Monday, 15 January 2018

Jesus is "Dead" "Lifeless" (Sura 16:20-21)

Allah Most High says:

وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ لَا يَخْلُقُونَ شَيْئًا وَهُمْ يُخْلَقُونَ ۝ أَمْوَاتٌ غَيْرُ أَحْيَاءٍ ۖ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ۝

And those whom they invoke besides Allah cannot create anything but they are themselves created.

(They are) dead, lifeless. Nor are they aware of when they shall be raised up.

(Sura 16: 20-21)

The above cited passage from the Holy Quraan is a strong and compelling proof that the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth (peace be upon him) is deceased, contrary to the popular folk belief among many Muslims that he is alive with a bodily life in the heavens for the past two millennia.
The ‘mullas’ of our time, stubbornly clinging to fables, insist on ignoring the transparent and manifest Verses of Allah’s Revelation (Quraan) and refuse to acknowledge the fact that the Messiah son of Mary is deceased. They argue that the passage of the Holy Quraan which I have cited is only in reference to the inanimate idols worshiped by the pagan polytheists and there is no mention whatsoever, either explicit or implicit, of the Messiah son of Mary (peace be upon him).
Now the fact of the matter is that in this Verse Allah Most High is speaking of all those people who are invoked (worshiped) besides Him. Hence it is general and there is no indication of the Verse being specifically about inanimate idols. The phrase مِن دُونِ الله has been used elsewhere in the Holy Quraan with reference to Jesus of Nazareth:


وَإِذْ قَالَ اللَّـهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنتَ قُلْتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَـٰهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ

And when Allah will say: O Jesus son of Mary, did you say to the people “Take me and my mother as two gods besides Allah”?

(Sura 5: 116)


اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ

They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords besides Allah, and [likewise] the Messiah son of Mary

(Sura 9: 31)


In explanation of the Ayah (Sura 16: 21), Allama Mahmud al-Alusi (1802-1854) has written in his exegesis that by declaring the objects of worship apart from Him as “dead”, Allah refers to the likes of Ezra, who was alive and then died, and also the likes of Jesus and the Angels, peace be upon them, to whom death will eventually come in the future:
{ أَمْوَاتٌ } عموم المجاز ليشمل ما كان له حياة ثم مات كعزير أو سيموت كعيسى والملائكة عليهم الصلاة والسلام
Reference: Ruh al-Maani: v.14, p.120

Admittedly, Mahmud al-Alusi has revealed his personal belief that death is yet to come to Jesus of Nazareth, nevertheless, the point is that he did not exclude the Messiah Jesus from the meaning of this Quraanic passage. His argument that the word أموات ‘deceased’ doed indeed apply to Jesus of Nazareth, but that it has been used in a metaphorical sense to indicate Jesus’s mortality and not that he has already dead, is without solid basis but rather based on his preconceived notion that Jesus is alive.
In the well-known polemical work Talash-i-Haq of the Ahlul Hadith subsect in the Indian subcontinent, Maulana Irshad Ullah Maan likewise admits that in this Verse (16: 20), the Prophets invoked besides Allah are meant and not merely idols:
یہ آیات فوت شدہ مخلوق کو پکارنے کی صاف نفی کر رہی ہیں لیکن یہاں اس بات کا ذکر تک نہیں اور محض بتوں کا ذکر کیا گیا ہے جو سراسر تحریف ہے۔ تیسری بات یہ ہےکہ ان آیات میں يَدْعُنَ مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ وارد ہوا ہے یعنی اللہ کے سوا جن کو پکارتے ہیں۔ ہم مِنْ دُونِ الله سے مراد باب میں نہایت تفصیل کے ساتھ بیان کر چکے ہیں کہ احمد رضا خان قرآن ہی میں مِنْ دُونِ الله سے مراد ساری مخلوق ہے، جس میں انبیاء بھی شامل ہیں لیکن یہاں مِنْ دُونِ الله کی تفسیر میں بت لکھ دیا گیا ہے۔ اللہ تعالی تو آیات میں ساری مخلوق کی نفی فرما رہا ہے لیکن یہ صاحب صرف بتوں کی نفی کر رہے ہیں جو واضح تحریف ہے۔
“These Verses are clearly negating the invocation of the deceased creation, but this has not been mentioned, and only mention of idols has been made, which is a sheer distortion. In these Verses (Yad’una min Doonillah) has been stated, that is, whomsoever they invoke besides Allah. In this chapter we have explained in extreme detail that Ahmad Rida Khan in his translation of the Quraan translates (Min Doonillah) as all of the creation, in which the Prophets are also included. But in this instance (Sura 16:20), he has written (Min Doonillah) as ‘idols’ in his exegesis. Allah Most High, in these Verses, is negating the entire creation, but this man [Ahmad Rida Khan] merely negates the idols, which is a clear distortion [of the Quraan].”
Reference: Talash-i-Haq, pp.194-195

In fact, it can be strongly argued that the inanimate idols are not at all the subject under discussion in this Quranic passage, but rather only the deceased mortals from among the Prophets and other human beings that are worshiped besides Allah. This is because Allah states regarding the false objects of worship invoked by the polytheists that apart from being dead and lifeless “they are unaware of when they shall be raised up” (16:21). Now it is quite obvious that the inanimate objects will not be resurrected at all nor are they buried in graves, hence this passage must necessarily be speaking of the objects of worship from among deceased human beings and not inanimate idols. Some exegetes have attempted to interpret this statement to mean that the idols and false gods do not know when their worshipers or devotees will be resurrected from the graves. However, this interpretation is weak because an inanimate idol does not know anything at all. It makes no sense to negate a specific piece of knowledge for the idols when an idol, being inanimate, does not possess any knowledge whatsoever nor has any awareness whatsoever. However, the objects of worship from among the deceased human beings do possess knowledge and awareness, though Allah is negating for them the specific knowledge and awareness of when they themselves shall be raised up from the graves.
In another Verse, Allah Most High says:


قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۚ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ۝


Say: None in the Heavens and in the Earth know the unseen, except Allah. Nor are they aware of when they shall be raised up.

(Sura 27: 65)
Now it is obvious that the creatures dwelling in the Heavens and in the Earth, being the subject under discussion in this Verse, are being denied knowledge of when they themselves shall be resurrected. There is no specification of objects of worship in this Verse so it cannot be argued here that “they are not aware when their worshipers will be resurrected”, it must necessarily be admitted that all living creatures in the Heavens and the Earth are unaware of when they themselves will be resurrected.
Hence, the identical phrase used in 16:21 has to be translated and interpreted upon the same pattern, i.e., that the objects of worship that are invoked besides Allah are unaware of when they themselves shall be resurrected from the graves. So we logically deduce that the objects of worship that are under discussion in the passage of Surat al-Nahl Verses 20 and 21 are not inanimate idols but mortal human beings.
The great exegete, Imam al-Baidawi (d. 685 H), has admitted the possibility of this meaning:
{ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ } ولا يعلمون وقت بعثهم، أو بعث عبدتهم
(And nor are they aware of when they shall be raised up) “And nor do they know the time they themselves shall be raised up, or when their worshipers shall be raised up”
Reference: Tafsir al-Baidawi; v.3, p.223

And in fact, these two meanings which Imam al-Baidawi has ellucidated, are not mutually exclusive, for indeed, the deceased human objects of worship, including Jesus of Nazareth, lack knowledge of both things: 1. When they themselves will be resurrected from the graves, and 2. When those who worship them will be raised from the graves.
The fact of the matter is that the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth (peace be upon him) is worshiped the most by humanity besides Allah throughout history. There is no possibility of his being specifically excluded from the category of “those whom they invoke besides Allah” (16:20). Hence he too is “dead” and “lifeless” (16:21)

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