Imam Hussain in the Bible

Written by: Esmail Hemmati

Published on: January 30th, 2020

Part 1 – Hussainpbuh foretold by Jesus and John the Baptistpbut

By Esmail Hemmati

The Bible is indeed a significant prophetic book as to an extent that it does not miss foretelling events like the drying out rivers of the Nile (Ezekiel 30:12) and Euphrates (Isaiah 19:1-8), Egyptians speaking the language of Canaan (Isaiah 19:18), increase and rumors of wars (Joel 3:9-10; Matt. 24:6-7), the rise of false prophets and antichrists (Matt. 24:5, 11; 2 Pet. 2:1-2), donkey riding of the king of Jerusalem (Zechariah 9:9) and so on. In the matter of the appearance of Islam, the Bible does have numerous prophecies, such as the Revelation coming from Paran (today’s Mecca) (Deuteronomy 33:2), to an illiterate man (Isaiah 29:12), from the decendents of Ishmaelpbuh (Habakkuk 3:3), the method and style of the revelation (Isaiah 28:10-13), the migration of the Prophet and his struggles with Kedarite (Quraish) (Isaiah 21:13-17), his name and nickname (Song Of Songs 5:16, Isaiah 42:6, 19, Isaiah 59:15, …), his successor by the name of Imam Alipbuh (Psalm 21:5-7) and so forth [1].
The event of Karbala is one of the most significant stories foretold in the Bible. The passages of the Bible concerning Imam Hussainpbuh are so apparent that some Christian leaders such as Pastor Sachini Stretchen (a prominent British theologian) had come to the conclusion that she has no choice but to confess the truthfulness of Islam, and had soon accepted Islam and led her family and some of her Church members to Shi’ism.

In this part we will be dealing with some of these passages in regards with Imam Hussainpbuh; and the next part will be dealing with the event of Karbala in the Bible. In order to understand the evidence presented in this article, we must be clear about the original languages of the Bible.

The original languages of the Bible

It is well known amongst Bible experts that Hebrew and Aramaic are the major languages of the Old Testament; and (in my opinion) even the Gospels of the New Testament must have been written originally in Hebrew/Aramaic. The earliest Gospels and other books of the New Testament we have today are in Greek, and they are not the originals, not even copies of the originals but the copies of copies of copies of …copies. From the mere fact of Greek manuscripts we can’t conclude that the originals must have been written in Greek, there may be a presumption of that, but not a proof.
Eusebius of Caesarea (also known as Eusebius Pamphili), a third and fourth century Greek historian of Christianity, declared that “Matthew had begun by preaching to the Hebrews, and when he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue [Aramaic], so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote.”[i]

Papias, a disciple of St. John who wrote in the 2nd century, said that “Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew and everyone interpreted it as they were able,” [2]. (Please note that for most non-Jews, Aramaic and Hebrew were one and same.)

After all, if the Disciples of Jesuspbuh were Jews, then why they should preach and write in Greek knowing that all the written books and all the spoken words by Hebrew prophets and Jesuspbuh were also in Aramaic/Hebrew; possibly with an exception of the letters of Paul in which the churches located in Greece were addressed to. We must keep in mind what Jesuspbuh himself said: “I have sent to the lost sheep of Israel only,” [ii]. And the Israelites were not Greeks but Hebrew/Aramaic!

In summary, if we want to know the actual words told by the Prophets and written in the original manuscripts, we have to root them back to the original language of the Jews, which are Hebrew and Aramaic. When we look at the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible we find at least two occasions where Imam Hussainpbuh is mentioned by name, once by Jesuspbuh and once by John the Baptistpbuh.

Hussainpbuh will overcome a Devil-like man

One of the most misunderstood passages of the bible is where Jesus foretells the coming of a man to overthrow a strong and devilish ruler. Jesuspbuh, according to the Gospel of Luke Chapter 11 verses 21 and 22, is explaining that when Hussainpbuh comes, he will overcome a Devil-like man who is guarding his might and palace. In this verse Hussain is translated as “stronger”.
In the New Living Translation [iii] of Luke 11:21-22:
For when a strong man like Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe–until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.

Rendered Translation:
For when a strong man like Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe–until Hussain attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.

