A lot of Christians argue that because Allah "deceived" people into making them believe that Jesus was crucified, that He was the cause of the spread of Christianity. I am going to argue against this God willing in this article.
The article will be divided into to main segments. The first one is going to be the Islamic perspective regarding Jesus. Then in the second segment, I am going to prove from the bible it self that not everyone thought that Jesus was crucified, especially the disciples.
It is clear in the Quran that Allah only deceived those who were plotting to kill Jesus. He did not deceive everyone.
And [on account of] their saying: "We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, messenger of God." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him.
Those Who Claim Jesus (pbuh) Was Killed Are Speculating
The unbelievers sought to kill Jesus (pbuh). And even though God foiled their plot, an environment in which they imagined that they had been successful was created. They were unable to kill or crucify Jesus (pbuh), and were shown a double in his place. Therefore, those who maintain that Jesus (pbuh) was killed are only speculating. In his commentary, al-Tabari stated that the unbelievers have no sure information about this event:
The Jews who debate over Jesus (pbuh) are unsure of whether he was killed or not. What they know about this issue is based merely on assumptions. They know very little about whether the person they killed was Jesus (pbuh) or not. They merely imagine that the person they killed was Jesus (pbuh), as they had intended. They very definitely did not kill him … because they continue to speculate about his death.(Tafsir al-Tabari, 1:428)
The fact that they have doubts shows that the unbelievers did not achieve their goal. Had they really killed Jesus (pbuh), there would be no room for doubt and they would be certain that they had succeeded. Let us consider this with an example. Someone who opens fire in order to kill someone else will know whether the intended victim has actually been killed or not. Alternatively, there needs to be very exceptional circumstances for there to be any doubt about whether someone condemned to death has actually died. If there is doubt, something out of the ordinary must have occurred. Those who had sought to kill Jesus (pbuh) would have felt no doubt as to whether they had succeeded or not. However, our Lord reveals that they did have such doubts, were only speculating, and had no certain information. This is one of the proofs that Jesus (pbuh) did not die but was raised alive to God's presence.
Foiling this Trap Shows God's Superior Might
Another element that attracts our attention is the expression: "God raised him to Himself. God is Almighty, All-Wise" (Qur'an, 4:158). In all likelihood, this extraordinary situation shows God's superior might. (God knows best.)
In their commentaries on this verse, Islamic scholars point out that these words represent an extraordinary revelation of God's might and wisdom. For example, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi said:
God reveals at the end of the verse that "God is Almighty, All-Wise." The intention behind almightiness here is the perfection and immaculate nature of that might, and that behind wisdom is the perfection and immaculate nature of knowledge. In this way, God has indicated the raising of Jesus (pbuh) and that no matter how impossible this may seem to a person, it is not impossible relative to His might and wisdom. A similar situation can be seen in the verse: "Glory be to Him, Who took His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] to the Further Mosque [Masjid al-Aqsa]…" (Qur'an, 17:1). That is because no matter how much such a journey may be impossible relative to the power of Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace), it is a most easy matter relative to the might of God.(Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Mafatih al-Ghayb, 11:102-3)
Mehmed Vehbi interpreted one of the elements of wisdom behind this revelation:
The elevation of Jesus (pbuh) to the heavens is determined in this verse. Although elevation to the heavens is impossible relative to human power, in order to announce that this is not difficult relative to His might and wisdom, God declares in the verse's preceding part that He is All-Wise and Almighty. And in order to reveal the perfection of His knowledge, He reveals that He is sovereign and that His might and wisdom are sufficient to elevate Jesus (pbuh) to the heavens.(Hadimli, Hulasat ul-Bayan, 3:1108)
Hasanayn Muhammad Mahluf cited Prophet Muhammad's (may God bless him and grant him peace) ascent to heaven and stated:
In the same way that our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) ascended to the heavens in both body and soul awake, so Jesus (pbuh) was raised alive to the heavens. There is nothing peculiar here. Situations of this kind are miraculous. There is no need for any comparison on this matter. God possesses might over all…(Hasanayn Muhammad Mahluf, Fetava Serriye ve Buhusun Islamiyye, (Cairo: 1971), 1:92-93)
