By Bassam Zawadi
Christians such as Sam Shamoun have tried to appeal to Islamic sources to show that they teach that Jesus died. Let us briefly take a look at the so-called pieces of evidence that they have to offer and see if they hold any water.
Does Surah 3:55 and 5:117 say that Allah already made Jesus die?
Does Surah 3:144 say that all the messengers before Muhammad (peace be upon him) died?
Sam Shamoun states…
The term which Ali translates as “many were the Apostles,” is the Arabic al-russul and is more precisely translated as “THE Apostles.” The phrase is inclusive and affirms that all the Apostles before Muhammad have passed away.
The statement Shamoun makes is inaccurate. The definite article at the beginning of russul does not necessarily mean “all” the Messengers.
Let me provide a word by word translation of the verse in question…
And Muhammad is but a Messenger, passed away before him the messengers.
So the verse is saying that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is only a Messenger and that there have been before him messengers who have passed away.
Imam Tabari in his commentary stated..
الَّذِينَ حِين اِنْقَضَتْ آجَالهمْ مَاتُوا وَقَبَضَهُمْ اللَّه إِلَيْهِ .
Those who died when their appointed times ended and Allah took them to Him.” (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami’ al-bayan fi ta’wil al-Qur’an, Commentary on Surah 3:144, Source)
So the Prophet (peace be upon him) is like the previous Messengers who died when their appointed times ended. With respect to Jesus (peace be upon him), his appointed time is still to come, as is mentioned in numerous hadiths and in verses of the Quran. He was taken to the heavens alive and will return to the world in order to finish the mission which he was dispatched to fulfill. After he fulfills his mission, he will die like the rest of us.
Let us say for the sake of argument that the definite article does necessarily imply that it is speaking about all messengers. In Qura’nic hermeneutics we have what is known as takhsees (specification) in which you can have a general statement somewhere, but evidence from another verse or authentic Prophetic tradition could limit the meaning of the verse.
This is also done with the Bible. For instance, there is a general statement in the Bible that everyone is born of sin (Job 25:4). However, due to other evidence (according to Christians) in the Bible, Jesus was not born of sin. Thus, they limit the general meaning of the previous statement.
So for Surah 3:144, we limit what appears to be a general statement regarding all messengers dying by excluding Jesus from the verse. This is because there is evidence that Islam teaches that Jesus did not die.
The Argument of Surah 19:31
Sam Shamoun states…
Even more troubling is this passage taken from S. 19:31:
“And He hath made me Blessed wheresoever I be, And hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long As I live.” Y. Ali
According to this reference Jesus is commanded to pray and give alms (zakat) until he dies. But if Muslims are correct, Jesus has not died and must therefore continue to give charity even now while in heaven!
This is a very lame argument. I also believe that Zakah is compulsory on me as long as I live, however that doesn’t mean that this is the only condition for paying it.
This is a very weak argument. I also believe that Zakah is compulsory on me as long as I live; however that doesn’t mean that this is the only condition for paying it.
If the person doesn’t meet these conditions due to his inability of doing so, would God punish him? Of course not.
Anyone could understand that Jesus (peace be upon him) is speaking about Zakah being compulsory on him if he meets those conditions. Imagine, if Jesus had no money whatsoever or anything else to give as Zakah; would this mean that he committed a sin? Of course not.
Jesus (peace be upon him) probably has no money up in the 2nd heaven that he is in (I don’t think that there are ATM machines up there) nor do I think that there are beggars up there in heaven with him asking for money.
Thus, Jesus is not obliged to pay Zakah now until he meets the appropriate conditions.
This is just Shamoun’s very shallow understanding of scripture.
Obviously, God raised him to the heavens where Jesus has no money or poor people around him (this is what we assume, unless proven otherwise), so how is he going to pay Zakah? So Zakah is still compulsory on Jesus, but he won’t start paying it once the appropriate conditions are applicable to him again.
The Argument of Surah 19:33
This must be the easiest argument to answer. Harun Yahya simply notes…
Jesus’ (pbuh) Death Will Occur after His Second Coming
Another verse that points to the second coming is Qur’an 19:33. The phrase the day I die provides very important information. This is revealed in: “Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised up again alive.” (Qur’an, 19:33)
The Arabic original for the day I die is amootu, which stems from the word mawt, which is used elsewhere in the Qur’an in the sense of biological death. In other verses referring to Jesus (pbuh), tawaffaa, and not mawt, is used for his death. The meaning of tawaffaa is not biological death, but the taking of the soul in a kind of sleep. Meanwhile, mawt expresses death in the familiar sense. Therefore, in contrast to the other verses, this verse indicates that Jesus’ (pbuh) death will take place after his second coming. (God knows best.) (Harun Yahya, Jesus Did Not Die, Source)
Jesus is speaking about the day that he will die (future tense). What evidence is there to suggest that this must occur before he was raised to heaven by God? The burden of proof is on the Christian since he is the one initiating this argument.
Did Ibn Abbas and Wahb b. Munabbih say that Jesus died for only three hours?
There are narrations that state that the position of Ibn Abbas and Wahb b. Munabbih is that Jesus died temporarily for a few hours.
However, I cannot find any authentic and fully connected chains of transmissions for these narrations.
Secondly, Ibn Abbass and Wahb were to known to have reported from Israeiliyaat. Thus, we must corroborate the truth of these statements with evidence from either the Quran or authentic hadith before we are obliged to accept them.
No such evidence exists, thus these statements even if authentic cannot be imposed on a Muslim to believe in them.
Plus, even if the narrations are authentic and they do state that Allah made Jesus die temporarily, then this in no way shows that Islam affirms the reality of Jesus’ crucifixion or that he died for the sins of the world as Christians believe, for the alleged narrations do not even state how Jesus was made to die.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) speaking about a nation who made its Prophet bleed
Sam Shamoun stated…
There is additional support for this in a hadith in Sahih Bukhari:
Narrated Ibn Masud
As if I saw the Prophet talking about one of the Prophets whose nation had beaten him and caused him to bleed, while he was cleaning the blood of his face and saying, “O Allah! Forgive my nation for they have no knowledge.” Bukhari Vol. 4:683 (Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s 9 volume translation)
The only prophet who was beaten and uttered such words was Jesus Christ as he lay crucified on the cross of Calvary:
“There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, `Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:32-34 NKJV
Yeah, maybe Jesus was the only one that uttered these statements ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE. But Muslims don’t follow the Bible; they follow ISLAMIC SOURCES (wake up Shamoun!).
Ibn Hajar al Asqalani in his commentary on the hadith says that it is possible that it is referring to Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) since Ibn Ishaq narrates that once when Noah was choked until he lost consciousness and then when he woke up he said “Oh Allah forgive my people for they know not”.
Ibn Hajar also quotes Imam Qurtubi and Ibn Hibban who stated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is most likely speaking about himself.
During the battle of Uhud when the Meccans were surrounding the Prophet (peace be upon him) and were about to kill him and the Prophet (peace be upon him) had blood on his face, he exclaimed, “O Allâh, forgive my people for they have no knowledge.” (See Ibn Hajar, Fathul Bari, Kitab: Ahaadeeth Al Anbiya’, Bab: Hadeeth Al Ghaar, Hadith no. 3218, Source)
This story from the Battle of Uhud is found in the wonderful book “The Sealed Nectar”…
At-Tabarani states that the Prophet [pbuh] said: “Allâh’s Wrath is great on those who besmear the face of His Messenger,” observed silence for a short while and then resumed saying:
“O Allâh, forgive my people for they have no knowledge.” [Fath Al-Bari 7/373]
In Sahih Muslim it is stated that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said:
“My Lord, forgive my people for they have no knowledge.” [Sahih Muslim 2/108]
In Ash-Shifa ‘ a book by ‘Ayad Al-Qadi ‘ it is related that the Prophet [pbuh] said:
“O Allâh, guide my people for they have no knowledge.” [Ash-Shifa 1/81] (Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (THE SEALED NECTAR), Chapter: The Battle of Uhud, Source)
The burden of proof is on Shamoun to show that the hadith cannot be referring to anyone else except Jesus (peace be upon him). However, he can’t do such a thing by appealing to our Islamic sources (it is irrelevant as to what is written in the Bible).
Secondly, the hadith in no way even suggests that Jesus was crucified or killed. So even if it was referring to Jesus, then so what?
Even if Islam said that Jesus did die, so what?
Okay fine, so let’s say that Islam said that Jesus did die. Where does it say that he died by means of crucifixion? Even if it does say that, where does it say that he was crucified for the sins of the world?
At the end of the day, Christians are not going to accomplish anything by putting forth these pathetic arguments. Even if they prove to us that Jesus died and was raised, we are not going to believe that Jesus was God or died for our sins.
So they have to put forth better arguments instead of distorting our Islamic sources.