Tag Archives: Peter

Jesus (Nabi ‘Eesa alayhissalaam), Was Neither Killed…Nor Crucified

We have seen that Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) greeted his disciples like a Muslim, by saying: “Peace be unto you”, when he appeared before them after his so-called ‘resurrection’ (John 20:19). Muslims use the same words to greet, (but in Arabic): Assalaamu Alaikum.

We have also seen that the utterances of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) have been supportive of and predicting about the rise of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and through him the belief Islam and the believing nation of Muslims, to which his followers are required to join.

In John 16: 12 & 13, Jesus says:

“I have yet many things to say unto you,

but you cannot bear them now.

Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come,

He will guide you into all truth; ”

In forthcoming posts , will see that this prophecy by Prophet Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) refers to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), whose arrival his followers were directed to await. The many things that Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) would have liked to tell his followers have not been told to them, not because Jesus did not know them, but only because his followers were not ready to bear them at that time: “….. but you cannot bear them now.

When Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) states “you cannot bear them now”, it only refers to his followers and does not include himself, because he did not say: “WE cannot bear them now”.

Since Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) didn’t count himself among them in this matter, it means he was ready to bear them: the guidance that the expected prophet will bring. He was aware of them and he was ready to bear them. But did he follow in action what he knew and was ready for? Yes. He did much of what a Muslim would do and is expected to do. In fact, this begins to happen even while he anticipates arrest by the Roman rulers.

He comes to know that he will be betrayed by one of his disciples, Judas, into the hands of the Jews, who intended to kill him. Apart from this, the other thing that makes him sorrowful is that he was expecting to do many things that a Muslim does. He was looking forward to the joy of doing all those things; but now his end is staring on the face. He tells his disciples:

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.” 

(Mark 14:34)

The one thing that he can surely do, before he is arrested, is to pray to the Lord as a Muslim prays. So he prays like a Muslim and does prostration (Sajda), touching his forehead to the ground:

“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed….” (Matthew 26:39) What is his prayer to the Lord? The verse (Matthew 26:39) continues: “…saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.

Mark 14:36 says about his prayer: “And he said, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what you will.

Luke 22:42 says about Jesus’ prayer: “Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but your, be done.

The common thing observed from the above verses is: Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) prays to the Lord to save him from the anticipated persecution at the hands of the Jews; yet not as Jesus wishes but as the Lord wills. Do you realize what Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) is stating at this moment? He subdues his wishes and submits himself to the will of Allah. In other words, Jesus declares his Islam, submission, at that moment.

 A Muslim is one who has submitted to the will of Allah. Islam means submission (to the will of Allah), while it also means Peace. Thus, by declaring his submission to the will of Allah, Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) declared himself to be a Muslim.

Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. ” (2:136)

Thus, Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) practiced Islam, i.e., Submission 

and he got Islam, i.e., Peace. How?

The Bible tells us in Luke 22:43

“ And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”

This is in appreciation of his act of Submission and as an answer to his prayers. The  strength at that moment but what he needed most desperately was solace and assurance from the Lord that he would be saved from the arrest and wanted the freedom to perform the things he wanted to do as a Muslim.

So, Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) the Muslim (peace be upon him) had prayed in ARABIC: “Yaa Ilaahi, Yaa Ilaahi, Lima Sabaqtanee? ”. Does the phrase sound familiar?? Yes, this is what he asked the Lord at that moment. “O my Lord, O my Lord, Why have you advanced me (in my end)?? ”

Since he wished to do important things which a Muslim must do while he is still alive, the threatened end troubles him. So his prayer: “ O my Lord, O my Lord, Why have you ADVANCED ME? ”

Having not understood what he said, but actually having misunderstood what he said, the writers of the Gospel shifted these words into a situation where it fitted according to their understanding and scheme. The prayer has thus been misunderstood and then quoted out of context.

He did not utter such words at the cross, where he was never taken. They say that Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) said: “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachtani? That is to say:My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? “(Matthew 27:46)

The above statement attributed to Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) is totally wrong, because:

1. God will never forsake His messenger.

2. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , who submits himself to the will of the Lord, will never utter such a
Word.

(Please refer to the three verses quoted above: Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42)

The prayer of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) did not go unanswered, but was answered through the angel, which appeared, in order to strengthen him. Luke 22:43: “ And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

What message did the angel carry from the Lord, in reply to Jesus’ (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) question: “ O my Lord, O my Lord, Why have you advanced me? ”

Let us turn to Qur’an, 3:55:

 “When Allah said: O Jesus! I will complete your (term)

and cause you to ascend unto Me

and cleanse you of those who disbelieve…”

Allah assures that Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) will be saved from the Jews and that his term and what is destined for him is guaranteed for him and that Allah will cause Jesus to ascend unto Him. The Bible agrees that Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) ascended unto heaven (Luke 24:51), but the main dispute is about what happened in between: the alleged crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) .

Allah says in Qur’an that they neither killed him nor crucified him, but it was made to appear so unto them. In many places in Qur’an, it has been mentioned that Jews used to kill the prophets unjustly. But in the case of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) it vehemently denies that they killed him or that they crucified him. This is because Qur’an will not contain anything except truth.

Surah 4, Verses 157 & 158:

 “and their saying : we killed Christ Jesus, son of Mary, The messenger of Allah – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it was made to appear to them so; and those who disagree concerning it are full of doubts; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; For surely they killed him not; but Allah took him up unto Himself; and Allah is ever mighty, wise.”

From the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), we get a more detailed account. The Muslim belief is that Allah changed the face of the person who betrayed Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , showing to the rulers the place where he was hiding, into a face resembling Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . So, they crucified that betrayer instead of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) .

Let us now do a deeper study of the above verses of Qur’an, so that we may be rightly guided into the truth. Allah says in Qur’an not only that Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) was not killed, but also that he was not crucified, either. Those who do not accept the truth or those who accept only a part of the truth will never get at the truth.

As a result, 

1. those who wish to prove that Jesus was crucified, but did not die at the cross; and

2. those who believe that Jesus was crucified and killed at the cross, have equally failed to convince and provide clear-cut answers to the many points that beg a solution. 

Allah has said: “……and those who disagree concerning it are full of doubts.”

Those who disagree that he was neither killed nor crucified, are full of doubts.

So, before proceeding with our study, let us not disagree and let us not be in doubt any more. But let us fully believe in what Allah, The Exalted, says, so that we may be correctly guided. Allah says to Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), about Qur’an: “And We sent down the Book to you for the express purpose, that you should make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe.” (Qur’an 16:64)

Allah has said three things about the alleged crucifixion of Jesus:

1. They didn’t kill him.

2. They didn’t crucify him.

3. But it was made to appear to them so.

In the case of an affirmative sentence, like: “They killed him” , there is no doubt. Everything is clear. 1. The Offender 2. The Offence 3. The Offended. But once the word “NOT” comes in and makes it a negative sentence, like: “They DID NOT kill him”, there is a possibility to vary the meaning in three ways by shifting the stress alternatingly on the rest of the three words:

1. “They did not kill him” would mean that somebody else killed him.

2. “They did not kill him” in this context would mean that they just tortured him but did not kill him.

3. “They did not kill him” would mean that they killed somebody else.

We should remember that Qur’an is not denying the events wholesale by saying: “No. Nothing happened. Nobody did anything to anybody.” It is not saying so. Therefore, let us study further and consider for elimination, two out of the three possible variations of the sentence “They did not kill him” mentioned above.

There is no doubt as to The Offender. The Jews themselves claim to have done the deed and we all know of their complicity. Now the doubt remains about Two Things: The Offence and The Offended. About the second possibility that “They did not kill him” would mean that they crucified him but he escaped death, Allah denies that too. The next part of the verse eliminates that possibility by saying: They did not crucify him. Having eliminated the first two possibilities, only the third one survives: “They did not kill him.” Yes, it was not himthat they crucified and killed, but someone else. So, let us write that part of the verse, by putting the stress on the right word:

they did not kill him;

they did not crucify him;

but it was made to appear to them so.

It was made to appear to them that they crucified Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) and killed him. They did not kill nor crucified Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam).

Having fully believed in Allah’s words, let us now move on to find evidence of the truth in The Bible in support of it.

1. First of all, while Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) was awaiting arrest by the soldiers, what he tells his disciples is that

a) “sleep on now, and take rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the son of man is betrayed into the hands of the sinners.” (Mark 14:41)

b) “the son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Matthew 26:2)

Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) never said he will be crucified, but only reveals the intention with which he will be betrayed: “betrayed to be crucified”.

2. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) says in Matthew 26:24: “The son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born”.

a) About himself, Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) says: “The son of man goes as it is written of him ”; goes and not dies.

b) About the betrayer he says: “it had been good for that man if he had not been born”, a nice way of wishing death for the betrayer.

Even after this curse by the messenger of Allah, is there a way that the betrayer will continue to live?? Thus, in the above verse, it has been determined as to who is destined to go and who is destined to die.

3. The betrayer Judas comes in to identify Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , when it is dark, along with a large number of soldiers , carrying lanterns, torches and weapons. The stage is perfect for the change of form of the betrayer and the betrayed, as more confusion follows: From Mark 14:44, Matthew 26:48 and Luke 22:47, which are quoted below, it is proved that Judas drew near unto Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) to kiss him, so as to identify him.

Mark 14:44: And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead [him] away safely.

Matt 26:48: Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

Luke 22:47: And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

From John 18:3 to 18:6 which is mentioned below, we come to know of another enabling factor:

18:3. Judas, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests, comes inside with lanterns and torches and weapons.

18:4. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should happen to him, went forth, and said unto them, whom do you seek? 

18:5. They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus says unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 

18:6. As soon as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.

From verse 6 above, we notice one strange thing: as soon as Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) identifies himself, “I am (he)”, the great crowd that had come in falls to the ground. As Judas stood near Jesus (after kissing him) and as the crowd fell to the ground along with the lanterns they brought, the situation was perfect for the exchange of faces, so that those who came to arrest him do not notice it. Then the soldiers, who came to arrest Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , take away Judas instead, while Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) escapes along with his other disciples, who all fled the scene.

Mark 14:50: And they all forsook him, and fled.

(The readers of Bible normally take it to mean that the disciples forsook Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) and fled. It is shameful to think that all the disciples of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) forsook him at the most crucial hour of his life. Qur’an testifies that the disciples expressed their belief and loyalty:

But when Jesus sensed disbelief from them, he said: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah’s helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear you witness that we have surrendered (unto Him).” (3:52)

Therefore, it was Judas whom the disciples rightly forsook and all of them fled with Jesus.)

4. Now Judas is caught in an unbelievable situation, which nobody else would have experienced. Even if he tells the truth, nobody will believe it, but only think him to be Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) trying to escape death. So it is better for him that he endures whatever happens. Some verses from the Bible are quoted below, to show how Judas behaves at the trials at the high priest’s place. Whenever you encounter below the name Jesus, in the biblical verses, you have to take it as Judas, so that you may understand what the people on the scene and people in the past 2000 years have failed to comprehend.

John 18:19 to 18:23

18:19 “ The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his teaching.

18:20 Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always meet; and in secret have I said nothing.

18:21 Why ask you me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

18:22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand (or with a rod), saying, Answer you the high priest so?

18:23 Jesus answered him, if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite you me? ”

Thus the betrayer-in-a-dilemma Judas speaks evasively. He cannot preach what Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) used to preach in the temple and in the synagogue. He neither has the authority nor the ability to repeat what Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) used to preach. Anyway, he certainly cannot answer them if they question him further in religious matters. Had it really been Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , he would not have missed the opportunity to tell the priests of his teachings. But here, Judas evades the issue by saying: “I always spoke openly; I said nothing in secret; Ask them which heard me; they know what I said; If I spoke well, why you smite me.” etc.

Matthew 26:

26:62 “And the high priest stood up, and said unto him, Answer you nothing? What is it, which these witness against you?

26:63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said unto him, I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

When some false witnesses testify against Jesus (Judas), the high priest begs Judas for an answer. But Judas remains quite. Then what the priest presses Judas to answer is not whether he is guilty or not but “I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ”.

So the main question raking their brains is whether this person really is Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) .

26:64 “Jesus said unto him, You have said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Judas does not say “I am Jesus”, but lets the priest take as true what he thinks, by saying: “You have said” and then continues “Henceforth you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power” instead of speaking in the first person “henceforth I shall sit at the right hand of Power.”

Then they condemn him to death by holding him guilty of blasphemy. One more thing you must note now is that in this session, the process of disfiguring Judas’ face has slowly begun.

26:67 Then did they spit in his face and buffet him: and some smote him with the palms of their hands (or rods). This is quoted also in Luke 22:64.

5. Peter, who apparently witnessed what happened at the time of arrest, follows Judas to the priest’s hall, so as to see what happens to Judas. The priest’s servants come and question Peter three times whether he is a disciple of that person, (deeming Judas to be Jesus), but he, naturally, denies all the three times, as predicted by Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . Peter who was very loyal to Jesus and had told Jesus (in Matthew 26:35) “Even if I must die with you, [yet] will I not deny thee.” had to deny the person thrice because he cannot affirm to be the disciple of Judas, whom they deem to be Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) .

6. Another account of the second session with the priests that took place on the day after the arrest, is given in Luke 22:66 to 68 :

22:66: And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,

22:67 Are you the Christ? Tell us. And he said unto them, if I tell you, you will not believe:

22:68 And if I also ask [you], you will not answer me, nor let [me] go.

Again, they want to know if he is Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . And he tells them: If I tell you (that I am Judas), you will not believe. And if I ask you (what happened to Jesus), you will not answer me, nor let me go.

7. In the trial that takes place before the governor Pilate, again the dominant question is: Are you the Christ?? And most of the time Judas says: YOU say it. (That is YOUR statement, NOT MINE.) On other occasions, he remains silent like a stone. Please refer Luke 23:3, Mark 15:2, Mark 15:5, Matthew 27:11, Matthew 27:12. Matthew 27:14.

8. Jesus (Judas) is brought for trial before another official Herod:

Luke 23:8 and Luke 23:9:

23:8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.

23:9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.

Poor Herod, he has been longing to witness some of the miracles that he had heard Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) performing. But can Judas perform those miracles? On the other hand, he avoids talking straight to even somebody who is sympathetic and glad to see him, because he is not what Herod deems him to be: he is not Jesus.

9. By talking evasively and at times refusing to talk, Judas somehow managed to avoid being found guilty by the Governor and other officials. But the Jews do not wish to lose face by retreating from the actions already taken to have Jesus killed. Hence, upon their stubborn insistence, he is condemned to be crucified. Before they take him to the cross, more injury is done to him:

Mark 15:19: And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him.

Matthew 27:30: And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

Please note that after first injuring his FACE, now it is the turn of his HEAD to be injured. Judas is killed at the cross and later on buried. John does not add dramatic words to this scene of crucifixion, but quotes what could be reasonable words from the betrayer, while he dies:

1. “ I thirst! ” (John 19:28)

2. “ It is finished! ” … and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30)

(not the “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit ” kind of stuff! See Luke 23:46).

10. The Bible records that Mary (Bibi Maryam), Jesus’ (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) mother, was a witness to the crucifixion.

John 19:25 “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother…. ”

While the Bible records the reaction of every bystander and passer-by, it fails to mention the reaction of Mary (Bibi Maryam) the mother of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , because there was no reaction from her worth mentioning. Since she knew that the person on the cross was not Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , she stood by the cross and just watched the punishment meted out to the betrayer of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . Had the person on the cross really been Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , she would have reacted hysterically. Because it was she who bore Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) with difficulty and delivered him with pains. No mother will be a mute spectator to such an event.

Qur’an records the labour pains of Mary, while she delivered Jesus:

“ And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this and had become a thing forgotten.” (Qur’an 19:23)

11. The Bible says that Jesus  addressed his mother from the cross as “ Woman! ” (John 19:26). No mean person will address his mother as “Woman! ”. It is only because the person on the cross was Judas and not Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) that he addresses Mary as “ Women! ” Qur’an testifies that Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) was kind to his mother and said from his cradle: “ And (God has made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and has not made me arrogant, unblest. ” (Qur’an 19: 32)

12. And where is Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) when all this happens. Jesus had predicted, in Matthew 12:40

“for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Do you know which is the heart of the earth? Before thinking further, let us consider what is the function of a heart.

It draws blood from other parts of the body for purification and again sends it back to all the parts. Right? Can you think of a place on the earth, which draws people from all parts of the earth and sends them back, too, after purifying them? And that too at a regular interval, just like the heart?

Yes, you guessed it right: it is Makkah.

It is the belief of Muslims that all the prophets wished to be a follower of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), in preference to be born as a prophet. Only Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) was granted the wish. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) is expected to descend on the earth again, supported by two angels, during the reign of the expected guided leader Mahdi. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) will live as one of the followers of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and follow the Shariah (laws) brought by Prophet Muhammad. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) knew that he would live as a Muslim when he comes back to the earth. But he could not wait, as we now know, not less than twenty centuries to relish this. So, when he knows that his days in the earth are not many, he formally submits himself to the Lord, starts to pray like a Muslim, does prostration and now goes on a pilgrimage to Makkah. (This may not be the first time Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) is praying like a Muslim. Qur’an records what Jesus spoke from his cradle: “And (God) has made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive.” (19: 31).

(Earlier, he had prayed to the Lord for the Muslims, in the following manner:

John: 17:20 & 21: 21.

17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me).

And as predicted, he was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

13. THE JEWS IN A DILEMMA:

Now let us imagine the restlessness of the Jews after the soldiers brought Judas, thinking him to be Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . While, according to them, Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) is in their custody, what happened to their man, Judas? Why did he not turn up to win accolades from them, for the great betrayal he committed, in order to please them. This must have greatly disturbed them. Anyway, where is Judas?

The answer to this was provided to them by the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, and made possible the entry of Peter into the palace.

John 18:15 : And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and [so did] another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.

John 18:16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.”

That other disciple sounded the high priest of what happened at the time of arrest, but since it is an unbelievable event for everyone, they wanted to elicit information from Judas and, hence, kept on enquiring Judas, whether he is really Christ. On the basis of the information provided by the other disciple, the high priest’s people tried thrice to rope in Peter for enquiry, by sending female servants to talk to him, but he craftily refused to yield. The Jews were in a terrible dilemma.

1. Now they have to kill a person who co-operated with them against Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . The fellow is not even trying to save himself, being unable to overcome the humiliation wrought on him by the Lord.

2. If they disclose the truth and spare Judas, they have to bear the shame of having failed to kill Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . So they decided to kill Judas and claimed to have killed Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) .

Now, they face another problem: How to account for the missing Judas. So, their soldiers removed Judas’ body from the grave, while everybody was observing the Sabbath – (the compulsory Jewish holiday on Saturdays.) Then they disfigure the face more, because that is the only thing that has the resemblance of Jesus. After this is done, he is now perfectly Judas. To account for the injury to the face and the head, they spread the news that is reported in Acts 1:18:

Acts 1:18 Now this man obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”

Is it not enough that they have disfigured his head and face? What is the necessity to cut open his stomach and spread the news that: “ he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”

So that, because of the nasty stench it would produce, nobody can come near the body and notice or find out the minor injuries that Judas suffered at the cross.

The cause of death should be very apparent from a distance, in order to avoid a close scrutiny by curious people.

The fact that all this was done by the Jews, by bribing the watchmen or the soldiers, is recorded in Matthew 28:11 to 28:15

Matthew 28:11: Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and informed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

28:12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

28:13 Saying, Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him [away] while we slept.

28:14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you

28:15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

And to make it appear that it was really Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) whom they arrested and to make the people believe that Judas was roaming freely after the arrest took place, they spread the lie that he came to the temple and threw back the silver coins he received as bribe from them:

Matthew 27:5: And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” That this verse is a total lie is borne by the fact that the other accounts talk of Judas falling headlong and his bowels gushing out. (Acts 1:18)

14. In respect of the later events:

a. at the grave where they buried Judas and

b. where Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) meets his disciples, etc.

we find a lot of difference in the narration of Luke, John, Matthew and Mark, just as in respect of the earlier events. It is a waste of time counting and comparing the different and conflicting details. Hence, only those details that are important in view of the truth revealed above are mentioned.

15. a) When Mary Magdalene goes to the grave; she finds that the stone covering the grave of Judas is already removed.

Mark 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.”

Points to be noted in the above verses:

1. The heavy stone was already rolled away by the soldiers of the governor.

2. People perform the pilgrimage rites in Makkah wearing white clothing.

b) Mary Magdalene sees two angels in white sitting. (John 20:12) Just as the Muslims believe that The Almighty will provide two angels for Jesus’ (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) descent from heaven, when he comes again, similarly these two angels have made possible his pilgrimage to Makkah.

c) Luke 24:4 & 24:5

24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

The two men in shining garments are angels, who refer Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) as the living, and not as the resurrected.

d) John 20:14: “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him,” etc.

Points to be noted: She saw Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) standing, and knew not that it was Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , because she supposed him to be the gardener. She could not recognize Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) , because of the changed face and deemed him to be the gardener because of the simple cloths worn while performing pilgrimage rites. Moreover, he would have had a shaven head, another rite of the pilgrimage.

e) John 20:17 “Jesus saith unto her, touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.”

Things to be noted: 

1. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) tells her “Touch me not”.

However, when Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) meets his disciples later, he asks them to touch him and handle him, but here he forbids her. The reason: As a good Muslim, he avoids being touched by the lady. 

2. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) says: ” I am not yet ascended to my Father: ”

That means he knew that he was supposed to ascend only, as the Almighty had already informed him through the angel. His statement shows that he did not expect himself to die, nor resurrect, but only ascend. 

f) The same day evening, Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) appears before his disciples and says: “Peace be unto you”, (i.e., Assalaamu Alaikum,) as a Muslim. . 

g) Luke 24:13 to 24:24 is quoted below. In this event, two disciples walking together while going to a village, are joined by Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) . Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) enquires them as to what they are talking and why they are sad. They narrate the whole story from being condemned to death to the vision of angels at the sepulchre. If it were Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) who suffered all that, then he would not pretend ignorance and listen again to all that which he himself has suffered, as they think. Only because he was absent and went on the pilgrimage to Mecca, he did not know of what happened in his absence and, hence, he is enquiring and listening to the whole story. 

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem [about] threescore furlongs.

24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;

24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found [it] even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.”

This is another proof that it was Judas who suffered death at the cross.

h) Back in Jerusalem, Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) has another session with the eleven disciples:

1. “Luke 24:36: And as they thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and says unto them, Peace [be] unto you.

24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” Having seen the dead body of Judas, they were now 100 % sure of his death. Hence, when Jesus appears there with Judas’ face, they are terrified and affrighted and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 

2. Luke 24:38: “And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them [his] hands and [his] feet.” 

John repeats similarly in 20:20 :

John 20:20: “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”

From the above, we can understand fully well, that Jesus’ face is not the identity of the person, at that moment, because it looked like Judas’. Hence, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself” and “when they saw his hands and his sides they were glad they saw the Lord ”

3. Luke 24:41 “ And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.”

Fish is the only thing that a Muslim can obtain from anyone and eat. The meat of other (permitted) animals and birds should be properly slaughtered in the manner taught by Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and by mentioning the name of Allah over it, while slaughtering. Hence, the other meat cannot be obtained from everybody.

