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About Arabic Pronouns in the Quranic Text and the Death of Jesus Christ

About Arabic Pronouns in the Quranic Text and the Death of Jesus Christ

 

 

 

Published in August 15, 2020

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

 We received an important question via an email message and our answering it requires a number of articles; we quote part of the email message here followed by our reply: (... Dear Dr. Mansour, ... I sometimes find contradiction between Arabic grammatical rules about pronouns and the pronouns employed in the Quranic text; this may lead to change of meanings in, for example, 4:157 about Jesus Christ and his contemporaries; hence, what is meant by 4:147 concerning the man who died on the cross? Was he Jesus or someone else who resembled his looks? How can I be sure that pronouns in the Quranic text refer to this person or to that group of people? ........ Any ideas?... Thank you in advance ...).

 

OUR REPLY:

 

Firstly: about understanding the Holy Quran:

1- We refer readers to our English and French book about understanding the holy Quran, found on the following two links respectively:

How to Understand the Holy Quran:

http://www.ahl-alquran.com/arabic/book_main.php?main_id=121

Comment Comprendre le Saint Coran:

http://www.ahl-alquran.com/arabic/book_main.php?main_id=153

2- In our book titled (How to Understand the Holy Quran), we assert that Quranist researchers must understand the Quranic terminology from within the Quranic text itself and NEVER from other sources of Arabic linguistics: grammar, syntax, semantics, lexicons, morphology...etc. We explain in our book that one must trace the term/topic under study in all verses within their local contexts and then their general context in the entire Quranic text. We assert that the books and rules of Arabic grammarians and lexicographers of the Abbasid Era have nothing to do with the unique Quranic tongue which is a special variety of Arabic. Hence, pronouns in the Quranic text pose no problem at all; they are very clear and persons/things to which they refer is also clear and easy to understand. We are currently writing a book about Arabic grammar and linguistics (initiated by Al-Khalil Ibn Ahmad and his disciple Sibaweih in the Abbasid Era) and their relation (or rather lack thereof) with the Quranic text. The Holy Quran is above such rules of grammar and linguistics and it has nothing to do with them.

 

Secondly: about pronouns in the Quranic text:

 Let us trace to persons to which the pronouns refer in the local context about Jesus Christ in the Quranic Chapter Four.

1- Of course, the plural pronouns here refer only to the People of the Book known also as the Israelites: "The People of the Book challenge you to bring down to them a book from the sky. They had asked Moses for something even greater. They said, “Show us God plainly.” The thunderbolt struck them for their wickedness. Then they took the calf for worship, even after the clear proofs had come to them. Yet We pardoned that, and We gave Moses a clear authority. And We raised the Mount above them in accordance with their covenant, and We said to them, “Enter the gate humbly”, and We said to them, “Do not violate the Sabbath”, and We received from them a solemn pledge. But for their violation of their covenant, and their denial of God’s Verses, and their killing of the prophets unjustly, and their saying, “Our minds are closed.” In fact, God has sealed them for their disbelief, so they do not believe, except for a few. And for their faithlessness, and their saying against Mary a monstrous slander. And for their saying, “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God.” In fact, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them as if they did. Indeed, those who differ about him are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, except the following of assumptions. Certainly, they did not kill him." (4:153-157).

2- The singular pronouns here refer only to Jesus Christ: "And for their saying, “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God.” In fact, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them as if they did. Indeed, those who differ about him are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, except the following of assumptions. Certainly, they did not kill him. Rather, God raised him up to Him. God is Mighty and Wise." (4:157-158).

3- In the following Quranic verse, the plural pronoun refers only to the Israelites and the singular pronoun refers only to Jesus Christ: "There are some from the People of the Book who believed with him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness for them." (4:159). Of course, it is asserted here that some of the People of the Book who were contemporaries of Jesus Christ believed with him and considered him as a messenger and a mortal prophet; on the Last Day, he will testify in their favor as a witness. 

4- The plural pronouns in the following context refer only to the Israelites: the sinful unjust ones among them and the believing monotheists among them: "Due to injustices committed by the Jews, We forbade them good things that used to be lawful for them; and for deterring many from God’s Path. And for their taking usury, although they were forbidden it; and for their consuming people's wealth dishonestly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment. But those among them firmly rooted in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you; and the observers of prayers and Zakat, and the believers in God and the Last Day - upon these We will bestow an immense reward." (4:160-162).

5- In sum, all pronouns, and the things/persons to which they refer, are clear in the Holy Quran which is a Clear Book with Clear Verses.

 

Thirdly: about the dispute among the Israelites regarding Jesus Christ:

1- The Lord God says the following in the Holy Quran: "And for their saying, “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God.” In fact, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them as if they did. Indeed, those who differ about him are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, except the following of assumptions. Certainly, they did not kill him. Rather, God raised him up to Him. God is Mighty and Wise." (4:157-158). This means clearly that the following facts are asserted.

1/1: Jesus Christ was not killed by any means (therefore, he was not crucified).

1/2: The Lord God took the soul of Jesus Christ to Him means that Jesus Christ died and his soul went to the Barsakh level of the death like all dead human souls; i.e., this is a natural, ordinary death since he was never murdered.

1/3: The Israelites at the time disputed the matter and never knew if he was dead or not or murdered or not. They were doubtful regarding this topic and followed mere conjectures.

2- Such dispute, in our view, is based on two aspects as follows.

2/1: A Quranic fact never mentioned in the Bible's New Testament, which is a false document written after the death of Jesus Christ containing a false account of his life, which is that there was an armed struggle or battle which took place between Jesus and his Israelite followers on the one hand and their disbelieving enemies among the Israelites on the other hand. In this battle, Jesus and the monotheistic believers with him emerged victorious: "O you who believe! Be supporters of God, as Jesus son of Mary said to the disciples, “Who are my supporters towards God?” The disciples said, “We are God's supporters.” So a group of the Israelites believed, while another group disbelieved. We supported those who believed against their foe, so they became dominant." (61:14).

2/2: The dispute over the nature of the deified Jesus Christ after his death; is he a god, a demi-god, or a son of a god? is he part human and part divine? How were both nature mixed? To what extent? When and how he was transfigured into a 'divine' being? For how much time? Did the divine nature left him? When and how? Of course, such theological debates and disputes emerged between the Catholic Church of Rome and the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt. The Egyptians, in contrast to the Roman Catholics, insisted that they are Monophysists; the Catholics of Rome persecuted the Egyptian Orthodox Copts for a long while, and so did the Byzantines, and this continued even during the revelation of the Holy Quran to Muhammad in the 7th century Arabia. Of course, some Israelites insisted on the fact that Jesus Christ was a mortal prophet/messenger who was a human being and not a god of any kind. Of course, the debate between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church of Alexandria extended to other topics like the birth and death of Jesus Christ. Of course, the Lord God refutes the whole or partial 'divinity' of Jesus Christ in the Holy Quran; the Lord God says the following in the Holy Quran: "O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion, and do not say about God except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, is the Messenger of God, and His Word that He conveyed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and do not say, “Three.” Refrain - it is better for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him - that He should have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and the earth, and God is a Sufficient Guardian. The Messiah does not disdain to be a servant of God, nor do the favored angels. Whoever disdains His worship, and is too arrogant - He will round them up to Him altogether." (4:171-172); "They disbelieve those who say, “God is the Messiah the son of Mary.” But the Messiah himself said, “O Israelites! Worship God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever associates others with God, God has forbidden him Paradise, and his dwelling is the Fire. The unjust ones have no supporters.” They disbelieve those who say, “God is the third of three.” But there is no deity except the One God. If they do not refrain from what they say, a painful torment will befall those among them who disbelieve. Will they not repent to God and ask His forgiveness? God is Forgiving and Merciful. The Messiah son of Mary was only a messenger, before whom other messengers had passed away, and his mother was a woman of truth. They both used to eat food. Note how We make clear the Verses to them; then note how deluded they are. Say, “Do you worship, besides God, what has no power to harm or benefit you?” But God: He is the Hearer, the Knower. Say, “O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion beyond the Truth; and do not follow the opinions of people who went astray before, and misled many, and themselves strayed off the balanced way.”" (5:72-77).

 

Fourthly: Jesus Christ will be a witness, on the Last Day, bearing testimony only against his contemporaries:

1- The Lord God says the following in the Holy Quran: "There are some from the People of the Book who believed with him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness for them." (4:159).

2- Some of the People of the Book (or Israelites) at the time believed with Jesus Christ in the Gospel and in the fact that he was a mortal prophet. Of course, some of the people of the Book in all eras until our modern era now believe in the same view (i.e., that Jesus was a mortal prophet/messenger of the Lord God and that he died a natural death). The Lord God says the following in the Holy Quran about the People of the Book.

2/1: "They are not alike. Among the People of the Book is a community that is upright; they read God’s Verses throughout the night, and they prostrate themselves. They believe in God and the Last Day, and advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and are quick to do good deeds. These are among the righteous ones. Whatever good they do, they will not be denied it. God knows the pious ones." (3:113-115). This means it is a permanent fact that such monotheistic believers (who deem Jesus Christ as a mortal prophet who died a natural death) exist in all eras until now.

2/2: This fact is asserted further here: "Among the People of the Book are those who believe in God, and in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed to them. They are humble before God, and they do not sell God’s Verses for a cheap price. These will have their reward with their Lord. God is swift in judgment." (3:199).

3- Yet, Jesus Christ as witness on the Last Day will bear testimony only against his contemporaries; i.e., those who lived in the same era and location alongside with him. This is about this testimony of Jesus Christ on the Last Day: "And God will say, “O Jesus son of Mary, did you say to the people, `Take me and my mother as gods rather than God?'“ He will say, “Glory be to You! It is not for me to say what I have no right to. Had I said it, You would have known it. You know what is in my soul, and I do not know what is in Your soul. You are the Knower of the hidden. I only told them what You commanded me: that you shall worship God, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them while I was among them; but when You took me to You, You became the Watcher over them - You are Witness over everything. If You punish them, they are Your servants; but if You forgive them, You are the Mighty and Wise.”" (5:116-118). The focus here is on the following three points.

3/1: The testimony of Jesus Christ is only concerning his contemporaries; his natural death is mentioned here: "... And I was a witness over them while I was among them; but when You took me to You, You became the Watcher over them - You are Witness over everything." (5:117).

3/2: The testimony of Jesus Christ will be against those who deified him and also deified his mother Mary.

3/3: Jesus Christ will disown such polytheists among his contemporaries and he never cares if the Lord God will pardon them or will torment them in Hell: "If You punish them, they are Your servants; but if You forgive them, You are theMighty and Wise.”" (5:118); Jesus Christ will not say ''Merciful" in this situation.

 

Fifthly: every messenger/prophet will be a witness bearing testimony against his contemporaries only:

1- The Lord God has said the following to Muhammad about his people/contemporaries in Arabia.

1/1: "...when We bring a witness from every community, and We bring you as a witness against these." (4:41); "On the Day when We raise up a witness from every community - those who disbelieved will not be permitted, nor will they be excused." (16:84).

1/2: This is addressed to the people of Arabia at the time: "We have sent to you a messenger, a witness against you..." (73:15).

1/3: Thus, the topic of the testimony of Jesus Christ, on the Last Day, against his contemporaries is their deification of Jesus and Mary; the topic of the testimony of Muhammad, on the Last Day, against his contemporaries is his disowning their hadiths/lies they have ascribed to him and that they have abandoned the Quran. the Lord God has addressed the following to him.

1/3/1: "On the Day when We raise in every community a witness against them, from among them, and bring you as a witness against these. We have revealed to you the Book, as an explanation of all things, and guidance, and mercy and good news for those who submit." (16:89); this means his testimony revolves around the fact that the Clear Quran which explains and clarifies anything in religion which would require an explanation/clarifications; therefore, there is no room at all for the so-called Sunna or hadiths in True Islam.

1/3/2: This is about his testimony against his contemporaries in Arabia for their abandoning the Quran: "And the messenger will say, “My Lord, my people have abandoned this Quran.” Likewise, to every prophet We assign enemies from among the criminals. But your Lord suffices as a Guide and Supporter." (25:30-31).

 

Sixthly: about the natural death of Jesus Christ:

1- Of course, the Quranic assertion of the natural death of Jesus Christ comes within the context of the Lord God's prediction regarding what Jesus Christ will say on the Last Day as a witness against his contemporaries: "I only told them what You commanded me: that you shall worship God, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them while I was among them; but when You took me to You, You became the Watcher over them - You are Witness over everything." (5:117); this means that he died a natural death after fulfilling his lifetime, fates, deeds, and provisions; this refutes the so-called 'second coming' of Jesus Christ.

2- The natural death of Jesus Christ is asserted in the following Quranic verses.

2/1: This Quranic phrase is repeated three times in the Quranic text: "Every soul will have a taste of death..." (3:185 + 21:35 + 29:57). Of course, this includes the mortal prophet/messenger Jesus Christ because he was a human soul like all human souls.

2/2: In the Quranic Chapter 19, we read the following about John, the son of Zachariah, and then about how baby Jesus spoke in his cradle: "“O John, hold on to the Book firmly,” and We gave him wisdom in his youth. And tenderness from Us, and innocence. He was devout. And kind to his parents; and he was not a disobedient tyrant. And peace be upon him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the Day he is raised alive. And mention in the Book Mary, when she withdrew from her people to an eastern location." (19:12-16); "He said, “I am the servant of God. He has given me the Book, and made me a prophet. And has made me blessed wherever I may be; and has enjoined on me prayer and charity, so long as I live. And kind to my mother, and He did not make me a disobedient rebel. So Peace is upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the Day I get resurrected alive.” That is Jesus son of Mary - the Word of Truth about which they doubt. " (19:30-34); we notice here in the following two Quranic verses, respectively, the similarity about the natural death of john and the natural death of Jesus Christ since both were mortal prophets of the Lord God: "And peace be upon him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the Day he is raised alive. " (19:15); "So Peace is upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the Day I get resurrected alive." (19:33).

3- This Quranic phrase about Jesus: "Rather, God raised him up to Him..." (4:158) is explained within another context about another prophet named Idris: "And mention in the Book Idris. He was a man of truth, a prophet. And We raised him to a high position." (19:56-57).

 

Lastly:

1- The assertion and emphasis in the following verse: "There are some from the People of the Book who believed with him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness for them." (4:159) indicates clearly that some of the Israelites (or the People of the Book) who were contemporaries of Jesus Christ have believed with him and he will bear a testimony in their favor as a witness on the Last Day. The possessive pronoun in the Quranic phrase (before his death) refers only to Jesus Christ himself; he died a natural death. Of course, the possessive pronoun (his) does not refer to anyone else in the same context. 

2- Jesus Christ is not immortal; he does not go on living somewhere; the same applies to Muhammad who is also deified by polytheists decades after his death; the Quranic proof is here in this verse addressed to Muhammad: "We did not grant immortality to any human being before you. Should you die, are they then the immortal?" (21:34); of course, 21:34 indicates clearly that Muhammad and Jesus Christ are not immortal beings; again, the Lord God says the following in the Holy Quran: "Every soul will taste death..." (21:35).

 Our very next article is about debunking the myth known as the 'second coming' of Jesus Christ.

 

   


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