“…the conditions of the dialogue between Christianity and Islam change completely as soon as the interlocutor represents not legalistic Islam but this spiritual Islam, whether it be that of Sufism or of Shi‘ite gnosis.”
(Henry Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, Prologue)
Click Here to Read the full article at The Matheson Trust:
The Crucifixion in Shi‘a Isma‘ili Islam by Khalil Andani (MTS – Islamic Studies – Harvard, 2014)
As observed by millions of Christians around the world, Good Friday marks the day when Jesus Christ was crucified. For Christians, this event is the climax of sacred history: the death of Christ on the Cross is believed to have redeemed and cleansed the sin of humanity. Indeed, the efficacy of the entire Christian doctrine – adhered to by the largest number of people in the world – depends upon the event of the Crucifixion. Interestingly, the faith of Islam, the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, seems to offer a completely different understanding of this event – it appears to deny the Crucifixion altogether. The only verse of the Holy Qur’an which speaks of the Crucifixion is the following:
wa-mā qatalūhu wa-mā salabūhu wa-lākin shubbiha lahum
“They killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them.”
– Holy Qur’an 4:157
While it is true that most Qur’ānic commentators came to deny the crucifixion of Jesus, this view is not actually rooted in the Qur’ānic verses but comes from commentaries which rely on non-Qur’ānic sources. The denial of the historical crucifixion was only one view among others on the subject to emerge from the Islamic world. There have been alternate interpretations of the same Qur’ānic verses which collectively offer a range of perspectives on the crucifixion – from total denial to actually asserting that the crucifixion did take place historically.
One of the schools of Islamic thought and philosophy which actually affirms the the Crucifixion of Jesus and glorifies it, is the tradition of Shī‘ī Ismā‘īlī Islam. The Ismā‘īlī Muslim philosophers of the tenth and eleventh centuries were able to achieve a remarkable reconciliation and rapprochement between the Qur’ānic and Christian views of the Crucifixion.
This article explains the Isma‘ili Muslim understanding of the Qur’ānic verses on the Crucifixion, the meaning of the Crucifixion in Ismā‘īlī eschatology, and the esoteric exegesis (ta’wīl) of the Cross, as articulated by the medieval Ismā‘īlī thinkers. These Ismā‘īlī perspectives, in their pluralistic and ecumenical outlook, can play a great role in opening further doors of understanding and recognition between the faiths of Christianity and Islam in the modern age.
Click Here to Read the full article – The Crucifixion in Shi‘a Isma‘ili Islam
Video: Click Here to Watch a lecture on Isma‘ili Muslim Perspectives on Jesus.