Responses to Akbarally Meherally's site

Qur'an Does Not Categorically Say,
Jesus was Substituted with Another Man

Mr. Meherally, in this section, tells us that the Qur'an does not explicitly say that another man was substituted for Jesus on the cross:

A Presumptive Translation !

In the above English translations the translators have refrained from advocating any specific theory since Allah (SWT) has not mentioned any of the prevalent theories on the subject in this verse or anywhere else in the Qur'an. (I repeat "in the Qur'an").

I agree. The Qur'an does not say that another man was substituted on the cross for Jesus:

Sura 4:157-158

Yusuf Ali : That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear 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:- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-

Pickthall: And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise

Shakir : And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the messenger of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. Nay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

SWOOOOON!

Up to now, I have admired Mr. Meherally as one of the few "original thinkers" among the many Muslim apologists. Sadly, I am disappointed that he has reached for Deedat's "Swoon" theory. To be completely honest, Deedat did not create this theory, it is a part of the belief system of a heretical Muslim sect know as the Ahmadiyya. Sadly, many Muslims do not see, or want to see, Deedat's theory for the heresy that it is, although some Muslims do! For a somewhat different view of Deedat and his unorthodox beliefs, read the Muslim Digest (South Africa), July-October 1986 edition..

Muslim scholars have in the past advocated more than one theory which can be also regarded as an applicable interpretations of the phrase "a likeness of that was shown to them". As for an example, Late Sheikh Ahmed Deedat had written a well publicized booklet 'Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction' based upon the so called "Swoon Theory".

It is not my place to judge or to declare which theory is the Reality. All I am trying to emphasize is that since Allah (SWT) has not categorically declared "Jesus was substituted with another man", the factual translation should leave the doors open for the alternate theory or theories. The prevalent theory or theories, based upon any document or documents other than the Qur'an, can be included within the footnotes of the verse, for the knowledge of the readers. They should not form the part and parcel of The Revealed Text.

I agree that commentary and text must be kept separate. However, the problem with Deedat's little theory is that the Qur'an clearly states that:

Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself

In other words, since God raised Jesus "up unto Himself", it is impossible for Jesus to "swoon" on the cross and be placed in a grave.

Here is more on the subject of Deedat's "Swoon Theory." Furthermore, at the time of writing this article, Ahmed Deedat is still alive, even though completely paralyzed.

What really happened according to the Qur'an?

According to the passage given to us by Mr. Meherally, Jesus was not killed on the cross, but was "raised up" to God. Does this settle the issue? Not really! Incidentally, there is an interesting problem with this account. Why would the Jews "boast" that they killed the Messiah? Think about it for a minute. The Jewish followers of Jesus did not kill him. In fact, they were horrified when he was put to death. The Jewish enemies of Jesus were certainly happy to have Him out of their way, but they would never have called him the Messiah or a "Messenger" of God since they viewed such statements as blasphemy!

The picture is even more confusing when we consider Sura 5:75 :

"Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!"

But Sura 3:144 says:

Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dieth or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels? He who turneth back on his heels doth no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful.

Therefore, Sura 5:75 tells us that Jesus was only a messenger and Sura 3:144 says that all messengers have died. Therefore, since Jesus was only a messenger and all messengers have died, Jesus could not have been "raised up" as Sura 4:158 claims, he must be dead and in a grave! Sura 5:110 also confuses the issue of Jesus being "raised up" since the verse says that Jesus taught "when of old age":

"When Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you I with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and I when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment."

Incidentally, Yusuf Ali, the great translator and commentator of the Koran believed that the ministry of Jesus ended when he was about 33 years old - hardly an "old age". (See his comment #388 on Sura 3:46).

To make matters even more confusing, Sura 19:33 claims that the baby Jesus spoke in the crib saying:

"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)"!

This verse not only contradicts the claim of Sura 4:158 (that Jesus did not die), it also says that Jesus, after his death, will be raised up to life again! This incident, which has no parallel in the Bible, can be viewed as a sign and prophecy. If the words of Jesus did not come true (that he would die and be raised to life), then he does not deserve the title of "prophet" which Muslims give him.

