanimous concerning every rendering not so indicated.”

            “To record all minority views was obviously out of the question.”

            “The King James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of fourteen centuries of manuscript copying.”

            “It was essentially the Greek text of the New Testament as edited by Beza, 1589, who closely followed that published by Erasmus, 1516-1535, which was based upon a few medieval manuscripts.”

            “The earliest and best of the eight manuscripts which Erasmus consulted was from the tenth century, and [yet] he made the least use of it because it differed most from the commonly received text; Beza had access to two manuscripts of great value, dating from the fifth and sixth centuries, but he made very little use of them because they differed from the text published by Erasmus.”

            “We now possess many more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, and are far better equipped to seek to recover the original wording of the Greek text. The evidence for the text of the books of the New Testament is better than any other ancient book, both in the number of extant manuscripts and in the nearness of the date of some of these manuscripts to the date when the book was originally written.”

            The words are in plain English. The second paragraph says it all, “Yet, the King James Version has grave defects.

            Therefore, we must conclude the “King James Version” is NOT the Actual Bible sent by God to mankind.
            Contradictions in The Bible?

            First and foremost, let me be perfectly clear on the position of Muslims regarding the authenticity of the Holy Bible. It is a condition of faith for believers to believe in all of God’s Books and scripture as stipulated by the Quran, the Last and Final Testament from Almighty God to mankind, that the previous scriptures, including of course the Old Testament (Arabic = Torah), the Psalms (Arabic = Zabur) and the New Testament (Arabic = Injeel) were all from Almighty God (Arabic = Allah) in their original form. The beginning verses of the Quran clearly spell out the position of the ‘Believer’ with regard to these scriptures. As the translation from Arabic may be rendered regarding the conditions of believers:

            “And they (believers) believe in what is being sent down to you (Muhammad, peace be upon him) and they believe in what has been sent down before (previous Holy scriptures to Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and of course Jesus, peace be upon them all).” [Noble Quran 2:4]

            Therefore, it must be established that Muslims do accept that Almighty Allah did send down many Holy Books and He did allow the people to alter, change, delete and make additions to these Books, and as such, they can not longer be considered as the “Word of God” in their present condition. This is something immediately agreed upon by all qualified Biblical scholars.

            Incidentally, there is sufficient evidence in the Quran to prove the remainder of the Bible still contains many of the original teachings and sayings of the prophets to whom the various scriptures were revealed.

            From the previous chapter we can easily determine that the original source of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments have been lost and are no longer extant in any language. What has remained and been referred to for translations, is in fact nothing more than old copies that do not necessarily agree with each other and there does exist in them obvious corruption in additions and deletions. Additionally, they are not complete and do not have full agreement of the scholars of the Bible as to their meanings.

            Just to offer a few of the many contradictions and errors of that which is being presented as the “Word of God” in the Bible I would like to quote the research of scholars of the Bible:

            VERSES THAT CONTRADICT THEMSELVES

            Genesis 6:3 and Genesis 11:11 – Life limited to 120 years?
            Genesis 32:30 and Exodus 33:20 – Jacob’s life was preserved?
            Exodus 4:22 and Jeremiah 31:9 – Who was God’s firstborn?
            Numbers 23:19 and Genesis 6:6-7 – Does God repent or not?
            2 Samuel 6:23 and 2 Samuel 21:8 – Did Michael have children?
            2 Samuel 8:4 and 1 Chronicles 18:4 – 700 or 7000 horsemen?
            2 Samuel 8:9-10 and 1 Chronicles 18:9-10 – Toi or Tou? Hadadezer or Hadarezer? Joram or Hadoram?
            2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18 – 700 or 7000 charioteers? 40,000 horsemen or footmen? Captain’s name?
            2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 – Who provoked David?
            2 Samuel 24:9 and 1 Chronicles 21:5 – 800,000 or 100,000?
            2 Samuel 24:13 and 1 Chronicles 21:11-12 – 7 or 3 years?
            1 Kings 4:26 and 2 Chronicles 9:25 – 40,000 or 4,000 stalls?
            1 Kings 5:15-16 and 2 Chronicles 2:2 – 3300 or 3600?
            1 Kings 7:26 and 2 Chronicles 4:5 – 2000 or 3000 baths?
            2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2 – 22 or 42 years old?
            2 Kings 24:8 and 2 Chronicles 36:9 – 18 or 8 years old? 3 months or 3 months and 10 days?
            Ezra 2:65 and Nehemiah 7:67 – 200 or 245 singers?
            Matthew 1:12 and Luke 3:27 – Who was Salathiel’s father?
            Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 – Who was Joseph’s father?
            Matthew 9:18 and Mark 5:22-23 – Dead or not?
            Matthew 10:5-10 and Mark 6:7-8 – Bring a staff or not?
            Matthew 15:21-22 and Mark 7:24-26 – The woman was of Canaan or Greece?
            Matthew 20:29-30 and Mark 10:46-47 – One or two beggars?
            Matthew 21:1-2 and Mark 11:1-2 – What happened to the ass?
            Matthew 26:74-75 and Mark 14:72 – Before the cock crow once or twice?
            Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18 – How did Judas die?
            John 3:16 and Psalms 2:7 – Only begotten son?
            John 5:31 and John 8:14 – Was Jesus’ record true or not?

