JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO TRADITION
HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY TO HIS SECOND COMING
BEFORE we pass on to the continuation of Eth-Thalabi's account, it is important to remember that the death of Jesus Christ is both affirmed and denied in the Koran. In order to unify its teaching, the only escape possible was to affirm that although He died for a few hours or days, He was not crucified. In addition to this, Moslems add that when He comes the second time He will die again, emphasizing, as it were, the frailty of His human nature, which, even after His return from glory, is subject to death; and so contradicting all the teaching of the New Testament that "He died for sin once," and "death hath no more dominion over Him." We take up Thalabi once more:
The Story of Jesus Disciples.Said God Most High (in the Koran), When Jesus called them back from infidelity, He said, "Who are my helpers for God?" Then the disciples said, "We are your helpers for God.
We have believed in God, and we bear witness that we are Moslems." And said God Most Glorious and Praiseworthy, When it was revealed to the disciples, that is, they were inspired to know, that they should believe in Him and in His apostle, they said, "We have believed and we witness that we are Moslems. Know that the disciples were the chosen of Jesus, the son of Mary, and His favourites; those in whom He was pleased, and His helpers and viziers. They were twelve in number, and their names were: Simon, the yellow one (pale), who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James, the son of Zebedee, and Yahya his brother; Philip and Bartholomew and Thomas and Matthew, the toll-gatherer; James the son of Halfa, and Liya (Levi) who was called Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite, and Jude Iscariot (upon them be peace)." And the learned men are disagreed as to why they had these names. Said Ibn Abbas: They were fishermen who plied their trade, and Jesus passed by them and said to them, "What are you doing?" and they said, "We are catching fish." And He said, "Will you not walk with me, so that we may catch men?" And they said to Him, "How is that?" And He said, "We will call the people to God." They said, "Who art Thou?" And He said, "I am Jesus, the son of Mary, and servant of God, and His apostle." And they said, "Will any of the prophets be above Thee?" And He said, "Yes, the Arabian prophet." So they followed Him, and believed in Him, and departed with Him.
Said Sadi: They were sailors. Ibn Artat said: They were dyers, and they were called by their name, Hawari, because they dyed garments and made them white.
It hath been told us by Ibn Fatuh in his tradition received from Massab, that the disciples were twelve men who followed Jesus; and when they were hungry they said, "O Spirit of God! we are hungry." Then He would strike with His hand upon the ground, whether it was a plain or a mountain, and there would come forth to every man of them two loaves, and they would eat them. And when they were thirsty they would say, "O Spirit of God! we are thirsty." And He would strike the earth, whether it was a plain or a mountain, and water would gush forth, and they would drink. Then they said, "O Spirit of God! who is happier than we: when we wish, Thou dost feed us, and when we are desirous, Thou dost give us drink, and we believe in Thee and have followed Thee." Said Jesus, "The best of you is he who works with his hands and eats what he has earned." So it is related that they began to make clothes for their living.
Said Ibn Aun: One of the kings of the earth made a feast and invited the people, and Jesus was one of the guests. And the repast did not grow less. Then the king said to Him, "Who art Thou?" and He said, "I am Jesus, the son of Mary." Said the king, "I will leave my kingdom and follow Thee." So he departed with those that followed Him, and they were the disciples. And some say this was the dyer and his friends, whose story we have already related. Said Dhahak: They were called Hawariyun (disciples) because of the purity of their hearts. And said Abdullah ibn Mubarak: They were so called because they were luminous with light. On them was the sign of worship, its brightness and its purity. And the old meaning of Hur among the Arabs is intensity of whiteness. And Hassan said: The disciples were the helpers; and Katada said: They are the ones who became the caliphs after Christ. [Here the author quotes Mohammed as saying that every apostle had his disciples, and then goes into a discussion as to who were the disciples (Hawariyun) of Mohammed.]
An account of the special characteristics of Jesus (upon Him be peace), and the miracles which came from His hand after His call until He was lifted up (Gods blessing be upon Him).Among His special characteristics was this, that God strengthened Him by the Holy Spirit. Said the Book of God: And We strengthened Him by the Holy Spirit. A similar expression is used in the Surah of the Table when God said, O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My mercy upon Thee and upon Thy mother when We strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit. And the learned are disagreed in regard to the significance of these words. Rabia said: It is the Spirit which was breathed upon Him, which is related to God Himself in the same sense as we use the words House of God and Camel of God in the Koran. And the Holy One He is God Most High, as is indicated by the expression "Spirit from Him" and the expression "We breathed in Him of our Spirit." Others say that the significance of Holy is purity, the Pure Spirit. And Jesus (upon Him be peace) was called a Spirit because He had no male parent. He was not born after the manner of other men [the expressions here used are unfit for translation], but He was created by the command of God. Kaab and Sadi, however, say that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, and that Jesus was strengthened by Gabriel's presence because he was His companion and His helper, going with Him wherever He went until He took Him up to heaven. And Seyyid, the son of Jabir, and Obeid, the son of Amir, state, The Holy Spirit is the name of God Most High, and by it Jesus raised the dead and showed men these wonders.
