By Ahmad Deedat
In one of my books - "Who Moved the Stone?" I had promised to deal with the anomaly, where believers were reading simple English, yet were so conditioned that they were understanding exactly the OPPOSITE of what they were reading. The following story from real life will not only illustrate the point but will also elucidate our present case -
"RESURRECTION OR RESUSCITATION?"
I was about to leave for the Transvaal on a lecture tour, so I phoned my friend Hafiz Yusuf Dadoo of Standerton, informing him of my impending visit, as well as to enquire whether he needed anything from Durban. He said that as he was taking up Hebrew, I should try and obtain a Bible in the Hebrew language with a translation in English side by side.
I went to the "BIBLE HOUSE" in Durban. Without any difficulty I
found the appropriate Bible for my friend, the "Authorised Version,"
also known as the "King James Version," looking for one with the best
print and at the cheapest price, I noticed the lady behind the counter
had lifted up the telephone to speak to someone. I was out of hearing
distance, nor was I interested, but after an exchange with the person
on the other side of the line she put her hand on the mouthpiece and
addressed me: "Excuse me, sir, are you Mr. Deedat?" I said, "Yes." She
said, "The Supervisor of the Bible Society would like my pleasure,"
I answered. She spoke a few more words into the telephone and replaced
the receiver. I said with a smile, "I thought that you were ringing the
police." (perhaps because of the number of Bibles I was handling). -
She laughed and said, "No, it was the Rev. Roberts, the Supervisor, who
wishes to speak to you."
WINNING A CONVERT
Presently, Rev. Roberts approached me and after introducing himself
he gestured to me to hand over to him the Bible which I was holding in
my hand. I handed the book. He opened it and began reading to me - "and
this is life eternal that they should know Thee the only True God and
Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent." (John 17:3). (Subsequently, I checked
up the Gospel references of his quotations).
After having listened to his reading of this scripture, I responded
with the words: "I accept!" - meaning the implication of the Message he
was trying to convey to me. I did not tell him then that what he was try
ing to convey to me was the same as the Holy Qura'an was telling mankind
for the past fourteen hundred years - that all must believe in the 'ONE
AND ONLY GOD ALMIGHTY AND JESUS CHRIST is only a MESSENGER OF GOD.' The
words of the Holy Qur'an are as follows:-
"MOST CERTAINLY THE MESSIAH,
JESUS THE SON OF MARY,
WAS AN APOSTLE OF ALLAH AND HIS
WHICH HE BESTOWED ON MARY AND A
SPIRIT PROCEEDING FROM HIM:
SO BELIEVE IN ALLAH AND HIS
APOSTLES..." Holy Qur'an 4:171
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
Rev. Roberts must have been elated to hear my words- "I ACCEPT,"
to his first quotation. He quickly opened the Bible in another place and
began reading these words attributed to Jesus:-
"A new commandment I give unto you. That ye love one another; as
I have loved you, that ye also love one another." "By this shall all men
know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another."
A NEW CONVERT?
When he had finished reading these verses, I remarked-"Very good!"
He was greatly encouraged with my comment. I sincerely meant what I said
and there was no pretence. The Reverend found yet another quotation to
clinch a convert for Christ. He began:-
"Judge not that ye be not judged." "For with what judgement ye
judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be
measured to you again. Matthew 7:1-2
To this quotation I responded with the words, "I agree!" My only
reason for agreeing and accepting everything that the Reverend was rea-
ding to me was not of the "special discount" I was getting from the
Bible Society on my purchases, but because these particular quotations
were conveying the same message and ideals which Allah "Subhanahoo Wa-
Ta'aala" was commanding the Muslims to preach and practice. I would be
spiritually jaundiced to take exceptions to what was common to both of
us - the MUSLIM and the CHRISTIAN. For me to say that an identical mess-
age from my Book (the Holy Qur'an) was VERY GOOD, but the same message
in his Book (the Holy Bible) was VERY BAD would be hypocritical in the
extreme. It would be soul shaming untruth.
