See Death of Jesus
1. Quran || 2. Hadith
|| 3. Ijma || 4.
Early Views || 5. Modern Muslim scholars (1)
|| 6. Modern Muslim scholars (2)
|| 7. Modern Muslim scholars (3)
The Death of Jesus
according to Islamic sources - 2
by Maulana Hafiz Sher
2. Evidence of the Hadith
We have shown from numerous verses of the Holy
Quran that Jesus is not alive in heaven but that he died in his own
time as did other prophets. No doubt should, therefore, remain in the
mind of any just and truth-loving person about this matter. But, for further
satisfaction of the seekers after truth, we now present some sayings (Hadith
reports) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, who of course was the recipient
of Quranic revelation and its premier commentator, to decide this issue
so thoroughly that each and every Muslim would have to bow to the verdict.
First Hadith: Meaning of
"It is reported from Ibn Abbas that the Holy
Prophet said in a sermon: O people! You will be gathered to your Lord
(on the day of Judgment) ... and some people from my Umma will
be taken and dragged towards hell. I shall say: O Lord, but
these are my people. It will be replied: You do not know
what they did after you. Then I shall say as did that righteous
servant of God (i.e., Jesus) say: I was a witness of them
so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die (tawaffaitani)
Thou wast Watcher over them ..." (Bukhari, Kitab
al-Tafsir, under Surah Maidah)
The last words of the Holy Prophet ("I was witness
of them ...") are taken from the verse 5:117 of the Holy Quran
where Jesus is quoted as replying in these very words on the Day of
Judgment. It is agreed by all Muslims that, when these words are used
by the Holy Prophet in the above Hadith report, the meaning of tawaffaitani
occurring there is "Thou didst cause me to die". So obviously
they have the same meaning when used by Jesus, i.e., Jesus was taken
from his people by death, not by rising alive to heaven.
Second Hadith: All Prophets
had to die
In his last illness, during which he died, the Holy
Prophet Muhammad entered the mosque with the support of two men to give
the following address:
"O people! I have heard that you fear the death
of your Prophet. Did any prophet before me live on so that I should
be expected to live on amongst you? Listen! I am about to meet my
Lord, and so will you. So I bid you to treat well the early muhajirs."
(Al-anwar ul-Muhammadiyya min al-Muwahib al-Ladinya, Egypt,
This hadith settles the meaning of the three Quranic
"Muhammad is only a messenger, messengers before
him have indeed passed away" (3:144);
"And We made no mortal before thee to live on
Nor did they (the prophets) live on forever"
Had any prophet at all still been alive, the
Holy Prophet could not have uttered the words above. So Jesus was dead
by that time.
Third Hadith: Death within
- "There is no one alive today but will be dead
before a hundred years have passed over it." (Muslim, Kanz
al-Ummal, vol. 7, p. 170)
- "The Holy Prophet said: Allah sends a
wind every hundred years which takes the soul of every believer.
This hadith is sound in transmission." (Mustadrak, vol.
4, p. 475)
These hadith show that all those who were alive in the
Holy Prophets time died within a hundred years. Had Jesus been
alive (in heaven as is supposed) he too would have died within that
Fourth Hadith: Jesus
age given as 120
"Aisha (God be pleased with her) said that, in
his illness in which he died, the Holy Prophet said: Every year
Gabriel used to repeat the Holy Quran with me once, but this year
he has done it twice. He has informed me that there is no prophet
but he lives half as long as the one who preceded him. And he has
told me that Jesus lived a hundred and twenty years, and I see that
I am about to leave this world at sixty."
(Hujjaj al-Kiramah, p. 428; Kanz al-Ummal,
vol. 6, p. 160, from Hazrat Fatima; and Mawahib al-Ladinya, vol.
1, p. 42)
The Tabarani says concerning this hadith: "Its
narrations are reliable, and it is reported in a number of different
versions". The hadith here leaves no room to doubt at all. It not
only announces Jesus death but gives his age as 120 years. And
it is reported through at least three channels: from Aisha, Ibn Umar
and Fatima. This hadith is, therefore, sound and a very clear proof
of Jesus death.
