Is Ramadan Supposed to be in September?

When is Ramadan?

This YouTuber argues that Ramadan is not supposed to be based on a lunar cycle (as it became when Umar changed the calendar), but that it is supposed to be in the ninth month of the year, a luni-solar year that was similar to our own. The beauty of Ramadan being in September is that fasting hours would be roughly the same all over the world (getting rid of 20 hour fastathons in Norway.) 

“Some have said that 9:37 forbids intercalation. This sorely erroneous interpretation of the verse is very common and probably the main reason why Muslims have decided to follow a pure lunar calendar. It is the same reason we ask non-Muslims to read the verses of the Quran in context.

In reality, this verse has nothing to do with intercalation but how the idolators have ‘postponed’ and abused specifically the restricted months of fighting. The verse simply explains its self. As such, please read the ENTIRE verse as it will become clear what type of ‘postponement’ was used by the polytheists and how they abused this system. It has NOTHING to do with intercalation: {9:36} Postponement is an increase in disbelief—by which those who disbelieve are led astray. They allow it one year, and forbid it another year, in order to conform to the number made sacred by God, thus permitting what God has forbidden. The evil of their deeds seems good to them. God does not guide the disbelieving people.”

The Hijri Calendar and the Lost Month of Ramadan

“Video presented and prepared by Qutaiba Al-Mahawili
Special thanks to researcher and thinker Wissam Al-Deen Ishaq.
You can visit his facebook page on: https://www.facebook.com/nassee2000

Other scholars and teachers:
Farqad Al-Qizwini
Husni Al-Mutafi

Is the Hijri lunar calendar we are using today the same as the one used in the time of the Prophet (pubs)?

We’re going to show you that the Arabic lunar months were in fact attached to the seasons of the year and that the month of Ramadan used to come in the most moderate time of the year. A time when the weather is neither hot nor cold when the day is neither short nor long all over the earth in the northern and southern hemisphere.”

How Does the Jewish Calendar Work?

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules and Islam

Many Muslims I’ve talked to seem to like Jordan Peterson, and yet Dr. Peterson has said little about Islam. The values in his book 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos connect to Christianity and Taoism. Can they connect to Islam?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dr. Jordan Peterson, allow me to give a brief introduction:

The Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson became an internet celebrity when he released a series of YouTube videos criticizing the Canadian C-16 bill, which is a bill that is attempting to protect gender expression and gender identity by making hate propaganda and incitement to genocide illegal. While the intentions of C-16 may be to protect people, Jordan Peterson (along with others) have criticized the bill for giving the Canadian government the right to police speech itself.

Since then, Doctor Peterson has received both praise and condemnation world wide.

Yet Doctor Peterson’s main work isn’t just talking about C-16. As a clinical psychologist, he delves into theories and thoughts on behavior and consciousness, going back into ancient history, even as ancient as lobster hierarchies that formed millions of years ago. Much of his work deals with archetypes. And he makes frequent reference to the theories of Sigmund Frued, Carl Jung and Friedrich Nietzsche


Peterson’s 12 Rules – An Antidote to Chaos and Nihilism

Dr. Peterson has spoken out much about the scourge of nihilism in today’s world (in the form of postmodernism), and has written a guide that is a sort of antidote to modern nihilism and chaos.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Kindle Book on Amazon)

His book became an international bestseller and even did well in several Muslim countries.


So why do so many Muslims like Dr. Peterson?

I don’t agree with everything that YouTuber Saajid Lipham says in general. But I still enjoy a lot of his videos, since Saajid is very articulate and insightful, and says many things that even non-muslims can agree with.

But Saajid’s point is that historically in the West, people have either found knowledge from philosophy or divine revelation (religion). And that Jordan Peterson, as a modern-day philosopher, has spoken out against the lies in our time that have been propagated as truth (postmodernism), and what Dr. Peterson preaches is closer to the eternal truths of the great philosophies and religions of the world.

For an ideology or religion to be helpful to human beings, it must be grounded in the truth, in fundamental truths about reality, about what it means to be human, and how human beings can overcome the suffering of existence.

Islam emphasizes the point that life is a test, a test where one will suffer, and one must overcome that suffering by killing their ego and devoting themselves to God.

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. (Qur’an 2:155)

Recall that Moses said to his people, “O my people, you have wronged your souls by worshiping the calf. You must repent to your Creator. You shall kill your egos. This is better for you in the sight of your Creator.” He did redeem you. He is the Redeemer, Most Merciful. (Qur’an 2:54)

This is the fundamental truth of most of the world’s religions and philosophies.

Ideologies that Pull People Away From The Truth

Ideologies that lie about the fundamentals of reality and human nature benefit no one, and can only lead to disaster.

Communism is such an ideology. It puts forth the idea that there should be no hierarchies and that everybody is the same. Such an idea would be great for ants, but it doesn’t work for human beings. Communism lasted around 70 years before falling apart and killing 100 million of its own people.

Yet today (as Jordan Peterson states in his book) Post Modernism is a sort of backdoor to communism. He discusses this more on pg. 300 of 12 Rules For Life in the section titled, “Postmodernism and the Long Arm of Marx.” This is also discussed in the intro.

Postmodernism, which has been the defining ideology of the West since the 1960s, putting tolerance forward as the ultimate value, that all ideologies must be accepted. And all ideologies are supposed to be considered fundamentally equal. Yet when all things are the same, then there is nothing important or special that is above everything else. There is nothing to strive toward. Everything becomes meaningless.

The first idea or teaching is that morality is relative, at best a personal “value judgment.” Relative means that there is no absolute right or wrong in anything; instead, morality and the rules associated with it are just a matter of personal opinion or happenstance…And, since we don’t know right from wrong, or what is good, just about the most inappropriate thing an adult can do is give a young person advice about how to live. (12 Rules for Life, Norman Doidge, page 11)

(Still from the Foreward, by Norman Doidge) But it turns out that many people cannot tolerate the vacuum—the chaos—which is inherent in life, but made worse by this moral relativism; they cannot live without a moral compass, without an ideal at which to aim in their lives. (For relativists, ideals are values too, and like all values, they are merely “relative” and hardly worth sacrificing for.) So, right alongside relativism, we find the spread of nihilism and despair, and also the opposite of moral relativism: the blind certainty offered by ideologies that claim to have an answer for everything. (12 Rules for Life, Norman Doidge, page 12)

As mentioned above, the main ideology of Islam is that one overcomes the suffering of life by killing their egos and submitting to God.

However, what does Jordan Peterson say? And can his rules be applicable to the Qur’an?

I’m not saying that Dr. Peterson’s rules fit in perfectly with the Qur’an in all ways. I’m just going to highlight the similarities for the curious.


RULE 1 – STAND UP STRAIGHT WITH YOUR SHOULDERS BACK

In this chapter, Dr. Peterson talks A LOT about lobsters and lobster hierarchies. I have never heard so much in my life about lobsters until I read this chapter of Dr. Peterson’s book. But I digress, his point is that it is important for one to stand up straight with their shoulders back, to assume the position of a winner, the kind of person who is at the top of dominance hierarchies. Because when you are the kind of person who would be at the top of a hierarchy, your body makes more serotonin, you’re happier, more confident, more energetic, less people pick fights with you, and you’re more capable of taking on the challenges of life.

Whereas if you take on the posture and bearing of loser, someone who slouches, who looks nervous, who avoids eye contact and mumbles and acts afraid, people will not have confidence in you, people will pick more fights with you and try to dominate you. As you start to feel more like a loser, your body will generate less serotonin, you’ll have less mental and physical energy to take on the challenges of life, keeping you in the bottom of whatever hierarchy you may occupy.

“If you have a high status, on the other hand…the serotonin flows plentifully. This renders you confident and calm, standing tall and straight, and much less on constant alert.” (12 Rules for Life, pg. 17)

What does the Qur’an say about this?

