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“Christ and the Crucifixtion” by Todd Lawson

Todd Lawson recently released a thoroughly researched book entitled “Christ and the Crucifixion”. In this research book, Lawson analyzed Surah al-Nisa’, Verse 157 (4:158 in the ahmadi Quran) and the historicity therein. Lawson takes us on a journey through the thought process of over twenty-five mufassireen (interpreters of the Qu’ran). Lawson gives the reader an opportunity to view what Muslim scholars had to say on the subject.  This is a very troubling development for Ahmadiyyat. This research project shows that, historically for generations, 99.9% of Muslims believed in four things:

a—That ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه اسلام was never on a cross
b—Another person was put on the cross
c—-Jesus physically ascended to heaven
d—-Jesus will physically descend

There was even an account of Al-Zamakhshari (d. 538/1144). Zamakhshari was of Mu’tazalite persuasion and was known to hold “rationalistic” and non-traditional tendencies (Lawson, 100). The author comments on Zamakhshari , writing:

“Al-Zamakhsari relates the famous story of how Jesus asked his disciples for a volunteer to be killed in his stead. God cast the likeness of Jesus upon a disciple who was subsequently crucified and killed. The exegete mentions that some believe this to have been Judas, who was substituted for Jesus and crucified as punishment for his betrayal. That this account is unsatisfactory of Al-Zamakhsari is evident when he details the confusion of the witness of these events: ‘some said that Jesus was killed and crucified, and some said, “If that is Jesus, where is our companion, or if that is our companion, where is Jesus?” Some said he was raised to heaven and some said that the face, is the face of Jesus, but the body, is the body of our companion” (pg. 101, Lawson).

Amazingly enough, when defining Aal Imran, verse 54 Zamakhasari wrote that mutawafikka meant death. Lawson writes the impression of Zamakhasari: “The Jews then agreed to kill Jesus, and God informed Jesus that he would raise him to heaven and purify him of association with the offenders”.

3:55 by Al- Zamakhsari:

“Lo, God said: “Oh Jesus! Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto me, and cleanse thee of (the presence of) those who are bent on denying the truth…………….”

In summary, Zamakhsari believed:

a—Jesus was never on the cross
b—Allah caused Jesus to die before He wafaa’d him to heaven, physically
c—Jesus will physically return
d—Someone else was hung on the cross, not ‘Esa عليه السلام
This proves that in the past there were some Muslims who believed that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام had died according to Surah Aal Imran verse 54, but that did not change the other underlying factors of the substitution theory. In other words, just because Jesus died, does not change the fact that he will physically return, nor does it change the fact that someone else was hung. Nor does it mean that he travelled to India!

In my opinion, it appears that some Muslims believed that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام died the day after his disciple was hung. Jesus was able to meet some of his companions before he was physically raised. The Muslim scholars who wrote that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام died, they all believed in the “substitution theory”. They never thought that he lived more than a week after the attempted hanging.

Mirza Ghulam and other Ahmadi leaders have also quoted Imam Malik in terms of the death of ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام. They have written that Imam Malik also believed in the death of ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام. It seems that Imam Malik believed that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام died just a few days after his likeness was cast upon another, it also appears that Imam Malik believed that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام had physically ascended to heaven and will physically re-appear. Further, Imam Malik believed that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام would return as a “non-prophet”.

Who is Todd Lawson
Todd Lawson is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.

His accolades are as follows:
• PHD (1987) McGill University
• M.A. (1980) McGill University
• B.A. (1976) University of British Columbia

Shabbir Ally on Zamakhshari and 4;157, specifically, “”but it appeared as that to them,””
Shabbir Ally explains a small situation, he says that this sentence could be translated a few different ways, at both were acceptable in islamic grammar.

1st way—–“he was made to appear to them”

2nd  way—“It was made to appear to them”

In the second way, it could refer to the person who’s face was disfigured to look like that of Esa (as).  Zamakhshari preferred the 2nd version, and he endorsed the substitution theory.  Nevertheless, Zamakhshari concluded that whatever may have happened, the romans thought that they had crucified Jesus.

Links and Related Essays

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Al-Zamakhshari, “Wa-lakin Shubbiha Lahum”, 4:157 and the Ahmadiyya context

In the history of Islamic scholarly activity and in the context of 4:157, every Islamic scholar, muffasir, mujadid and etc believed that Esa (as) would physically return to the planet, that part of issue was never debated.  However, the “substitution theory” was challenged by the Mutazalite’s and specifically Al-Zamakhshari.  In Todd Lawson’s book, “Christ and the Crucifixion”, he writes that Al-Zamakhshari was the first Muslim to ever challenge the “Substitution-theory” as well as the last (See Lawson, page 103).  Lawson divides the past 1400 years into 3 distinct eras.  Pre-Tabari Tafsir, which is 687–923, the classic and medieval tafsir’s are 923-1505, and the final category is called modern developments.  Its important to note that in the first category, the Pre-Tabari Tafsir era, all Tafsir’s gave the “substitution theory” and never questioned the grammatical prose of “Shubbiha Lahum”.  The earliest translations and commentaries by Ibn Abbas and Al-Makki indicate that the proper translation is “But so it was made to appear to them”.  In fact, in the “Pre-Tabari Tafsir era”, Lawson researched and quoted 13 top scholars from this era, and they all gave the same opinion about Shubbiha Lahum, i.e. that it referred to the “Substitution theory”.  In conclusion, Zamakhshari was a heretic as were all Mutazalite’s, and they differed amongst themselves, however, they were in with the ruling family (the abbassids) and had Ibn Hanbal executed and continued to sway islamic opinion.

How many times does “Shubbiha Lahum” occur in the Quran?
“””Some form of sh-b-h appears in the Quran 12 times and in 8 separate verses.  2:70, 3:7 (twice), 13:16, 2:118, 6:99 (twice), 2:25, 39:23 and 4:157.  The meaning of the root varies, of course, according to the 6 different forms it assumes in these contexts.  The most frequent meaning is a function of the 3rd-form verbal usage, ‘to be similar or nearly identical to the point of confusion of true identity’ (see Lawson, page 32).”””  

Additional data on the Mutazalites and how they died and were a heresy

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan adopted the Mutazalite position on Islam +Quranism
It is important to note that MGA wasn’t the first person in British India to revive a dead heretical scholar, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the first.  Sir Syed Ahmad Khan used Mutazalite ideas, like for example, prayers being meaningless was a Mutazalite belief, as well as Sir Syed’s.  MGA and his team refuted this position, and thus broke away from Sir Syed.  The reason was, MGA was using his prophetic revelation as the means to legally tell Muslims to change, whereas, Sir Syed was simply using reason and logic.

MGA on this specific sentence, “”Shubbiha Lahum”?
MGA seems to have been silent on this specific topic.  In fact, MGA doesn’t seem to have ever even referred to the substitution theory.

MGA on Al-Zamakhshari?
It seems that MGA or his team of writers wrote about Al-Zamakhshari in 1908.  References to his work appear in Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya Volume 5, which was published posthumously, per the order of the Khalifa (Nooruddin).  Search the PDF and you will find that MGA and his team quoted Al-Zamakhshari in terms of the death of Esa (As).  MGA quoted Zamakhshari in Malfuzat also.  He refers to him in terms of 66:12 and the famous hadith wherein it is stated that everyone was touched by Satan except Esa (as).

Ahmadiyya cherry picking
Al-Zamakhshari believed in the second coming of Esa (As) (physically), he also believed in Abrogation, the concept that the Mahdi and Esa (As) were different people, abrogation and many others things that Ahmadis disagree with.  Hence, Ahmadi’s are taught to cherry pick the things that they need and discard the rest of any scholars writings, this is academically dishonest. Zamakhshari also believed in the ending of prophets.  And he never endorsed the concept of the Ummati-prophet.