            VERSES THAT CONTRADICT THE TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE AND/OR THE DIVINITY OF JESUS:

            Exodus 33:20, John 1:18, 1 Timothy 6:16 – No one saw God.
            Isaiah 42:8 – Do not praise and worship images.
            Isaiah 45:1 – “Anointed” does not mean “God”.
            Matthew 14:23, 19:13, 26:39, 27:46, 26:42-44 – Jesus prayed.
            Matthew 24:36 – Jesus was not all-knowing.
            Matthew 26:39 – Jesus and God had different wills.
            Matthew 28:18 – All power was given to Jesus.
            Mark 1:35, 6:46, 14:35-36 – Jesus prayed.
            Mark 10:17-18 and Luke 18:18-19 – Jesus denied divinity.
            Mark 12:28-29 – God is one.
            Mark 13:32 – Jesus was not all-knowing.
            Mark 16:19 and Luke 22:69 – Jesus at the right hand of God.
            Luke 3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 9:28, 11:1-4, 22:41 – Jesus prayed.
            Luke 4:18, 9:48, 10:16 – Jesus was from God.
            Luke 7:16, 13:33, 24:18-19 – Jesus was a prophet.
            Luke 10:21 – Jesus gave thanks.
            Luke 23:46 – The spirit of Jesus was commended to God.
            John 4:19 – Jesus was a prophet.
            John 4:23-24 – Worship in spirit and truth.
            John 14:28 – One was greater than the other.
            John 5:19, 5:30, 7:28, 8:28 – Jesus was helpless.
            John 5:20 – The Father showed the son.
            John 5:30 and 6:38 – Jesus and God had different wills.
            John 5:31-32 – Jesus’ witness was not true.
            John 6:11 and 11:41-42 – Jesus gave thanks.
            John 6:32 – The Father was the provider, not the son.
            John 7:29, 16:5, 16:28 – Jesus was from God.
            John 7:16, 12:49, 14:24, 17:14 – Jesus’ words were not his.
            John 8:42 – Jesus did not come of himself.
            John 10:29 – “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all.”
            John 14:1 – Jesus said, “…believe also in me.”
            John 14:16, 17:1, 17:9, 17:11, 17:15 – Jesus prayed.
            John 14:31 and 15:10 – Jesus followed commands.
            John 17:6-8 – “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me.”
            John 20:17 – Jesus had a God.
            Acts 2:22 – Jesus was “a man approved of God.”
            Romans 8:34 – Jesus was an intercessor.
            1 Timothy 2:5 – Jesus was the mediator between God and humans.
            Incidentally, these are really only some selections of contradictions and inaccuracies found in the modern versions of the Bible. There are many more but for the sake of time and space we have limited ourselves to those listed above.

            Again I would like to repeat, the Muslim must believe in all original texts coming from Almighty God. The only subject being discussed here is whether or not the Bible being offered today in the English language is in fact, the real “Bible”.Who is The God of The Bible?

