“Allah said, O Jesus, I shall cause you to die and will exalt you in my presence and shall purify you of the ungrateful disbelieving people, and shall place those who follow you above those who deny the truth, until the Day of Judgement; then to Me shall all return and I will judge between you regarding your disputes.” (Qur’an 3:55)
One of the readers of Prima-Qur’an has posted a link to this video. I am aware of it. This was a response during the back and forth that happened between Naheim Ajmal aka-Mufti Abu Layth, and several leading figures from the Sunni denomination on this very issue. However, this clip is actually part of a much larger discussion that Shaykh has been giving on a speaking circuit, long before that controversy. You will see it included further down the article:
So here is the clip. I honestly feel it does not add anything substantive to the discussion. You the reader and seeker of truth must weigh the evidences.
wamā qatalūhu wama salabuhu walakin shubbiha lahum
“They did not kill him nor did they impale him but it was made to appear to them so.”
For a quick reference for those not versed with the Arabic: https://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=4&verse=157#(4:157:1)
@1:26 The Shaykh says: “And what was the first thing the Christians disagreed about? Who knows?”
@1:52 The Shaykh says: “The first great debate in Christianity was about Crucifixion.” -Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
On what basis is this claim made? How does he know this? How did he come to this conclusions? What sources would he rely upon that he would be equally willing to accept what those sources may say about the history and origins of Islam?
@2:18 The Shaykh makes a very interesting claim. He claims that Jesus said:
“John baptizes with water but I baptize with fire and the sword.” -Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
Where did Jesus make that claim?
- Is it in the Qur’an?
- Is it in the rigorously transmitted sacred oral traditions?
- Is it in the New Testament?
What we do find is John quoted as speaking in four different places here:
“John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
“I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8)
I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” (John 1: 33)
Jesus speaks here:
“John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:5)
No mention of any sword. Careful, respected Shaykh, Umar Faruq Abd-Allah. We should not attribute to the Prophets that which they did not say. We need to be more circumspect.
@2:34 This is where Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah introduces what I feel is his best point:
He quotes the following text:
“If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4:6)
This has Satan quoting from:
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.” (Psalm 91:12)
@3:17 He quotes Paul.
“But we preach Christ (ἐσταυρωμένον) estaurōmenon, unto the Jews a σκάνδαλον (skandalon) stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)
Question: Why would a Messiah who was (ἐσταυρωμένον) estaurōmenon be a stumbling block to the Jews?
@3:52 “He was not the Messiah because we killed him. And our killing him shows he could not deliver himself.”
I will come back to this latter after commenting on another lecture on the same topic by the Shaykh.
@4:04 St Jerome, a Church father who believed in the Crucifixion, wrote over 1700 years ago: “The blood of Christ had not dried on the earth of Judaea.” (ie. the earth of Jerusalem) The man who was crucified was still bleeding, and his blood was falling on the soil while he was on the cross. People said “It’s not him, but its one who looks like him”. *Note* This text is actually taken from another lecture which I will post below. However, it is the sentiment being expressed in the video above.
@5:12 The claim that the Church Gospels that have been transmitted to us state: “They say that Christ when he’s carrying the Cross stumbles to the ground. And then another man must have come and picked up the cross and carried it for him, as a mercy to him.” -Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
When it comes to the walk towards Calvary, the gospels do not say that Jesus fell or struggled under the weight of the stauros, contrary to the common assumption. Where did the Shaykh get this from? Is there a source? He is simply speaking without evidence.
The Shaykh talks about Docetism and he refers us to: Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics ( presumably the one edited by James Hastings).
Now there is some substance to what Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah is saying here.
Look at the following text.
“I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. (1 John 4: 1-3)
This is not a situation where traditional conservative Christians can have their cake and eat it too. What do I mean by this? Traditional conservatives Christians will like to spin a narrative that the docetic were a latter development. Yet, if this is written by the Apostle John it is quite clear he is addressing what he feels are stray or heretical views held among Christians.
Docetism the doctrine, important in Gnosticism, that Christ’s body was not human but either a phantasm or of real but celestial substance, and that therefore his sufferings were only apparent. One is curious Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah thoughts on the idea of the docetic believing that a Christ was indeed crucified but that it was a phantasm.
The Qur’an totally repudiates this!
“The Messiah, son of Mary, was no more than a messenger. Many messengers had come and gone before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They both ate food. See how We make the signs clear to them, yet see how they are deluded from the truth!” (Qur’an 5:75)
The Qur’an says: “They both ate food.” Which means, for the same reasons.
@7:47 The Shaykh quotes from the Acts of John
That same Acts of John also states:
“Let not then our good God be grieved, the compassionate, the merciful, the holy, the pure, the undefiled, the immaterial, the only, the one, the unchangeable, the simple, the guileless, the unwrathful, even our God Jesus Christ, who is above every name that we can utter or conceive, and more exalted. “
I would encourage you to read the following article. This gives a larger view of what the Shaykh is trying to advocate. Insh’Allah I will give my responses after the article:
Crucifixion of Christ – Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
September 8, 2014/in history, Knowledge, Video /
By Sidi Aashif Sacha
Click here for original link
This khutba was given by Dr Umar in Georgetown, Guyana.
Given that it was ‘Good Friday’ he delivered a powerful sermon detailing the Islamic perspective on the Crucifixion of Christ.
[Islamic Perspective on the Crucifixion of Christ]
The Muslim belief about Jesus (may peace be upon him) is the authentic belief of the earliest Christians. It is a teaching that was first there and was displaced, then replaced, then was largely forgotten.
The Quranic revelation corrected the beliefs of people who came before, and clarified what they were disagreeing about. This is the case regarding the apparent crucifixion of the Messiah Jesus (may peace be upon him). Part of a sermon given by Dr Umar Abd-Allah in Georgetown, Guyana.
[Early Opinions on the Crucifixion]
God, Exalted is He, tells us in the Quran: “That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God.’ – but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.” (Quran, 4:157)
Historically, the very first item of faith that Christians disagreed about was this issue. Was the man who was crucified, Jesus, or was it not Jesus?
St Jerome, a Church father who believed in the Crucifixion, wrote over 1700 years ago: “The blood of Christ had not dried on the earth of Judaea.” (ie. the earth of Jerusalem) The man who was crucified was still bleeding, and his blood was falling on the soil while he was on the cross. People said “It’s not him, but its one who looks like him”.
In earliest Christianity many Christians were docetic. The word is taken from the Greek word Docaeen, meaning Shubbiha (in Arabic): to appear. Docetics were those early Christians who believed that the man crucified was not Jesus but it was one who looked like him, who was made to appear like him.
In the Quranic Tafsir we have a number of accounts. One of them is that when the Jews condemned Jesus to be crucified and sent the Romans to get Jesus, when they came to him when he was with his disciples, God as a miracle put the face and the upper body of Jesus upon all of his disciples so that every one of them looked like him.
Then when the Romans came they didn’t know which one was Jesus, although they had all seen Jesus, but everyone looked like Jesus!
So they said, “Either Jesus turns himself over to us, or we will crucify you all.” According to this account, one of the disciples decided to be a shaheed, a martyr. He said “I am Jesus” and he had permission to say that.
Because in the belief of the People of the Book, the Messiah must be delivered; the Messiah cannot be crucified. They believed that if he is crucified he is not the Messiah.
That’s why in the Quran Allah, the Exalted, tells us of the Jews who would mock Jesus and say “We crucified the Messiah the son of Mary”
Because the Messiah cannot be crucified, the Messiah cannot be harmed. The Messiah must be delivered, the Messiah is a conqueror, the Messiah is a king, the Messiah is a ruler, the Messiah is a deliverer.
This is the belief of the People of the Book.
If you look in the Gospels, Satan comes to Jesus to tempt him, saying “Go up on the temple and throw yourself down.”
Because (the Satan effectively said, if you really are the Messiah then) no harm will come to you, because the angels will pick you up. Because it is written, the Messiah will not even stumble on a stone but the angels will take him.
[What the Apocrypha Books of the New Testament Say]
The Bible that we have today is made up of the Canonical Books.
The Canonical Books are the books that the Church accepted. It was a Church that was already Trinitarian and already believed in the Crucifixion. That church says ‘these’ books are acceptable and others are not.
The books that are not acceptable are known as Apocrypha – hidden books. In the apocrypha we have acts of the apostles that are not in the Bible. They are called “the Apocryphal Acts.” Among them was the docetic teaching – that the crucifixion of Christ was only that of appearance.
Jesus had around him disciples, and some were very close to him – Peter, James, John and Andrew. They were like the four great Sahabah who were around the Beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him); Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (may God be pleased with them).
