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Did Jesus Die According to Qur’ānic verse 3:55?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org

Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt

Question:

What is the sunni Muslim understanding of the narration of Ibn ‘Abbās (may God be pleased with him) in which he defines the term “mutawaffīka” from the Qur’ānic verse 3:55 as “mumītuka”?

Answer:

In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind.

Thank you/ Jazāk Allāh Khayr for contacting Mathābah with your query.

In response to your question, kindly note that the noble Companions, islamic experts and jurists have described the meaning of the word “mutawaffīka” in verse 3:55 as one of the following:

  • Qabḍ: Take; meaning the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was taken up to the heavens physically alive.
  • Mutawaffīka Tamāman: Taking back in totality; meaning Jesus (peace be upon him) was taken up in totality with body, mind and soul, while alive.
  • Nawm: Sleep; meaning, the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was granted sleep when he was physically raised up in to the heavens. This meaning is found with the same word in another Qur’ānic verse, namely, verse 6:60 وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ.
  • Mawt: Death;
    • meaning death will be given to Jesus in the future prior to Judgement Day after his return back on to the earth. The verse follows the linguistic grammar rule of taqdīm and ta’khīr.
    • Jesus was momentarily given some form of death (unlike an actual death) for a few moments to be physically raised up.
    • Death of his prophethood, meaning that Jesus’s religious laws and prophethood was concluded by God, then he was physically raised up alive, into the heavens by God.

    (See: Tafsīr Al-Ṭabarī)

Important Facts

  • There are numerous authentic and or reliable hadīths proving the return of Jesus (peace be upon him) prior to Judgement Day, to complete his human life. Upon his return, he will marry, combat the Anti-Christ (Dajjāl) and then pass away and be buried. Any interpretation of the verse in question must align with this view, according to the overwhelming majority of Islamic experts.
  • One of the descriptions of Jesus in the Qur’ān is that He will speak to people in ‘mahd’ and ‘kahl’, meaning in the ‘cradle’ and at the ‘height of one’s age’. The fact that he was physically raised up at age 33 also denotes that ‘kahl’ (old age) has not materialized for him. That will occur on his return.

“And their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God”. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, God raised him to Himself. And ever is God Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Qur’ān 4:157-158)

“Jesus did not die. He will return to you before Judgement Day.” – (Al Dur Al-Manthūr Li Al-Suyūti)

“Jesus/ ʿĪsā ibn Maryam (peace be upon him) will surely descend as a just judge and a fair leader. He will travel through the mountain passes [of Arabia] as a pilgrim for Ḥajj or `Umrah and will definitely come to my grave and greet me [with salām] and I shall respond to him.” – (Hākim)

“The Hour (Judgement Day) will not be established until the son of Mary (Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler.” – (Bukhārī)

“Jesus will live on the earth for forty years [upon his return] and then he will die.” – (Abū Dāwūd)

“While he (Dajjāl-the Anti- Christ) will be engaged in all of this [chaos], God will send the Messiah, the son of Mary (peace be upon him). He will descend by the white minaret in the east side of Damascus, wearing two garments dyed in saffron placing his hands on the wings of two angels. When he will lower his head [water] will drip [from it] and when he will raise it, drops like pearls will scatter from it. Every disbeliever who will come in contact with his breath will die and his breath will reach as far as he can see.” – (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

“How can the community of which I am at it’s beginning and Jesus it’s end, ever be destroyed!” – (Ṭabarī)

“Jesus, son of Mary (peace be upon him) will descend to the earth. He will get married and have children. He will remain in the world for 45 years. Thereafter he will pass away and will be buried with me in my gravesite.” – (Al-Wafā)

And Allāh Knows Best

This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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