Refutation: The misconception of Aisha’s age

Many intellectuals who don’t hold a good view of Islam, time and again come up with this claim that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) got married to Aisha (may God be pleased with her), when she was merely a child. There are various claims on the matter, some quote the traditions which says that Aisha was six years old when she as married and nines years when the marriage was consummated. Others put the age of marriage at 10 and 13 at the time of consummation. So let’s explore the bits we know from historical records and the academic research which has been done on the matter.

Muhammad (peace be upon him)’s second marriage:

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was married to Khadija (may God be please with her) and their relationship lasted for more than two decades. At the time of their marriage Muhammad (peace be upon him) was twenty five (25) while Khadija was forty (40) and a widow. Polygamy in Arabia in those times (even now) was considered to be normal practice and the Arabs could marry any number of women without restriction or having to account for the social welfare of the woman.

After the death of his beloved wife Khadija, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was struck with grief. Witnessing his condition, a companion suggested that he should marry again and proposed the name of Aisha the daughter of Abu Bakar (may God be pleased with him) another companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The companion presented this proposal to Abu Bakar on the Prophet (peace be upon him)’s behalf. But at that time Aisha was already promised to Jubair (this was during the time when both Abu Bakar and Aisha were not Muslims). But now that Abu Bakar and Aisha were Muslims and deemed heretics within Mecca and the surroundings, Jubair distanced himself from claiming Aisha (broke off the engagement). Now the matter of adulthood of Aisha, it was agreed upon that the marriage will not be consummated until Aisha (may God be pleased with her) has attained adulthood. Thus the ‘marriage ceremony’ was virtually an engagement ceremony.

The misconception

So it is safe to establish that in pre – Islam Arabia, engaging young women (to be married) while they were about to reach puberty was not something out of this world. The popular misconception about Aisha’s age arises through a Hadith which is reported to be narrated by Aisha herself, the accounts of which can be found in Bukhari at two places at least.

However, the authenticity of these reports are challenged time and again by various academics. Hadith is a collection of reports about the life and actions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which are reported / narrated by others to a person and it is upto that person whether to accept or reject them by testing these reports in historical context. Sometimes, the Hadith is reported and it is left on the imagination of the reader to interpret the actions or the quotations of the Prophet in anyway that makes sense and fits the context. As a rule of thumb, it should be kept in mind that if in a certain case, the Hadith is found to be contradictory to the Holy Quran, the Quran will be taken as the final authority.

Now having established the authority of the Hadith let us see what one of the famous writer / scholar of Islam has to say about the reports found in Bukhari. Maulana Muhammad Ali was the first Islamic scholar directly to challenge the notion that Aisha was aged six and nine, respectively, at the time of her engagement and consummation of marriage. This he did in, at least, the following writings: his English booklet Prophet of Islam, his larger English book Muhammad, the Prophet, and in the footnotes in his voluminous Urdu translation and commentary of Sahih Bukhari entitled Fadl-ul-Bari, these three writings being published in the 1920s and 1930s. In the booklet Prophet of Islam, which was later incorporated in 1948 as the first chapter of his book Living Thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad, he writes in a lengthy footnote as follows:

“A great misconception prevails as to the age at which Aisha was taken in marriage by the Prophet. Ibn Sa‘d has stated in the Tabaqat that when Abu Bakar [father of Aisha] was approached on behalf of the Holy Prophet, he replied that the girl had already been betrothed to Jubair, and that he would have to settle the matter first with him. This shows that Aisha must have been approaching majority [puberty] at the time. Again, the Isaba, speaking of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima, says that she was born five years before the Call and was about five years older than Aisha. This shows that Aisha must have been about ten years at the time of her betrothal to the Prophet, and not six years as she is generally supposed to be. This is further borne out by the fact that Aisha herself is reported to have stated that when the chapter [of the Holy Quran] entitled The Moon, the fifty-fourth chapter, was revealed, she was a girl playing about and remembered certain verses then revealed. Now the fifty-fourth chapter was undoubtedly revealed before the sixth year of the Call. All these considerations point to but one conclusion, viz., that Aisha could not have been less than ten years of age at the time of her nikah, which was virtually only a betrothal. And there is one report in the Tabaqat that Aisha was nine years of age at the time of nikah. Again it is a fact admitted on all hands that the nikah of Aisha took place in the tenth year of the Call in the month of Shawwal, while there is also preponderance of evidence as to the consummation of her marriage taking place in the second year of Hijra in the same month, which shows that full five years had elapsed between the nikah and the consummation. Hence there is not the least doubt that Aisha was at least nine or ten years of age at the time of betrothal, and fourteen or fifteen years at the time of marriage.” (Bukhari, Book of Qualities of the Ansar, by Maulana Muhammad Ali)

To understand the events which the author is discussing, the tenth year of the Call which Muhammad Ali refers to is ten years after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received his first revelations from God almighty, bestowing Prophet-hood on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). “Hijra” is Arabic for emigration, it signifies the migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers towards Yathrib (later known as Medina).

More Research

Many more scholars took up the issue following Maulana Muhammad Ali and concluded that Aisha might have been much older than what Muhammad Ali has pointed out. A pamphlet by Abu Tahir Irfani (published by the Anjuman Isha‘at Islam, Bombay, India) points out as follows:

  1.  The famous classical historian of Islam, Ibn Jarir Tabari, wrote in his ‘History’:

    “In the time before Islam, Abu Bakar married two women. The first was Fatila daughter of Abdul Uzza, from whom Abdullah and Asma were born. Then he married Umm Ruman, from whom Abdur Rahman and Aisha were born. These four were born before Islam.” (Tarikh Tabari, vol. 4, p. 50. )

    Being born before Islam means being born before the Call.

  2. The compiler of the famous Hadith collection Mishkat al-Masabih, Imam Wali-ud-Din Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al-Khatib, who died 700 years ago, has also written brief biographical notes on the narrators of Hadith reports. He writes under Asma, the older daughter of Abu Bakar:

    “She was the sister of Aisha Siddiqa, wife of the Holy Prophet, and was ten years older than her. … In 73 A.H. … Asma died at the age of one hundred years.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, Edition with Urdu translation published in Lahore, 1986, vol. 3, p. 300–301)

    This would make Asma 28 years of age in 1 A.H., the year of the Hijra, thus making Aisha 18 years old in 1 A.H. So Aisha would be 19 (nineteen) years old at the time of the consummation of her marriage, and 14 or 15 years old at the time of her nikah. It would place her year of birth at four or five years before the Call.

