Home > Islam > The Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah in the Koran

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah in the Koran

Muslims do not consistently say with one voice what exactly happened to Jesus. I have watched Youtube videos of Islamic religious leaders and read various things on the internet regarding the death of Jesus which were written by Muslims. Some say that he was replaced by someone else on the Cross and avoided death. They say that He ascended into Heaven and someday will return in the end times and preach to people before the Last Judgment. Then, He will die and be resurrected and go back to Heaven. Others say that He died a natural death, but was not crucified.  Those who say this say He will be resurrected on the Last Day with everyone else. There is much ambiguity among Muslims regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus. Much of this ambiguity is caused by one unclear passage in the Koran: Surah 4:156-158. In the Koran, it says:

And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers. (Koran 10:95,96, Pickthall)

Those who read the Scripture before Muhammad were the Christians and the Jews. Since the Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah and Koran 4:156-158 is about Jesus, Muhammad would have to ask the Christians about this revelation. Since the Tritheists, Bitheists, Maryamites, and Adoptionists ascribe partners to Allah and have been forbidden Paradise (Koran 5:72), he would not ask any of them. Since he called the Sabellians disbelievers (Koran 5:17,72), he would not ask them. However, he did call the Orthodox Christians believers in the 30th Surah. (Koran 30:2-5) He also said that no fear will come upon those Orthodox Christians who live righteous lives trying to obey Allah and neither will they grieve. (Koran 2:62; 5:69) They will be rewarded with “Gardens of Eden underneath which rivers flow wherein they dwell forever.” (Koran 98:7,8) Therefore, I, being an Orthodox Christian, am, according to the Koran, qualified to interpret the ambiguous passage in the Fourth Surah and that is what I am going to do in this blog.

First of all, let us look at the passage in context. Here are the verses preceding the passage in question.

The people of the Scripture ask of thee that thou shouldst cause an (actual) Book to descend upon them from heaven. They asked a greater thing of Moses aforetime, for they said: Show us Allah plainly. The storm of lightning seized them for their wickedness. Then (even) after that) they chose the calf (for worship) after clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty) had come unto them. And We forgave them that! And We bestowed on Moses evident authority. And We caused the Mount to tower above them at (the taking of) their covenant: and We bade them: Enter the gate, prostrate! and We bode them: Transgress not the Sabbath! And We took from them a firm covenant. Then because of their breaking of their covenant, and their disbelieving in the revelations of Allah, and their slaying of the prophets wrongfully, and their saying: Our hearts are hardened – Nay, but Allah set a seal upon them for their disbelief, so that they believe not save a few – (Koran 4:153-155, Pickthall)

It is obvious from reading this passage that the Koran is speaking about the People of the Scripture, in particular the Jews. Now, let us look at the ambiguous passage.

And because of their disbelief and of their speaking against Mary a tremendous calumny; and because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, Allah’s Messenger – they slew Him not nor crucified Him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew Him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (4:156-158, Pickthall)

The Jews probably accused Mary of having sex outside of wedlock. She became pregnant with Jesus without the help of a man. Some Christian commentators believe that these words of the Jews recorded in St. John’s Gospel were an insult leveled at Christ.

Then they said unto Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father – God.” (John 8:41, NKJV)

The Jews disbelieved in the miracle of the Virgin  Birth.

The text in question goes on to say: “We slew the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, Allah’s Messenger.” Here, the Jews are bragging about what they did. The Jews did not believe in the miracle of the Resurrection also. Jesus, in St. John’s Gospel, said:

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father. (John 10:17,18, NKJV)

Jesus also told Pilate, the governor of Judea:

You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. (John 19:11, NKJV)

No one could kill Jesus. The Jews could not kill Him. Pilate could not kill Him. He had to voluntarily lay down His life in order to die.

