WAS JOHN THE BAPTIST BEHEADED?
And when the Word is fulfilled against them (the unjust), we shall produce from the earth a beast to (face) them: He will speak to them, for that mankind did not believe with assurance in Our Signs. —Quran 27:82
Was John the Baptist Beheaded?
We are told by an early historian, Josephus, that Chief Yahya/John the Baptist was put to death because of his political importance. The belief that he was is probably related to the New Testament story of his beheading at the behest of Salome, a story the truth of which we reject. Josephus does not mention the manner of his death.
Others have stated that he was beheaded. If it be true that Chief Yahya was put to death by Herod Antipas on the suspicion of planning an insurrection as Josephus indicates, the punishment would not have been beheading. Under Roman law, only Roman citizens were sentenced to beheading. Any non-Roman citizen was sentenced to death by crucifixion for such activity.
This was the case with Jesus, a non-Roman citizen, being accused of treason and sentenced to crucifixion. In addition, we see that when Paul was sentenced to die, he pleaded that he was a Roman citizen so that he would be beheaded and not crucified (Acts 22:27-28).
Certainly, if it is the case that Chief Yahya’s followers were many, spread far and wide, as it has been reported by some, and that Josephus mentions that the Jews were greatly moved by his words, and that Herod Antipas feared that Chief Yahya’s influence over the masses would cause a rebellious uprising leading to a revolt by the Jews against the Romans (Antiquities 18:5.2 116-119), then this would be in accord with the practice of capital punishment of said criminals under Roman law. That is, that non-Roman citizens be crucified.
As far as his being beheaded by Antipas, now believed to be a fiction, we know that records show Herod the Great lost his power to execute anyone. It is also known that he had to bring those whom he wanted to execute to the Roman authorities as he had lost his title of “Caesar’s Friend.”
With that in mind, there is nothing whatsoever showing that this power to execute prisoners was ever restored to his heirs one of whom was Herod Antipas. If Antipas had wanted to execute Chief Yahya/John the Baptist, he most likely would have needed permission from Rome to do so. If this be true, then the punishment would have to have been crucifixion and not beheading as this was reserved for Roman citizens.
Would it be fair to say that the High Priest Caiaphas, who was endorsed by Rome, had a problem with this new Black Chief whom the masses were going to see by the River Jordan? Would it be fair to say that Chief Yahya/John the Baptist threatened not only the throne of Antipas, but also the Jewish religious establishment?
Would it be fair to say that both Antipas and Caiaphas conspired together to do away with Chief Yahya? The Sanhedrin and Antipas could not execute anyone should be kept in mind. Would it be fair to say that Chief/Yahya was arrested and brought before Pilate?
The Prophet Yahya could not have been beheaded as has been stated by Muslim and Christian scholars. In regards to Jesus in the Quran we read: Peace on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day I will be raised up again. (Q. 19:33)
The verse states that Jesus was given safety and security in these three situations. But what about the son of Zechariah? We find the same description for him as we find for Jesus, Peace on him the day he is born, the day he dies, and the day he is raised up again. (Q. 19:15)
How does the supposed beheading of this prophet fit with the above Quranic verse of one given peace by his Lord? We find in the commentary of Ibn Kathir that Yahya was also given safety and security in these three situations, but the book speciously ascribed to Ibn Kathir, Stories of the Prophets, agrees with the Gospel accounts of Chief Yahya’s being beheaded and the serving of his head on a platter.
How do we explain the beheading of this Prophet of God? How, then, is he one who was “safe and secure”? Are we to say that God saved Jesus, but abandoned Yahya? Is this divine justice?
Josephus’ account of the imprisonment and execution of Yahya/John the Baptist would place it in the middle of the fourth decade, say 35 or 36 AD and therefore years after the events of the supposed crucifixion of Jesus, not before.
In the New Testament: An Islamic Perspective, Crook writes, “Josephus’ evidence creates a colossal chronological problem of enormous consequences.”
That is still true. Since we also know that while the gospels portray John in their narratives primarily to introduce and testify to Jesus’ superior stature, we also know from Josephus, that John/Yahya was a major player on the Palestinian stage, not just a walk-on to herald the messiahship of Jesus.”
Subsequently, Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas were both removed in 36 AD. Where does the supposed crucifixion of Jesus fit in here exactly? The two principal characters in the gospels responsible for allegedly crucifying Jesus were no longer in power (Roman governor Pontius Pilate–Ant. XVIII, iv, 2; Caiaphas the High Priest–Ant. XVIII, iv, 3).