What was the real purpose of the Reverend's reading the Scripture
to me? Indeed, I was getting a special discount on all my purchases from
the Bible Society and I was perhaps the only non-Christian to get such a
discount, though it was depending purely on a business transaction, and
this information must have been passed on the the Reverend as the Head
of the Bible Society; that I was a Muslim there was no mistaking my iden
tity, for my beard and my headgear were the badges of my Faith, easily
recognised as such in this part of the world; and that, despite my nume-
rous purchases of the Bibles in English (various versions), in Zulu,
Afrikaans, Urdu, Arabic and other languages, I was not yet "converted."
Perhaps, what I really needed was a gentle push, the Supervisor must
have been told. Hence the recitation of the preceding quotations to me.
The implication of this reading was that I had probably not read those
beautiful passages; how else was it possible, then, that I had not yet
The Reverend gentleman had taken the role of a teacher who wanted
to teach, who wanted to impart new knowledge to his pupil.
Since I am commanded by my Prophet (Peace be upon him) to "SEEK
KNOWLEDGE FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE," and "SEEK KNOWLEDGE EVEN IF IT
BE IN CHINA," I wanted to learn. I said, "I agree with all that you have
read to me, but I have a problem with your Bible." "What problem have
you got?" he asked. I said, "Please open the Gospel of St.Luke,Chapter 3
Verse 23." This he did. I said, "Please read." He read:- "And Jesus him-
self began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the
son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli," Luke 3:23
I drew the Reverend's attention to the words - "(AS WAS SUPPOSED)."
I said, "Do you see that the words 'as was supposed' are written within
brackets?" He said that he saw that. I asked him, "Why are the brackets
there?" He acknowledged, "I don't know, but I could find out for you
from some Bible scholars." I admired his humility. Though I knew that
all Supervisors of Bible Houses in South Africa are retired reverends,
it was possible that this aspect of Bible Knowledge was beyond their
sphere. I said, "If you do not know, then let me tell you what the bra-
ckets are doing there in this verse. You do not have to take the trouble
of looking for a Bible scholar."
I explained that in the "most ancient" manuscripts of Luke, the
words '(AS WAS SUPPOSED)' are not there. Your translators felt that with
out this interpolation the "little lambs" not well grounded in faith,
might slip and fall into the error of believing that JOSEPH the Carpen-
ter was the actual physical father of Jesus. So they took the precaution
of adding their own comment in BRACKETS to avoid any misunderstanding.
I said, "I am not trying to find fault with your system of adding words
in brackets to assist the reader, but what intrigues me is that in all
translations of the Bible in the African and Eastern languages you have
retained the words "as was supposed" but have REMOVED THE BRACKETS.Coul-
dn't the nations of the Earth besides the English understand the meaning
and purpose of the brackets?
What is wrong with the Afrikaner? Why have you eliminated the bra-
ckets from the Afrikaans Bible? The Supervisor protested, "I didn't do
it." I said, "I know that you personally did not do it but why have the
Bible Society that you represent and your Bible scholars been playing
with the "Word of God?" If God Almighty did not see fit to preserve Luke
from error what right has anybody to add to or delete from words in the
"Book of God?" What right have you to manufacture "GODS WORDS?"
The translator's own addition of words in brackets can easily be pu
into the mouth of St. Luke by merely removing the brackets, and by impli
cation, if LUke was inspired by God to write what he did, then the inter
polations automatically become the WORD OR GOD, which really is not the
case. (More will be said on this subject in the forthcoming publication
"Is the Bible God's Word?) I concluded my explanation with the words -
"Your theologians of the day have succeeded where the alchemists of
yore failed - of turning baser metal into shining gold."
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
At this stage the Reverend introduced irrelevancies into the discu-
ssion and the subject changed. He made some claims which made me say,
"You see, sir, you English people do not know your own language." (With
apologies to my readers whose mother tongue is English). He quickly re-
torted, "You mean to say that you know my language better than I do?"
I said, "It would be presumptuous on my part to tell - an Englishman -
that I understand your language better than you do."
"Then what do you mean that we English people do not know our own
language?" he demanded. I said again, "You see, sir, you read your Holy
Scripture in your mother tongue, like every Christian belonging to a
thousand different language groups, and yet each and every Christian lan
guage group understands the facts, OPPOSITE to what he is reading." What
are you refering to?" he asked.