And among his characteristics was that God taught Him the Gospel and the Torah, and He read them from memory, as God said in His book, "When we taught you the book," namely, by memory. It is said that memory consists of ten parts, and that Jesus possessed nine of them, as well as wisdom and a knowledge of the Torah and the Gospel.
And among His characteristics was that He created birds from clay, as God Most High said, Truly I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you from clay the appearance of birds; I will breathe upon them and they will fly, by permission of God. And in accordance with this word of the Koran Jesus fashioned clay into the form of birds, and then He breathed upon them and they were birds, by permission of God. And He only created bats. And He selected this variety because the bat is the most perfect of birds in its powers, because it suckles its young, and gives birth to them, and has teeth, and is a mammal, and flies. Wahab said the birds would fly while men looked at them, and when they disappeared from sight they fell down, to distinguish the work of a mere man from the work of God Most High; and that it might be known that the only one who is perfect is God Most High.
And among His characteristics was that He cured the blind from birth and lepers, as God said in His book, And Thou shalt heal the blind and lepers, by My permission. And these two special diseases were selected because physicians could not cure them; and as medicine was the most celebrated science in the days of Jesus, He showed them a miracle after this sort. And it is related that Jesus (upon Him be peace) passed by a village in which there were blind people, and He said, Who are these? They told Him, These are people who sought for justice, and they put out their eyes with their own hands. And Jesus said to them, "What made you do it?" and they said, "We feared the punishment of the judge, so we did it ourselves, as you see." And He said to them, "Ye are the learned, and the judges, and the advocates and the noble are the ignorant. Now wipe your eyes with your hands and say 'Bismillah'"; and they did so, and immediately all of them had their sight.
And among His characteristics was raising of the dead by the permission of God. As God said, And when Thou dost come, the dead come forth by My permission. And among the dead whom He raised was Lazarus, His friend. His sister sent to Jesus, saying, Your brother Lazarus is dying; so He came to him. And He was three days' journey away from him, and when He and His friends came, they found that he had already died three days ago. And He said to his sister, Depart with us to his grave; and it was in a rock built up like a tomb. Then Jesus said, O God! Lord of the seven heavens and the three earths, verily, Thou hast sent me to the children of Israel to call them to Thy religion, and Thou hast told them that I can raise the dead by Thy permission, so raise up Lazarus. Then Lazarus arose and came out from his grave, and remained alive and had children.
And among those whom He raised from the dead was the son of an old woman, and this is the story. Jesus passed in His wanderings with the disciples by a city, and He said, "Verily in this city there is treasure. Who will go and get it out for us?" And they said, "O Spirit of God, no stranger can enter this city, for they will kill him." And said Jesus, "Stay where you are until I return." And He went till He came to the city and stood at the gate and said, "Peace be to you, O people of this place; I am a stranger: give me to eat." And an old woman said to him, "Don't you wish me to go with you to the governor so that you may say to him, 'Give me to eat'?" And while Jesus was standing at the door, behold, a young man, the son of the old woman, approached. Jesus said to him, "Make me thy guest this night;" and the young man replied as did his mother, the old woman. And Jesus said to him, "I tell you that if you will do it, I will marry you to the daughter of the king." The young man said to Him, "Either you are crazy, or you are Jesus the son of Mary." And He said, "I am Jesus." So he gave Him lodging, and He spent the night with him; and when He arose in the morning, He said to him, "Take your breakfast and go to the king, and say to him, 'I have come to be engaged to your daughter.' Then he will command them to strike you and cast you out. So the young man went to the king, and said to him, "I have come that I may be engaged to your daughter." So he commanded him to be beaten, and they did so, and cast him out. Then the young man came back to Jesus and told Him the news. And Jesus said, "On the morrow go to him again with the same request, and he will give you the same punishment, but less." So the young man did as he was told, and they struck him with fewer blows than the first time, and he came back to Jesus and told Him. Then Jesus said, "Go to him to-morrow, and he will say to you, 'I will marry you to my daughter upon one condition, and my condition is a castle of gold and silver, and all that is in it of gold and silver and precious stones.' Then say to him, 'I will do it.' And if he sends some one with you, go outside with him, for you will find it, and nothing will happen to you." Then he went in to the king and became engaged to his daughter; and the king said, "Will you give her the dowry according to my desire?" And he said, "What is your desire?" And he commanded in accordance with what Jesus had told him. So he said, "Yes, I am willing. Send with me some one who will give it to you." So he sent a man with him, and he gave him what the king wished, and the people all marvelled at that. And so the king gave him his daughter. And the young man marvelled and said, "O Spirit of God, you are able to do things like this, and still you are poor?" And Jesus said to him, "I have preferred that which remains to that which fades away." Said the young man, "I also prefer it, and I will be your companion." So he forsook the world and followed Jesus. Then Jesus took him by the hand and brought him to his companions, and said to them, "This is the treasure concerning whom I told you." And the son of the old woman remained with Him till he died. And when they passed by with him on the bier, Jesus cried to God; and the young man sat up and took up the bier from the necks of the men that carried it, dressed himself, and carried it on his back and went back to his people, and remained alive; and to him also children were born.
