Meaning of crucifixion: method of putting to death by nailing or binding to a cross, normally by the hands and feet, which was widespread in the ancient world (www.thefreedictionary.com)
Islamic opinion on the crucifixion of Jesus
"And for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a grave false charge, and for their saying, 'We killed the messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messiah of God"…yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him are surely in doubt the following of conjecture; and they did not kill him of certainty…no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is Almighty, Allwise. There is not one of the people of the book but will assuredly believe him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them." (An-Nissa 4:156-159)
The betrayer Judas comes in to identify Jesus, when it is dark, along with a large number of soldiers , carrying lanterns, torches and weapons. The stage is perfect for the change of form of the betrayer and the betrayed, as more confusion follows: From Mark 14:44, Matthew 26:48 and Luke 22:47, which are quoted below, it is proved that Judas drew near unto Jesus to kiss him, so as to identify him.
Mark 14:44 : And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead [him] away safely.
Matt 26:48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
Luke 22:47: And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
From John 18:3 to 18:6 which is mentioned below, we come to know of another enabling factor:
18:3. Judas, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests, comes inside with lanterns and torches and weapons.
18:4. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should happen to him, went forth, and said unto them, whom do you seek?
18:5. They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus says unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
18:6. As soon as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.
From verse 6 above, we notice one strange thing: as soon as Jesus identifies himself, “I am (he)”, the great crowd that had come in falls to the ground. As Judas stood near Jesus (after kissing him) and as the crowd fell to the ground along with the lanterns they brought, the situation was perfect for the exchange of faces, so that those who came to arrest him do not notice it. Then the soldiers, who came to arrest Jesus, take away Judas instead, while Jesus escapes along with his other disciples, who all fled the scene.
Mark 14:50: And they all forsook him, and fled.
(The readers of Bible normally take it to mean that the disciples forsook Jesus and fled. It is shameful to think that all the disciples of Jesus forsook him at the most crucial hour of his life. Qur'an testifies that the disciples expressed their belief and loyalty:
“ But when Jesus sensed disbelief from them, he said: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah’s helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear you witness that we have surrendered (unto Him). ” (3:52)
Therefore, it was Judas whom the disciples rightly forsook and all of them fled with Jesus.)
4. Now Judas is caught in an unbelievable situation, which nobody else would have experienced. Even if he tells the truth, nobody will believe it, but only think him to be Jesus trying to escape death. So it is better for him that he endures whatever happens. Some verses from the Bible are quoted below, to show how Judas behaves at the trials at the high priest's place. Whenever you encounter below the name Jesus, in the biblical verses, you have to take it as Judas, so that you may understand what the people on the scene and people in the past 2000 years have failed to comprehend.
John 18:19 to 18:23
18:19 “ The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his teaching.
18:20 Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always meet; and in secret have I said nothing.
18:21 Why ask you me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
18:22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand (or with a rod), saying, Answer you the high priest so?
18:23 Jesus answered him, if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite you me? ”
Thus the betrayer-in-a-dilemma Judas speaks evasively. He cannot preach what Jesus used to preach in the temple and in the synagogue. He neither has the authority nor the ability to repeat what Jesus used to preach. Anyway, he certainly cannot answer them if they question him further in religious matters. Had it really been Jesus, he would not have missed the opportunity to tell the priests of his teachings. But here, Judas evades the issue by saying: “I always spoke openly; I said nothing in secret; Ask them which heard me; they know what I said; If I spoke well, why you smite me.” etc.
26:62 “And the high priest stood up, and said unto him, Answer you nothing? What is it, which these witness against you?
26:63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said unto him, I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
When some false witnesses testify against Jesus (Judas), the high priest begs Judas for an answer. But Judas remains quite. Then what the priest presses Judas to answer is not whether he is guilty or not but “I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ”.
So the main question raking their brains is whether this person really is Jesus.
26:64 “Jesus said unto him, You have said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Judas does not say “I am Jesus”, but lets the priest take as true what he thinks, by saying: “You have said” and then continues “Henceforth you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power” instead of speaking in the first person “henceforth I shall sit at the right hand of Power.”