Consider the following examples of the way God dealt with his prophets: “And, certainly, Noah cried out to Us. And how excellent were the ones who answer! And We delivered him and his people from tremendous distress. And We made his offspring—they, the ones who remain. And We left for him to say with the later ones: Peace be on Noah among the worlds. (Q. 37:79)
About Prophets Moses and Aaron: “And, certainly, We showed Our grace to Moses and Aaron. And We delivered them and their folk from the tremendous distress and helped them so that they, they had been the ones who are victors. And We gave them the manifest Book and guided them to the straight path. We left for them a good name with the later ones: Peace be on Moses and Aaron! (HQ 37:114-120)
About Prophet Lot: “Truly, he was of Our servants, ones who believe. And, truly, Lot was of the ones who are sent. We delivered him and his people, one and all, but an old woman of the ones who stay behind. Again, We destroyed the others.” (Q. 37:133-136)
About Prophet Jonah: “Then, the great fish engulfed him while he was one who is answerable. If he had not been of the ones who glorify, he would have lingered in expectation in its belly until the Day they are raised up.” (Q. 37:142-144)
All of them, plus Jesus, and Muhammad—as far as we know, all the prophets mentioned by name in the Quran were delivered from their enemies. Yet, the Prophet Yahya, whose name ironically means “He Lives”, is popularly supposed to have been put to death. Clearly, you can see how this story of the beheading creates an inconsistency with a text believed by muslims all over the world to be internally consistent.
It is my belief that Prophet Yahya was possibly put on the cross and not Jesus. However, he did not die on the cross. By God’s giving him the name of Yahya (“he who lives”) in the Quran and the Quranic fact that the Messiah was not crucified, but it appeared to the people as such, the Quran is telling us that that person was Chief Yahya (The Black Prophet).
Chief Yahya survives as he lives out the words from God of “peace be upon him” as was the case with Prophet Abraham when he was thrown in the fire yet he was saved, “We said: O fire! Be coolness and peace for Abraham!” (21:69); hence: “Peace be on Abraham! Thus We give recompense to the ones who are doers of good! (37:110)”
Chief Yahya died a natural death at some later time, as did Jesus. It is my belief from my understanding of the Quran that Yahya was raised up in honor (rafa‘a) as was Jesus. Because this is not mentioned in the Quran, it does not mean that it could not have happened this way.
Again, we must turn to the Quran and its “divine wisdom” to receive understanding. When one compares Isa/Jesus and Yahya/John, we can observe that Jesus has been mentioned in detail, whereas John has not.
Here are some examples for one to consider:
The Quran tells us that Jesus was sent to the children of Israel, but John is not mentioned as being sent to them. Was John sent to the children of Israel? Of course he was.
Jesus in the Quran preaches to the children of Israel, but John is not mentioned. Did John preach to the children of Israel? Of course he did. We are told that Jesus had disciples, but John’s are not mentioned. Did he have disciples? Of course he did. We are told that Jesus received the Gospel (Injil), but John’s revelation was not specified, but he was told to hold onto the scripture with might. Did John receive scripture from his Lord as did Jesus? Of course he did.
Because John is not mentioned in similar circumstances, it does not mean that he was not as favored as Jesus.
Countless works have been published pertaining to the false crucifixion of the son of Mary by Muslims, yet the false beheading of the son of Zachariah is largely ignored, why? —Ace Knight
English translations of the Arabic Quran stand in error (Quran 3:39/hasur) based on research done by Ace Knight (see The Black Prophet: He Lives)
Muhammad Asad: Thereupon, as he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out unto him: “God sends thee the glad tiding of [the birth of] John, who shall confirm the truth of a word from God, and [shall be] outstanding among men, and utterly chaste, and a prophet from among the righteous.”
M.M. Picktall: And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah giveth thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from Allah lordly, chaste, a prophet of the righteous.
Shakir: Then the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: That Allah gives you the good news of Yahya verifying a Word from Allah, and honorable and chaste and a prophet from among the good ones.
Yusuf Ali: While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righteous.”
Yusuf Ali Original: While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “God doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from God, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righ teous.”
Wahiduddin Khan: As he stood praying in the chamber, the angels called out to him, saying, God gives you the good news of John, who shall confirm the Word from God, and [shall be] outstanding among men, and utterly chaste, and a prophet from among the righteous.
T.B.Irving: The angels called him while he was standing praying in the shrine: “God gives you news of John, who will confirm word from God, masterful yet circumspect, and a prophet [chosen] from among honorable people.”
Safi Kaskas: The angels called to him as he stood praying in the inner sanctuary, “God gives you good news of John, who will confirm a Word from God. He will be noble and chaste, a prophet and one of the righteous.”
Al-Muntakhab: His prayer was met with quite an unexpected and most favourable divine response. The angels addressed him while he was at his devotions, performing his prayer in the Temple. “O Zakariya,” they said, “Here we relate to you a divine edict. Allah intimates to you the announcement of a happy event; the arrival of a male child to be called Yahya (John). His birth shall verify that a word from Allah is all that it takes for anything material or immaterial to be and to have a place in the realm of fact. He will be a son who shall be great and illustrious, spiritually attached to Allah and a virtuous Prophet whose deeds are imprinted with wisdom and piety.
The Monotheist Group: The Angels called to him while he was standing to the contact-method in the temple enclosure: “God gives you good tidings of John, authenticating the word from God, and a master, and steadfast, and a prophet from the upright.”
Abdel Haleem: The angels called out to him, while he stood praying in the sanctuary, ‘God gives you news of John, confirming a Word from God. He will be noble and chaste, a prophet, one of the righteous.’
Abdul Majid Daryabadi: Then the angels called unto him even while he stood Praying in the apartment: verily Allah announceth unto thee Yahya confessing to a word from Allah, and a leader, and a chaste and a prophet of the righteous one.