Shabbir Ally on Al-Zamakhshari
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan also copied the Mutazalite’s, and specifically Al-Zamakhashari and thus believed that Esa (as) was on the cross, and then died afterwards.  This is nothing new, even Ak Shaikh and Akber Chauhdry believe the same, Muslims are allowed to believe in this way.  However, none of these people ever believed that esa (As) lived 90 years after the event of crucifixion and died in India, thus Ahmadiyya have no right to reference Al-Zamakhshari, or Shabbir Allr.  Shabbir Ally believes just like Zamakhshari, that Esa (As) died, was actually hung on the cross and will still physically return.

Neal Robinson 
Under Construction

Links and Related Essays

#ahmadiyya #ahmadiyyatrueislam #ahmadiapartheid #Ahmadiyyat #rabwah #qadian #meetthekhalifa #muslimsforpeace #ahmadiyyafactcheckblog #nolifewithoutkhalifa #AhmadiMosqueattack #AhmadiyyaPersecution #Mosqueattack #trueislam #atifmian




Nicholas Notovitch confessed to fabricating the story of Jesus in India!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the most silly arguments that Ahmadis make in terms of the tomb of Esa (As) is that Esa (as) somehow lived 90 additional years after the attempted crucifixtion.  Ahmadis use silly arguments that are given to them by their mullahs, and they never double check the content.

MGA and his team used Nicholas Notovitch’s fake research work
As we all know, in roughly 1896, MGA and his team landed on the idea that Esa (As) was buried in India.  A few years later, they connected it with the tomb of Yuz Asaf.  Then they made up false reports and relied on shoddy information to seal their idea that Esa (as) died in Kashmir.  However, research proves to us that Nicholas Notovitch actually lied about all of work on Jesus in India, thus, the foundation of the Ahmadiyya belief that Esa (As) =Yuz Asaf is a total lie.

The quote
page 133

“Faced with this cross-examination, Notovich confessed to fabricating his evidence.”

Source—-Indology, Indomania, and Orientalism by Douglas T. McGetchin (1 January 2010) Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ISBN 083864208X

St John of Damascus and his tract ‘Heresy of Ishmaelites’ confirms the substitution theory (749)

Historically speaking, Muslims have believed in the “substitution-theory” since the earliest records of Islam.  Allah told Muslims that the true story of Esa (as) was actually in existence, there were some fringe heretical-christians who believed exactly that.  Todd Lawson discusses them in his book also.  It’s called docetism, these christians believed that Jesus was never on any cross, they believe it was a ghost or an image that was crucified instead or someone else (see Lawson, page 3).  There are other beliefs that differed from mainstream Christianity, like the idea that Esa (As) spoke in the cradle and that he fashioned birds and breathed life into them, all of these beliefs came from fringe Christian groups.  Never did any group of the Abrahmic religions ever belief that Jesus (as) died in India.

St. John of Damascus
This Christian man wrote a review of the new Islamic faith, you can read it here.  In terms of Jesus (as), he wrote:

“””He says that there is one God, creator of all things, who has neither been begotten nor has begotten. [102] He says that the Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit, but a creature and a servant, and that He was begotten, without seed, of Mary the sister of Moses and Aaron. [103] For, he says, the Word and God and the Spirit entered into Mary and she brought forth Jesus, who was a prophet and servant of God. And he says that the Jews wanted to crucify Him in violation of the law, and that they seized His shadow and crucified this. But the Christ Himself was not crucified, he says, nor did He die, for God out of His love for Him took Him to Himself into heaven. [104] And he says this, that when the Christ had ascended into heaven God asked Him: ‘O Jesus, didst thou say: “I am the Son of God and God”?’ And Jesus, he says, answered: ‘Be merciful to me, Lord. Thou knowest that I did not say this and that I did not scorn to be thy servant. But sinful men have written that I made this statement, and they have lied about me and have fallen into error.’ And God answered and said to Him: ‘I know that thou didst not say this word.” [105] There are many other extraordinary and quite ridiculous things in this book which he boasts was sent down to him from God. But when we ask: ‘And who is there to testify that God gave him the book? And which of the prophets foretold that such a prophet would rise up?’—they are at a loss. And we remark that Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, with God appearing in the sight of all the people in cloud, and fire, and darkness, and storm. And we say that all the Prophets from Moses on down foretold the coming of Christ and how Christ God (and incarnate Son of God) was to come and to be crucified and die and rise again, and how He was to be the judge of the living and dead. Then, when we say: ‘How is it that this prophet of yours did not come in the same way, with others bearing witness to him? And how is it that God did not in your presence present this man with the book to which you refer, even as He gave the Law to Moses, with the people looking on and the mountain smoking, so that you, too, might have certainty?’—they answer that God does as He pleases. ‘This,’ we say, ‘We know, but we are asking how the book came down to your prophet.’ Then they reply that the book came down to him while he was asleep. Then we jokingly say to them that, as long as he received the book in his sleep and did not actually sense the operation, then the popular adage applies to him (which runs: You’re spinning me dreams.) [106]”””

Obviously, all the Tafsirs on the Quran and oral-tradition in the early-to-mid 700’s stated that Esa (as) didnt die…instead it was only made to appear as such….this historical document from a neutral source debunks all the lies of Ahmadiyya.  Muslims always believed that Esa (as) was never even on any cross, he escaped and Allah raised Esa (as) to heaven.

Mujahid ibn Jabr (Arabic: مُجَاهِدْ بِنْ جَبْر‎‎) (645-722 CE) Tafsir on 4:157 to 4:159

This is the second part of my series on the “substitution-theory”, which comes directly from Todd Lawson’s book on the topic.  Feel free to read the first entry here:

Who is Mujahid B. Jabr Al-Makki ??

He was of the major commentators of Qur’an among the Tâbi’în and of the highest rank in reliability among hadith narrators (thiqa). It is related by Ibn Sa’d in the Tabaqat (6:9) and elsewhere that he went over the explanation of the Holy Qur’an together with Ibn ‘Abbas thirty times. Al-A’mash said: “Mujahid was like someone who carried a treasure: whenever he spoke, pearls came out of his mouth.”
After praising him in similar terms al-Dhahabi said: “Mujahid has certain strange sayings pertaining to knowledge and commentary of Qur’an which are rejeted and condemned. A report has reached us whereby he went to Babel and asked its governor to show him [the angels] Harut and Marut. Mujahid said: ‘The governor sent a Jew to go with me until we arrived at a grotto under the earth and he showed them to me. They were suspended upside down. I said: “I believe in the One Who created the two of you.” At that time they shuddered, and both I and the Jew fainted. We came to after a while, and the Jew said to me: You nearly caused our death!” Al-Dhahabi also quotes al-A’mash’s judgment of Mujahid’s Tafsir whereby Mujahid was among those who narrate from the books of Ahl al-Kitab. Al-Dhahabi then proceeds to mention Mujahid’s commentary on the verse of the Exalted Station as one of the most objectionable statements he made: “The saying of Allah: {It may be that your Lord will raise you to an Exalted Station} (17:79) means: He will seat the Prophet with Him on His Throne (yujlisuhu ma’ahu ‘alâ ‘arshihi).”

Among Mujahid’s famous sayings: “There is no creature of Allah Most High except you can take or leave what they said except the Prophet Allah bless and greet him.” Narrated from Mujahid and also from al-Hakam ibn ‘Utayba by Ibn Hazm in al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam (6:291, 6:293) and Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Jami’ fi Bayan al-‘Ilm (2:925-926 #1761-1765).

Of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Mujahid relates: “People would uncover the space above his grave and it would rain.”

Sources: Abu Nu’aym, Hilya al-Awliya’ (3:280); al-Dhahabi, Mizan (3:439 #7072) and Siyar (5:379-381 #542); Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifa al-Safwa (1:243).

Mujahid B. Jabr Al-Makki on 4:157–158
As translated and quoted by Lawson, see page 48-49.

157—-“”but so it was made to appear to them they crucified a man other then Jesus while they reckoned that he was Jesus because this other man ‘was made to look like {Jesus} to them’ (shubbiha lahum).””””

158—-“They crucified a man whom they saw as {shabbaha} Jesus, and God raised Jesus to himself, living”

Al-Tabari quoted Al-Makki heavily in his Tafsir
The authenticity of this Tafsir by Al-Makki is quickly ascertained by noticing the frequency of the quotations in Al-Tabari’s works.  Further, Al-Makki was Meccan and came from that school of thought, and they consider Ibn Abbas to be their master in Tafsir.