I continued: "Do you remember the occasion when Jesus returned to
that upper room after his alleged crucifixion 'and saith unto them, his
(disciples), Peace be unto you' (Luke 24:36) and his disciples were ter-
rified on recognising him?" He answered that he remembered that incident
I enquired, "Why should they be terrified?" When one recognises one's
long-lost friend or one's beloved, the natural reaction is to feel over-
joyed, elated and one wants to embrace and kiss the hands and feet of
the beloved. Why did they get terrified?" The Reverend replied that,
They (the disciples) thought that they were seeing a ghost." I asked,
"Did Jesus look like a ghost?" He said, "No." "Then why did they think
that they were seeing a ghost when he did not look like a ghost?" I que-
ried. The Reverend was clearly puzzled. I said, "Please allow me to ex-
DISCIPLES NOT EYE WITNESSES
"You see, sir, the disciples of Jesus were not EYE-witnessess or
EAR-witnesses to the actual happenings of the previous three days, as
vouched for by St.Mark who says that at the most critical juncture in
the life of Jesus, "they all forsook him and fled." (Mark 14:50). All
the knowledge of the disciples regarding their Master was from hearsay.
They had heard that their master was HANGED ON THE CROSS; they had heard
that he had GIVEN UP THE GHOST; they had heard that he was DEAD AND BUR-
IED FOR THREE DAYS. If one is confronted by a person with such a reputa-
tion then the conclusion is inescapable; they must be seeing A GHOST.
Little wonder these ten brave men were petrified."
"To disabuse their minds from the fear that gripped them, Jesus rea-
soned with them. He said, 'Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I my-
self:' To put it in colloquial English, this is how he told them: WHAT
IS WRONG WITH YOU FELLOWS, CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I AM THE SAME PERSON -
who walked and talked with you, broke bread with you - flesh and blood
in all respects.
Why do doubts enter your minds? 'Handle me and see,for a spirit has
no flesh and bones as you see me have.' (Luke 24:39). In other words he
is telling them: If I have FLESH and BONES, then I am not a GHOST, not a
SPOOK and not a SPIRIT!" "Is that right?" I asked. "Yes," he replied.
I continued that, Jesus is telling them, as recorded in this verse, in
Basic English, that what the disciples were asked to HANDLE AND SEE'
was not a translated body, not a metamorphosed body and not a resurrec-
ted body, because a RESURRECTED body is a SPIRITUALISED body. He is
telling them in the clearest language humanly possible that he is NOT
what they were thinking. They were thinking that he was a SPIRIT, a RE-
SURRECTED body, one having been brought back from the dead. He is most
emphatic that HE IS NOT!"
"But how can you be so sure that the resurrected body cannot mate-
rialise physically as Jesus had obviously done?" murmured the Reverend.
I replied: "Because Jesus had himself pronounced that the resurrected
bodies get spiritualised." When did he say any such thing?" enquired the
Reverend. I answered, "Do you remember the incident as recorded in the
Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 20, where the learned men of the Jews- 'the
chief priests and the scribes with the elders'- had come to him with a
number of posers, and among them was one about a Jewess who had seven
husbands in turn, one after another according to a Jewish custom, and in
time all seven husbands and the woman too died?" The Reverend said that
he did remember the occassion. I continued: "The trap that the religious
heirarchy was trying to spring on him was; which one of the seven husba-
nds was going to possess the woman on the 'Other side'- at the resurrec-
tion ?- since they reasoned with Jesus that the seven brothers"had her".
There was no problem while they fulfilled their obligation of trying to
give her a child, because they had possessed her one by one in turn, and
it was after the death of one that the other had taken her to wife. But
since at the resurrection all seven will be brought to life simultaneous
ly, there will be strife in heaven because all seven would want to get
at her at the same time, specially if they had pleasure with her."
"Jesus debunked their false notion of the resurrection, by saying
that at the resurrection 'neither shall they die any more:' (Luke 20:36)
meaning that the resurrected persons will be IMMORTALISED. They will not
be subject to death any more, no more hanger or thirst, no more fatigue.