In a previous blog, I talked about the divine and human natures of Christ. Jesus is 100% human and 100% God. He inherited from His Mother a human nature which could die, but as God He cannot die. His divine nature is incapable of death and suffering. His human nature could experience pain, suffering, and death. These two natures are joined together without change. The God nature remains the God nature. It does not become something else. The human nature remains human. The two natures are joined together without mixture. Jesus is not a hybrid of man and God in the same way that a mule is a hybrid of a horse and a donkey. The divine nature permeates the human nature of Jesus. Jesus is one Person, not two. He is not a divine Person and a human Person in one body. He has one Personality, the one that He has always had before there ever was a universe. Jesus’ two natures are joined together without separation or division. His two natures can never be separated from each other. Ever since Allah the Father cast His Word to Mary, the two natures of Jesus remain inseparably joined together. So, His human soul and His human body are always joined inseparably to His divine nature.

In the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, it says:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, through whom all things are made, who for us men and our salvation came down from Heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made Man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He arose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and He shall come again to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

In this Creed, it says that Jesus was crucified, He suffered, and was buried. It says that He arose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven. In the Gospels, it says that Jesus died.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. (Matthew 27:50, NKJV)

And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed His last. (Mark 15:37, NKJV)

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46, NKJV)

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30, NKJV)

Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19:32-34, NKJV)

In the Koran, it says, “They slew Him not, nor crucified Him.” The Jews did not kill Jesus. They did not even crucify Him. The Roman soldiers crucified Him. In the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, it says that He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, who was, by the way, a Roman governor. It says in the Koran:

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers. (5:47, Pickthall)

I am one of the People of the Gospel. I must, according to the Koran, judge by that which Allah hath revealed in the Gospel. Do the four Gospels say that Jesus was crucified?

Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots. (Matthew 27:35, NKJV)

And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. (Mark 15:24, NKJV)

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. (Luke 23:33, NKJV)

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. (John 19:17,18, NKJV)

According to the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. According to the four Gospels, He was crucified by Roman soldiers. The Koran says, “They slew Him not, nor crucified Him.” The subject of that sentence from the Koran is “they” which according to the context refers to the Jews. The Jews did not kill Jesus and they did not crucify Jesus. The Roman soldiers crucified Jesus according to the Gospels, but they did not kill Him. The Koran goes on to say, “They slew Him not for certain.” Remember that Jesus said:

I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. (John 10:17,18, NKJV)

Jesus did die in His humanity, but not in His divinity. Since the two natures of Jesus are joined together inseparably, it is impossible for the human nature of Jesus to stay dead. St. Peter told the Jews on the Day of Pentecost:

Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. (Acts 2:23,24, NKJV)

It was not possible for Jesus to remain dead because of the hypostatic union of His divine and human natures. As God, He is immortal. As Man, He was mortal. In the Troparion for Pascha, we sing:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

Jesus trampled down death by death. Many of the Church Fathers taught that Christ destroyed death by His death.

When I was a catechumen, I remember asking the priest about this matter. How can someone who is 100% God and 100% human die? The answer I received was this. In space and time, in the first century outside of Jerusalem, Jesus did die on the Cross, but outside of space and time, His body and soul were still joined together. So, He was dead, but not dead. Another one of those mysteries in the Orthodox Church. We do not like to try to explain mysteries. After all, Allah is far greater than we are. Allahu akbar!

In that passage, I just quoted from Acts, do not think that there is a contradiction in what the Gospels teach and what St. Peter told the Jews about the crucifixion. The Roman soldiers crucified Jesus. The Jews demanded His crucifixion, but they did not physically crucify Him. The only sense in which they crucified Him was by demanding that He be crucified. (See Matthew 27:15-25; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:18-25; John 19:5-16.)

There are three places in the Koran where it says that Jesus died. By far the clearest statement regarding His death is in the 19th Surah.

Peace on Me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! (Koran 19:33, Sahih International)

Before I mention the other two passages, I wanted to first establish the meaning of an Arabic word using the Koran itself. The word is the form V verb tawaffā and  its acive participle, mutawaffī. In every place in the Koran, this word means “take in death.” From the Second Surah, there are these verses.