Then they condemn him to death by holding him guilty of blasphemy. One more thing you must note now is that in this session, the process of disfiguring Judas’ face has slowly begun.
26:67 Then did they spit in his face and buffet him: and some smote him with the palms of their hands (or rods). This is quoted also in Luke 22:64.
5. Peter, who apparently witnessed what happened at the time of arrest, follows Judas to the priest's hall, so as to see what happens to Judas. The priest's servants come and question Peter three times whether he is a disciple of that person, (deeming Judas to be Jesus), but he, naturally, denies all the three times, as predicted by Jesus. Peter who was very loyal to Jesus and had told Jesus (in Matthew 26:35) “Even if I must die with you, [yet] will I not deny thee.” had to deny the person thrice because he cannot affirm to be the disciple of Judas, whom they deem to be Jesus.
6. Another account of the second session with the priests that took place on the day after the arrest, is given in Luke 22:66 to 68 :
22:66 : And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,
22:67 Are you the Christ? Tell us. And he said unto them, if I tell you, you will not believe:
22:68 And if I also ask [you], you will not answer me, nor let [me] go.
Again, they want to know if he is Jesus. And he tells them: If I tell you (that I am Judas), you will not believe. And if I ask you (what happened to Jesus), you will not answer me, nor let me go.
7. In the trial that takes place before the governor Pilate, again the dominant question is: Are you the Christ? And most of the time Judas says: YOU say it. (That is YOUR statement, NOT MINE.) On other occasions, he remains silent like a stone. Please refer Luke 23:3, Mark 15:2, Mark 15:5, Matthew 27:11, Matthew 27:12. Matthew 27:14.
8. Jesus is brought for trial before another official Herod:
Luke 23:8 and Luke 23:9:
23:8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
23:9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.
Poor Herod, he has been longing to witness some of the miracles that he had heard Jesus performing. But can Judas perform those miracles? On the other hand, he avoids talking straight to even somebody who is sympathetic and glad to see him, because he is not what Herod deems him to be: he is not Jesus.
9. By talking evasively and at times refusing to talk, Judas somehow managed to avoid being found guilty by the Governor and other officials. But the Jews do not wish to lose face by retreating from the actions already taken to have Jesus killed. Hence, upon their stubborn insistence, he is condemned to be crucified. Before they take him to the cross, more injury is done to him:
Mark 15:19: And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him.
Matthew 27:30: And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
Please note that after first injuring his FACE, now it is the turn of his HEAD to be injured. Judas is killed at the cross and later on buried. John does not add dramatic words to this scene of crucifixion, but quotes what could be reasonable words from the betrayer, while he dies:
1. “ I thirst! ” (John 19:28)
2. “ It is finished! ” ... and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30)
(not the “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit ” kind of stuff! See Luke 23:46).
10. The Bible records that Mary (pbuh), Jesus’ (pbuh) mother, was a witness to the crucifixion.
John 19:25 “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother.... ”
While the Bible records the reaction of every bystander and passer-by, it fails to mention the reaction of Mary (pbuh) the mother of Jesus, because there was no reaction from her worth mentioning. Since she knew that the person on the cross was not Jesus, she stood by the cross and just watched the punishment meted out to the betrayer of Jesus. Had the person on the cross really been Jesus, she would have reacted hysterically. Because it was she who bore Jesus with difficulty and delivered him with pains. No mother will be a mute spectator to such an event.
Qur'an records the labour pains of Mary, while she delivered Jesus:
“ And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this and had become a thing forgotten.” (19:23)
11. The Bible says that Jesus addressed his mother from the cross as “ Woman! ” (John 19:26). No mean person will address his mother as “Woman! ”. It is only because the person on the cross was Judas and not Jesus (pbuh) that he addresses Mary as “ Women! ” Qur'an testifies that Jesus was kind to his mother and said from his cradle: “ And (God has made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and has not made me arrogant, unblest. ” (19: 32)
12. And where is Jesus (pbuh) when all this happens. Jesus had predicted, in Matthew 12:40
“for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Do you know which is the heart of the earth? Before thinking further, let us consider what is the function of a heart.
It draws blood from other parts of the body for purification and again sends it back to all the parts. Right? Can you think of a place on the earth, which draws people from all parts of the earth and sends them back, too, after purifying them? And that too at a regular interval, just like the heart?