And among the miracles of raising the dead was the daughter of the toll-gatherer. They said to Jesus, "Will you raise her, for she died yesterday?" And He called upon God Most High, and she lived.
Among those He raised was Shem, the son of Noah. Said the disciples unto Him, when He was describing Noah's ark, "If you had sent us some one who had seen the ark and could describe it to us, we would believe." So He arose and came to a little hill, and struck it with His hand and took a handful of the earth and said, "This is the grave of Shem, the son of Noah. If you wish, I will raise him for you." They said, "Yes;" and He called upon God by His greatest name, and struck the hill with His staff and said, "Come to life by permission of God." Then Shem, the son of Noah, came forth from his grave, white haired. And he said, "Is this the resurrection day?" Said Jesus, "No, but I have called you out in the name of God Most High." Shem had lived five hundred years and he was still young. So he told them the news of the ark. Then Jesus said to him, "Die;" and he said, "Only on one condition, that God protects me from the agonies of death." Jesus granted his request by permission of God; and all this is mentioned in the story of Noah the prophet (upon whom be peace).
And among those whom He raised from the dead was Ezra (upon whom be peace). They said to Jesus, Raise him from the dead, or we will burn you with fire. So they collected a great lot of wood of the vine; and in those days it was the custom to bury people in coffins made of stone. When they found the grave of Ezra with his name written on the outside, they tried their best to open it and were not able, so they could not get him out from the grave. They went back to Jesus and told Him, and He handed them a vessel with some water and said, Sprinkle this upon his grave; and they did so. Then the coffin was easily opened, and they came with him to Jesus. And behold, he was wrapped in a shroud, and the earth does not consume the bodies of the prophets. Therefore when they took off his garment, He began to sprinkle the water upon his body and his head. Then He said, "Come to life, O Ezra, by permission of God Most High;" and behold, he sat up in the sight of their eyes. And they said to Ezra, "Will you not witness to this man, namely, Jesus?" And he said, "I witness that He is the servant of God and His apostle. And they said to Jesus, "Ask your Lord to allow him to stay with us, that he may be alive among us." And Jesus said, "Take him back to his grave;" and he died. And some believed in Jesus, the son of Mary, and some were rebellious.
Among His characteristics is knowledge of secret things, for He used to tell them what they ate, and what they treasured up in their houses. Said El Kalbi: When Jesus healed the blind and the lepers and raised the dead, they said, "This is a sorcerer, but let Him tell us what we eat and what we drink in secret, and we will believe." So He told them what they would eat the following day, or what they had eaten in the past.
Another characteristic was His walking upon the water. It is related that He went out once on His wanderings, and there was with Him a man of short stature; and he was a close companion of Jesus. And when they approached the sea, He said, "In the name of God, good health and certainty." So He walked upon the face of the waters. Then the man of short stature said, "In the name of God, in health and certainty;" and he walked upon the face of the waters. Then astonishment seized him, and he said, "This is Jesus, the Spirit of God, walking on the water, and I am walking on the water." No sooner had he said so than he began to sink, and he cried aloud to Jesus to pull him out. And He said, "What was it that you said, O man of short stature?" So he told Him; and Jesus said to him, "You have put yourself in the wrong place and God is angry at what you said; so repent to God." And the man repented, and regained his position with Jesus. [Here the author draws a comparison between Mohammed and Christ, and quotes Mohammed as saying that if Jesus had possessed more faith and trust, He would have walked not only on the water, but on the air.]
Other Traditions concerning Jesus Christ.Wahab said: Jesus (on whom be peace) went out one day on His wanderings, and a Jew accompanied Him, who had two loaves of bread, and Jesus had only one loaf. Said Jesus unto him, "Share me your food; and the Jew said, "Yes;" but when he saw that Jesus had only one loaf, he was sorry. And when Jesus went up to pray, His companion went aside and ate one of his loaves. When Jesus had finished His prayer, He asked him, "Where is the other loaf?" and he replied, "I had only one." So they both ate one loaf, and then they departed. [The story goes on to relate how Jesus performed miracle after miracle (mostly of an inane character), which convinced the Jew of His divine mission; and how the Jew continued to deny having eaten the loaf, until finally the Jew was punished for his greed, and Christ went on His way.]