The Qur’an refers to Abraham as the “upright,” ḥanīfan. (Qur’an 4:125)

So as long as they are upright toward you, be upright toward them. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him]. (Qur’an 9:7)

Verse 9:36 refers to Islam as the “religion of the upright.”

I won’t cite all the verses, but there are about 14 verses that implore people to be “upright.” You can read them here.

The Qur’an also talks much about making a stand, or standing up for, or standing firm. Check out these 34 verses.

The Qur’an does not offer a “turn the other cheek” morality. It is one that encourages those (who are able) to stand up for others. To stand firm against evil. This matches much of the message of Dr. Peterson himself when he says that goodness is not so much being kind, but having the courage to say “no” or “speak out” when it’s necessary. To stand up against evil, rather than bowing down and cowering just to make everyone happy. (Peterson Video, “A Good Man is Dangerous“)

So the sort of morality in the Qur’an is not of one who is passive and acquiesces, but of one who stands up straight with courage and confidence.


RULE 2 – TREAT YOURSELF LIKE SOMEONE YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HELPING

I myself am a Quranist, but I will include some good hadith on this site sometimes, for those Muslims who still follow the hadith.

The Prophet (saws) said, “Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.” [Narrated in  Bukhari]

In Islam it is important for people to take care of their own bodies, because their bodies are a gift from God. The Qur’an encourages many healthy habits, like wudu (ritual washing and sanitation), fasting (which science has now shown the health benefits of), avoiding gambling and drinking (science has now shown that no amount of alcohol is good for you), and eating good healthy food.

“Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest my wrath should justly descend on you, and those on whom descends my wrath do perish indeed” (Quran 20:81).

“And from the fruits of date palm and grapes you get wholesome drink and nutrition: Behold in this is a sign for those who are wise” (Quran 16:67).


RULE 3 – MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE WHO WANT THE BEST FOR YOU

The Prophet (saws) said, “The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a perfume seller and a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell. And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell.” [Narrated in Bukhari]

The Qur’an preaches tolerance for those who have different faiths. “There is no compulsion in religion (2:256).” And Surah 60 talks more about tolerance toward disbelievers. However, despite that, the Qur’an encourages certain kinds of behavior among the believers in regards to each other.

They are supposed to be compassionate and patient toward one another. (90:17)

And they are not supposed to backbite and snoop on each other. (49:12)

And they are not supposed to ridicule, mock and insult each other (49:11)

Co-operate with one another in good and virtuous matters consistent with the Divine Laws and DO NOT co-operate in evil and bad matters.”(5:2)

Such is a good code for friendship in general. Good friends will not mock you or talk about you behind your back. Such friends are people who want the best for you.


RULE 4 – COMPARE YOURSELF TO WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY, NOT TO WHO SOMEONE ELSE IS TODAY

Focus on your self growth. Don’t invalidate that growth by comparing yourself to others.

God made us all different, with different capabilities and different backgrounds. Some of us will be better looking. Some of us will have more money. Some of us will be more articulate. All you can do is be the best you.

And the best among you is the most righteous.

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (49:13)

The Qur’an also emphasizes that people need to focus on their own behavior first, before they focus on that of others.

You should enjoin right conduct on others but mend your own ways first. Actions speak louder than words. You must first practice good deeds yourself, then preach (2:44)

Though the above quote also fits in with Rule 6, which I will get to below.


RULE 5 – DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN DO ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU DISLIKE THEM

“My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” (3:38)

“And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” (25:74)

In Dr. Peterson’s chapter about Rule 5, he says that it’s important for parents to enjoy being around their children. When parents enjoy being around their children, the child will be properly socialized. When a parent does not like being around their child, the child will become antisocial and start to dislike themself and others. A parent who refuses to discipline their child creates a person who the world will ultimately punish (because that child will be unfit to face the trials of this life).

Verse 25:74 tells people that their children should be a “comfort” to them, meaning, they should LIKE being around their child. And it says that a good child makes a parent an example for the righteous. A parent who is raising their child with manners and discipline makes the world a better place. Whereas a parent who shirks that responsibility and lets their child behave however they want is not being a righteous person themselves.


RULE 6 – SET YOUR HOUSE IN PERFECT ORDER BEFORE YOU CRITICIZE THE WORLD

Once again

You should enjoin right conduct on others but mend your own ways first. Actions speak louder than words. You must first practice good deeds yourself, then preach (2:44)

I think that speaks for itself. Make sure your own conduct is good before you go around criticizing others. Also, as mentioned in (49:11), people are not supposed to ridicule each other.


RULE 7 – PURSUE WHAT IS MEANINGFUL (NOT WHAT IS EXPEDIENT)

What should people do with their lives? How do they exist in a world where life is suffering?

“What in the world should be done about that? The simplest, most obvious, and most direct answer? Pursue pleasure. Follow your impulses. Live for the moment. Do what’s expedient. Lie, cheat, steal, decieve, manipulate-but don’t get caught. In an ultimately meaningles unverse, what possible difference could it make? (12 Rules for Life, pg 158)…Or is there an alternative, more powerful and more compelling? (12 Rules for Life, pg 159)

Dr. Peterson goes on to say that the alternative to pursuing short term pleasure is delayed gratification, in short, patience.

“Indeed Allah is with the patient.” (Qur’an 8:46)

7 verses about Allah and patience.

The Qur’an addresses the fact that life is suffering. But life is suffering because it is a test from our Lord. We’re not supposed to be excessive in our indulgence in this world. One can enjoy relations with their spouse and their children and their friends. But ultimately, one’s focus should be on God and the world to come.

And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect. (18:28)

Take this for a philosophical exercise. Let’s say you had a group of people who were just living for the moment and a group who were working hard to build a better tomorrow. Which society would be better? The first society would probably extinguish themselves quickly. The second would lay the foundations for a long term future, for both themselves and their children.


RULE 8 – TELL THE TRUTH – OR AT LEAST, DON’T LIE

Telling the truth is very important in the Quran. In fact, the word “truth” is mentioned 193 times.

Here are some other key verses.

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for patient men and women, for humble men and women, for charitable men and women, for fasting men and women, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise: for them has God prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” (Quran 33:35)

The believers are but those people who believed in God and His Messenger without ever feeling doubt thereafter, and strove with their souls and possessions in the way of God; those are the ones who are the truthful.” (Quran 49:15)

“And whosoever obeys God and His Messenger, such will be in the company of those whom God has blessed: the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent a company are such people!” (Quran 4:69)

Many of the prophets who are praised in the Quran are called “truthful.” Believers are called “truthful.” And one of the key meanings of a “kuffar,” or disbeliever, is that they are someone who conceals the truth.

But most importantly… “God is the Truth” (Quran 22:6)

God is truth itself. Those who align themselves with the truth, align themselves with God.


RULE 9 – ASSUME THAT THE PERSON YOU ARE LISTENING TO MIGHT KNOW SOMETHING YOU DON’T

The Quran implores us not to rush to judgement, not to make assumptions, but to hear people out before rushing to conclusions.

The first example I can think of comes from the tale of King David and two men who came to him for judgment. (Quran 38:22). Kind David hears the tale of one of the men, but not the other, and rushes to pronounce judgment on one of the men. But then the men both disappear, like a cloud into thin air. David realizes this was a test from his Lord, that he failed (because he rushed to judgment and did not listen completely). So David begs his Lord for forgiveness.

The second example comes in Quran verse 18:60-18:82, when Moses travels with the companion Al Khidr who does a number of things that Moses disagrees with and judges, without realizing that the man had his own reasons which ended up being legitimate.