            “ONE” – SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LITERALLY

            [Mark 10:6-9 and John 14:20, 15:1-7, 17:11, 17:18-23, 17:26]

            There are many verses in the Bible that speak of Jesus and God as being “one”.
            But does this necessarily mean that Jesus is God? If you read the six selections above then you will see that we cannot take the word “one” so literally. If we do, then we are God, as Jesus said, “…they also may be one in us” and “…they may be one, even as we are one.” What the Bible means when it says that Jesus is “one” with God is that he is extremely close to god, “as if” they are one. John 17:18-23 tells how we normal human beings can attain this “oneness” (or “closeness”) with God by being “sanctified through the truth.” Aside from this, neither the word “trinity” appears anywhere in the Bible nor any explanation of such a thing.

            “LORD” DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN “GOD”

            [Matthew 18:23-34, Luke 19:11-21, and John 20:26-29]

            Many of Jesus’ disciples referred to Jesus as “Lord”. Even Jesus himself said that he is their Lord. But does this mean that he is their God? If you read the three short stories above then you will realize that back in the Biblical time period most servants referred to their masters as “lord”. This was a common practice because it showed honor and respect for a person of such high stature.

            “LORD” – A LOFTY TITLE

            Even today in many countries around the world such as England, “lord” is used in referring to kings, princes, and others who deserve such a lofty title. The disciples and followers of Jesus viewed him as their earthy master and themselves as his servants. He was a man from God who brought them God’s message of truth, justice, and peace. Who could be more deserving of the title “lord” than Jesus Christ? Besides, “lord” is defined by Webster in many curious ways.

            A few of them are as follows:

            A man of high rank in a feudal society.
            A king.
            A general masculine title of nobility or rank.
            A man of renowned power.
            A man who has mastery in a given activity or field.

            Commenting on the word’s history, Webster says that “lord” literally means ‘guardian of the bread’. He continues, “Since such a position would be the dominant one in the household, lord came to denote a man of authority and rank in society at large.”

            The Noble Quran also uses “lord” in the same context (see 12:23 and 12:41-42). This was simply the language of the time.

            The word “lord” does not render the person which it is being applied to as God. If this were the case, then many human beings in the Bible would have to be considered God.

            Does Bible Say ‘Jesus is God’?

            JESUS DENIED DIVINITY

            [Mark 10:17-18 and Luke 18:18-19]

            These verses are most indicative of Jesus’ position and real nature. The verse in Mark reads:

            “As he [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”

            If you analyze this verse in truth you will see that Jesus, quite simply, is not God. If he was, why then would he say “No one is good but God alone”? Jesus did not want to be called “good” because he was not God. That title, as Jesus admits, belongs to none but God.

            This subject was actually a part of another book that I have been in the process of writing for a number of years. Considering the fact that I may never finish it, I have taken the liberty to put some of it down on paper and then compared it to findings of other Christian preachers who have come to Islam and you can read that online at: Son of God?

            What Does it All Mean?

            CONCLUSION

            If all of this has confused you it’s probably because you’ve been trying to justify your belief in the Trinity. To believe in the Trinity goes against all of the teachings of Jesus, as well as the Bible. This is because the Trinity is a man-made doctrine that was drawn up several hundred years after Jesus. In this time period different interpretations of the Bible were causing serious debates among Christians. The various interpretations were, undoubtedly, due to human perversion of the original scriptures, poor preservation, and/or shoddy translations. One of the main things being questioned was the nature of God and Jesus. Was Jesus actually God, the son of God, or just a messenger? The Council of Nicaea was formed in an attempt to settle this dispute, and the Nicaea Creed (the Trinitarian doctrine) was subsequently hammered out.

            Again, as I stated in the beginning, this writing has not been complied to put down or destroy the true teachings of the Bible and the Prophets. I would like to quote from a version of the Bible wherein Jesus is represented as saying:

            “Think not that I came to destroy the Law [Torah] and the Prophets [prophethood]. I did not come to destroy them, but rather to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments [from the Law] and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
            [Matt. 5:17]

            It is wrong to assume that our beliefs are true simply because our teachers, preachers and parents have taught us something passed down to them by generations of forefathers before them. What I would invite all of us to do is to do research for ourselves and learn from reliable sources what is the origin of modern Christianity and what should be our perspective on true belief in general. We can only achieve this with open minds and hearts.

            So, may the Great God of the Universe guide us all with His perfect Guidance to all truth, ameen.
            What to do Now?

            It is not at all logical to simply accept a belief system because it was passed down to you by your parents. After all, what if it is not correct? A system for belief should be based upon sound principles of reasoning and understanding, rather than feelings and emotions.

            As regards the Muslims treatment of Jesus, peace be upon him, it should be kept in mind that, although they do not hold him to be the ‘son of god’ in Christianity, he is definitely held in high esteem as great prophet, ‘Miraculous birth” and also believe in the same unseen God that he referred to as “Your Lord and my Lord, your God and my God.” There are a number of books which are easily accessible written by experts and scholars on the Bible which are very enlightening on this subject:

            “Who Wrote the Bible” – Richard Elliott Friedman [excerpts]
            “Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?” – Norman Golb
            “The Book of ‘J'” – Harold Bloom & David Rosenberg
            “The Text of the New Testament – Its Transmission,
            Corruption, & Restoration” – Bruce M. Metzger

  7. Peace

    I like the translation of AQ 04:157-158. It is for the Quran to translate the Quranic words. But the a physical ‘second coming’ of the Christ is NOT supported by the Holy Quran –

    AQ 21:34

    And We did not grant to any man before you [Prophet Muhammad] eternity [on earth]; so if you die – would they be eternal?

    • To “The Persain” – Peace to you. I tend to agree with you that there is not really any specific support for a physical “second coming of Christ” in the Qur’an; though I’m not at all sure that 21:34 forbids the possibility.

      Muslims who believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ find their primary support in ‘hadith’, as I understand it. They maintain, though, that although Jesus did not die previously, he will undergo physical death after reigning on earth for a certain number of years. So Jesus Christ, from this viewpoint, was not previously granted “eternity on earth”, and neither will he have such physical “eternity on earth” in the future.

      Christians who believe in a physical “second coming” of course insist that Jesus did die (temporarily) about 2000 years ago; then after his resurrection he ascended into heaven where he still remains. Therefore they will agree that Jesus has not yet been granted “eternity on earth”. If he is granted such “eternity” in the future, it would not be in contradiction of 21:34 since his “eternity on earth” would follow Muhammad rather than precede him.

      I don’t find any Biblical support for a future-to-us physical “return” of Jesus Christ; I hold to a “preterist” (past tense) interpretation of Biblical prophecy. As for the Qur’an, I know there are a couple of very ambiguous verses which can possibly be interpreted to refer to such a “return” – though it seems to me they are better interpreted in another way.

      The two ambiguous verses of which I am aware are: (1) 4:159 (immediately following the controversial verses about Jesus not being crucified or killed) which says (in the Yusuf Ali version) – “And there is none of the people of the Book but must believe in him before his death”. Some believe “his death” refers to Jesus’ death following a second coming. I am among those who believe “his death” refers to “none of the people of the book”. Each member of the “people of the Book” has a duty to believe in Jesus before that person dies; and it is Jesus whom he will face in the Day of Judgment. If he has failed to believe in Jesus, then he faces condemnation (or negative karmic consequences).

      (2) 43:61, which reads this way in Yusuf Ali’s version – “And (Jesus) shall be a sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment)…” However where Mr. Ali has Jesus, others such as Abdel Haleem and Muhammad Asad believe the reference is to the Qur’an rather than Jesus. As the Abdel Haleem version renders it: “This [Qur’an] is knowledge for the Hour…”

      Both are obviously ambiguous, depending on the meaning of a pronoun – who (or what) does the pronoun refer to? Since there are no definite and specific references in the Qur’an to a “second coming of Christ”, I find it preferable to opt for other renderings of the ambiguous phrases.

      So I find neither Biblical nor Qur’anic support for the “return of Christ”; but that doesn’t mean he won’t in fact return in the flesh. If he does, well and good; I just don’t believe it will be the result of Biblical or Qur’anic prophecies.

  8. May peace be on those who follow guidance. Hi I saw you post before on another article on this site regarding this topic so I came here. If you like I can go through with you all my contentions as to why Jesus(peace be upon him) didn’t get crucified. I also linked an interesting article for you below regarding the authenticity of the resurrection belief among early Christians from a Christian website.

    I also sent another link by Dr. Jerald Dirk a Harvard NT scholar who became Muslim and he will go through the history of early Christians beliefs all the way to Islam. I hope you get something out of them. Have a good day and may God bless you and guide you to Islam.

    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gospel-of-mark-and-why-it-makes-all-the-difference/


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