The Crucifixion and the Qur’an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought


Qur’an 4:157:

and said, ‘We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God.’ (They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him – No! God raised him up to Himself).

The Crucifixion and the Qur’an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought’ by Professor Todd Lawson.

The blurb says:

‘According to the majority of modern Muslims and Christians, the Qur’an denies the crucifixion of Jesus, and with it, one of the most sacred beliefs of Christianity. However, it is only mentioned in one verse – ‘They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, rather, it only appeared so to them’ – and contrary to popular belief, its translation has been the subject of fierce debate among Muslims for centuries.

This innovative work is the first book devoted to the issue, delving deeply into largely ignored Arabic sources, which suggest that the origins of the conventional translation may lie within the Christian Church. Arranged along historical lines, and covering various Muslim schools of thought, from Sunni to Sufi, ‘The Crucifixion and the Qur’an’; unravels the crucial dispute that separates the World’s two principal faiths.’



Categories: 3 Minute Academic Soundbites, Christianity, Debates, Islam, Qur'an

70 replies

  1. @Paul Williams
    Thank you for a very interesting post. Too often we hear from apologists and even Muslims with the best of intentions that the Quran denies the crucifixion. I think you do us all a great service by emphasizing the complexities of the issue within the Quran itself as well as in the Muslim tradition. It is important not to lose sight of the nuances.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lawson seems to propose that 4:157 must be understood in the light of Surah 2:154 and 3:169

    And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not.
    Surah 2:154

    And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision,
    Surah 3:169

    From what I understand, Lawson is proposing that this helps us interpret Surah 4:157 is a way that acknowledges Jesus did indeed die on the cross, but that the Qur’an is only saying that even though Jesus was killed, His soul / true self / spirit is alive with God, just like the martyrs who were killed in the way of Allah are really alive with God.

    This seems like a really strained interpretation, IMO.

    Also, your point – that is only saying the Jews did not really kill Jesus (but the Romans did) seems weak and strained also, as the Jews would never call Jesus “The Messiah” – that really guts the whole argument. The text never makes clear that the Romans killed him; instead, the Qur’anic text is emphasizing twice “they did not kill him for sure” یقیناَ (Yaqeenan – this is a strong word for “for sure”, “certainly”, “truly”, “really” – we have this in Farsi also. 😉

    and along with Surah 3:54 – 55, it seems that the Qur’an understands Allah as deceiving / tricking / scheming / outwitting the Jews into thinking they killed Jesus, but that Allah took him to heaven and “made it appear to them” that they had killed him.

    The [disbelievers] schemed but God also schemed; God is the Best of Schemers.
    God said, ‘Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me: I will purify you of the disbelievers. To the Day of Resurrection I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieved. Then you will all return to Me and I will judge between you regarding your differences.
    Surah 3:54-55 (Abdul Haleem translation)

    Then, there is the Qur’anic problem of making the followers of Jesus superior (3:55 – Foq, فوق ) and more manifest or dominant (Surah 61:14 – ظاهرین = obvious, manifest, clear) over above the enemies of Christ until the day of resurrection.

    We have both of these in Farsi, coming from Arabic, and it helps to make clear what the Qur’an is saying. The Qur’an contradicts history in several ways, though, both in Surah 4:157 and the ideas of the followers of Jesus becoming dominant yet not believing in His Sonship, Deity, incarnation, death, atonement, and the NT testimony that provides the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Overall, trying to justify these mistakes of the Qur’an is really weak, and testifies that the Qur’an was not inspired or from God Almighty, but one man’s confused subjective understanding of Monotheism and law, without the knowledge of the NT revelation, which at the same unknowingly affirming the previous books of God. (Surah 5:47; 5:68; 10:94)

    David Waltz has several posts on this issue, on Surah 4:157 and see the earlier ones on Todd Lawson’s book and Todd Lawson’s videos, at his “Articuli Fidei” blog.

    http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/search/label/Surah%204.157

    Like

    • “Overall, trying to justify these mistakes of the Qur’an is really weak, and testifies that the Qur’an was not inspired or from God Almighty, but one man’s confused subjective understanding of Monotheism and law, without the knowledge of the NT revelation, which at the same unknowingly affirming the previous books of God. (Surah 5:47; 5:68; 10:94)”

      Actually, your subjective opinion is meaningless and no one cares what you think.’

      It’s quite pathetic that a moron like you tries so hard to pretend to be objective, but we all know that you are simply attempting to push your agenda no matter what.

      As for Lawson, he presents a scholarly analysis of the diverse opinions of Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history. A subjective moron like you wouldn’t understand the complexity of the issue.

      Nevertheless, I think it is still likely that Jesus was not crucified. There was a crucifixion and someone was crucified, but it wasn’t Jesus (pbuh). Therefore, what secular historians think happened has no bearing on what the Quran says. Historians are simply interpreting the available evidence based on a secular, non-supernatural worldview. I accept God’s word over human opinions any day.

      Liked by 2 people

    • @Ken Temple

      I’m curious ken, whats the difference between the jews in the quran sarcastically calling jesus(a.s) the messiah and what happens in the NT?