Other Islamic scholars opined that Jesus (pbuh) did not die and could not be killed, and that he is alive in God's presence. Some of their comments are given below:
Omer Nasuhi Bilmen: "They do not definitively believe that Jesus (pbuh) was killed. Such guesswork and speculation have no value. God openly declares the true facts in the Qur'an, saying that He used His divine might to raise this blessed prophet, alive, to the heavens. For those who look at the greatness of the divine might and its manifestation in the universe, with millions of creations, with the eye of the heart, it is impossible to regard the raising of a glorious prophet, in body and soul, to the highest levels, as an untrustworthy account."(Omer Nasuhi Bilmen, Kuran-i Kerim’in Türkce Meali Alisi ve Tefsiri (The Turkish Translation of the Noble Qur’an and Its Commentary), 2:702)
Hasanayn Muhammad Mahluf: "The belief of Muslims is this: Jesus (pbuh) was neither crucified nor killed, but was raised alive in body and soul to the heavens. He will continue to live in the heavens for as long as God so wills…"(Mahluf, Fetava Seriyye, 1:92-93)
Imam Zahid al-Kawthari: "The Jews intended to physically kill Jesus (pbuh), but God confounded their aim by rescuing the body of Jesus (pbuh) and raising him to His presence. In order to refute the Jews' claim, this ascension must have been a physical one…"(Al-Kawthari, Nazra ‘Abira fi Maza’im, 32-33)
Hamdi Yazir of Elmali: "Those who differ on this issue are definitely in a state of doubt and have no knowledge in this regard. They have engaged in speculation. However, those who said that they killed Jesus (pbuh) certainly did not kill him. Therefore, it is a lie for them to boast of killing and murder. That is because the judgment depends on the intention behind a deed. The aim behind their initiative to kill never transpired."(Yazir, Hak Din Kuran Dili, 3:1516-19)
Al-Qurtubi: "The interpretation of the verse is: 'I shall raise you to Myself without you dying, cleanse you from the blasphemers, and kill you after your descent from the heavens.'"(Al-Qurtubi, al-Jami‘ li Ahkam il-Qur’an, (Cairo : 1967), 4:99)
Jesus' (pbuh) Followers Will Be Superior to the Unbelievers
In addition to revealing that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, Qur'an 3:55 also says that he will come to Earth again:
When God said: "Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me, and purify you of those who do not believe. And I will place the people who follow you above those who do not believe until the Day of Resurrection. Then you will all return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed." (Qur'an, 3:55)
In this verse, God reveals the existence of a group of people who will sincerely follow Jesus (pbuh) and who will be superior to the unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. The number of his followers during his lifetime was very small, and the message that he brought underwent a rapid degeneration after his ascension to God. Throughout the next two centuries, his followers, who came to be known as Christians, were subjected to severe persecution and had no political power. Therefore, it is out of the question to say that the Christians living at the time were superior to the unbelievers and that they are the ones being referred to in this verse.
Over the intervening centuries, Christianity moved away from its essence and turned into a different religion. Christians adopted two mistaken beliefs: Jesus (pbuh) was the son of God (God is surely beyond that.) and the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost [or Holy Spirit]). Given this, we cannot regard present-day Christians as those who will follow Jesus (pbuh) in the End Times, because God reveals in several verses that those who believe in the Trinity are actually unbelievers:
Those who say that God is the third of three are unbelievers. There is no deity but the One God. (Qur'an, 5:73)
That being the case, the expression "I will place the people who follow you above those who do not believe until the Day of Resurrection" has a very clear meaning: There needs to be a community that will follow Jesus (pbuh) and exist until the Day of Resurrection. Such a community will emerge when Jesus (pbuh) returns. At that time, his followers will be made superior to the unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. (God knows best.) Another verse that supports this reads:
O you who believe! Be helpers of God, as Jesus son of Mary said to the Disciples: "Who will be my helpers to God?" The Disciples said: "We will be the helpers of God." One faction of the Children of Israel believed and the other did not. So, We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became victorious. (Qur'an, 61:14)
It appears from the above verse that during Jesus' (pbuh) lifetime, some people did not have faith. The last part of the verse; "… so We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became victorious," gives news of a time when those who believe in Jesus (pbuh) will be superior. In all likelihood, this period is the time of Jesus' (pbuh) second coming. During this time, Jesus (pbuh) will make the true religion prevail and the believers superior to the unbelievers. (God knows best.)
