Louis Farrakhan on the Crescent and the Crucifixion
At the end of March, Minister Louis Farrakhan, the head of the US-based Nation of Islam, issued a controversial tweet. Farrakhan has since pinned it to the top of his feed, and it’s been liked over 1 million times, no doubt mostly by his (alleged) 336,000 followers. (The entire Nation of Islam has only about 60,000 members.) These remarks are taken from his speech at the NOI’s “Saviour’s Day 2019 Keynote Address” in Chicago. (“Saviour’s Day” is the NOI tribute to their deified yet disappeared founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad.)
Last year Farrakhan went after Jewish folks (not for the first time, of course). This year he attacked Christians, if indirectly, by condemning several key doctrines about Jesus Christ. Both bouts of denunciation often get linked together under the heading of Farrakhan’s vitriol.
Here’s the Tweet in question:
God does not love this world. God never sent Jesus to die for this world. Jesus died because he was 2,000 years too soon to bring about the end of the civilization of the Jews. He never was on no cross. There was no Calvary for that Jesus.
— MINISTER FARRAKHAN (@LouisFarrakhan) March 30, 2019
Real Islam Says Much the Same
But Farrakhan’s latest tirade doesn’t come entirely from his fevered brain. Nor is it attibutable solely to the NOI, that Islamic heresy devised by Elijah Muhammad, Wallace Fard Muhammad’s “prophet.” No, most of the claims in that Chicago speech, not all of which Farrakhan included in his tweet, are mainstream Islamic teachings drawn directly from the Quran.
Let’s deconstruct Calypso Louis’s declarations in light of Islam’s holy book:
- “God does not love this world.” Compare Sura III:31 says “Allah does not love those who refuse to obey him and his messenger [Muhammad].”
- “God never sent Jesus to die for this world.” Compare Sura IX:30: “The Christians says the Messiah is the Son of Allah. … May Allah destroy them!” Sura XLIII:59: “Jesus was not but a servant upon whom we bestowed favor.” Compare Sura IV:171: “Jesus the son of Mary was no more than a messenger … and do not say ‘three’ [Trinity] … Allah is but one.”
- “He never was on no cross. There was no Calvary for that Jesus.”Compare Sura IV:157: “As for their saying ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary … they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but another was made to resemble him.”
(Farrakhan’s claim that “Jesus didn’t die on Calvary — he died in front of an old Jew’s store, on a Saturday” can’t be found in the Quran.)
When Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ came out, Islamic scholars issued statements warning Muslims not to go see it. Why? Mainly because the “crucifixion is totally false” and “it never occurred.” This is according to Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former head of the Islamic Society of North America, as well as a host of other Muslim authorities, present and past.
Different Sects, Different Theories
Some Muslims have come to believe that Jesus was taken to heaven before the Crucifixion. Someone else was actually nailed to the cross, usually said to be Judas or Simon of Cyrene. There are no Islamic sources for this, but there it is. Still, the result for the vast majority of Muslims is the same as for Farrakhan and his cult members: no Crucifixion, thus no Resurrection and no Atonement.
There is one sect of Islam that does take a different view. The Isma’ilis, or “Seveners,” are a branch of Shia Islam different from the more numerous one known as “Twelvers.” (The two groups’ designations stem from their disagreement over how many legitimate Imams followed Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law. Ali was the first Shia, as it were.)
More than any other Muslim subgroup, the Isma’ilis developed a unique view of Jesus’ Crucifixion. There are several aspects to that perspective. One is that the Quran does not deny the Crucifixion per se, but only that the Jews carried it out. The more metaphysical one (thanks to Neo-Platonic influences) holds that Jesus’ body was crucified. But his eternal nature was not. Thus, the words of Sura IV:157 “another was made to resemble him” refer NOT to Judas or Simon, but to Jesus’ human nature alone.
Also, a famous medieval Isma’ili theologian argued that “denying the historicity of the Crucifixion is to contradict a historical fact.” So give the Isma’ilis credit for not just spouting the rejectionist mainstream Islamic line here. Still, this take is essentially the (Christian) heresy of Docetism, rejected by the early Church, which seeped into Islam. As such, it is dead wrong. Only the Son of God who was both true God and true Man could atone for humanity’s sins.
The Bible Corrects the Quran’s Mistakes
Islam and Farrakhan mistakenly claim that “God does not love the world.” John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” And 1 John 4:10 adds “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Muslims of every stripe also err in claiming that “Jesus did not come to die for us.” Matthew 20:28 states “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In John 12:27 Jesus says “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”
Mainstream Islam and the NOI are theologically and historically flawed in denying the reality of Jesus’ Crucifixion. As the Isma’ilis admit, the Gospels testify that it happened. In addition, ancient non-Christian sources, two prominent Romans and two Jews, confirm that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
God Does Love the World
Every branch of Islam, not just Farrakhan’s, is misled about the Crucifixion. It happened, and it is the ultimate expression of God’s love for the world. Deny the atoning death of Jesus Christ? Then you miss out on the vindicating Resurrection (about which there is also ample historical evidence).
God loves every human in the world. He did send Jesus Christ to die for all of us. Jesus hung on the Cross on the hill of Calvary. But he rose again, ascended, and will return. May our all our Muslim brothers and sisters get past the deceits of Muhammad and come to know the true Jesus Christ.