  3. The same statement is made by the famous classical commentator of the Holy Quran, Ibn Kathir, in his book Al-bidayya wal-nihaya:

    “Asma died in 73 A.H. at the age of one hundred years. She was ten years older than her sister Aisha.” (Vol. 8, p. 346.)

    Apart from these three evidences, which are presented in the Urdu pamphlet referred to above, we also note that the birth of Aisha being a little before the Call is consistent with the opening words of a statement by her which is recorded four times in Bukhari. Those words are as follows:

    “Ever since I can remember (or understand things) my parents were following the religion of Islam.”

This is tantamount to saying that she was born sometime before her parents accepted Islam but she can only remember them practicing Islam. No doubt she and her parents knew well whether she was born before or after they accepted Islam, as their acceptance of Islam was such a landmark event in their life which took place just after the Holy Prophet received his mission from God. If she had been born after they accepted Islam it would make no sense for her to say that she always remembered them as following Islam. Only if she was born before they accepted Islam, would it make sense for her to say that she can only remember them being Muslims, as she was too young to remember things before their conversion. This is consistent with her being born before the Call, and being perhaps four or five years old at the time of the Call, which was also almost the time when her parents accepted Islam.

The evidence by Muhammad Ali

In his Urdu translation and commentary of Sahih Bukhari, entitled Fadl-ul-Bari, Maulana Muhammad Ali points out reports of two events which show that Aisha could not have been born after the year of the Call. These are presented as follows:

  • The above mentioned statement by Aisha in Bukhari, about her earliest memory of her parents being that they were followers of Islam, begins with the following words in its version in Bukhari’s Kitab-ul-Kafalat. We quote this from the English translation of Bukhari by M. Muhsin Khan:

    “Since I reached the age when I could remember things, I have seen my parents worshiping according to the right faith of Islam. Not a single day passed but Allah’s Apostle visited us both in the morning and in the evening. When the Muslims were persecuted, Abu Bakar set out for Ethiopia as an emigrant.” (Muhsin Khan’s English translation of Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 37, Number 494.)

    Commenting on this report, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes:

    “This report sheds some light on the question of the age of Aisha. … The mention of the persecution of Muslims along with the emigration to Ethiopia clearly shows that this refers to the fifth or the sixth year of the Call. … At that time Aisha was of an age to discern things, and so her birth could not have been later than the first year of the Call.” (Fadl-ul-Bari, vol. 1, p. 501, footnote 1. )

    According to this claim her age should have be more than fourteen (14) at the time of consummation.

  • There is a report in Sahih Bukhari as follows:

    “On the day (of the battle) of Uhud when (some) people retreated and left the Prophet, I saw Aisha daughter of Abu Bakar and Umm Sulaim, with their robes tucked up so that the bangles around their ankles were visible hurrying with their water skins (in another narration it is said, ‘carrying the water skins on their backs’). Then they would pour the water in the mouths of the people, and return to fill the water skins again and came back again to pour water in the mouths of the people.” (Muhsin Khan’s translation and go down to report listed as Volume 4, Book 52, Number 131).

    Muhammad Ali’s footnote under the report quotes:

    “It should also be noted that Aisha joined the Holy Prophet’s household only one year before the battle of Uhud. According to the common view she would be only ten years of age at this time, which is certainly not a suitable age for the work she did on this occasion. This also shows that she was not so young at this time.” (Fadl-ul-Bari, vol. 1, p. 651).

Let’s expand the last account a bit more, as we have discussed in the previous section if AIsha was in fact nineteen at the time of consummation of her marriage, then one year later at the battle of Uhud she must be twenty. Adding to this, we should remember that battles which took place prior to this one, some passionate Muslim youth, out of eagerness, tried to join in the ranks of the Muslim army for battle. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) sent them back on account of their younger age. It will not be historically correct to assume that Aisha would have been just ten (10) years old during the battle of Uhud if she was performing her battle field duties at that time.

So we have ample evidence which quote the same sources from the Hadith and historical context to conclude that Aisha (may God be pleased with her) was nineteen years of age when she joined Prophet (peace be upon him) as his wife in the second year of Hijrah.

(This is part one which is written to debunk the lies put out there by those who are openly bigoted towards Islam, in Part two I will discuss the take of Christianity on marriage of young ‘virgins’ with much older men. The purpose of the article is not to disrespect Christianity, but to show the hypocrisy of the right wing Christian evangelists who use the Hadiths out of context to portray Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)’s as an immoral being.)

Islam and stoning: A historical perspective

Many critics of Islam allege that Islam is barbaric because it legislates the capital punishment for offenses like rape, apostasy, heresy, blasphemy etc. etc. This is not a new allegation on Islam, many critics have been using the same rhetoric for a long time now. This perception of Islam (that it condones stoning to death) is built on the historic events that occurred during the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), where he suggested stoning of people.

If you study the Holy Quran, you will be astonished to know that there is no mentioning of this punishment in the entire scripture. There is punishment but death (no matter in what shape or form) is not even remotely mentioned for this offense. In the hadith (sayings / biography of the Prophet (Peace be upon Him)) we find certain accounts for when the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) ordained the stoning of death for adulterers. These rare events should be viewed in the historical perspective of that time. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) had migrated from Mecca towards Yathrib (which was later to be known as Medina), He was made head of state by an agreement between the dwellers of Medina and the surrounding (Jewish) tribes. It is important to remember that the Prophet’s (Peace be upon Him) reputation as a shroud and honest judge had perpetrated throughout entire Arabian peninsula. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) served as an arbitrator towards the community and people of all cast, creed and religion brought their feuds and conflicts to him and returned satisfied.

Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice. And surely excellent is that with which Allah admonishes you! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Chapter 4, Verse 59)

Having established his reputation as an unprejudiced, wise and honest judge, the people of Medina (and those of the surrounding Jewish tribes) brought their conflicts to Him in pursuit of justice. When the cases of murders, adultery and harassment, the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) inquired from the people what was the punishment ordained amongst them for these offenses. And the same punishment (according to the religion of the parties) was ordained for the accused. In simple words, the ‘stoning to death’ did not originate in Islam. Let us briefly explore the origins of this punishment.

Stoning to death: History

While the origins of stoning may be unknown outside the Abrahamic religions, what is known that Aztecs used to stone the adulterers to death. The first account of stoning to death in Abrahamic religions come from Torah, which is a part of the Old testament.

12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death.

13 They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”

(Exodus 19)

Here the bible is commanding the followers to kill those who touch the Holy Mountain without touching them. In Numbers we find texts which ordain the similar punishment but for another crime.

32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.

33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly,

34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.

35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”

36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

These are two of many examples where the bible commands for spiritual crimes be met with physical (and absolute) punishment. Even sleeping or lying with an engaged woman (who is engaged to another man and not violating the woman or abusing her) is punishable by stoning. Other crimes include: blasphemy, witchcraft, adultery, Overtime however the Jewish priests enacted some doctrines in order to prevent innocent from receiving capital punishment.

The Islamic link

As stated earlier, there is no account of stoning to death mentioned in the Quran. However, we find certain judgements during the time of Prophet (peace be upon him) that certain people were killed by stoning to death. Why? well the following Hadith sheds some light on the issue:

The Jews brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from among them who had committed illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet said to them, “How do you usually punish the one amongst you who has committed illegal sexual intercourse?” They replied, “We blacken their faces with coal and beat them.” He said, “Don’t you find the order of Ar-Rajm (i.e. stoning to death) in the Torah?” They replied, “We do not find anything in it.” ‘Abdullah bin Salam (after hearing this conversation) said to them, “You have told a lie! Bring here the Torah and recite it if you are truthful.” (So the Jews brought the Torah). And the religious teacher who was teaching it to them, put his hand over the Verse of Ar-Rajm and started reading what was written above and below the place hidden with his hand, but he did not read the Verse of Ar-Rajm. ‘Abdullah bin Salam removed his (i.e. the teacher’s) hand from the Verse of Ar-Rajm and said, “What is this?” So when the Jews saw that Verse, they said, “This is the Verse of Ar-Rajm.” So the Prophet ordered the two adulterers to be stoned to death, and they were stoned to death near the place where biers used to be placed near the Mosque. I saw her companion (i.e. the adulterer) bowing over her so as to protect her from the stones. (Sahih Bukhari 6.79, Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar)

As you can see from the above account, the Prophet (peace be upon him) judged between the two parties on the basis of Torah (their religious scriptures). It was never sanctioned into Islam as far as history goes. This tradition spread through the Muslims, some of them spread the news without proper context, which was that the punishment was legislated within Torah and not Quran. Therefore after the death of Prophet (peace be upon Him) this false tradition was taken up by Muslims.

The punishment for adultery in Islam is for the perpetrator to be lashed out (which can be changed based on the culture), not put to death. This is evident from the following Hadith:

Narrated Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani: A bedouin came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s apostle! I ask you by Allah to judge My case according to Allah’s Laws.” His opponent, who was more learned than he, said, “Yes, judge between us according to Allah’s Laws, and allow me to speak.” Allah’s Apostle said, “Speak.” He (i .e. the bedouin or the other man) said, “My son was working as a laborer for this (man) and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife. The people told me that it was obligatory that my son should be stoned to death, so in lieu of that I ransomed my son by paying one hundred sheep and a slave girl. Then I asked the religious scholars about it, and they informed me that my son must be lashed one hundred lashes, and be exiled for one year, and the wife of this (man) must be stoned to death.” Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, I will judge between you according to Allah’s Laws. The slave-girl and the sheep are to be returned to you, your son is to receive a hundred lashes and be exiled for one year. You, Unais, go to the wife of this (man) and if she confesses her guilt, stone her to death.” Unais went to that woman next morning and she confessed. Allah’s Apostle ordered that she be stoned to death.The stoning was done to the woman because she was a jew and according to torah punishment is stoning.The son got 100 lashes because its the punishment for zina in quran.

(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50: Conditions, Number 885)

So it is safe to say that it is not Islamic law which dictates barbaric punishment, the fact is that these have nothing to do with Islam at all. Therefore all those out Islamophobes out there, when you talk about stoning, be prepared to criticize the Jews and the Christians for this cruelty not Islam. If you are curious to learn the status of capital punishments in Islam, please follow the link here.

Logic is all there is

It’s been long overdue since I wrote on theology. I apologize to my readers for that, had a lot going on in life. I have a lot of catching up to do. I was just wondering on what to write but my good friend is always there to provide me a topic. In the latest article which I am afraid is more than a year old, the writer seems to be replying to a Muslim’s inquiry regarding the God-ship of Jesus Christ.

The topic under discussion is regarding the Christian concept of God. Evidently, both the Christian and the Muslim participant agree to one thing i.e. God is without contradiction (hence God is immutable). Next the writer discusses the Hypostatic Union which states that the Son of God(Jesus) took on Human nature, which according to the writer does not depict change. The writer first provides a definition of change and then goes on to claim that:

“By definition, to take on a second nature does not imply changing the first nature at all”-ibid.

The writer is trying to claim here that while Jesus is already God, taking up human nature for him does not necessarily means that the nature of God is changed. One may agree, but I think the writer does not seem to fully grasp the very concept of change. Logically anything which has a beginning and an end, is always in a state of change. For something to be immutable, it should be free of time. (Hence the saying, “Change is the only constant in life”)

God is eternal in (almost) all religions because time does not apply to God. Keeping this logic in mind, now let’s re-visit the first claim that Jesus is God. For Jesus to be God, he should be present in his original form(a God-man) from the start. Which according to the writer is not true since he took the human form later on. If however, I am mistaken and Jesus was a God-man from the start, then that begs the question if the Father (is also a God-man) (refer to my article [Son-ship of Jesus-Christ])

Furthermore, the writer goes on to explain this via a ‘Triangle-box’ analogy.

“Keeping in line with my wish for simplicity, let us imagine a triangle. Now we all know the nature of a triangle i.e. it’s attributes, the things that make a triangle a triangle as opposed to a rectangle or circle. Good. Now let us at this point imagine a box. Once more we know what is the nature of a box and furthermore, we are also aware that the nature of a box is in direct contradiction to the nature of a triangle. Now suppose that we were to place the triangle within the box, would we then have a confusion, a mixing, an intermingling of the two essences/natures? No, we would possess one unit (the Triangle-Box if you would like) with the essences of both objects intact.

The triangle would not cease to be a triangle and neither would the box cease to be a box—on the contrary we would now have a unit that possesses in its being the very attributes of both in that it is not half a box and half a triangle but rather a full (perfect) triangle and a full (perfect) box. A veritable Triangle-Box, wherein the unit is one but the essences are two.” –ibid

Now, this is a very simple analogy and I get it, that it seems to the the writer that there is no contradiction here.  I will  use this analogy to try and explain the Muslim viewpoint. It is understood that Christians have their work cut out when they try to explain the Trinity in terms of Monotheism (since early Christianity and even Bible talks of ONE God), therefore the writer fails to see the greater picture staring in the face of this analogy.

In this triangle-box analogy, it is very convenient to put the triangle in the box because common sense dictates that the box is bigger than the triangle. Hence the box becomes ‘superior’ because depending on the size, you can fit in as many triangles as the box allows. Unfortunately, thing aren’t that simple I am afraid, when viewed in relation to God and human beings. It must be defined here, which entity is superior to other and I am sure in every religion, God is superior to human kind in every way.

But, then one may say “AHA! You can see take the box to be God and the triangle to be a human being and then Jesus (the human) can become God”. That I am afraid will also fail when you place only a single triangle, depriving the box of its full potential. One key aspect of this analogy which is being overlooked by the writer is that while the ‘attributes’ or the essence of both the box and the triangle have not changed but the state of the box has definitely changed. Now the box holds a triangle which wasn’t present there before thus attributing to change.

Now, the writer after providing us with this defected analogy goes on to tell that this is why Jesus can have both contradictory natures within himself.

“As with the Triangle-Box, Jesus can claim the otherwise mutually exclusive prerogatives that come with each nature because of them being simultaneously existent in his being. Such that he can increase in knowledge as man, but always have known all things as God. Such that he can pray to the Father as man, yet have no need to do so as God. Such that should he will it, he is able to give his life unto death as man, and yet death never having any power or hold over him as God.” –ibid

I have already written an article on the issues of Jesus’ son-ship and why it defies logic, which the author is well aware of. For this, let’s take the life of Jesus as an example, the Jesus-man from the time of birth till death, had to eat, sleep, walk, work, pray and do every other chore as a normal human being, while the Jesus-God was present in him all this time (according to the writer). He conveniently used his ‘Godly’ powers on certain intervals but not every time (and definitely not when he needed it the most). This is a major contradiction. In all of Jesus’ life, we see him praying to God, eat on a regular basis and involve in other humanly duties and never choose otherwise. I am afraid that the concept of trinity is not that simple. Many Christians have taken up to explain it logically but it always end up badly. In no way I mean to offend Christians on their beliefs, it is one’s right to have a difference of opinion, I am merely trying to convey my point of view on this issue.

Now moving on to the writer’s claim that Muslims’ claim that God is immutable is false by quoting some Hadiths out of context.

“Now we understand that according to Islam, it is impossible for God to enter his creation because how could the infinite become finite so as to enter his creation, because if he were to take on the properties of his creation, he would cease to be God, et cetera, et cetera (might one say, yada, yada, yada?). If such is the case, could Muslims explain this (please read the section in red)?

It clearly says that Allah will take on a shape. Now a shape consists of something which is constrained by certain dimensions; these being length, width, height and so forth. Furthermore, we understand that length, width, height refer to area/space and such did not always exist. They are a creation of Allah. If then Allah can take on a shape (i.e. limit himself to certain dimensions) and as such exhibit the properties of what he has created (i.e. area/space) then has he changed the divine nature? Clearly Allah has just changed from how he existed before having created anything, to taking on the very properties of his creation and if any change in God must mean an inherent change in the divine nature then this must mean that Allah too is guilty of losing his divine attributes. Now of course Muslims will not like this but how will they explain away those clear statements by their Prophet?” -ibid

I invite the writer to go through the complete Hadith (all three of them) they are all depicting what will happen in the after-life on the day of resurrection, it talks of a place where all human beings will all be among the dead and their ‘SOULS’ will be resurrected. It is common sense that these Hadiths should not be put to the logic and rules of the physical world, but the spiritual world. I am sure it will clear the writer’s misconception. I am posting all the three Hadiths (which is one hadith reported thrice) in full text below for the writer’s reference. May ALLAH guide us all.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s:

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri:

We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He said, “Do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon when the sky is clear?” We said, “No.” He said, “So you will have no difficulty in seeing your Lord on that Day as you have no difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon (in a clear sky).” The Prophet then said, “Somebody will then announce, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship.’ So the companions of the cross will go with their cross, and the idolators (will go) with their idols, and the companions of every god (false deities) (will go) with their god, till there remain those who used to worship Allah, both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, and some of the people of the Scripture. Then Hell will be presented to them as if it were a mirage. Then it will be said to the Jews, “What did you use to worship?’ They will reply, ‘We used to worship Ezra, the son of Allah.’ It will be said to them, ‘You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What do you want (now)?’ They will reply, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ Then it will be said to them ‘Drink,’ and they will fall down in Hell (instead). Then it will be said to the Christians, ‘What did you use to worship?’

They will reply, ‘We used to worship Messiah, the son of Allah.’ It will be said, ‘You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What: do you want (now)?’ They will say, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ It will be said to them, ‘Drink,’ and they will fall down in Hell (instead). When there remain only those who used to worship Allah (Alone), both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, it will be said to them, ‘What keeps you here when all the people have gone?’ They will say, ‘We parted with them (in the world) when we were in greater need of them than we are today, we heard the call of one proclaiming, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship,’ and now we are waiting for our Lord.’ Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord.’ And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, ‘Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?’ They will say. ‘The Shin,’ and so Allah will then uncover His Shin whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation. These people will try to prostrate but their backs will be rigid like one piece of a wood (and they will not be able to prostrate). Then the bridge will be laid across Hell.” We, the companions of the Prophet said, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the bridge?’