And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – they, (the wives, shall) wait four months and ten (days). (Koran 2:234, Sahih International)

And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – for their wives is a bequest: maintenance for one year without turning (them) out. (Koran 2:240, Sahih International)

In both of these passages, the word, yutawaffawna, is translated “taken in death.” This word is the 3rd person masculine plural passive imperfect tense of tawaffā  plus a subject pronoun.

In the Third Surah, there is this verse.

Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, (saying), ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. (Koran 3:193, Sahih International)

The word translated “and cause us to die” is watawaffanā. This word is the prefixed conjunction wa (and), the 2nd person masculine singular imperative mood of tawaffā and the 1st person plural object pronoun.

Next, let us look at this verse in the Fourth Surah.

Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women – bring against them four (witnesses) from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them (another) way. (Koran 4:15, Sahih International)

The word translated “takes them” is yatawaffāhunna. It is the 3rd person masculine singular imperfect tense in the subjunctive mood of tawaffā plus the 3rd person feminine plural object pronoun.

In the same surah, there is this verse.

Indeed, those whom the angels take (in death) while wronging themselves – (the angels) will say, “In what (condition) were you?” (Koran 4:97, Sahih International)

The word translated “take them (in death)” is tawaffāhumu. This is the 3rd person masculine singular perfect tense of tawaffā plus the 3rd person masculine plural object pronoun.

In the Sixth Surah, it says:

And it is He who takes your souls by night and knows what you have committed by day. (Koran 6:60, Sahih International)

The word translated “takes your souls” is yatawaffākum. This word is the 3rd person masculine singular imperfect tense of tawaffā plus the 2nd person masculine plural object pronoun. The same word is translated “will take you in death” in this verse from the 16th Surah.

And Allah created you; then He will take you in death. (Koran 16:70, Sahih International)

In verse 6:61, it says:

And He is the subjugator over His servants, and He sends over you guardian-angels until, when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not fail (in their duties). (Koran 6:61, Sahih International)

The word translated “take him” in this verse is tawaffathu. It is the 3rd person feminine singular perfect tense of tawaffā plus the 3rd person masculine singular object pronoun.

In the Seventh Surah, it says:

Those will attain their portion of the decree until when Our messengers come to them to take them in death, they will say, “Where are those you used to invoke besides Allah?” (Koran 7:37, Sahih International)

The word translated “take them in death” is yatawaffawnahum. It is the 3rd person masculine plural imperfect tense of tawaffā plus the subject pronoun and the 3rd person masculine plural object pronoun.  Here is another verse from the Seventh Surah.

Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims. (Koran 7:126, Sahih International)

The word translated “and let us die” is watawaffanā. It is the prefixed conjunction wa (and) plus the 2nd person masculine singular imperative mood of tawaffā and the 1st person plural object pronoun.

Now, there is this verse in the Eighth Surah.

And if you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieved. (Koran 8:50, Sahih International)

The word translated “take the souls” is yatawaffā. This word is the 3rd person masculine singular imperfect tense of tawaffā. The same word is translated “is taken in death in this verse from the 22nd Surah.

And among you is he who is taken in (early) death. (Koran 22:5, Sahih International)

In this verse from the 39th Surah this word is translated “takes.”

Allah takes the souls at the time of their death. (Koran 39:42, Sahih International)

In Koran 40:67, this same word is translated “is taken in death.”

And among you is he who is taken in death before (that). (Koran 40:67, Sahih International)

In the Tenth Surah, there is this verse.

And whether We show you some of what We promise them, (O Muhammad), or We take you in death, to Us is their return. (Koran 10:46, Sahih International)

The word translated “We take you in death” is natawaffayannaka. It is the 1st person plural imperfect tense of tawaffā plus the emphatic suffix nūn and 2nd person masculine singular object pronoun. The word natawaffayannaka also occurs in this verse from the Thirteenth Surah.