Concerning the sending down of the Table.Said God Most High, in the Koran, When the disciples said, "O Jesus, son of Mary, is thy Lord able to cause a table to come down from heaven?" He said, "Trust in God if you are believers." The learned are at disagreement concerning how the table came down, and its character, and what was upon it. Katada says in a tradition which he got from Jaber, who got it from Omar, who got it from Yasar, who received it from the Apostle of God (upon him be prayers and peace): The table came down, and upon it was bread and meat, and this was because they asked Jesus for food to eat, which would not prove insufficient. He said, "I will do it, and it will abide with you as long as you do not hide it or conceal it; but if you do that, it will punish you." And the first day had not passed by when they began to deceive and hide of it; and some of the traditions relate that they stole of it, for they said, It will not come down always. So the table was taken up, and those who deceived were turned into apes and swine. And Ibn Abbas said that Jesus said, "O Children of Israel, fast ye for thirty days, and then ask God whatsoever you wish, and He will give it to you." So they fasted thirty days, and when they were ended they said, "O Jesus, whenever we work for anybody and we finish his job, he feeds us. Behold we fasted to God, and we are hungry; now ask God that He make a table come down to us from heaven." Then Jesus put on sackcloth and sprinkled Himself with ashes and called upon God Most High, and said, "O God, our Lord, cause to come down to us a table from heaven." Then the angels brought the table, upon which were seven loaves and seven fishes, and they placed it between their hands and they ate of it from the first to the last. Atta the son of Ibn Saib relates that when the table came down to the children of Israel it contained all manner of food except meat. Attiah al Ufi said that a big fish came down from heaven in which was the taste of all kinds of food. Katada said that when the table came down from heaven it had on it the fruits of paradise, and it came down every morning and every night wherever they happened to be, like the manna and the quails to the children of Israel in the wilderness. Wahab said: God made a barley loaf to come down and two fishes, and this was sufficient for all of them. Some would come and eat and depart satisfied, and others would follow them and eat, until they had all eaten and there was food remaining. Kaab said: Verily the table came down from heaven, upside down, and the angels flew with it between heaven and earth, and all kinds of meat and food were on it. Makátal and Kalbi said that God heard Jesus (upon Him be peace), and said, "Verily, I will make a table come down to you as you have desired, and whosoever eats of this food and does not believe in Me, I will make him an example and a curse to those that follow after." They said, "We are agreed." So He called Simon, and he was the best of the apostles, and He said to him, "Have you any food?" Simon said, "I have two small fishes and six loaves." And He said, "Give them to me." So Jesus cut them up into tiny pieces, and said, "Sit down upon the grass;" and they sat down in companies of ten. Then Jesus arose and called upon God Most High, and He answered Him and sent the blessing upon it, and the bread became loaves, and the fish became whole fish. Then Jesus got up and walked about, and threw before each company handfuls. Then He said, "Eat, in the name of God." And the food increased until they all had a great sufficiency; and there was food remaining, and the number of people was five thousand and over. Then the people said, "We have borne witness that Thou art the servant of God and His apostle."
Then at another time they asked Him, and God sent down five loaves and two fishes, and He did with them as He did at the first. And when the people went back to their villages and spread this report, some of those who had not observed it laughed and said, "Woe be unto you; verily, He hath bewitched your eyes." So those to whom God wished good, retained their sight; and those to whom He wished punishment, returned unto their unbelief and were changed into monkeys and swine.
Atta bin Abi Rabah relates that no one followed Jesus who was His equal; and He never scolded an orphan; and He never laughed immoderately; and He never even drove a fly from off His face; and He never broke a promise once given; and He never was frivolous. And when the disciples asked that He should make a table come down, He said, "O God, send down upon us a table from heaven, and furnish us with food upon it that we may eat, for Thou art the best of providers." Then a large, red, covered dish came down between two clouds, a cloud above it and a cloud below it; and they were looking at it. And it came down slowly until it came in their presence. Then Jesus wept and said, "O God, make me of the thankful ones; and make it a mercy to us, and do not make it an example and a punishment." And when they looked upon it, they saw a sight which no one had seen before, and they never smelled a meal better than this meal. Then Jesus said to them, "Let the best of you in good works uncover the dish and say grace and eat from it." Then said Simon, the pale one, the chief of the apostles, "You are the one to do it rather than we." Then Jesus got up and performed the ablution, and prayed a long prayer and wept very much. Then He took off the cloth cover and said, "In the Name of God, the best of Providers." And behold, it was a fish, broiled, without scales and without bones; overflowing with oil; and at its head was a pot of salt, and at its tail some vinegar, and around it all sorts of vegetables except leeks. And there were also five loaves of bread: upon one of them there were olives, and upon another was honey; upon another, butter; upon the fourth, cheese; and upon the fifth, salted meat. And Simon said, "O Spirit of God, is this food from this world or from the other world?" Jesus said, "What ye see is not the food of this world nor of the other world, but God has created it by His mighty power; eat, in accordance with your request, as much as ye like, and there will be enough for you." Then they said, "O Spirit of God, show us another miracle beside this." And Jesus said, "O fish, live, by permission of God." Then the fish shook itself, and its scales returned upon it, and its bones, and they were terrified. Said Jesus, "Why ask a thing which, when I give, you do not like? But I do not wish to frighten you; O fish, go back as you were, by permission of God." And the fish returned to its broiled state as it was. Then they said, "O Spirit of God, you be the first to eat from it, and then we will eat." Jesus said, "God forbid that I should eat, but those who have asked for it shall eat it." And they were afraid to eat from it, so Jesus invited the poor, and the sick, and the lepers, and the maimed, and the halt, and said to them, "Eat that which God has provided for you, and may you have good health and the others punishment." And those that ate of it were thirteen hundred men and women, of the poor and needy, and the sick and the lepers, and all of them were filled. And Jesus looked upon the fish, and behold, it was as it was before when it came down from heaven. Then the table flew back while they were looking, until it disappeared from them. And none of those that were sick on that day ate from it but they got well, and the weak became strong; and no poor man but became rich, and remained so until his death. So the disciples and those who did not eat repented. And it came to pass that when it came down, the rich and the poor, the small and the great, men and women, crowded together round it; and it came down for forty mornings; but when the shadows lengthened, it went up again while they beheld, and disappeared from their sight. And it came down irregularly: one day it would come and another day not, like the camel of Thamud. And God revealed to Jesus, "Surely I have prepared my table and my food for the poor, not for the rich." And this did not please the rich, so that they doubted and made men to doubt, and they said, "Do you really think a table came down from heaven?" Then Jesus said to them, "Ye have perished, and deserve the punishment of God." And God Most High revealed to Jesus, "Truly I have laid two conditions upon those that belie my miracle, if they continue to disbelieve after it comes down to them, and I will punish them with a severe punishment. Then Jesus said, "If you punish them, they are your servants; and if you forgive them, you are the mighty and wise." So God changed three hundred and thirty of them in one night; men who were with their families in bed; and when they arose in the morning they were swine, wandering about in the streets and among the sewers and eating filth. And when the people saw this, they were terrified at Jesus, the son of Mary, and they wept, and the friends of those who were changed into swine also wept. And when the swine saw Jesus, they wept, and they went round about Him; and Jesus called them by their names, one after the other, and they wept and wagged their heads and were not able to speak. And they lived three days and then died.
And among His characteristics was His being taken up into heaven. When God said, "O Jesus, verily, I will cause you to die, and will raise you to myself and will purify you above those who disbelieve" (the Koran). And their saying, "Verily we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God; but they did not kill Him, and they did not crucify Him, but," etc., until the Koran verse says, "But God raised Him to Himself, and God is Most Mighty and Wise." Concerning these Koran verses, Kalbi says that Jesus (upon whom be peace) met a mob of Jews; and when they saw Him, they said, "There comes the sorcerer, the son of the sorceress;" and they thrust out Him and His mother. And when Jesus saw that, He called to God and said, "O God, Thou art my Lord, and I am of Thy Spirit, and by Thy word am I created; and I did not come to them on my own account. O God, curse them that curse me and curse my mother." And God answered His prayer, and changed those who cursed Him and His mother into swine. And when the chief of the Jews saw that, he was terrified and affrighted, and the Jews agreed that Jesus should be killed. So they collected together on a certain day, and began to ask Him questions, but He said to them, "O company of Jews, verily God hates you." Then they hated Him because of that saying, with a strong hatred, and gathered together to murder Him. Then God Most High sent Gabriel (upon whom be peace), who caused Him to enter into a hovel and concealed Him on the roof. Then God Most High lifted Him from its parapet. Then the chief of the Jews commanded one of his men who was called Phelatanus, that he should enter the hovel and kill Him. And when Phelatanus entered he did not see Him, and he remained behind a long time, so they thought that he was killing Him. Then God made him appear like Jesus, and when he came out they thought he was Jesus and they killed him and crucified him.
Wahab relates that Jesus, when God Most High made Him know that He was about to leave the world, was terrified at death and in great doubts, so He called together the disciples and made them a meal; and He said to them, Stay with me this night, for I have need of you. And when they came to Him that night, He gave them a supper and stood up to serve them; and when they had finished the meal, He washed their hands, and gave them commandments and wiped their hands with His garment. And this seemed strange to them, and they despised Him. Then He said to them, "Unless you return the thing which I have done, I have no part in you and you have no part in me." And He repeated this, and when He had finished He said to them, "What I have done to you this night by serving you with food and washing your hands with my hand, has not been except that ye might be equals on my account; for ye see that I am best among you. Do not therefore be proud the one above the other, but let every one humble himself for the other, and give up his own will for the others, as I have given up my will for you. But in regard to the need which I said I felt for you, my request is that you call upon God for me and persevere in your prayer that He may put off my time of death." And when they arranged themselves for prayer and desired to persevere, God sent upon them sleep, so that they were not able to pray. Then Jesus began to awaken them and to say, "God be praised! can you not be patient for a single night and help me in it?" And they said, "By God, we do not know what is the matter with us. We were anxious to keep awake the night, but we were unable to keep awake; and whenever we wished to pray, some one prevented it." Then Jesus said, "The shepherd is going away and the sheep will stay behind." And He continued to speak words of this sort concerning Himself. Then He said, "Verily, one of you will disbelieve in me before the cock crows three times; and one of you will sell me for a few dirhems, and then he will devour his hire." Then they went out and scattered, and the Jews were seeking Him; and they took Simon, one of the disciples, and said, "This is one of His companions." Then he became anxious and said, "I am not of His companions," and they left him. Then another took hold of him in the same way; then he heard the voice of the cock and wept, for it made him sorrowful. When it was morning one of the disciples came to those Jews and said to them, "What will you give me if I indicate to you where He is?" And they agreed with him for thirty dirhems; and he took them and showed them where Jesus was. So they took Him and bound Him with ropes and led Him out; and while they were leading Him, they kept saying, "Thou art He that didst raise the dead, and cure the blind and the lepers, now why cannot you loosen yourself from these ropes?" And they spat upon Him and put thorns upon Him; and they erected the wood to crucify Him upon it. And when they came to crucify Him upon the tree, the earth was darkened, and God sent angels, and they descended between them and between Jesus; and God cast the likeness of Jesus upon him who had betrayed Him, and his name was Judas. And they crucified him in His stead, and they thought that they crucified Jesus. Then God made Jesus to die for three hours, and then raised Him up to heaven; and this is the meaning of the Koran verse, "Verily, I will cause Thee to die, and raise Thee unto me, and purify Thee above those who disbelieve."
