Arguments about Jesus’ death refuted

By Waqar Akbar Cheema

Qadyanis, the followers of the religion founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani, say that, God Forbid !, Prophet Jesus (PBUH) died a natural death. And moreover they try to prove their point from the Holy Qur’an, but all in vague. THEY CAN ONLY DECEIVE THOSE PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW THE QUR’AN IN DETAIL AND THE ARABIC LANGUAGE. But Alhamdulillah Muslim scholars have done great work and have refuted their false propaganda in an irrefutable manner. All praise be to ALLAH.In the coming lines, I reproduce the work of the great Islamic scholars on the subject.

FIRST QADYANI ARGUMENT

Qadyanis say that the word mutawaffeeka in Quran 3:55 speaks of the death of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). And they erroneously translate the verse as;

“Lo! God said:`O Jesus! Verily I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto me..” (3:55)

But this is wrong. I present the Islamic view point in detail in the following lines;

CORRECT MEANING OF THE VERSE 3:55
Qur’an 3:55 informs believers that God will “take back” Jesus (pbuh), protect him from the unbelievers, and raise him to His presence. Many great Islamic scholars and commentators have interpreted this verse to mean that Jesus (pbuh) did not die. As the verse states:

[God said:] “Jesus, I will take you back (mutawaffeeka) and raise you up (wa raafi`uka) to Me and purify you of those who are unbelievers. And I will place the people who follow you above those who are unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection…” (Qur’an, 3:55)

The part requiring special consideration is the sentence

“I will take you back (mutawaffeeka) and raise you up to Me.”

A close examination reveals a most important truth: The verb carries a sense that differs from what is normally meant by “to die.” The word translated into English as “to die” comes from the Arabic root waffaa derived from the verb tawaffaa, which does not imply death, but rather taking the soul, or surrender. The Qur’an also reveals that taking a person’s soul does not always imply death. For instance, another verse uses tawaffaa to refer not to a person’s death, but to taking his or her soul while asleep:

God takes (yatawaffaa), the souls [of people] at death (mawtiha) and those who do not die (lam tamut) during their sleep. Those on whom He has passed the decree of death (al-mawt), He keeps back [from returning to life], but the rest He sends [to their bodies] for a term appointed. Verily in this are signs for those who reflect.” (Qur’an, 39:42)

The word here translated as “taking back” is the same as that used in Qur’an 3:55: tawaffaa. Since a person does not actually die during the night, the word yatawaffaa here refers not to death, but to taking the soul at night. If tawaffaa were being used in the sense of death, then that would mean that all people would be biologically dead during sleep. Thus, Jesus (pbuh) would have died every night of his life. Such an assertion is both irrational and illogical.

Another instance in which sleep is regarded as a kind of death, but which does not refer to biological death, is the following hadith:

“‘All praise is for God, Who has made us alive after He made us die [sleep] (Al-hamdu li Allah illadhi ahyana ba’da maa amatana; wa ilayhi al-nushoo)’
Our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) often said this after he woke up.” {Narrated by Abu Hudhayfa; Sahih Bukhari; Hadith no. 6324, 239;}

{Tafsir Ibn Kathir, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib ar-Rafa„i (London: Al-Firdous Ltd., 1999), 176.}

No doubt, he used these wise words not to refer to biological death when one is asleep, but rather to a sleeping person’s soul being “taken.”

Ibn Kathir, the famous Islamic scholar and commentator, used this hadith, along with many other proofs in his commentary on Surah Ali ‘Imran, to explain that tawaffaa refers to sleep. In addition, he indicated the word’s meaning in other verses where it appears. He then gave his opinion using a hadith handed down by Ibn Abi Hatim:
Ibn Abi Hatim says that: “My father told us … from Hassan that the meaning of the verse ‘I will take you back…’ is this: Here it means that ‘I shall kill you with the death of sleep; in other words, I shall cause you to sleep.’ So God raised Jesus (pbuh) to the heavens while he was asleep … As an incontrovertible truth, God caused Jesus (pbuh) to die the death of sleep and then raised him to the sky, rescuing him from the Jews, who were inflicting suffering upon him at the time.”

{Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim, 1:573-76.}

Islamic scholars agree that mutawaffeeka means that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, but that he was raised to God’s presence and will return to Earth. For example, the famous commentator and scholar al-Tabari stated that mutawaffeeka is used in the sense of “removing from Earth” and interpreted the verse in the following terms:
In my opinion, the soundest thing is to take this word in the sense of “to take into one’s possession,” “draw [away] from Earth.” In that case, the meaning of the verse is: “I shall take you from Earth and into the heavens.” The rest of the verse emphasizes the [believers’] victory over unbelievers in the End Times, which confirms the above idea.”{ Tafsir al-Tabari, 3:290-91.}

Further on in his commentary, al-Tabari included other interpretations of mutawaffeeka. Islamic scholars are in general agreement that its correct interpretation is “a kind of sleep.” According to Imam Hasan al-Basri, the Egyptian scholar Muhammad Khalil Herras stated that the verse means: “I shall put you to sleep and raise you to My presence as you sleep.”

In his commentary, al-Suyuti said, based on reliable hadith, that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, and then continued:
In that case, Jesus (pbuh) was raised to the skies and will return before the Day of Judgment.

{Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur, 2:225-27.}

The great Islamic scholar Imam Ibn Taymiyya stated that Qur’an 3:55 indicates that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, but most likely experienced a kind of “sleep death.” He then wrote:
This verse is proof that the death of Jesus (pbuh) is not being referred to… The word al-tawaffi [the infinitive form of the word mutawafeeka used] in the verse requires the death of the soul without that of the body, or of both, but with the existence of another piece of evidence explaining the circumstances in this sense. The meaning may be the death of sleep (as in Qur’an 6:60). The words at the end of the verse, to the effect that: “I shall separate you purified from the unbelievers,” are also along these lines. Had Jesus’ (pbuh) body been separated from his soul, then his body would be in the ground, as with the other prophets.
{Imam Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu‘Fatawa 4:322-23.}CONCLUSION

As we have seen, this verse does not mean “death” in the sense as it is generally used in English. The expression in this verse reports that Jesus (pbuh) was placed in a condition similar to sleep and then raised to God’s presence. Jesus (pbuh) did not die, but was merely removed from this dimension by His will.

Did Jesus live for 120 years.

Some Qadianis say that Jesus lived for 120 years and then died a natural death in Kashmir.In an attempt to prove their point they bring forward a weak tradition, which says that Holy Prophet (SAW) said;

“Jesus son of Mary lived for 120 years, and I see myself as only entering upon the beginning of the sixties.” (Kanz al Ummal, part 6, p.120).

LET US ANALYZE THIS TRADITION, ITS AUTHENTICITY AND OTHER DETAILS;

THE TRADITION QUOTED IS A WEAK TRADITION:

The real Arabic words of the tradition you quoted are;

عن عائشة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في مرضه الذي قبض فيه قال : يا فاطمة يا بنتي أحني (1) علي ، فأحنت عليه ، فناجاها ساعة ثم انكشفت عنه تبكي وعائشة حاضرة ، ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بعد ذلك ساعة : احني علي ، فحنت عليه فناجاها ساعة ، ثم انكشفت عنه تضحك ، فقالت عائشة : يا بنت رسول الله ! أخبريني بماذا ناجاك أبوك ، قالت : أوشكت رأيته ناجاني على حالي سر ثم ظننت أني أخبر بسره وهو حي ؟ فشق ذلك على عائشة أن يكون سر دونها ، فلما قبضه الله إليه قالت عائشة لفاطمة : ألا تخبريني ذلك الخبر ؟ قالت : أما الآن فنعم ، ناجاني في المرة الاولى فأخبرني أن جبريل كان يعارضه القرآن في كل عام مرة وأنه عارضه القرآن العام مرتين ، وأخبره أنه لم يكن نبى بعد نبي إلا عاش نصف عمر الذي كان قبله ، وأنه أخبرني أن عيسى عاش عشرين ومائة سنة ولا أراني إلا ذاهب على رأس الستين ، فأبكاني ذلك ، وقال : يا بنية

كنز العمال – المتقي الهندي ج 13ص 676-ح37732

The last part of the tradition, which is relevant to our discussion when translated means;

“And I have been told that there is no Prophet after other Prophet but he lives a life half then the one who lived earlier. And I have been told that Jesus, the son of Mary lived for a hundred and twenty years and I do not see myself but approaching sixties”

{Kanzul Ummal vol. 13 pg. 676 Hadith 37732}

But this is a weak tradition. If you consult the Books of Takhrij & Jarah wa Ta’adeel (Classification of Ahadith) like “Majma’a al-Zawaid wa Manba al-Fawaid” by Imam Haithmi, we come to know that this is a WEAK TRADITION. The Tradition is originally from Mu’jam al-Tabrani from which Imam Ali Muttaqi al-Hindi, the compiler of Kanzul Ummal has taken this tradition (he hasn’t mentioned the Chain of Narrators for this reason, as he has only taken it from another source).Imam Haithmi after quoting this Tradition, writes in his above mentioned book;

رواه الطبراني بإسناد ضعيف

مجمع الزوائد-الهيثمى:ج4 ص67 -باب في مرضه ووفاته صلى الله عليه وسلم وما أطلعه الله تعالى من ذلك

Which when translated means;

“Tabarani has narrated it with WEAK ISNAD.”

{Majma’ al-Zawaid vol.4 pg. 67. Chapter: About the illness and death of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and what Allah made known about this.}

THE NARRATION IS AGAINST ESTABLISHED FACTS:

The tradition says;

“…there is no Prophet after other Prophet but he lives a life half then the one who lived earlier then him.”

But this is not true;

Think of the three prophets we believe: Hazrat Zakaria (Zechariah), his son Hazrat Yahya (John the Baptist) and Jesus. If Jesus lived to 120 years, then John the Baptist should have lived to 240, but he died before Jesus (and they were born less than a year apart, and John the Baptist was born earlier), executed by Herod.

Moreover, that must mean that Zechariah lived to 480 years old! By the time we reached Adam, he would have to live millions of years! If we work the other way round, the Bible records that Adam died at 930 years old (Genesis 5:5). Then geometric halving of ages clearly brings the life of Muhammad (or even Jesus) down to mere seconds.

THESE POINTS ARE ENOUGH TO PROVE THAT THIS TRADITION IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.FIRST AND THE FOREMOST REASON IS THAT IT IS WEAK (DA’EEF).

SECONDLY IT IS AGAINST HISTORICAL FACTS AS PROVED ABOVE.

BUT STILL IF ONE CLINGS TO IT, IT HAS SOME MORE IMPLICATIONS:

As I wrote earlier that tradition is weak and against historical facts and thus not worth mentioning so it should not be presented as an evidence whatsoever. But still if somebody clings to it in his ignorance and stubbornness and if he also believes in someone like Mirza Qadiani as a Prophet or Messenger then he must put Mirza Qadiani against this tradition. If he was-God forbid !!- a prophet then he should have lived the life half of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Remember the tradition says;

“…there is no Prophet after other Prophet but he lives a life half then the one who lived earlier then him.”

And as Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived for 63 years then he in that case should have lived only 31 0r 32 years. But we know he lived far more, he lived for 73 years i.e. from 1835 to 1908. Thus if one clings to this WEAK tradition and considers it worth evidence then he should believe in the whole narration and thus should not believe Mirza Qadiani as a Prophet or Messenger but should know him only as a liar and an impostor i.e. a Dajjal.

MAY ALLAH GUIDE US ALL TO THE TRUTH. AMEN!

INDEED ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST!

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