Ahemed Ali: Then the angels said to him as he stood in the chamber at prayer: “God sends you good tidings of John who will confirm a thing from God and be noble, continent, and a prophet, and one of those who are upright and do good.”
Aisha Bewley:The angels called out to him while he was standing in prayer in the Upper Room: ´Allah gives you the good news of Yahya, who will come to confirm a Word from Allah, and will be a leader and a celibate, a Prophet and one of the righteous.´
Ali Unal: It was when he stood praying in the Sanctuary after some time that the angels called to him: “God gives you the glad tidings of John to confirm a Word from God, and as one lordly, perfectly chaste, a Prophet, among the righteous.”
Ali Quli Qara’i: Then the angels called out to him, as he stood praying in the sanctuary: ‘Allah gives you the good news of John, as a confirmer of a Word of Allah, eminent and chaste, a prophet, among the righteous.’
Hamid S. Aziz: And an angel called out to him as he was standing praying in the chamber (and said) “Allah gives you the glad tidings of John, to confirm the Word from Allah, a noble and a chaste one, and a prophet of the righteous.”
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali: So, the Angels called out to him (as) he was upright praying in the Chamber, ” Allah gives you the good tidings of Yahya, (John) sincerely (verifying previous scriptures) with a Word from Allah, and a master, and chaste, and a Prophet, one of the righteous.”
Muhammed Sarwar: When he was standing during prayer in his place of worship, the angels called him saying, “God gives you the glad news of the birth of your son, John who will be a confirmation of (Jesus) the Word of God. He will become a chaste, noble leader and one of the righteous Prophets.
Muhammad Taqi Usmani: So then, when he stood praying in the place of worship, the angels called out to him saying: .Allah gives you the good news of YaHya who shall come to confirm a word of Allah and shall be a chief, abstinent (from women), a prophet and one of the righteous.
Shabbir Ahmed: While he was still praying in the chamber, angels announced to him, “Allah gives you the good news of a son, Yahya (John the Baptist) who would reiterate the Word of Allah, be outstanding among men, and a strict disciplinarian, and a Prophet among those who greatly contribute to humanity.”
Syed Vickar Ahamed: The angels called to him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber “Allah does give you the good news of Yahya (Baptist John), verifying the truth of a Word from Allah, and (of one) noble, chaste, and a prophet— From the noble company of the righteous.”
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International): So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber, “Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of John, confirming a word from Allah and [who will be] honorable, abstaining [from women], and a prophet from among the righteous.”
Farook Malik: As he stood praying in the Mahrab (a prayer place in the sanctuary) the angels called out to him saying: “Allah gives you good news of a son to be named John, he will confirm the word of Allah, he will be a great leader, chaste and a Prophet from among the righteous.”
Dr. Munir Munshey: As he stood for ´salat´ in his chamber, angels called him, “Allah gives you the news of a son called Yahya (John), who would confirm the word from Allah. He will be notably noble, absolutely chaste, (pure and virtuous), and a righteous prophet.”
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri: Whilst he was still standing in the chamber offering the Prayer (or supplicating), the angels called out to him: ‘Indeed, Allah gives you the good news of (a son) Yahya (John), who shall confirm Allah’s Word (i.e., ‘Isa [Jesus]), and he will be a leader, well-protected against (temptation for) women, and a Prophet from amongst (Our) exceptionally pious servants.’
Dr. Kamal Omar: So the angels called him, while he was in the act of standing up — he will offer Salat in Al-Mihrab, (Angels said): “Certainly Allah delivers you the good news of Yahya (who is to act as) a testifier to the statement from Allah, and he (is) a leader, and (is) protected and guarded, and (is) a Prophet out of the righteous.”
Talal A. Itani(new translation): Then the angels called out to him, as he stood praying in the sanctuary: ‘God gives you good news of John; confirming a Word from God, and honorable, and moral, and a prophet; one of the upright.’
Bilal Muhammad(2013 edition): While he was standing in prayer in the room, the angels called to him, “God gives you good news of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a word from God, noble, chaste, a prophet of the company of the righteous.”
Maudidi: As he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out to him: ´Allah gives you good tidings of John (Yahya), who shall confirm a command of Allah, shall be outstanding among men, utterly chaste, and a Prophet from among the righteous.´
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad: And the angels told him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber: God gives you good news of Yahya (John the Baptist), who confirms God’s word, and a gentleman and innocent, and a prophet from the righteous.
The Monotheist Group (2013 Edition): So the angels called to him while he was standing, making contact, in the temple enclosure: “God gives you glad tidings of John, authenticating the word from God, and a master, and steadfast, and a prophet from the upright.”
Mohammad Shafi: Then the angels, calling out to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary, said, “Allah gives you the good news of John — in confirmation of a Word from Allah — honourable, chaste and a Prophet from among the righteous.”
Bijan Moeinian:While standing in worship of the Lord in the sanctuary, the angles appeared to him saying: “We are here to give you the good news of the acceptance of your prayer. Your child will be John; a noble, moral and righteous Prophet blessed with receiving the revelations of God.”
Faridul Haque: And the angels called out to him while he was standing, offering prayer at his place of worship, “Indeed Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya (John), who will confirm a Word (or sign) from Allah, – a leader, always refraining from women, a Prophet from one of Our devoted ones.”
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah: And the angels called out to him when he was standing in the sanctuary worshipping, saying: ‘Allah gives you glad tidings of John, who shall confirm a Word from Allah. He shall be a master and chaste, a Prophet and from the righteous. ‘
Maulana Muhammad Ali: So the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah gives thee the good news of John, verifying a word from Allah, and honourable and chaste and a prophet from among the good ones.
Muhammad Ahmed – Samira: So the angels called him, and he is standing/keeping praying, in the prayer’s niche : “That God announces good new to you with John confirming with a word from God and a master and restricting himself (chaste) , and a prophet from the correct/righteous people.”
Sher Ali: And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the chamber, `ALLAH gives thee glad tidings of Yahya, who shall testify to the truth of a word from ALLAH – noble and chaste and a Prophet, from among the righteous.
Rashad Khalifa: The angels called him when he was praying in the sanctuary: “GOD gives you good news of John; a believer in the word of GOD, honorable, moral, and a righteous prophet.”
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi): Then the angels called him and he was offering prayer standing at his place of worship, no doubt Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya who shall confirm a word from Allah, a chief and chaste and prophet from amongst Our righteous.
Amatul Rahman Omar: So the angels called to him as he stood praying in the Sanctuary, `Allah bears you the glad tidings of John, who shall confirm the word of God and who shall be noble, utterly chaste, a Prophet from among the righteous.’
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali: Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in Al-Mihrab (a praying place or a private room), (saying): “Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya (John), confirming (believing in) the Word from Allah (i.e. the creation of Iesa (Jesus) , the Word from Allah (“Be!” – and he was!)), noble, keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous.”
Arthur John Arberry: And the angels called to him, standing in the Sanctuary at worship, ‘Lo, God gives thee good tidings of John, who shall confirm a Word of God, a chief, and chaste, a Prophet, righteous.’
Edward Henry Palmer: And an angel cried out to him as he was standing praying in the chamber (and said) that ‘God gives thee the glad tidings of John, to confirm the Word from God,- of a chief and a chaste one, and a prophet from amongst the righteous.’
George Sale: And the angels called to him, while he stood praying in the chamber, saying, verily God promiseth thee a son named John, who shall bear witness to the word which cometh from God; an honourable person, chaste, and one of the righteous prophets.
John Meadows Rodwell: Then did the angels call to him, as he stood praying in the sanctuary: “God announceth John (Yahia) to thee, who shall be a verifier of the word from God, and a great one, chaste, and a prophet of the number of the just.”
N J Dawood (draft): And as he stood praying in the Shrine, the angels called out to him, saying: ‘God bids you rejoice in the birth of John, who shall confirm the Word of God. He shall be princely and chaste, a prophet and a righteous man.
Sayyid Qutb: Thereupon, the angels called out to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: â€œGod gives you the happy news of [the birth of] John, who shall confirm the truth of a word from God. He shall be noble, utterly chaste and a Prophet from among the righteous.â€
Ahmed Hulusi: So when in the temple he was in a state of introspection with his Rabb, the angels said to him, “Allah gives you tidings of John, confirming a word (B-kalimah) from Allah (Jesus, the word of Allah, the manifestation of specific forces) and sayyid (the master/chief of forces) and chaste (in control of his ego), a righteous Nabi (living the Truth in his essence).
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli: Then the angels called unto him while he was standing praying in the sanctuary : ‘ Verily Allah gives you the glad tidings of Yahya (who comes) to confirm a Word from Allah, and honourable and chaste, and a prophet from among the righteous’.
Mir Aneesuddin: So when he stood worshipping in the sanctuary, the angels announced to him that, “Allah conveys to you the good news of Yahya, confirmer of the word from Allah and a chief, and chaste and a prophet from among the righteous.”
RESEARCH BY ACE KNIGHT/QURAN 3:39 HASUR/CONCEALER OF SECRETS
The commentators of the Quran have placed considerable emphasis on this word. Al-Tabari interprets the word hasur to mean one who abstains from sexual intercourse with women. He then reports a Tradition on the authority of Said ibn al-Musayyab which has Prophet Muhammad saying the following: “Everyone of the sons of Adam shall come on the Day of Resurrection with a sin (of sexual impropriety) except Yahya bin Zechariah.’ Then, picking up a tiny straw, he continued, ‘this is because his generative organ was no bigger then this straw (implying that he was impotent).’”
Does this mean that even the prophets outside of Yahya will be raised up with this sin of sexual impropriety? How can we accept that this was said by such a modest human being, comparing a straw to another prophet’s generative organ? Was Yahya impotent?
One commentator, Ibn Kathir, a renowned Islamic scholar, rejects this view and adds, “This would be a defect and a blemish unworthy of prophets.” He then mentions that it was not that he had no sexual relations with women, but that he had no illegal sexual relations with them. Indeed, the whole discussion is unseemly.
It is known that prophets of God are immune from major sins, so this statement makes no sense at all when interpreting the word, hasur. In addition, I would like to mention the fact that in his commentary, Ibn Kathir says he (Yahya) probably married and had children. He said this on the basis of what was related in the Quran of the prayer of Zachariah.
There are several reasons why interpreting hasur in this context as “chaste” or “celibate,” as has been done by commentators, is a misinterpretation: First of all, there is another word in the Quran for “chaste” and that is muhsin As God used a different word with hasur, it must mean something different.
Secondly, God says in the Quran that Islam did not bring monasticism but that it was something that they (the Christians) invented. (Q. 57:27) Also, And verily We sent messengers (to mankind) before thee, and We appointed for them wives and offspring, and it was not given to any messenger that he should bring a portent save by God’s leave. For everything there is a time prescribed. (Q. 13:38)
This is definitely not a recommendation for monasticism. Furthermore, we find in the Traditions that the Prophet said that there is no monasticism in Islam. Therefore, God would not have sent a Prophet who was celibate. In addition, it is contrary the exhortation in the Torah to “go forth and multiply.”
Thirdly, Yahya’s father, Zechariah prayed for a protector who would provide descendants (dhurriyah) for his family. There Zachariah called to his Lord; he said: My Lord! Bestow on me good offspring from Thy presence; truly Thou art hearing supplication. (Q. 3:38) God gave him Yahya. God would not have sent a son to Zechariah who would not carry on the line of Jacob’s descendants because then God would not have answered the prayer of Zechariah.
The word hasur is used only one time in the Quran and that is in regard to the Prophet Yahya. A major Arabic-English lexicon, that of Edward William Lane (Taj al- Arus) states that when hasur is used alone, it means “concealer of secrets.”
In his translation, of Ibn al-Arabi’s Book of the Fabulous Gryphon, Elmore also translates the Arabic hasur as concealer of secrets. In the referenced passage, “chaste” would not have been appropriate (Gerald T. Elmore, Islamic Sainthood in the Fullness of Time, Brill 1999, P. 482) —Ace Knight
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Prophet Yahya, concealer of secrets. Based on a study done about Prophet Yahya by Ace Knight, the word hasur (3:39) has been correctly translated in The Sublime Quran as “concealer of secrets” and not the ususal “chaste.” This opens up the study of who this Prophet actually was.
English translations of the Arabic Quran stand in error (Quran 19:5/WALIY) based on research done by Ace Knight (see The Black Prophet: He Lives)
Muhammad Asad: “Now, behold, I am afraid of [what] my kinsfolk [will do] after I am gone, for my wife has always been barren. Bestow, then, upon me, out of Thy grace, the gift of a successor
M. M. Pickthall: Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor
Shakir: And surely I fear my cousins after me, and my wife is barren, therefore grant me from Thyself an heir,
Yusif Ali: “Now I fear (what) my relatives (and colleagues) (will do) after me: but my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from Thyself,-
Yusif Ali Original: “Now I fear (what) my relatives (and colleagues) (will do) after me: but my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from Thyself,-
Wahiduddin Khan: now I fear my kinsmen when I am gone. [I have no hope of their continuing my mission] for my wife is barren, so grant me a successor from Yourself,
T.B. Irving: Yet I fear for my heirs after me from Your presence
Safi Kaskas: And I fear what my kinsfolk [will do] after I am gone. My wife has been barren, so give me an heir as a gift from You
Al-Muntakhab: “I only fear that my kindred and those connected in thought may not know, after I have gone off, how to serve Your purpose with the appropriate acts and rites, and my wife has been barren”. “I pray and beseech You O Allah to give me through Your efficacious grace a descendent destined to be my successor“,
The Monotheist Group: “And I fear the kinfolk after I am gone, and my wife is infertile, so grant me from Yourself an ally.”
Abdel Haleem: I fear [what] my kinsmen [will do] when I am gone, for my wife is barren, so grant me a successor––a gift from You––
Abdul Majid Daryabadi: And verily I fear my kindred after me, and my wife hath been barren; so bestow on me from before Thee an heir.
Ahmed Ali: But I fear my relatives after me; and my wife is barren. So grant me a successor as a favour from You
Aisha Bewley: I fear my relatives when I am gone and my wife is barren, so give me an heir from You
Ali Unal: “I have fears about (how) my kinsmen (will act in respect of continuing my mission, and safeguarding the future of Mary), and my wife is barren. So bestow upon me a successor out of Your grace,
Ali Quli Qara’i: Indeed I fear my kinsmen, after me, and my wife is barren. So grant me from Yourself an heir
Hamid S. Aziz: But I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren; then grant me from Thy presence a successor,
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali: And surely I fear my patronized (relatives) beyond me, (i.e., after I am gone) and my wife is barren. So bestow upon me, from very close to You, a constant patron (Some take it to mean a nephew or kinsman)
Muhammad Sarwar: I am afraid of what my kinsmen will do after (my death) and my wife is barren. Lord, grant me a son
Muhammad Taqi Usmani: I fear (my) kinsmen after me, and my wife is barren, so bless me with an heir, from Your own side,
Shabbir Ahmed: ” Now I fear what my relatives will do after me. (I am concerned about the heritage of my forefathers such as Jacob). But my wife is barren. Oh, Give me from Your Presence, a successor.