In short, all the instruments of death will be powerless against the re-
surredted body. Jesus continues to explain: "for they (the resurrected
bodies) are equal unto the angles," that is, that they will be ANGELISED
- spiritualised, that they will become spirit-creatures, i.e. SPIRITS;
'and the children of God, for such are the children of the resurrection.'
JESUS NOT SPIRITUALISED
I was taken off from the theme I was expounding two paragraphs
above by the Reverend with the challenge,"But how can you be so sure..?"
To continue from where I had deviated above - 'HE IS NOT' what they were
thinking, that he was not a SPIRIT, not a GHOST, not a SPOOK. To assure
them further after having offered his hands and feet for inspection and
verification that his was a material, physical body, and that all their
bewilderment and disbelief was unjustified, he asked his disciples:"Have
you here any meat?" (Meaning something to eat). 'And they gave him a
piece of broiled fish and of a honeycomb, and he took it, and did eat
before them.' (Luke 24:41-43)
A DRAMA ?
What was Jesus trying to prove by all his demonstrations of wanting
his hands and feet to be handled and chewing and masticating broiled
fish and honeycomb?
Was all this a pretence, make-belief, an act or drama? "NO!" Said
Schleliermacher in 1819, a hundred years before I was born. Albert -
Schweizer records him saying, "IF CHRIST HAD ONLY EATEN TO SHOW THAT HE
COULD EAT, WHILE HE REALLY HAD NO NEED OF NOURISHMENT, IT WOULD HAVE
BEEN A PRETENCE _ SOMETHING DOCETIC."("In Quest of the Historial Jesus,"
I had not know of Schleliermacher and other Christian scholars who
over a hundred years ago doubted the death of Jesus on the cross as re-
corded by Albert Schweizer, when I was discussing this subject with the
head of the Bible Society.
"What is wrong with you (Christian) folk?" Jesus is telling you in
the most unambiguous language that he is not a SPIRIT - not spirituali-
sed, not a RESURRECTED person, and yet the whole Christian world belie-
ves tht he was RESURRECTED, i.e. SPITITUALISED. Who is lying, you or
him ? How is it possible that you (each and every Christian) are reading
your Holy Bible in your own mother tongue and yet EACH AND EVERY LANG-
UAGE GROUP IS MADE TO UNDERSTAND THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY ARE REA
DING ? If you read the Bible, say, in Hebrew, and pleaded that you did
not understand what you were reading, I can appreciate this fact. If you
read it in Greek and pleaded that you did not really understand the imp-
lications of what was written; I can appreciate this fact also. But the
anomaly is that you are reading the Book, each and every one, IN HIS OWN
MOTHER TONGUE, and are trained to understand the OPPOSITE of what is wri
tten. How have you been brainwashed, or rather, how have you been "Pro-
grammed," as the Americans would put it.
"Please tell me as to who is lying ? Is it Jesus or a thousand
million Christians of the world? Jesus says, "NO!" to his being resurre-
cted, and all of you say "YES!" Whom are we Muslims to believe, Jesus
or his so called disciples ? We Muslims would rather believe the Master.
Did he not say, "The desciple is not greater than the Master."
This was more than the Reverend had bargained for. He politely excu
sed himself by saying that as he had to get ready to close his office,he
would look forward to meeting me again. This was sheer evasive polite-
With the Bible Society, I won the DEBATE but lost the DISCOUNT ! No
more discount for me from the Bible Society. But let my loss be your
gain. If you dear reader, can remove a few cobwebs from your thinking on
the subject of the 'CRUCIFIXION,' I will be amply rewarded.
Now here are the verses discussed put together :
"....Jesus himself stood in their midst, and said unto them, Peace
be unto you.
"....But they were terrified, and supposing that they were seeing a
"And he said unto them,....
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and
see; for a spirit has no flesh and bones, as you see me have.
"And showed them his hands and feet.
"And while they yet believed not for joy and wondered, he said
unto them, Have ye here any meat?
"And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of a honeycomb.
"And he took it, and did eat before them."