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The Muslim Jesus: Dead or Alive?

21 November, 2021
Q I am confused regarding the story of prophet `Isa (peace be upon him). I read in the Quran that Prophet Jesus was not crucified but he was lifted toward Allah. At one point, Allah mentioned a word mutawaffa for him. I read different articles regarding the explanation of that verse in which people have expressed their views that mutawaffa means 'to die' and Allah also mentioned that He lifted him towards himself and Allah is everywhere not just in heavens so prophet Isa has died and he will never return (these were the opinions of people in that article that I read online). But some are having the opposite opinion that he will return as mentioned in Quran that He is a sign of the Last Hour. I am very much confused. May your answer will help me out in it.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

Muslims believe that Prophet Jesus did not die on the cross, nor was he slain. Prophet Muhammad has foretold us of the second coming of Jesus.


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Responding to the question in point, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

What do Muslims believe about Jesus?

The Islamic belief about Prophet Jesus adhered to by mainstream Muslims is that he was raised alive to Allah and that he did not die a natural death, and he will come again to the earth to fulfill his second mission and then die a natural death.

There is a spot for him beside the Prophet’s grave, where he will be buried when he dies. That is the belief of Ahl al-sunnah.

Crucifixion of Jesus

As for the story of crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross, the Quran makes it abundantly clear that it is based on rumor and conjecture and not on facts: “And for their saying, “We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the messenger of God”—though they did not slay him; nor did they crucify him, but it appeared so unto them.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:157)

Crucifixion of Jesus in early Christian sources

We can confirm the factual veracity of the Quranic statement when we know that the accounts on this issue in the early Christian sources are self- contradictory.

It has led some academics who were committed Christians to lose their faith in Christianity altogether. That was the case of Bart Ehrman who renounced Christianity after years of research into the history of the Christian scriptures and forgeries associated with them.

In other words, the Quranic states that their doctrines are based on hearsay or conjecture.

Jesus: Dead or alive?

In light of these, Muslims ought to affirm the Quranic assertion that Jesus did not die on the cross, nor was he slain.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has foretold us of the second coming of Jesus (peace be upon him). By adhering to this belief, we will do justice to the evidence of the authentic sources, namely the Quran and sound traditions from the Prophet and it would save us from getting carried away by whimsical speculations and conjecture.

Almighty Allah knows best.

About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada