Saturday, March 17, 2012

Interpretation of Verse 4:159 by Nadeem Quraishi


The interpretation of this verse has eluded many a scholars, including several commentators of the Qur-an. The reason it eluded the scholars is plain and simple: they believed Jesus is still alive. According to their understanding since Jesus is alive, reference to his death in this verse is alluding to the event after his so called Second Coming.
In Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur-an he mentioned, "interpreters are not agreed as to the exact meaning of before his death". Then he went on to describe observations made by one school of thought, but cleverly avoided the whole debate by not giving a correct interpretation. He has thus purposely mislead people to believe that a Second Coming is a possibility. If the Second Coming is so important, the Qur-an would have mentioned it - but the Qur-an is absolutely silent about it.
Let us investigate a few sample translations of the verse:
Yusuf Ali And there is none Of the People of the Book But must believe in him Before his death; And on the Day of Judgement He will be a witness Against them -
Pickthall There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them -
M. H. Shakir There is not one of the followers of the Book but most certainly believe in this before his death, and on the day of resurrection he (Isa) shall be a witness against them.
Muhammad Asad Yet there is not one of the followers of earlier revelation who does not, at the moment of his death, grasp the truth about Jesus; and on the Day of Resurrection he [himself] shall bear witness to the truth against them.
A. J. Arberry There is not one of the People of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them.
Ahmad Ali There is not one among the people of the Book who will not believe in it before his death; and he will be a witness over them on the Day of Resurrection.
Farooq Malik There is none of the People of the Book but will believe in this fact before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection Jesus will bear witness against them.
Zohurul Hoque There is none of the People of the Scripture who will certainly but believe in this before his death. And on the day of Awakening he will be a witness against them.
The key point in the verse as I see is the meaning of the word "bihi" in the phrase layu'minanna bihi. Yusuf Ali and Pickthall have translated the word "bihi" as in him, whereas many others have translated it as in it. Both translations are correct. However, in the given context, it will be incorrect to translate it as in him and not as in it beacuse of the second part of the verse, discussed below.
When the word "bihi" in the phrase layu'minanna bihi is translated as in it, we find that the verse is referring to an incident and not a person. The incident is already mentioned in the verse 4:157 that the Jews neither could kill him nor could they crucify him. But it was made to resemble to them and that they were in doubt about it. I request readers to take any translation and read verses 4:157 through 4:159 in this light. This verse is not out of context here, it is in continuation of the incidence mentioned in 4:157.
The second part of this verse is crucial: And on the Day of Judgement He will be a witness against them. All the above mentioned scholars translated this part of the verse without any significant difference. Three factors are mentioned here 1) Jesus will be a witness, 2) Jesus will be a witness AGAINST them, 3) Jesus will be a witness on the Day of Judgement. If we consider that People of the Book will believe in HIM (Jesus), then why should Jesus be a witness AGAINST them?? This would be totally unfair and unbecoming of a prophet to be witness against those very people who believed in him (and his messages). Therefore, we must conclude that Jesus will be a witness against those people who believed that he died on the cross. In addition, he will be a witness on the Day of Judgement. Why is this important? Because there will be no renewed interaction between the People of the Book and Jesus till the Day of Judgement.
Based on all these arguments, the issue here is NOT believing in him but believing in the incidence. When this interpretation is interpolated in the translation we can see 4:159 as:
There is none of the People of the Book who will assuredly but believe in this/it (that Jesus died on the cross) before his (actual) death. And on the day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.
or
All of the People of the Book will most certainly believe in this (that Jesus died on the cross) before his(actual) death. And on the day of Judgment he will be a witness against them.
In other words, the verse can be illustrated as: The Jews and the Christians will continue to believe that Jesus died on the cross but he died later on and not at the time of crucifixion. The message of the Quran has exposed this truth. On the day of resurrection he will be a witness against them.
This interpretation is accepted by many commentators as shown above. If this interpretation is accepted then there is no need to invent imaginary prophecy about a Second Coming. The Quran has not mentioned about Second Coming in any manner whatsoever.

3 comments:

  1. Your research is usually excellent on such type of subjects but U in this paper, U are failed to grasp a very simple truth given in verse 4:159.
    Evil Mullahs twist many many verses of Quran in order to support two fabricated false doctrines of Pauline Pagan Christians 1- Fable of Ascension and return of Jesus and 2- Birth of Jesus with our Human Father.

    In verse 4:159, it is clear that Death of each dieing Jew and Christian is discussed and not death of Jesus. This verse says, Every Jew and Christian will be made know about the reality of Jesus at the time when that Jew or Christian will be dieing . Moutay-Hi here is Mout of each Cristian and Jew.
    Dr. Mohammad Asad the most educated translater of Quran and he realized this truth. Asas translated verse 4:159 as under:

    4:159 (Asad) Yet there is not one of the followers of earlier revelation who does not, at the moment of his death, grasp the truth about Jesus; [173] and on the Day of Resurrection he [himself] shall bear witness to the truth against them.

    Asad further commented on this verse and separated Water from Milk beautifully:

    Note 173 (Quran Ref: 4:159 )

    Lit., "who does not believe in him before his death". According to this verse, all believing Jews and Christians realize at the moment of their death that Jesus was truly a prophet of God - having been neither an impostor nor "the son of God" (Zamakhshari).(Quran Ref: 4:159 )

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