Respected Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi has sensationally asserted that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross and there was therefore no basis for Christians to celebrate Easter.
According to Gumi, Jesus was only comatose. Gumi made this postulation on his facebook page on a post titled ‘Easter Musings’.
We thank Allah the Benevolent the Merciful, for passing us through the Easter season without any significant insecurity issue more especially against the Christian. We are happy for that and we applaud all for the peace-calling speeches we heard from all quarters.
Since Easter is meant to be a period of spiritual contemplation, the best gift we can offer our Christian fellows is another prism to see through and re-contemplate.
Religion is not defined by its adherents but by the theological basis of its deliverance. For instance, if Boko Haram, are the ones that define Islam, then Islam will be like a candle in broad day light burning itself out. Nor the sultanate or any other traditional or cultural organization or religious order for that matter. Nay, Islam is defined by the scriptural purity of its universal message. In that sense also, the church today does not define Christianity nor what the Christians do or don’t do. Christianity is equally defined by its theology.
The theological basis, on which Easter celebrates, is the foundation of the Christian faith. St. Paul wrote: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.“ Resurrection purports the necessity to believe that Jesus – alaihis Salam- died on the cross. On this all canonical Christians agree. Their belief is that Jesus was killed by crucifixion (c.f. cruci-fiction). While the Quran came categorically plain that Jesus was never killed by any method, crucifixion included. “And because of their boasting (Jews): “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”.;- but They killed Him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety They killed Him not:- Nay, Allah raised Him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted In power, Wise;- And there is none of the people of the Book but must believe In Him before His death; and on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness against them;”- Q4/157-159.
These are words of the Quran, clear and unambiguous that Jesus Christ was not killed by the Jews or Romans. Beyond that, neither the Quran nor any Hadith attributed to the prophet –peace be upon him- explained the details of what happened to him. For the Islamic theologians they had to also depend on some Jewish narrations called “israeliyat” with what literally tally with the Quranic verse of their understanding. That is why the difference of opinion as to who was actually the fellow that was made to resemble Jesus.
Part of the miracles of the Holy Quran is the malleability and selection of words -like a master key- to repute different wrong and faulty theological discrepancies at a go. What the Quran said was that the Jews who claimed they have killed Jesus on the cross are in dispute and are only following their thoughts – conjecture. “and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety They killed Him not”.
Strangely for them, such doubts were recorded among the canonical Christians. (Joh:19:31: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Joh:19:32: Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.Joh:19:33: But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:).
The testimony of his death on the cross came from a distance observation of Roman soldiers – the executioners “and saw that he was dead already”. On the contrary, on close observation, of one of them, the bible recorded, doubted and therefore took a different cause to ascertain whether he actually died. (Joh:19:34: BUT one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. Joh:19:35: And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. Joh:19:36: For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. Joh:19:37: And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.)
Here we are: “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe” that he was not dead when he was brought down from the cross. He was then only comatose. Therefore, the Quran here is also a perfect answer for this line of theological belief. Allah said in the Quran “”.;- but They killed Him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety They killed Him not:- Nay, Allah raised Him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted In power, Wise;”. It explains the logic behind the emphasis “, for of a surety They killed Him not”. For those non canonical Christian scriptures like the disputed Gospel of Barnabas, where Jesus was substituted with another disciple, the Quranic expression “but so it was made to appear to them” is read as “but so he was made to appear to them”.
Whichever way Christians and non-Christians follow, the Quran exposes the dispute therein in the one of the four canonical gospels and augment their uncertainty of his death on the cross as is in their scriptures, the very foundation of which billions of faithful hang their salvation on.
Let us figuratively look at the issue this way. A thirsty man with the choices of either drinking a glass of a probably poisoned milk or an ascertained pure glass of water would drink the water. No two sane people will argue about this logic. This is the lesson the Quran casted on the end of the life of one of the greatest human that lived. Leave what is doubtful and follow what is simple and clear. Jesus – alaihis Salam- taught in unequivocal terms that God is the Master in charge and should only be worshiped directly, so why do people bet on the most unsubstantiated historical account of his life as the foundation of their faith? This when he has clearly shown his limitations. “And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” M’t:20:23. “ … no intercessor (can plead with him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your Lord; Him Therefore serve ye: will ye not receive admonition? Q10/3.