RULE 10 – BE PRECISE IN YOUR SPEECH

Okay, I’m not sure if there is anything about precision in speech in the Quran (let me know if there is), but there is much about one being careful in how they speak to others. Speaking to others kindly and avoiding anger in one’s tone.

And they had been guided [in worldly life] to good speech, and they were guided to the path of the Praiseworthy. (Quran 22:24)

And We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and discernment in speech. (Quran 38:20)

And if We willed, We could show them to you, and you would know them by their mark; but you will surely know them by the tone of [their] speech. And Allah knows your deeds. (Quran 47:30)

Dr. Peterson’s point was more that people should be very careful about what they say because they have a responsibility for the information that they put out into the world.


RULE 11 – DO NOT BOTHER CHILDREN WHEN THEY ARE SKATEBOARDING

I don’t know if there is anything about this in the Qur’an, but Dr. Peterson’s point in regards to this rule was that adults shouldn’t prevent children from achieving mastery over danger. To do so would be to leave children coddled and unfit for dealing with the trials of the world. (i.e. helicopter parenting).

All people will inevitably suffer. You can’t protect your children from the suffering of this dunya.

I posted the verse before but I will post it again:

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. (Qur’an 2:155)


RULE 12 – PET A CAT WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER ONE ON THE STREET

So, a chapter that I thought would be focused primarily on our furry animal companions ended up being a lot about suffering, being, and the difficulties of existence. However, the chapter (and really the whole book) ultimately boils down to this point

“People are very tough. People can survive through much pain and loss. But to preserve they must see the good in Being. If they lose that, they are truly lost.” (12 Rules for Life, pg. 345)

I would like to address Dr. Peterson’s concluding point with the opening of the Qur’an, Al Fatiha.

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.

(Quran, Al Fatihah)

This verse beautifully encapsulates the essence of the Qur’an and Islam itself. God is our creator. God is good. God is compassionate and merciful. And surely the creation must have the essence of its creator. After all, the Qur’an implores us frequently to admire the awesome beauty of the natural world as signs of God Himself. Verse 3:191 implores us to think deeply about the wonders and creation of the universe.

But more than that, if our Creator is the ultimate good, than Being itself is fundamentally good. If you do not believe in the fundamental goodness of Being, what else is there? How can you survive? Such a person is lost. And as people today embrace nihilism via post-modernism, they themselves become lost.

If you can’t enjoy life enough to pet a cute cat or dog when you see one, what else is there?


CODA – WHAT SHALL I DO WITH MY NEWFOUND PEN OF LIGHT?

So why did Jordan Peterson pick 12 rules for his book? And then why did he add a Coda after that? (There is a final chapter after all the 12 rules are mentioned).

By the time I got to this point in the article, the brilliance of the answer struck me like the light of a glowing pen. Jesus had 12 disciples and the 13th chapter is about Jesus himself.

TL;DR: Dr. Peterson talks about a glowing light pen he has. He asks questions, and uses the pen to answer his own questions (finding answers within himself).

Here are the critical questions he writes with his pen of light:

“What shall I do with my wife? Treat her as if she is the Holy Mother of God, so that she may give birth to the world-redeeming hero. What shall I do with my daughter? Stand behind her, listen to her, guard her, train her mind, and let her know it’s OK if she wants to be a mother. What shall I do with my parents? Act such that your actions justify the suffering they endured. What shall I do with my son? Encourage him to be a true Son of God (12 Rules for Life, pg. 352)”

Dr. Peterson talks about the importance of holding up Christ and his mother as an archetype for human behavior.

Well, this may surprise many Christians (and Muslims) but the Qur’an says something similar.

We made the son of Mary and his mother a symbol [of Our grace], and provided for both an abode in a lofty place of lasting restfulness and unsullied springs. (23:50)

AND [remember] her who guarded her chastity, whereupon We breathed into her of Our spirit and caused her, together with her son, to become a symbol [of Our grace] unto all people. (21:91)

The Qur’an itself states that the Prophet Isa (Jesus Christ) and his mother are an archetype for all the people. In Islam, these figures are most certainly not Gods, as that would be shirk (the sin of associating partners with God). But they are humans that play a powerful role. Jesus is called the “Messiah” in the Qur’an, so clearly he’s important. The Messiah in most religions is the redeemer, the one who will come back in the darkest times to ultimately fight evil with goodness.

And the Mother Mary is actually mentioned quite a bit in the Qur’an. Her powerful role is that she is the mother of the Messiah. She is one who was pure and honest and speech. Even for those who do not believe in the literal virgin birth and are more interested in the metaphor of it, her virginity could be a metaphor of her purity as a person. But ultimately, the importance of the Virgin Mary is she asserts the powerful role of motherhood, and its potential to do good in the world.

As to remembering the suffering of one’s parents, the Qur’an addresses that as well.

And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” (Qur’an 46:15)


If you enjoyed this article, check out Jordan Peterson Archetypes: Female Chaos and Male Order

The Fractal Design of the Quran

Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.

When humans make things, they are block like, rigid, linear. Most books are linear and follow a structure.

The designs in nature are like fractals. The design of the Qur’an is like a fractal. Even reading one chapter, or one verse, or one line of the Qur’an, tells you the message of the entire Qur’an.

Like a fractal, the Qur’an is a book of finite volume, but infinite depth.

And if whatever trees upon the earth were pens and the sea [was ink], replenished thereafter by seven [more] seas, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (68:1)

Does the Quran Actually Deny the Crucifixion of Christ?

(AUTHOR NOTE: This article is not saying that Jesus definitely WAS crucified. It is simply exploring different interpretations of the crucifixion event mentioned in the Quran. Did it happen? Did it not happen? How have Muslim beliefs evolved on this matter over time? This article is NOT saying that Jesus died for our sins.)

The conventional belief of most Muslims is that Jesus Christ (The Prophet Isa) was not actually crucified. This is a big division in the beliefs of Muslims and Christians.

“They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, rather, it only appeared to them. (Qur’an 4:157)”

wa mā qatalūhu wa mā ṣalabūhu wa lākin shubbiha lahum

There are two main theories among the Muslim community about what happened. The “swoon theory” and “the substitution theory.” The swoon theory is that Jesus did not die on the cross, but only appeared to do so, or pretended to do so. And the substitution theory is that someone else took his place on the cross and was made to look like him.

However, Todd Lawson’s book, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought (read it online for free), raises questions about whether the Qur’an truly denies the historical crucifixion of Christ, or if that was a belief that evolved among the Muslim community later.

Todd Lawson’s book makes the point that Islamic beliefs are not a monolith, and there are different interpretations and beliefs on this matter that have existed and changed over time. So in this article I will examine some of the arguments made by Todd Lawson.

Todd Lawson is an Associate Professor at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. He is the author of Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Muslim Thought.


Does the Qur’an say that Jesus was not crucified? Or does it say that the Jews were not the ones that killed Him?

Verse 4:157 is the only verse in the Qur’an that even mentions the crucifixion of Christ. And it has largely been understood by Muslims to be a denial of the historical crucifixion of Jesus. Though the verse says, “they” did not kill him, and “they” did not crucify him—referring to the Jews. So is this actually saying that Jesus was not crucified? Or that the Jews were not the ones who crucified him?

Now who are these THEY in the above Qur’anic citation?
They are a group designated throughout the Qur’an by the Arabic
word yāhūd. This word is universally translated as JEWS. So, do we
see here an interesting case of the Qur’an absolving the Jews of a
crime long charged against them by Christians
? (Todd Lawson pg. 9)

Like all other things in the Qur’an, it is important to look at the verse in context. Many people (muslim and non-muslim) will simply pull verse 4:157 out of context and say that it is enough to deny the crucifixion. However, it is important to examine what the rest of the chapter was talking about. So what was it talking about?

