In Islam, Is ibn Maryam (Arabic: lit. ‘Jesus, son of Mary,’ also known as Isa Masih), is the penultimate prophet and messenger of God (Allah) and the Messiah, who was sent to instruct the Children of Israel with a revelation: Injil (Arabic for “gospel”).
Who Is Jesus in Islam?
The Quran (the core holy source of Islam), like the Christian New Testament, presents Jesus as the al-Mas (Arabic for messiah), born of a virgin, performing miracles, followed by disciples, rejected by the Jewish leadership, and exalted to paradise. The Quran contrasts with the New Testament in asserting that Jesus was not crucified or killed on the cross, and particularly in denying Jesus’ divinity as God incarnate, or the actual Son of God.
The importance of Jesus in Islam is mirrored in the Quran, where he is named in 93 verses with numerous names attached, such as “Son of Mary,” “Spirit of God,” and the “Word of God,” as well as other related titles stated directly and indirectly over 187 times. Surah Maryam, Chapter 19 of the Quran, gives a more detailed description of Jesus. Thus, he is one of the most mentioned people in the Quran by reference; 25 times by the name Isa, 48 times in the third person, 35 times in the first person, and the rest as titles.
According to the Quran and ahadith (testimonial tales), Jesus was born a “clean boy” (without sin) to Maryam (Mary) as the result of a virginal conception, akin to the Annunciation in Christianity. In various passages, the Quran dismisses Jesus as a divinity, including one that states that Jesus did not claim to be divine (Q5:116). He was not crucified, according to the Quran, but rather rescued by God. (Although the earliest Islamic traditions and exegesis reference slightly contradictory tales of the death and its length, Muslims believe that Jesus did not die on the cross but was resurrected alive to paradise.) Muslim writers have referred to various miracles, such as casting forth devils, over the years, borrowing from both heretical pre-Islamic sources and canonical sources as tales about Jesus were developed. check out the Talmud.
In Islam, Jesus is seen as the forerunner of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to the Quran, Jesus foresaw Muhammad’s arrival in As-Saff 61:6. Early Arab Muslims claimed validity for their new faith in previous religious traditions and purported prophesies of Jesus through this scripture. Jesus, like other prophets in Islam, is referred to be a Muslim because he advocated that his followers should follow the “right way.” According to Islamic eschatology, Jesus will return in a Second Coming to combat Gog and Magog and Al-Masih ad-Dajjal, or “False Messiah,” and to restore peace and justice to the globe.
The Birth of Jesus
The story of Jesus begins with a prologue described multiple times in the Quran, first chronicling the birth of his mother, Mary, and her work in the Jerusalem temple while under the care of the prophet and priest Zechariah, who was to be John the Baptist’s father. The story of Jesus’ birth in the Quran begins in Quran 19:16–34 and Q3:45–53. Islamic historians have repeated the birth account with slight modifications and elaborate additions over the years.
While Islamic theology recognizes Mary as a pure vessel for Jesus’ virgin birth, it does not adhere to the notion of Immaculate Conception as it relates to Mary’s birth as it does in other Christian traditions.
According to Islamic interpretation, Jesus was born in Bethlehem as a virgin, just as the Gospel narrative claims. The virgin birth story is a statement made to Mary by the angel Gabriel when Mary is being reared in the Temple after being promised to God by her mother. Gabriel declares that she is respected above all women of all countries and that she has delivered her good news of a holy son.
A hadith related by Abu Hurairah (d. 681), an early associate of Muhammad, recounts Muhammad, saying that both Jesus and Mary were shielded from Satan’s touch at birth; a quotation from Al Imran (Q3:36).
The angel announces that the boy will be named Jesus, the Messiah, and that he will be called a great prophet, as well as the Spirit of God and the Word of God, and that he will receive al-Injil (Arabic for the gospel). The angel tells Mary that Jesus will talk in infancy and will be a friend to the most pious as he grows up.
When Mary inquired as to how she might conceive and have a child despite the fact that no man had touched her, the angel responded that God may declare whatever He wishes, and it will come to pass.