      Matthew 27:41-42

      41In the same way, the chief priests, scribes, and elders mocked Him, saying, 42“He saved others, but He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him.

      could you explain the difference, if any?

      Liked by 3 people

      • If you read the whole chapters of Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23 – there are many more passages of the mocking and obvious mocking, and using the words “mocking”, “sneering” – etc. The Qur’an does not use the word “mocking” or even “boasting”, it just says that the Jews said that. “but their saying . . . we crucified the Messiah . . . ” But the Qur’an seems to be saying Jesus was not crucified or killed at all. (either by the Jews or the Romans.) The NT puts the blame on the Jewish leadership who manipulated Pilate into doing it.

        Acts 2:22-23
        “Men of Israel, . . . you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men . . . ”

        (see also Acts 3:13-17; 4:27-28)

        1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 – the Jewish leadership killed the Lord Jesus

        Also, the Jewish leadership would not say “the messenger of Allah” or “the messenger of God” – they may have said “the son of Mary”, but they did not believe He was a true prophet or messenger / apostle.

        Like

      • Dummy, it is clear from the context that the Jews were saying that in boast. Again, stop being an r-tard for once in your miserable life.

        Liked by 2 people

    • @Ken Temple

      the quran doesn’t use the words mocking or sneering because God knows that most people can pick up the context and detect sarcasm. question then for you ken, are you saying that if the words mocking or sneering were not in the NT accounts that the words would have to be taken literally? Regardless of the context?That seems rather ridiculous.

      Also you said

      “Also, the Jewish leadership would not say “the messenger of Allah” or “the messenger of God” – they may have said “the son of Mary”, but they did not believe He was a true prophet or messenger / apostle.”

      Oh really? they didn’t believe he was the messiah or the son of god either and yet we see-

      Mark 15:31-32

      31″In the same way, the chief priests and scribes mocked Him among themselves, saying, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! 32Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” And even those who were crucified with Him berated Him.”

      Matthew 27:43

      “He trusts in God. Let God deliver Him now if He wants Him. For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

      Again I have to ask, are you really suggesting that if the bible did not specify and explain that they were mocking and sneering him with these words that we’d have to take it as them suddenly believing in him or wanting to kill the son of god?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Boom! Vaqas the clown-killer destroys Kennywise again!

        Liked by 3 people

      • The entire chapters indicate their mocking, it is clear.

        The Qur’an is denying outright that Jesus died or was crucified on the cross.

        Muslims have had to struggle with the historical facts – that is why there is a history of other interpretations – for example, Lawson’s view of using 2:154 and 3:136 (they did die physically; but now live in their spirits with Allah in paradise) to interpret 4:157′

        Lawson seems to propose that 4:157 must be understood in the light of Surah 2:154 and 3:169

        And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not.
        Surah 2:154

        And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision,
        Surah 3:169

        From what I understand, Lawson is proposing that this helps us interpret Surah 4:157 is a way that acknowledges Jesus did indeed die on the cross, but that the Qur’an is only saying that even though Jesus was killed, His soul / true self / spirit is alive with God, just like the martyrs who were killed in the way of Allah are really alive with God.

        This seems like a really strained interpretation, IMO.

        Also, your point – that is only saying the Jews did not really kill Jesus (but the Romans did) seems weak and strained also, as the Jews would never call Jesus “The Messiah” – that really guts the whole argument. The text never makes clear that the Romans killed him; instead, the Qur’anic text is emphasizing twice “they did not kill him for sure” یقیناَ (Yaqeenan – this is a strong word for “for sure”, “certainly”, “truly”, “really” – we have this in Farsi also. 😉

        and along with Surah 3:54 – 55, it seems that the Qur’an understands Allah as deceiving / tricking / scheming / outwitting the Jews into thinking they killed Jesus, but that Allah took him to heaven and “made it appear to them” that they had killed him.

        The [disbelievers] schemed but God also schemed; God is the Best of Schemers.
        God said, ‘Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me: I will purify you of the disbelievers. To the Day of Resurrection I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieved. Then you will all return to Me and I will judge between you regarding your differences.
        Surah 3:54-55 (Abdul Haleem translation)

        Then, there is the Qur’anic problem of making the followers of Jesus superior (3:55 – Foq, فوق ) and more manifest or dominant (Surah 61:14 – ظاهرین = obvious, manifest, clear) over above the enemies of Christ until the day of resurrection.

        We have both of these in Farsi, coming from Arabic, and it helps to make clear what the Qur’an is saying. The Qur’an contradicts history in several ways, though, both in Surah 4:157 and the ideas of the followers of Jesus becoming dominant yet not believing in His Sonship, Deity, incarnation, death, atonement, and the NT testimony that provides the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.

        Overall, trying to justify these mistakes of the Qur’an is really weak, and testifies that the Qur’an was not inspired or from God Almighty, but one man’s confused subjective understanding of Monotheism and law, without the knowledge of the NT revelation, which at the same unknowingly affirming the previous books of God. (Surah 5:47; 5:68; 10:94)

        Like

      • 😂 Muslims have nothing to “struggle” with. We know there was a crucifixion. But we could care less if a secular historian concludes that Jesus was the one who was crucified. There is no problem because we don’t expect a secular historian to accept a supernatural explanation.