And whether We show you part of what We promise them or take you in death, upon you is only the (duty of) notification, and upon Us is the account. (Koran 13:40, Sahih International)

In Koran 13:40, natawaffayannaka is translated “We… take you in death.” This word appears again in the 40th Surah. It is also translated “We take you in death.”

And whether We show you some of what We have promised them or We take you in death, it is to Us they will be returned. (Koran 40:77, Sahih International)

In the Tenth Surah, there is this verse.

But I worship Allah , who causes your death. (Koran 10:104, Sahih International)

The word translated “causes your death” is yatawaffākum. It is the 3rd person masculine singular imperfect tense in the subjunctive mood of tawaffā plus the 2nd person masculine plural object pronoun. This word appears again in this verse from the 32nd Surah. It is translated “will take you.”

Say, “The angel of death will take you who has been entrusted with you. Then to your Lord you will be returned.” (Koran 32:11, Sahih International)

In the Twelfth Surah, there is this verse.

Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous. (Koran 12:101, Sahih International)

The word translated “cause me to die” is tawaffanī. It is the 2nd person masculine singular imperfect tense in the jussive mood of tawaffā plus the 1st person singular object pronoun.

In the Sixteenth Surah, there are these verses.

The ones whom the angels take in death (while) wronging themselves. (Koran 16:28, Sahih International)

The ones whom the angels take in death, (being) good and pure. (Koran 16:32, Sahih International)

The word translated “take in death” in these verses is tatawaffāhumu. This word is the 3rd person feminine singular imperfect tense of tawaffā plus the 3rd person masculine plural object pronoun. The object pronoun was not translated here.

In the 47th Surah, there is this verse which has this word in it.

Then how (will it be) when the angels take them in death, striking their faces and their backs? (Koran 47:27, Sahih International)

The word translated “take them in death” is tawaffathumu. It is the 3rd person feminine singular perfect tense of tawaffā plus the 3rd person masculine plural object pronoun

Now, you can see that in every one of these verses the verb, tawaffā, means “take souls in death.”

I wanted to illustrate this point before presenting the next passage which is about Jesus. Here is Sahih International’s translation of the passage.

And (beware the Day) when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take Me and My mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for Me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within Myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded Me – to worship Allah , My Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took Me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.” (Koran 5:116,117, Sahih International)

The word translated “You took Me up,” is tawaffaytanī. It is the 2nd person masculine singular perfect tense of tawaffā plus the subject pronoun and the 1st person singular object pronoun.

Here is Pickthall’s translation.

And when Allah saith: O Jesus, Son of Mary! Didst Thou say unto mankind: Take Me and My mother for two gods beside Allah? He saith: Be glorified! It was not Mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in My mind, and I know not what is in Thy Mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden? I spake unto them only that which Thou commandedst Me, (saying): Worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord. I was a Witness of them while I dwelt among them, and when Thou tookest Me Thou wast the Watcher over them. Thou art Witness over all things.  (5:116,117, Pickthall)

He translated the same word “Thou tookest Me.” Here is Yusuf Ali’s translation.

And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship Me and My mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in My heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. “Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command Me to say, to wit, ‘worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take Me up Thou wast the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.” (Koran 5:116,117, Yusuf Ali)

He translated this word as “Thou didst take Me up.” Here is Shakir’s translation.

And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take Me and My mother for two gods besides Allah He will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit Me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it; Thou knowest what is in My mind, and I do not know what is in Thy mind, surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen things. I did not say to them aught save what Thou didst enjoin Me with: That serve Allah, My Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause Me to die, Thou wert the watcher over them, and Thou art witness of all things. (Koran 5:116,117, Shakir)

He translated the word, “Thou didst cause Me to die.” This is a better translation, but still not accurate. “Thou didst take Me in death” would be a better translation.

Here is Muhammad Sarwar’s translation.

When God asked Jesus, Son of Mary “Did you tell men to consider you and your mother as their gods besides God?” He replied, “Glory be to you! How could I say what I have no right to say? Had I ever said it, You would have certainly known about it. You know what is in My soul, but I do not know what is in Yours. It is You who has absolute knowledge of the unseen. I did not tell them anything except what You commanded Me to tell them. I told them that they must worship God who is everyone’s Lord. I watched them as long as I was among them until You raised Me to Yourself and You Yourself had also watched over them; You are Omnipresent.” (Koran 5:116,117, Muhammad Sarwar)

He translated the word as “You raised Me to Yourself.” Mohsin Khan’s translation is next.

And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): “O ‘Iesa (Jesus), Son of Maryam (Mary)! Did You say unto men: ‘Worship Me and My mother as two gods besides Allah?’ ” He will say: “Glory be to You! It was not for Me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in My innerself though I do not know what is in Yours, truly, You, only You, are the All-Knower of all that is hidden and unseen. “Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allah) did command Me to say: ‘Worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took Me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a Witness to all things.” (This is a great admonition and warning to the Christians of the whole world).  (Koran 5:116,117, Mohsin Khan)

He translated the word as “You took Me up.” Mohsin Khan interprets the Koran more than he translates it. What is in parentheses is his interpretation. He, like a lot of Muslims, have read this passage from the Koran, not knowing that it is talking about the Maryamite heresy and thinking that Christians actually believe that God the Father had sex with the Virgin Mary and that Christians worship three gods. Now, let us look at Arberry’s translation.

And when God said, ‘O Jesus Son of Mary, didst Thou say unto men, “Take Me and My mother as gods, apart from God”?’ He said, ‘To Thee be glory! It is not Mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, Thou knowest it, knowing what is within My soul, and I know not what is within Thy soul; Thou knowest the things unseen. I only said to them what Thou didst command Me: “Serve God, My Lord and your Lord.” And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when Thou didst take Me to Thyself, Thou wast Thyself the watcher over them; Thou Thyself art witness of everything.’ (Koran 5:116,117, Arberry)

He translated the word as “Thou didst take Me to Thyself.” He was not a Muslim, but he probably adopted the popular Muslim interpretation. Many Muslims believe that Jesus did not die. They think that He ascended into heaven like Elijah, but not on a fiery chariot. They believe that He will return, preach, die, and then be resurrected. Shakir is the only one of these translators who connects this word with death.

The word, tawaffaytanī, in verse 5:117 means “Thou didst take Me in death.” This verse from the Koran says that Jesus died.

The next verse to look at is from the Third Surah. Here, the active participle of the word tawaffā is used.

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee and causing Thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing Thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow Thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. (3:55, Pickthall)

Pickthall translated the word mutawaffīka “am gathering Thee.” This Arabic word is the nominative masculine active participle of tawaffā plus the 2nd person masculine singular possessive pronoun. Most translators of the Koran, associate the word tawaffā with death whenever it is used in reference to individuals other than Jesus. In order to maintain their own theological bias, they associate this word with Jesus’ ascension into Heaven whenever it appears in contexts pertaining to Him. Verse 3:55 from the Koran also says that Jesus died.

The resurrection of Jesus is implied in 3:55. It should say:

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am taking Thee (in death) and causing Thee to ascend unto Me.

Jesus died. He arose from the dead. Then, He ascended into Heaven. In order for Him to be able to bodily ascend into Heaven after His death, He would first have to rise from the dead. There is one place in the Koran where Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is clearly mentioned.

Peace on Me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! (Koran 19:33, Sahih International)

Feast of Holy Pascha Icon

The Koran tells Christians to judge by what is written in the Gospels. (Koran 5:47)

Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection before it occurred.

