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and fear of public outburst was imminent? 13. Can a believer imagine that Jesus (who was one of the five most determined and persistent messengers of God) would speak to God from the cross in the manner he is said to have spoken, in a tone of reproach or at best of anxiety? Is it proper for a distinguished prophet like Jesus to say to God at a trying time that God has forsaken him? Is that to be taken as a pattern or precedence in addressing God or in reacting to the trying experiences? 14. Was God the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving and the Most High unable to forgive men’ s sins except by inflicting this cruel and most humiliating alleged crucifixion on one who was not only innocent but also dedicated to His service and cause in a most remarkable way? Is this the application of God’ s mercy and forgiveness or the reflection of His justice and love? A study of the surrounding circumstances of the time, the behavior of the mundane authorities, the public reactions, the concept of God, the status of man, the purpose of religion and the life – a study of these can provoke interesting thoughts similar to the ones I have mentioned. Until a satisfactory explanation of such inquiries is found, the believer cannot be at ease, nor can he enjoy any true peace of mind. So it may be advisable for all parties concerned to make a serious study of the matter and embark on a deeper course of investigation However, as far as the Muslims are concerned, such inquiries never arise, and such perplexities are irrelevant, for Islam stands firm in maintaining that Jesus was not crucified or killed, but was honored and raised to God Himself. It is reported in Christian Literature that Jesus appeared, after crucifixion, to some disciples. His appearance is quite probable and conflicts in no way with the Islamic beliefs. If it was true that he appeared, the Muslim would believe that this appearance was not after death on the Cross but after the asylum; which he had taken by the order of God as a step in God’ s plan to save him and counteract the vicious conspiracy of the enemies. Instead of being crucified and humiliated as had been planned by the enemy, he was more exalted in rank and more honored as had been counter-planned by God The greatness of Jesus and the distinction of his role do not, according to the Muslims, emanate from the Christian belief that he was cold-bloodedly crucified because of his teachings and to atone for man’ s sins. If this popular belief is valid, one might be tempted to say that the sacrifice of Jesus for atonement was in vain because sin has not been eliminated. Or one may even say that there are thousands of great heroes, like Jesus, who died in promotion of their causes, worthy and otherwise. These can be found everywhere, among the Germans, the Allies, the Communists, the officials of the United Nations Organization, the religious warriors, the freedom fighters, etc. So if this violent death is going to deify the dead, humanity must have countless gods and deities, and it would be arbitrary on anybody’ s part to confine such deity to Jesus alone, disregarding the other heroes who died in similar situations Again, the Muslim does not face such a paradox. He believes that the greatness of Jesus arises from the fact that he was chosen by God and honored with His word; that he was entrusted with the revelations of God and commissioned to teach His message; that he was a prophet of character and personality; that he was sincere inwardly and outwardly; that he fought hypocrisy and blasphemy; that he was distinguished in the beginning at the time of his birth and in the end at the time of his ascension; and that he was a Sign to the people and a mercy from God. Peace be on him and his fellow prophets The nature of this survey does not permit us to deal thoroughly with the statements of the Qur’ an on Jesus and his mission. What has been given here is only the fundamental part. For further study and investigation the reader may be referred to the Qur’ an itself. To facilitate the references, a table showing the relevant chapters and verses in the Qur’ an is here presented CHAPTER NUMBER VERSE NUMBER 2 87,136,253

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II