Fifth Hadith: Jesus dead
- The Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "Had Moses or
Jesus been alive, they would have had to follow me." (Al-Yawaqit
wal-Jawahir, p. 24; Fath al-Bayan, vol. 2, p. 246; Tafsir
Ibn Kathir, under verse 81 of Al Imran)
- "Had Jesus been alive he would have had to follow
me." (Sharh Fiqh Akbar, Egyptian ed., p. 99)
- "No. 19: If Moses and Jesus were alive, they
would have but followed me." (English text from Al-Islam,
published by the Fiji Muslim Youth Organization, vol. 4, Oct. 1974)
The above hadith clearly show that both Moses
and Jesus were considered to be dead by the Holy Prophet.
Sixth Hadith: Tomb of Jesus
The Holy Prophet said:
"May the curse of God be upon the Jews and the
Christians who made the graves of their prophets into places of worship."
(Bukhari, Kitab as-Salat, p. 296)
The Holy Prophet said this because he was anxious that
the Muslims should avoid the evil of making the tomb of their prophet
into a place of worship, as Jews and Christians had done with their
prophets graves. The Jews had had numerous prophets but
the prophet properly recognised by the Christians is only one
Jesus. This hadith shows that the Holy Prophet believed that
Jesus had a tomb. And, in fact, this is the place where Jesus was kept
after being removed from the cross (till he recovered from his wounds),
which Christians revere greatly. Obviously, according to this hadith,
Jesus did not rise up to heaven.
Seventh Hadith: Jesus in
company of the dead
The various hadith about the Holy Prophets Miraj
- "Adam is in the first heaven ... Joseph is in
the second heaven, and his cousins Yahya (John the Baptist) and Jesus
are in the third heaven, and Idris is in the fourth heaven."
(Kanz al-Ummal, vol. vi, p. 120)
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be
upon him) saw Yahya and Jesus in the same place; and as the
former, indeed every other prophet seen, is dead, so must Jesus
- The above hadith is corroborated by another that
tells us that in the Miraj vision the Holy Prophet met
the spirits of all the previous prophets (see Tafsir Ibn Kathir,
Urdu ed. published in Karachi, vol. iii, p. 18).
Eighth Hadith: Jesus "descent"
on night of Miraj
A hadith about the Miraj records:
"Then the Holy Prophet descended in Jerusalem,
along with all the other prophets. At the time of prayers, he lead
them all in prayer."
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Urdu ed., vol. iii, p.
Among "all" the prophets is included Jesus.
Had he, unlike other prophets, been alive physically in heaven, his
"descent" to Jerusalem would have been with his material body.
In that case he would have had to rise up to heaven physically a
second time. But the Quran mentions only one raf ("exaltation"
which is misunderstood as "rising up to heaven") of Jesus!
This difficulty does not arise if we believe, as is
clear from the various hadith about Miraj, that Jesus was
in the same state (i.e. dead) as all the other prophets seen in the
Ninth Hadith: Holy Prophets
discussion with a Christian delegation
"When a delegation of sixty men from the (Christian)
people of Najran came to the Holy Prophet, their chief priest discussed
with him the status of Jesus and asked him as to who Jesus father
was. The Holy Prophet said: Do you not know that a son resembles
his father? They replied: Yes. He said: A lastum
talamuna anna rabbana la yamutu wa anna Isa ata alaihi-l-fana,
i.e., Do you not know that our Lord lives for ever while Jesus
(Asbab an-nuzul, by Imam Abu-l-Hasan Ali ibn
Ahmad al-Wahidi of Neshapur, published in Egypt, p. 53)
What clearer testimony could there be that Jesus has
died than this saying from the blessed tongue of the Holy Prophet!
Tenth Hadith: Two different
descriptions of Jesus
In Sahih al-Bukhari, there are recorded two different
physical descriptions of Jesus one applying to the past Messiah
and the other to the Messiah whose advent in the latter days is prophesied.
1. In the Miraj the Messiah seen
with Moses, Abraham and other prophets by the Holy Prophet, was described
by him thus:
- "I saw Jesus. He was a man of a reddish complexion."
(Bukhari, Kitab al-anbiya, ch. 24)
- "I saw Jesus, Moses and Abraham. Jesus had a
reddish complexion, curly hair and a wide chest." (ibid.,
It is clear from both these Hadith reports that by Jesus,
who was seen here along with Abraham and Moses, is meant the Israelite
prophet. He had a red complexion and curly hair.
2. Bukhari has recorded a hadith in which the
Holy Prophet relates a dream of his about the future:
"In a state of sleep I saw myself circumambulating
the Kaba, and I saw a man of a wheatish complexion with straight
hair. I asked who it was. They said: This is the Messiah, son of Mary."
(Bukhari, Kitab al-Fitn, ch. 22, Mention of Dajjal)
Thus, where Jesus is mentioned along with Abraham and
Moses, he is described as of a reddish complexion and curly hair;
but where he is seen along with the Dajjal in a dream about the
future, he is said to have a wheatish complexion with straight hair.
Evidently these two different descriptions do not apply to one and the
same person. So Jesus, the Israelite prophet, whom the Holy Prophet
saw in the Miraj vision, and the Messiah who was to appear
in the latter days to kill the evil Dajjal, are two different
The Israelite Messiah, Jesus, died, as is made clear
by the Holy Prophet Muhammads sayings. And the Messiah whose advent
in the latter days has been prophesied by the Holy Prophet, was to be
from the Muslim community, and not an Israelite prophet. This
is borne out by the following three Hadith reports:
- Ulamau ummati ka anbiyai bani
Israil, i.e., "The learned ones of my community are like
the prophets of the Israelites."
- Ala inna-hu Khalifati fi ummati min badi,
i.e., "Certainly he (the Messiah to come) is my khalifa after
me in my community."
- Fa amma-kum min-kum, i.e., "He shall
be your Imam from among yourselves."
From all the Hadith reports quoted above, the following
conclusions are drawn:
First hadith: The Holy Prophet Muhammad has referred
to his own death using the words falamma tawaffaitani. Since
these very words are used in the Holy Quran in respect of Jesus, it
proves that he, too, has died.
Second hadith: The Holy Prophet asked his companions
if any one at all of the previous prophets had survived so that
he too would be expected to go on living. Had Jesus been alive the Holy
Prophet could not have used this argument. Or, his companions would
have argued back that as Jesus was alive the Holy Prophet need not die
either. This shows that the Holy Prophet and his companions believed
Jesus to be dead.
Third hadith: The Holy Prophet prophesied that
all the believers living then would be dead within a hundred years.
So even if Jesus had been alive then, he would have died in the specified
Fourth hadith: Just as the ages of various prophets,
for example, Moses, David, Solomon, etc., are recorded in Hadith, Jesus
age is noted in a hadith as being 120 years.
Fifth hadith: Had Jesus been alive, the Holy
Prophet could not have said that "Moses and Jesus would have been
my followers had they been still alive".
Sixth hadith: The Holy Prophet has made a reference
to the tomb of Jesus.
Seventh hadith: On the night of the great Miraj
the Holy Prophet saw Jesus and Yahya (John the Baptist) together in
the same place. Yahya being dead, shows that Jesus also was dead. The
Holy Prophet met not the physical bodies but the souls of the prophets
in the Miraj experience.
Eighth hadith: On the Miraj night
all the other prophets, including Jesus, were led in prayer by the Holy
Prophet Muhammad in the mosque at Jerusalem. This shows that Jesus was
dead, for otherwise he would have descended to Jerusalem physically,
and then ascended to heaven a second time something which
no one believes. This vision of leading all the previous prophets in
prayer signified that the holy Prophet was the Khatam al-anbiya,
and the one to whom the followers of these prophets would now have to
Ninth hadith: The Holy Prophets discussions
with the Christian delegation from Najran show that he believed Jesus
to be dead.
Tenth hadith: In Bukhari two different
physical descriptions of Jesus are recorded: one where he was seen along
with other prophets in the Miraj; and the other where he
is seen circumambulating the Kaba with the Dajjal in a
dream of the Holy Prophet relating to the latter days, i.e., in the
This proves that Jesus, the Israelite prophet was dead,
for the Messiah of the latter days was to be another person. It should
be noted that prophecies invariably require interpretation and are not
necessarily fulfilled exactly literally. The reason is that when a prophet
or other righteous person is shown future events by God Almighty, it
is in the form of visions or dreams seen by their spiritual, not physical,
eyes. All holy scriptures are agreed that most dreams and visions require
interpretation. This also applies to the Holy Prophets prophecies
relating to "the descent of the Messiah", Dajjal, Gog
and Magog, the Dabbat al-ard, etc.
Just because there are prophecies speaking of the "coming"
of the Messiah, one cannot deduce therefrom that Jesus is still alive,
while on the other hand numerous verses of the Quran and many Hadith
reports declare forcefully that Jesus is not alive but died,
and even his age is given as 120 years.
Next: 3. Ijma