Ibn Arabi (d. 1240), an Andalusian scholar, Sufi mystic, poet, and philosopher, portrayed Jesus in his book Bezels of Wisdom:
Whether it’s Mary’s water or Gabriel’s breath,
In the guise of a clay-made mortal,
The essence of the Spirit revealed itself.
Purified of nature’s taint, known as “Sijjin” (prison)
As a result, his stay was extended.
Surviving for almost a thousand years by edict.
God’s spirit, to be precise.
So that he might revive the dead and bring forth clay birds.
The story continues in the Quran, with Mary, overpowered by the agony of labour, being given a stream of water under her feet to drink from and a palm tree to shake so that ripe dates would fall and be relished. Mary returns to the temple with baby Jesus after giving birth, and the temple authorities question her about the infant. After being told by Gabriel to take a vow of silence, she points to the newborn Jesus, who declares:
“I am God’s servant; He has given me the Book and appointed me a prophet,” he added. He has blessed me wherever I am and told me to worship and offer charity for the rest of my life, as well as to obey my mother, without making me oppressive or impious. Peace be with me on the day I was born, the day I died, and the day I am resurrected.
One of the six miracles credited to Jesus in the Quran is his ability to talk from the cradle. The idea of a speaking newborn can also be found in the Syriac Infancy Gospel, a pre-Islamic sixth-century text.
Some parts of the Christian tradition held that Mary (or Maryam) was a genuine virgin when Jesus was conceived, which the Islamic religion repeated. The most explicit account of Jesus’ annunciation and birth is found in Surah 3 (Al Imran) and Surah 19 (Maryam) of the Quran, where it is reported that God (Allah) sent an angel to inform that Maryam, although being a virgin, may soon expect to conceive a son.
Some scholars have remarked that the tale in Surah 19 is very similar to that in the Christian Gospel of Luke. The Quran mentions Mary’s annunciation twice, and in both cases, Mary/Maryam is told that she was chosen by God to bear a son. In the first occurrence, the bearer of the news (who most Muslims believe to be the archangel Gabriel) gives the news in (Q3:42–47) while assuming the shape of a man (Q19:16-22). The conception is not explained in-depth, however, when Mary questions how she may have a son despite her virginity, She is taught that God makes anything he desires and that these things are simple for God. According to the Quran (Q21:91 and Q66:12), God blew via his angel into Mary, and although being a virgin, she carried Jesus without a father.
Ibn Ishaq (d. 761 or 767), an Arab historian and hagiographer, published the story “Kit al-Mubtada” (In the Beginning), in which Zechariah is Mary’s guardian for a short time before entrusting her to a carpenter called George. She is secluded in a chapel with a young guy named Joseph, and they help each other gather water and perform other activities. The tale of Jesus’ birth follows the Quran’s narrative, with the addition that the birth happened in Bethlehem beneath a palm tree with a manger.
Al-Tabari (d. 923), a Persian scholar and historian, added to the Jesus’ birth narrative by mentioning envoys arriving from the king of Persia with gifts for the Messiah (similar to the Magi from the east); and the command to a man named Joseph (not specifically Mary’s husband) to take her and the child to Egypt and later return to Nazareth.
Qadi al-Nu’man, a Fatimid Ismaili lawyer, also contributed to the story, arguing that the virgin birth of Jesus is supposed to be read metaphorically. Mary, according to his view, was a follower (liq) of Imam Joachim (‘Imran’). When Joachim discovered she was unsuitable for the Imamah, he handed it to Zechariah, who subsequently gave it to John the Baptist. Meanwhile, God revealed to Mary via spiritual inspiration (mdda) that he would welcome a man [to the faith] who would become an elevated speaker (niq) of revealed religion (share).
The lines “She said: Lord! How can I have a child when no one has touched me?” according to al-Nu’man 3:47 (Quran) “Neither have I been unchaste” (Quran 19:20) is a metaphor for Mary’s statement, “How can I perform the invitation (dawa) when the Imam of the Time has not granted me permission to do so?” “Nor shall I be disloyal by defying his mandate,” he says. In response, a heavenly hierarch says, “God is like that. He makes [i.e., brings into being] everything he desires” (Quran 3:47).