The theme being pursued in this section of the Qur’an (and we will return to this below) is, it should be stressed and even repeated, not the life, suffering and death of Jesus. Rather the crucifixion is referred to here by the Qur’an in the course of speaking about a subject much more native to the Qur’anic worldview, namely the nature of “faithlessness”, in Arabic kufr (Todd Lawson pg. 9).

The Qur’an, in the verses leading up to the “crucifixion verse” says that an example of faithlessness may be found in the history of the Jews when they 1) “killed their prophets without justification”; 2) slandered Mary, the mother of Jesus, defaming her virtue, and 3) when they boasted that they had killed the Messiah. Note that their deeds are being singled out here as examples of kufr for boasting that they could controvert the Will
of God (Todd Lawson pg. 10).

So, considering that this verse is talking about the arrogance of the faithless, let us re-examine 4:157 with the verses leading up to it.

[Sorry some of this is in all caps, it’s just the format it Todd Lawson has it in his book]

AND SO, [WE PUNISHED THEM] FOR THE BREAKING OF THEIR PLEDGE, AND THEIR REFUSAL TO ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S MESSAGES, AND THEIR SLAYING OF PROPHETS AGAINST ALL RIGHT, AND THEIR BOAST, “OUR HEARTS ARE ALREADY FULL OF KNOWLEDGE”- NAY, BUT GOD HAS SEALED THEIR HEARTS IN RESULT OF THEIR DENIAL OF THE TRUTH, AND [NOW] THEY BELIEVE IN BUT FEW THINGS – ; AND FOR THEIR REFUSAL TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH, AND THE AWESOME CALUMNY WHICH THEY UTTER AGAINST MARY, AND THEIR BOAST, “BEHOLD, WE HAVE SLAIN THE CHRIST JESUS, SON OF MARY, [WHO CLAIMED TO BE] AN APOSTLE OF GOD!” HOWEVER, THEY DID NOT SLAY HIM, AND NEITHER DID THEY CRUCIFY HIM, BUT IT ONLY SEEMED TO THEM [AS IF IT HAD BEEN] SO; AND, VERILY, THOSE WHO HOLD CONFLICTING VIEWS THEREON ARE INDEED CONFUSED, HAVING NO [REAL] KNOWLEDGE THEREOF, AND FOLLOWING MERE CONJECTURE. FOR, OF A CERTAINTY, THEY DID NOT SLAY HIM: NAY, GOD EXALTED HIM UNTO HIMSELF – AND GOD IS INDEED ALMIGHTY, WISE. (Qur’an 4:155-158)

Now I’m not saying that this for sure proves that he WAS crucified. This still could mean that God saved Jesus from the crucifixion when he “exalted” Jesus “unto himself.” Or it could mean that the events described in the Gospels are mainly true, just that the Jews were not the ones that crucified Jesus, because like all things—it happened through God’s decree.

This verse could have different interpretations. But the mainstream interpretations of the Islamic community today of what happened and how it happened are not necessarily from the Qur’an alone, but could be from tafsīr, culture and even Jewish and Christian beliefs that existed in Saudi Arabia in the days the early scholars were making their interpretations of the text.


Jesus mentions being born, dying, and being resurrected in the Quran.

In Chapter 19, verses 29-33, we read about Jesus (peace be upon him ) as a baby: “Then she brought the child to her folk, carrying him, and they said, ‘Mary, you have surely committed a monstrous thing. Sister of Aaron, your father was not a wicked man, nor your mother a woman unchaste.’ Mary pointed to the child; but they said, ‘How should we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?’ And he said, ‘Lo, I am God’s servant, God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet. Blessed He has made me wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to prayer, and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise to cherish my mother. He has not made me arrogant and wicked. Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day that I am raised up to live.’”

So there you have it above, Jesus is saying he died and then was raised up, meaning he could have died on the cross before he was raised up to God.


What is interesting, is that Todd Lawson claims one of the earliest authors to have charged the Qur’an with a denial of the crucifixion was a Christian, not a Muslim.

John of Damascus (676 -749 CE), the eighth-century father of the Syrian Church, was the earliest author, Muslim or otherwise, to have charged the Qur’an with a denial of the crucifixion. (Todd Lawson, pg. 25)

Why would the Muslims listen to a Christian?

John was, after all, a key official in the bureaucracy of the Umayyads. (Todd Lawson, pg. 28)

Why did John of Damascus make the claim the Qur’an denied the crucifixion of Christ?

It may have been necessary for this last great Church Father to point out the similarities between the creed of the “Hagarenes” and that of the oldest and in some ways most pernicious heresy of the Church, namely Docetism [an early belief of some Christians that Christ wasn’t actually crucified]. (Todd Lawson, pg. 27)

As was mentioned at the beginning of this book, the earliest writer to have
charged the Qur’an with a denial of the crucifixion was a Christian—
John of Damascus. This fact, along with the disposition among certain non-Muslim scholars to view Islam and its revelation as a bastardized form of a previous religion has moved some to posit a Conclusion Docetic (Christian) precedent for 4:157-8.1
(Todd Lawson, 218-219)

What is even more incredible is that John of Damascus clearly did not like Islam. You can read what he says about Islam himself.

[John of Damascus, De haeresibus C/CI, 60-61 (pp. 485-486):]

There is also the people-deceiving cult (threskeia) of the Ishmaelites, the forerunner of the Antichrist, which prevails until now. It derives from Ishmael, who was born to Abraham from Hagar, wherefore they are called Hagarenes and Ishmaelites. And they call them Saracens, inasmuch as they were [sent away] empty-handed by Sarah (ek tes Sarras kenous); for it was said to the angel by Hagar: “Sarah has sent me away empty-handed” (cf. Genesis xxi. 10, 14).

These, then, were idolators and worshippers of the morning star and Aphrodite whom in fact they called Chabar in their own language, which means “great.” So until the times of Heraclius they were plain idolators. From that time till now a false prophet appeared among them, surnamed Muhammad (Mamed), who, having happened upon the Old and the New Testament and apparently having conversed, in like manner, with an Arian monk, put together his own heresy. And after ingratiating himself with the people by a pretence of piety, he spread rumours of a scripture (graphe) brought down to him from heaven. So, having drafted some ludicrous doctrines in his book, he handed over to them this form of worship (to sebas).

[John of Damascus, De haeresibus, C/CI, 63-64 (pp. 486-487):]

They call us associators (hetairiastas) because, they say, we introduce to God an associate by saying Christ is the Son of God and God. To them we say that the prophets and the scripture have transmitted this, and you, as you affirm, accept the prophets. . . . Again we say to them: “How, when you say that Christ is the Word and Spirit of God, do you revile us as associators? For the Word and the Spirit are inseparable. . . . So we call you mutilators (koptas) of God.”

They misrepresent us as idolaters because we prostrate ourselves before the cross, which they loathe. And we say to them: “How then do you rub yourselves on a stone at your Ka’ba (Chabatha) and hail the stone with fond kisses?” . . . This, then, which they call “stone,” is the head of Aphrodite, whom they used to worship and whom they call Chabar.

[John of Damascus, De haerisibus, C/CI, 64-67 (p. 487):]

This Muhammad, as it has been mentioned, compoased many frivolous tales, to each of which he assigned a name, like the text (graphe) of the Woman, in which he clearly prescribes the taking of four wives and one thousand concubines, as if it is possible (story of Zayd is told; cf. Qur’an xxxiii.37). . . . Another is the text of the Camel of God, about which he says that there was a camel from God (story of Salih’s camel; cf. Qur’an xci. 11-14, vii. 77). . . . You say that in paradise you will have three rivers fowing with water, wine and milk (cf. Qur’an ii. 25, xviii. 31, xxii. 23). . . . Again, Muhammad mentions the text of the Table. He says that Christ requested from God a table and it was given to him, for God, he says, told him: “I have given to you and those with you an incorruptible table.” Again, he mentions the text of the Cow and several other foolish and ludicrous things which, because of their number, I think I should pass over.

