Judaism The Holy Qur'an

Commentary on a verse of the Holy Quran

MARCH 1985 HOLY QUR’AN COMMENTARY In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful We praise Him and invoke His blessings on His Noble Prophet COMMENTARY ON VERSES OF THE HOLY QUR’AN (Wa Qaulehim. Inna Qatalnal Masiha Eisabna Maryama Rasoolallahe, Wa Maa Qatalooho Wa Maa Salabooho Wa Laakin Shubbeha Lahum, Wa Innallazeenakhtalafoo Feehe Lafee Shakkin Minho.) “And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’; whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it: (4-158). This and the preceding verse mention two main objections of the Jews against Jesus: (1) his alleged illegitimate birth, and (2) his sup- posed death on the Cross which, according to Jewish Law, was an accursed death (Deut. 21:23). The words, We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah, are spoken ironically and tauntingly, meaning, “we have killed Jesus who posed as the Messiah and a Messenger of God.” The argument of the Jews was that because Jesus died on the Cross, he could not be a true Prophet according to Jewish Law. The inference was based on their sacred Scriptures; for, according to the Bible, he who is hanged is accursed of God, and a false Prophet shall THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS MARCH 1985 meet with destruction. Says the Bible: “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is ac- cursed of God) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance’ (Deut. 21:23). Again: “My hand shall be upon false prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies” (Ezek. 13:9). Again: “Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in My name, and I sent them not, yet they say, “Sword and famine shall not be in this land, by sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed” (Jer. 14:15). On the strength of such verses of the Bible, the Jews claimed that, as Jesus had been crucified and met with destruction, he could not be a true Prophet of God, but was a false claimant and an accursed one. Regarding the charge about the alleged death of Jesus by crucifix- ion, the Qur’an says that the act of crucifixion having not been com- pleted, and Jesus having been taken down alive from the Cross, the charge carries no weight. It should, however, be noted that the Qur’an does not deny the mere hanging of Jesus on the Cross; it only denies his death on it. Two different views prevail among the Jews regarding Jesus’ s alleged death by crucifixion. Some of them hold that Jesus was first killed and then his dead body was hung on the Cross, while others are of the view that he was put to death by being fixed to the Cross. The former view is reflected in Acts 5:30 where we read “which ye slew and hanged on a tree.” The Qur’an refutes both these views by saying, they slew him not, nor crucified him. The words may also signify that the Qur’an first rejects the slaying of Jesus in any form, and then proceeds to deny the particular way of killing by hanging on the Cross. The verb <~3 (in the passive voice) means, he was made to appear like, or was made to resemble. Now the question arises, who is the person who was made to appear "like one crucified." Clearly it was Jesus whom the Jews tried to crucify or slay. Nobody else can be meant here, for there is absolutely no reference to any other person in the context. Hence, the theory invented by certain Commentators that Judas or somebody else was made to appear like Jesus and was MARCH 1985 HOLY QUR'AN COMMENTARY then crucified in his place is simply absurd. The context cannot be so twisted as to make room for somebody else of whom no mention at all is made in the verse. To what then was Jesus made like? The context provides a clear answer to that question. The Jews did not kill him by crucifixion, but he was made to appear to them like "one crucified", and thus it was that they wrongly took him for dead. It was thus Jesus who was made to resemble "one crucified." This interpretation is not only in perfect harmony with the context but is also clearly borne out by all relevant facts of history. The second meaning of the expression ***̂ <--£ is that "the mat- ter became confused to them." This interpretation is also clearly borne out by history; for although the Jews asserted that they had put Jesus to death by suspending him on the Cross, they were not sure of it and the circumstances being obscure, the matter had cer- tainly become confused to them. The fact that the Jews themselves were not sure whether Jesus had actually died on the Cross is sup- ported by the Bible and by all authentic historical facts. The statements made in this verse are clearly substantiated by the following facts narrated in the Gospels: 1. Jesus had himself predicted his escape from death on the Cross, saying, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:40). Now it is an accepted fact that Jonah had entered the whale's belly alive and had come out alive; so, according to his own prophecy, Jesus was to enter the heart of the earth (i.e., his tomb) alive and was to come out of it alive. 2. The trying magistrate (Pilate) believed Jesus to be innocent and, being sympathetic, was anxious to save his live (Matt. 21:11, 18; Mark 15:9, 10, 14; Luke 23:4, 14, 15, 20, 22; John 18:38, 39); and he must have secretly tried to save him or at least connived at the at- tempt of others to do so. 3. Pilate's wife had seen a vision concerning the innocence of Jesus: "When he (Pilate) was set down on the judgement seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, 'Have thou nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him" (Matt. 27:19). This message must certainly have influenced Pilate, and his wife must have also done her best to save Jesus. THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS MARCH 1985 4. Pilate held the killing of Jesus in such horror that he actually washed his hands with water, saying that he was innocent of the blood of that just man (Matt. 27:24). 5. Pilate did all he could to help Jesus; and the soldiers in charge also treated Jesus with kindness, apparently under Pilate's direc- tions. The following are some of the special favors shown to Jesus: (a) Every malefactor carried his own cross but another man was made to carry that of Jesus (Matt. 27:32; Mark 15:21); (b) Jesus was given wine or vinegar mingled with myrrh. This was intended to render him less sensible to pain. The two thieves who were crucified with him were not given this drink. When after some time the effects of the drink were wearing off and Jesus cried with pain, the drink was administered again to render him unconscious of pain (Matt. 27:34, 48; Mark 15:23, John 19:29, 30). 6. The unconsciousness which followed the administration of vinegar was mistaken for death (John 19:30). 7. Jesus remained on the Cross for only about three hours (John 19:14. cf. Matt. 27:46) and according to Mark only for six hours (Mark 15:25, 33), and either of these periods was by no means suffi- cient to kill a young man like Jesus on the Cross. 8. When Joseph of Arimataea came and craved the body of Jesus, Pilate "marvelled if he were already dead," and calling to him the centurion asked him whether he had been any while dead (Mark, 15:44). FROM THE WRITINGS OF HAZRAT AHMAD What the Christians attribute to God Almighty by way of His Glory is a matter which can be determined by a single question. God Almighty, Who is Perfect and Eternal and Self-Sufficient and non- dependent, had carried on all His great works through eternity by His Ownself. He alone created the universe without the aid of a father or son and bestowed upon souls and bodies all the powers that they needed. He is Himself the Guardian and Support and Con- troller of the universe, and He brought into being through His at- tribute of Rahmaniyyat all that the souls and the bodies were to need without waiting for any action on their part. He created the sun and

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