4. John 20:30 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

Most important of which should be: restoration of his face, as it looked before.

The Bible does provide a clue that Jesus’ (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) face was restored to its original appearance, before his ascension unto heaven.

In the verse of John 21:12, which is in the context of the events just before his ascension, it is written:

“ Jesus saith unto them, Come [and] dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.” This time, there is no need to see his hands and his feet to know that it is Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) .

Now, it is time to thank the Almighty for opening our eyes to the truth, by accepting Islam. We now know for certain that:

1. There is no one worthy pf Worship except Allah; and

2. Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is a slave and a messenger of Allah and the last of the prophets, whom all the people have to follow. This has been foretold in The Bible.

3. Idols and graven images are forbidden.

4. Allah sent messengers to all nations.

5. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) too is a slave and a messenger of Allah, but sent only for (the lost sheep of) the house of Israel.

6. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) is a creation of Allah; he is not His son and has no portion whatsoever in His Sovereignty.

7. Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) was not killed, nor crucified. It was his betrayer who was killed on the cross.

The next time you see a cross, you would know that it is not a sign that relates to Jesus, but something that denotes the punishment his betrayer deserved and got.

But…, should we have a memorial to commemorate the betrayer of a mighty messenger of Allah ?

Qur’an: 5: 83 to 86.

83. When they listen to that which has been revealed unto the messenger, you see their eyes overflow with tears because of their recognition of the truth. They say: Our Lord, we believe; write us down as among the witnesses.

84. How should we not believe in Allah and that which has come unto us of the truth and we hope that our Lord will admit us to the company of the righteous folk.

85. Allah has rewarded them for what they said: Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the reward of the good people.

86. But those who disbelieve and deny Our signs, they shall be companions of hell-fire.

What is the West?? The Origins and Definition of Western Civilisation

[By Abdullah al Andalusi]

Introduction: Why is it important to understand and define ‘The West’??

The term ‘The West’, ‘The Western world’ and ‘Western culture’ are used quite widely by ‘Western’ politicians, media and academics to refer to the very specific phenomena of ‘Western Civilisation’. Most people who use the term ‘the West’, do so intuitively, and generally agree on who are the main Western countries and states.

However, there are times when some people challenge the label ‘the West’, and seek to dismiss its use – especially when faced with arguments criticising ‘The West’ for its collective history of colonial abuses, ongoing foreign military interventions, and the endless stream of cultural products it exports aggressively across the world.

Generally, most people would agree that England, France, Germany, USA, Canada and Australia are Western countries, while countries such as Nigeria, Turkey and South Korea are ‘Westernised’. Obviously ‘The West’ doesn’t just mean europe, otherwise Australia and USA wouldn’t be included – and Russia would be included.

But what does ‘Western’ mean, where did the term come from, and what definitive criteria can be use to determine what is ‘Western’, ‘Westernised’ and ‘non-Western’?
An understanding of the origins of the West, and what defines it, will decisively help to ascertain and predict its character and behaviour.

The Origins of the West: The Roman Empire

The discussion about the West begins with the Roman Republic (509BC-27BC). The Roman republic lasted until 27BC when its republican political system of elected representatives and unelected aristocrats was overturned by the rise to power of the military general Octavian who became Rome’s first Emperor, transforming Rome into an Empire. The Roman Republic already controlled many provinces around the Mediterranean that it had conquered before it transformed into an Empire. This is because Rome under elected representatives was no less warlike than when ruled under Emperors, in fact probably more so before the imperial period [1].

Between 274–148 BC, the Roman Republic never had a year where it wasn’t at war with other states – including against other republics, like Carthage.

While Western Civilisation certainly arose in Europe, many falsely assume that Western Civilisation is based upon the lands occupied by the Roman Empire, but this is historically inaccurate. The Romans didn’t see themselves as a european empire but more of an mediterranean empire (the word ‘mediterranean’ means in Latin: ‘middle of the Earth’). Rome wasn’t exactly European as there were many places in Europe that were unconquered and uncivilised to them, like the north western european territories outside roman control – which were populated by peoples the romans considered barbarians like Caledonia (Scotland), Hibernia (Ireland), or in the north, like Scatinavia (Scandinavia) and in the east, like Magna Germania (Germany/Poland). Furthermore, the Roman Empire was not a european Empire because it had numerous middle-eastern and north African possessions which were integral parts of it

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The Roman Empire’s territories do not correspond with the modern ‘West’, nor Europe. The seeds of Western civilisation wouldn’t start in Europe, but in the middle-east. Rome’s acquisition of a middle-eastern province it called Judea, would later see the rise of an obscure middle-eastern religious sect that would later be called Christianity – which would have a seminal role in the creation of Western civilisation.

The Roman Occupied Province of Judea and Judaism

Roman Judea was situated upon the area formerly occupied by the Biblical Ancient Kingdom of Israel (1050–931 BC).

The Kingdom of Israel comprised the 12 tribes of Israel, a nation led out of slavery in Egypt, according to the Tanakh (Jewish scriptures/Old Testament for Christians) and the Quran, who were favoured by God to bear witness of monotheism to the world and righteousness under the law of Moses.

There are a number of archeological and biblical sources for the history of the 12 tribes of Israel, but dates and events are still speculative. However, what the Tanakh teaches, is that Moses took the 12 tribes of Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness of Sinai. The 12 tribes constitute the 12 clans originating from the 12 sons of Prophet Jacob (Yaqub [a.s.]), who was given the name Israel [2].

While in the wilderness, Moses conveyed the Law of God he received from revelation (called the Law of Moses , or Mosaic Law ) and decreed the building of a mobile tent-shrine to the one God – the Tabernacle. Moses’ teachings are alleged to be incorporated into the ‘5 books of Moses’ (called the
Torah by Jews . The books that would come later would record the stories of Prophets, the history of the tribes of Israel, and the Prophetic kings that came after Moses. These texts would be gathered and added to the 5 books of Moses, and later called the Tanakh by Jews, or the Old Testament by Christians).

The 12 tribes were promised by Moses the land of Canaan (modern day Lebanon and Palestine) except [3] the Philistine city states (modern day Gaza) [4].

The Conquest of Canaan and the era of Judges

After 40 years of waiting in the wilderness as nomads and growing in strength, the death of Moses saw the 12 tribes begin a successful conquest of Canaan led by Joshua, who was given the title ‘Judge’ in the Tanakh. Each tribe was given an area to settle – except the tribe of Levi, who were to be the priest caste for the other tribes, and would dwell in the cities being paid a tithe by the others. The 12 tribes lived under a loose confederation under successive leaders called ‘Judges’ but were more than judges in the legal sense, and were considered as Prophets in the Tanakh. Judges arose amongst the 12 tribes to unite them to fight external enemies, and sometimes they would arise to revive Mosaic law and monotheism in the face of lapses by the 12 tribes.

Due to border wars with the Philistines, the loose confederation of 12 tribes demanded a King over them, and were united into the Kingdom of Israel by Prophet Samuel (a.s.) under the King Saul (1050BC). Saul was later deposed by the Prophet Samuel due to allegedly not following God’s commands, and was replaced as King by David (1010BC), from the Israelite tribe of Judah.

The Jewish Concept of the Kingdom of God

The lands of Israel were described in the Tanakh as ruled by God, who would be its King [5]. During the time of the Judges, the Judges would direct the tribes of Israel by God’s judgements. After the beginning of kingship, the King was considered the deputy of God, and would rule Israel on His behalf according to Mosaic law. Courts would be set up and to judge by Mosaic law [6]- where even the King would be held accountable and deposed upon serious breach.

