The conspiracy to kill Jesus (a.s) and the myth of crucifixion of Jesus - Part 1

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The conspiracy to kill Jesus (a.s) and the myth of crucifixion of Jesus - Part 1
Like most prophets, after a period of religious invitation of people, Jesus was not treated well by them and the obstinate Jews decided to kill him and so-called to turn off the light of guidance. In this regard, there are some verses about Jewish conspiracy. They had decided to hang Jesus and kill him but God saved him from them and therefore, instead of him they hanged another person who resembled him nevertheless, they thought they had hanged Jesus (a.s). According to the Divine Providence, he must be saved from the clutches of the Jews and that is why God saved him and raised him to Himself. God has referred to this issue in Surahs Al-Imran and An-Nisa'. Accordingly, in Surah Al-Imran God says: “And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners. When Allah said, "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ.” (Surah Al-Imran-verses 54-55). In the first verse God refers to satanic plans of the Jews and says: “They planned (the Jews and other enemies of Messiah for destroying him and his religion) and God planned (for preserving him and his religion) and God is the best of planners”
It is clear that the plans of God is superior to their plans because they have limited knowledge but God has limitless knowledge. For implementing their plans, they have little power, whereas God has limitless power. Accordingly, the next verse is continuation of verses which are related to Jesus’s (a.s) life. According to the verse 157 of Surah An-Nisa', the Islamic interpreters believe that Jesus (a.s) was never killed (and he was saved from the Jewish conspiracy which had been arranged with the cooperation of some Christian conspirators) and God raised him to the heaven. Although, according to the available Gospels, Christians believe that the Messiah was killed and buried and then rose up from among the dead and after staying for a short time in the earth, he was raised up to the heaven. The previous verse refers to this very concept. Accordingly when addressing Jesus, God says: “Remember”: “I will take you and raise you to Myself”. Some people suppose that the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” mean to take life and it refers to “death” that is why they believe that it is inconsistent with popular opinion among the Muslims who believe that Jesus has not been killed and he is alive. Whereas, this assumption is not true. It has to be mentioned that the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” mean to complete something and it does not refers to death. Additionally, the Arabs use the Arabic equivalent of the term “take” for the term “fulfillment of the covenant” and that why they use this term when they want to say that a person has completely taken back the money he had borrowed. This term has also been frequently used in the Quranic verses like the following: “And it is He who takes your souls by night and knows what you have committed by day.” (Surah Al-'An`am-verse 60). In this verse “taking souls” refers to “sleeping” and the same concept has been mentioned in verse 42 of Surah Az-Zumar and other verses. It is true that the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” has sometimes been referred to “death” but even in these cases it does not really mean so. In fact, it means that the soul is being delivered and it does not refers to “death”. According to what was said, the meaning of the previously mentioned verse becomes clear. God says: "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself” (Although, if the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” only means taking the soul, the physical death will be indispensable.) Allameh Tabataba'i says: the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” means taking something completely therefore, it is used for referring to “death” because when a person dies, the Almighty God takes his soul and in this regard Quran has some interpretations including when it is said: “Our messengers take him” (Surah Al-'An`am-verse 61) which means to take his life. It has also been mentioned in the Quran: “And they say, When we are lost within the earth, will we indeed be recreated in a new creation?" Rather, they are, in the matter of the meeting with their Lord, disbelievers.” (Surah As-Sajdah-verse 11). Again somewhere else in the Quran, it has been mentioned that: “Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that do not die He takes during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others” (Surah Az-Zumar-verse 42). Paying attention to the last two verses indicates that the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” does not imply “death” rather if it has been used for “death” it only means “taking” and “preserving”. In other words, God has used this term for referring to the moment He takes the soul to indicate that human’s soul is not mortal after the death but the Almighty God takes the souls and preserves them until the day they return to Him and then He returns the souls to their bodies. However, in other cases that the purpose is showing “the death“ the Quran uses the word “pass away/on or die” and not “take”. For instance Quran says: “Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]?” (Surah Al-Imran-verse 144) or somewhere else Quran says: “For those who disbelieve will be the fire of Hell, Death is not decreed for them so they may die.” (Surah Fatir -verse 36). There are many such verses and even verses which have been mentioned about Jesus’s death in which the word “to die” has been used like these two verses: “And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.” (Surah Maryam-verse 33). “And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness.” (Surah An-Nisa'-verse 159). As a result the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” is not necessarily an indication of “death”. Quran rejects the claim of the Jews about killing Jesus and says: “And for their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but another was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness.” (Surah An-Nisa'-verses 157-159).