And when he who resembled Jesus was crucified, Mary his mother came, and another woman whom Jesus had cured of possession; and they wept at the feet of the one who was crucified. Then Jesus came to them and said, "For whom are ye weeping?" And they said, "For Thee." Then He said, "Truly God Most High hath lifted me up and no evil has befallen me. Verily, this person only resembled me to them."
And Makátal said: Verily, the Jews appointed a man to keep guard over Jesus, and to go wherever He went; and when Jesus went up a mountain, an angel came and lifted Him up to heaven. Then God made the man who watched Him resemble Jesus, and the Jews thought that it was Jesus; so they took him. And he kept on saying, "I am not Jesus; I am So and So, the son of So and So;" but they would not believe him, and they killed and crucified him. Katada said: It has been related that the Prophet of God, Jesus, said to His companions, "Which of you is willing to take my form, and he will be killed." Then a man of the crowd said, "I, O Prophet of God." So he was killed, and God prevented them from killing Jesus and lifted Him up to Himself. And it is said that the man who resembled Jesus and was crucified in His place was an Israelite called Ashua (this is the common form of Joshua, or Jesus), the son of Kandir. And God knows best.
An account of the Descent of Jesus from Heaven seven days after His Ascension.Said Wahab and others of those who are learned in books: When God lifted up Jesus, He tarried in heaven seven days. Then God said to Him, "Your enemies, the Jews, are trying to prevent your covenant with your companions, so go down to them and give them commandment; and go to Mary Magdalene, for no one is weeping for you as much as she is, and no one is sorrowful for you as much as she is. So go down to her, and tell her that she will be the first to meet you; and instruct her to gather together your disciples, so that you may send them throughout the earth, calling men to the worship of God."
Now the story of Mary Magdalene is that she belonged to the children of Israel from a little village of Antioch, called Magdala; and she was a pious woman, but she had a flow of blood and was not purified from it. So the learned of Israel tried to cure her, but she was not cured; she only concealed her sickness from them. And when she heard of the coming of Jesus (upon Him be peace), and how God cured people at His hand, she approached Him, hoping for a cure. When she saw Jesus and the dignity with which God had clothed Him, she was ashamed, and came up from behind and touched His back. Then Jesus said, "Some one hath touched me for a cure; and God hath granted her her desire and purified her with my purity."
So when God commanded Jesus to come down to her seven days after His ascension, He came down upon her, and a mountain burned with light when He came down. So the disciples gathered together, and He sent them out into the world to call men to God. Then God took Him up, and clothed Him with feathers and covered Him with light: and deprived Him of all desire for food and drink. And He flies with the angels around the throne. So He is human and angelic, and earthly and heavenly.
And the disciples scattered as He had commanded them, and that night on which He came down is a night of glory with the Christians. Now they say that Peter turned his face to Rome; and Andrew and Matthew to the country of the cannibals; and Thomas and Levi to the land of the East; and Philip and Jude to Kairwan and Africa; and John to Ephesus, a village of the companions of the cave; and James and his brother to Jerusalem, which is the Holy Land; and Bartholomew to Arabia, that is Hejaz; and Simon to the land of Barbar. And every one of the disciples when he came to the people to whom he was sent, spoke in their language.
Here ends the account of Eth-Thalabi. It needs no comment. Other accounts of the death, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ, however, add new legends about Jesus and put new touches to the Moslem caricature of the Christ. Karmani relates that Jesus commended His mother at the time of His death to the care of two men, namely, Simon and John; and He said to them, "Take care of her, and do not leave her at all." Then God lifted Him up and clothed Him with feathers, etc. Mary lived after Jesus was taken up into heaven six years, and her age was fifty-three years. Then she died and was buried in the Church of the Incarnation in Jerusalem. But it is also related by Abu-l-Leeth, the Samarkandi, that Mary died before Jesus was taken up into heaven, and that Jesus attended her funeral Himself.