Yes, you guessed it right: it is Mecca.
It is the belief of Muslims that all the prophets wished to be a follower of Muhammad, in preference to be born as a prophet. Only Jesus was granted the wish. Jesus is expected to descend on the earth again, supported by two angels, during the reign of the expected guided leader Mahdee. Jesus (pbuh) will live as one of the followers of Muhammad (pbuh) and follow the Shariah (laws) brought by Muhammad. Jesus (peace be upon him) knew that he would live as a Muslim when he comes back to the earth. But he could not wait, as we now know, not less than twenty centuries to relish this. So, when he knows that his days in the earth are not many, he formally submits himself to the Lord, starts to pray in Arabic, does prostration and now goes on a pilgrimage to Mecca. (This may not be the first time Jesus is praying like a Muslim. Qur'an records what Jesus spoke from his cradle: “And (God) has made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive.” (19: 31).
(Earlier, he had prayed to the Lord for the Muslims, in the following manner:
John: 17:20 & 21: 21.
17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me).
And as predicted, he was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
13. THE JEWS IN A DILEMMA:
Now let us imagine the restlessness of the Jews after the soldiers brought Judas, thinking him to be Jesus. While, according to them, Jesus is in their custody, what happened to their man, Judas? Why did he not turn up to win accolades from them, for the great betrayal he committed, in order to please them. This must have greatly disturbed them. Anyway, where is Judas?
The answer to this was provided to them by the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, and made possible the entry of Peter into the palace.
“John 18:15 : And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and [so did] another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
John 18:16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.”
That other disciple sounded the high priest of what happened at the time of arrest, but since it is an unbelievable event for everyone, they wanted to elicit information from Judas and, hence, kept on enquiring Judas, whether he is really Christ. On the basis of the information provided by the other disciple, the high priest’s people tried thrice to rope in Peter for enquiry, by sending female servants to talk to him, but he craftily refused to yield. The Jews were in a terrible dilemma.
1. Now they have to kill a person who co-operated with them against Jesus. The fellow is not even trying to save himself, being unable to overcome the humiliation wrought on him by the Lord.
2. If they disclose the truth and spare Judas, they have to bear the shame of having failed to kill Jesus. So they decided to kill Judas and claimed to have killed Jesus.
Now, they face another problem: How to account for the missing Judas. So, their soldiers removed Judas’ body from the grave, while everybody was observing the Sabbath - (the compulsory religious holiday on Saturdays.) Then they disfigure the face more, because that is the only thing that has the resemblance of Jesus. After this is done, he is now perfectly Judas. To account for the injury to the face and the head, they spread the news that is reported in Acts 1:18:
“Acts 1:18 Now this man obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”
Is it not enough that they have disfigured his head and face? What is the necessity to cut open his stomach and spread the news that: “ he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”
· So that, because of the nasty stench it would produce, nobody can come near the body and notice or find out the minor injuries that Judas suffered at the cross.
· The cause of death should be very apparent from a distance, in order to avoid a close scrutiny by curious people.
The fact that all this was done by the Jews, by bribing the watchmen or the soldiers, is recorded in Matthew 28:11 to 28:15
“Matthew 28:11: Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and informed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
28:12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
28:13 Saying, Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him [away] while we slept.
28:14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you
28:15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”
And to make it appear that it was really Jesus whom they arrested and to make the people believe that Judas was roaming freely after the arrest took place, they spread the lie that he came to the temple and threw back the silver coins he received as bribe from them: “Matthew 27:5: And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” That this verse is a total lie is borne by the fact that the other accounts talk of Judas falling headlong and his bowels gushing out. (Acts 1:18)
14. In respect of the later events:
a. at the grave where they buried Judas and
b. where Jesus meets his disciples, etc.
we find a lot of difference in the narration of Luke, John, Matthew and Mark, just as in respect of the earlier events. It is a waste of time counting and comparing the different and conflicting details. Hence, only those details that are important in view of the truth revealed above are mentioned.
15. a) When Mary Magdalene goes to the grave; she finds that the stone covering the grave of Judas is already removed.
“Mark 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.”
