(Responses to Christian Critics added at the end - May 1999)

A Presumptive Translation !

1.       Recently I received from an Imam, a complimentary copy of the booklet 'A BRIEF ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM'. This beautifully illustrated publication is published by DARUSSALAM, Publishers and Distributors, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. 

        On page 58 appears the under mentioned English text of a verse from the Holy Qur'an: 

 ...They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God." They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)...  (Qur'an, 4:157)

2.     Last year I purchased a copy of 'THE NOBLE QUR'AN' in  English Language. The cover page states "Interpretation of the meanings of The Noble Qur'an'. Inside it reads; THE NOBLE QUR'AN Translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan. Published by DARUSSALAM, Publishers and Distributors, P. O. Box 22743, Riyadh, 11416, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fifteenth Revised Edition. December 1996.

           On page 199 appears the under mentioned English text for the above verse 4:157:

"And because of their saying (in boast). We killed Messiah 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," -- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Isa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man)..."
    After reading of the above text or texts a reader may conclude that Allah (SWT) has Himself Revealed in His Own Words the;
           "substitution of 'Isa (Jesus) with another man". 

    The wordings of the original Arabic text do not categorically speak of "substitution of 'Isa (a.s.) with another man". Here is the transliteration of the actual Arabic text and its literal translation as translated by other Muslim and non Muslim translators. I hope and pray that this will give the readers an opportunity to understand the "Words of Allah".

  The publishers of 'The Noble Qur'an' have printed the original Arabic text, side by side with the English text. The text which reads:
    "but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of
    'Isa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man)" 
is the translation / interpretation of the Arabic text that reads:
  "wa ma  qatala hu wa ma salabu hu wa lakin shubbiha lahum"

  The variations appear in the translation/interpretation of the end portion of the verse which reads: "wa lakin shubbiha lahum"

wa means:  And, also, but, whilst.
lakin  means; But, still, nevertheless. 
shubbiha  means; To be made like; A likeness or similitude. 
   (This could refer to: A likeness or similitude (of Jesus), or
                                     A likeness or similitude (of Killing), or 
                                      A likeness or similitude (of Crucifixion), or
                                      A likeness or similitude (of Killing & Crucifixion)
lahum  means; Was made for them.

Below are the other English translations by Muslims and non Muslim scholars for comparison: 

1. Translation by Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
       "But they killed him not, nor crucified him,
         only a likeness of that was shown to them."

2. Translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall:
        "...They slew him not nor crucified
             but it appeared so unto them;"

3. Translation by Professor Arthur J. Arberry:
         "...yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him,
            only a likeness of that was shown to them."

    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"). 

     Muslim scholars have in the past advocated more than one theory which can be also regarded as an applicable interpretations of the phrase "but 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".
(The word "swoon" means; to faint).

    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. 

   To read more on the subject of Deedat's "Swoon Theory" and how it concurs with the biblical texts and the prophecies by Jesus, please click  HERE  and read the text under the sub-heading: 
        'The Final Days Of The Ministry Of Jesus'.

Allah knows the Realities...

Was salaam

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).

    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.

Response:  The "Swoon Theory" does not claim that Jesus who did "swoon" on the cross, lived ever after and became immortal. 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. 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? 
      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 
      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.
     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. 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.
    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"
      I hope the critic would make the necessary amends on his web site. 

With Love and Peace...    Akbarally 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". 

Please send your comments to 
   Akbarally Meherally at webmaster@mostmerciful.com 

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