All four Gospels say that Jesus was crucified. The story of his crucifixion is given in detail in
Mark 15. 21-41;
Luke 23. 26-43 and
John 19. 17-27,
Despite this the Quran says Jesus was not crucified. Instead, his resemblance was put over another man (Remember Mission Impossible? Must have been something like that.) and it was that person who was crucified.
“And because of their saying (in boast), ‘We killed Messiah ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allâh,’ – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of ‘Isa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)
But Allâh raised him [‘Isa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allâh is Ever AllPowerful, AllWise. )” (Q.4:157-158)
Muslims apologists have defended this Quranic error. The Encyclopaedia of Islam writes:
The denial, furthermore, is in perfect agreement with the logic of the Qur’an. The Biblical stories reproduced in it (e.g., Job, Moses, Joseph etc.) and the episodes relating to the history of the beginning of Islam demonstrate that it is “God’s practice” (sunnat Allah) to make faith triumph finally over the forces of evil and adversity. “So truly with hardship comes ease”, (XCIV, 5, 6). For Jesus to die on the cross would have meant the triumph of his executioners; but the Quran asserts that they undoubtedly failed: Assuredly God will defend those who believe”; (XXII, 49). He confounds the plots of the enemies of Christ (III, 54).
Althoguh most Muslims believe Jesus was raised to heaven alive, a small minority of them, mainly Ahmadi Muslim, say he was indeed rescued but died before his ascension. Mahmoud Ayoub says,
The Qur’an is not here speaking about a man, righteous and wronged though he may be, but about the Word of God who was sent to earth and returned to God. Thus the denial of killing of Jesus is a denial of the power of men to vanquish and destroy the divine Word, which is forever victorious.”
The story of Christ being lifted to heaven “in body and soul” is contrary to logic and science. Now we have a much better understanding of the universe and we know that such thing is absurd. It implies that Muhammad believed heaven is a geographic place.
Another problem with this story is the fact that it implies that God is unjust. He tricks people by replacing Jesus with someone else. Isn’t that injustice to that victim? Why would not God save Jesus without playing tricks and sacrificing someone else in his place? It also implies that God is weak. Playing tricks is what the weak does.
Why this discrepancy? Why would Muhammad say something that is contrary to all Gospels? It is because Muhammad’s knowledge of the Scriptures was based on hearsay. He personally had not read the Bible.
At the time of Muhammad, the Christians of the Northern Arabia and Damascus were Nestorian. They thought that it is impossible to kill the Son of God. Based on this belief they had developed a doctrine that maintained God must have tricked the Pharisees and the person who was crucified must have been someone else who took the resemblance of Jesus.
This is how Muhammad came to know about the story of crucifixion. Even though he could read, he was not fond of books and learning. Narcissists think they know everything, and there is nothing anyone can teach them.
There are numerous verses that show Muhammad had very little understanding of the Bible. While listening to Christian preachers, particularly in the market of Okaz, during his youth, he heard many Bibilical stories, but because he did not read that book personally, he confused many of its events and protagonists.
One example of those confusions is the story of Samaritans and Moses where Muhammad places the Samaritans at the time of Moses when such people had not existed at that time.
Another blunder is when he confuses Mary, mother of Jesus with Miriam, sister of Aaron and Moses. These two women lived 1500 years apart. The Quran says.
“She brought (the babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms), They said: “O Mary! Truly a strange thing has thou brought! “O sister of Aaron, thy father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste!” Q. 19:27-28
This error is repeated in verse 66:12 where Muhammad calls Mary, daughter of `Imran.
The reason for this blunder is because Mary and Miriam are both translated in Arabic as Maryam. The unlettered prophet pretender heard Jesus’ mother was Maryam and also Aarron’s sister was called Maryam. He thought the two are one and the same.
There is evidence to suggest he could read. It is unlikely that Abdul Muttalib would not send him to maktab (school). However, it is also clear that Muhammad was not in love of books. His knowledge about everything, including the Bible is superficial and sketchy.
A more detailed list of the contradictions and errors of the Quran can be found on www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/