In Aramaic Gospel of Luke the word used for “stronger” is: ܚܣܢ (ḥasīn). (See below) [iv]

Luke11:22 –

John the Baptistpbuh talks about Imam Hussainpbuh

In the Gospel Of Matthew chapter 3 verse 11, John the Baptistpbuh tells people that someone is coming after him, who will purify (baptise) by the Holy Spirit and Fire. In his original language of Aramaic this person is called ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn) but in no translations do we see it.
In the New International Version3 of Matthew 3:11:

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

In the Aramaic Gospel of Matthew we read [iv]:

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes Hussain who is from me, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 3:11

The triconsonantal word ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn)

The word ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn) appears at least twice in the Bible, once in Matthew 3:11 and once in Luke 11:22, as aforementioned, and interestingly it is a Masculine Singular. The table below is the morphological information of it [iv]:

Morphological information


Word Vocalized Syriac Person Gender Number State Tense Form Enclitic
dHsyn d’Hasiyn Masculine Singular Absolute No
Hsyn Hasiyn Masculine Singular Absolute No
Hsynyn Hasiyniyn Masculine Singular Absolute No


The triconsonantal word ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn) made of ܚ (ḥ), ܣ (s with vowel ī) and ܝܢ (n) is sibilant of Arabic حسین (hussain), also made of ح (h), س (s with vowel i) and ن (n); he is the grandson of Prophet Muhammadpbuh and son of Imam Alipbuh. In the translations of the Bible it is been translated as “powerful” and “greater”; combined with ܗ݈ܽܘ ܡܶܢܝ (howe meni) interpreted as “greater than I” or “more powerful than I”. For any Hebrew or Arabic speaker, let alone Aramaic, this is not acceptable. The word ܗ݈ܽܘ ܡܶܢܝ (howe meni) is identical to Arabic هو منّی (howe menni), which means “He is from me”, but we don’t find it in the translations at all.
It is worthy of mentioning that the Aramaic letter ܚ (ḥ), a gluteal letter similar to German ch in Buch, is equivalent to Arabic’s ح (h) [3]; as we see in the very same verse ܒ݁ܪܽܘܚܳܐ (bərūḥā), which means “with spirit”, is the same Arabic word بروحَ (beruha). In another word Aramaic’s ܚ (ḥ) pairs with Arabic’s ح (h). The vowels in these languages may sometimes differ without affecting the meaning. For example the different pronunciations of the pro-Semitic word lib(a)b in Hebrew, lebb-āʼ, Aramaic, lēḇ(āḇ), and Arabic, لُبّ (lubb), have the same meaning of heart; it reassures that ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn) can be, and indeed is حسین (hussain). Similarity of ḥasīn and Hussain is like of Yizhak (Isaac) and Is-haaq, and Yashuwa (Jesus) and Isa in Hebrew and Arabic respectively.

“Great” in the New Testament

There are a few words used in the New Testament that all mean “great” or “greater”, such as4:
ܛܒ (ṭāḇ) in Matthew 2:16, Mark 1:35, Luke 18:23, etc. 43 times in total

ܚܝܠ (ḥaylā) in Mark 9:1, Luke 4:14, Acts 19:20, etc. 19 times in total

ܪܒܐ (rabbā) in Matthew 13:32, 15:28, Mark 16:4, Acts 19:28 etc. 5 times in total

In the Greek Gospels, these words are translated into various forms of μέγα (mega). However, the Aramaic word, ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn) is translated ἰσχυρότερός (ischyroteros), not μέγα (mega). This can indicate a very specific meaning of the ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn), different than μέγα (mega). The sister word of ἰσχυρότερός (ischyroteros) in Persian is خسرو (Khosrow) or قیصر (Qeysar), which means “king, leader, the great, etc.” [v]. The gender of ἰσχυρότερός (ischyroteros) and ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn) is Masculine in Greek and Aramaic. It is obvious that interpreting ܚܰܣܺܝܢ (ḥasīn) as “great” can only be due to lack of the real application at that time; there was no one named Hussain at the time of John the Baptist and Jesuspbut; so people thought of a “meaning”; and Greeks did the best they could: ἰσχυρότερός (ischyroteros).

[1] Please note that some of these verses are mistranslated. Therefore, the key words and names are hidden in the translations
[2] Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 3:39]
[3] Aramaic “ḥ” is the pairing letter for Arabic ح “h”.

[i] The Fathers of the Church, Eusebius Pamphili, Ecclesiastical History, Books 1, translated by Roy J. Deferrari, The Catholic University Of America Press, Washington, DC, pages 174, 175
[ii] Matthew 15:24

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