Tacitus was a Roman historian who among other things wrote the following account on Jesus.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

So how does Islam reconcile the view that Jesus not being crucified or killed when it is not just a contradiction of the Bible but also this separate historical account?


2 Answers 2


In Islam, we believed someone died in his place.

وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا
And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

"Reconciliation" with historical accounts
We believe that Quran is the infallible words of God, and historical accounts are fallible words of men. So believing Quran means denying the historical accounts.

As of the explanation of the accounts, a personal reasoning: Jesus ascended to heaven without death, which means he "disappeared" from this physical earth. And someone who resembled him was crucified. Now if all the witness of the crucification thought the person was Jesus, they would tell everyone that it was Jesus who was crucified. And all historical accounts would be made on that. And without knowledge from the Quran, since Jesus was nowhere to be found, the only thing people could deduce was that he was crucified, as witness claimed.

"Reconciliation" with the Bible
In Islam we believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the corresponding volumes and not all of what they cite was words of God. We believe that the Gospel at the time of Muhammad contained words of God, but a portion of it was lost and a portion of it contained lies of humans. After 1400 years, the Gospel we see now is very different from then, so we believe there is even more "corruption" of the truth. Therefore we do not take the bible nowadays as intact and infallible words of God. Quran on the other hand was preserved intact, therefore we trust in Quran that Jesus was not crucified.


The account you have quoted has nothing to do with the 'crucifixion' of Jesus. It is an account of Nero accusing the small Christian community of burning Rome in 64AD:


During the night of July 18, 64 AD, fire broke out in the merchant area of the city of Rome. Fanned by summer winds, the flames quickly spread through the dry, wooden structures of the Imperial City. Soon the fire took on a life of its own consuming all in its path for six days and seven nights. When the conflagration finally ran its course it left seventy percent of the city in smoldering ruins.

Rumors soon arose accusing the Emperor Nero of ordering the torching of the city and standing on the summit of the Palatine playing his lyre as flames devoured the world around him. These rumors have never been confirmed. In fact, Nero rushed to Rome from his palace in Antium (Anzio) and ran about the city all that first night without his guards directing efforts to quell the blaze. But the rumors persisted and the Emperor looked for a scapegoat. He found it in the Christians, at that time a rather obscure religious sect with a small following in the city. To appease the masses, Nero literally had his victims fed to the lions during giant spectacles held in the city's remaining amphitheater. end quote

For an explanation of the 'historical' account of the crucifixion ruse, please read Jesus and the Crucifixion Plot at http://arabianprophets.com

  • 2
    Read the quotation from Tacitus again. He does expressly say that "Christus... suffered the extreme penalty" etc.
    – aasheq
    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:47

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