[John of Damascus, De haerisibus, C/CI, 67 (p. 487):]

He prescribed that they be circumcised, women as well, and he commanded neither to observe the sabbath nor to be baptised, to eat those things forbidden in the Law and to abstain from the others. Drinking of wine he forbade absolutely.

[John of Damascus, De haerisibus, C/CI, 61 (pp. 488-489):]

He says Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit (cf. Qur’an iv. 171), created (iii. 59) and a servant (iv. 172, xix. 30, xliii. 59), and that he was born from Mary (iii. 45, and cf. ‘Isa ibn Maryam), the sister of Moses and Aaron (xix. 28), without seed (iii. 47, xix. 20, xxi. 91, lxvi. 12). For, he says, the Word of God and the Spirit entered Mary (xix. 17, xxi. 91, lxvi. 12), and she gave birth to Jesus, a prophet (ix. 30, xxxiii. 7) and a servant of God. And [he says] that the Jews, acting unlawfully, wanted to crucify him, but, on seizing [him], they crucified [only] his shadow; Christ himself was not crucified, he says, nor did he die (iv. 157). For God took him up to heaven to Himself . . . and God questioned him saying: “Jesus, did you say that ‘I am son of God and God?'” And he says, Jesus answered, “Mercy me, Lord, you know that I did not say so (v. 116). . . .”

So the first person to write of the Muslims denying the crucifixion of Christ was a Christian man who clearly did not like Islam and saw it as a bastardization of Christianity. There are many Christian writers who preceded him with their own accounts of Islam. And while they too had criticisms, none brought up the idea that Islam denied the crucifixion of Christ. 

This idea that Jesus wasn’t actually crucified may have started out as a Christian heresy rather than a Muslim belief. In the very early days of Christianity (1st and 2nd century AD), there were many different beliefs within the Christian community about the crucifixion, what happened and how it happened. There were Christians who did not want to believe it happened to Jesus because crucifixion was a very humiliating way to die. And it is out of that that Docetism was created.

What is Docetism?

Docetism is a word that comes from a Greek verb dokeō “to seem” or noun dokesis “appearance”. It is used by the Fathers of the Church to describe a view that held that Jesus did not suffer on the cross, but only appeared to do so. (Todd Lawson, pg. 3)

An apocryphal gospel, The Acts of John, offers the following docetic account of the crucifixion:

After the Lord had so danced with us, my beloved, he went
out. And we were like men amazed or fast asleep, and we
fled this way and that. And so I saw him suffer, and did not
wait by his suffering, but fled to the Mount of Olives and
wept at what had come to pass. And when he was hung
(upon the Cross) on Friday, at the sixth hour of the day
there came a darkness over the whole earth. And my Lord
stood in the middle of the cave and gave light to it and said,
“John, for the people below in Jerusalem I am being
crucified and pierced with lances and reeds and given
vinegar and gall to drink. But to you, I am speaking, and listen to what I speak.”
(Todd Lawson, pg. 3)

This sounds much like the Islamic swoon theory that exists today. What about the substitution theory?


Examining the Tafsīr, Potential Source of the Substitution Theory

Tafsīr is the Arabic word for “exegesis” (which means a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, usually scripture). So the tafsīr is what we think of Islam and the Quran based on the interpretations and studies of people who existed after Mohammad.

Todd Lawson goes into a deep analysis of the tafsīr on the crucifixion of Christ, and how over time the substitution theory evolved. I will not mention everything Todd Lawson mentioned on this subject, because then I would have to write about a hundred pages of information, and for that, you should just go read his book. But I will cover his key points here.

Ibn ‘Abbās – “Father of Qu’ran Commentary”

Todd Lawson first examines the tafsīr of Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abbās, who is simply known as ”Ibn ‘Abbās” (619-687). Many people believe that his accounts are trustworthy because he was a close companion and cousin of the prophet.

This quasi-legendary figure is esteemed, especially by the Sunnī exegetical tradition, to be the “father of Qur’an commentary” and is known to that by the honorifics “The doctor” (al-hibr) and “the Ocean [of knowldege]” (al-bahr). (Todd Lawson, pg. 65)

However, are these accounts trustworthy?

Thousands of exegetical traditions are ascribed to him by both Sunni and Shi‘i authors. The Tanwīr al-miqbās is a short tafsīr ascribed to Ibn ‘Abbās, and like works attributed to other early figures in Islamic history, carries many questions of authenticity. Indeed, the current debate on whether or not it is accurate to speak of tafsīr as an early activity casts a certain amount of perplexity over any discussion of the subject. For
several reasons, the traditions associated with Ibn ‘Abbās are generally thought to be untrustworthy, at least as far as the ascription is concerned.
(Todd Lawson, pg. 66)

One issue that must be dealt with by anyone undertaking a specific study of this question is why so little of the material concerning specific passages of the Qur’an attributed to this man by later writers of tafsīr is not to be found, or is found in different form, in his own [i.e. the work at hand] tafsīr . . . one hopes that in the near future we may be able to discuss these questions armed with fewer opinions and more facts. (Todd Lawson, pg. 67)

So to study of the accounts of Ibn ‘Abbās is more like studying the accounts of later people (a hundred years or several hundred years later) who attributed their own theories and musings to Ibn ‘Abbās.

Here is a passage that al-Dīnawārī (9th century author) ascribed to Muḥammad al-Kalbī (late 8th century author) ascribed to Ibn ‘Abbās (7th century author) [You can see what a game of telephone all this is].

BECAUSE OF THEIR SAYING: because of their statement
WE KILLED THE MESSIAH, JESUS SON OF MARY, THE
MESSENGER OF GOD, God destroyed one of their [the
Jews’] friends, Naṭyānūs BUT THEY KILLED HIM NOT, NOR
DID THEY CRUCIFY HIM, BUT SO IT WAS MADE TO APPEAR TO
THEM, the likeness [shibh/shabah] of Jesus was
cast upon Naṭyānūs, so they killed him instead of
Jesus AND THOSE WHO DIFFER THEREIN about his killing
ARE FULL OF DOUBTS about his killing THEY HAVE
NOTHING CONCERNING IT concerning his killing OF
KNOWLEDGE, ONLY CONJECTURE and not even conjecture
AND THEY DID NOT KILL HIM IN CERTAINTY i.e. certainly
they did not kill him RATHER, GOD RAISED HIM TO
HIMSELF to heaven AND GOD IS EXALTED IN POWER in
revenging His enemies WISE with support for His
intimate friends [awliyā’] and His prophet, and He
destroyed their friend Naṭyānūs. (Todd Lawson, pg. 68)

So the verse above gives us the essence of the substitution theory, and where it might have started.

The contemporaries of Muḥammad al-Kalbī all disagree on the identity of who this victim was, that was put on the cross in the stead of Jesus. And Todd Lawson goes on to say that there is no reliable hadith that supports this substitution theory. (Todd Lawson pg. 71)

Wahb ibn Munabbih

The most popular versions of the substitution theory come from Wahb, who was an 8th-century Yemeni scholar. However, his knowledge has been anathematized as “Isrā’īliyyāt”, that is, “faulty knowledge foreign to Islam.” (Todd Lawson pg. 75-76). So it is ironic that the most influential traditions supporting the substitution theory come from a source that was considered faulty. Wahb acquired a reputation that varied from trustworthy to “audacious liar.”


The Substitution Theory is Qur’anically Incorrect

There is a large, glaring reason why the substitution theory cannot be correct. That reason comes from the Qur’an itself. No soul can bear the burden of another.