The legend of the Flight into Egypt is not mentioned in the Quran, however, sra XXIII, 50 may relate to it: “And we made the son of Maryam and his mother a sign; and we made them reside in an elevated region, full of calm and irrigated with springs.” However, accounts identical to those contained in the Gospels and non-canonical sources circulated in later Islamic tradition, with various embellishments and elaborations added by Islamic writers and historians throughout the ages. According to some accounts, Jesus and his family stayed in Egypt for up to 12 years.
Many moral anecdotes and miraculous happenings from Jesus’ childhood are recounted in Qisas al-anbiya (Stories of the Prophets), a collection of texts written over the ages regarding pre-Islamic prophets and heroes.
Jesus studied the Jewish faith as a child, reading from the Psalms and discovering “traced in characters of light”:
You are my son and my darling, whom I have picked for myself.
Following that, Jesus declares:
“Today, the son of man fulfils the word of God.”
Several tales in Islamic sources regarding Jesus’ early boyhood, notably his stay in Egypt, exhibit considerable discrepancy and consistency in terms of duration and incidents. The majority of the stories are contained in non-canonical Christian sources, such as the pre-Islamic Gospel of Thomas. One such difference comes from al-The Athir’s Perfection of History, which includes a birth myth in which Jesus is said to have been born in Egypt rather than Bethlehem.
Other stories about Jesus’ youth are common in Middle Eastern folklore, according to Mahmoud M. Ayoub, a professor of interfaith studies. While in Egypt, a young Jesus performed a number of miracles.
It is widely assumed that Jesus spoke Aramaic, the common language of Judea and the surrounding region in the first century A.D.
The first and earliest perspective of Jesus developed in Islamic philosophy is that of a prophet — a human being selected by God to offer both a judgment on humanity for idolatry and a challenge to turn to the one true God. From this perspective, viewed through the prism of Muslim identity, Jesus is nothing more than a messenger repeating a recurring message of the centuries. The miracles of Jesus and the quranic titles assigned to Jesus reflect God’s power rather than Jesus’ divinity — the same power that underpins the message of all prophets. According to some Islamic traditions, Jesus’ mission was limited to the people of Israel, and his position as a prophet was proved by a series of miracles.
A second early high image of Jesus is an end-time figure. This concept arises mostly from the Hadith. Muslim tradition constructs a narrative similarly found in Christian theology, seeing Jesus arriving at the end of time and descending upon earth to fight the Antichrist. This narrative is understood to champion the cause of Islam, with some traditions narrating Jesus pointing to the primacy of Muhammad. Most traditions state Jesus will then die a natural death.
A third and unique picture depicts Jesus as an austere person – a prophet of the heart. Although the Quran alludes to Jesus’ “gospel,” neither the Quran nor later religious books reference his precise teachings. They are mostly absent. Jesus was respected in the Sufi tradition, where he was seen as a spiritual teacher with a distinct voice from other prophets, including Muhammad.
Sufism takes a variety of techniques to explore the aspects of oneness with God, including asceticism, poetry, philosophy, speculative suggestion, and mystical practices. Although Sufism appears to have comparable origins or aspects to Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and Buddhism to the Western mind, the doctrine is essentially Islamic since it conforms to the words of the Quran and seeks to imitate Muhammad as the perfect man.
Islamic views of Jesus’ preaching are said to have begun in Kufa, Iraq, under the Rashidun Caliphate, where the first writers of Muslim tradition and scholarship were formed. The ideas about Jesus and his teaching mission that evolved in Kufa were influenced by the early austere Christians of Egypt who rejected formal church bishopric appointments from Rome.
The first 85 episodes are included in two significant collections of ascetic literature, Kitab al-Zuhd wa’l Raqa’iq (The Book of Asceticism and Tender Mercies) by Ibn al-Mubarak (d. 797), and Kitab al-Zuhd (The Book of Asceticism) by Ibn Hanbal (d. 855). These sayings are divided into four categories: eschatological sayings, quasi-Gospel sayings, ascetic sayings and tales, and sayings mirroring intra-Muslim polemics.
The first set of sayings elaborates on Jesus’ archetype as depicted in the Quran. Despite having a Gospel basis, the second set of tales has a “distinctly Islamic imprint.” The third and largest of the four depicts Jesus as a patron saint of Muslim asceticism. The last group expands on the Islamic archetype and Muslim-centric understanding of Jesus and his traits, developing esoteric concepts such as “Spirit of God” and “Word of God.”
The Quran credits at least six miracles to Jesus, with many more added by writers and historians throughout the years. According to educator and professor Ishaq Musa Al-Husayni (d. 1990), an author best known for Mudhakkirat Dajaja (Memoirs of a Hen), miracles were credited to Jesus as proof of his prophethood and authority (Cairo: Dar al-Maarif, 1943; 2nd ed. 1967). According to Al-Husayni in Christ in the Quran and Modern Arabic Literature (1960), Muhammad is not credited with many miracles.
The Quran’s six miracles are brief, in contrast to the Gospel and its non-canonical Gnostic sources, which give specifics and name more claimed miracles. These six miracle stories have been expanded over the years through hadith and poetry, with religious works encompassing some of the other miracles listed in the Gospel, non-canonical sources, and mythology.
Speaking from the cradle
The Quran mentions speaking from the cradle three times: al-Imran (3) 41, 46, al-Maida (5) 109–110, and Maryam (19) 29–30. In one part of the story, the newborn Jesus defends his mother Mary against the charge of having given birth without a recognized spouse. Early Islam was unsure about Joseph’s position. Opponents believe that the Quran is not divine because of the Gnostic gospel influence. Jesus speaks in the same way as the angel Gabriel did during the annunciation: he is a servant of God, has been given a book, is a prophet, and is blessed wherever he goes; he also blesses the day he was born, the day he will die, and the day he will be resurrected from the dead.
Although this story is not mentioned in the Bible, the idea of speaking from the cradle is present in the pre-Islamic Syriac Infancy Gospel, which is not canonical. According to that account, Jesus declares himself to be the Son of God, the Word and confirms what the angel Gabriel had previously declared to Mary, as recorded in the Gospel.
Creating birds from clay
Al-Imran (3) 43, 49, and al-Maida (5) 109–110 describe the miracle account of producing birds from clay and breathing life into them while a youngster. Although this miracle is not included in the canonical Gospel, the identical story may be found in at least two pre-Islamic sources: Thomas’ Infancy Gospel and the Jewish Toledot Yeshu, with only minor differences between the Quran and these two sources.
Healing the blind and the lepers
In al-Imran (3) 49, the Quran references Jesus curing the blind and lepers, similar to the New Testament. Al-Baydawi (d. 1286), a Muslim scholar and jurist, said that it was recorded that many thousands of individuals came to Jesus to be treated and that Jesus alone healed these ailments via prayer. According to medieval scholar al-Tha’labi, these two ailments were beyond medical treatment, and Jesus’ miracles were designed to be experienced by others as unambiguous proofs of his message.
Raising the dead
According to al-Imran (3) 49, Jesus is said to have revived individuals from the dead. Although no specifics on who was resurrected or the circumstances are given, at least three people are mentioned in the Gospel (a daughter of Jairus, a widow’s son at Nain, and Lazarus).
Table of food from heaven
A narrative in the fifth chapter of the Quran, al-Ma’ida (5), 112–115, recounts Jesus’ followers seeking a table heaped with food and a particular day of celebration for them in the future. According to W. Montgomery Watt (d. 2006), a professor of Islamic and Arabic studies, this might be a reference to the Eucharist. According to Geoffrey Parrinder (d. 2005), a professor of comparative religions, it is unclear if this account resembles the Last Supper or the feeding of the multitude, although it may be linked to the Arabic word dhimmi (Muslim festival).
The disciples once asked, “O Jesus, son of Mary, can your Lord bring down a banquet from heaven for us?” “If you are a Christian, fear God,” he continued. “We want to partake of it so that our hearts may be at ease so that we can know you’ve spoken accurately and be witnesses to it,” they added. And Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O God our Lord, bring down from heaven a table to be a feast for us, for the first and last among us, and a sign from you; and provide provision (of food) to us, because you are the best of providers.” “I am sending it down for you,” God said.