The Jews claimed that they have killed Jesus, the son of Mary and according to the Bible, the Christians also believed that the Jews hanged and killed him but after all, after his death God brought Jesus out of his tomb into the heaven. It has to be said that the previously mentioned verses denies the story of killing Jesus and hanging him. The verse “And there is none from the People of the Scripture…” indicates that “Jesus (a.s) is alive and he is with God and will not die until all the people of the scripture believe in him.” So, in the previously mentioned verse, the Arabic equivalent for the word “take” refers to taking Jesus (a.s) from the clutches of the Jews.
The misconception of the Jews regarding killing and crucifying Jesus (a.s)
According to verses and Hadiths, the Jews could not have killed Jesus (a.s) and hanged him but the Christians thought that Jesus had been hanged. Hence, still they remember and consider the Crucifixion of (Messiah) Christ as the symbol of hanging. However, in the current era, a group of Christians try to exonerate the Jews, but the Quran says: The Jews said we killed Jesus (a.s) and they also said a great slander against the Saint Mary (a.s): “And [We cursed them] for their disbelief and their saying against Mary a great slander, And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise” (Surah An-Nisa'-verses 156-185). The Jews were in disagreement about the way of killing Jesus (a.s). Did they crucify him? Or did they kill him and without crucifying him? Possibly the reason of mentioning the statement of the Jews who said “we killed Jesus (a.s)” and then saying that “they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him” was to resolve all disagreements and doubts of the Jews regarding killing Jesus. Since, crucifying was regarded as a kind of torment for the criminals and was not always given rise to death, according to the verse, he might have been sent to the gallows but might not have been killed. Since the Jews themselves are in disagreement regarding the way by which Jesus (a.s) was killed, only mentioning that “they did not kill him” was not enough, because the Jews could possibly interpret this word of God as the following: Yes we did not kill him normally rather we crucified him. Therefore, after mentioning that “they did not kill him”, the Almighty God adds that “nor did they crucify him”. In this way, the word of God has been expressed explicitly and it indicates that Jesus was not killed by the Jews and accordingly, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him. It has to be said that the Jews made a mistake and killed and crucified another person who thought he was Messiah. This event was not very unlikely, and on the contrary it was very possible. Because in the wild populations and especially when the a group of people attack to a person to kill him, it happens a lot that in the uproar they lose the real offender and instead of him kill the non-offender and incidentally, in the story of Jesus those who killed him were not his acquaintances to know him well, but the Roman troops did so and it turned out that the Roman did not know Jesus well. Therefore, they had possibly arrested and killed another person instead of him. Anyhow, according to Hadiths the Almighty God transformed someone else’s appearance into the one of Messiah (a.s) and it caused that they kill another person instead of him. In this regard, many researchers have stated that: in the historical stories which have been mentioned in this regard and the events which are related to the invitation of Jesus as well as, the stories which have been mentioned in the history about the rulers who were contemporary with Jesus, there were two people with the name of Messiah and the time distance between these two people were five hundred years. The first Messiah, who was the real Messiah and the Prophet of God was the one that had not been killed and the second Messiah was a blasphemer who was crucified. From the point of view of this researcher, this is the reason why the Gregorian date which is now known among the Christians, has been questioned and doubted. Thus, according to this theory what the Quran says regarding the issue of resemblance is related to the resemblance of Jesus (Messiah), the son of Mary and the Messiah who was crucified. Accordingly the Quran says: “And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain”. It refers to those who are in disagreement about the issue of Jesus (a.s) and do not know whether he has been killed or crucified and it means that they are ignorant about it. They have no knowledge of it and they follow it out of their assumption and merely because they say that someone has said so and they did not kill him, for certain (or they did not kill him and I say it unto you for sure). In this regard some interpreters have stated that the pronoun in the Arabic verse of “And they did not kill him, for certain” refers to science and it means that “they did not kill science, for certain” and killing science literally means to purify science from doubts.
To be continued

Sources

1 - Tafsir Nemooneh, vol. 4, p. 198, Vol. 2, p. 565, vol. 2, pp. 569-570

2 - Tafsir al-Mizan, vol. 3, p. 497, vol. 5, p. 216, vol. 3, p. 323

3 - Thematic interpretation of Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, vol. 4 p. 232

4 - Manshoor Javed, p. 400

5 – Article of Jesus (a.s) is alive, by Hujjat al-Islam Haj Seyed Ali Akbar Qureshi

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