Syed Vickar Ahamed: “And surely, I am afraid (what) my family (and friends) will do after me: But my wife is barren. So give me an heir as if from Yourself—
Umm Muhammad: And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir
Farook Malik: Surely, I fear about my relatives after me, for my wife is barren, grant me a heir by Your grace
Dr. Munir Munshey: “I am concerned for my followers after my death. My wife is barren. But, please Lord! Grant me by Your grace a successor (son).”
Dr. Mohannad Tahir-ul-Qadri: And I fear my (disbelieving) relatives (may ruin the blessing of Din [Religion]) after my (soul departs) and my wife (too) is barren. So bless me from Your presence with an heir (son),
Dr. Kamal Omar: And indeed, I have become afraid of my colleagues (how they behave) after me; and my wife has gone barren (due to age), so bestow for me as from Yourself a successor (who may continue the Mission) —
Talal A. Itani: ‘And I fear for my dependents after me, and my wife is barren. So grant me, from Yourself, an heir.
Bilal Muhammad: “And I indeed fear what my people will do after me, but my wife is barren, so give me an heir as from You,
Maududi: I fear evil from my kinsmen after I am gone; and my wife is barren, so grant me an heir out of Your special grace,
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad: And indeed I am afraid of my relatives after me (when I am dead), and my wife is infertile, so give me an heir from Yourself,
The Monotheist Group (2013 Edition): “And I fear the kinfolk after I am gone, and my wife is infertile, so grant me from Yourself an ally.”
Mohammad Shafi: “And indeed I worry about what my relatives will do after me. And my wife is barren. So bestow upon me a proper heir from You.”
Bijan Moeinian: “I worry about what will happen to my folks after my death, and my wife is barren. Would you grant me an heir out of your kindness
Faridul Haque: “And I fear my relatives after me and my wife is barren therefore bestow upon me from Yourself one who will take up my work.”
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah: Indeed, I fear my kinsmen who will succeed me, for my wife is barren. Grant me a kinsman
Maulana Muhammad Ali: And I fear my kinsfolk after me, and my wife is barren, so grant me from Thyself an heir
Muhammad Ahmed – Samira: And that I, I feared the followers/dependents from behind/beyond me, and my woman (wife) was infertile to grant/present for me from at you a follower/friend .
Sher Ali: `And I fear my relations after me, and my wife is barren. So grant me from Thyself a successor,
Rashad Khalifa: “I worry about my dependants after me, and my wife has been sterile. Grant me, from You, an heir.
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi): And I fear my relations after me, and my wife is barren, then bestow me from Yourself any one who may take over my work’.
Amatul Rahman Omar: `I fear (for the unrighteousness of) my kinsfolk after me, and my wife is barren. Grant me by Your (special) grace a (pious and righteous) successor,
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali: “And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir,
Arthur John Arberry: And now I fear my kinsfolk after I am gone; and my wife is barren. So give me, from Thee, a kinsman
Edward Henry Palmer: But I fear my heirs after me, and my wife is barren; then grant me from Thee a successor,
George Sale: But now I fear my nephews, who are to succeed after me, for my wife is barren: Wherefore give me a successor of my own body from before thee;
John Medows Rodwell: But now I have fears for my kindred after me; and my wife is barren: Give me, then, a successor as thy special gift,
N J Dawood: I now fear my kinsmen who will succeed me, for my wife is barren. Grant me, from Yourself, a son
Sayyid Qutb: Now, I fear [what] my kinsmen [will do] after I am gone, for my wife is barren. Bestow, then, upon me, out of Your grace, a successor
Ahmed Hulusi: “Indeed, I fear what the successors after me may do. And my wife is barren! So, grant from ladun (the potential of the Names comprising my essence) a successor for me.”
Sayyed Abbas And verily I fear my kindred after I am gone, and my wife is barren. So grant me from your presence a successor (a child).
Mir Aneesuddin: And I fear my heirs after me and my wife is barren. So grant me from Yourself a heir
RESEARCH BY ACE KNIGHT/QURAN 19:5 WALIY/PROTECTOR/GUARDIAN
The second word that has been misinterpreted is waliy (Q. 19:5) which in this verse and many other places in the Quran means “protector” or “guardian” rather than “heir” or “successor.” Waliy can also refer to the Levites as they were Protectors or Guardians of sacred places.
In this specific case, Zechariah prayed to his Lord: “And truly I have feared my defenders after me and my wife has been a barren woman. So bestow on me from that which proceeds from Thy Presence a protector (waliy).” In Q. 3:39, Zachariah’s prayer is answered, “…God, giveth thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) Yahya (who cometh) to confirm a word from God, and (he will be) a chief (sayyid), and concealer of secrets (hasur), a prophet of the righteous.” Thus John became the waliy “protector” or “guardian” of Mary and Jesus. It can also imply that John is safeguarding revelation as a whole.
It is commonly thought that Zachariah was simply asking for a son; however, this misconception may be corrected by reading further into the text. After receiving this good news, Zachariah asked, “O my Lord! How shall I have a son, when age hath touched me already and my wife is barren? ” Zachariah was asking how this would be possible as he had not even contemplated being blessed with a son in his old age, and that with a barren wife.
Compare this with Mary who said, when she was given good news of a son, “How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?” (Q. 3:47) Both Zechariah and Mary were asking about the possibility of such a thing. If Zachariah were asking for a son, as has been suggested by many scholars of Islam, than why did he ask such a question when God informed him of the impending birth?
The truth is that Zachariah was not asking for a son explicitly. He was asking God to send him a divinely appointed protector, from the same place whence Maryam received her provisions (rizq); hence “Give me from thy presence a protector (waliy)’ (Q. 19:5, 3:38). —Ace Knight
Reviews for Ace Knight’s Research On John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya)
Ace Knight is a first generation American of Albanian descent. He is devoted to a few things. One is his family, another is his religion, and yet a third is intellectual and spiritual religious inquiry. His book is a tribute to this devotion and inquiry. It is a brilliant and original look at the Gospels and the Quran, as well as the earlier Mosaic texts. In this book, the self-taught Knight, with no formal education, points out linguistic and spiritual parallels between generations of key characters in three religious histories. A devout and inquiring Muslim, using the close reading of the Quran as his guide, Knight, is able to look back at the central story of the crucifixion through a new lens, the Muslim lens, using key passages from a number of religious scriptures to build a fascinating new argument. His thoughts, insights and interpretations are remarkable, profound, and leave the reader in awe.
Knight notices that a son is born to the prophet Zachariah at about the same time as a son is born to Mary. He systematically and spell-bindingly leads us through the parallels between these two prophets, the second of whom we have come to know as Jesus. Both are raised in secrecy, and bring prophesy and healing. Both are spared somehow the decree of Herod at birth, only to befall religious ostracism and apparent physical mutilation beheading/crucifixion at the time of apparent earthly death.
Knight takes us through the similarities in these prophet’s lives, their coming into the lives of their parents, as the sons had done, in response to prayer, or in the unlikely moment, for Mary, of her chastity. The coming together of Zachariah and Mary is cemented with the former shielding Mary from harm as her foster-father. Knight brings us back further in scriptural history to draw other such parallels when it comes to prophets, and he draws upon the Arabic roots of the names of these figures, from Adam to Zachariah’s son, to convince the reader of his novel contribution to scriptural reading. But I’m not going to give that away! For that, you must read the book yourself!
This book is slim, but both erudite and yet easy to follow, in its step by step progression through the many scriptures, seemingly so familiar is Ace Knight with every passage, the apt ones come easily to mind for him, and strike an immediate cord in us, no matter how familiar or unfamiliar we are with the text and story. And yet, this book is no recipe for persuasion. It is much more sophisticated than that. Written in a devout and true Muslim spirit, it is also—as mentioned at the beginning of this review—an inquiry and a wholly new contribution to that body of sculptural scholarship.
Ace Knight advances a theory which sheds an entirely novel light on the views that are commonplace today, and, through an examination of linguistics, passages, intent, and meaning, causes us to re-examine, in an exciting, clue-ridden way, what we have assumed to be true about the three major religions for centuries, concentrating on his own Muslim faith.
(This book) by Ace Knight is an engaging analysis of the life and mission of the two kindred religious personages, John the Baptist (Yahya) and Jesus (`Isa). Even though the central argument of the book, namely that the man who was hung on the cross was John and not Jesus, may be academically open to question as it rests on circumstantial evidence, the book will add much to the discussion of an epoch-making event that has shaped world history.
The book is informative and entertaining. It is certainly worth reading.
If all of Ace Knight’s research and the conclusions he draws from it prove to be valid, then the traditional view of John the Baptist/Yahya, both scholarly and conventional, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, will be subjected to a tidal wave of revision and reconsideration. This will also affect most extant translations of the Quran into English, with the exception of The Sublime Quran by Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar which incorporates all of his results that relate to Quranic verses. Additionally, the great collections of medieval Islamic commentaries, both Sunni and Shia, which often repeat such colorful Biblical stories as the beheading of John the Baptist, will have to be viewed more critically. Such revisionism is sure to meet with a strong opposition.
Ace Knight’s controversial book, vigorously challenges the conventional view of John the Baptist as little more than the baptizer of Jesus and the herald of his messiahship. The result of years of study, it expounds his revolutionary theories about the life, work, and significance of the neglected prophet. The John/Yahya that Work brings forth from the shadows of history is a major prophet in his own right, with an independent stature and mission. The book is a thought-provoking and fascinating re-examination of the prophet’s place in history.
M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D.
Creator of Thought Addiction programs:
I am impressed with the amount of detail Ace, as well his editor and good friend Jay Crook, have used in composing this remarkable thesis. No easy task, Ace sets about trying to justify, clarify, and rectify, as applicable, the disparities within various retellings of the history of John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus the Christ. It is apparent to some that political movements of the time either changed, restricted or completely eliminated various contributions to the bible. It is conceivable that all such scriptural offerings in all the various religions underwent various pressures of a similar type.
Ace opens several windows with which to air questions and suggestions that might lead to greater reasoning, awareness and understanding… part of a great gift we often take for granted (or, in some cases, refuse to employ). It is telling that some men will welcome a flame with which they may explore caverns of thought previously cursed by darkness while others will curse the flame and cling to the walls of darkness swearing that this is all there is… and all that should be. My brother Ace is most definitely the former.
