The Eclipse of Matthew 27?

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In the article Historical Errors in the Qur’an? I briefly touched upon the events mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew surrounding the crucifixion of the Prophet Isa(P). With regards to the crucifixion of ‘Isa(P), it is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew:

Matthew 27:4
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.”

With most ancient events, it is often difficult to verify whether an event actually happened or not. Thanks to modern astronomy, however, this has become relatively easy.

According to NASA, two solar eclipses occurred during the period of Isa’s ministry – on the 19th of March 33AD, and the 24th of November 29AD.

19th March 33AD

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 1

As we can see here, the only way Jerusalem could be plunged into darkness is if it were situated in the Indian Ocean!

24th November 29AD

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 2

On closer study, and by comparing this with a map of Jordan, the path of total eclipse passes through Lebanon, southern Syria and northern Jordan, but not Jerusalem. Judging by the above diagram, I would estimate that Jerusalem experienced about 98% of the total eclipse – this probably would have caused a very slight dimming of the sun and a distinct chill in the air, but no darkness.

Furthermore, in quoting Matthew 27:45, some versions of the Bible (namely The Message, The Amplified Bible, New Living Translation, Contemporary English Version, Worldwide English) specify the time of the eclipse as being from noon to 3:00 pm, with the New American Standard Bible and English Standard Version quoting these times as a footnote.

Given that the coordinates for Jerusalem are latitude 31° 48′ 00″ N, longitude 35° 12′ 00″ E, it is possible to work out from NASA’s information table for this eclipse exactly what time of day the total eclipse would have been visible, and for how long?

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 3

Times above given in what NASA refers to as ‘Universal Time’ — this is equal to GMT, as explained in NASA’s Definition of Universal Time. Jerusalem is two hours ahead of GMT. Therefore, the time at which Total Eclipse occurred in the nearest area north of Jerusalem was around five minutes to eleven in the morning, for approximately 1 minute 40 seconds.

So there is no doubt that the solar eclipse could not have happened as written in Matthew 27:45, therefore modern astronomy has proven that at least this part of the Gospel of Matthew is incorrect. And if it undisputedly incorrect, how can we Muslims accept it as the Word of God?

And only God knows best! The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 4Endmark

Cite this article as: Amir Brooks, “The Eclipse of Matthew 27?,” in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2023,



6 responses to “The Eclipse of Matthew 27?”