The fear of death made him apprehensive before the Last Supper, according to a report by the Sunni exegete Tabari. As a result, Jesus extended an invitation to his followers to the Last Supper. He cleaned their hands and conducted their ablutions after the meal, wiping their hands on his shirt. Following that, Jesus said, “As for what I did to you today, in that I served you the supper and washed your hands in person, let that be an example for you.” Because you regard me to be superior to you, do not be arrogant toward one another, but rather expand yourselves for one another, as I have expanded myself for you.”After training the disciples in his teachings, Jesus predicts that one of them would deny him and the other will betray him.” However, according to Islamic beliefs about Jesus’ crucifixion, only a body resembling Jesus was crucified, and Jesus himself was restored to God.
Many myths and anecdotes about Jesus have been constructed throughout the years, many of which include intrinsic lessons or give meaning owing to the lack of information in the Quran concerning Jesus. Some of these stories are comparable to the New Testament in nature, while others represent Jesus in a more human light.
Aside from some extensive explanations of Jesus’ mature miracles reported by Muslim writers over the years (such as walking on water, which is also found in the Gospel, and causing loaves of food to appear from the ground), some other childhood miracles include: He explains the fundamentals of the Muslim creed to a schoolmaster while revealing who the thieves were to a wealthy chief, filling empty jars with something to drink, providing food and wine for a tyrannical king while also proving to this king his power in raising a dead man from the dead, raising a child accidentally killed, and causing garments from a single-coloured vat to come out with different colours.
Another famous miraculous account involves Jesus’ childhood intelligence. This tradition, told by al-Tabari via Ibn Ishaq, has Mary sending Jesus to a religious school and the teacher is surprised to discover Jesus already understanding the things being taught/discussed.
Food in the households of children
Another al-Tabari narrative has a young Jesus playing with the youngsters of his community and informing them about the feast their parents were cooking for them at home.
According to the story’s facts, some parents were irritated and prevented their children from playing with Jesus, believing him to be a magician. As a result, the parents separated their infants from Jesus and confined them to a solitary home. When Jesus was lonely one day, he went out seeking his buddies, and when he came across this house, he asked the parents where their children were. The parents lied, claiming that their children were not present. When Jesus asks who is in the home, his parents refer to him as a pig. “Let there be swine in this house,” Jesus declares, converting all the children into swine.
Muslims believe God revealed to Jesus a new text, al-Injil (the Gospel), while simultaneously affirming the veracity of prior revelations, al-Tawrat (the Torah) and al-Zabur (the Psalms). The Quran praises al-Injil, describing it as a text that fills the hearts of its adherents with humility and piety. Ta’yin al-mubham is a traditional Islamic interpretation that claims the scriptural meaning has been perverted or corrupted (tahrif) (“resolution of ambiguity”). This polemic endeavour has its beginnings in the writings of Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad during the medieval period.
In terms of the Law of Moses, the Quran implies that Jesus never destroyed Jewish rules, but rather maintained them while only making minor abrogations.
Islam opposes Paul’s doctrine of justification before God by faith alone, as some Protestants believe, or faith through grace, as Catholics, Orthodox, and most mainline Protestants believe. Jesus’ legal perspective did not entail a New Covenant addressing deeds, but rather a modification of the current rules. This perspective, according to Shabir Ally, is supported by the canonical gospels, which include Matthew 5:17.
According to Yusuf al-book Qaradawi’s The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, the legal constraints Jesus lifted for Jews were those imposed by God as a punishment. Classical interpretations, such as Tafsir al-Jalalayn, explain that they applied to the ingestion of unspiked fish and bird meat in general.
According to the Quran, Jesus was assisted by a group of followers who believed in his teachings. While the Quran does not name the disciples, it does mention a few occasions of Jesus teaching the word to them. The names of the twelve disciples in Christianity were Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Jude, Simon, and Judas.
The Quran recounts the followers submitting to Islam in chapter 3, verses 52–53:
When Jesus saw their disbelief, he said, “Who would be My assistants in (God’s) work?” “We are God’s assistants,” the disciples said. “We believe in God, and provide a witness that we are Muslims.” Oh, Lord! “We believe in what you’ve revealed, and we follow the Messenger; please include us among those who bear testimony.”