Abu Huraira says that the apostle of God (upon Him be peace) said: All the prophets are brethren. Although their mothers are different, their religion is one, and I am the nearest of all men to Jesus, because there was no prophet between Him and me. And the days will come when He will come down upon you and judge with a righteous judgment, for He will come down to my people; and when you see Him you will know Him, for He is a man neither tall nor short, between red and white, with dishevelled hair as if it rained from His head. And He will break the Cross, and kill the swine, and take away the poll-tax; property will be plentiful, and He will grant peace, and fight for the religion of Islam until God shall destroy in His day the people of every other faith except Islam, and worship shall be God's alone. And in His day God will destroy the anti-Christ, who will be slain by His hand and those of His servants; and there will be safety in the land, so that the lion will herd with camels and the leopard with kine, and the wolves with the sheep; and little children shall play with serpents, and they will not harm them. Then Jesus will tarry in the earth forty years, will marry a wife from the daughters of Ghassan and will have children. Then He will die in Medina, and be buried next to the grave of Omar bin Khitab (may God be pleased with him), and blessed be Abu Bakr and Omar, who will be raised in the resurrection between two prophets.
In Burton's Pilgrimage to El Medina and Mecca, he refers to this tradition in these words, and gives a sketch of the Hujrah.
"It is popularly asserted that in the Hujrah there is now spare place for only a single grave, reserved for Isa bin Maryam after his second coming. The historians of Al-Islam are full of tales proving that though many of their earlier saints, as Osman the Caliph and Hasan the Imam, were desirous of being buried there; and that although Ayishah, to whom the room belonged, willingly acceded to their wishes, son of man has not yet been able to occupy it."
"The Hujrah, or tomb in which Mohammed died and was buried, was originally the apartment of Ayesha, the Prophet's favourite wife. At present it consists of an irregular square of fifty-five feet, separated from the mosque of the Prophet by a passage about twenty-six feet wide. Inside the Hujrah there are three tombs, supposedly those of Mohammed, Abu Bakr, and Omar, surrounded by a stone wall, or some say by strong planking. Whatever the material may be, it is covered by a curtain, and the outer railing is separated by a darker passage from the inner, and is of iron work painted green and gold. Above the Hujrah is a green dome surmounted by a large gilt crescent. There is much confusion among Moslems in regard to the whole arrangement of this grave chamber. Fatimah, the Prophet's daughter, is supposed to be buried in a separate part of the building. Mohammed is said to be stretched full length on his right side, with the right palm supporting the right cheek and his face toward Mecca. Close behind him Abu Bakr is placed, whose face fronts Mohammed's shoulder; then Omar, who occupies the same position with respect to his predecessor. The space left for the grave of Jesus when He returns to earth, occupies the same relation described above, to the grave of Omar, as can be seen on Burton's sketch.
"There are reasons for doubting whether the prophet is really buried in the mosque raised to his honour. No less than twelve arguments can be given against the supposition. The garden annexed to the tomb is called ar Raudha. The Hujrah has four gates, all kept locked except the fourth one, which admits only the officers in charge of the treasure, the eunuchs who sweep the floor, light the lamps, and carry away the presents thrown into the enclosure by Moslem devotees. It is commonly asserted that many early Moslem saints and warriors desired to be buried in the remaining space next to the grave of Omar, but that by Mohammed's own wish it was reserved for Isa on his second coming and death. When Medina was taken by the Wahabis in 1804, their chief stripped the tombs of all valuables and proclaimed that all the prayers and exclamations addressed to it were idolatrous. At present, however, many superstitious practices are indulged in, and Medina is almost as much a centre of pilgrimage as Mecca.
"All Moslem pilgrims, therefore, know of the place where Jesus the Messiah is to be buried.".
We are indebted to C. H. A. Field for the following account of the trial of our Lord before the Sanhedrin and Pilate. It occurs in the Dabistan of Mohsin Fani (A.D. 1647), and resembles the Gospel narrative more than the earlier traditions.
"When Jesus appeared, the high priest said, 'We charge Thee upon Thy oath by the living God, say art Thou the Son of God?' The blessed and Holy Lord Jesus replied to him, 'I am what thou hast said. Verily, We say unto you, you shall see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of God, and He shall descend in the clouds of Heaven.' They said, 'Thou utterest a blasphemy, because, according to the creed of the Jews, God never descends in the clouds of Heaven.'
"Isaiah the prophet has announced the birth of Jesus in words the translation of which is as follows: 'A branch from the root of Ishai shall spring up, and from this branch shall come forth a flower in which the Spirit of God shall dwell; verily, a virgin shall be pregnant and shall bring forth a Son.' Ishai is the name of the father of David.
"When they had apprehended Jesus, they spat upon His blessed face and smote Him. Isaiah had predicted it. 'I shall give up My body to the smiters, and My check to the diggers of wounds. I shall not turn My face from those who will use bad words and throw spittle upon Me.' When Pilatus, a judge of the Jews, scourged the Lord Jesus in such a manner that His body from head to foot became but one wound, so was it as Isaiah had predicted. 'He was wounded for our transgressions; I struck Him for his people? When Pilatus saw that the Jews insisted upon the death and crucifixion of Jesus, he said, 'I take no part in the blood of this Man; I wash my hands clean of His blood.' The Jews answered, 'His blood be on us and on our children.' On that account the Jews are oppressed and curbed down in retribution of their iniquities. When they had placed the cross upon the shoulder of Jesus and led Him to die, a woman wiped with the border of her garment the face, full of blood, of the Lord Jesus. Verily, she obtained three images of it and carried them home; the one of these images exists still in Spain, the other is in the town of Milan in Italy, and the third in the city of Rome."