For me to accept the Qur'an's claim that Jesus did not die on the cross, I would have to believe that all of the predictions of God's Prophets were wrong. I would also be required to accept that the testimonies of the Apostles and disciples of Jesus were false, and that the history written by the non-Christian historians of the era such as Tacitus, Porphyry, Celsus, Josephus, Suetonius, and Pliny (e.g., *) were also incorrect. In the place of this overwhelming evidence collected by eye witnesses to the event, I would need to believe the testimony of Muhammad, who lived six centuries after the event. Muhammad and the Qur'an give absolutely no historical proof or even a rational, or coherent, argument to convince me that Jesus did not die on the cross. Worst of all, in order to accept that Jesus did not die on the cross but God "made to appear to them", I would be forced to admit that Almighty God is dishonest (which He is not). After all, such an act of dishonesty would have deprived the disciples of Jesus, and the hundred of millions of Christians throughout history who believe(d) their testimonies, of any chance of salvation!

May the Lord guide you to the truth,

Andrew Vargo

A Recent Christian Criticism on the subject:

A critic named Andrew Vargo writes in his opening passage under the heading; Responses to Akbarally Meherally's site, Section B Part 7 under the heading "answering-islam":

"Mr. Meherally, in this section, tells us that the Qur'an does not explicitly say that another man was substituted for Jesus on the cross." He then adds: "I agree. The Qur'an does not say that another man was substituted on the cross for Jesus." (Thanks for your outright support... Akbarally).

"Critic" is such a harsh term, Mr. Meherally; please call me Andrew. Also, why not link to my article so that the readers can get a complete picture of what we are saying?

When we look at any literature, for the purposes of exegesis, we always give greater importance to those statements that are explicit, compared to those that are implicit. We will see how this methodology works in a few moments.

A little later the critic raises issues from verses 5:75, 3:144, 3:46 and 19:33 of the Qur'an along with the text from verse under study (4:158), on the following specific subjects:

a) Jesus was no different from other messengers that passed away.

b) Jesus taught when he was of old age.

c) Allah raised Jesus up unto Himself.

Basically speaking or briefly, the Christian critic who has read the various translations of the Holy Qur'an, tries to point out that these verses from the Qur'an contradict the claim that Jesus did "swoon" on the cross and did not die. He was literally raised up to Allah.

My problem with the Qur'an is that it does not have a consistent explanation for what happened to Jesus.

Response: The "Swoon Theory" does not claim that Jesus who did "swoon" on the cross, lived ever after and became immortal.

I never claimed that the "Swoon Theory" said this! You, and the Qadiani originators of this "theory", have a very serious problem when you promote it as Qur'anic. In order for Jesus to "swoon" on the cross, someone had to nail Him to the cross, or "Crucify" Him. However, the Qur'an explicitly says (Sura 4:157):

Yusuf Ali: That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear 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:-

Pickthall: And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.

Shakir: And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the messenger of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.

Jesus, according to the Qur'an was NEVER nailed to the cross! Therefore, He could not (according to the explicit exegesis of this ayah) swoon. Here is an interesting article which shows the pure absurdity of this theory

Years ago, Ahmed Deedat was humiliated (according to the Muslim Digest of South Africa, July, August, September and October, 1986) in a debate with John Gilchrist when he attempted to foist his little "Swoon Theory" on a predominantly Muslim audience.

The Bible records that Jesus met his disciples secretly. Jesus never made a public appearance. Obviously, one who had survived the process of "Crucifixion" would not risk staying in the area of his persecution and be detected by Jews or the Roman soldiers. He probably could have moved on to another location or went into hiding.

Not true,

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:3-6.

There is no reliable historical record of what happened to the entity that showed his hands with nail marks to the doubting Thomas. Who can say that this entity who had the physical body did not live to be old and pass away like many other messengers of Allah that have passed away?

There is a great deal of historical evidence which supports Christian beliefs and teachings and which disagrees with the Qur'an's story.

The Bible records Jesus was not old when he was put on the cross. The critic mentions "he was about 33 years old - hardly an "old age". If the critic had reflected positively with an open mind he would have noticed that the "Swoon Theory" has in fact a support from the Quran since it mentions about the "old age" of Jesus. Only the entity (Jesus) who did not die on the cross and did survive could live to be of old age and die like the other Messengers.

No. Sura 4:157 clearly says that they slew him not nor crucified him. Jesus, according to the Qur'an was not crucified (nailed to the cross) and did not die. You and Deedat are successfully convincing Muslims that Jesus went to the cross (contrary to the teachings of the Qur'an and orthodox Sunni Islam) - something that Christian missionaries have been attempting to tell Muslims for centuries!

As for the text "I (Jesus) shall be raised up to life (again)" of verse 19:33 (translation by Yusuf Ali), here Allah (SWT) is speaking of raising again in the future, on the Day of Judgement. Please read also 19:15.

It is not that simple! Read the entire ayah:

"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)"!

The question is: did Jesus die?

Sura 4:158 says:

Yusuf Ali: "Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-"

Pickthall: "But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise."

Shakir: "Nay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise."

Sarwar: "God raised him up to Himself. God is Majestic and All-wise."

Irving: "Rather God lifted him up towards Himself God is Powerful, Wise!"

Al-Hilali & Khan : "But All‚h raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And All‚h is Ever All≠Powerful, All≠Wise."

Khalifa : "Instead, GOD raised him to Him; GOD is Almighty, Most Wise."

Finally, the Christian critic quotes "Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself" from verse 4:158 and tries to prove Jesus was literally raised up in his body by Allah. The Arabic phrase (rafa'u) used for the translated words "raised him" also translates "exalted him". Any Arabic dictionary could confirm that.

It is true that a word can have more than one meaning. Therefore, words must be translated in the context of the verse in which they appear. Please notice that all seven translations which I have submitted say that God took Jesus up to Himself. The Wahabi translation (Al-Hilali and Khan) is even more descriptive.

The translation of the same root word in the verse 9:94 speaks of the exalting of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Please also read verse 2:253.

Once again, we have to look at the context of the verse in order to determine the denotative meaning of the term.

In the original unedited copy of the translation of the Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (published from Lahore), the footnote number 664 continues and reads;

"...another (school of thought) holds that he (Jesus) did die (v.120) but not when he was supposed to have to be crucified, and that his "being raised" unto God means that instead of being disgraced as a malefactor, as the Jews intended, he was on the contrary honoured by God as His Apostle: see also next verse. The same word rafa'a is used in association with honour in connection with al-Mustafa in xciv:4"

Perhaps that is one opinion. However, Yusuf Ali's note 664 (in the more recent edition) says:

"There is difference of opinion as to the exact interpretation of this verse. The words are: The Jews did not kill Jesus, but Allah raised him up (rafa`u) to Himself. One school holds that Jesus did not die the usual human death, but still lives in the body in heaven, which is the generally accepted Muslim view."

However, look at the next verse:

"There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them --" (Sura 4:159)

This implies that Jesus is not dead at this point in history! In fact, the Qur'an also tells us:

"And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): Therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but Follow ye Me: this is the straight way." (Sura 43:61)

From these verses, and other traditions, the Islamic version of the return of Jesus Christ will happen in this way:

1. Jesus was taken to heaven to escape crucifixion (Sura 4:157-158)

2. Jesus will appear at the end of time as a sign that it is the Last hour (Sura 43:61 and Sahih Muslim Book 40, Number 7015)

3. Jesus will descend to earth from heaven by resting his hands on the wings of two angels. (Sahih Muslim Book 40, Number 7015)

4. He will descend onto a white minaret set in the eastern part of Damascus. (Sahih Muslim Book 40, Number 7015)

5. He will invite the whole world to become Muslim including Christians and Jews, He will kill the anti-Christ, He will break the cross, kill all the swine, end all wars, and will become a judge. ( Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425)

6. He will marry, have children, perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, die after 40 years and be buried beside Muhammad in Medina. His time on the earth will mark a period of abundance on the earth and all religions will end except Islam. (Abu Dawud Book 37, Number 4310, and other traditions)

This scenario completely contradicts the thesis that Jesus died as an old man and is buried [somewhere] in a grave! Jesus [his physical body] must be in heaven for these predictions to come to pass. The "Swoon Theory" is not supported by the Qur'an or the Hadith.

I hope the critic would make the necessary amends on his web site.

I have.

With Love and Peace... Akbarally Meherally.

And I wish Love and Peace to you Mr. Meherally,

Another Criticism by a Christian reader:

The reader has invited my attention to the end part of Luke 24:51, which in King James Version reads: "... he (Jesus) was parted from them and was carried up into heaven".

I wish to invite the readers attention to the footnote written by the editors of 'New Revised Standard Version' after the above text. It reads: "Other ancient authorities lack and was carried up into heaven".

FYI, the next verse 52 in K.J.V. reads: "And (they) worshipped him," The footnote in N.R.S.V. reads: "Other ancient authorities lack and worshipped him".

I am not sure of the point that you are attempting to make here. This is another reason why you should link to the article to which you are responding. If you are suggesting that the story of the ascension of Jesus rests on this passage alone, then you are incorrect.

The ascension of Jesus is mentioned many times in the New Testament: Acts 1:9-11, John 6:62, Acts 2:33-34, Acts 3:21, Ephesians 4:8-10, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 9:24, 1 Peter 3:22, Revelation 5:6.


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