52–53 of the Quran’s Surah Al-Imran
The longest story involving Jesus’ disciples occurs when Jesus performs the miracle of delivering a table of food from heaven at their request, proving that his doctrine is true.
Surah 4 Verse 157 is the key Qur’anic verse dealing with the occurrence of the crucifixion: That they boasted, “We murdered the Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of The God”; but they did not kill him, nor crucified him, as it was made to appear to them, and those who disagree are full of questions, with no (certain) knowledge to follow, because they did not kill him.
Most Islamic traditions absolutely reject that Jesus died on the cross or in any other way. Most traditions, on the other hand, teach substitution, or the concept that someone else was crucified in Jesus’ place. Some current Muslim scholars, however, think that Jesus did really die and that references to his survival are symbolic rather than factual. This debate on the nature of Jesus’ death can be seen within the Islamic canon, with the earliest Hadith describing Muhammad’s friends as claiming that Jesus had died. In the meantime, the bulk of later Hadith and tafsir argue the opposite.
Islamic views on Jesus’ death
According to Islamic literary texts (9–25), Jesus will return before the end of time. 14, 15, and 25 The many sects of Islam hold opposing viewpoints on this subject. 430–431 Traditional Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but was bodily resurrected to heaven by God. 14: 14–15: 41, however, Ahmadi Muslims disagree. 430–431: 129–132, and instead argue that Jesus escaped the crucifixion, was carried off the cross alive and continued to teach in India until his natural death.
Depending on how the following Quranic passages (Quran 4:157–4:158) are interpreted, Islamic scholars and Quranic interpreters have derived various viewpoints and contradictory conclusions about Jesus’ death: 430–431. Some think that in the Biblical story, Jesus’ crucifixion did not endure long enough for him to die, while others believe that God granted Jesus’ appearance to the one who betrayed his whereabouts to those persecuting him. He was substituted for Jesus, and the executioners mistook the victim for Jesus, causing everyone to think that Jesus was executed.
A third possibility is that Jesus was nailed on a cross, but since his soul is eternal, he did not “die” or was “crucified” [to death]; it simply seemed that way. In contrast to the second and third hypotheses, others argue that God does not use deception and, as a result, the crucifixion simply did not occur:
That they boasted, “We murdered Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;-but they did not kill him, nor crucified him, as it appeared to them, and those who disagree are full of questions, with no (certain) knowledge to follow, because they did not kill him.
Allah, on the other hand, brought him up to Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power and Wise.
And for declaring, “We have slain the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, God’s Messenger.” They did not, in fact, murder or crucify him, but it seemed to them as if they had. Those who disagree with him are, in fact, sceptical. They have no idea except for the following assumptions: They did not, without a doubt, murder him. God, on the other hand, brought him up to Himself. God is All-Powerful and All-Knowing.
According to the Quranic story, the Jews did not kill or crucify Jesus, but it looked to them as if they had since Jesus was brought up by God. Given the historicity of Jesus’ death and Islamic theological doctrine on the supposed inerrancy of the Quran, most mainstream Muslims and Islamic scholars deny Jesus’ crucifixion and death, and claim that the canonical Gospels are corruptions of the true Gospel of Jesus for their depiction of Jesus dying, and claim that extra-Biblical evidence for Jesus’ death is a Christian forgery.
Most orthodox Muslims understand Quran 3:55 and Quran 5:117, like Enoch, as referring to Jesus entering heaven alive at the end of his life. [Citation required] According to Islamic scholar Muhammad Asad, there was no crucifixion of Jesus, nor was there any replacement “for Jesus, a person nearly like him.” Asad, for example, dismisses the hypothesis of substitution, saying, “none of these legends has the smallest foundation in the Qur’an or in authentic Traditions, and the stories constructed in this connection by the classical interpreters must be promptly discarded.”
There will be none of the people of the Scripture who believe in him before his death, and he will be a witness against them on the Day of Resurrection.
4:159 in the Qur’an
It is stated that Jesus will not die until the day of the resurrection. Given that, according to the Quran, Jesus did not die before ascending to God, nor would he die until the day of resurrection, most Muslims believe that Jesus reached paradise alive. 14–15. Most Muslims view Jesus’ words “the day I die” in Quran 19:33 as referring to the future (Jesus will die on the day of resurrection).