And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination. (35:18)

So if no soul can bear the burden of another, why would someone be forced to die for another? This is so fundamentally against the teachings of the Qur’an that there is no way it can be correct. Such a theory is anti-Qur’an.


The Qur’anic Concept of Death

Is it possible that Jesus could have died on the cross, even though he was brought up to the Lord? Let us examine the Qur’anic concepts of death.

THINK NOT OF THOSE WHO ARE SLAININ GOD’S WAY AS DEAD NAY, THEY LIVE, FINDING THEIR SUSTENANCE IN THE PRESENCE OF THEIR LORD (3:169)

THOSE WHO FLED THEIR HOMES FOR THE CAUSE OF GOD AND THEN WERE SLAIN (QUTILŪ) OR DIED (MĀTŪ), GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR THEM A GOOD PROVISION. (22:58)

O YE WHO ARE JEWS! IF YE CLAIM THAT YE ARE FAVOURED OF GOD APART FROM [ALL] MANKIND, THEN LONG FOR DEATH (AL-MAWT) IF YE ARE TRUTHFUL. (62:6)

[PHAROAH] SAID: [TO HIS MAGICIANS] . . . “I WILL CUT OFF YOUR HANDS AND YOUR FEET ALTERNATELY, AND VERILY I WILL CRUCIFY YOU EVERY ONE.” THEY SAID: “IT IS NO HURT, FOR LO! UNTO OUR LORD WE SHALL RETURN.” (26:49-50)

AND CALL NOT THOSE WHO ARE SLAIN (YUQTALU) IN THE WAY OF GOD “DEAD” (AMWĀT). NAY THEY ARE LIVING, ONLY YE PERCEIVE NOT. (2:154, similar to 3:169)

AND THEY [the Jāhilī ‘Arabs] SAY: THERE IS NAUGHT BUT OUR LIFE IN THIS WORLD; WE DIE AND WE LIVE, AND NAUGHT DESTROYETH US SAVE TIME (DAHR); WHEN THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE WHATSOEVER OF [ALL] THAT; THEY DO BUT GUESS (YAẒUNNŪNA). AND WHEN OUR CLEAR REVELATIONS ARE RECITED UNTO THEM THEIR ONLY ARGUMENT IS THAT THEY SAY: BRING [BACK] OUR FATHERS THEN, IF YE ARE TRUTHFUL. SAY [UNTO THEM, O MUḤAMMAD]: GOD GIVETH LIFE TO YOU,
THEN CAUSETH YOU TO DIE, THEN GATHERETH YOU UNTO THE DAY OF RESURRECTION WHEREOF THERE IS NO DOUBT. BUT MOST OF MANKIND KNOW NOT (LA YA‘LAMŪNA). (45:24-26)

NO SOUL CAN EVER DIE EXCEPT BY GOD’S LEAVE AND AT A TERM APPOINTED. WHOSO DESIRETH THE REWARD OF THE WORLD, WE BESTOW ON HIM THEREOF; AND WHOSO DESIRETH THE REWARD OF THE HEREAFTER, WE BESTOW ON HIM
THEREOF. WE SHALL REWARD THE THANKFUL. (3:145)

So the Qur’an is quite clear that people will be resurrected after they die, and either sent to Heaven or Hell. This is a point the Qur’an makes a lot, in much detail. So if an average human being will be resurrected, why not a Prophet of God? Is it possible that the account in the Gospels of Christ dying and then being resurrected onto God is still true? Perhaps.


Jesus Quote on the Soul

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mathew 10:28)

Okay, so the above quote is from the Gospels and not the Qur’an. But the Qur’an does say it was brought to fulfill the Gospels. And that there is truth and light in the Gospels.

“And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you.” (Surah 2:41)

“Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians – Any who believe in Allah And the Last Day, and work righteousness, Shall have their reward.” (Surah 2:62)

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it. In safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. (Surah 5:48)

And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those [earlier prophets], confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah; and We vouchsafed unto him the Gospel, wherein there was guidance and light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God-conscious. (5:46)

The above quote from the Gospels reasserts the Qur’anic quotes on death, that one who dies in the way of the Lord doesn’t truly die.


Looking to the Qur’an, rather than the Tafsīr, to form theories about what happened regarding the crucifixion of Jesus

I’ve stated the common beliefs in the muslim community about the crucifixion, which have evolved from tafsīr. Below I will look more at the Qur’an itself.

As I mentioned above, the Qur’an did not come to wipe away everything that existed before. Islam is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic faiths (and really all faiths). Not a new religion. The Qur’an came to clarify errors and corruptions that were invented by human beings as lies against God. So I think most of what the Gospels detail about the events of the crucifixion are probably correct, just as the accounts for many other Qur’anic stories, like the suffering of Job, and Moses’s interaction with Pharoah, and the trials of Yusef mainly follow the biblical accounts with a few exceptions.

But the Qur’an does clear up misconceptions invented by Christians.

The Qur’an says that Jesus and his mother Mary are not Gods.

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. (5:116)

The Qur’an says that Jesus did not die for our sins. For no soul can bear the burden of another. I already posted the verse above but will post it again because it bears repeating.

And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination. (35:18)

We, individually, are responsible for our own actions and our own sins. This life is a test. A test Allah devised for us to see what kind of people we are. So what kind of test would this be if some superstar could just pass it for us? That seems lazy.

So what does the Qur’an say about the crucifixion?

As I mentioned above, since the Qur’an does not discuss the crucifixion that heavily (mentioning it once, and briefly, it is up for interpretation).

Perhaps there is some truth to the swoon theory, and Jesus’s body was left behind to suffer while his soul elevated to God. (But I don’t think there is any truth to the substitution theory, for the reasons I mentioned above.)

Or perhaps Jesus did suffer but overcame that suffering through his dedication to the Lord.

Perhaps his crucifixion is a symbol of what God expects of us. That we must endure and overcome the suffering of life through complete submission to God and God alone, before achieving ascension into Heaven.

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. (2:155)

So, we are supposed to suffer. Because this life is a test.

Below is support for the fact that Jesus is a symbol.

And We made the son of Mary and his mother a symbol, and provided for both an abode in a lofty place of lasting restfulness and unsullied springs. (23:50)

A symbol of what? We are supposed to read the Qur’an and use our brains and figure that out.

A Theme of Self Sacrifice

The Qur’an repeats itself. And its themes repeat themselves. It is a cyclical, rather than linear text. In the same way that Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son (as a test of his loyalty), perhaps Jesus was asked to sacrifice himself as a similar test. Whether he suffered or not during that sacrifice is not as important as the fact that he was willing to do it, with complete faith and loyalty to his Lord.

Perhaps sacrificing the self is the ultimate way to achieve salvation. And perhaps that is why Jesus is a symbol for all mankind. Because to sacrifice the self is to kill the ego. And the Qur’an describes arrogance as the initial sin of Satan. So if Satan is farthest from God, because he resides in the depths of Hell (for arrogance). Perhaps Jesus is nearest God, because he personifies the opposite of arrogance and ego, which is self-sacrifice and humility.

Recall that Moses said to his people, “O my people, you have wronged your souls by worshiping the calf. You must repent to your Creator. You shall kill your egos. This is better for you in the sight of your Creator.” He did redeem you. He is the Redeemer, Most Merciful. (2:54)

(Jesus serving his Lord)

I will leave you with Todd Lawson’s words below on what he believes Mohammad’s purpose was.