The “Tanwir al-miqbas” Tafsir and the “substitution-theory of Esa (As)”

Ahmadis have avoided this Tafsir for years and years.  Ahmadis will continue to ignore this tafsir, since it contradicts everything that Ahmadis believe in.  I have written a brief introduction on this Tafsir and its history here, feel free to read that first.

Ibn Abbas on 4:157–159
157″””(And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger) Allah destroyed their man Tatianos. (They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them) Allah made Tatianos look like Jesus and so they killed him instead of him; (and lo! those who disagree concerning it) concerning his killing (are in doubt thereof) in doubt about his killing; (they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture) not even conjecture; (they slew him not for certain) i.e. certainly they did not kill him,””””

158″””(But Allah took him up unto Himself) in heaven. (Allah was ever Mighty) in His vengeance against His enemies, (Wise) by granting triumph to his friends: He saved His Prophet and destroyed their man.”””

159″””(There is not one of the People of the Scripture) the Jews and Christians (but will believe in him) in Jesus, that he was not a sorcerer, Allah, His son or His partner (before his death) after the soul of Jesus expires, that is after he comes down again and then dies after every single Jew in their time, (and on the Day of Resurrection he) Jesus (will be a witness against them) through delivery of the message.

Ibn Abbas on 3:55
((And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing) saving (thee of those who disbelieve) in you (and am setting those who follow you) follow your Religion (above those who disbelieve) with strong argument and triumph (until the Day of Resurrection) then I shall make you to die after descent; it is also said this means: I shall make your heart die to the love of the life of this world. (Then unto Me ye will (all) return) after death, (and I shall judge between you as to that wherein) in religion (ye used to differ) to argue.

Ibn Abbas on 5:117
(I spake unto them) in the life of this world (only that which Thou commandedst me, (saying): Worship Allah) declare Allah’s divine Oneness and obey Him, (my Lord and your Lord) He is my Lord and yours. (I was a witness of them) by conveying the message (while I dwelt among them, and when Thou tookest me) when you raised from amongst them (Thou wast the Watcher over them) You were the Protector and Witness of them. (Thou art Witness over all things) of what I said and what they said.

Ahmadis ignore historical fact, and purposely so.  Todd Lawson seems to ascribe this Tafsir to Al-Kalbi (died in 146/763), who was nonetheless a very early commentator on the Quran (see Lawson, page 45).  Whatever the authenticity of this book is….it proves that from the earliest records of Islamic-writings, Muslims always believed in the “Substitution-theory”.  



Tanwīr al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn ‘Abbās

The Tanwīr al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn ‘Abbās is quite possibly the oldest Tafsir on record.  It has been attributed variously to: ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbās Muammad al-Fīrūzabādī, and was TRANSLATED BY Mokrane Guezzou and Edited and with a brief Introduction by Yousef Meri.
You can find the entire Tafsir here:  It can also be found online here:

Todd Lawson quotes it in his book, “The Crucifixion and the Quran” (2009)
Todd Lawson conducted a meticulous study on classic Tafsir and published his results in 2009.  This book alone almost caused me to leave Ahmadiyya immediately, however, the family pressure was toooo much and I decided to read the book and remain silent.  Nonetheless, this is the first Tafsir that Todd Lawson quotes as he shares his research with the world, this is under the heading of “Pre-Tabari-Tafsir” section of the book.

Did Ibn Abbas really inspire this Tafsir?
The origins of this book have been criticized and with due regard.  In the preface of the book it is stated:

“”””Tanwir al-Miqbas is often attributed to the Companion ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib (d.68/687), cousin of the Prophet and father of the discipline of Quranic exegesis, or to the renowned Shafi‘i scholar Majd al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ya‘qub al-Firuzabadi (d. 817/1414).””””