A Look at the Bible
Paul Versus the Disciples
It is a common misconception amongst Christians that Paul and the Apostles of Christ were unanimous in their preaching of a crucified Jesus. Christians think that the apostles and Paul were preaching the same doctrine and everyone believed in the divine Jesus who came to be crucified for the sins of the world. However, if one examines the bible carefully, that person would observe that Paul and the disciples were not preaching the same doctrine and did not believe in the same Jesus.
The Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Paul has been preaching a different doctrine in Galatia and Corinthia. Paul was telling them not to follow the law anymore and that they don’t have to eat kosher meat anymore or to be circumcised (according to Genesis 17::14, the covenant is broken if there is no circumcision) etc. So the Apostles went to Galatia and Corinthia and convinced everyone that Paul is wrong, when Paul heard about this he went straight back to the cities………
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel
It says different Gospel, so obviously the disciples were teaching them a different doctrine and it was not just minor issues.
Paul Opposes Peter
11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. ( why did people such as the Apostle James still believe that the law regarding food should still be applied? If Jesus came to replace the law, then why are they still following the law?) 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. (so, Peter, James and Barnabas are wrong?)
14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
15"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. ( why are they arguing over following the law or not? Why are they not in agreement of doctrine?)
17"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"[d]
Paul condemns all Jewish Christians including Peter and Barnabas. We only have Paul’s side of the story but Peter’s recollection of this story is not given to us in the New Testament.
Peter truly would have known Jesus better than Paul. There is dispute whether 1 Peter is a letter written by Peter and almost all scholars, ancient and modern agree that 2 Peter is not a letter written by Peter.
31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
If Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit then why is Paul calling Peter a hypocrite for eating with the Gentiles and then when people came from James he got up. James is Jesus’ half brother, he lived and stayed with Jesus. Why did he still think that people have to eat kosher meat? We don’t have any account of Peter’s story regarding this incident. Barnabas is also called a hypocrite in verse 13. Look how in verses 15 thought 17 Paul is arguing with them about the law. That means the disciples wanted to follow the law and suggested following it. Otherwise Paul wouldn’t have mentioned it. How could he say those things to Peter and look what Jesus said about Peter.
8And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Paul said in Romans that all food is clean.
20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.
In the Book of Acts the Apostles wrote a letter to the gentiles to abstain from certain foods and that not all foods were declared clean
29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.
1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish?
Obviously we have people that are disagreeing with him. If Jesus taught that the law is over clearly, then people would not be arguing over this.
2 Corinthians 11:4-5
4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."
This is all doctrine and again he is criticizing the disciples.
2 Corinthians 11: 22-24
What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
Again he is comparing himself to the disciples. If this man were truly doing all this work for God, he would not be complaining about his pain and torturing and suffering. If he is truly sincere he would not have mentioned those things. Prophets and messengers never complained and boasted about their sufferings.
So it is clear from the Bible it self that not everyone believed in the Jesus who came to get crucified for the sins of the world and to replace the law. That there were different amongst the Apostles and Paul. The Apostles stuck to the true teachings of Jesus, which was upholding the law and that the Apostles who lived with Jesus know him better than Paul who never even saw Jesus except in a "vision". The only deceiver here was Paul and not Allah.