        In contrast, your silly Bible actually claims that zombies took a stroll into Jerusalem! You would have to be a moron, hence why you’re a Christian 😉, to believe this actually happened and yet somehow not one source mentions it outside of Matthew.

        Liked by 2 people

    • @Ken Temple

      “The entire chapters indicate their mocking, it is clear.”
      So you’re able to understand context when it comes to the NT but not the Quran? What exactly is you’re evidence that the quranic narrative is that the jews wanted to kill the messiah they believed in?

      The rest of you’re post was odd as it didn’t address the verses i cited and started going on about things we weren’t even discussing. Did you just copy and paste a former comment and hope that would convince me? Because if so i’m not impressed.

      Liked by 3 people

    • @ Ken

      I couldn’t wait to get home to show what a proper gutting looks like. To begin the “their saying” indicates mocking:

      Ibn kathir
      “…The Jews only uttered these words in jest and mockery…”

      http://m.qtafsir.com/Surah-An-Nisa/The-Evil-Accusation-the-Jews-U—

      So that’s embarrassing (also as you for some reason think this is referring to 1st century Jews this is more than likely referring to the Jews of Arabia just an fyi). Also, he’s not really “justifying” anything, as he noted in the book two big heavy hitters (Zamakshari and Razi) disagreed from a linguistic standpoint that it can’t refer to substituting Jesus(as) on the cross (and I agree with them).

      Next, the Quran does not affirm the fanfiction called the Bible for about the millionth time now. Just saying it over and over doesn’t make it true.

      https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/corruption-of-the-scriptures-part-i-does-islam-confirm-the-bible-as-a-scripture-from-god/

      Finally, there is no “contradiction to history” or “struggle” as you have no proof for it as I’ve demonstrated (i.e. intellectually b!tch slapped you all.) You and I both know you don’t want this smoke, Kennywise:

      https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/21/top-8-contentions-against-the-crucifixion-part-i/

      https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/02/the-crucifiction-series-part-2-the-other-sources/

      Liked by 1 person

  3. @ Paul Williams: correct me if I am wrong as I have not read Lawson’s book, but have read a few articles on the crucifixion. Is not the question of what the Quran is expressing is primarily a exegetical-philological, methodological, contextual and historical-critical one?

    In my opinion, what is important, is what the Quran’s claim is. Not whether the claim is natural or supernatural. People should decide for themselves if they wish to believe the supernatural or not, if that is what the claim is or turns out to be.

    But if I understand correctly, the nature of the what the text is expressing is complex to decide and this has in turn led to various interpretations. I think this is what Paul has correctly pointed out.

    In other words, the claim that “the Qur’an denies the crucifixion of Jesus” is, contrary to popular belief, not necessarily true, nor is it the view of modern scholarship as represented by e.g., Lawson.

    Is that a fair way to describe the issue?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Your summary is very good.

      Like

      • @ Marc and Paul

        Ehhh it’s made to be a little more than it actually is. Lawson is a Bahai (basically everybody is right)

        So I believe his research and conclusion was biased towards this belief. While I agree, we can interpret the verse in a few ways, his position is a bit of stretch to me, but God knows best.

        Liked by 3 people

      • well spotted! You may well be right.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose it might be possible, though I don’t know much about the Bahai faith

        Nevertheless, it seems to me that it goes deeper than simply Lawson. For example, Lawson quotes British Muslim scholar Neal Robinson’s entry “Jesus” from the 2005 Encyclopaedia of Quran on pp. 33-34 as follows:

        “[T]he Qur’anic teaching about Jesus’ death is not entirely clear-cut. Three things, however, may be said with certainty. First, the Qur’ān attaches no salvific importance to his death. Second, it does not mention his resurrection on the third day and has no need of it as proof of God’s power to raise the dead. Third, although the Jews thought that they had killed Jesus, from God’s viewpoint they did not kill or crucify him. Beyond this is the realm of speculation. The classical commentators generally began with the questionable premise that Q 4:157-9 contains an unambiguous denial of Jesus’ death by crucifixion. They found confirmation of this in the existence of traditional reports about a look-alike substitute and hadiths about Jesus’ future descent. Then they interpreted the other Qur’anic references to Jesus’ death in the light of their understanding of this one passage. If, however, the other passages are examined without presupposition and Q 4:157-9 is then interpreted in the light of them, it can be read as a denial of the ultimate reality of Jesus’ death rather than a categorical denial that he died. The traditional reports about the crucifixion of a look-alike substitute probably originated in circles in contact with Gnostic Christians. They may also owe something to early Shi‘i speculation about the fate of the Imams”.

        Other scholars, such as Reynolds, have also argued something similar to what Lawson says. Ultimately, the issues being what they are, I tend to agree with Robinson, that we cannot say much with any degree of certainty. Thus I think Paul has done us all a great service by pointing out the complexity of this issue.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So it’s the usual orientalist presumptions. The traditions must have been the result of Muslims being influenced by Gnostic Christians because why not? Apparently, the Muslims don’t have their own traditions and are incapable of preserving them.