He said, “It is a slippery (bridge) on which there are clamps and (Hooks like) a thorny seed that is wide at one side and narrow at the other and has thorns with bent ends. Such a thorny seed is found in Najd and is called As-Sa’dan. Some of the believers will cross the bridge as quickly as the wink of an eye, some others as quick as lightning, a strong wind, fast horses or she-camels. So some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell (Fire). The last person will cross by being dragged (over the bridge).” The Prophet said, “You (Muslims) cannot be more pressing in claiming from me a right that has been clearly proved to be yours than the believers in interceding with Almighty for their (Muslim) brothers on that Day, when they see themselves safe.

They will say, ‘O Allah! (Save) our brothers (for they) used to pray with us, fast with us and also do good deeds with us.’ Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one (gold) Dinar.’ Allah will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. They will go to them and find some of them in Hell (Fire) up to their feet, and some up to the middle of their legs. So they will take out those whom they will recognize and then they will return, and Allah will say (to them), ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one half Dinar.’ They will take out whomever they will recognize and return, and then Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant), and so they will take out all those whom they will recognize.” Abu Sa’id said: If you do not believe me then read the Holy Verse:–

‘Surely! Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant) but if there is any good (done) He doubles it.’ (4.40) The Prophet added, “Then the prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, ‘Now remains My Intercession. He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life.

They will grow on its banks, as a seed carried by the torrent grows. You have noticed how it grows beside a rock or beside a tree, and how the side facing the sun is usually green while the side facing the shade is white. Those people will come out (of the River of Life) like pearls, and they will have (golden) necklaces, and then they will enter Paradise whereupon the people of Paradise will say, ‘These are the people emancipated by the Beneficent. He has admitted them into Paradise without them having done any good deeds and without sending forth any good (for themselves).’ Then it will be said to them, ‘For you is what you have seen and its equivalent as well.'”

Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 105:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

During the lifetime of the Prophet some people said, : O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” The Prophet said, “Yes; do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun at midday when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?” They replied, “No.” He said, “Do you have any difficulty in seeing the moon on a full moon night when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?” They replied, “No.” The Prophet said, “(Similarly) you will have no difficulty in seeing Allah on the Day of Resurrection as you have no difficulty in seeing either of them. On the Day of Resurrection, a call-maker will announce, “Let every nation follow that which they used to worship.” Then none of those who used to worship anything other than Allah like idols and other deities but will fall in Hell (Fire), till there will remain none but those who used to worship Allah, both those who were obedient (i.e. good) and those who were disobedient (i.e. bad) and the remaining party of the people of the Scripture. Then the Jews will be called upon and it will be said to them, ‘Who do you use to worship?’ They will say, ‘We used to worship Ezra, the son of Allah.’ It will be said to them, ‘You are liars, for Allah has never taken anyone as a wife or a son. What do you want now?’ They will say, ‘O our Lord! We are thirsty, so give us something to drink.’ They will be directed and addressed thus, ‘Will you drink,’ whereupon they will be gathered unto Hell (Fire) which will look like a mirage whose different sides will be destroying each other. Then they will fall into the Fire. Afterwards the Christians will be called upon and it will be said to them, ‘Who do you use to worship?’ They will say, ‘We used to worship Jesus, the son of Allah.’ It will be said to them, ‘You are liars, for Allah has never taken anyone as a wife or a son,’ Then it will be said to them, ‘What do you want?’ They will say what the former people have said. Then, when there remain (in the gathering) none but those who used to worship Allah (Alone, the real Lord of the Worlds) whether they were obedient or disobedient. Then (Allah) the Lord of the worlds will come to them in a shape nearest to the picture they had in their minds about Him. It will be said, ‘What are you waiting for?’ Every nation have followed what they used to worship.’ They will reply, ‘We left the people in the world when we were in great need of them and we did not take them as friends. Now we are waiting for our Lord Whom we used to worship.’ Allah will say, ‘I am your Lord.’ They will say twice or thrice, ‘We do not worship any besides Allah.’ “

Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 577:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Some people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He said, “Do you crowd and squeeze each other on looking at the sun when it is not hidden by clouds?” They replied, “No, Allah’s Apostle.” He said, “Do you crowd and squeeze each other on looking at the moon when it is full and not hidden by clouds?” They replied, No, O Allah’s Apostle!” He said, “So you will see Him (your Lord) on the Day of Resurrection similarly Allah will gather all the people and say, ‘Whoever used to worship anything should follow that thing. ‘So, he who used to worship the sun, will follow it, and he who used to worship the moon will follow it, and he who used to worship false deities will follow them; and then only this nation (i.e., Muslims) will remain, including their hypocrites. Allah will come to them in a shape other than they know and will say, ‘I am your Lord.’ They will say, ‘We seek refuge with Allah from you. This is our place; (we will not follow you) till our Lord comes to us, and when our Lord comes to us, we will recognize Him.

Then Allah will come to then in a shape they know and will say, “I am your Lord.’ They will say, ‘(No doubt) You are our Lord,’ and they will follow Him. Then a bridge will be laid over the (Hell) Fire.” Allah’s Apostle added, “I will be the first to cross it. And the invocation of the Apostles on that Day, will be ‘Allahukka Sallim, Sallim (O Allah, save us, save us!),’ and over that bridge there will be hooks Similar to the thorns of As Sa’dan (a thorny tree). Didn’t you see the thorns of As-Sa’dan?” The companions said, “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle.” He added, “So the hooks over that bridge will be like the thorns of As-Sa-dan except that their greatness in size is only known to Allah. These hooks will snatch the people according to their deeds. Some people will be ruined because of their evil deeds, and some will be cut into pieces and fall down in Hell, but will be saved afterwards, when Allah has finished the judgments among His slaves, and intends to take out of the Fire whoever He wishes to take out from among those who used to testify that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah.

