Answering Muslim Objections (7) Was Christ Crucified or not?

Merriam-Webster definition of conjecture

1a: inference formed without proof or sufficient evidence
b: a conclusion deduced by surmise or guessworkThe criminal’s motive remains a matter of conjecture.
c: a proposition (as in mathematics) before it has been proved or disproved
2 obsolete
a: interpretation of omens
b: SUPPOSITION

Muslims believe that Jesus Christ was not crucified according to the Quran, we read in Surah 4:157 which says:

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.

Muslims claim that Allah didn’t allow Jesus to be crucified but saved him before he was crucified and made someone else look like Jesus and that person was crucified instead. This raises serious questions, (1) according to the Tafsir (commentaries) we have different opinions about what happened.

al-Jalalayn: And for their saying boastfully ‘We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary the Messenger of God’ as they claim in other words for all of these reasons We have punished them. God exalted be He says in repudiating their claim to have killed him And yet they did not slay him nor did they crucify him but he the one slain and crucified who was an associate of theirs the Jews was given the resemblance of Jesus.

Here we have al-Jalalayn claiming the Jews said “We slew the Messiah” how can this be when the Jews in the time of Jesus until today don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah yet they are calling him the Messiah? He also says they didn’t crucify him but another person was crucified who was an associate. If Allah allowed an innocent person to die this would make Allah unjust and a murderer, in addition Allah was also a deceiver as he made another person to resemble Jesus and that person was killed. This makes Allah a liar.

Ibn ‘Abbâs: (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,

Here we have Ibn ‘Abbâs saying the Quran says they killed the Messiah, he even goes as far to name the individual who was killed a follower of Jesus called Tatianos. There’s no one in the Bible who goes by this name so where are they getting this information from? This once again brings Allah’s morals into question as an innocent man named Tatianos was killed and not Jesus, thereby, Allah deceived people into believing something false in which he would have created Christianity because we believe Jesus Christ was crucified.

Al Qushairi: It is said that God caused the one who slandered [Jesus] to resemble him and he was killed and crucified in his place. … It is [also] said that Jesus said “Whoever agrees to have my resemblance cast upon him so that he is killed in place of me will have the garden” and one of his companions agreed.

Here we have a blasphemous statement, the commentator Al Qushairi comments that “God” made someone who slandered Jesus to be killed, but also that Jesus said whoever has this done to him will have the garden? One can come to the conclusion the “garden” means paradise. So not only did was this man killed because he slandered Jesus which would be a sin, also is given paradise because he was killed in the place of Jesus? So Allah rewards people for committing sin according to this tafsir.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi: This verse is explicit on the point that the Prophet Jesus Christ was rescued from crucifixion and that the Christians and the Jews are both wrong in believing that he died on the cross. A comparative study of the Qur’an and the Bible shows that most probably it was Jesus himself who stood his trial in the court of Pilate, who sentenced him to death, but they could not kill or crucify him, for Allah raised him to Himself. … “Those who have differed”: the Christians. They do not agree in their versions of crucifixion. The very fact that they offer so many different accounts of the matter is by itself a proof that they possess no definite knowledge of it and are, therefore, in doubt about it. One version is that the person who was crucified was not Jesus but someone who bore his likeness, whom the Jews and the Romans had disgracefully put on the cross, while Jesus was standing nearby and laughing at their folly. Another version is that the one who was nailed to the cross was Jesus, but he did not die on the cross and was alive when he was taken down from it. Some others say that he died on the cross but came to life afterwards and met his disciples more than ten times and talked to them. Still others say that death due to crucifixion occurred on the physical body of Jesus and he was buried but the Divine Spirit within him was raised. There are still others who say that after his death Jesus came to life with his body and was raised with his body. Obviously, if the Christians had any knowledge of the truth, they would not have given so many different versions of it.

Here we have Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi claiming that Jews and Christians don’t agree about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Both Jews and Christians affirm that Jesus was crucified. All Christians believe Jesus Christ was the one on the cross, he died and was buried in a sepulchre and rose from the dead physically in the same body after 3 days.

Shabir Ally: You will notice in some of my recent interfaith dialogues that I have suggested the scenario in which Jesus was taken down alive from the cross and assumed into heaven from the tomb–a scenario which my dialogue participants seem hard-pressed to deconstruct.

Muslims even try to claim that Jesus was taken down from the cross alive, this is called the swoon theory, they make a huge mistake in claiming this. They forget that Jesus was suffered a enormous scourging.

Mark 10:33-34 [Saying], Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

The Romans also plunged a spear into His side and blood and water came out. This is recorded in the book of John.

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

The Jews agree that Jesus was crucified on the Jews for Judaism site we read “How would the Jewish authorities have treated Jesus’ corpse?” They said in response to this question “To bury the body of a crucified individual (or anyone else) was a matter of obeying God’s commandments. Joseph of Arimathaea (or whatever his name) was probably the Sanhedrin burial agent whose task it was to take care of the crucified once they had died. The approach of the Sabbath and the concern that a corpse not be left hanging after sunset (Deuteronomy 21:23) added to Joseph’s concern to get the body of Jesus (and the 5 two victims) buried before sunset. Perhaps there was a Roman concession to local religious custom concerning a corpse hanging overnight, especially at the onset of the Sabbath or a festival. Joseph complied with the Torah’s requirement even though he may have had no personal reason to honor the crucified individual. One may assume that if it is true that two other individuals were crucified along with Jesus and died that same day that Joseph also asked for their bodies and buried them as well.”

The Jews don’t deny that Christ was crucified, they believe he was killed; they only reject Jesus as their Messiah. Therefore, going back to out definition of conjecture which means according to the definition “inference formed without proof or sufficient evidence”. The Muslims are the ones who are confused (conjecture) as to if Jesus was crucified, who was the one killed was it Tatianos or someone else, and why would the Jews call Jesus the Messiah when they clearly teach otherwise? This proves the Quran is a false book.

Lastly, we have surmounting evidence outside of the Biblical narrative confirming the crucifixion of Christ for those who are not sympathetic to the Christian faith. Those would include:

Quotes proving the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact

(1) Tacitus (Jewish historian) written c.116 C.E The founder of this name, Christ had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate.
(2) Gerd Ludemann (atheist) Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.
(3) Marcus Borg The most certain fact about the historical Jesus is his execution as a political rebel.
(4) Pinchas Lapide (a Jewish scholar) Jesus’ death by crucifixion is “historically certain.”
(5) Paula Fredriksen (another Jew) The single most solid fact about Jesus’ life is his death: he was executed by the Roman prefect Pilate, on or around Passover, in the manner Rome reserved for political insurrections, namely crucifixion.

The biggest one is by the Muslims favorite New Testament scholar who they like to use his material in attacking the Bible, Bart Erhman on the crucifixion of Jesus says:

“The crucifixion of Jesus by the Romans is one of the most secure facts we have about his life.”

We close with this conclusion from the Bible in the words of Jesus Christ Himself:

Matthew 17:22-23 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

Happy Resurrection Day

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