Points to be noted in the above verses: 1. The heavy stone was already rolled away by the soldiers of the governor. 2. People perform the pilgrimage rites in Mecca wearing white clothing.
b) Mary Magdalene sees two angels in white sitting. (John 20:12) Just as the Muslims believe that The Almighty will provide two angels for Jesus’ descent from heaven, when he comes again, similarly these two angels have made possible his pilgrimage to Mecca.
c) Luke 24:4 & 24:5
24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
The two men in shining garments are angels, who refer Jesus as the living, and not as the resurrected.
d) John 20:14: “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him,” etc.
Points to be noted: She saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus, because she supposed him to be the gardener. She could not recognize Jesus, because of the changed face and deemed him to be the gardener because of the simple cloths worn while performing pilgrimage rites. Moreover, he would have had a shaven head, another rite of the pilgrimage.
e) John 20:17 “Jesus saith unto her, touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.”
Things to be noted:
1. Jesus tells her “Touch me not”.
However, when Jesus meets his disciples later, he asks them to touch him and handle him, but here he forbids her. The reason: As a good Muslim, he avoids being touched by the lady.
2. Jesus says: " I am not yet ascended to my Father: "
That means he knew that he was supposed to ascend only, as the Almighty had already informed him through the angel. His statement shows that he did not expect himself to die, nor resurrect, but only ascend.
f) The same day evening, Jesus appears before his disciples and says: “Peace be unto you”, (i.e., Assalaamu Alaikum,) as a Muslim. .
g) Luke 24:13 to 24:24 is quoted below. In this event, two disciples walking together while going to a village, are joined by Jesus. Jesus enquires them as to what they are talking and why they are sad. They narrate the whole story from being condemned to death to the vision of angels at the sepulchre. If it were Jesus who suffered all that, then he would not pretend ignorance and listen again to all that which he himself has suffered, as they think. Only because he was absent and went on the pilgrimage to Mecca, he did not know of what happened in his absence and, hence, he is enquiring and listening to the whole story.
Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem [about] threescore furlongs.
24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;
24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found [it] even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.”
This is another proof that it was Judas who suffered death at the cross.
h) Back in Jerusalem, Jesus has another session with the eleven disciples:
1. “Luke 24:36: And as they thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and says unto them, Peace [be] unto you.
24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” Having seen the dead body of Judas, they were now 100 % sure of his death. Hence, when Jesus appears there with Judas’ face, they are terrified and affrighted and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
2. Luke 24:38: “And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them [his] hands and [his] feet.”
John repeats similarly in 20:20 :
John 20:20: “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”
From the above, we can understand fully well, that Jesus’ face is not the identity of the person, at that moment, because it looked like Judas’. Hence, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself” and “when they saw his hands and his sides they were glad they saw the Lord ”
3. Luke 24:41 “ And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.”
Fish is the only thing that a Muslim can obtain from anyone and eat. The meat of other (permitted) animals and birds should be properly slaughtered in the manner taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and by mentioning the name of Allah over it, while slaughtering. Hence, the other meat cannot be obtained from everybody.
4. John 20:30 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.”
Most important of which should be: restoration of his face, as it looked before.
The Bible does provide a clue that Jesus' face was restored to its original appearance, before his ascension unto heaven.
In the verse of John 21:12, which is in the context of the events just before his ascension, it is written:
“ Jesus saith unto them, Come [and] dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.” This time, there is no need to see his hands and his feet to know that it is Jesus.
Now, it is time to thank the Almighty for opening our eyes to the truth, by accepting Islam. We now know for certain that:
1. There is no God except Allah; and
2. Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a slave and a messenger of Allah and the last of the prophets, whom all the people have to follow. This has been foretold in The Bible.
3. Idols and graven images are forbidden.
4. Allah sent messengers to all nations.
5. Jesus (peace be upon him) too is a slave and a messenger of Allah, but sent only for (the lost sheep of) the house of Israel.
6. Jesus is a creation of Allah; he is not His son and has no portion whatsoever in His Sovereignty.
7. Jesus was not killed, nor crucified. It was his betrayer who was killed on the cross.
The next time you see a cross, you would know that it is not a sign that relates to Jesus, but something that denotes the punishment his betrayer deserved and got.