In the Apocryphal Acts of John it says “John was on the Mt of Olives, and he was crying because there was the crucifixion. Jesus came to him on the Mt of Olives and he comforted him and said to him “Don’t worry, I am Jesus, I am the Messiah, and the one crucified is another one.”
Our Islamic teaching matches this. It is the original teaching.
[The Islamic Rationale]
In Islam we have Usool ul Fiqh which is the basic principles of jurisprudence; how we understand Quran, how we understand Hadith and how we interpret them. One of the matters in Usool ul Fiqh that is absolutely essential is the distinction between proofs of the Quran and the Hadiths that are definitive (qat’i) – with just one opinion about the matter.
They are Usool ul Deen. They are the foundations of religion. – and (on the other hand) other proofs in the Quran and the Hadith that are open to interpretation (than’ni).
In these, for example, Imam Abu Hanifa has an opinion and Imam Malik has an opinion and they’re both correct. Imam Shafi’i has a third opinion which is also correct and Ahmad ibn Hanbal has a forth opinion which is also correct.
The latter is part of our religion because of the fact that we have to think. We have to exercise legal judgement. Not everything is black and white. There are many things in the law that are open to interpretation. Thus in Islam we always identify what is based on conjectural evidence (than’ni) and we accept differences of opinion. If we don’t, what kind of Muslims are we? We will become ignorant Muslims, rigid and fanatic.
When it comes to Belief (Aqeedah) – what I must believe and you must believe – then that has to be certain. That must be based on definitive evidence (qat’i). For example, the belief that God is one, Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) is the last prophet, you must pray 5 times a day, you must fast Ramadan, and so on.
On the other hand, looking at a question like: When is the time of Asr? Is it when the shadow is at one length or two lengths? There are different ahadith on that, so we have different opinions, and that’s okay. Muslims have lived like that for the last 1400 years and we will continue to live like that.
This is the Mercy from Allah, Exalted is He.
[What the Quran Says]
When Allah, Glorified is He, talks about the Christians and the crucifixion He says ‘they don’t have knowledge’. What that means is the evidence they have of the crucifixion is not adequate.
Because no one saw the crucifixion, none of the disciples saw it. They could not be there, because if they were there they would be apprehended by the romans and either killed or crucified themselves. That’s why John was sitting up on the Mt of Olives.
The gospel story tells us that the one carrying the cross fell. Jesus (may peace be upon him) would never fall or stumble because the prophets and messengers were perfect human beings.
Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) is the best of creation. Who dares differ on that? Who comes after that? Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Noah and the Prophets and Messengers. Great people, beautiful people, handsome people.
Prophet Muhammad, if you looked at him you would be astonished. He was so beautiful, he was so powerful, his enemies were in awe of him. Those who loved him, melted in the love of him. Jesus was like this too. He was a perfect human being, a created human being, a prophet, a messenger, a messiah. Jesus would not have fallen under a cross.
Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), took the gates of Khaybar and he carried them on his back. He was not a prophet but he was a blessed Sahabi and one of the best of all human beings who ever lived. So do you think Jesus would stumble under a cross? Jesus could carry the gates of Khaybar. Jesus is strong, intelligent and beautiful.
That’s why the people said it was not Jesus. It looks like him on the upper body, but the lower body doesn’t look like him.
[What a Muslim Concludes]
Whenever there is doubt there is no Aqeedah. The belief you must believe in can never be based on doubtful issues. Our Deen must be based on definitive evidence.
Allah, the Exalted, says “He is God, the One who sent down the Book. Of it there are verses of unequivocal meaning (definitive)… and there are other verses that are open to interpretation…” (Quran 3:7)
The above verse was revealed about the Christians of the Nejran (Southern Arabia) who came to the Prophet and tried to use the Quran by saying the Quran believed in the Trinity because God says “We”. So Allah corrected this.
There are verses that are clear and are not open to interpretation. That’s what you follow if you want the truth. And there are other ones that are non definitive. Those verses you leave to God or people who are steeped in knowledge. This is a basic fundamental of Islam that is extremely important. Having a good opinion of your brothers and your sisters is an act of worship. We have to watch our hearts and be with each other, love each other and work with each other.
Our teaching is a teaching that is very ancient. It is the original teaching – it is the true teaching. We are the followers of Christ as the Messiah.
We believe that the Messiah Jesus was not crucified, but that it was only made to appear so. This is definitive in the Quran (4:157). How that appearance was carried out is a matter that was non definitive and we respect the varying opinions.
The Shaykh says, ” Thus in Islam we always identify what is based on conjectural evidence (than’ni) and we accept differences of opinion.” – Agreed.
The Shaykh says, “When it comes to Belief (Aqeedah) – what I must believe and you must believe – then that has to be certain.” -Agreed.
The Shaykh says, ” Whenever there is doubt there is no Aqeedah. The belief you must believe in can never be based on doubtful issues. Our Deen must be based on definitive evidence.“- Agreed.
Remember where Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah was quoting the interaction between Jesus and Satan.
“If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4:6)
Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah also says in the article above:
“Because in the belief of the People of the Book, the Messiah must be delivered; the Messiah cannot be crucified. They believed that if he is crucified he is not the Messiah.“-Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
“The Messiah is a conqueror, the Messiah is a king, the Messiah is a ruler, the Messiah is a deliverer.”-Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
So like the Christians who explain away all the expectations Jews had of their Messiah, with the promise ,”He will do all that and more when he comes back!” Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah must explain how his position on the matter is different than the Christian view.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say.” O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”
Is that what the Jews had in mind when they envision a conquering Messiah?
“Only a likeness of that was shown to them.”-Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
The Sunni, Ashari in aqidah and Shafi’i in Fiqh, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, whom was not satisfied with the substitution theory was absolutely merciless in his take down of this concept when he pins,
“This opens the door of sophistry, So that if we saw Zayd it would be possible that it was not really Zayd but that the likeness of Zayd had been cast upon another. This would imply the nullification of social contracts such as marriage and ownership. Also it would lead to the impugning of the principle of tawatur, bringing into serious doubt all transmitted historical knowledge. This principle should be upheld as long as it is based on perceived phenomena (al-mahsusat). Such confusion about perceived phenomena would threaten the foundations of all religious laws (shar-iya). Neither is it permissible to argue for such transference of identity by appealing to the tradition that allows for miracles during the time of prophecy. Such a provision would bring into question the identity of the prophets themselves, which in turn would call into question the probity of the sources of religious knowledge.”
Source: Fakr al-Din al-Razi (Mafatih, al-ghayb al-mushtahar bi-al-tafsir al-kabir.)
The Shaykh says:
“We believe that the Messiah Jesus was not crucified, but that it was only made to appear so. This is definitive in the Quran (4:157). How that appearance was carried out is a matter that was non definitive and we respect the varying opinions.”
Actually even the statement: “Jesus was not crucified.” is not definitive. Definitive would be “And no one ever crucified Jesus.” or “Jesus was never crucified by anyone.” However, the Qur’an does not say this.
It says :
“And for their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him nor did they impale him; (وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ)but it was made to appear to them so. Those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no certain knowledge of it, but only follow conjecture. For certainly, they did not kill him.” (Qur’an 4:157
For those of you who believe in the “Second Coming of Jesus” How do you all make sense of the following narrative:
“And when God will say: O Jesus son of Mary! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides God, he will say: Glory be to You, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, You would indeed have known it; You know what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in your mind, surely you are the great Knower of the unseen things. I did not say anything to them except what you commanded me with: That worship God, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness over them as long as I was among them, but when you caused me to die (Arabic: Tawafaytani), you were the watcher over them, and you are witness of all things.” (Qur’an 5:116-117)
There are several things to take from the above passage:
1) This dialogue is taking place on the Day of Judgment where Prophet Jesus (as) suggests that he has no knowledge of what has happened since his demise on Earth and after his ministry ended.
2) From the discussion it is clear that Prophet Jesus only came to Earth once acting as a witness over his people. If indeed there was a ‘second coming‘ before the Day of Judgment, he would have knowledge of what had happened since his first departure. This conversation with Allah (swt) would make little to no sense.
3) Imagine if the ahadiths that are put in the mouth of the Blessed Prophet (saw) are true for a moment. So now Jesus (a.s) comes back and everyone becomes a Muslim. The Dajjal is defeated. Jesus (a.s) gets married. Than Allah (swt) causes Jesus (a.s) to die.
Than we have Jesus (a.s) saying after he dies to Allah (swt) “I was witness over them as long as I was among them, but when you caused me to die, you were the watcher over them, and you are witness of all things.” Rather bizarre it seems.
Especially if we take the majority interpretation of “And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death.” (Qur’an 4:159)
A rather bizarre situation the majority position leaves us in.
It is clear to all whom Allah (swt) has lifted the veils of that Qur’an 5:116-117 is talking about Jesus (a.s) earthly life and ministry.