Resurrection? Ascension? What?

Reuters is definitely my favorite source for international religious news. But this story out of Srinagar, India, could use some help. Headlined “Visitors banned from Kashmir’s Jesus shrine,” it tells about a local Muslim fight over a shrine. And in so doing, it gives terribly short short shrift to the most fundamental Christian teachings:

Renewed debate over whose remains are actually in the Rozabal shrine, which attracts hundreds of tourists to the capital of lndia’s only Muslim-dominated region, has led caretakers to close it to visitors after allowing access for several years.

A decades-old theory that Jesus survived the crucifixion and spent his remaining years in Kashmir had drawn many people to Rozabal, a single-storey shrine with a traditional sloping roof located in a congested residential area of the capital Srinagar.

Locals believe the shrine is the tomb of Muslim preachers and scholars Youza Asif and Syed Naseer-ud-Din. They don’t appreciate increased traffic. So where in the world did this Jesus idea come from?

“Some Christians from the West claim it is the grave of Jesus and they had approached us with a request to exhume the remains for carbon dating and DNA testing. But we refused,” Mohammad Amin Ringshawl, the shrine’s caretaker, told Reuters.

Really? Christians who reject the teaching of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension? Who are these people? From the West? Okay, that’s a pretty big portion of the world. But the only actual name associated with the theory comes here:

The idea that Jesus survived crucifixion and visited Kashmir was first raised in the 1973 book “Christ in Kashmir,” by local journalist Aziz Kashmiri. Several other books followed it.

“Jesus Christ, after crucifixion, migrated from his native land, reached and settled in Kashmir, completed his mission, passed away, and was laid to eternal rest,” Kashmiri writes in his book.

Local Muslim scholars and historians, however, ridicule Kashmiri’s theory. Muslims revere Jesus as one of God’s prophets, but they do not believe he died during his crucifixion.

I think that last paragraph may be a bit too specific. It is true that Muslims don’t believe Jesus died via crucifixion. But some don’t believe he was crucified at all. They think that, well, something else happened. Such as that someone else was crucified in his stead. The relevant verse from the Koran would be:

And for their unbelief (are the Jews cursed) and for their having spoken against Mary a grievous calumny, and for their saying ‘Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, an Apostle of Allah!’ Yet they slew him not, but they had only his likeness. And those who differed about him were in doubt concerning him: No sure knowledge had they about him, but followed only an opinion, and they really did not slay him, but Allah took him up to Himself and Allah is Mightly, Wise!

In a sense, the Kashmiri tomb story almost sounds more like a heresy of Muslim teaching than of Christian teaching about Christ. But if a story is going to claim that some Western Christians deny Christ’s death on the cross, resurrection and ascension and, what’s more, believe he ended up in Kashmir . . . couldn’t we at least find one of them?

Print Friendly

  • Jerry

    couldn’t we at least find one of them?

    They’re out there but obviously not mainstream. One web site I found is: http://markmason.net/ch4ex2.htm but another site I found was a refutation of the writings of Iranaeus http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a38.htm so it is possible to find a few obviously controversial people.

    It is, on the other hand, much easier to find Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists with that view. Two of the many sites I found are http://www.atmajyoti.org/spirwrit-the_christ_of_india.asp and http://www.ial.goldthread.com/Jesusindia.html

  • T Stanton

    heh… might be tough to find anyone who knows anything about doctrine these days.

    I was once at a book reading with Elaine Pagels when some guy claimed that he knew that, “Jesus went to India and learned the laying on of hands from the yogis.”

    Pagels responded, “I think it’s highly unlikely that a first century Rabbi from Palestine ever went to India.”

    Was actually pretty funny.

  • Mike Hickerson

    We’re used to the US press using “Muslim” and “Arab” interchangeably – could this be the same error on the other side? Could it be that this Muslim caretaker encountered white Americans or Europeans and is calling them “Christians” without regard to their actual religious beliefs?

  • Ira Rifkin

    “And for their unbelief (are the Jews cursed) and for their having spoken against Mary a grievous calumny, and for their saying ‘Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, an Apostle of Allah!’ Yet…”

    Can’t help but note that this is but one of several passages in the Qur’an that gave rise to widespread anti-Semitism in the Muslim world (and least anyone argue that its all Israel’s fault) way before anyone ever heard of Zionism.

  • Jerry

    Ira, I’ve found that Muslims are typically as unfamiliar with the Quran and its interpretation as Christians are with the Bible and its exegesis.

    I once was in a debate about the meaning of the Quran with an Islamist. I asked him about a translation of the Quran 17:100-104 by Prof. Abdul Palazzi, Ph.D in Islamic Sciences, by decree of the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (I like my sources authoritative). That translation goes:

    “Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: ‘Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel].”

    So I asked the Islamist if he could read the Quran in Arabic (no), if he accepted this translation (thus the state of Isreal has the blessing of Allah) if we’re in the end times (end of days). He never answered.

    Of course this interpretation enrages some but it shows how scripture is subject to multiple interpretations.

    I’ve probably posted this before here, but if you want to see the problem of translation, http://www.submission.org/quran/webqt.php has 6 translations available.

  • Ira Rifkin

    Jerry:

    One does not have to have read a text to be influenced by it if your leaders read and interpret it for you.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    There are always those, like my mother, who think “Christian means being kind to your neighbor, bla, bla, blah” and this message of Jesus somehow frightened the establishment so much that they killed Him horribly. They will even become indignant if you tell them they are not because they do not believe (or as they say, “believe in”) specific minimal tenets.

    Imagine someone who said “Sure, I’m a Moslem. How can you tell me I’m not, just because I don’t believin the prophethood of Mohammed or the inspiraction of the Koran?”

  • Jerry

    Ira, add a few points to that one you made in your last post and look around for a convenient Mosque to visit with a hammer and nail:-)

  • Ira Rifkin

    Jerry:
    You’ve lost me. Please explain your point.

  • Dave

    DNA tests? To run a comparision with what?

  • Jerry

    Ira,

    Obviously I was too obscure. Your comment about relying on others interpreting the Quran reminded me of the Protestant Reformation and so I thought about Martin Luther and tried to allude to having people read the Quran (Bible) for themselves rather than relying on priestly authority. And for Islam, the prohibition against a priesthood is part of the religion so the point is doubly strong. I clearly created a fog bank rather than a penetrable allusion.

  • Northcoast

    Ref. Jerry’s response #5, I thought that a serious Muslim would want to read his scripture in Arabic.

  • anon

    But if a story is going to claim that some Western Christians deny Christ’s death on the cross, resurrection and ascension and, what’s more, believe he ended up in Kashmir … couldn’t we at least find one of them?

    Dont be so surprise:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DXCZFRsyl8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T340DUSq9SY&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cy8M4VzU-Y&feature=related

    Though the the tomb of Jesus is more than likely a tourist stunt it is NOT surprising such a stunt has been pulled for Jesus’s association with Kashmir is NOT a recent one and the BBC documentary truly establishes the Quranic claim:

    (Quran 23:50):”And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign, and We gave them refuge on a lofty ground having meadows and springs”

    Kashmir!

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    I am not surprised to learn it was a Kashmiri who came up with this bizarre theory.

    Why Kashmir? The best answer is because someone in Kashmir thought it up. There are also stories of people in Japan who are said to claim descent from Jesus.

    This is clearly a Muslim interpretation, and anyone who claims to be a Christian and advances it follows a really odd view of Christianity.

    Lastly, but hardly leastly, finding that there are some people on the web who claim to be Christians who hold this view is much different than anyone going to Kashmir holding the view.

    One thing that few seem to admit is it is just as possible those who wished to do the DNA and carbon studies wanted to prove the body was not that of Jesus. For one thing, if the Y-DNA was possibly Jewish and the body carbon-dated for death in the general time fram of about AD 100 this would prove nothing. If the Carbon dating came to more like AD 800 it would be more significant.

    If the Y-DNA was the most often and easily Jewish marker, the Cohenin Y-DNA, this would actually be against the theory, since Joseph was a descedant of Judah and should not have a DNA-marker associated with the descedants of Aaron.

    Thus, it seems you could probably disprove the Jesus theory with Carbon dating, but you could not prove it, and I am unconvinced Y-DNA would help, especially since the expansion of Islam meant some Arabs moving from Arabia to other lands as soldiers, missionaries, scholars and merchants, and even more so the movement of Y-DNA.

    A soldier or a merchant can be in a place a few weeks, or even in some cases a few hours, but still leave behind his Y-chromosome for future generations.

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    To Will,
    actually in Bosnia there are many who claim to be Muslims who do not believe in the Qu’ran. This is also true of the socalled “secular Muslims” who I have met in the US. They think of themselves as being culturally Muslim but reject its teachings.

    This is somewhat similar to the self-rofessed “cradle Catholics” who reject everything from the right of the Pope to propound Doctrine to the Ressurection of Jesus.

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    To Northcoast,
    A serious Muslim and an Islamist are not the same thing.
    How many Muslims are even literate? How many African-American Muslims can read Arabic? How many Muslims born in the US can read Arabic?

    While I am positive it is at least a majority, I am also sure that there are many who can not.

    The very fact that Islam rejects translating the Qu’ran, that it is not the Qu’ran if it is not in Arabic, creates unique particulars to Islam.

    The Msulim view of the Qu’ran is very different from the Christian view of the Bible. This fact is not explored enough in news articles about reactions to disrespect for the Qu’ran. I once read somewhere where someone said that while to the Christians Jesus is God made flesh, to the Muslims the Qu’ran is God made words. This is a little too strong, but the Wu’ran is an earthly representation of the Holy Heavenly Qu’ran concieved in the mind of God and delivered to Muhammad. Not even the most extreme advocate of a literal, infalible Bible would explain the Bible in such a manner.

  • anon

    Why Kashmir? The best answer is because someone in Kashmir thought it up. There are also stories of people in Japan who are said to claim descent from Jesus.

    The answer is simple. When all roads lead to Rome….

    Quran 10:93 ‘We settled the Children of Israel in a beautiful dwelling-place’

    Mughal Emperor, Jehangir on Kashmir: “If there is paradise anywhere on earth, “It is here, it is here, it is here.”

    Led Zeppelin song titled ‘Kashmir’.

    ”My shangri-la beneath the summer moon
    I will return again.
    Sure as the dust that floats high in June
    When movin’ through Kashmir”

    Even Thomas Moore asked:
    ‘Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere?’

    Often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of the East’

    No place on earth has captured the heart of the Explorer with its ‘Beauty’ the way Kashmir has.

    In fact many Historians and Archeologists are begining to disoute that Biblical History even took place in the Middle east region of Israel. Interesting Indeed!

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Please keep comments focused on journalism. Many of these have gotten way too far astray.