I am into the 8th day of a cold that may be the worst I have every had; but, I am finally beginning to sense that it is nearing it's end. Apart from laryngitis, and some occasional stuffiness, I am starting to feel almost 'normal'. So, now that the headaches, constant drainage, and overall sinus pressure has vanished, I am now able to focus on posting again, resuming my review of Mr. White's, What Every Christian Needs To Know About the Qur'an. The first installment of this review was published back on May 9th, 2013 (link), and focused on the book's introduction; this second installment shall delve into chapter 6, "The Qur'an and the Cross".
Chapter 6 (pages 129-143) is the most disappointing of the book (IMO), and this, for a number of reasons: first, Mr. White has chosen to limit his polemic to but one of the interpretations that has been offered by Muslim commentators—the "substitution theory"; second, only one translation is offered—for a section of the Qur'an (Surah 4.156, 157 - some "forty Arabic words") which many scholars have deemed the most difficult to translate, that is troubling; third, only ONE Muslim source is referenced in the entire chapter; and fourth, apart from the ONE Muslim scholar cited, no other scholarly author of Islamic Studies (Muslim or non-Muslim) is referenced, not ONE (comparing Mr. White's with Dr. Lawson's references on this issue we get: 1 vs. 300+).
I have already published 4 previous threads on Surah 4.156, 157 (link). Some of the key points covered in those threads include: first, some Muslims are fully convinced that the Qur'an does NOT deny the crucifixion and physical death of Jesus Christ; second, interpretations offered by Muslims who do believe that the Qur'an denies the crucifixion and physical death of Jesus Christ are varied and often contradictory; and third, given the fact that other passages in the Qur'an clearly affirm the death of Jesus Christ (Mr. White lists 2 such passages in his book: Surahs 3:55; 19:33 - page 141), the interpretation that the Qur'an does NOT deny the crucifixion and physical death of Jesus Christ is by far the most internally consistent one.
Now, I think the question that needs to be asked is this: why does Mr. White totally neglect the more internally consist understanding of 4.156, 157 ? To be sure, the vast majority of modern day Muslims reject this interpretation, but then, the vast majority of modern day Muslims also reject the understanding that the corruption of the "Torah and the Gospel" spoken of in the Qur'an pertains to interpretation and not wholesale textual corruption—Mr. White defends the minority position on this issue (see chapter 8, pp. 165-192). So, while Mr. White vigorously defends one minority position, he totally ignores another; his reasons are unknown to me, but one issue comes to the fore: the issue of consistency.
Moving from Mr. White's polemic, to that of Muslim apologists, the question of why the majority of Muslim commentators have rejected the internally consistent interpretation of 4.156, 157 remains. Dr. Lawson touches on a number of possible reasons in his exhaustive book, The Crucifixion and the Qur'an, but one very interesting possibility was not included. I shall now present what may be the most telling reason why the majority of Muslim commentators have rejected the internally consistent interpretation of Surah 4.156, 157. The following is from al-Kindi's, Apology, as found in N.A. Newman's, Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue [a book I recommended to my readers back on Dec. 2, 2011 (link); a book referenced numerous times by Mr. White in his book (pp. 49, 57, 102, 103, 192, 278), but NOT for what follows]:
They say [Muslims] that during his lifetime [Muhammad's] he told them not to bury him when he died. He said that God would raise him to heaven, as Christ our Lord was raised, and that he was too dear to God to be left on earth more than three days. They cherished this hope, and when he died on Monday, the 12th night of the first Spring moth in the 63rd year of his age, after an illness of 14 days, they laid him out, believing he would be raised to heaven as he had said. But when the third day had come, corruption had already set in, and their hope failed. They despaired of his vain assurance, and buried him in the earth on the 4th day. (N.A. Newman's, Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue, p. 444.)
N.A. Newman, in chapter note #48, adds the following important data:
 Though there appear to be no Muslim sources for Muhammad ever saying that he would be resurrected as Jesus was on the third day, al-Kindi's accusation is not entirely without merit...Shahih Bukhari, The Virtues and Merits of the Companions of the Prophet, ch. 6, hadith 18, vol. 5, p. 13 shows 'Umar as saying that Muhammad was to be resurrected...if Muhammad had said that he was to be resurrected and then was not, this would have been reason enough for a fairly well organized cover-up on the part of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and even the rest of the community...In view of the many inconsistencies concerning the death of Muhammad, it is quite possible that there were Muslim hadith in al-Kindi's day which reported that he was to be resurrected in a manner similar to Jesus. Moreover, it appears that none of the later Muslim apologists even tried to respond to al-Kindi's charge, though they must certainly have known of it at least through al-Biruni. (Ibid.. pp. 528, 529)
Nothing of this in Mr. White's book, nothing concerning important Muslim figures who affirmed the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, nothing concerning Dr. Lawson's scholarly treatment—sure makes me wonder about the book's title...
More installments to follow, the Lord willing.
Grace and peace,