In recent times some television preachers have tried to argue that Jesus never actually died on the cross. Can this be true? Let us begin our investigation by examining whether the Qur’an does indeed deny the crucifixion.
Only one passage deals with the crucifixion. Only one passage speaks to this issue. Surah4:157, “They” (the Jews, speaking of the Jews) said in boast, (notice that they were boasting something) said, we killed Christ Jesus the Son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah. But they killed him NOT, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them. That verse says THEY, they, the Jews, the ones boasting, did not kill him. It doesn’t say he did not die. Ask yourself the question, out of more than six thousand verses, WHY? is there just one passage, for such an important subject as the crucifixion, Why would there be just one passage denying that, if denial was the intent?…
We find, in fact, that there is a certain agreement with the Injil. That the Jews did not crucify Jesus, and furthermore, that THEY in their boast, just as we see, in the Injil, were not successful in defeating the mission of Rasulullah Isa Masih. We cannot take this passage, one and only passage, and read into it with a certainty that there never was a cross, and that Jesus was not crucified on it, because number one it tells us that it wasn’t the Jews that crucified him, (which we know historically was a fact). Secondly, it doesn’t tell us clearly that there was no crucifixion. Thirdly, it tells us the whole thing is shrouded in doubt and conjecture. And fourth, that Allah raised him up.
Look at Surah 19:33. It says there, Isa Masih speaking, “So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life again. It speaks of the death of Jesus. Well, when does that happen? What’s the timeframe? Well there are other verses that seem to situate the events. Look for example at Surah 5:117: “And I (Jesus) Isa speaking), was a witness over them, while I dwelt among them.” So the timeframe is given to us by the witness of the Qur’an While I was among them Well, what does the phrase “You did take me up” mean? In Arabic, it is very clearly, tawaffatini – tawafattini simply means you caused me to die. I died! When we speak of a person that has passed away we say, tawaffak which means he has ceased from this life, he has died. Many figures of Tafseer have grappled with this issue and have come to the conclusion that before the taking up of Isa Masih to havean, to be with Allah, death had to have occurred. And the Injil testifies that this death was by crucifixion So we see that in Islam, Many have come to an understanding that Isa Al Masih did die.
Since there is doubt and conjecture, what shall we do to clear up, to clear if you wish, the air?… Well, the Qur’an tells us what to do. The Qur’an tells us that when there is doubt, for example in surat Yunus and ayah 94, the prophet of Islam is instructed:: if you are in doubt as to what we have revealed to you then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you. And since it’s a matter that is proclaimed in the Injil, we’re talking about the book before him, that is the Injil, the New Testament, where it tells us time and again that, yes, Jesus did die, it explains when he died, why he died, how he died, and what happened after he died. The testimony is abundant.
As a Muslim I had been taught my entire life that Jesus did not die on the cross, based off of that interpretation of Surah 4:157 of the Qur’an. But as I investigated history and I looked at the truth of the matter was, it became incontrovertibly clear that Jesus did die on the cross. So I could no longer accept that interpretation of the Qur’an, I had to come up with some alternate explanation, and to me, the only thing that would fit the evidence was that Jesus actually did die on the cross.