        Orientalism needs to die before there can be any real progress in Western studies of Islam. It still continues to influence many scholars to this day.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’d rather this not be a polemical thread once again…

        Neal Robinson, as I pointed out, is a British Muslim, so my point is that the view goes deeper than just Lawson as a Bahai. But in any case, that part of his statement is about a certain understanding of a substitute. Not about what the Quranic claim itself is, which is our concern here. And I think Paul did well to explain and remind us of the complexities involved so as not to take to firm stands on this issue.

        On the larger issue of “orientalism” I think one must be careful to distinguish between those parts that were clearly unhelpful and condescending and those parts that are still valid today as pointed out by such scholars as Gabriel Reynolds, Mustansir Mir and Mohammad Arkoun. As Arkoun puts it: “It is important to articulate what is really at stake in this quest in order to put an end to, if possible, the sterile out-of-date polemics against the Orientalist philologists.” (Quoted in The Qur’an and Its Biblical Subtext, Routledge, 2010, p. 232).

        It might also be is also important to note that not all orientalists had an insincere attitude towards Islam, Muhammad or the Quran.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Marc C. A correction: I did not say we should not take a firm stand on this issue – only that I as a layman am not qualified to do so. Our ulema can give their firm views, as many have done throughout history.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Marc, it doesn’t matter if Robinson is a Muslim or not. My point is that there tends to be a priori assumptions regarding Islamic traditions. They “must” have been the result of “contact” with Christians. They “must” have originated centuries after Muhammad (pbuh), etc. That kind of approach needs to end.

        Liked by 2 people

      • @ Marc C.

        Not really “polemics”, it’s a fact of life like saying water is wet. Orientalists were hostile and continue to be so to Islam and that’s never going to change.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It will when Muslims take up posts in academia. Biblical studies is dominated by Christians. Islamic studies by Orientalists. It will change, slowly..

        Liked by 1 person

    • @ Marc

      Quick points about Robertson’s notes:

      1. “They found confirmation of this in the existence of traditional reports about a look-alike substitute and hadiths about Jesus’ future descent.”

      There is NO hadith about this verse or it wouldn’t be ambiguous. Even then his future descent would have no basis on if he died or not. We can just pull the Christian that he resurrects and comes back.

      2. ” If, however, the other passages are examined without presupposition and Q 4:157-9 is then interpreted in the light of them, it can be read as a denial of the ultimate reality of Jesus’ death rather than a categorical denial that he died”

      Not really? Here are the two passages I can think of:

      4:157. And they’re bragging: “We killed ‘the Messiah’ Jesus, the son of Mary, God’s ‘Messenger’.” They neither killed nor crucified him, it was only made to appear that way to them. Those who argue over it are full of doubts, and they have no definite knowledge to follow, only guesses and assumptions; but they were not certain if they killed him,
      4:158. rather God raised him up towards Himself. God has always been the Ultimate Authority and the Source of Wisdom.
      4:159. There is none of the People of the Scripture who will not believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.

      3:55. God proclaimed: “Jesus, I’m taking you and raising you up to Me; and I will cleanse you of the disbelievers. I will make those who actually follow you superior to those who disbelieved until the Day of Resurrection. Then you will all return back to Me and I will judge between you regarding what you argued about.”
      3:56. “I will make the disbelievers suffer greatly in the worldly life and in the Next; and no one will help them.”
      3:57. “As for those who believe and do good, God will pay them their reward in full. And God has no love for those who do wrong…”

      I just don’t know how he drew that conclusion.

      3. “The traditional reports about the crucifixion of a look-alike substitute probably originated in circles in contact with Gnostic Christians. They may also owe something to early Shi‘i speculation about the fate of the Imams”.”

      Agree about Gnostics, doubt Shia had anything to do with it as they adopted that belief at a later date.

      4.”Ultimately, the issues being what they are, I tend to agree with Robinson, that we cannot say much with any degree of certainty. Thus I think Paul has done us all a great service by pointing out the complexity of this issue.”

      I agree we can’t say much with certainty but it’s not really “complex”. Lawson, kinda answered the issue in the book when he quoted Zamakshari and Razi.

      Liked by 3 people

      • @ Marc C.
        Thank you for making this so much sweeter:

        “…Their religion spread so fast in Muhammad’s lifetime that we are tempted to attribute to him all merit and all significance. When anywhere, in any religion from its effects of inclusion upon the Dignity of the founder is justified, it should be thought to be in the case in Islam… if Islam has, what cannot be disputed, obtain high importance, it should be thought that its honor must have been a man powered above the ordinary statue of men. And yet, Muhammad was not a great man. He was not a mind that, matching and suffocating, makes the others bow before him. He was not one who, by his own importance, find easy acceptance by the intelligent and studious, not one who, by his luminous ray, put others into the shade. He was not a great man, had not the moral superiority, that silent grandeur to change the minds to him. Muhammad was ignorant; he did not have did not excel by any superiority of mind. Muhammad was a slave to his passions and to sensual greed in every way. No traits of moral nobility, of deeper sentiment, are related of him. Their Arabians are naive enough that they present his character to us in its entire nakedness, without a dormant and paint. Nobody, Free fee from bias, will count Mohammed among heroes….”

        There’s a LOT more he rants (he quotes sone other kaffir about Muhammad(saw) being selfish and basically says any accomplishments Muslims have ever done is because of Judaism) but this was simply to prove you to be a liar (hey he called us important though, lol) I mean if this is your golden boy what did the rest think, lol? Man gtfo here Marc with the bs. What’s this make it now, the 3rd or 4th time I’ve busted you and your fellow orientalist @$$ in a debate I’m not taking seriously?

        Like

      • Yes, he makes that historical evaluation, based on Muslim sources, not cited. Withouth which, he implies, we would have attributed a lot more to Muhammad. But he still considers Muhammad a legitimate and sincere religious leader of the message of Islam to benefit mankind as I quoted himself above.

        In fact, that is also how his contemporaries understood his work Was hat…. Page 59 of Heschel’s book that you quouted by K. Mohammed says that: “Furthermore, de Sacy criticized Geiger’s presentation of Muhammad as a legitimate religious leader; the founder of Islam, remained, for de Sacy, a deceptive fraud”.

        And even if I were not to include Geiger among those positively inclined, my point still remains; not all orientalists were hostile to Islam, notably Goldziher and Weill.

        Like

      • @ Marc

        😂😂😂What! My dude we’re not moving from Geiger. I didn’t know ad hominem and racist insults was “historical evaluation” and not “hostility” and “bias”. My dude you not finessing your way out of anything, you’re just exposing what was behind the smokescreen that I called the moment I met you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So, he had some positive things to say and some that were not so positive. But again, the point remains, not all orientalists were hostile towards Islam.

        Like

      • @ Marc

        Are you messing with me, lol? He literally just called our Prophet(saw) an idiot and that any accomplishment we have ever done is thanks to Judaism. Like cmon man with the stupid sh!t.

        Liked by 2 people

    • QB, to me it is not an a priori assumption “regarding Islamic traditions” alone. I think he employs a historical-critical methodology to trace the history of a certain religious idea or concept. For better or worse such an historical-critical approach is brought to bear in all kinds of fields including religious and historical, such as both Biblical and Quranic studies (cf. Lawson’s mention of docetism). I also note that Stewjo004 agree with this statement by Robinson, perhaps suggesting, that Muslim opinion is not monolithic, at least within certain parameters.

      Like

    • @stewjo004

      “Orientalists were hostile and continue to be so to Islam and that’s never going to change”.

      I suppose we won’t agree on this issue. I don’t deny that many of the early orientalists had a condescending view of Islam, Islamic sources and the prophet Muhammad.

      If you define “hostile to Islam” as applying historical-critical and philological methodology to the study of Islamic sources, granted. In addition, some of the “sins” of the early orientalists also had to do with the field not being mature, not simply or only a matter of hostility. I think for example of the view of the “garbling” of Jewish, Christian etc. sources in the Quran. Compare, for example the somewhat parallel pedantic “German” view of the “Quellen” in the Pentateuch.

      I would, however, say that there were also early scholars such as e.g., Goldziher and Geiger who were not hostile to Islam whatever else one might think about their philological and historical-critical methodology and scholarship.

      I would agree with Paul Williams that Islamic studies will certainly benefit from more Muslims; the more diverse the field, chances are that it well be more balanced and nuanced.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @ Marc C.

        No, I define it as “we hate everything about this religion since we couldn’t beat it with the sword let’s try the pen instead” That’s why all these guys were pastors etc it’s no different then answeringislam.com except they wear fancy moustaches.

        And if you’re referring to Abraham Geiger he was VERY hostile to Islam. So I might need some clarification here.

        And again late to the party we ALREADY did this. This isn’t anything new. What do we need to join a field that we’re more advanced in?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I am referring to Abraham Geiger. And I would say that your definition “we hate everything about this religion since we couldn’t beat it with the sword let’s try the pen instead” is not a fair characterization of Geiger’s position as put forward in “Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judentume aufgenommen?”, Bonn, 1833. I don’t think it would be fair description considering the wider context of his own work either nor do I consider it to be true of the broader context of German-Jewish Islamic scholarship at the time of Geiger and of which he was a part. As German-Jewish Islamic scholarship of the time had quite a positive view of Islam (see in particular the work of Heschel, quoted below especially pp. 91-95, cf. p. 98). I would also add that this is not how historians have understood Geiger’s work.

        Before quoting, however, I would like to point out that Geiger employs a historical-critical approach to provide a description of the history of Muhammad and the Quran. As such, he did not view the Quran as a divine revelation but a human creation. He believed the same type of historical criticism should be applied to the Pentateuch and other Jewish writing and accepted conclusions of the “German” school of critical biblical scholarship

        Below I quote two historians’ evaluation of Geiger:

        “Geiger was remarkably sympathetic to Islam: Muhammad was a genuine religious enthusiast, not a seducer or fraud or epileptic. Besides writing the Qur’an, he recognized the Pentateuch as a book of law and Moses as a law giver; he adopted many Jewish teachings but also inverted some of them. He sought not to be original or to found a new religion but to establish one founded on ancient traditions. Geiger noted remarkable parallels with the Mishnah, which he acknowledged might have also passed to Islam via Christianity: the seven heavens, mentioned in the Qur’an in a few places, come from Mishnah Hagigah 9:2; seven hells, from Eruvin 19:1; those who built the tower of Babel will be annihilated by a poisonous wind (Sura 11:63), or will have no place in the next world, from Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:3; and so forth. Legal reasoning also shows parallels: all commandments are of equal value, but what if a parent, whom we are commanded to honor, tells us to violate a commandment? Both the Talmud (Yebamot 6) and Muhammad (Sura 29:7) pose the problem and respond similarly. Purification before prayer is required by both, and how to pray is specified. “Pronounce not thy prayer aloud, neither pronounce it with too low a voice, but follow a middle way between these,” Muhammad enjoins (Sura 17:110); the Talmud says, “From the behavior of Hannah who in prayer moved her lips we learn that he who prays must pronounce the words, and … not raise his voice loudly” (Berachot 31:2). Geiger insisted that the Qur’an was not the product of Christian heretics teaching Muhammad falsehoods about biblical narratives, as most Christians through the centuries had claimed (with the exception of Peter the Venerable, who blamed Judaism for producing Islam), but that Islam arose as a vehicle for bringing Jewish monotheism to the pagan Arabs. Islam was born of Judaism, and Muhammad, whom Geiger describes in very positive terms, while convinced of his divine mission, mainly wanted to align his teachings with those of the biblical prophets”. (pp. 94-95)

        Susannah Heschel, “German Jewish Scholarship on Islam as a Tool for De-Orientalizing Judaism”: New German Critique, No. 117, Special Issue for Anson Rabinbach (FALL 2012), pp. 91-107.

        “Geiger sought to show that the Qur’ān is largely derived from Rabbinical Judaism, that it reflects what Mohammed had learned from his Jewish teachers faithful to Torah, Mishna, and Talmud. Christian polemicists as early as the eighth century had situated the rise of Islam in the context of Christian heresy: Mahomet had been taught by heretics and it is their doctrine that he infused into his Alcoran. Some of them, for good measure, added bad Jews to the bad Christians who had taught Mahomet. Toland, as we have seen, turned this accusation on its head; the Nazarene Christians in seventh-century Arabia were the last followers of Jesus’s true monotheism, which Mahomet renewed and reinvigorated. For a number of Enlightenment writers, Mahomet was essentially a Deist, proffering a pure monotheism stripped of needless laws and rituals, purified of pagan accretions, Trinity, saints. Geiger has something else in mind. Through a rich and welldocumented comparative study of Talmud and Qur’ān, he sought to show that Islam is essentially derivative of Judaism; indeed, that it is a form of Judaism, truer to the spirit and law of Moses than was Christianity. Yet it was an inferior form of Judaism, as the Qur’ān imperfectly transmitted biblical teachings. Why? In part because the Jews that Mohammed frequented were ignorant, as the compilers of the Talmud attest. Mohammed “desired no peculiarity, no new religion which should oppose all that had gone before; he sought rather to establish one founded on the ancient creeds purified from later changes and additions.” Mohammed was not an impostor. He [now citing Geiger himself] “seems rather to have been a genuine enthusiast [Schwärmer], who was himself convinced of his divine mission, and to whom the union of all religions appeared necessary to the welfare of mankind. He so fully worked himself into this idea in thought, in feeling and in action, that every event seemed to him a divine inspiration.” (pp. 212-213).

        John Tolan “A Jewish Muhammad? The View From Jewish Communities OF Nineteenth-Century Central Europe”, in Faces of Muhammad: Western Perceptions of the Prophet of Islam from the Middle Ages to Today. Princeton, pp. 210-232.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ Marc

        🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Alright, bruh. If you think Abraham Geiger wasn’t hostile to Islam there’s nothing more for us to discuss.

        Liked by 2 people

      • What part, to your mind, is hostile to Islam, excluding the parts derived from his historical-critical approach?

        Like

      • @ Marc

        His whole research was started to “prove” Islam and Christianity were just plagiarizers of Judaism. I’m really not playing this “I’m just neutral and not passive-aggressive because I’m too scared to state my actual views” game with you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • @ Paul

        I will however just make a note for you;

        “Geiger, a rabbi and historian, obviously wrote primarily as a Jew to bring about reform and to counteract prevalent anti-Jewish feelings. In her masterful study of Geiger, Susannah Heschel has noted that, during the Middle Ages, it was a common anti-Semitic practice to blame Judaism for the rise of Islam. Geiger’s approach was not to deny any of this, but to skillfully show that in its dependence on Jewish tradition, Islam was totally a human concoction and absolutely unoriginal.[22] Whatever good that lay in Islam came from Judaism and the bad derived from the innate backwardness of Muḥammad and his Arabs.[23] Based on Geiger’s writings, until the ideas of Christian provenance were propounded by Richard Bell,[24] German scholars christened Islam as schmarotzergewächs (a parasitic growth out of Judaism). [25] By focusing on his stories of Jewish suffering at the hands of Muslims, Geiger hoped to show, that for both Christianity and Judaism, Islam was the common enemy.”

        Click to access a_muslim_approach_to_western_studies_of_islam.pdf

        I mean it’s soooo much love Paul!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • @ Paul

        Don’t be nervous Paul, the retarded, bias or naive like Marc should be.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Well, that is not exactly what Susannah Heschel is saying on p. 59 in her book “Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus” cited by Khaleel Mohammed (whom I respect as a scholar). Yes, Geiger’s discussed what material might be of “Jewish background” in the Quran, but on p. 59 of her book she does not connect Geiger’s discussion and thesis of “Jewish material” in the Quran with hostile Christian claims, that Islam is a common enemy of Judaism and Christianity or any other anti-Islamic motives. In fact, page 59 of her book deals more with the reception of Geiger’s thesis, rather than what Geiger’s motives for writing it are or his self-understanding of his thesis. As, I have already quoted her as seeing Geiger was positive towards Islam and Muhammad.

        And K. Mohammed does not provide any documentation for the statement that: “By focusing on his stories of Jewish suffering at the hands of Muslims, Geiger hoped to show, that for both Christianity and Judaism, Islam was the common enemy.” Neither can his claim that “Whatever good that lay in Islam came from Judaism and the bad derived from the innate backwardness of Muḥammad and his Arabs”.[23] be found on p. 253-255 of Geiger’s book “Judaism and it’s history”, New York 1911.

        In addition to Heschel, other scholars have noted as well that Jewish scholars’ positive attitude towards Islam. Below are some relevant quotes from the article by S. Heschel quoted in a previous post. If need be, I can provide the references from the scholars she quotes as well.

        “During the nineteenth century, a Jewish Orientalism arose that sought the elevation of Islam as a rational religion with an intimate relationship to Judaism. In their studies of the Quran, in particular, European Jewish scholars, from the 1830s to the 1930s, helped shape the field of Islamic studies, and in the surveys of Jewish history and theology written for popular audiences Islam came to function as a template for presenting some of Judaism’s central religious claims to a European readership. European Jews were fascinated by Islam and praised its monotheism, rationalism, openness to science and philosophy, rejection of anthropomorphism, and adherence to a religious law based in ethics. In doing so, European Jews aligned Islam with Judaism in opposition to Christianity. Jewish historians contrasted the tolerance afforded Jews in Muslim Spain to the sufferings of Jews in medieval Chris tian Europe and praised Islamic rationalism and toleration for allowing Jews and Judaism to flourish. This Jewish discourse was a different kind of “Orientalism,” one that imagined an Enlightened Islam and that used it as a vehicle to insist on a “purified,” rational Judaism. In other words, Islam in the European Jewish context was a tool for de-Orientalizing Judaism” (p. 91).

        “As Marchand, Bernard Lewis, Martin Kramer, and others have noted, a Jewish “discovery of Islam” led to scholarly and popular works that spoke in highly positive terms about Islamic theological principles, medieval explorations of science and philosophy, and, in particular, a Jewish “golden age” under Muslim rule in medieval Spain. The distinctiveness of Jewish scholarship, Lewis has pointed out, was that “the Jewish scholar, unlike many of his Christian colleagues, had no missionary ambitions, no nostalgia for the Crusades, no concern with the Eastern question. He was free from the inherited fears, prejudices and inhibitions that had often marred Christian scholarship.” Indeed, Jews were among the finest scholars and greatest admirers of Islam in Europe” (p. 92-93).

        “Both Weil and Geiger stressed the affinities between Judaism and Islam, though Weil went a step farther, presenting Islam as superior to both Judaism and Christianity. For Geiger, Islam was a branch of Judaism, and Muhammad was a genuine religious enthusiast. In Weil’s account, Islam was a purified version of both Judaism and Christianity: “A Judaism without the many ritual and ceremonial laws, which, according to Mohamed’s declaration, even Christ had been called to abolish, or a Christianity without the Trinity, crucifixion and salvation connected therewith”—that is, Weil constructed Islam after the image of religion of his day: Judaism without law, Christianity without dogma; Islam was the Enlightenment religion”. (p. 96).

