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Isa and the Crucifixion Hoax

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Jesus - CrucifixionIslam today is intent on stamping its authority as the supreme religion and is turning up the heat against both Israel and Christianity. In an incredible act of hypocrisy, Muslims are preventing Jews from praying at the Holy Mountain, claiming that “Al-Aqsa is in our blood”. Christianity is likewise targeted with Islam claiming that Christians “altered the Bible” and that Jesus did not die on the cross, but was taken up bodily into Heaven. Muslims claim that a man called Tatianos volunteered to take Jesus place and be crucified. Islam has challenged the very essence of the Christian faith because if the crucifixion and resurrection did not happen, Christianity is dead!

Of course, because Islam came some 600 years after Christ and they claim to be of the same Abrahamic faith, and they claim to believe in the same apostles like Moses and Jesus, they have a powerful argument. However, Islam disputes the crucifixion and so destroys the credibility of Christianity (if their claims are true). Every day there are muslim claims to destroy Israel and kill Jews, and the intensity is increasing. Muslims are also persecuting Christians everywhere around the globe, and this is also on the increase.

 
Muslims are offended by drawings of Mohammed, by Christians praying in a church, by the sound of church bells and by the sight of crosses.

However, by their very claims, muslims insult Christianity be denying its central claims.

It is timely and appropriate then, to put Islam “on trial” and to test their claims by examining source document evidence, historical reliability, medical evidence and historical accuracy.

Sources of Islam claims
TTatianus the Assyrianhe primary and most respected source for Islam comes from the Quran, and there is little in the way of detail to support the crucifixion claims.

From the Quran, we shall examine Suras 3.54,  4.157 and 19.33.
The Hadith collection of the sayings of Mohammed is considered along with the Quran as the most respected source. There are NO revelant hadith that I am aware of that support the muslim crucifixion claims.
That leaves the Tafsirs, or the commentaries on the Quran which are not given the same reverence as the Quran or the Hadith. Surprisingly, it is from the Tafsirs that most of the information is obtained.
We shall consider commentary by one contemporary of Mohammed, ibn Abbas   from the 7th Century , Al-Tabari  from the 9th century,  ibn Kathir from the 14th century and  Al-Jalalayn  from the 15th century.

The only Quranic source comes from the  Sura called An-Nisa (Women) we are given:

“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:-“ [Sura 4.157]

So this Sura yields just two items of information:
(1)    Isa was not crucified
(2)    Someone was killed in his place.

The Hadith is silent on the whole affair, so now we must turn to the Tafsirs or commentaries on the Quaran.
 

From the Tafsirs.

(And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger) Allah destroyed their man Tatianos. (They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them) Allah made Tatianos look like Jesus and so they killed him instead of him; (and lo! those who disagree concerning it) concerning his killing (are in doubt thereof) in doubt about his killing; (they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture) not even conjecture; (they slew him not for certain) i.e. certainly they did not kill him. [Sura 4 aya 157 ; ibn Abbas]

 So this commentary only adds one extra piece of information, that a man called Tatianos was the one who was crucified instead of Isa.

This is confirmed in another commentary on a different Sura.

(And they schemed) they, i.e. the Jews, planned to kill Jesus, (and Allah schemed (against them)) Allah wished to kill their man Tatianos: (and Allah is the best of schemers) the strongest of those who have a will; it is also said this means: the best of Makers.  [Sura 3 aya 54  ; ibn Abbas]

 And another commentator Al-Jalalayn confirms this:

God says: And they, the disbelievers among the Children of Israel, schemed, against Jesus, by assigning someone to assassinate him; and God schemed, by casting the likeness of Jesus onto the person who intended to kill him, and so they killed him, while Jesus was raised up into heaven; and God is the best of schemers, most knowledgeable of him [Jesus]. [tafsir Al Jalalayn  Sura 3 aya 54]

 So from the 15th century, we add this detail:
1)    the likeness of Jesus was cast onto the one who schemed to kill him
2)    Jesus was raised up to heaven.
Surprisingly, the most detail is found in the writings of ibn Kathir who was writing over 1300 years after the crucifixion.
From Ibn Kathir 61:14

Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir At-Tabari reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When Allah decided to raise `Isa to heaven, `Isa went to his companions while drops of water were dripping from his head. At that time, there were twelve men at the house. `Isa said to them, `Some of you will disbelieve in me twelve times after having believed in me.' He then asked, `Who among you volunteers that he be made to resemble me and be killed instead of me; he will be with me in my place (in Paradise).' One of the youngest men present volunteered, but `Isa commanded him to sit down. `Isa repeated his statement and the young man again stood up and volunteered, and `Isa again told him to sit down. `Isa repeated the same statement and the young man volunteered. This time, `Isa said, `Then it will be you.' The appearance of `Isa was cast upon that young man, while `Isa, peace be on hNestoriansim, was raised to heaven through an opening in the roof of the house. The Jews came looking for `Isa and arrested the one that appeared as him, killing him by crucifixion. Some of them disbelieved in `Isa twelve times, after they had believed in him.                                                                                            
They divided into three groups. One group, Al-Ya`qubiyyah (the Jacobites), said, `Allah remained with us as much as He willed and then ascended to heaven.' Another group, An-Nasturiyyah (the Nestorians), said, `Allah's son remained with us as much as Allah willed and He then rasied him up to heaven.' A third group said, `Allah's servant and Messenger remained with us as much as Allah willed and then Allah raised him up to Him.' The last group was the Muslim group. The two disbelieving groups collaborated against the Muslim group and annihilate it. Islam remained unjustly concealed until Allah sent Muhammad,..


So according to Ibn Kathir, only the Jacobites and the Nestorians survived.

Weighing the Evidence

1.  Historical reliability
Let us consider the dating of the manuscript evidence.

For the Quran, the earliest copies are dated to about 750 years after the crucifixion.
The Tafsir of ibn Abbas is seventh century material and the others are hundreds of years later.

For the Bible:
(1)    the Creed from 1 Corinthians 15 that describes the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection appearances can be dated to about 10 years from the actual events.
(2)    The Gospel of Mark was produced about 35 years after the crucifixion, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke about 40 years after, and the Gospel of John about 60 years after.
So for the Bible, the sources are very close to the actual events.


Notes on the Creed [1 Corinthians 15]

Paul states that he passed on the Creed when in Corinth during a visit that is dated to 51AD.
However he received the Creed most likely from an earlier visit to Jerusalem in 38AD when he met up with both Peter (Cephas) and James, both of whom were named as witnesses to the events. In the Greek version of the letter to the Galations [1:18-19], he used the word “historeo” which means that his meeting was an investigative one.
So considering the date periods of the source data, one would expect the Bible to be far more reliable.


Ibn Kathir also claims that only Jacobites and Nestorians survived, well how does that explain that there are 2 billion Christians today that are neither Jacobites nor Nestorians? His claims are illogical.

 

Garden of Gethsemane
Garden of Gethsemane Jerusalem

2.  Medical evidence
The Bible provides the most surprising evidence based on medical grounds, while the Quran, which claims to be so scientific, is silent, providing no substantiation at all.

2.1 Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.
When he is praying in the garden and considering his trials and crucifixion, Luke says:

 

“his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground”. [Luke 22:44]

In the 20th century, medical doctors discovered a condition called hematidrosis which occurs under severe anxiety which causes the release of chemicals in the sweat glands, so that blood mingles with the sweat in small quantities. Hence what Luke described was medically accurate.

For Islam, ibn Kathir [61:14] describes Isa as sweating water from his head in the house, but why? He was not under stress and neither is the month of Nisan hot in Israel.

2.2 The crucifixion
Could anyone have survived the crucifixion? Islam has produced some “swoon” theories suggesting that Jesus did not die on the cross but was revived later.

Consider the medical evidence:
Firstly after the scourging at the pillar, Jesus would be suffering from hypovolemic shock a low blood pressure condition produced by a great loss of blood. Breathing on the cross was only possible by pushing upwards and as the man gets weaker, this results in respiratory acidosis which leads to an irregular heartbeat. So death would follow by cardiac arrest.
The low blood pressure (hypovolemic shock) would cause a collection of fluid around the heart, called pericardial effusion, and around the lungs called pleural effusion.

Why is that so important?
Because when the Roman soldier pierced the right side of Jesus body, this clear fluid would be released with the blood, and that is exactly what John reports:

“one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear and at once blood and water came out”. [John 19:34]

 In summary, in the first century neither Luke or John would have known of medical conditions such as hematidrosis or pericardial effusion, yet they reported such conditions.


3.  Was another substituted for Isa?
 According to ibn Kathir, the 12 followers of Jesus were in a house, and then Isa asked for a volunteer to be crucified instead of him. One young man agreed and then Allah cast upon him the appearance of Isa, while Isa was taken up to Heaven through a hole in the roof.

ApostlesBut according to Al-Jalalayn, the likeness was cast upon the one wanting to kill him, so this contradicts ibn Kathir. Imagine how inspirational this would appear to the followers of Isa! Imagine Isa standing in front of his followers and then saying “Sorry, chaps. I have been called to go to Heaven so I need someone to take my place, and be flogged, spat on, beaten and crucified to die a horrible painful death. Any takers?” How inspirational is that?                                                                                                        

Indeed ibn Kathir again confirms the difference between Islam and Christianity as in Islam, Allah wanted someone to die instead of Isa.

If this were true, there would have been 11 men who knew that Isa did not die on the cross, yet what does history tell us.

History tells us that the disciples of Jesus gave up their jobs and families and travelled about preaching the message that Jesus had been crucified, died and was resurrected.

Without exception, these men were abused, beaten, imprisoned and all died horrible deaths. Would someone do that if they knew the story was a LIE? In other words, the actions of Jesus followers suggested they absolutely believed in his resurrection.

In summary, the actions of Jesus followers suggest the Bible is right and the Quran is wrong!

However, there were also doubters from Islamic sources. Consider these commentaries on Sura 19:33 which suggest that the crucifixion did happen.

(Peace on me the day I was born) safety to me from Satan's touch when I was born, (and the day I die) and safety to me from the compression of the grave when I die, (and the day I shall be raised alive) when I am resurrected alive from the grave!
[tafsir ibn Abbas   Sura 19 aya 33]


4.  Burial in the tomb
The Quran of course makes no mention of what happened to the body after crucifixion.

The Bible however is interesting, because the tomb for the body is called as belonging to one Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man and a member of the Sanhedrin (Jewish court) who was responsible for condemning Jesus. Why is this important?

There were many Jews who did not believe in Jesus and if his disciples were making claims about burying Jesus in the tomb of a rich man, it would have been refuted. Also, the location of this tomb was well known, so when the tomb was found to be empty on Sunday morning, there is no doubt that the body had gone.

5.  Resurrection appearances
The Quran does not mention this as it maintains Isa was not crucified.

The Bible has credible witnesses which attest to the resurrection as an historical event.
Dated to about 10 years after the event:

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”  [The Creed from 1 Corinthians 15].

So here is confirmation from an incredible early source of the death, burial and resurrection appearances.
The Gospels dated to within 4 decades of the crucifixion record 10 separate appearances of the risen Jesus to either his disciples or to other people.

The Verdict
In this examination, we have looked at the historical reliability of source documents and find only with the Bible are they are so close to the events and so must be more reliable than for Islam. Also Ibn Kathir’s claim about only Jacobites and Nestorians surviving is clearly wrong given the Christian population today. The medical evidence supports the Bible statements incredibly well, explaining why Jesus sweated blood and why clear fluid was seen mixed with the blood after the spear pierced his side. The substitution theory for Islam does not have real support or credibility and there is no agreement between scholars. [See Reference on Al-Tabari] The burial story from the Bible is credible, but it is the number of appearances dated to such an early time, in my view, which supports the Bible over the Quran. I don’t believe that Islam’s claims are in any way credible!

Conclusion
The Quran may well declare in Sura 4.157 that “those who differ are full of doubts, with no knowledge, but only conjecture”, but a careful analysis shows that the reverse is true.
It is the muslims with their Quran who are full of doubt and lacking in any substantial evidence to refute the claims of Christianity.
The evidence strongly supports the view that the story in the Quran is a hoax and proves that Allah is indeed “the Great Deceiver”.




References:

Muslims prevent Jews from praying on Holy mountain

Tafsir ibn Abbas  [Sura 4 aya 157]

Al Tabari  (9th century scholar) confirms Jesus died on cross

tafsir ibn Kathir  61:14

Tafsir ibn Abbas  [Sura 3 aya 54]

tafsir al-Jalalayn  [Sura 3 aya 54]

Hematidrosis – medical condition sweating blood

 

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2009 14:16  

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