By Ishola Balogun
Our recent story on the coming back of Jesus, the son of Mary, (peace be upon him) elicited some questions and remarks from readers. The most pertinent of them was that since Islam does believe in the coming again of Jesus, does it also believe in his crucifixion; just as another non-Muslim reader remarked that the Qur’an must have been copied from the Bible. But my response to them goes as follows.
The Quran certainly was a revelation from God through someone who was not lettered, who had never been tutored by any homo sapience. So, it couldn’t have been that the Prophet (s.a.w) read the Bible or know a little about it before he had the revelations. He was divinely inspired and related his revelation about the Bible even more that what is contained in the book.
Is it not instructive that Muhammad the prophet of Islam (s.a.w) is mentioned only four times in the following Chapters and verses of the Qur’an – 3:144; 33: 40; 47: 2 and 48: 29, while Jesus, was mentioned 27 times? These are 2:87; 2:136; 2:253; 3:45; 3:52; 3:55; 3:59; 3:84; 4:157; 4:163; 4:171; 5:46; 5:78; 5:112; 5:114; 5:116; 6:85; 19:34; 33:7; 42:13; 43:57; 43:61; 43:63; 57:27; 61:6; 61:14 excluding the connecting verse between the two prophets where ‘Ahmad’ was mentioned.
This could be found in Surat Saff 61:6. “And remember, Jesus the son of Mary: O children of Israel: ‘I am sent forth to you from God to confirm the Torah already revealed, and to give news of an apostle that will come after me whose name is Ahmad.‘ Yet when he brought them conspicuous signs, they said: ‘This is plain sorcery.”
We studied in the Qur’an that the life of Jesus on earth was as mysterious as his birth. This was no less than his messages and private life which were all the same esoteric. He was born without a father by a virgin and divinely inspired Mary. The Qur’an states that Mary was overcome by the pains of childbirth. During her agony and helplessness, God provided a stream of water under her feet from which she could drink.
Furthermore, near a palm tree, Mary was told to shake the trunk of the palm tree so that ripe dates would fall down and she could eat and be nourished. Mary cried in pain and held onto the palm tree, at which point a voice came from “beneath her”, understood by some to refer to Jesus, who was yet in her womb, which said, “Grieve not! Your Lord has provided a water stream under you; And shake the trunk of the palm tree, it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. And eat and drink and calm thy mind.” That day, Mary gave birth to her son Jesus in the desert.
The Qur’an also goes on to describe that Mary vowed not to speak to anyone that day, as God was to make Jesus, who Muslims believe spoke while on his cradle bed. He said: That was his first miracle.
It was then that God made the infant Jesus speak from the cradle and he spoke of his prophecy for the first time. He said, which are verses 19:30-33 in the chapter of Mary in the Qur’an:
He said: “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah (charity) as long as I live; (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable;
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)!”—Qur’an 19: 30-33
His death and crucification
The cardinal point of the Christian doctrine is that his life was taken on the cross of Calvary which according to them meant the blood sacrifice or the vicarious atonement for sins. Islam does not support neither in the atonement of sins nor his death on the cross. The issue about his death appeared in four places. These are in Sura Aal Imran, Chapter 3; Sura Nisa’chapter 4; in Sura Ma’ida, chapter 5; and in Sura Maryam chapter 19 explaining that Jesus was not killed by the Jews, either by stoning or by crucifixion.
The Qur’an states that people (i.e., the Jews and Romans) sought to kill Jesus, but they did not crucify nor kill him; “this was made to appear to them as though they killed him”.
“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 crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except on assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.”
“Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. “ Qur’an 4:157-158. Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but instead, he was raised up by God unto the heavens. This “raising” is often understood to mean through bodily ascension.
There was an account of St. Barnabas which supported the Islamic view that Jesus was not crucified rather he was substituted on the cross. The Jews did not kill him, he was raised up by Allah (“Bal rafa‘a-hu Llahu ilai-hi) and based on Allah’s pronouncement that every one shall die, (kulu nafsun zaiqatul maot) he will appear before the final hour and die before resurrection.
Again still on the issue of crucification, Allah made faith triumph over the forces of evil and adversity. For Jesus to die on the cross would have meant the triumph of his adversaries; but the Qur’an asserts that they undoubtedly failed in their plan. There are other references in the Qur’an on this. For more reading consult Chapters 3:55 and the whole of Chapters 19:27-35 and 19:91-95.