And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” And they were deeply grieved. (Matthew 17:22,23, NASB)

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”  (Mark 9:31, NASB)

The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day. (Luke 9:21, NASB)

The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  But He was speaking of the temple of His body. (John 2:18-21, NASB)

The Gospels also say that He was buried on Friday, the day before the Sabbath, and arose from the dead on the first day of the week, Sunday. (Matthew 27:57-28:7;  Mark 15:42-16:7;  Luke 23:50-24:8; John 19:38-20:10) According to the Koran we must believe these Gospel passages and the words of Jesus about His death, burial, and resurrection. (Matthew 17:22,23; Mark 9:31; Luke 9:21; John 2:18-21; 10:17,18)

Lo! Those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; Such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, unto them Allah will give their wages; and Allah was ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:150-152, Pickthall)

If they had observed the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto them from their Lord, they would surely have been nourished from above them and from beneath their feet. Among them there are people who are moderate, but many of them are of evil conduct. (Koran 5:66, Pickthall)

Say O People of the Scripture! Ye have naught (of guidance) till ye observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto you from your Lord. That which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy and disbelief of many of them. But grieve not for the disbelieving folk. (Koran 5:68, Pickthall)

In the Koran, it says:

They slew Him not nor crucified Him, but it appeared so unto them. (Koran 4:157, Pickthall)

I already explained that no one actually killed Jesus. He voluntarily laid down His life. The Jews did not physically crucify Jesus. They demanded that He be crucified. The Roman soldiers crucified Him. In Koran 3:55 and 5:117, it says that Jesus died, but most English translations of the Koran mistranslate those verses.

Now, let us look at the words “but it appeared so unto them.” In Arabic, these words are: walākin shubbiha lahum.

“Walākin” is translated “but.” “Shubbiha”  is translated “it appeared so.” “Lahum” is translated “unto them.” Shubbiha is a form 2 verb. Form 2 verbs are made by doubling the second Arabic consonant of a verb. (Sh is only one letter in the Arabic alphabet.) The doubling is done by placing a small mark which looks like a w over the letter which is doubled. (To those who have studied Hebrew, this is similar to the daghes forte.) Form 2 verbs indicate causation or intensity of an action. Shubbiha only occurs once in the entire Koran. The form 1 version of this word is shubiha. Shubbiha is a third person masculine singular perfect verb, form 2. Other possible translations are:

  • But He was made to appear to them.
  • But He caused Him to appear to them. (That is, Allah the Father raised Him from the dead and caused Him to appear to them after His resurrection. See Acts 2:24; 5:30; Romans 8:11; I Corinthians 6:14; II Corinthians 4:14.)
  • But He caused Himself to appear to them. (That is, He Himself arose from the dead and appeared to them after His resurrection. See John 10:17,18; I Corinthians 15:4; II Timothy 1:10.)
  • But He appeared repeatedly to them. (That is, He appeared to them many times after His resurrection.)

Just as all three hypostases of the Deity were involved in the incarnation of Allah the Word, so were all three hypostases involved in the resurrection of Allah the Word from the dead.

The Koran is not saying that Jesus did not die. It already asserts in three places that He did die. (Koran 3:55; 5:117; 19:33) It is saying in Koran 4:157 that the Jews did not triumphantly kill Him. Jesus arose from the dead. (Koran 19:33 and Koran 5:47 along with the Gospel passages already cited regarding His death, burial, and resurrection.) The Koran says that Jesus appeared to the Jews after His resurrection. That is what is meant by those words in Arabic in verse 4:157. He appeared to St. Mary Magdalene. (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-17) He appeared again to St. Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (Matthew 28:1,9) He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-32) He appeared to ten of the twelve Apostles. (John 20:19-23) He appeared to eleven of the twelve Apostles on the Sunday after His resurrection. (John 20:24-29) He appeared to seven of them at the Sea of Tiberias. (John 21)

He appeared to over 500 persons at one time. (I Corinthians 15:6) Only about 120 were assembled after His ascension before the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 1:15) They chose by lot St. Matthias to succeed Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve Apostles. (Acts 1:15-26) So, of those 500, there were about 380 who were not among the faithful who were present at the election of St. Matthias. Who were the other 380? Maybe they were Jews who demanded His crucifixion and later repented.

