I understand Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross. Muslims however believe that Jesus did not die but rather God took Jesus to himself alive.
Is there a verse in the Quran that says that Jesus did not die?
In the Quran it is stated that the Jews said “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of God.” In fact they did not kill him nor did they crucify him but it appeared to them as if they did.
Muslims interpret the phrase “it appeared to them as if they did” to mean that it wasn’t Jesus who died but someone else died in his place?
I believe there are prominent Muslim scholars who believe that Jesus died. Mahmoud Shalut was the former Mufti of Egypt and its rector of Al-azhar University. He believed that the Quran taught that Jesus died.
How did these scholars interpret the verse above?
Another possible interpretation is that the Jews thought that they had succeeded in killing Jesus. Actually God alone is in control of the death of human beings.
The Quran says “Who can prevent God, if he willed from annihilating the Christ son of Mary and his mother and everyone on earth. To God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth.”
You mean the verse didn’t deny the death of Jesus but only denies that the Jews were the ones responsible for killing God’s prophet?
Yes. We also see that even though the Muslims won in the Battle of Badr, the Quran says “it was not you who killed them but it was God who killed them”.
So the verse may not be denying the death of Jesus but instead that God alone can cause the death of Jesus and bring him to himself?
That’s right. There are many other verses in the Quran that talks about the death of Jesus so the verse you mentioned cannot be denying his death.
What other verses are you referring to?
For example, in the Quran Jesus said “I was a witness of them, that is the Jews, so long as I was among them but when thou didst cause me to die, thou wert the watcher over them.” The arabic word “tawaffaytani” appeared 25 times in the Quran, twice referring to Jesus. In all the other 23 times, it has been translated as causing someone to die.
I see. I have always understood the verse to mean that Allah made someone take on the appearance of Jesus and therefore the followers of Jesus were mistaken.
Why would God make someone look like Jesus, causing Jesus followers to be mistaken? Why would God allow the followers of Jesus, whom the Quran describes as true Muslims, to believe in something that is not true?
In any case, Muslims believe that Jesus is now in the company of Allah in heaven but will one day come back to earth.
Christians also believe that Jesus is coming back to earth someday. Perhaps we could discuss this another time.
Yes I would like that.