A few weeks ago, Christians celebrate the Holy Week, which is a whole week of commemorating the events that lead to Jesus's death and resurrection, based on my understanding.
The Holy Week started with Palm Sunday, where Christians remember the Sunday on which Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem. I don't know of any special or specific events on the the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday leading to Maundy/ Holy Thursday. But on Holy Thursday, they believed was the day of the Last Supper, before Jesus was to die the next day, which they named Good Friday. Then on the coming Sunday Jesus came to life, which is called Easter Sunday. Do you know of "Easter Bunny" or "Easter Eggs"? Yup, it's actually a celebration based on the Easter Sunday, the day Jesus was 'resurrected'. (And I used to like to celebrate easter..)
Ok, after all that talk about the Holy Week, "excruciating" still isn't on the screen, right?
All right, here comes the "excruciating" aka extremely painful part.
The word "excruciating" literally means "out of crucifying". In Christianity, their believe is that a Holy son of God, Jesus, had to sacrifice himself so that the sins of everyone on this planet will be redeemed. What is the method of this so-called sacrifice? Jesus was nailed on a big cross and left to hang there until he died. This is called "crucifixion".
Crucifixion dates back to the Roman Empire where it is used as a death penalty, reserved for the worst criminals.
What I want to emphasise here is the reality of crucifixion. Do we really know how it really feels to be firstly, NAILED onto a pole/stick, then have the pole stuck upright on the ground WHILE WE'RE STILL STUCK TO IT? Well, not us, but whoever is being crucified.
In Islam, we believe that it was not Prophet Isa a.s who was crucified. Instead, it was another person who, by the power of Allah, suddenly attained Prophet Isa's face.
But the point is, have we ever wondered what's it really like for the person who is being crucified?
While I was checking my mailbox, I found this amazing article entitled "The Scientific Death of Jesus" by Dr. Mercola. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/09/The-Scientific-Death-of-Jesus.aspx
In brief, the article tells in a scientific perspective of the pain that Jesus endured during the crucifixion period. You can check out the article in full in the link above complete with a video clip.
However, I would like to point out a few details that I feel I should share as a muslim.
No.1 I had always thought that 'Jesus' was nailed ON THE PALMS. But, in that article, it said that in fact, Jesus had been nailed through HIS PULSES. (Between the bones of radius and ulna, at his wrist, I think) Because, if the nails were hammered through his palms, the flesh of his palms would SIMPLY TEAR OUT DUE TO THE BODY WEIGHT. (Tangan akan terkoyak sebab tak dapat menampung keberatan badan) So, even Christians themselves don't really know the facts about their belief, because it shows on the many crucifix (the statue of a cross with the body of Jesus on it) that they made. Usually, the nails are on his palms. Or there were simply no nails at all.
No.2 The pain was not only due to having nails hammered onto the palms, but also the effect of being hanged onto a pole. On the cross, the person must use his back muscles in order to keep breathing, because the torso was being pulled down by gravity and thus cannot function normally. (Try imagining) Also keep in mind that both feet are also nailed together on the cross. Therefore, the person is supporting his body weight with (gulp) his feet while trying to breathe at the same time. Now, do we realize the painful "experience" of the crucified?
No. 3 In the article it is also mentioned that Jesus shed EVERY DROP OF BLOOD from his body until there was no more blood in his body that he started to pour liquid from the nailholes. It lasted for almost three hours. Only then, did he died.
We should not limit crucification in terms of Christianity only. Did you know that Japan also
practiced this form of punishment during the Meiji era?
Crucifixion in the Meiji era
And..do you know that even NOW some countries have this sort of punishment written in the law of their country? Iran, is one of the countries still practicing crucification based on the interpretation of this Quranic ayah :
'The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.' Surah 5:33
I'm not saying Iran is cruel or anything. That is their country and their law. Furthermore I am also a muslim, so I believe in the Quran. And, I also do not know what sort of crimes are punishable by crucification in the country. It could be the crimes are so evil that the only deterrent would be some kind of likely punishment.
Having said all of the above, I would like to share my personal view on this matter.
Ok. Firstly, I believe that it was not Prophet Isa a.s that had been crucified, as Christians do. I believe it was one of the people that Prophet Isa was sent as a Prophet, the same as Prophet Muhammad was sent as the Last Prophet and for all mankind that was on the cross at the time. In the Quran, it is told that the Jews changed the words of the bible/Injil to suit their own demands. It is also told that Prophet Isa never claimed to be the son of God and only came to bring his people back towards prostrating to the only one God there is which is Allah and to do good as well as avoiding sins. He was a messenger, just like every other messenger before him and the one last messenger after him.
Yet, look at what has prevailed. There are many religions across the world. Two dominant religions are Christian and Islam. When there should only be one. Because the essence of both religions is the same! The only difference is that Christians never accepted Nabi Muhammad as the Last Prophet. Thus, we are two, when it should only be one.
The person who Cristians thought was Jesus, was one of the many humans who wanted to kill Prophet Isa a.s. Alhamdulillah, Allah the Almighty had saved him from the painful death on the cross. The people of Prophet Isa a.s rejoiced for they thought they had killed the messenger of Allah. When they had only killed one of their own, without knowledge of course.
I feel that whoever was on the cross at the time had suffered unimaginable pain. Imagine plotting to kill one man, when suddenly you yourself was being captured instead! Imagine the confusion of that man! He must have said, "No, I'm not Isa you fools! I'm one of you! You've got the wrong person!" And in the end, nobody listened to him because little did he know, his face was the face of Prophet Isa a.s. There he was, nailed on the cross, with his own people jeering happily before him. What could have been his last thoughts? Did he finally admit that there is no God but Allah, and that Prophet Isa is His Messenger..? Only Allah knows. Even if that were his last thoughts, he no longer had the life to tell his people.
Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah, for saving your Prophet Isa from the excruciating death he could have had. Perhaps, one day, we might be able to see him..when the end draws near.