Jesus walked the earth for forty days after His resurrection. (Acts 1:1-3) Afterwards, He ascended into Heaven. (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51-53; Acts 1:9-11) The Koran says that He ascended into Heaven. (Koran 3:55; 4:158)

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee [i.e., taking Thee in death] and causing Thee to ascend unto Me. (Koran 3:55, Pickthall)

But Allah took Him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (Koran 4:158, Pickthall)

The Arabic word translated “causing to ascend” is the active participle of the word used in Koran 4:158 where it is translated “took Him up” and in this passage about Idris (that is, Enoch).

And make mention in the Scripture of Idris. Lo! he was a saint, a prophet; and We raised him to a high station. (Koran 19:56, 57, Pickthall)

Here, it is translated “We raised.” Idris (that is, Enoch) ascended into Heaven. (Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrews 11:5) Jesus, likewise, ascended into Heaven after walking the earth for forty days after His resurrection.

Feast of the Ascension photo Ascension_zps5e506803.jpg

In the Koran it says:

And lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture. (Koran 4:157, Pickthall)

The seventh century Jews with whom Muhammad spoke disagreed concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus and concerning His appearances to His disciples and others after He arose from the dead. They “are in doubt thereof,” that is, they doubt that Jesus laid down His life voluntarily and took it again. They have no knowledge concerning this matter regarding His death and resurrection because they do not read the New Testament. The New Testament is not a part of the Jewish Scriptures. Therefore, they only have a conjecture concerning this matter. They guess. The Koran says:

And they have no knowledge thereof. They follow but a guess, and lo! a guess can never take the place of the truth. (Koran 53:28, Pickthall)

Muhammad called the first generation Muslims the best community that has been raised up for mankind, although there were some hypocrites among them.

Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. (Koran 3:110, Pickthall)

They believed all of the Scripture that the Orthodox Christians used in their Bibles.

Lo! ye are those who love them though they love you not, and ye believe in all the Scripture. (Koran 3:119, Pickthall)

The Koran also teaches that we should try to outdo each other in doing good works, not in a spirit of jealous rivalry, but in a spirit of love.

And each one hath a goal toward which he turneth; so vie with one another in good works. (Koran 2:148, Pickthall)

So, we should strive to believe the Old and New Testaments more strongly than they did.

The Gospels teach that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and arose from the dead on Sunday. I think that Muslim religious leaders have developed false interpretations of the Koran. They have held to these interpretations and have rejected the Bible because it does not agree with their misinterpretations of the Koran and their Arian theology. The Koran is supposed to confirm the Bible, not contradict it.

This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book – wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the worlds. (Koran 10:37, Yusuf Ali)

See also Koran 2:101; 37:37; 46:12. Any interpretation of the Koran that is in conflict with the Bible is therefore a false interpretation.

The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are confirmed by the Koran. Koran 3:55, 5:117, and 19:33 say that Jesus died. Koran 4:157 says that the Jews did not kill Jesus. Jesus laid down His life voluntarily. (John 10:17,18) No one could kill Him. Koran 4:157 also says that the Jews did not physically crucify Jesus. The Roman soldiers crucified Jesus. The Jews, however, demanded that He be crucified. Koran 19:33 says that Jesus arose from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is implied in Koran 3:55. In that verse mention is made of His death and ascension into Heaven. He had to arise from the dead before He could bodily ascend into Heaven. In Koran 4:157, it says that He appeared to the Jews after His death and resurrection. 120 faithful  disciples of Jesus were present during the election of Matthias as an apostle to replace Judas Iscariot. St. Paul said that about 500 people saw Jesus after His resurrection. The other 380 who were not present during the election of Matthias may have been Jews who demanded that Jesus be crucified and later repented. So, the Koran is correct. Jesus did appear to some Jews who wanted Jesus to be crucified and die. Koran 3:55 and 4:158 say that Jesus ascended into Heaven. The Koran, here, confirms the Gospel narratives again. Since the Koran confirms the Bible, it is important that one read and study the Bible in order to better understand the Koran.

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  1. November 11, 2016 at 12:32 am

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