  1. Moshey Avatar

    Assalamu alaikum,
    In his work “The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Told”, Joseph Whales says:
    “The gospels are all priestly forgeries over a century after their pretended dates”.
    Having reached the same conviction, Prof. Bart D. Erhman like numerous other world-leading orthodox Christian Bible scholars of the past and the present could not help waiving ‘farewell’ to Christianity. It is indeed observable that the case of the alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is just an instance that betrays the fictitious nature of the Bible. Limiting ourselves to the biblical passage analyzed in the above well-researched article by brother Amir Brooks, we could not fail to observe that:
    (1) The alleged “darkness OVER ALL THE LAND/EARTH” following the alleged crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23: 44-45) has been taken to refer to a solar eclipse by many Christian scholars. But this is completely untenable for the following facts:
    a. The Gospels claim that the alleged crucifixion occurred around 15th Nissan (of the Jewish annual celebration of the Passover). Science as well as even ancient Christian scholars as Julius Africanus pointed out that solar eclipse could not occur at that very date and time at (15th Nissan) full-moon.
    b. The scientific analysis presented in the above article by brother Amir Brooks rule out any probability of solar eclipse at that time, date and place.
    (2) The alleged “darkness OVER ALL THE LAND/EARTH” has been taken by some Christian apologists not to refer to natural solar eclipse but to a special supernatural occurrence (miracle) from God. The problem with this interpretation is only that it could not be established to have actually occurred in history. Scholars point out that such an unusual event of this immensity covering all the land/earth coupled with the other gospel narration of the earth quake, splitting of the rocks and revival of dead saints and their matching out of their tombs into the city of Jerusalem to appear to many (Matthew 27: 52-53) could in no way escape the notice of the many capable historians, geographers, astronomers and poets abundantly abiding then in the land and whose records reached us such as the Jewish Philosopher Philo Judeus (c. 50 C.E), Roman historian Marcus Vellenius Peterculus (c. 19 B.C.E – 31 C.E), Ptolemy who was a geographer and astronomer, Theon of Smyna who was an astronomer, Flavius Arrinus (c. 92- 175 C.E), Florus who was a second century Roman historian and others. In fact, scholars established that there was no single eye-witness or contemporary report (first-hand information) that establishes the historicity of this alleged occurrence. Concerning this, Lloyd Graham says:
    “We have here a good example of the credulity of the western mind. For two thousand years he has been reading about this convulsion and ‘darkness over all the earth’ without ever questioning it or demanding proof of it. Yet had it happened, would not some of those able historians have recorded it? Why did they not?” (Deceptions and Myths of the Bible”, p. 349).
    Tom Harper also says:
    “I wish all fundamentalists would take special note that while these quite public, literally stupendous events are alleged to have taken place, not a single other contemporary source can be found to corroborate or confirm them…even though this was not at a time and in a place where capable observers, recorders of remarkable happenings, historians and others were in no way lacking. There is no smidgeon of a trace of historicity to be found.” (“The Pagan Christ”, p. 149).
    Concerning the issue of the splitting of the Moon into two during the early period of the prophethood of Muhammad (Divine peace ever be upon him) raised by David Misango above, the following should be born in mind: –
    a. The Qur’an reveals clearly that it was a supernatural event (miracle) from God which was an answer to the contemporary unbelievers that challenged the Prophet to do in order to prove his divine messengership (Qur’an, Suratul Qamar, verses 1-3). For this fact, it is completely out of place to seek to trace it through astronomical calculations. In other words, the supernatural splitting of the Moon has nothing to do with the natural movements of the heavenly bodies (Earth and the Moon in particular) that caused the eclipses that can be mathematically calculated back or in the future.
    b. Any true believer in God would never doubt God’s ability to cause supernatural events of whatever degree or immensity.
    c. This supernatural event was quite local in effect. Overwhelming number of eye-witnesses’ accounts established that it really occurred at Mecca before the Prophet’s migration to Medina.
    d. Many authentic traditions traceable to the time of the Prophet (DPBUH) confirmed that when the event occurred, the non-believers of Mecca witnessed it but rebelliously charged that it could only witness to Muhammad (DPBUH) only if people of settlements and way-farers around Mecca also witnessed it. The reports confirmed that the next day, some people around the city were interviewed and found that they really witnessed it (“Sunan”, Hadith No. 3289, of Imam Tirmidhi as authenticated by Allamah Muhammad Nasurudden Al baniy).
    e. The Holy Qur’an was in existence and was preached among the unbelievers of the time (extremely critical pagan Arabs, extremely critical Jews and Christians around) but there was no report of anyone raising a finger against the Book concerning the genuineness of the event. Had it not actually occurred as narrated by the holy Book, the people would have never failed to raised objection let alone believe in the Book and pledged their dear lives in defense of the faith. In fact, before the demise of the prophet, major part of the Arabian peninsula believed and came into the fold of Islam!

  2. Quazi Avatar

    Well, I was reading bible and came up with this chapter – Ezekiel 23. A chapter of (un)holy Bible where god is describing about two whore. Some of the verses are as below –

    1. The word of the LORD came to me
    3. They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their BREASTS were fondled and their VIRGIN bosoms caressed.
    7. She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after
    8. She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her.
    10. They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword.
    16. As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.
    17. Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her.
    20. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
    25 I (god) will direct my (god’s) jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire.

    Now tell me what is holy about this (un)holy bible?

  3. john Avatar

    A couple things…

    the dates of birth and death look wrong.