The origins of the substitutions interpretation are unknown, however, some academics believe it began in the second century among some Gnostic sects. According to Leirvik, the Quran and Hadith were definitely impacted by the non-canonical (‘heretical’) Christianity that predominated on the Arab peninsula and later in Abyssinia.
Muslim critics have failed to debunk the crucifixion persuasively. Rather, the issue has been exacerbated by the conclusion of their substitutions ideas. The issue has been one of comprehension.
If the substitutions interpretation (Christ being replaced on the cross) is accepted as a viable reading of the Qur’anic text, the question of whether this concept is portrayed in Christian sources emerges. According to Irenaeus’ Adversus Haereses, the Egyptian Gnostic Christian Basilides (2nd century) thought that Christ (the divine nous, intelligence) was not crucified, but was instead substituted by Simon of Cyrene. Clement of Alexandria and Hippolytus, on the other hand, both disputed that Basilides shared this opinion. However, the substitutions theory is articulated rather clearly in the Gnostic Nag Hammadi writings, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Second Treatise of the Great Seth.
While most Western scholars, Jews, and Christians believe Jesus died, orthodox Muslim theology holds that he ascended to Heaven without being crucified and that God transformed another person, Simon of Cyrene, to look exactly like Jesus, who has crucified instead of Jesus (cf. Irenaeus’ description of the Basilides heresy, Book I, ch. XXIV, 4.).
Some disagreement and discord can be seen beginning with Ibn Ishaq’s (d. 761) report of a brief accounting of events leading up to the crucifixion, first stating that Jesus was replaced by someone named Sergius, second reporting an account of Jesus’ tomb being located at Medina, and third citing Quranic passages (3:55; 4:158) in which God took Jesus up to himself.
The rejection of Jesus’ death is a continuation of the Christian Docetism, which is “disturbed by the thought that God should have died,” writes Michael Cook. Quranic commentators appear to have reached the conclusion that Jesus was crucified by following material interpreted in Tafsir that relied on extra-biblical Judeo-Christian sources. John of Damascus’ commentary on the Quran’s assertion that the Jews did not crucify Jesus, which is not the same as saying that Jesus was not crucified. Quranic exegetes in Tafsir, not the Quran itself, deny the crucifixion, and that the message in 4:157 verse simply affirms the historicity of the event.
Many additional renowned Quranic interpreters and Tafsir, such as Abu Hatim Ahmad ibn Hamdan al-Razi (d. 958), Abu Yaqub al-Sijistani (d. 971), Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi (d. 1078), and the organization Ikhwan al-Safa, accept the historicity of the Crucifixion, claiming that Jesus was crucified and not Mahmoud M. Ayoub, a professor and researcher, recently given a deeper symbolic reading of Surah 4 Verse 157.
As previously stated, the Quran does not deny Christ’s death. Rather, it confronts humans who have deceived themselves into believing that they can defeat the holy Word, Jesus Christ the Messenger of God. Jesus’ death is mentioned multiple times in various situations. (3:55, 5:117, and 19:33, respectively.)
Instead of seeing the verse as a denial of Jesus’ death, Ayoub sees it as God denying humanity the authority to defeat and destroy God’s message. The lines “but they did not murder him nor crucify him” are meant to show that any authority humans imagine they have over God is false.
Some Islamic reformers, like Muhammad Rashid Rida, agree with current interpreters on the figurative meaning of Jesus’ death denial.
Al-Tabari (d. 923) records an interpretation attributed to Ibn ‘Abbas, who used the literal “I will cause you to die” (mumayyitu-ka) in place of the metaphorical mutawaffi-ka “Jesus died,” while Wahb ibn Munabbih, an early Jewish convert, is reported to have said “God caused Jesus, son of Mary, to die for three hours during the day, then
According to Ibn Tabari, “God forced Jesus to die for seven hours,” while another source claims that a man named Sergius was crucified in lieu of Jesus. Ibn-al-Athir relayed the information that the betrayer was Judas, while also adding the possibility that it was a man called Natlianus.