Roger H. Sigal, Trial Attorney – Tucson, Arizona
Mr. Knight has reflected an unparalleled inner commitment towards becoming a more spiritually-evolved and God-devoted person, and towards unraveling the truths and myths behind the Islamic, Judaic and Christian theologies. This substantial piece of scholarship is the result of the years of devotion to which Mr. Knight has dedicated himself, towards understanding, questioning, and seeking new perspectives on the religious traditions and issues of our times.
Robert Bangor, Ph.D.
I opened the book cautiously, expecting the polemics of yet another anti-Christian diatribe, but was surprised to find instead a reasoned academic examination of some aspects of early Christian history as preserved in the New Testament, the writings of Josephus, and elsewhere that cause me to reconsider the role of John the Baptist in the drama of Jesus the Messiah. Islamic sources are also explored. One may not agree with all of the book’s conclusions, but enough information is presented in the text and footnotes of this remarkable study to cause one to pause and rethink our assumptions about the importance of this relatively neglected prophet in the history of monotheism. An interesting read!
A More Likely Scenario. An Inspiring Read.
A well written and well thought out alternative to what was at best a problematic and most likely fictitious account of the personalities involved in the crucifixion. Knight’s evidence to support his supposition is very strong, much stronger than can be found in the new testament. A very enlightening and entertaining read.
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar Resident Scholar Kazi Publications and first American woman to translate the Qur’an
There are two methods of gaining knowledge in the great religious traditions of the world in general, and Islam, in particular. One method is knowledge that is imitated (taqlid) or transmitted by hearsay from generation to generation like the sciences of language, history and law. With this method, a person never asks “Why?” but accepts what is taught by an authority. In the Islamic tradition this leads to ijtihad, ijtihad specifically referring to developing expertise in jurisprudence (fiqh) to the level of being able to use independent judgment in understanding Islamic law (Shariah). Such a person is known as a mujtahid. Whoever is not a mujtahid, whoever has not reached that level, must “imitate” or “follow” a person who has, whether that person is dead (Sunni Muslims) or alive (Shia Muslims).
The second method of gaining knowledge is what is of most interest to us in this book review, that of tahqiq or intellectual knowledge where one may have a teacher for guidance but it is knowledge that cannot be passed from one generation to another. Each person has to discover it for himself or herself by “polishing the heart.” by becoming a person who sees with the eye of Oneness or tawhid, a person who deeply senses his responsibility to God, His creation and His humanity.
The person who gains knowledge with this method is called “a seeker of truth” (muhaqqiq). Intellectual knowledge (tahqiq) builds on transmitted knowledge but goes deeper. Transmitted knowledge includes memorizers of the Quran and the Hadith but only with intellectual knowledge can one understand what God and the Prophet are saying. Those who lack this intellectual endeavor have, one might say, not sought the means to see with the eye of “Oneness.”
Questions like “why” are not the only ones that the intellect of the seeker of truth asks because the underlying distinction is to think, “to think for oneself,” and not to stop at “imitation alone.” Not everyone has been burdened with this capacity as the Quran says in 2:286, but one person who has is Ace Knight. He is a seeker of truth, seeker of the Reality (haqq), a person who has verified knowledge, not on the basis of imitating the opinion of others, but on the basis of having realized the truth for himself as well as being one who acts in accord with haqq, all the time realizing his belief in the One God, the one creation and the one humanity.
A faith tradition may survive without a living mujtahid, but it rapidly disappears without a living muhaqqiq. Without a living seeker of truth, a seeker of reality, the faith tradition cannot remain faithful to its principles because it cannot understand those principles. A faith tradition may survive without a living mujtahid, but it rapidly disappears without a living muhaqqiq. Without a living seeker of truth, a seeker of reality, the faith tradition cannot remain faithful to its principles because it cannot understand those principles. Ace Knight’s basic premise is to follow the Quran and the New Testament which all assert that Jesus is the Messiah. However according to the Quran, it only appeared to the people who bore witness to the Messiah that he had been crucified.
In reality, according to the intellectual endeavor of the author, it was “he who lives” (Yahya), the Concealer of Secrets (hasura), as the Quran refers to him who was placed on the cross and lived.
The Concealer of Secrets concealed the secret of his identity and that of the Messiah in order to save the Messiah. The Messiah was then allowed to carry on his prophetic mission (perhaps traveling even as far as Kashmir where many believe that he is buried). At the same time that Mary retired to a sanctuary, Zechariah becoming her protector, Zechariah prayed for a heir. The son of Mary was close in age to the son of man (the Concealer of Secrets fathered by Zechariah). They may have even been cousins who resembled one another. They both began their prophetic mission around the same time yet neither revealed themselves as to who they actually were.
The author traces these and other parallels in the lives of the son of Mary and the son of man for a fascinating read. In the great tradition of seekers of truth in the past, Ace Knight brings harmony to ancient mysteries. He shows the possibility of how things may be in the Presence of the Oneness of God and he does so through scriptures – the Quran, and the New Testament.
This is a book that should be read by everyone who wants to discern the Reality of the story of the Messiah.
The most conclusive arguments in Islamic tradition to prove or disprove something is to use the Quran to prove another point in the Quran. This Ace Knight has done in his work on John the Baptist, in particular, John having been a concealer of secrets. —Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar