Translation Chapter 23

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)appears before Pilate

23 When the council of eldersrose from their meeting, they took ‘Īsā to Pilate[1].2 Then they began to accuse him, ‘We found this man leading our people astray, forbidding them to pay tax to Caesar and claiming to be al-Masīh, the king[2].’

3 Pilate asked ‘Īsā, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

‘You have said it,’ ‘Īsā replied.

4 Pilate said to the chief imāms and the crowd, ‘I find no reason to punish this man.’

5 But they insisted, ‘He incites the people throughout the whole of Judea with his teaching. He began in Galilee, and now he’s come here.’

6 When he heard this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7Now Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, so when Pilate found out that ‘Īsā was from there, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time.                      

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)is questioned by Herod[3]

8 Herod was very glad to see ‘Īsā, because for a long time he had wanted to see him. He had heard about ‘Īsā and hoped to see him perform some kind of sign. 9 He asked ‘Īsā many questions, but ‘Īsā did not answer him. 10The chief imāms and the ulemā stood there vehemently accusing him. 11Then Herod and his soldiers treated ‘Īsā with contempt. They ridiculed him by dressing him in majestic clothes. Then Herod sent him back to Pilate. 12On that day Herod and Pilate became friends. Before this they had been enemies.

Before Pilate again

13 Pilate called together the chief imāms, the leaders and the people. 14He said to them, ‘You have brought this man to me as someone who is leading the people astray. Now I have examined him in your presence and I haven’t found any reason for your accusations against this man. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. He has done nothing worthy of death. 16(17)So I’ll have him scourged and then set him free.’  

18 They all shouted together, ‘Take this man away! Release Barabbas for us!’[4]19 (Barabbas had been thrown in jail for taking part in a rebellion in the city, and for murder).

20 Again Pilate addressed them, wanting to release ‘Īsā. 21 But they kept on shouting, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’

22A third time Pilate said to them, ‘What crime has this man committed? I find no reason to put him to death. So I’ll have him scourged and then set him free.’

23 Shouting loudly, they kept up the pressure, demanding that he be crucified, and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man they were asking for, who had been thrown into jail for rebellion and murder. Then Pilate handed ‘Īsā over (to the Roman soldiers) just as the chief imāms, the leaders and the people had wanted.                       

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)is led away

26 As the Roman soldiers led him away they seized a man called Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and they put the cross on him, and made him carry it behind ‘Īsā.

27 A large crowd of people were following him, including women who were striking their breasts and mourning for him. 28 ‘Īsā turned towards them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are coming when people will say, “Blessed are the women who are unable to conceive, the wombs which have never given birth and the breasts that have never nursed!” 30 At that time

            “they will start saying to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’

and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’”[5]

31 For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it’s dried up?’[6]

The martyrdom[7]of al-Masīh ‘Īsā(hpbuu)

32 Two others, both criminals, were led away with ‘Īsā to be put to death. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, the soldiers crucified ‘Īsā[8]there, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left[9].34 ‘Īsā said, ‘Heavenly Father[10], forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.’[11]

The soldiers also divided up his clothes by casting lots.[12]

35 The people stood there watching and the leaders ridiculed him[13], ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he’s Allah’s Masīh, the Chosen One.’

36 The soldiers also mocked him. Coming close, they offered him sour vinegar[14]37 and said, ‘If you’re the king of the Jews, save yourself.’

38 A written sign was fastened above him with these words: ‘THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.’[15]

The two criminals and ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)

39 One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at ‘Īsā; ‘You’re al-Masīh aren’t you? Then save yourself and us!’

40 But the other criminal replied with a rebuke, ‘Don’t you fear Allah? - You’re under the same sentence. 41 We’re punished justly, because we’re getting what we deserve for what we’ve done. But this man hasn’t done anything wrong’ 42 Then he said, ‘‘Īsā, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’

43 ‘Īsā said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

The death of al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)

44 By now it was about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 and the sun’s light went out. The curtain in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas was torn down the middle[16].46 In a loud voice ‘Īsā cried out, ‘Heavenly Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.’[17]  Having said this, he died.      

47 The centurion[18]saw what happened and praised Allah, saying, ‘Certainly this man was righteous.’48 All the people who had gathered to watch this spectacle saw what happened, and they returned home, striking their chests. 49 All those who knew ‘Īsā, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance and saw these things.[19]

The burial of al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)

50Now there was a man named Yūsuf, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He was a good and righteous man, 51 and had not agreed with the decision and action of the council (in condemning ‘Īsā). He was from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was longing for the kingdom of Allah[20]to come. 52 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of ‘Īsā. 53Taking it down from the cross, he wrapped it in a linen cloth. Then he placed the body in a tomb hewn out of rock, in which no one had ever been buried.54 It was the day of Preparation[21], and the Sabbath[22]was about to begin[23].

55 The women who had travelled with ‘Īsā from Galilee followed Yūsuf and saw the tomb and how ‘Īsā’s body was placed in it. 56 They went home and prepared spices and ointments. Then they rested on the Sabbath as the commandment required[24].


[1]Pontius Pilate was governor of the Roman province of Judea from AD 26 to 36.

[2]Although the Scriptures predicted many varied aspects of al-Masīh’s person and work, that of being a liberating king was foremost in Jewish minds at this time. See Appendix C, ‘The Title: “Al-Masīh”‘.

[3]This Herod was ruler over Galilee (3:1) and had imprisoned and beheaded Prophet Yahyā (pbuh)(3:19-20, 9:7-9).

[4]Injīl, Matthew 27:15 says that, ‘At the Eid (of Passover) it was the governor’s custom to release one prisoner chosen by the crowd.’

[5]This is a quotation fromBook of the ProphetHosea 10:8.

[6]Al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)is again predicting the events that happened in AD 67-70. See 21:5-36.

[7]For further details on the martyrdom of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)and on how the Injīl’s and the Qur’an’s teaching on this matter can be understood to be in agreement with each other, see Appendix F, ‘The Suffering and Martyrdom of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)’.

[8]In Zabūr, Psalm 22:16, written by Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh)about 1000 BC, the sufferer says, ‘they pierce my hands and feet’. Crucifixion involved driving metal spikes through the victim’s hands (at the wrist) and feet.

[9]There is a fulfilment here of the words ofBook of the Prophet Isaiah 53:12about al-Masīh (called the Servant of the LORD): ‘he was counted with the rebels’.

[10]When al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)speaks of Allah as ‘Father’, he does not mean a physical or biological relationship. So when the Qur’an says of Allah, ‘He begets not, nor was he begotten’ (al-Ikhlās 112:3) there is no need to see a contradiction with the Injīl, because the Injīl does not teach that Allah physically begets or is begotten. To highlight this, we have translated into English as, ‘heavenlyFather’. See also v46. For more detail, see Appendix B, ‘The Translation: “spiritualSon of Allah”‘.

[11]This fulfils the words ofthe Book of the ProphetIsaiah 53:12, ‘he... made intercession for the rebels.’

[12]This fulfils the prophecy of Zabūr, Psalm 22:18, written by Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh),

They divide my clothes between them
    and cast lots for my garment.’

[13]See Zabūr, Psalm 22:8,

All who see me mock me;
    they sneer and shake their heads.’

[14]See Zabūr, Psalm 69:21,

‘they give me vinegar to drink for my thirst.’

[15]It was the Roman custom to attach a sign to a cross stating what crime the person was being punished for.

[16]There were two curtains in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. One of these separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (Taurāt, Exodus 26:31-35), which only the chief imām could go into, and only once a year (Taurāt, Leviticus 16). The other curtain was at the entrance to the Holy Place, beyond which only the imām on duty was permitted to go (Taurāt, Exodus 26:36, 38:18). We are not told which one of these was torn.

[17]‘Īsā al-Masīh’s last words, ‘Into your hands I entrust my spirit’, are a direct quote from Zabūr, Psalm 31:5.

[18]A centurion was an officer over 100 soldiers in the Imperial Roman army.

[19]In v47-49, three groups sawthe events leading up to and including al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s death: the centurion (v47), the people of Jerusalem (v48), and those who knew ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)(v49). Also, in v55 we read,

The women who had travelled with ‘Īsā from Galilee... sawthe tomb and how ‘Īsā’s body was placed in it. 

Eye-witness testimony is fundamental for Injīl, Luke. At the beginning we read,

those who from the beginning were eye witnesses of these events and servants of the word passed on to us the account of what they had seen.(1:2)

Hazrat Luke (pbuh), the writer, records their accounts of these events. For more detail see Appendix A, ‘The Revelation of the Holy Injīl’.

[20]Or, ‘reign of Allah’. Allah SWT always has reigned and always will reign. However, many Jews of ‘Īsā al-Masīh’s day were waiting and hoping for the age to come, when Allah’s reign would be complete and unopposed. At that time, Allah would completely overthrow evil, put the world right and rescue his people from their pagan enemies. For more details, see Appendix D, ‘The Kingdom of Allah’.

[21]Friday, the day before the Sabbath, when everything had to be set in place so that Jews could rest on the Sabbath.


[23]The Jewish ‘day’ began at sunset and lasted to sunset the following day.

[24]The Sabbath law was the fourth of the Ten Commandments given to the Ban-i Isrā’īl through the Prophet Mūsā (pbuh), see Taurāt, Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15.