The Gospel According to Islam

Copyright 1979 by Dr. Ahmad Shafaat

Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7 Chapter 10 Chapter 13 Chapter 16 Chapter 19 Chapter 22 Chapter 25
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8 Chapter 11 Chapter 14 Chapter 17 Chapter 20 Chapter 23 Chapter 26
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 Chapter 9 Chapter 12 Chapter 15 Chapter 18 Chapter 21 Chapter 24 Chapter 27


  1. Then Jesus got up, and he and his disciples went out to the mount of Olives, but Judas Iscariot did not go with them.

  2. And Jesus said to them, this night you will be all scattered. But after that I am arisen in the morning, I will go to Galilee before you. (Note 1)

  3. Then they came to a place called Gethsemaine, and Jesus began to be greatly astonished and to be distressed: for he knew that Judas Iscariot had gone to betray him. (Note 2)

  4. And he saith to his disciples, Sit you here, while I shall pray.

  5. And he takes with him Peter and James and John, and said to them, My soul is grieved unto death: tarry you here, and watch.

  6. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. (Note 3)

  7. And he remained in prayer for an hour, and when he comes to the three disciples, he finds them sleeping, and saith to Peter, Simon, steepest you? Could not you watch one hour?

  8. And again he went away, and prayed that the plots of the faithless against his life be defeated.

  9. And when he returned, he found them asleep again (for their eyes were heavy) neither wist they what to answer him.

  10. Then he heard some men, and he said to his disciples, Arise, let us go hence; behold, he that betrays me has drawn near.

  11. But while he yet spake, comes Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a number of men with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

  12. And as soon as they were come, Judas goes straightway to him, and said, Teacher, and then kissed him fervently.

  13. And by this they knew the man they had come to take, and they laid their hands on Jesus, and took him.

  14. And one of them that stood by (some say it was Peter) drew a sword, but when he saw the multitude of men with swords and staves, he and the other disciples fled. (Note 4)

  15. And they led Jesus away to the high priest.

  16. And Simon Peter went to the house of a disciple who was known unto the high priest, and taking him goes to the palace of the high priest. (Note 5)

  17. And while Peter stood at the door without, the other disciple went into the palace, and saw Jesus before the high priest and the elders and the scribes and chief priests.

  18. Then he went out, and spoke unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.

  19. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter came and stood with them, and warmed himself.

  20. Then said the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Are you of this man's disciples. (Note 6) He said, I am not.

  21. But the maid began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.

  22. And he denied it again. But they that stood by said to him, Surely you are one of them: for you are a Galilean, and your speech agrees thereto.

  23. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom you speak.

Go to Chapter 26


Notes (Chapter 25)

1Cf. Mark 14:26-28; Matt. 26:30-32; John 16:32. After the supper and some discourse, Jesus announces his plan of returning to a safer place in, or near, Galilee. He tells his disciples that after some sleep they should set out individually or in small groups (scatter). Since Jesus was himself in the greatest danger, he planned to start before dawn, while the rest could follow him a little later. However, when Jesus and his disciples started for a place where they could rest, Judas Iscariot excused himself and went his own way to foil his Master's plan. [return]

2As Jesus walked to the mount of Olives, he could not help thinking of Judas. His behavior lately must have looked strange to him, and now the manner of his leaving the group forced Jesus to consider the possibility that this trusted disciple might be acting against him. Once Jesus was willing to consider this possibility, his perceptive mind could easily see what Judas was up to: the apostle had gone to betray him. The thought distressed Jesus greatly. He tried to keep calm, but the prospect of imminent arrest and probable execution kept coming to his mind with increasing vividness, and as the group reached the mount of Olives, he was completely shaken. As on other moments of distress, Jesus sought strength in private prayers to God Alone. [return]

3Mark 14:32-42; Matt. 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46. The Gospels try to give the contents of Jesus' prayer, but since the three disciples supposed to be on watch were asleep, nobody could have heard what Jesus actually prayed. From their knowledge of the whole situation, the disciples could later guess only the nature of the prayer and not its exact words. [return]

4Mark 14:43-50; Matt. 26:47-51; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-12. The Gospels say that the disciple who drew his sword, and who is identified by the Gospel of John as Peter, actually struck "a servant of the high priest" and cut off one of his ears. This is unlikely, since such an action would have resulted in the disciple's arrest on the spot. [return]

5Mark 14:66-72; Matt. 26:57-75; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18, 25-26. John is most plausible here. It seems that after saving his own life, Peter thought over what he could do for the teacher. The only thing he could think of, and probably the only sensible thing he could do, was to go to a well-placed sympathizer of Jesus and to see if he could do anything. That Jesus did have influential well-wishers and disciples is supported by some evidence. Thus, the Gospels talk of a Joseph of Arimathaea, "an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God" and which took from Pilate the body of Jesus after his supposed crucifixion. The Gospel of John mentions a Nicodemus, "a ruler of the Jews" who was secretly a disciple of Jesus (12:42), and the synoptic Gospels tell us of a "ruler of the synagogue," Jairus by name, who believed in Jesus to the point that he asked him to heal his twelve-year-old daughter. The disciple whom Peter took with him to the palace might have been one of the priests. [return]

6Any simple-looking man, waiting outside the palace at this late, cold hour of the night, while Jesus was being tried inside, will be naturally thought of as being a disciple of "this man." The maid could not keep her curiosity to herself and put to Peter the question in her mind. Peter denied that he was Jesus' disciple, but his denial was not convincing, and the maid could still see no reason why he was there. She turned to the servants who stood by (and who were probably thinking about the same question that she put to Peter) and suggested to them that Peter was lying. Peter again said that he was not Jesus' disciple, but the servants, recognizing his speech to be Galilean, were convinced that the maid was right. At this point, Peter got much disturbed and began to shout denials of his connection with the man under trial. In the Gospels, this incident is presented as a fulfillment of Jesus' prediction made a few hours earlier. [return]



  1. And the chief priests and all the council sought evidence against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.

  2. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.

  3. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answer you nothing? What is it which these witness against you?

  4. But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Messiah?

  5. And Jesus said, You say it. Nevertheless, the One Living God has anointed me to be His messenger to the children of Israel. If they would have received me, He would have given to them a kingdom like He gave to David.

  6. But you had indeed rejected faith: so pursue your plans, and God will execute His plan; and He is the best of planners.

  7. Then some of those in the council rose up, and said, What need we any further evidence?

  8. You have heard that he set himself up as a King and the Messiah, and he did earlier enter into Jerusalem on the back of a colt, pretending to be the King of the Jews.

  9. Deliver him therefore to Pilate that he may crucify him for setting himself up as a King besides Caesar. (Note 1)

  10. And in the morning they brought him before Pontius Pilate, the governor, and said, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.

  11. And Pilate asked him, Know you what your people witness against you? Are you the King of the Jews. (Note 2)

  12. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not like thy kingdom: if my kingdom was like yours, then would I have soldiers to fight that I should not be delivered to you by my people: but my kingdom is not like yours.

  13. Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king of thy people then?

  14. And Jesus answering said to him, How would you call a messenger to his people from the King of kings?

  15. Then the Jews who brought Jesus to Pilate said to him, He has said it; and you know that whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.

  16. Then Pilate brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. (Note 3)

  17. And he pronounced, I sentence you: you shall go upon the cross. Lictor, bind his hands. Let him be flogged!

  18. And when he had been flogged, they took him away that they might crucify him at some time. (Note 4)

  19. Now at that feast Pilate wanted to release one prisoner from among the Jews (Note 5) that he might be more popular with them.

  20. And he chose Jesus Barabbas (meaning Jesus, son of a rabbi), (Note 6) a notable prisoner (Note 7) who had made an insurrection.

  21. And Pilate sent an order, that Jesus Barabbas be released. But the officers who received the order did make an error, and released Jesus of Nazareth, and crucified Jesus Barabbas. (Note 8)

  22. And when he was released, he departed for Galilee, and he met two travelers who were going to Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlong. (Note 9)

  23. And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

  24. And Jesus went with them, but their eyes were holden that they should not recognize him.

  25. And he said to them, What words are these that you exchange with each other walking?

  26. And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said to him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

  27. And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

  28. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be crucified.

  29. And Jesus said to them, Exchange you words about him, or would you have done aught for him? And they said, What could we have done?

  30. And Jesus answering said to them, Lo, Jesus of Nazareth is not crucified nor dead, but he lives. Go back to Jerusalem tomorrow and tell his disciples that he goeth to Galilee, and there he shall see them.

  31. And then they came to the village, wither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

  32. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent, and you do not look well. And he went in to tarry with them.

  33. And the next day he departed from thence and went further.

Go to Chapter 27


Notes (Chapter 26)

1Mark 14:53-65. [return]

2Luke 23:2-3. [return]

3John 18:36-37; 19:12-13. [return]

4Up to this point, the majority of scholars are more or less willing to accept the Gospel account of the events that took place after Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. What happens afterwards is, however, a subject of fundamental differences among various first-century Christian sects and modern scholars and among Muslims and Christians. The doubt that the events did not follow their natural course after Jesus was sentenced to die on the cross is raised by the Gospel reports that Jesus was seen alive after his "death" and that his tomb was found empty, as well as by the existence of the belief in New Testament times that Jesus did not die on the cross. One may explain some of them facts by assuming that Jesus miraculously rose to life after his crucifixion and burial or by attributing the origin of resurrection reports in the Gospels to hallucinations of some women. It has also been proposed by some scholars that Jesus was taken from the cross when lie was not yet dead but only unconscious, and he later revived and was secretly taken away from the tomb. The view proposed in this book is that some namesake of Jesus was crucified in his place by mistake while Jesus himself was released. This is suggested by some Gospel passages and by Qur'an 4:157. [return]

5Cf. Mark 15:6-15; Matt. 27:15-26; Luke 23:16-25, John 18:39-40. This was not a normal practice of Roman governors but a special measure adopted recently by Pilate to improve his relations with his Jewish subjects. The governor felt the need for such improvement of relations since he had some trouble with Rome because of the disturbances resulting from his flouting of Jewish customs. [return]

6This is the name given in some of the oldest manuscripts of the canonical gospels known to Origen (Matt., Sermon 121). (See Marcello Craveri, The Life of Jesus, Evergreen Black Cat Books, 1970, pp. 404-405.) [return]

7Matt. 27:16. Barabbas was not a robber, as John makes him in order to emphasize the unfairness of the Jews who preferred a robber over Jesus, but a notable prisoner, like Jesus himself, who was accused of insurrectional activities. [return]

8Confusion between persons can occur even in modern times. Recently, a reporter was mistakenly named for a Pulitzer prize in appreciation of a photo taken by another reporter. (See the Press section in Time magazine, May 1, 1978.) An even more serious confusion took place in June 1978 in the land of the Bible. Newly born babies of two women were switched in a hospital in Haifa by immigrant nurses who had trouble reading the nametags in Hebrew. Although a supervisor returned the babies to their correct mothers, the women were convinced that the babies they were now given were not theirs. So there was a third switch. This time the hospital authorities were not satisfied, and they decided to order medical tests. When the results of the tests were ready after about six weeks, a fourth and final switch took place that was accepted by the women with some hesitation. (See Time magazine, August 28, 1978, p. 38.) But for modern medical science, the confusion may never have been removed. Such examples show that for Roman officials of Jesus' time, administrating a population of aliens, confusion between persons having a common name would have been quite easy. [return]

9Luke 24:13-20. Jesus must have known or sensed that his release was the result of some confusion. He, therefore, felt that it was unsafe to stay near Jerusalem. Without wasting time to we any of his disciples or relatives, Jesus got out of the city from the northern Damascus gate and headed toward Galilee. He had planned to depart for Galilee alone before he was arrested (Note 1, Chapter 25), and the same plan still seemed to him to be the best. The village of Emmaus mentioned by Luke was known to Josephus, who says it was about four miles northwest of the city of Jerusalem. The two travelers Jesus met on the road to Emmaus do not seem to be among those who spent any length of time in his company. They had heard about him and might even have heard and seen him once or twice, but this was not sufficient for them to recognize him, especially because they believed that he had been crucified. According to later tradition, one traveler named Cleopas was Jesus' uncle, but his failure to recognize Jesus makes this doubtful. [return]



  1. And a disciple of Jesus had prepared a tomb, hewn out in a rock, for the body of Jesus to be buried.

  2. And he went to the place, wither they took Jesus to crucify, and asked for his body.

  3. And the centurion said to him, They have already taken his body:

  4. For the centurion thought that he had come for the body of Jesus Barabbas.

  5. And then the disciple went to the sepulcher, and rolled the stone, but he found nothing.

  6. And the next day in the morning Mary Magdalene and other women came to the tomb with sweet spices that they might anoint the body of Jesus.