We will order the angels to take them out and the angels will know them by the mark of the traces of prostration (on their foreheads) for Allah banned the f ire to consume the traces of prostration on the body of Adam’s son. So they will take them out, and by then they would have burnt (as coal), and then water, called Maul Hayat (water of life) will be poured on them, and they will spring out like a seed springs out on the bank of a rainwater stream, and there will remain one man who will be facing the (Hell) Fire and will say, ‘O Lord! It’s (Hell’s) vapor has Poisoned and smoked me and its flame has burnt me; please turn my face away from the Fire.’ He will keep on invoking Allah till Allah says, ‘Perhaps, if I give you what you want), you will ask for another thing?’ The man will say, ‘No, by Your Power, I will not ask You for anything else.’

Then Allah will turn his face away from the Fire. The man will say after that, ‘O Lord, bring me near the gate of Paradise.’ Allah will say (to him), ‘Didn’t you promise not to ask for anything else? Woe to you, O son of Adam ! How treacherous you are!’ The man will keep on invoking Allah till Allah will say, ‘But if I give you that, you may ask me for something else.’ The man will say, ‘No, by Your Power. I will not ask for anything else.’ He will give Allah his covenant and promise not to ask for anything else after that. So Allah will bring him near to the gate of Paradise, and when he sees what is in it, he will remain silent as long as Allah will, and then he will say, ‘O Lord! Let me enter Paradise.’ Allah will say, ‘Didn’t you promise that you would not ask Me for anything other than that? Woe to you, O son of Adam ! How treacherous you are!’ On that, the man will say, ‘O Lord! Do not make me the most wretched of Your creation,’ and will keep on invoking Allah till Allah will smile and when Allah will smile because of him, then He will allow him to enter Paradise, and when he will enter Paradise, he will be addressed, ‘Wish from so-and-so.’ He will wish till all his wishes will be fulfilled, then Allah will say, All this (i.e. what you have wished for) and as much again therewith are for you.’ ”

Abu Huraira added: That man will be the last of the people of Paradise to enter (Paradise).

Narrated ‘Ata (while Abu Huraira was narrating): Abu Said was sitting in the company of Abu Huraira and he did not deny anything of his narration till he reached his saying: “All this and as much again therewith are for you.” Then Abu Sa’id said, “I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘This is for you and ten times as much.’ ” Abu Huraira said, “In my memory it is ‘as much again therewith.’ “

Holy Ghost and creation

PreviousThe role of the Holy Ghost

 

We do not observe any role played by the Holy Ghost in the divine plan of creation and also for that matter of Jesus Christ.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Obviously it is God the Father who is referred to in the Old Testament without any hint of a reference to Christ or the Holy Ghost. In the entire pre-Christian era, among all the Jews who believed in the Old Testament and must have heard this verse hundreds of thousands of times, there was not one who could read the name of Christ in the creation of the Universe or that of the Holy Ghost. In his Gospel, St. John suggests ‘Word’ to stand for Jesus. It is strange that such an important subject has been taken up by author of only one Gospel; by someone who was not even a disciple of Jesus.1 Even if one accepts his word to be the word of God, still it can only be understood to mean the Will of God; a concept that is common to many religions with reference to Creation.

Surprisingly, the age-long secret of Christ’s and the Holy Ghost’s participation in the Creation, remained a secret to Jesus himself. We read not a single statement of Jesus Christ where he claims to be the Word. Therefore, neither had any part to play in the shaping and making of Creation. Again it was God the Father alone, we are told, who fashioned man from dust with his own hands. I have never read anywhere in any Christian writings that the two hands belonged to Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Hence God created everything without the slightest help from, or participation of, Jesus or the Holy Ghost. Were they passive observers generally in agreement with what God was doing or did they actually participate? If the latter is more acceptable to Christian theologists then immediately the question arises whether each of them was individually capable of creating, without the help of the others, or were they only capable in their totality. And again, if all three were essentially needed to pool their functions together to create, then was their share equal, or did one have a larger share of the labour put into the process of creation? Were they three persons with different powers both in intensity and kind or did they share them equally? One has to admit that whichever of the two options is taken, each of the components of Trinity becomes incompetent to create anything in itself.

If the same argument is extended to other Divine functions, the same question will continue to plague the Christian theologists. At the end of the day Christianity will have to admit that it does not believe in one simple entity of God, with three aspects and expressions of one single central power and majesty. But rather that they believe in three complementary components of Godhead that are three segments of the body of God. The question of being equal or unequal would then be assigned a relatively minor status.

Take, for instance, the attribute of Justice and Forgiveness. The Son appears to be more compassionate whereas God the Father appears to be less Just than the Holy Ghost, who took no part in the injustice on the part of God the Father.

The second possibility we mentioned was that Jesus and the Holy Ghost played an inert role in the processes of creation and the government of the laws of nature. That being so, it raises many other questions. First of all what is the assigned role of the two partners of God in the discharging of their Divine functions? If they are passive silent observers, like sleeping partners, then they are automatically relegated to a secondary, inferior position where they coexist with God but without, in practicality, sharing His powers. This concept of God having two non-functional appendices is very bizarre to say the least. I wonder whose conscience it can satisfy. Rationally it is, of course, unacceptable and does not harmonize with the Christian concept of ‘Three in One’ and ‘One in Three’. The oneness in three cannot be reached or even remotely conceived without there being a total merger of will, of powers and of whatever experience of life that can be attributed to a single living entity.

In the case of Holy Ghost, being a separate person, unless that person merges completely and irrevocably, losing all its identity in the other two, there remains no future hope of the emergence of a hydra headed-god with single thoughts, single will and a single body.

The role of the Holy Ghost

PreviousSin and atonement [last part]

So far, we have discussed the question of Jesus the so-called Son and also God the supposed literal Father of Jesus. Yet there is a third person by the name of ‘The Holy Ghost’ who according to Christian dogma, despite having a distinct individual personality, is still amalgamated and so completely and eternally fused with the ‘Father’ and the ‘Son’ that their merger creates a singleness in three. Now we turn our attention to this question by inquiring whether the Holy Ghost has an ego separate from the God or Jesus, or do they share one single ego? Ego can be described here as the ultimate of consciousness, which in the final analysis, is indivisible and specific to each individual. The same ultimate awareness of one’s being as distinct from others gives birth to ‘I’, and ‘my’ and ‘mine’, as against ‘he’ and ‘his’ and ‘you’ and ‘yours’.

Bringing into focus the three parts of Divinity, we must resolve whether the three have distinct egos of their own or not. If they do not have distinct separate egos, then to attribute to them personages would become inconceivable. Each person, however close he may be to another, has to enjoy a separate individual consciousness of his being.

The official position of most churches is very clear and well-defined, claiming that each of the three entities of God’s personage had a distinctly separate personage of its own. So it is not just ‘Three in One’ it is three persons in one person. The bitter encounter of Jesus with death and all its fateful consequences must have been equally shared by the Holy Ghost. So also, he should have been included in the sacrifice along with Jesus. Again, he must have suffered hell in the company of Jesus and God the Father. If not, then one cannot escape drawing the inevitable conclusion that not only were they three distinct and different persons but also their emotions and faculties relating to head and heart must have been different, separate and insulated from each other.

In trying to further our vision of the Trinity we should attempt to visualize the fact of three persons merging together or existing as merged together eternally as one. So far we have failed to see how they could have merged in their emotions and thought processes.

The only option left, therefore, is a merger in the body. It reminds us of a hydra headed monster on a different scale, mentioned in the Greek mythology, which possessed many heads that grew again when cut off. Of course, man cannot understand the true nature of God and how His attributes function within, but it is very easy and simple to believe in one single entity without specific areas to which certain functions are attributed and confined, like head, heart and kidneys etc. But the scenario of separate individual thoughts and feelings is certainly at variance with the afore-mentioned scenario of a single entity. It creates an image of God which is very difficult to believe and conceive for human beings, many of whom have lived long with Christian dogma without questioning it and have somehow shut their eyes to such glaring violations against the human intellect, supposedly created by God himself.

 

The role of the Holy Ghost next

Sin and atonement [last part]

PreviousSin and Atonement [Part – 6]

Meaning of Death in Relation to Christ

Having clearly understood the different options regarding the relative roles that the Divine and the Man in Jesus could have played, we try to comprehend the application of the word ‘death’ and its full meaning in relation to him.

If he died for three days and nights, then death has to be understood in terms of the soul having been severed from the body, and the soul departing. Which means that the soul must depart the body and break off its relationship so completely that only a very dead corpse is left behind. So far so good. Jesus was at last relieved of his imprisonment in the carnal body of a man. However, liberation from this imprisonment should not be considered a punishment at all. The return of the divine soul of the ‘Son’ to the same sublime state of existence cannot be treated in any way like ordinary human death. Human death is fearsome not because the soul leaves the body and severs the ties by gaining a new consciousness, but the horrors of death are mainly on the account of one’s permanently severing ties with many a dear ones left here on earth, and leaving behind one’s possessions and different objects of love. Many a times it so happens that a man who has nothing to live for pefers to die rather than live an empty life.

In the case of Jesus, the feeling of remorse could not have been present. For him the window of death was open only in one single direction, that of gain and not of loss. Why should his departure from the body be considered an extremely pitiable and agonizing experience? Again, if he died once and literally, not metaphorically, gave up the ghost, as the Christians would have us believe, then returning to the same body is the most unwise step attributed to him. Was he reborn when he returned to the body that he had abandoned during the hour of death? If this process is only to be described as revival or resurrection of Jesus, then the body should also have been eternalized. But what we read in the Bible is a completely different story. According to that story Jesus was resurrected from the dead by entering the same body in which he had been crucified and that was called his regaining of life. That being so, what would be the meaning of the act of his abandoning the body once again? Would that not be tantamount to a second death?

If the first departure from body was death, then most certainly the second time he is considered to have abandoned the human body, he should be declared eternally dead. When the soul abandons the body first time, you call it death; when it returns to the same body, you call it life after death. But what would you call it when the soul leaves the same body once again never to return—will it be called eternal death or eternal life according to the Christian jargon? It has to be eternal death and nothing more. Contradiction upon contradiction. A very nerve wrecking experience indeed!

If it is suggested that the body was not abandoned the second time, then we have the strange scenario in which God the Father exists as an infinite incorporeal spiritual being while the ‘Son’ remains trapped in the restricted confines of mortal existence.

Limited Suffering for Unlimited Sin

It may be suggested that it is not always the pangs of conscience which create a miserable state of mind and heart in those who are sensitive to their faults. On the other hand, intense sympathy for the sufferings of others may also create a life of agony for someone who is totally or partially innocent of crime, but has that sublime spiritual quality of suffering for the sake of others. That would also create a similitude of hell. Mothers suffer for their ailing babies. The human experience stands witness to the fact that sometimes for a permanently disabled child the entire life of the mother is turned into a living hell. So why cannot we concede to Jesus that noble quality of being able to suffer for the sake of others? Why not indeed. But why only three days and nights? Why not for his entire sojourn on earth and even before and after that. Noble people do not suffer only temporarily for a very limited period of hours or days. Their hearts do not rest in peace unless they see misery mitigated or alleviated entirely. The hell which we are considering, is not the prerogative of an innocent divine person only, it is a noble quality shared to some degree even by the beasts of the jungle for their near ones.

After a few more remarks I will rest this case, but I have one other important issue to briefly touch upon. The punishment prescribed by God for Jesus Christ, only lasted for three days and three nights. While the sinners for whom he was punished, had committed sins so horrible and for so long that according to the Bible, their punishment was to be eternal suffering in hell. So what sort of a just God was it that when it came to the punishment of those created by Him, people who were not His sons or daughters, they were to be punished eternally? But when it came to the punishment of His own ‘Son’, for sins he had voluntarily taken upon himself, suddenly the punishment was reduced. Only three days and three nights. No comparison whatsoever. If this is justice then let justice not be. How would God look at the conduct of human beings, He has Himself created with His right hand, if they dispense justice as they learned it from Him? Applying different measures to their own children and very different to those of others. Will God the Father watch this loyal imitation with ecstasy or horror? Very difficult indeed to answer.

What Did Atonement Change?

As far as the effect of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in relation to the punishment of sin is concerned, we have already established that faith in Jesus Christ has in no way reduced the punishment of sin, prescribed by God, for Adam and Eve and their progeny. All human mothers still bear their children with the pains of labor and it is still with labor that man earns his bread. If we consider it from another angle, a broad comparison between the Christian and non-Christian world since the time of Jesus Christ. No believers in Christ can show a remarkable change, in any period of history, of their women delivering their children without pain and their men earning their bread without labor. They do not show any difference in this regard in comparison to the non-Christian world.

As far as the disposition to commit sins is concerned, the world of believers in Christ compared with the world of non-believers do not record any evidence that the dispensation to commit sin is totally obliterated among the category of believers in Christ. In addition to this, one may indeed wonder why having faith in God is considered so inferior to having faith in His ‘Son’. This is especially relevant to the time before this tightly kept, age old secret, (that God had a ‘Son’), was disclosed to mankind. Of course there were people who had faith in God and His Unity. Also innumerable people were born since Christ in every religion and land of the earth, who believed in God and His oneness. Why didn’t faith in God bear any influence on human crime and punishment? Again why could not God the Father display that nobility of suffering for the sake of sinners which His nobler ‘Son’ displayed? Most certainly the Son seems to possess higher moral values (God forbid!) than his less civilized Father. Is Divinity evolving and still in the process of attaining perfection, one may ask.

 

The role of the Holy Ghost next

Sin and atonement [Part – 6]

PreviousSin and Atonement [Part – 5]

Did God the Father Suffer As Well?

Coming to the nature of the ‘Son’, we cannot believe that he was thrown into Hell Fire, as that would mean an internal contradiction with himself. Returning to the basic concept of Christianity. It is said that God and the ‘Son’ are two persons but of the same nature and substance. It is impossible for one to go through an experience while the other does not share in it. How can we believe that one aspect of God, the ‘Son’, was being tormented, while God the Father remained unscathed. If He did not suffer, it would be tantamount to breaking the Unity of God. Three persons in one becomes even more inconceivable because the experiences of each constituent of Trinity have turned out to be so different and remote from each other that it appears impossible for one God to be in the raging fire of hell, and at the same time the other to remain perfectly aloof and untouched. There is no other choice for the Christians of today but either to sacrifice the Unity of God and believe in three different Gods, like the pagans of pre-Christianity such as the Romans and the Greeks, or they remain true to themselves and believe that God is one and as such, two aspects of God cannot undergo contradictory states. When a child suffers, it is impossible for the mother to remain calm and peaceful. She must suffer as well, sometimes more than the child. What was happening to God the Father when He made His ‘Son’ suffer the agony of three days in hell? What was happening to God the ‘Son’? Was he divided into two persons, with two forms and substances? One form suffering in hell and the other completely outside, not suffering at all? If God the Father was suffering then what was the need of creating the ‘Son’, when He himself could have suffered. So this is a very direct question. Why did He not just suffer for Himself? Why draw out such a difficult plan to resolve the problem of forgiveness?

The Punishment of Fire

Here, the question of hell to which, according to the Christian doctrine, Jesus was confined to, should be examined more closely. What sort of hell was it, was it the same hell we read about in the New Testament, which says:

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 13:41–42)

Before we proceed further, it has to be very clearly understood what the New Testament means by the punishment of fire or the punishment of hell. Is it a fire which burns the soul or is it a carnal fire which consumes the body and thereby tortures the soul? Do the Christians believe that after death we will return to the same body which the soul left behind to disintegrate to earth and ashes, or will there be a new body created for each soul and the resurrected person would experience a sort of reincarnation?

If it is carnal fire and a corporeal punishment, then one has to extend one’s imagination to the limit of its tethers as to what may have happened in the case of Jesus Christ. Before being subjected to the Fire, was his soul re-imprisoned in the body of the man he had been haunting all his life on earth, or was he somehow relegated to an astral body? If the later is the case then that astral body would have been beyond the reach of the carnal fire of hell to scorch, punish or destroy. On the other hand if we accept the scenario that the body of the man he had occupied would be reconstructed for Jesus as a sort of medium through which he could suffer hell, then one cannot fail to notice another blow done to the principle of divine justice. Poor man, first of all he was practically hijacked for all his life by an alien soul but then as a reward for the hospitality forced upon him he would burn in hell for no crime of his own. The credit of his sacrifice being totally monopolized by the alien occupant within him. Again, what about the soul of that man or perhaps he did not have a soul of his own. If not, then the man in Jesus and the God in Jesus had to be one and the same person and the plea that Jesus acted sometimes by his human impulses and sometimes by divine Will, is reduced to sheer hocus-pocus. The only formula acceptable to any intellect is that one soul and one body equals one person. Two souls and one body is a bizarre idea which can only be entertained by those who believe in people being haunted by ghosts or similar things.

Sacrifice and Spiritual Bliss

If the second option is more acceptable to the Christian Theologists in that it assumes only the soul of Jesus to have entered hell and that hell to be a spiritual hell. If so, there seems to be no reason why we should reject this suggestion as nonsensical. However, the spiritual hell is only created by pangs of conscience or a sense of guilt. In the case of Jesus Christ, neither was applicable. When you accept the penalty of another’s crime, being innocent yourself, it is not pangs of conscience which are generated but quite the opposite. The soul of such a person should vibrate with a sense of nobility and self-sacrifice. Which would be tantamount to spiritual heaven rather than hell.

Now we turn to the question of the body that was occupied by Jesus and the meaning of death in relation to that body and also to the meaning of revival in the same context. To the best of our knowledge the body of Jesus Christ had to be an integral part of the ‘Sonship’ of Jesus. Otherwise, he would have no common meeting ground left to him for his divinity and humanity to merge upon and play distinctly different roles under certain conditions. At times we should see the man taking charge of affairs, provided he had a separate soul himself and at times we should observe the Divine asserting Himself and controlling the man’s faculties of head and heart. Again we emphasise that this can happen only if there are two distinct personalities locked up in a single being.

 

Sin and atonement [last part] next

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