“”””The earliest print edition of Tanwir al-Miqbas was produced in Bombay, India in 1864 by Matba‘ Muhammadi. The next edition to appear was the 1873 Bulaq edition which was subsequently reprinted in 1951 by Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi and Sons. In 1937, a private edition was printed in the margins of the Qur’an at the expense of ‘Abd al-Hamid Ahmad Hanafi. In 1972, Dar al-Anwar al-Muhammadiyya in Cairo issued a work edited by Muhammad al-Sadiq al-Qamhawi and ‘Abd al-Hafiz Muhammad ‘Isa. In 1976, an edition was produced in Multan, India, presumably a reprint of the 1864 Bombay edition. In 1995 (2001), Dar al-Fikr in Beirut under the supervision of an editorial committee issued the work in a re-edited vocalized edition. In 2000, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah issued a vocalised edition. Other editions and reprints include Dar al-Fikr in Beirut (2001) and Al-Maktabah Al-‘Asriyyah in Sidon (2005). The authoritative Arabic text of the work is now available on the website (

Scholarship on Tanwir al-Miqbas in the Arab and Islamic world has thus far been limited. Only one major study has appeared which focuses on the exegetical traditions of Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Hamidi, Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas wa Marwiyatuhu fi’l-Tafsir min Kutub al-Sunnah published in 1986 by Umm al-Qura University in Mecca. However, it is to be hoped that publication of this work will lead to the production of further studies of the work in the Islamic world and the west and to the critical discussion of it in universities and academies in the Islamic world and the West.

The translator Mr Mokrane Guezzou of the United Kingdom has presented herein a competently translated work which is both accessible and intelligible without the over-reliance on footnotes found in some academic translations of Islamic sources. Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to Fons Vitae Publishers, the managing director Aisha Gray Henry, the marketing director Pam Swisher and finally to the copy editor Elena Lloyd-Sidel.””””

Dr. Yousef Meri

Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute

for Islamic Thought, Amman

Safar 1429/ February 2008



Salaaboo in 20:71 proves the Substitution theory for Esa (As)

Ahmadis normally play dumb and stupid, either that or they really are dumb and stupid.  After countless twitter and FB battles, all Ahmadis will act as-if they have never heard of the “substitution-theory” in terms of the escape of Esa (as).  4:157–4:159 vaguely describes how Esa (as) was never even put on any cross….however, allah never revealed the exact method of escape.  Todd Lawson’s book, “christ and the Crucifixtion gives many early references which confirm that Muslims always believed that Esa (as) was never even on the cross.  Further, all of the mujadids of the past endorsed the idea that Esa (as) was never “hung” on any cross.  Sir Syed was the first Muslim who ever began to assert that Esa (as) was on the cross and in the state of swoon….obviously, MGA and Noorudin copied their mentor, i.e. Sir Syed and began selling the same idea.

Salabooo has different meanings based on context
Just like all arabic words, the meanings change easily based on context.  Salaboo can mean “crucify” or basically “hung”.  In 4:157, Allah told Muslims that Esa (As) was never hung, so he was never crucified.  All the Mujadids and scholars have explained it using the “substitution-theory”.

Salaboo in 20:71 from Suyuti

{ قَالَ آمَنتُمْ لَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ ءَاذَنَ لَكُمْ إِنَّهُ لَكَبِيرُكُمُ ٱلَّذِي عَلَّمَكُمُ ٱلسِّحْرَ فَلأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ مِّنْ خِلاَفٍ وَلأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ فِي جُذُوعِ ٱلنَّخْلِ وَلَتَعْلَمُنَّ أَيُّنَآ أَشَدُّ عَذَاباً وَأَبْقَىٰ }

Said he Pharaoh ‘Do you profess belief read a-āmantum pronouncing both hamzas or with the second changed to an alif in him before I myself give you permission? He is indeed your chief your teacher who taught you sorcery. I shall assuredly cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides min khilāfin a circumstantial qualifier meaning ‘alternate hands and feet’ in other words the right hands and the left feet and I shall assuredly crucify you on the trunks of palm trees. And you shall then know which of us — meaning himself and the Lord of Moses — is harsher in inflicting chastisement and which of us is more lasting’ more enduring in sustaining opposition to him Moses.

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