C  H  R  I  S  T  I  A  N  I  T  Y 
through the lens of 
CHRISTIAN & MUSLIM SCHOLARS
Part Two

Mohd Amin Yaacob

al-Firdaus.Com

CONTENTS

Preface

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

The Crucifixion And The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ 

 8.1     Muslim Views

8.1.1   From The The Holy Quran

8.1.2   From The Holy Bible

8.1.3   From The Scholars

CHAPTER NINE   

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

EPILOGUE 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

 

 

 

  

8.1    Muslim Views

 

Muslims acknowledge historical accounts of the crucifixion, but don’t believe that Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) was actually crucified. We believe that Allah the Almighty saved Jesus from death on the cross. Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) was gagged and thrown into a well but Allah save him. Similarly, Allah saved Prophet Daniel (peace be upon him) who was thrown into the lion’s dean for his refusing to succumb to idol worship. In the same manner, the Jews attempted to kill Jesus on the cross in order to render him accursed. Allah delivered him from the accursed death and brought him closer than ever to Him. [1] The following are some of the arguments to prove that Jesus did not die on the cross:

 

8.1.1 From The The Holy Quran:

 

“And for their saying: We have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah, and they killed him not, nor did they cause his death on the cross, but he was made to appear to them as such. And certainly those who differ therein are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge about it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for certain. Nay, exalted him in his presence. And Allah is ever Mighty, Wise”  (Surah an-Nisa’ 157-158)

 

Regarding the interpretation of the above verse, Dr Hj Hasbullah Bakri, the author of “Jesus Christ in the Qur’an Muhammad in the Bible” explain:

 

“Among the Moslems theologians rouse two opinions in the interpretation of both verses above. Part of the theologians is of the opinion that God rescued Jesus when he was to be captured by Israelites in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had slipped from his enemies, unseen by them, then God had made a traitorous disciple of Jesus whose name was Judas, a captive of the Israelites, because he then had the same appearance as Jesus. This Judas was then crucified by the Israelites. After his rescue Jesus had ascended to Heaven and in Day’s End will return to earth to being the Christians to the Muslim religion.

 

Another group of theologians is of the opinion that the rescue of Jesus had happened on the way from Pilatus to Golgotha. On his way, Jesus himself at first carried his cross, but before reaching Golgotha, another man called Simon Kirene had taken his place, and this Simon would afterwards be crucified, while Jesus himself ascended to heaven by the will of God. Still, another group of theologians is of the opinion that Jesus was indeed captured in the Garden of Gethsemane and taken to the palace of Pilatus then directly taken to Golgotha-hill and crucified there, but this crucifixion was fail by God so that Jesus was rescued from it” [2]

 

Imam Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taimiyyah, the grand Sheikh of Islam in his “Al Jawab Al Sahih Li-Man Baddala Din al Masih” (The Correct Answer To Those Who Changed The Religion Of Christ) states that:

 

“God did not state that Christ died, nor that he was killed. He said rather: “O Jesus, I am gathering you and causing you to ascend to Me, and am cleansing you of those who disbelieve.” (Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:55)”. God cursed and condemned the Jews for their claim: “We killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, the Apostle of God” (Surah An-Nisa’ 4:157). God said:“… but they killed him not nor crucified him, but it was made to appear to them so.” (Surah An-Nisa’ 4:157).

 

God attributes this statement to them and curses them for it. The Christians are not mentioned because the ones who assumed responsibility for crucifying the supposedly crucified person were the Jews. Not a single one of the Christians was a witness [to the event] with them. The only witnesses were the Jews [3] who informed people that they had crucified Christ. Christians and others who handed on the story that Christ had been crucified only passed on what they had received from these Jews who were the chosen minions of the power of darkness…” [4] . Accordingly, it may be said that the disciples, or at least some of them, or many or even most of the People of the Book used to believe that Christ himself was crucified. They were erring in this, but this error was not something which detracted from their putting faith in Christ. If they believed in what he brought, it would not necessary for them (to be sentenced to) the Fire, for the gospels which the People of the Book possessed contained mention of the crucifixion of Christ.  They hold that these were received from four men—Mark, Luke, John and Matthew. No one among these four witnessed the crucifixion of Christ, nor any of the disciples, nor did even any of his followers witness the crucifixion. The only one who witnessed it were a small group of Jews.” [5]

 

Ibn Taimiyyah further elucidates:

 

“…Even on the matter of the crucifixion of Christ, a group of Christians has held that only someone who appeared to be Christ was crucified, as is reported in the Qur’an. Those who reported his crucifixion were only reporting the ostensible situation. For when the man who resembled him hung on the cross, they thought that it was really Christ, or else they intentionally lied. Still others among these people say that the texts of the books have been changed. The story of the crucifixion is a case in which doubtfulness occurred, and an argument has been established to show that the one crucified was not Christ, “but it was made to appear so”. They thought that it was Christ, although not one of the disciples had seen Christ crucified, but it was only reported to them by some Jews who had witnessed it.” [6]

 

8.1.2 From The Holy Bible:

 

Muslim Scholars insist that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ contradict the basic fundamental and major texts contained within the Christian Bible. Such as follows:

 

8.1.2.1       Crucifixion Portrays Jesus To Be A False Prophet Who Is Being Cursed.

 

The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy says about the impostor Prophet:

 

“The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the Lord your God…Since they try to keep you from following the Lord your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you.” (13:5, NLT)

 

And again:

 

“If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and then hanged on a tree, the body must never remain on the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone hanging on a tree is cursed of God. Do not defile the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession.” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23, NLT)

 

Commenting on the verses above, A.D. Ajijiola, the author of “The Myth of The Cross” said:

 

“Jesus was a claimant to Prophethood. Granted that no Muslim would dub him an imposter; but the Jews regard him an imposter, or granted that the Jews crucified him and he subsequently died on the cross, the logical conclusion will be (God refuge), that Jesus is accursed. This is the most erroneous belief of the Christians. For it portrays Jesus to be false in his claim to prophet-hood. His crucifixion negates his truth—that indeed, was the Jews design. Jesus was a true prophet and therefore, his death on the Cross is a myth.” [7]

 

8.1.2.2       Jesus Prays For His Safety At Gethsemane

 

Jesus Christ was familiar with the Law of Moses. He knew that “One hanged is under the cursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). For this reason he was grieved, and prayed earnestly. [8] The Gospel of Matthew states that:

 

“He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” (26:39, NLT)

 

The Gospel of Luke:

 

“He walked away, about a tone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine”. Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.” (22:41-43, NLT)

 

The author of “The Myth of The Cross” comments:

 

“Without the least shadow of doubt Jesus prayed in great humbleness only to be saved from this dreadful and disgraceful death. The cup was the cup of death. One question that arises here is, “Was Jesus prayer heard?”. If it was heard and granted it follows that the myth of Jesus death on the cross is false. If it went unheard then the truth of Jesus is questionable. The book of Proverb states:

 

“The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.” (15:29, NLT)

 

The truth of it is that God listened to his cries and wailing’s—such is the way of God—and delivered Jesus from the grip of an accursed death on the tree.” [9]

 

According to Imam Abu Muhammad Ibn Hazm (994-1064 C.E), who was among the leading Muslim theologians of all times, The prayer of Jesus for his safety indicate that he expected God to prevent his death. This position is in fact a direct opposition to the Christian concept that Jesus death was voluntarily and suffered in obedience to God [10] , a concept illustrated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men. Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death…Hence the sovereign freedom of God’s Son as he went out to his death.” [11]

 

Ishodad of Marv, a Christian scholar admits:

 

“Was He (Jesus) then terrified for suffering, and shrank from it, as if He were not in His will ready to die for the life of all men?” [12]

 

8.1.3 From The Scholars:

 

8.1.3.1       Some Western Scholar Rejected The Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ

 

The acceptance of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as a historical fact has not been unanimous among Christians themselves. With recent and fresh evidence at their disposal, some Western Scholars also hold a believe similar to Muslims believe. Tony Bushby, the author of  “The Bible Fraud: An Untold Story of Jesus Christ” states that:

 

“A crucifixion of the Gospel Jesus Christ was also unknown among the early Church as late as the end of the Second century. This was close to 170 years after the church would like the world to think that the brutal death of its god occurred. It must be immediately pointed out that the modern church admitted the records of Bishop Irenaues (d.202 C.E) [13] created serious problem. They said of him:

 

“Although of crucial important in the development of the church’s theology, Irenaeus presents problems of considerable difficulty in regard to details about Jesus Christ. Irenaeus is fondly described by the church hierarchy as ‘the depositary of primitive truth’, but he denied a virgin birth, never mentioned a trial of Jesus Christ, said nothing of a crucifixion or resurrection and claimed Jesus Christ declined towards old age”.” [14]

 

Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, in their book “The Messianic Legacy” which shocked the whole Christendom world writes:

 

“What remains indeterminate is whether Jesus was truly convinced that he himself had literally to die, or whether it was sufficient that he appear to die. As we discussed in our previous book [The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail], there is a substantial body of evidence in favor of the later alternative. The truth of course, is unlikely ever to be known. But it is certainly possible, at least, that he survived the cross.” [15]

 

Further evidence to support this view was discovered in 1945 when an Egyptian farmer digging for fertile soil near the village of “Nag Hammadi” unearthed a red clay jar. It contained “papyrus scrolls” which contained the now famous “Gospel of Thomas”. [16] In the following extract Jesus is speaking in the first person:

 

“I did not succumb to them as they had planned…and I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to scheme by them…for my death which they think happened to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death…it was another.” [17]

 

8.1.3.2       The Gospel Burnt By The Church

 

Tony Bushby, the author of “The Bible Fraud: An Untold Story of Jesus Christ” remarks:

 

“There were attempts by the early Church to destroy the documentation recording the ‘substitute’ of their main Gospel character - Jesus Christ.  It concerned a man called Basilides. Very little was known of him, but it appeared he was a presbyter in Alexandria sometime around 155-160 C.E. Of Basilides writings only scattered fragments now survive. It was recorded that he once wrote a twenty-four page document called “A True History” which was later re-titled “The Interpretation of the Gospel” (note the singular use of the word Gospel). Basilides report was later burnt by the Church, which makes us suppose that it contained more truthful matter than the Church was prepared to deny.” [18]

 

Further he said:

 

“Scholars have suggested that an incomplete account by Bishop Irenaeus in his work “Against Heresies” summarised the essence of what Basilides wrote. From the central act of Basilides work, it was claimed that Simon of Cyrene let himself be crucified instead of Judas Khrestus (or Jesus Christ). Basilides wrote:

 

“Hence he did not suffer. Rather, a certain Simon of Cyrene was forced to bear his cross for him, and it was he who was ignorantly and erroneously crucified, so that he was taken for Khrestus; while Khrestus for his part…stood by and laughing at them. Therefore people who know these things have been set free from the ruler that crafted the world. One should not acknowledge the man that was crucified (i.e Simon of Cyrene), but rather the one who came in the form of a man, was thought to have been crucified, was named Khrestus…”.” [19]

 

Tony Bushby also stated that Basilides report was also confirmed in the New Testament Books where it stated that Simon of Cyrene was “seized as he was coming in from the country” (Luke 23:26) and subsequently “carried the cross to the hill of Golgotha” (Matthew 27:32). [20]


 
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[1]           The Myth of The Cross, 43 (adapted in part)

[2]           (S. Abdul Majeed & Co, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), 1990, 42-43

[3]       The Gospel of Matthew’s affirm this by saying “At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled” (26:56, NLT). If so, no disciple of Jesus witnessed his trial or Crucifixion. Hence what Matthew or John wrote in their gospels about the trial or crucifixion of Jesus was not first-hand information, and thus cannot be very much trusted. As for Luke and Mark, they were not Jesus’ disciples and, therefore, their reports were second-hand or third-hand ones as well. No one of the gospel writers witnessed Jesus assumed trial or assumed crucifixion. This is an adequate reason for doubting their reports about the incident. (Muhammad Ali al-Khuli, The Truth about Jesus Christ, International Islamic Publishing House, Saudi Arabia, 1990, 63-64)

[4]           Al-Jawab al-Sahih, 305 

[5]           Al-Jawab al-Sahih, 195. As an additional information to this, Imam Ibn Hazm, the author of “al-Fisol” stresses that the nearest first-hand witnesses of the Crucifixion were the Roman soldiers, a tightly-knit group employed to carry out orders, and likely to have been open to persuasion on the subject of describing the event. A relatively small group of people with common interests and close ties represents a potentially corruptible set of witnesses. Imam Ibn Hazm regards links between the centurions as virtually a guarantee of their unreliability and since Matthew 28:11-15 records that they accepted money from the Sanhedrin to publish one false account, and were willing to do so on the assurance that they would not be punished for this. This event proves that the soldiers were prepared to accept bribes, and is evidence of the atmosphere of corruption and falsehood in which the Crucifixion and the events following it took place.

If the events following the Crucifixion are far from clear and suggest an environment of bribery in which members of the group who were the closest witnesses of the Crucifixion were involved, the events preceding the death on the cross are equally secretive. The arrest in the garden was taken at night, out of the public eye at a time when the people would have been preparing the Passover. The Crucifixion itself took place outside the city in a place not usually used for public execution (John 19:41), thus reducing the number of witnesses. Imam Ibn Hazm also refers to the general confusion of the behavior of the disciples and Mary Magdalen, the disciples and Mary Magdalen scattering in consternation, and Peter, the chief Disciple, slipping away to the house of the chief priest, where he slyly avoided giving his name. Uncertainty, if not direct deception, characterizes for Imam Ibn Hazm the behavior of these figures close to Jesus, and the fact that Mary Magdalen herself only watched the Crucifixion from a distance again reduces the number of independent witnesses. (Muhammad Abu Layla, The Muslim View of Christianity With Special Reference To The Work of Ibn Hazm, 336-337)

[6]           Al-Jawab Al-Sahih, 236 (emphasis added)

[7]           pg 43-44

[8]           Follow Jesus or Follow Paul, 59

[9]           A.D. Ajijiola, 46

[10]          Al-Fisol fi Milal wa al-Ahwa wa al-Nihal in Muhammad Abu Layla, 303

[11]          pg 173

[12]          Muhammad Abu Layla, 319

[13]          The three presbyters generally accredited with founding the Christian religion were Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria (160-215 C.E) and Tertullian (160-210 C.E). [Tony Bushby, The Bible Fraud: An Untold Story of Jesus Christ, The Pacific Blue Group Inc, Hong Kong, 2001, 166].

[14]          pg 88 (emphasis added)

[15]          (Corgi Books, USA), 1993, 117 (emphasis added)

[16]          Even though the Christian Church did not considered this gospel as part of the New Testament canon, Burton L. Mack, a biblical scholar states that: “…subsequent research has demonstrated that the importance of this discovery (the gospel according to Thomas) for reconstructing the early Jesus movement is enormous…the Gospel of Thomas consists only of the sayings of Jesus. ( Who Wrote The New Testament, 60)

[17]          Baigent, M, Leigh, R and Lincoln, H, The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail (London), 1982, 403

[18]          The Bible Fraud: An Untold Story of Jesus Christ, 88 (emphasis added)

[19]          The Bible Fraud: An Untold Story of Jesus Christ, 88 (emphasis added)

[20]          The Bible Fraud: An Untold Story of Jesus Christ, 88