        “Geiger was remarkably sympathetic to Islam: Muhammad was a genuine religious enthusiast, not a seducer or fraud or epileptic. Besides writing the Qur’an, he recognized the Pentateuch as a book of law and Moses as a law giver; he adopted many Jewish teachings but also inverted some of them. He sought not to be original or to found a new religion but to establish one founded on ancient traditions. Geiger noted remarkable parallels with the Mishnah, which he acknowledged might have also passed to Islam via Christianity: the seven heavens, mentioned in the Qur’an in a few places, come from Mishnah Hagigah 9:2; seven hells, from Eruvin 19:1; those who built the tower of Babel will be annihilated by a poisonous wind (Sura 11:63), or will have no place in the next world, from Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:3; and so forth. Legal reasoning also shows parallels: all commandments are of equal value, but what if a parent, whom we are commanded to honor, tells us to violate a commandment? Both the Talmud (Yebamot 6) and Muhammad (Sura 29:7) pose the problem and respond similarly. Purification before prayer is required by both, and how to pray is specified. “Pronounce not thy prayer aloud, neither pronounce it with too low a voice, but follow a middle way between these,” Muhammad enjoins (Sura 17:110); the Talmud says, “From the behavior of Hannah who in prayer moved her lips we learn that he who prays must pronounce the words, and … not raise his voice loudly” (Berachot 31:2). Geiger insisted that the Qur’an was not the product of Christian heretics teaching Muhammad falsehoods about biblical narratives, as most Christians through the centuries had claimed (with the exception of Peter the Venerable, who blamed Judaism for producing Islam), but that Islam arose as a vehicle for bringing Jewish monotheism to the pagan Arabs. Islam was born of Judaism, and Muhammad, whom Geiger describes in very positive terms, while convinced of his divine mission, mainly wanted to align his teachings with those of the biblical prophets”. (pp. 94-95)

        So much of Geiger’s central thesis can no longer be sustained– agreed – though this is not the point. The point is that he was not hostile to Islam or Muhammad. Whereas Christian polemicists viewed Muhammad as an impostor, a fraud etc. Geiger’s viewed him as genuine, a man who was concerned with the welfare of mankind and spoke positively of him and his religious mission.

        There is a big difference between trying critically to trace religious and historical developments and being hostile towards the community that produced and transmitted these texts. Many secular Biblical scholars, for example, do not believe the Bible is divinely inspired. But that doesn’t mean they cannot appreciate the aesthetics of such texts or that they are hostile towards them.

        Similarly, Geiger also accepted the “German” scholarship’s source-critical and historical-critical conclusions of the Torah. And, of course, this did not mean that he was hostile to his own community of Jews and Judaism to whom he served as a Rabbi.

        It may be that I am wrong. And if you can show Geiger was, on the whole hostile to Islam or Muhammad, then I will obviously have to reconsider my position. But the scholarship I am familiar with and which I have quoted, says otherwise. I am prepared to change my mind if I am wrong.

        Like

      • My apologies for the reading challenged:

        1.Susanna

        He never claimed that she connected the material so this is a red herring on your part. He stated that it was common practice in the Middle Ages to blame Jews for the rise of Islam.

        2. Geiger since you appeared to just be parroting what others claim let’s read the man himself and his long tirade calling Muhammad(saw) and the Arabs stupid (oh lookey here pg 253-255 but really he starts at the beginning of the chapter on Islam):

        https://books.google.com/books?id=ZV8aAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA247&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

        So you just straight up lied, lol. And his is why I (or nobody here) has any respect for you, the BS you’re saying or orientalist. Man stop trying to hustle a hustler.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have read from the beginning of the chapter up to p. 255.

        He makes historical evaluations that clearly are wrong and questionable. But that is not the same as hostility towards Islam or Muhammad. I have already quoted Geiger himself stating that Muhammad was sincere in his mission and his religious message.

        Like

      • @ Marc

        😒😒😒Am I seriously going to have to type this up to show you didn’t read it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not going to tell you what to do. But even if I should be wrong about Geiger, it is a relatively small point. I have already quoted Geiger himself that Muhammad was sincere and sincere to deliver his message of Islam; I have provided quotes by scholars of the field that the general German-Jewish milieu from which Geiger came and worked in, is depicted as positive of Islam; and Geiger is understood by a historian such as Heschel to be positive towards Islam and Muhammad.

        The point remains that not all orientalists were hostile to Islam, such as Goldziher and Weill, even if we exclude Geiger from falling in this category.

        Like

  4. Ehhh it’s made to be a little more than it actually is. Lawson is a Bahai

    That was a good find. Good job Stewjo004 – I commend you on this. Very helpful. The video says he has been a Bahai since 1968 – wow ! (in the first few minutes) I have not had time to listen to the rest.

    I did not realize that Todd Lawson was Bahai.

    Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The above quotations about Abraham Geiger that Marc C. gave seem very true.

    “Through a rich and well documented comparative study of Talmud and Qur’ān, he [Abraham Geiger] sought to show that Islam is essentially derivative of Judaism; indeed, that it is a form of Judaism, truer to the spirit and law of Moses than was Christianity. Yet it was an inferior form of Judaism, as the Qur’ān imperfectly transmitted biblical teachings.”

    Like

  6. Actually dr. Shabir Ally did a great job in this debate he did with Tomas Ross. He tackled this subject brilliantly. Please watch it here @ (1:05:09)’

    Notice that Q gospel doesn’t have the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

    How did jews- at that time- who believed in Jesus prove that God with Jesus?
    The answer is either:
    1- God took him up to heaven (assumption) like what had happened to Elijah or Enoch.
    2- God took him up to heaven directly after death.
    3- God resurrected him.

    The key question is, if God did resurrect Jesus after death, why does Jesus have to go any elsewhere?

    Liked by 4 people

  7. forth coming book: the cross of christ by w richard oakes jr & https://www.edinburgh.academia.edu/RickOakes

    Like

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