In reference to the Quranic verse “We have surely killed Jesus the Christ, son of Mary, the apostle of God,” Muslim scholar Mahmoud Ayoub claims that this boast is not a repetition of a historical lie or the perpetuation of a false report, but rather an example of human arrogance and folly with contempt for God and His messenger (s).
Ayoub expands on what current Islamic scholars view as the historical death of Jesus, the man, as man’s failure to kill off God’s Word and Spirit, which the Quran says were personified in Jesus Christ. Ayoub continues to emphasize the denial of Jesus’ death as God denying humanity such authority to defeat and destroy the holy Word. “They did not murder him, nor crucify him,” testify to the significant events of fleeting human history, exposing mankind’s heart and conscience to God’s will. Humanity’s claim to have this influence over God is fallacious.
“They did not slaughter him… yet it appeared so to them” refers to mankind’s imaginations, not to the real event of Jesus dying physically on the cross.
Another source from Ibn Kathir cites Ishaq Ibn Bishr, on the authority of Idris, on the authority of Wahb ibn Munabbih, as saying that “God caused him to die for three days, then revived him, then raised him.”
Al-Masudi (d. 956) recorded Christ’s death under Tiberius’ reign.
Ibn Kathir (d. 1373) adheres to stories that claim a crucifixion occurred, but not with Jesus. According to Ibn Kathir, the people were divided into three groups after the event: the Jacobites believed that “God remained with us as long as He willed and then He ascended to Heaven,” the Nestorians believed that “the son of God was with us as long as He willed until God raised him to heaven,” and the Muslims believed that “the servant and messenger of God, Jesus, remained with us as long as God willed until God raised him to Himself.”
The Islamic reformer Muhammad Rashid Rida agrees with current writers who understand Christ’s actual assassination as a metaphor.
Modern Islamic scholars, such as Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i, describe Jesus’ ascension as spiritual rather than corporeal. This view is consistent with Mutazila’s and Shia’s metaphorical interpretations of the Quran’s anthropomorphic allusions to God. Although conventional Sunni explanations of the crucifixion are unpopular, there has been significant analysis and discussion in an attempt to logically reconcile this problem.
According to ascetic Shia texts, Jesus “ascended to heaven wearing a woollen tunic spun and sewn by Mary, his mother.” As he approached the celestial realms, he was addressed, “O Jesus, throw aside the ornament of the earth from you.”
According to Islamic belief, Jesus’ descent would take place in the middle of hostilities between the Mahdi (lit. “the properly led one”), regarded in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam, and al-Masih ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist, or “false messiah”) and his adherents. Jesus would appear at the tip of a white minaret east of Damascus (said to be the Minaret of Isa in the Umayyad Mosque), clad in yellow clothes and with his head anointed.
He would pray behind al-Mahdi before joining him in his battle against the Dajjal. Jesus, who is considered a Muslim, will follow Islamic beliefs. Eventually, Jesus will slay the Antichrist, and everyone who is a member of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) will believe in him. As a result, there will be just one community, of Islam.
Kitab-ul-Ilm (Knowledge Book), Volume 3, Book 43, Hâdith Number 656:
“The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e., Jesus) descends among you as a rightful ruler,” Allah’s Apostle declared. He will destroy the crucifix, slaughter the pigs, and remove the Jizya tax.” Money will be plentiful, therefore no one will take it (as charity presents).”
Abu Huraira is the narrator.
After al-Madi’s death, Jesus will take over as leader. This is a time period connected with worldwide peace and justice in the Islamic narrative. Islamic writings also mention the advent of Ya’juj and Ma’juj (also known as Gog and Magog), two ancient tribes that would scatter and bring havoc on Earth. In response to Jesus’ requests, God will kill them by implanting a worm in the napes of their necks and sending big birds to carry and clean their carcasses from the land.
According to a hadith, Jesus will marry, have children, and reign for forty years before dying. Muslims would then recite the burial prayer for him and bury him between Muhammad, Abu Bakr, and Umar (companions of Muhammad and the first and second Sunni caliphs (Rashidun) respectively) in the Green Dome in Medina.