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While most Western Scholars, Jews and Christians believe Jesus died, some Muslims believe he was raised to Heaven without being put on the cross and God transformed another person to appear exactly like Jesus who was crucified instead of Jesus. Jesus ascended bodily to Heaven, being in a state of stasis until his Second coming in the End days.
The substitute has been a great source of interest among Muslims. Two categories of people emerge: volunteers and victims. One interpretation is that God used the substitution to punish one of Jesus' enemies. Judas Iscariot, Jesus' traitor, is most often cited, including by the medieval Gospel of Barnabas. Other possibilities are Titawus, a Roman soldier, or an anonymous guard put to watch Jesus when arrested.
The converse interpretation is that God asked for someone to volunteer to be crucified instead of Jesus. Simon of Cyrene is the most commonly accepted person to have done this, perhaps because according to the Synoptic gospels he was compelled by the Romans to carry Jesus' cross for him, (there is no indication in the Gospels that he volunteered). Al-Baidawi writes that Jesus told his disciples in advance that whoever volunteered would go to heaven. The following narration recorded in the Qur'anic exegesis of Ibn Kathir is graded as authentic by orthodox Sunni scholars and provides a plausible explanation for the Qur'anic verse related to the substitution of Jesus;
Ibn Abbas said, “Just before Allah raised Jesus to the Heavens, Jesus went to his disciples, who were twelve inside the house. When he arrived, his hair was dripping with water (as if he had just had a bath) and he said, ‘There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after you had believed in me.’ He then asked, ‘Who among you will volunteer for his appearance to be transformed into mine, and be killed in my place. Whoever volunteers for that, he will be with me (in Paradise).’ One of the youngest ones among them volunteered, but Jesus asked him to sit down. Jesus asked again for a volunteer, and the same young man volunteered and Jesus asked him to sit down again. Then the young man volunteered a third time and Jesus said, ‘You will be that man,’ and the resemblance of Jesus was cast over that man while Jesus ascended to Heaven from a hole in the roof of the house. When the Jews came looking for Jesus, they found that young man and crucified him. Some of Jesus’ followers disbelieved in him twelve times after they had believed in him. They then divided into three groups. One group, the Jacobites, said, ‘Allah remained with us as long as He willed and then ascended to Heaven.’ Another group, the Nestorians, said, ‘The son of Allah was with us as long as he willed and Allah took him to Heaven.’ Another group, the Muslims, said, ‘The servant and Messenger of Allah remained with us as long as Allah willed, and Allah then took him to Him.’ The two disbelieving groups cooperated against the Muslim group and they killed them. Ever since that happened, Islam was then veiled until Allah sent Muhammad.” An-Nasai, Al-Kubra, 6:489
|This article contains too many quotations for an encyclopedic entry. Please help improve the article by removing excessive quotations or transferring them to Wikiquote. Help is available. (March 2008)|
Thomas McElwain states that the context of the verse is clearly within the discussion of Jewish ridicule of Christians, not in context of whether or not Jesus died. He continues that the text could be interpreted as denying the death of Jesus at the hands of Jews rather than denying his death. He however adds that "the expressions against the crucifixion are strong, so that to interpret the meaning for Romans rather than Jews to have committed the act is also suspect" and that if this meaning is correct, "it would have been more effective to state that the Romans killed Jesus, rather than to emphasise that the Jews were not in possession of the facts."
Verses used in support of the contention that Jesus died are listed below.
According to some translations, Jesus says in the Qur'an:
I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die, (literally mutawafik) Thou wert the watcher over them, and Thou art witness of all things.
The majority of Muslims translate verb "mutawafik" (متوفيك) "to terminate after a period of time" while others translate it "to die of natural causes." Islamic scholars like Javed Ahmed Ghamidi and Amin Ahsan Islahi consider it as physical death of Jesus, and hence question the return of Jesus. Geoffrey Parrinder discusses different interpretations of the Qur’anic verse [Qur'an 19:33] and writes in his conclusion that ‘the cumulative effect of the Qur’anic verse is strongly in favor of a real death’. This verse could also refer to the Second Coming of Jesus. According to Muslim tradition, after his 2nd coming, Jesus will die.
One should note, Jesus will die is in direct opposition to most Christian teaching. Most Christian doctrine teaches Isa will rein supreme over the nations forever and most Christians also view Isa, known as Yeshua or Jesus as the son of God. See Yeshua, Jesus or below for more information.
For understanding the traditional Muslim translation, see this article.
The following translations or translators translate "to die" 
- QXP translation
- Muhammad Asad
- George Sale
- Mohamed Ahmed*
- Maulana Muhammad Ali
- Free Minds Muslims A Qur'an alone translation
- JM Rodwell
An alternative, more esoteric interpretation is expounded by certain Islamic philosophers and some Sufi and Isma'ili commentators. They interpret the Quranic passages on the death of Jesus thus: the Jews intended to destroy the person of Jesus completely; in fact, they crucified only his nasut (material being), his lahut (spiritual being) remained alive.
- Jesus in Ahmadiyya Islam
- Jehovah's Witnesses view of Jesus' death
- Historicity of Jesus
- Historical Jesus
- Death and Resurrection of Jesus
- Swoon hypothesis
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0060616628. "That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus...agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact."
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Tariq Hashmi. The Second Coming of Jesus. Renaissance - Monthly Islamic Journal, 14(9). September 2004.
- ↑ The death of Jesus: Reality or Delusion (Muslim World 70 (1980) pp. 91-121)
- ↑ Josephus Antiquities 18.3.3
- ↑ Sanhedrin 43a.
- ↑ Yusuf ibn Abd-al-Barr, Al-Istidhkar, Ist ed., vol. 26, (Cairo: Daru’l-Wa‘i Halb, 1993), p. 235
- ↑ Yusuf ibn Abd-al-Barr, Al-Istidhkar, Ist ed., vol. 26, (Cairo: Darul Wa‘i Halb, 1993), p. 236
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Qur'anic Verse regarding Second Coming of Jesus.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Islahi, Amin. Tadabbur-i-Qur’an (1st ed.). Lahore: Faran Foundation. OCLC 60341215. vol.2, p.243
- ↑ Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali (Al-Azhari). "The thematic commentary of the Qur’an", explanation of verse 3:55
- ↑ Geoffrey Parrinder, Jesus in the Quran, p.121, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1996. ISBN 1-85168-094-2
- ↑ Compared Translations of the meaning of the Quran - 3:55
- ↑ Encyclopedia of Islam, Jesus article. cf. L. Massignon, Le Christ dans les Évangiles selon Ghazali, in REI , 1932, 523-36, who cites texts of the Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa, a passage of Abu Hatim al-Razi (about 934), and another of the Isma'ili da'i Mu'ayyad fid-din al-Shirazi (1077).
- Did Jesus Die, A short BBC Film
- Regarding the Death of Jesus
- Was Christ Crucified? Transcript of a Deedat debate about the swoon hypothesis
- A Fact, not Fiction Christian response to the swoon hypothesis
- Jesus in Heaven on Earth An account of Jesus' life and death in Kashmir
- Darul Ishaat Online Islamic store
- Muslim view on the fate of Jesus