So far from professing to bring a new revelation
Mohammed insisted that the Scripture given him was
but a restatement of the faith delivered to the
Prophets confirming their scriptures and itself
confirmed by them. Yet the originality of Islam is
nonetheless real, in that it represents a further step
in the logical (if not philosophical) evolution of the
monotheistic religion. Its monotheism, like that of
the Hebrew Prophets, is absolute and unconditioned,
but with this it combines the universalism of
Christianity. On the one hand, it rejects the
nationalist taint from which Judaism as a religion did
not succeed in freeing itself; for Islam never
identified itself with the Arabs, although at times
Arabs have identified themselves with it. On the
other hand, it is distinguished from Christianity, not
so much (in spite of all outward appearances) by its repudiation of the trinitarian concept of the unity of
God, as by its rejection of the soteriology of
the Christian doctrine and the relics of the old
nature cults which survived in the rites and practices
of the Christian Church. (Todd Lawson pg. 31)

Related Links

The Easter Story Found In The Quran?

Why Muslims Should Learn More About Christ (The Prophet Isa)

First of all, Muslims should learn about ALL the Prophets.

THE APOSTLE, and the believers with him, believe in what has been bestowed upon him from on high by his Sustainer: they all believe in God, and His angels, and His revelations, and His apostles, making no distinction between any of His apostles;  and they say: We have heard, and we pay heed. Grant us Thy forgiveness, O our Sustainer, for with Thee is all journeys’ end! (2:285)

The different apostles all had different gifts and brought about different things. The Quran was obviously Mohammad’s miracle.

Yet today, most Muslims learn mainly about Mohammad PBUH, and not much about the other prophets. I can understand this is because Mohammad PBUH revealed the Quran, is the seal of the prophets, and the Quran corrects what has been corrupted in previous texts. But that doesn’t mean the other prophets aren’t important.

And in particular, I think there are good reasons to learn about Isa PBUH.

Jesus and his Mother Mary are a symbol of God’s grace

And [as We exalted Moses, so, too,] We made the son of Mary and his mother a symbol [of Our grace], and provided for both an abode in a lofty place of lasting restfulness and unsullied springs. (23:50)

AND [remember] her who guarded her chastity, whereupon We breathed into her of Our spirit and caused her, together with her son, to become a symbol [of Our grace] unto all people. (21:91)

Jesus is a sign of Judgement Day (The Hour)

And indeed, Jesus will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path. (43:61)

Jesus is near to God

Lo! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, of great honour in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God (3:45)

God does not make any distinction between his messengers. They all made important contributions and are worth study. But some are more gifted than othersAnd gifted in different ways.

Some of these apostles have We endowed more highly than others: among them were such as were spoken to by God [Himself], and some He has raised yet higher.’ And We vouchsafed unto Jesus, the son of Mary, all evidence of the truth, and strengthened him with holy inspiration. (2:253)

Jesus is a Sign For All People

And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples. (21:91)

Jesus is Mentioned in the Quran Five Times More than the Prophet Mohammad

Jesus in the Quran (Islam 101)

Book By Turkish Muslim Who Sees Jesus in a New Light

Muslims revere Jesus too, but this Turkish author sees the Islamic Jesus in a new light

There is Guidance and Light in the Gospels

And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those [earlier prophets], confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah; and We vouchsafed unto him the Gospel, wherein there was guidance and light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God-conscious. (5:46)

So the Gospels shouldn’t be thrown into the trash. While there are corruptions (which the Quran corrects), there is still some guidance and light in the Gospels. It is still worth reading, once you have a firm understanding of what the Quran corrects.

There’s also the fact that the Gospels mention the Prophet Mohammad!

The Arabic word “Muhammad” is an expression which means “The honorable one” or “The glorified one” or “The admirable”. Below, you will see how Jesus in today’s Gospel of John had called this human Prophet which he predicted his coming, “The honorable one”.

Jesus in the Greek Bible used the Greek word “Periklytos” which means the admirable or glorified one. He called that predicted human prophet “Periklytos”. This word corresponds to the Arabic word “Muhammad” which also means the “admired one” or “glorified one.” In other words, “Periklytos” is “Muhammad” in Greek.

JOHN 14:15-17:  “If you love me you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth.  The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Just a note on the world not seeing the comforter and knowing him not. There are rules in Islam that one cannot depict the Prophet Mohammad, so the world does not see him. As to the world “knowing him not”? Perhaps that’s because the Quran doesn’t say much about the personal life of Mohammad aside from a few things, and perhaps what is said about the personal life of Mohammad in the Sunah, Hadith, and his biography is not accurate to who he really was (since it was written about 200 years after his existence). Mohammad even commanded others not to record his sayings, and Abu Bakr burnt 500 sayings of the Prophet because of this.

JOHN 14:25, 26:  “All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

JOHN 15:26:  “When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”

JOHN 16:7,8:  “But I tell you the truth:  It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment….”

JOHN 16:13-15:  “But when he, the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own, he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it know to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine.  That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

History of the Early Arab Conquests

A fascinating series of free lectures from Yale University about the history and spread of Islam.

Professor Freedman offers an unbiased, impartial account of this history.

He talks about the Arab skill with desert warfare, how in the same way the Vikings pillaged much of Europe via their superior knowledge of sailing and rivers, the Arabs did something similar with their superior mobility in deserts.

Professor Freedman also mentions that just because the Arabs were interested in conquest, doesn’t mean they were necessarily interested in converting everyone to Islam right away. And in the early years of Arab conquest, muslims were a minority in their conquered lands.

Since the Arab conquerors received a tax (the Jizya) from non-muslims for not being muslim, they weren’t too hasty to lose that source of revenue.

Jordan Peterson Archetypes: Female Chaos and Male Order

Audio of article can be listened to here.

Disclaimer: By writing this article I’m not saying I agree with all of Doctor Peterson’s views. I’m merely trying to provide an unbiased analysis of one of the more controversial aspects of his books and teachings, which is that chaos is archetypally female and that order is archetypally male. It is difficult to find a balanced and in depth analysis of this topic, so I have decided to provide one myself. 

The Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has become an internet celebrity in recent years. He started getting a lot more attention when he released a series of YouTube videos criticizing the Canadian C-16 bill, which is a bill that is attempting to protect gender expression and gender identity by making hate propaganda and incitement to genocide illegal. While the intentions of C-16 may be to protect people, Jordan Peterson (along with others) have criticized the bill for giving the Canadian government the right to police speech itself.

Since then, Doctor Peterson has received both praise and condemnation world wide. He has been called many things, including a “custodian of the patriarchy.”

Yet Doctor Peterson’s main work isn’t just talking about C-16. As a clinical psychologist, he delves into theories and thoughts on behavior and consciousness, going back into ancient history, even as ancient as lobster hierarchies that formed millions of years ago. Much of his work deals with archetypes. And he makes frequent reference to the theories of Sigmund Frued, Carl Jung and Friedrich Nietzsche

Jordan Peterson has published two books, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999) and 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018).

In this article, I will focus more on his 12 Rules for Life, since that’s the book I’ve actually read.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is exactly as the title describes, a guidebook to escaping the chaos of modern life.


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The beginning of the book talks much about life in our Post Modern Era, where tolerance is the highest value. (To be fair, this part is in the Foreward, by Norman Doidge, not Doctor Peterson, but it’s still in the book nevertheless, so it must be important.) Norman Doidge is the son of Jewish holocaust survivors, and a friend of Doctor Peterson.

The first idea or teaching is that morality is relative, at best a personal “value judgment.” Relative means that there is no absolute right or wrong in anything; instead, morality and the rules associated with it are just a matter of personal opinion or happenstance…And, since we don’t know right from wrong, or what is good, just about the most inappropriate thing an adult can do is give a young person advice about how to live. (Norman Doidge, page 11)

This serves as a good springboard for understanding the basic philosophy of the book, and its core theme. Today we live in an era where morality is relative, and there is no absolute right or wrong. The highest value is tolerance, and the worst value is to be intolerant. While such a philosophy is certainly liberating, all things in life exist in balance, like the Yin Yang pictured above. And sometimes too much freedom can lead to too much chaos.