    Also, the date of His Crucifiixion is known: the fifth of Nissan. Therefore there could not have been an eclipse: the Jews voraciously fought the Christians and tried to explain-away the darkness that occured after Jesus’s Crucifixion as an eclipse…only to be miserably embarrassed upon the easy defeat of this argument.

    Pagans also tried to explain it as an eclipse…again, only to be easily embarrassed. It’s the Jews and Christians alike that recorded the date of Crucifixion, one to attack Jesus, the other to honor Him. An eclipse is impossible on the Fifth of Nissan, at Passover.

    There are a few Bibles which read “eclipse”, however they typically follow a text which puts “eclipse” in Greek which has editors who admit there is no basis for the reading. Text-Critics of all kinds have questioned this: you can’t choose a reading because it’s a “harder reading” when the “reading” doesn’t exist. If I were wanting to REALLY argue I could just wait until someone actually makes the mistake of using one of these versions: then simply post the comments by the “scholars” of the Greek text explaining they have no witness or basis for the reading.

    Further, why don’t you try reading Zechariah 12:10. “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.”

    That’s God speaking by the way…a long time before Jesus came-forth from Mary’s womb. And remember, the Jews are the Keeper of the Book (your title), so do you claim they are no longer? Even Jews choke on that passage, majorly: just like they did with parts of the book of Daniel which they called “cursed” and forbid their own selves to read them for so long.

    And I have seen Muslims claim they corrupted the book, but then did they corrupt this passage to support the Christians? I’ve seen them try to not translate this only to be held accountable by Jews themselves and non-jews alike: and I checked the Hebrew. It’s quite telling. :-)

    And if, as you claim, God preserves His Word-that given by His prophets, that of His prophets, then obviously according to this (and it’s a Muslim Teaching) you would also include, because of your beliefs, the Q’ran. Yet then you claim that the New Testament (and for your note “covenant” is more exact in English than “testament”) “was” Christ’s words, but that it was corrupted…and you teach the same of the Old Covenant (testament) yet acknowledge that the Jews are God’s keepers…but if He let His Word be corrupted in those books, why then can you claim that He protects it and did so in the Q’ran? Would he not preserve all His word when in the writings He says “my thoughts from generation to generation”.

    And you might claim “the Q’ran is newer, a restoration of sorts”, but then He says “stand by the ways and see and ask for the OLD paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk [in it]’. (Jer 6:16)

  4. non Avatar

    To the above post ‘In Love with Christ’.
    Your whole religion is an assumption. Your New Testament of various contradictory books assume much. A Prophet is NOT God! No Prophet EVER claimed to be God!
    Your hatred of the truth blinds you from comprehending such simple facts.

    Moses came waaaaay before Jesus.
    Abraham came waaaaay before Jesus & Moses.
    Noah came waaaaay before Jesus & Moses & Abraham.


  5. In Love with Christ Avatar
    In Love with Christ

    Jesus Christ was not born on 0 AD

    This is an assumptioon on your part.

    The Bible never says he died 33AD – you are using assumptions to base your arguments.

    Rather than give you the answers, I would suggest that you at least research a bit more extensivley with regards to the undelying assupmtions first. It seems you like to research, so I will leave it to you to do. And yes, Jesus (God) does know best.

    Let me ask you this…. If you call Him a Prophet, tehn why not believe all He said. Especially the parts about Him claimimng to be God and to being the Son of God. Becasue a Prophet speaks for God, and God cannot lie… So therefore how can He be lying.

    Plus HE came waaaaay before mohommed, who was a pagan worshipping illiterate pesant.

  6. david misango Avatar

    Surprise surprise!!!A Muslim using Kaffir time to dispute Christianity!One would have thought that the only correct time scale is Allah’s Anno Hijrah?!

    On a serious note; is it impossible for God to cause a certain geographical region to be in darkness while the rest of the Earth is in sunshine?

    I read that Allah helped Mohammed to SPLIT THE MOON INTO TWO.Let the keen writer give us NASA’s dates for when this event happened.We will then beleive in Allah and his prophet Mohammed.

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