  7. And when they came to the sepulcher, they found the stone rolled away, and the body of Jesus was not there. And they were greatly affrighted.

  8. Now as these things were happening, Jesus journeyed on the way to Galilee.

  9. And he met some of the people who had believed in him when he was preaching, and he told them what he had told to those which went to Emmaus.

  10. And it came to pass that Jesus fell sick on the way, and could not travel any further. (Note 1)

  11. And he tarried with some of his disciples in a village, and told them who he was and what had happened to him. (Note 2)

  12. And they administered him, and they sent word to other disciples, whosoever they could find, that Jesus was not dead, but lives.

  13. But Jesus' condition continued to worsen, and after a few days God took him (Note 3) to Himself. May peace be upon Jesus the day he was born, and the day he died, and the day he will be raised to life again.

  14. And there went around divers sayings about Jesus: It was said, He is not dead but lives. Some said, He was not crucified, and others, He was crucified and buried but he rose from the dead. (Note 4)

  15. But God did not make some of the sayings that went around among the disciples of Jesus save a source of hope for the believers, and a means of honoring His messenger.

  16. Thus does God help and honor His messengers, and creates for His righteous servants a way when there appears to be no way. (Note 5)

  17. For God is full of mercy and grace for men, but most of them are ever prone to reject faith, and they make their own gods besides Him.


Notes (Chapter 27)

1The flogging, lack of sleep, and fatigue of the journey finally took a toll of Jesus' health. He probably never met any of his close disciples but continued to meet several of the men who heard him and admired him. He earlier hid his identity from everyone, but now that he was sick and weak, he took some of the "disciples" in confidence to get necessary help. [return]

2The disciples with whom Jesus was staying probably did not know the whereabouts of his close companions and confidants. They slowly and cautiously took the news of Jesus' escape from death to whomsoever they regarded as "believers." Indeed, the news must have been the first reason to establish communications between the believers. [return]

3Qur'an 5:120; 4:157. [return]

4For a few months, various reports went around concerning Jesus. It was reported that he was crucified and his body was taken for burial. It was reported that he was not dead but lived and that he was seen by some people. Then there were also the reports of the empty tomb seen by the women who went to anoint the body of Jesus. As a result of these reports, it soon began to be believed by many that Jesus was crucified and buried, but he was later resurrected. Some people no doubt knew that Jesus was never crucified, but people were generally inclined to believe the more exciting reports that implied Jesus' resurrection after death. Yet reports about Jesus' escape seem to have went around, and given rise, in New Testament times, to such sects as the Basilidans and the Docetae, and to the Marcionite Gospel and the Gospel of Barnabas, all of which taught, in one form or another, that Jesus did not in reality die on the cross. [return]

5Jesus' escape from crucifixion did not postpone his death for too long, but it gave him something that he would have valued much mom: the success of his mission. By providing the circumstances for reports about the empty tomb and his meetings with some people after he was supposed to be dead, his escape gave rise to belief in his resurrection, which provided the disciples with fresh hopes and a new source of faith in Jesus. It also provided Jewish messianism with the only kind of Messiah it could have; an imaginary being like the Risen Lord whom the chief priests and Romans could not arrest and kill. (After all, the Messiah was largely a creation of human imagination and fantasy, and it is only understandable that he should have "come" in human imagination and fantasy.) But the coming of the Risen Lord was not worthless, not only because man's imagination and fantasy is not worthless, but also because with the success of the Risen Lord, there also survived something of Jesus, the messenger of the true living God. [return]

Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7 Chapter 10 Chapter 13 Chapter 16 Chapter 19 Chapter 22 Chapter 25
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8 Chapter 11 Chapter 14 Chapter 17 Chapter 20 Chapter 23 Chapter 26
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 Chapter 9 Chapter 12 Chapter 15 Chapter 18 Chapter 21 Chapter 24 Chapter 27