For many millennials (like myself) who grew up in this era of post-modernism, we find ourselves aimless. And when there is no ultimate good to aim for, nihilism takes over. The effects of nihilism can be seen in the growth of mass shooters, and the spread of internet communities for incels and MGTOW. Many people are deciding that this society is fundamentally negative. That being itself is fundamentally pointless, or worse than that, evil. And when there is no ultimate good to aim towards, the destruction or abandonment of the system itself becomes a potential conclusion.

(Still from the Foreward, by Norman Doidge) But it turns out that many people cannot tolerate the vacuum—the chaos—which is inherent in life, but made worse by this moral relativism; they cannot live without a moral compass, without an ideal at which to aim in their lives. (For relativists, ideals are values too, and like all values, they are merely “relative” and hardly worth sacrificing for.) So, right alongside relativism, we find the spread of nihilism and despair, and also the opposite of moral relativism: the blind certainty offered by ideologies that claim to have an answer for everything. (Norman Doidge, page 12)

If there is an antagonist in Doctor Peterson’s book, I would say that it is chaos itself. The title literally says, “An antidote to chaos.”

Yet what many people have found contentious about this fact (including his interviewers) is that he frames chaos as a female archetype and order as a male archetype. So if chaos is the thing to be avoided, and it is female, is that a problem? Is that a fundamentally misogynistic point of view? Let’s delve into that and see.

Below are the summaries of the principles of Yin and Yang in 12 Rules for Life.

(Still from the Foreward, by Norman Doidge) Order and chaos are the yang and yin of the famous Taoist symbol: two serpents, head to tail. Order is the white, masculine serpent; Chaos, its black, feminine counterpart. The black dot in the white—and the white in the black—indicate the possibility of transformation: just when things seem secure, the unknown can loom, unexpectedly and large. Conversely, just when everything seems lost, new order can emerge from catastrophe and chaos. (Norman Doidge, page 16)

(No longer in the Foreward, this part is by Doctor Peterson) The famous yin and yang symbols of the Taoists capture this beautifully. Being, for the Taoists—reality itself—is composed of two opposing principles, often translated as feminine and masculine, or even more narrowly as female and male. However, yin and yang are more accurately understood as chaos and order. The Taoist symbol is a circle enclosing twin serpents, head to tail. The black serpent, chaos, has a white dot in its head. The white serpent, order, has a black dot in its head. This is because chaos and order are interchangeable, as well as eternally juxtaposed. There is nothing so certain that it cannot vary. Even the sun itself has its cycles of instability. Likewise, there is nothing so mutable that it cannot be fixed. Every revolution produces a new order. Every death is, simultaneously, a metamorphosis. (Jordan Peterson, page 29)

So as you can see, this idea of chaos being a female archetype and order being a male archetype is nothing new. It was not invented by Doctor Peterson. It is from Taoist philosophy. But it is worth noting that Doctor Peterson makes reference to it repeatedly throughout his book.

He even has a section called “Chaos and Order: Personality, Female and Male” on page 46.


Chaos and Order: Personality, Female and Male:

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Chaos and order are two of the most fundamental elements of lived experience—two of the most basic subdivisions of Being itself. But they’re not things, or objects, and they’re not experienced as such. Things or objects are part of the objective world. They’re inanimate; spiritless. They’re dead. This is not true of chaos and order. Those are perceived, experienced and understood (to the degree that they are understood at all) as personalities—and that is just as true of the perceptions, experiences and understanding of modern people as their ancient forebears. It’s just that moderners don’t notice. (Jordan Peterson, page 46)

Our brains are deeply social. (Jordan Peterson, page 46)

Here he makes the point that human beings understand elements of existence as archetypes, because we are deeply social creatures. This is a fundamental part of the human experience.  After all, we do have “Mother Nature,” “Father Time,” “Old Man Winter.”

So when Doctor Peterson says that order is masculine and that chaos is feminine, he’s not saying these are personality traits inherent to men and women. Men can certainly be messier than women. Women can often be more structured and orderly than men. What he’s saying is that this is the archetype that people have created in their subconscious minds in order to understand being itself.

To me, this makes sense. Human beings have, at least for the last 5,000 years, existed in predominantly patriarchal civilizations. I’m not saying this is good or bad. This is just how it’s been. The foundations of order have been enforced by men. Today the government is predominantly male, as is the military, the police, and the priestly caste of a majority of the worlds religions. Thus, if we were to give order a personality that matches our own lived and historical experience, does it not make sense that this personality would be male?

And when you look at the forces that have resisted that patriarchal order, the creative forces of nature, wise women, and the witch who goes out into the darkness of the woods to commune with primordial forces, does it not make sense that this is a female archetype?


What is Order according to Doctor Peterson? 

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Order, the known, appears symbolically associated with masculinity (as illustrated in the aforementioned yang of the Taoist yin-yang symbol). This is perhaps because the primary hierarchical structure of human society is masculine, as it is among most animals, including the chimpanzees who are our closest genetic and, arguably, behavioural match. It is because men are and throughout history have been the builders of towns and cities, the engineers, stonemasons, bricklayers, and lumberjacks, the operators of heavy machinery. Order is God the Father, the eternal Judge, ledger-keeper and dispenser of rewards and punishments. Order is the peacetime army of policemen and soldiers. It’s the political culture, the corporate environment, and the system. It’s the “they” in “you know what they say.” It’s credit cards, classrooms, supermarket checkout lineups, turn-taking, traffic lights, and the familiar routes of daily commuters. Order, when pushed too far, when imbalanced, can also manifest itself destructively and terribly. It does so as the forced migration, the concentration camp, and the soul-devouring uniformity of the goose-step. (Jordan Peterson, page 47).


What is Chaos according to Doctor Peterson? 

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Chaos—the unknown—is symbolically associated with the feminine. This is partly because all the things we have come to know were born, originally, of the unknown, just as all beings we encounter were born of mothers. Chaos is mater, origin, source, mother; materia, the substance from which all things are made. It is also what matters, or what is the matter —the very subject matter of thought and communication. In its positive guise, chaos is possibility itself, the source of ideas, the mysterious realm of gestation and birth. As a negative force, it’s the impenetrable darkness of a cave and the accident by the side of the road. It’s the mother grizzly, all compassion to her cubs, who marks you as potential predator and tears you to pieces. (Jordan Peterson, page 47).


The Need for a Balance Between Order and Chaos

Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t long tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while you are learning what you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged. That is where there is something new to master and some way that you can be improved. That is where meaning is to be found. (Jordan Peterson, page 49).

While chaos may be an antagonist in 12 Rules for Life, that is not the same thing as being “evil.” The trouble for Westerners in conceptualizing of Yin and Yang, Feminine and Masculine, Chaos and Order, is that it is our tendency to bifurcate ideas into the category of “Good” and “Evil.” So the fact Doctor Peterson is providing an antidote to chaos (which he presents as archetypally feminine) may make the average Westerner assume that he’s presenting the feminine as something that is evil, which naturally leads to some quite misogynistic conclusions.

Yet what is interesting to me about 12 Rules for Life, is that even though Doctor Peterson defines himself as a Christian, and uses much Christian lore and theology as source material in his book, his conceptualization of chaos and order is not fundamentally Christian, but Taoist. Chaos and order are both fundamental qualities in nature and in life. The ideal is for them to exist in balance.

Too much chaos creates anarchy.

Too much order creates authoritarianism.

And in a society where chaos gets out of control, people begin to become more accepting of authoritarianism, to crave it even. We see the rise of it today around the world. This is a development that Doctor Peterson, the so called “custodian of the patriarchy,” is categorically against.

He dedicates much time in 12 Rules for Life speaking out against the evils of totalitarianism and the importance of freedom.

In conclusion, I recommend that people read the book for themselves and form their own opinions.

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, Buy it Here