Mosaic law was a complete way of life for its time, guiding personal spiritual rituals, personal virtues to economic transactions, structure of Jewish society, laws and state. The Jewish understanding of the Kingdom of God, was an earthly Kingdom that established justice and the worship of God on earth.

The Prophet Kings of Israel
King David (Dawud alaihissalaam.) conquered the city of Jebus from the Jebusite tribe of Canaan [7], after which it is eventually renamed Jerusalem (as well as ‘The City of David’, and ‘Zion’) . After the passing of David, his son, Solomon [Sulayman alaihissalaam] becomes king of the Kingdom of Israel (970BC to 931BC), and builds its temple to the One god in Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Israel continued until Solomon’s (Sulayman alaihissalaam) death (931BC), where it split, with 10 tribes forming the northern Kingdom of Israel (centered around their capital of Samaria) and two tribes, the tribes of Benjamin and the dominant tribe of Judah forming the southern Kingdom of Judah (with the tribe of Levi, or Levites, moving to them shortly after), centered around their capital of Jerusalem.

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The Northern kingdom of Israel was eventually conquered by the Assyrian Empire (720BC), and is portrayed in the Tanakh as being conquered as divine retribution for its sins and turning to idolatry. It’s ten tribes were exiled by the Assyrians and became known as the ‘ten lost tribes of Israel’ .

It was from the remaining Kingdom of Judah, which was dominated by the Judah Tribe, that the word ‘Judaism’ and ‘Jew’ originate from, i.e. the religion of the people of Judah.

Destruction of the Kingdom of Judah and the beginning of the era of Occupation

The Babylonians eventually conquered the Assyrians, and then took the southern kingdom of Judah in 587BC – destroying the first temple of Solomon – and taking the Jewish population as slaves into exile in Babylon.

The Babylonians were then conquered in turn by the Achaemenid Persians under ‘Cyrus the Great’ (539BC), who allowed the Jews to return back to Canaan and rebuild their (second) temple in Jerusalem. The Jews were given the region around Jerusalem as an autonomous region within the Achaemenid Persian empire, called Yehud Medinata. The Persians were then in turn conquered by Greeks led by Alexander III of Macedon, or ‘Alexander the great’ (331BC) which spread Greek culture (called Hellenism by historians) and Greek language throughout the eastern part of the mediterranean and the middle east, which would later have a decisive impact on creating the borders of Western civilisation .

Alexander’s greek empire split after his death (323BC) and was divided by his generals. Alexander’s General Seleucus eventually took control of the area from modern day Turkey and the Levant (Palestine/Syria) to modern-day Pakistan. This would be the later called the Seleucid Empire. It would clash with Rome in greece, and later crumble and fall to Parthian Persians invading from the East.

Under Seleucid rule, there were many Jews who adhered to the laws of Moses and the belief in one God, and strongly preserved the teachings of their ancestors against the ‘modern’ pagan Hellenism that dominated the Middle-East and eastern mediterranean. However, many Jews became Hellenised and adopted Greek culture, and even greek pagan religions.

The end of occupation, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Judea

In 167BC, the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes ordered that non-Hellenised Jews were forbidden from practicing their religion, laws and culture, and were ordered to adopt Hellenistic religion, customs and laws. This caused a revolt amongst Jews, called the Maccabean Revolt, which lasted 7 years and pitted Jews against collaborators amongst the ‘Hellenised Jews’ and and Seleucid authorities. The revolt eventually lead to a victory from the Jewish forces, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Judea (160BC-63BC). Hellenistic Pagan temples were torn down and the temple of Solomon was cleansed of idolatry and re-dedicated to the one God (which Jews still celebrate today as Hanukkah) [8].

The Kingdom of Judea was independent for almost 100 years and expanded its borders during this time. However, Hellenism still was a potent political and cultural force, and Jewish society was split into a number of factions or political parties, with some based upon the preservation of Jewish tradition and the rejection of hellenism, and others who had a mild accommodation to hellenistic culture and philosophy. The three main factions were the Pharisees (Jewish traditionalists), Sadducees (aristocratic and inclined to hellenist philosophy, which, for example, denied the existence of an afterlife) and the Essenes (ascetics) [9].

Beginning of the Roman Occupation of Judea

In 63BC a civil war in the Kingdom of Judea allowed the Roman Republic an excuse to intervene.

Jerusalem was then conquered by the Roman general ‘Pompey the Great’ in 63BC, and the Kingdom of Judea became a client state of Rome with puppet figurehead rulers (known to be oppressive and silence political dissent), like King Herod. In 6BC, the puppet ruler Archelaus was made ruler of Judea by Roman approval, but was even more unpopular than his predecessors. This led to Rome deposing the ruler and turning the Kingdom of Judea into a Roman province under direct Roman rule from 6AD onwards.

Roman occupation and taxation caused the rise of two new factions, the Zealots (followers of Pharisee intent, but actively opposed to Roman occupation and paying taxes to them), and another faction faction or group, known as the Sicarii (Greek, ‘dagger men’), a group of violent individuals, who undertook extreme violent actions against Romans and Jews identified as tax collectors and collaborators.

The Coming of Hadhrat ‘Eesa (alaihissalaam) (Jesus)

The factionalism between the Jewish movements increased, and over the centuries since the time of Solomon (Sulayman alaihissalaam) the understanding of Judaism had become stale, with blind adherence to doctrines and laws of Moses, lacking nuance and subtlety in places. The laws of personal conduct and jurisprudence had over the centuries become overly-complex and prescriptive, becoming cumbersome and leading to contradictions beyond the law’s original intent. On the other extremes, many Jews had succumbed to greek philosophy and adopted corruptions into Jewish theology (like denial of an afterlife or a continuing soul), while others adopted asceticism and complete separation from worldly life.

Into this milieu came Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam), an alleged carpenter by trade, and raised in Nazareth (Galilee, north of Judea). He claimed receipt of divine revelation and that he was the prophesied Messiah (from Hebrew, ‘anointed one’) that would come and lead Israel to follow the commands of God, establish justice and vanquish its enemies. It is believed he (alaihissalaam) preached throughout Judea, correcting the superficial and over-complicated understanding and practice of the law held by the Pharisees, returning the understanding to the original practice of the time of Musa (alaihissalaam) (Moses).

Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) also is alleged to have argued against the corrupt greek-influenced theology of the Sadducees, and lived a life amongst the community and not separate from it, like the Essenes.

However, although it is believed by many historians today that Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) was executed by Romans at the initiation of Jewish colonial authorities, however the New Testament’s collection of books and the Qur’an declares that he was seen alive and well after his alleged crucifixion (the Qur’an argues he wasn’t killed). According to both sources, Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) was later raised up to heaven and believed will return to fulfill his mission in the future.

Since the raising up of Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) from the earth, (speculated around 27AD), the disciples of Jesus [‘Eesa alaihissalaam) formed a Council in Jerusalem, capital of the roman province of (occupied) Judea.

These individuals were considered practicing Jews for all intents and purposes and some historians go as far as to call them, at this juncture, a sect of Judaism. This Jewish sect followed the teachings of Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) which attested that the promised Jewish Messiah had come, and were devout Jews adhering to the laws of Moses (Musa alaihissalaam). They became known by others Jews as the ‘ Notzrim’ (Hebrew: Nazarenes, the people of Nazareth, or ‘Nazoraioi’ in Greek).

The decline of the Nazarenes and the birth of Roman/Hellenic Christianity

After the disappearance of Jesus (‘Eesa Maseeh alaihissalaam), Saul of Tarsus, arose to prominence in the new Jewish sect of Nazarenes. Known later as “St Paul”, Saul was a rabbinical student, tent maker and Roman citizen . He was a follower of the Jewish Pharisee school of thought, who initially persecuted the Nazarenes, but later claimed he had a vision of Jesus and converted to the new sect on the way to Damascus.

Paul’s charisma combined with his Roman citizenship and knowledge of Greek, Roman culture and Greek philosophy, allowed him to take a leading role in preaching to Gentiles (i.e. non-Jews) and he described himself as ‘a Messenger to the gentiles’ [10]. Paul preached a message to gentiles of faith and spirituality, but played down the importance of the law of Moses (Musa alaihissalaam) – which guided Jews in their personal, social and political lives.

Some scholars would later argue that Paul attempted to make the teachings of Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) more appealing to Gentiles, by not requiring any strict rules. Furthermore, Paul preached a decidedly passive and submissive doctrine, commanding people to pay their taxes to Rome, that Israelites be apolitical and wait for the return of Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam), and for slaves to be obedient to their masters without complaint. Paul’s ‘interpretation’ on the new sect of Judaism would be more preferable to the Romans and Greeks than the Mosaic social and political way of life that had been causing Jewish uprisings against Roman occupation.

Paul’s ‘Kingdom of God’ would no longer be an earthly kingdom, as Moses (Musa alaihissalaam) understood it, but Paul would reinterpret it to be purely a ‘spiritual kingdom’ that exists only in ‘hearts’ and in the future world of the coming of Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam).

It is recorded in the works of Paul, a new Greek-based name for followers of the new Jewish sect: Christians (Greek: Christianoi , followers of Christ , the Greek word for Messiah [11]).

Paul’s virtual abrogation of the law of Moses (Musa alaihissalaam), saw him come to blows with the council of Jerusalem over whether the Law of Moses (Musa alaihissalaam) should be followed by Gentiles or not. His teachings were notably submissive to the current political authorities, and his ‘understanding’ of the teachings of Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) became the most influential, despite Paul never having known Jesus or learned from his companions. Centuries later, 14 of the 27 books of the modern Christian New Testament would be composed entirely of his alleged writings alone. He died in Rome, having supported Peter in setting up a Christian community there.

A number of Jewish revolts against Rome rule failed, leading to the destruction of the second temple in 70AD by the Romans. 60 years later another failed and disastrous Jewish revolt called the Bar Kokhba revolt (132 AD – 135 AD) led to the Romans destroying the province of Judea, killing and exiling many of the jewish inhabitants. The Romans then renamed Judea to an ancient name for the region ‘Palaestina’, and merged the Roman province of Judea with the Roman province of Syria to create a new province called ‘Syria Palaestina‘. At the decree of Emperor Hadrian, Jews were banned from the city of Jerusalem, which was rebuilt and renamed ‘Aelia Capitolina’ and became a purely pagan capital.

After the destruction of Judea in 130AD, the character of Christianity became dominated by non-Jewish (Gentile) communities of Christian believers called ‘churches’ (from Greek ‘Ecclesia’: assembly) who were spread throughout the areas of the Mediterranean.

After 130AD, the centre of gravity of Christianity shifted from Jerusalem to the Church in Rome, which began to rise in prominence due to being in the capital of the Roman Empire. The Christian community in Rome was founded allegedly by Peter (a disciple of Jesus [‘Eesa alaihisalaam]who is reported to have come to Rome, and was killed by Emperor Nero around 67AD) and later supported by Paul.

However, Christianity began to be viewed with distrust throughout the Roman Empire, leading to many persecutions and killings of Christians lasting on-and-off for over two hundred years.

Christians were suspected of not being loyal to Rome and the Emperor, not participating the Roman political system or military, and holding ideas that threatened traditional roman values and beliefs.

During this time, the beliefs of Christian communities were written down, with each community writing its own version of Jesus’s (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) teaching and life – called Gospels (Greek: Evangelion, good news), other writings included history of the companions of Jesus (‘Eesa alaihissalaam) or the early churches, and other writings featuring visions later Christians claim they had received about the future (called Apocalyses from the Greek word for ‘revelation’).

Centuries later, these Gospels would be gathered up, with some being discarded, and others being chosen depending on whether or not they agreed with Christian beliefs held by the majority (who were Pagan Greeks/Romans).

Eventually these were compiled into a compilation later to be called ‘the New Testament’ (The Jewish Tanakh was then referred to as the Old Testament).

The Roman Empire Adopts Christianity

Eventually, Christianity persisted through the persecutions and continued to spread to the point it was patroned by the Roman Emperor Constantine – some historians say as a means to supplant his rivals, and use it to enforce order in a declining empire. Constantine issued the edict of Milan, in 313AD officially granting tolerance of Christianity.

Eventually, after support from following Christian emperors, under Emperor Theodosius I, in 380AD, Christianity was declared the only legitimate religion of the Roman Empire, and therefore the ‘Catholic ‘ Church (from Greek: katholikos, universal). In the years that followed, many pagans were forced to convert to Christianity or lose their positions, be threatened, or even killed.

The Christian Church at this point wasn’t hierarchical or strictly unified. It was composed of a scattered collection of Christian communities (churches) in different areas of the Roman Empire, each led by its own Bishop (from Greek ‘epískopos’, meaning overseer or guardian) and following various gospels or other writings.

Whenever a matter of doctrine or dispute was to be decided, the Roman emperor would summon the bishops of all the areas within the Roman empire to attend a council or synod, where each matter would be decided by voting. The Council of Nicaea in 325AD was one such example, convened by Constantine to decide the question of the divinity of Jesus by putting it to a vote, resulting in a majority voting for Jesus being declared one with God, and God himself, despite being opposed by a minority (an example of democracy in theology).

The Split of the Roman Empire into East and West

The adoption of Christianity did not prevent the continuingly endless civil wars, succession crises, constant barbarian invasions and gradual economic decline that wrecked the Roman Empire. After the death of Emperor Theodosius I, in 395AD, the Roman Empire split into two.

The Western half being roughly composed of Latin speakers, and the Eastern half of Greek speakers.

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The Eastern Roman Empire remained, and was later called by historians, the Byzantines, because Emperor Constantine moved the Roman capital to former Greek city of Byzantium, rebuilt it and renamed it Constantinople.

Despite this, the Eastern Roman Empire regarded themselves simply as ‘Romans’ and they viewed their lands as the continuing Roman Empire.

The Western Roman Empire continued to decline, and retreated from its northern territories in europe. The empire lasted (officially) until 4 September 476AD, when Rome was conquered and sacked by a barbarian invasion force led by Odoacer, which deposed the Roman emperor.

The traditions and practices of the West and Eastern churches would later gradually diverge over time, with communication becoming increasingly difficult and theological disagreements would arise due to translation differences, becoming more acute with the decline of the use of Latin and Greek in both areas.

In the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, the tribes and nomadic hordes of Scatinavia and Germania, the Franks, Visigoths, Vandals, Lombards and Saxons burst into former Roman lands, rampaged and conquered and established a patchwork of new fiefdoms and kingdoms. The relatively uneducated and unsophisticated barbarian tribes couldn’t repair roman technology or buildings, and left them to slowly crumble. The places of learning fell into disrepair and the technological know-how of the romans was lost, which heralded in the what historians would call the european ‘Dark Ages’ . The Dark Ages were not a product of Christianity as some modern day Secularists falsely misrepresent, but rather the Dark Ages were an obvious and natural result of the collapse of the (Christian) Roman Empire and the usurpation of its lands by barbarian tribes!

The Eastern Roman Empire didn’t fall, and therefore managed to preserve all the learning and technology from the Roman Empire and never suffered under a ‘dark age’. The Dark Ages would only descend upon the remains of the Western Roman Empire setting the scene for what would come next.

The split in the Roman Empire into a Western Latin speaking half, and an Eastern Greek speaking half would set the course for the creation of the modern “West”. The surviving remnant of the fall of Rome, the Church of Rome would operate within the latin speaking half and cause subsequent transformations using a radically altered religion that was taken from the Middle-East into Europe and transformed into a hybrid of ancient semitic beliefs and Greeco-Roman philosophy and mythology.

This hybrid religion would then create a historical peculiarity over the next 1,000 years that would form Western Civilisation and make it distinct from all others.

Now, we look at what happened after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and how the last surviving institution, the Roman Church was vaulted into ascendency by the unwitting activity of a new rising civilisation – Islam.

The clash of the West European Christian Tribes with the Islamic Civilisation, would unleash forces that led to the birth of the West as a distinct civilisation. The rise of Islam would create the West.

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire and the ‘Barbarian’ Colonisation of Europe

The Western Roman Empire was crumbling economically and militarily, and began to withdraw from many areas of the Empire, in many places it ceded areas to barbarian tribes for settlement instead of resisting. However it was a matter of time before the complete collapse of the Western Roman Empire came.

After the sack of Rome to Alaric and his gothic army in 410AD, the city of Rome remained, although only a pale shadow of its former esteem.

The Gothic armies of Odoacer (a former Roman officer) deposed the last Western Roman Emperor in 476AD and Odoacer was declared first (‘Barbarian’) King of Italy. This formally ended the Western Roman Empire.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe was overrun with barbarian tribes, from Germania – the Franks, the Lombards, the Visigoths, the Saxons, the Frisians and the Angles and Danes from Scandinavia.

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The native Gauls and Celts who had previously lived throughout western Europe under Roman power were christian and many Christian communities of the Western Roman Empire survived and adapted to their new pagan overlords (although some of the tribes were nominally Christian).

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Later on, the Eastern Roman Empire under Emperor Justinian (ruled 527AD-565AD) attempted to reconquer all the former Western Roman areas into a reunited Roman Empire, which met with some success, but eventually shrank back due to overstretched resources.

However, the Eastern Roman Empire managed to retain Rome, leaving a small garrison force to protect it. The city of Rome looked to the Eastern Roman Empire for its protection against the european barbarians. The Bishop of Rome attended the councils and synods of his fellow Bishops in the Eastern Roman Empire (who each head churches in Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople), but this didn’t last long.

The Rise of Islam & the Breakaway of the Church of Rome

Pressured by constant wars against the Persian Sassanid Empire and the invading Bulgars, the rise of Islam and the military defeats of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) armies, shrivelled up the Eastern Roman Empire, losing it North Africa, Egypt, the Levant and the islands of the mediterranean. Constantinople barely resisted a number of sieges by Caliph Muawiyah, relying on ‘greek-fire’ flamethrowers to fend off the Muslim forces.

The pressure of the barbarian Lombards invasions of Italy, and the loss of a significant amount of provinces to the Islamic Caliphate created a weakness and inability in the Eastern Roman Empire to protect the Italian peninsula. This prompted the Bishop of Rome to look towards the new germanic tribal overlords of Europe for protection. If the rise of the Islamic Caliphate hadn’t conquered the lands dominated by the Eastern Roman Empire, history would have taken a completely different turn.

The Roman Catholic Church finds new patrons

With the Roman Church free of the Eastern Roman Empire’s control, it used Rome as a base of operations to send missionaries and resources from the Catholic Church to convert the invading pagan tribes to Christianity and set up new communities and expand existing ones – leading to new Bishops and Churches being established throughout Europe. This task was made easier due to the fact that many of the invading tribes were already (nominal) Christians, and had earlier become Christian due to awe at the power and civilisation of the former Roman Empire.

The Bishops and clergy preserved Western Roman language (Latin) and a lot of Roman administrative methods, laws and codes. They offered their assistance and giving them religious-approved authority to the rule over the new Christian tribal kings and chiefs in return of protection and patronage. Over time, the invaders were latinised and their languages changed under the tutelage of Bishops and clergy who preserved many aspects of late Roman culture. This led to the adoption of many latin words into the languages of these new Christian tribes – leading to the languages that would eventually become French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, English and German. Eventually, conquest and increasing wealth from settlement and sedentary life led to the rise of bigger kingdoms in Western Europe.

In 800 AD,  Pope Leo III crowned the highly successful Frankish King, Charlemagne, as ‘Holy Roman Emperor’, conveying upon the church of Rome, the ability to spiritually approve and make Kings and heirs to the Roman Empire itself (which was strongly protested by the Empress Irene of the Eastern Roman Empire, and her successor Emperor Nikephoros I, who viewed themselves to be the only true continuation of the Roman Empire).

Charlemagne’s Frankish empire, called the Carolingian Empire – spanned modern-day France, Germany and Northern Italy, and had become powerful patrons of Roman Christianity, fighting Muslims in Spain (with limited results), conquering the Lombards in Italy, and forcing the Saxons in Germania to convert to Christianity or face death.

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The Carolingian Empire lasted until 846AD where it split into three parts between three sons of Frankish Emperor Louis ‘the Pious’ (840AD), Western Francia, Northern Italy and the third Kingdom over the area where is now modern Germany.

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The Frankish Kingdom ruling over the area where is now modern-day Germany (shown in pink on the picture above), expanded somewhat and later became another revived ‘Holy Roman Empire’ under King Otto I in 962AD (lasting in very different forms up until 1809).

While Bishops and Churches of the Eastern Roman Empire were puppets of the Emperor and lacked independence, however, the new political independence of Rome and its Church from the shrinking Eastern Roman Empire allowed the Bishop of Rome to act independently and decide theological doctrines outside of Eastern Imperial control. This would eventually lead to a schism between the Christian communities under the influence of the Roman Church (the churches of Western europe) and the prominent christian communities under the rule of the Eastern Roman Emperor.

Over the years many Bishops of Rome began increasingly claiming that they possessed preeminent authority in all earthly and spiritual matters – arguing that the foundation of christian communion (i.e. The Christian ‘ Ummah’), was upon St. Peter, who they argued was given the ‘keys to the Kingdom of Heaven’ [12]. The Bishops of Rome argued they were the direct successors of St. Peter, and therefore only they were inheritors to the same ‘powers’ and ‘authority’ allegedly first conveyed to St. Peter – possessing ‘rightful’ leadership of all the Christian communities throughout the world.

In the past, the Bishops of all the most prominent Christian communities were called ‘Popes’ (Greek: Father), however, the Bishop of Rome would now (according to itself) be the only one that could be called
Pope . In essence, the Bishop of Rome, gradually claimed pre-eminence until it declared that the Bishop of Rome alone could unilaterally decide Christian doctrine, rites, creed and canon law without strictly needing councils or synods.

In 1054, Pope Leo IX sent Cardinal Humbert to deliver a decree to the head Bishop (Patriarch) of Constantinople, Michael Cærularius. The decree not only claimed the supreme authority of the Pope of Rome, but also claimed that the Roman emperor Constantine had in centuries past ‘donated’ the Roman Empire to the Church of Rome (this was based upon an inauthentic and possibly deliberately forged document called ‘the donation of Constantine’). The mission ended badly and the decree was rejected and the Cardinal excommunicated (i.e takfir) the Eastern Christian Patriarch. This was met in response by a mutual excommunication from the Patriarch against Pope Leo IX. This began the West-East schism creating what is known today as the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Christendom – The first Consciousness of Western Civilisation

Conversion to Christianity from amongst the pagan european tribes had already begun under Roman Imperial rule from 4th century and continued progressively until 14th century.

However, it was the Roman Catholic encounter with Islam that would change Western Roman Christians forever, and inadvertently create the beginning of Western Civilisation as a separate civilisation all of its own.
The Roman Catholic Churches control over the tribes and kingdoms increased over time, but politically their patrons and influence were faced with an enemy it couldn’t easily conquer – the Islamic Civilisation.

Everywhere the Catholic Church looked, whether to the West in Iberia (modern-day spain/portugal), Sicily, North Africa, the Eastern Levant and beyond, all it could see was the lands of Islam.

This created a call of unity by the Catholic Church, to all Catholic Christians, would slowly gather pace around 11th century, leading to a new purpose for war, a Crusade from Latin cruciata , past participle of cruciare “to mark with a cross,”) against the ‘infidel’.

The settled tribes of Western europe had by now become established kingdoms and had warred against eachother. The creation of a new kind of war, a war based upon their Catholic Christian identity, and blessed by their religion, created a new awareness and consciousness in the world that had now become a distinct civilisation –
Christendom.

From [Pope] Gregory VII [d.1058AD] onward, christianitas and related words occurred much more frequently, and it is in that period that the term began to achieve its “true significance.” The heyday of christianitas coincided with the rise of the papal monarchy, and the idea of Christendom finally “triumphed” under the pontificate of [Pope] Innocent III [d.1216AD], perhaps the mightiest of papal monarchs.
This idea lay at the center of Innocent’s political outlook and actions. One finds the full articulation of the notion of christianitas in crusading chronicles, where the word was in common use. This is understandable once we realize that the concept of Christendom was the first to take shape among the various preconditions of the crusading movement—as well as the last to vanish. A precondition of the crusade, the concept of Christendom was realized with the crusade. The launching of the crusade can be seen as marking the symbolic point when Christendom became “a living reality,” when it was transformed into what could be called a society.
“Christendom (and the idea of Christendom) found its most potent expression in the crusade; the crusade exalted Christendom, carried it to its highest point of fervor.” Christendom and the crusade came into existence together: They were “made together, in a reciprocal creation.” (13)

It comes as no surprise then, that the earliest surviving record we have today of the use of the word ‘christianitatis’ to mean ‘Christendom’ as the dominions of (Roman Catholic) Christians, occurs in a chronicle of an unnamed crusading warrior from the first Crusade:

“Turci inimici Dei et sanctae christianitatis” [The (Muslim) Turk is an enemy of God and Holy Christendom] (14)

In effect, the medieval Catholic Church created Christendom by radicalising the Catholic Christian peoples of Europe against Islam.
Up until now, the Catholic Church’s political power was limited to only rubber stamping Catholic kings and rulers and demanding their christian populations obey them.

However, the call to crusade and the ability to regularly launch wars under its instigation – attracting volunteers from both the peasant and noble classes across the Catholic kingdoms – gave the church a degree of ascendency over all the Catholic Kings. The new consciousness and civilisation of Christendom that spanned the Western European kingdoms and transcended their borders, would now be led by the Catholic Church.

The first incarnation of the something approximating the modern-day West, and its precursor, was ‘Christendom’. This concept referred to all lands dominated or ruled over by Christians from the Western Roman Church, Roman Catholicism, and did not generally include the Eastern Orthodox Church or lands of its followers.

As Europe came into the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, the Swedes, and Danes converted to Catholic Christianity as did the rest of Scandinavia and eastern Germany. Viking raiders settled in west Francia on condition of converting to Christianity, andwere called Normans (from latin Normanni, from the old Frankish word Nortmann, which mean ‘North men’). The region is now called Normandy.

Further East, the Slavs and peoples of Novgorod (later Russia) converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

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The region in the above illustration, marks the schism between the West Roman Church (Roman Catholicism) and the Eastern Roman Church (Eastern Orthodox Christianity).

The Catholic Kingdoms of Denmark, Poland and Sweden (and two Germanic Knight orders) launched crusades in the 13th-14th century to spread Christianity and force convert the Pagans to the East, however Catholic crusades weren’t only reserved for pagans and Muslims. Pope Gregory IX endorsed Northern Crusades in 1242 against the Eastern Orthodox Christian Kingdom of Novgorod (modern day Russia), which ended in defeat for the Catholics. These campaigns are now called the ‘Northern Crusades’.

The lands under control of Roman Catholic Christians by 14th century, or Christendom , set the basis the region that would be later collectively called ‘the West’, and form the lands whose descendants would later be called ‘Westerners’.

A Brief Note on Eastern Roman Empire and the Islamic Civilisation’s Perspective towards Christendom

Since the split of the Roman Empire into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire had always referred to the other half as fellow Romans. When the Western Roman Empire was overrun by barbarians, the barbarians were obviously not considered Romans, but after the later latinisation of their culture due to the work of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Roman Empire called them ‘Latinikoi’ (Greek: Latins ). It should be borne in mind, that the Eastern Roman Empire considered only themselves as the surviving continuation of the Roman Empire, and called themselves ‘Rhomaioi’ (Greek: Roman). The new ‘Latins’ of the West, were merely viewed as latinised barbarians who ruled over the conquered lands they took from the Roman Empire, and inherited and imitated some of the old culture from a dead part of the Roman Empire mixed with their own – and so could never truly be Roman themselves.

The Islamic Civilisation had conquered the germanic tribe Visigoths and ended their occupation of Iberia, but later encountered border clashes with the Catholics of Asturias in the mountainous area of northern Iberia (Al Andalus). Muslims had also fought against Normans invading Sicily. However, Muslims of the time did not perceive of Christendom as a united force, nor a separate civilisation.

This was going to change after the Crusades, when Muslims observed Christians from all over Western europe were flocking into armies directed at the Islamic Levant. But this didn’t prompt Muslims to lump all Christians together – they still differentiated between Eastern Romans, native Middle Eastern Christians, and the warlike newcomers from Western Europe.

The Christian Eastern Romans were simply called ‘Al Rum’ and their Greek language was called ‘Al Rumi’, and the Christians living in Islamic lands were simply called ‘Christians’ or Nassara (Arabic for Nazarenes).

The closest name invented by Muslims for the people of Christendom (Western European Catholics), was a word coined from their most prominent and most encountered ethnic group, Al Franji (Arabicised word for Franks). This was probably because the Frankish empires of Europe were the most prominent Catholic power for most of the middle ages, and to Muslims, were the most prominent of the people they encountered from that region

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[1] For more information about the aggressive expansionism of the Roman Republic, and a philosophical discussion on why republics are prone to war, read ‘Imperialism In Republican Rome: 327-70 B.C’ (1985, William V. Harris)

[2] The true meaning of the name is disputed amongst historians. Some think it means to ‘rule by God’s authority’, others think it refers to something along the lines of ’success given by God’, or ‘prevailed by God’.

[3] The Philistines are absent on the list of tribes that were commanded to be destroyed by the 12 tribes of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:1, 20:17 )

[4] The modern word Palestine is speculated to be derived from Philistine or the Ancient Egyptian word ‘Peleset’ (1100BC-800BC) as the oldest word for south part of Canaan.

[5] “(God’s) throne, to be king for the Lord thy God” (2 Chron. 9:8; 1 Chron. 28:5; 29:23)

[6] Exodus 18:13-26, Deuteronomy 1:9-16, Deuteronomy 17:8-20

[7] 1 Chronicles 11:4-5

[8] 2 Maccabees 6:1–11 (Tanakh/Old Testament, Bible)

[9] For more information, read the account of Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 18:1: http://sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-18.htm

[10] Romans 15:16

[11] This term is derived from the Greek translation of the Hebrew work Messiah Christós, the anointed one

[12] Matthew 16:13-19 (New Testament, Bible)

[13] Crusading Peace Christendom, the Muslim World, and Western Political Order, Tomazˇ Mastnak, 2002

[14] Gesta Francorum VI,xiii.