Later accounts like these, however, are evidently largely based on the Gospel story or Christian traditions, and are neither generally known nor accessible to the masses. It is not correct to quote them as belonging to the common stock of ideas on Jesus Christ. The masses are wholly dependent on what the Mullahs teach, and these do not read historians nor poets, but orthodox tradition and the Koran.
1 The apostles are not called rusul as Mohammed is called rasűl (apostle), but Hawari (Surah 3:4, 5; 4:111, 112; 61:14). The word is derived from the Ćthiopic hora = to go, hawarya, an apostle. According to Beidhawi it comes from hawira, to be white, and was given to the disciples of Jesus because of their purity of life and sincerity. Others say because they wore white garments or dyed them white.
2 To complete this series of miracles we add one more story popular in Arabia: Historians and authors of stories of the deeds (of the ancients), relate that a man among the Beni-Israil in the time of Jesus, whose name was Ishak, had a wife (cousin) who was one of the handsomest women of her time. He was devotedly attached to her, and she happened to die. He therefore stayed near her grave, and for a long time never flagged in visiting it. One day Jesus happened to pass by him while he was by her grave crying. So Jesus asked him, "What makes you cry, O Ishak?" He replied, "O Spirit of God, I had a cousin who was also my wife, and I used to love her very much; she is now dead, and this is her grave. I have no patience, and her separation has killed me." Jesus asked him, "Do you wish me to revive her for you, by the permission of God?" And he replied, "Yes, O Spirit of God." Jesus then stood over the grave and said, "Rise up, O dweller in this grave, by the permission of God," whereupon the grave clave open, and there stepped forth out of it a black slave with fire coming forth from his nostrils, his eyes, and other openings in his face, and saying, "There is no deity but God, and Jesus is His Spirit, His Word, His Servant, and His Apostle." Ishak said, "O Spirit and Word of God, this is not the grave in which my wife is, but it is this one," pointing to another grave. Jesus then said to the black slave, "Return to the state in which you were," upon which he fell down dead, and he buried him in his grave. He then stood over the other grave and said, "Rise up, O dweller in this grave, by the permission of God," and thereupon the woman rose up, scattering off the dust from her face. Jesus asked him, "Is this your wife?" and he replied, "Yes, O Spirit of God." Jesus then said, "Take her then by the hand and go away." He therefore took her and went away, but having been overcome by sleep he said to her, "The want of sleep over your grave has killed me; I wish therefore to rest." She replied, "Do so." So he placed his head on her lap and slept. While he was asleep, the king's son happened to pass by her; he was beautiful and handsome, had a large frame (of body) and was mounted on a beautiful courser. When she saw him, love for him entered her mind, and she stood up hurriedly for him; and when he saw her, love her also entered his mind; so she came to him and said to him, "Take me." He therefore caused her to mount behind him on his courser and went away. When her husband woke up from his sleep, he looked about for her, but not finding her, he went in search of her, following the footsteps of the courser. He at last overtook them and said to the king's son, "Give me my wife and cousin." But she denied it, saying, "I am the slave-woman of the king's son;" and he said, "No, you are my wife and my cousin." She then said, "I do not know you, I am only the king's son's slave-woman." The king's son then said to him, "Do you want to spoil my slave-woman?" upon which Ishak said, "Verily, by God, she is my wife, and Jesus the son of Mary has revived her for me by the permission of God, after she had died." While they were thus quarrelling, Jesus happened to pass that way, so Ishak said to him, "O Spirit of God, is not this my wife whom you have revived for me by the permission of God?" and he replied, "Yes;" but she said, "O Spirit of God, he lies; I am the slave-woman of the king's son." The king's son also said, "This is my slave-woman." Jesus therefore asked her, "Are you not the one whom I have revived by the permission of God?" and she replied, "No, by God, O Spirit of God," upon which he said to her, "Return to us what we have given you," and she fell down dead. Jesus then said, "Whoever wants to see a man whom God caused to die an unbeliever, then revived him and caused him to die a second time, a Muslim, let him look at the black slave, and whoever wants to see a woman whom God caused to die a believer, then revived her and caused her to die a second time an unbeliever, let him look at this one." Ishak the Jew then swore to God that he would never marry again, and went away crying into the deserts.AD DAMIRI'S Hayat-Al-Hayawan, pp. 497-498.
3 The text here is very obscure; this is the best rendering I could find.
4 See Zwemer, Arabia the Cradle of Islam, pp. 47, 48.
5 This tradition is given as reliable by Ibn Khaldoon (Mukadimet Ibn Khaldoon, Beirut edition, pp. 226, 227). This author gives the other traditions regarding Christ's return in the same form as above.
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