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See Death of Jesus according to:
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 - 4

by Maulana Hafiz Sher Mohammad

4. Views of the first Khalifas, the great Imams, and the early scholars of religion

Having proved from the Holy Quran and from Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that Jesus has died like other prophets, and having shown that this conclusion was also unanimously agreed upon by the Companions as the very first ijma‘ after the Holy Prophet’s death, we now quote the views of the eminent figures of Muslim history, from the age of the great Companions through the middle classical times right up to the present day, showing that they too held the same belief.

I. The Khalifas

1. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, God be pleased with him, said:

Aina Musa, aina Isa, aina Yahya, aina Nuh,
Anta ya siddiq ‘as-in tub ila-l-maula al-jalil.

"Where is Moses, where is Jesus, where is Yahya, where is Noah, [i.e., they have all died], So you, O sinner Siddiq, repent to your Glorious Lord."

2. Hazrat Ali, God be pleased with him, said:

Al-mautu la walid-an wa la walad-an,
hadha-s-sabilu ila an la tara ahad.

Kana-an-nabi wa lam yakhlud li-ummati-hi
lau khallad-Allahu khalq-an tablahu khalada.

"Death spares not the father, nor the son, it is the path that leaves not anyone.

He (the Holy Prophet) was a prophet, yet he did not remain with his umma forever,

Had anyone before him lived forever, he (Holy Prophet) too would have lived forever."

II. Members of the Holy Prophet’s Household

1. Hazrat Aishah, God be pleased with her, relates from the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

"Jesus, son of Mary, lived to the age of 120 years."

(Hujaj al-Kirama, p. 428)

All the narrators of this hadith are reliable (ibid.)

2. Hazrat Fatima, God be pleased with her, relates from the Holy Prophet:

"Jesus, son of Mary, lived to the age of 120 years."

(Kanz-ul-Ummal, vol. vi, p. 120)

3. Hazrat Imam Hasan ascended the pulpit after the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali and said:

"O people! This night there has died a man whose status cannot be reached by the earlier or later generations. The Messenger of Allah used to send him to battle, so on his right would be Gabriel and on his left Michael (Mikal), and he would not return without victory. And he has left but seven hundred Dirhems with which he intended to buy a slave. He died on the night on which the soul of Jesus, son of Mary, was taken up, that is the twenty-seventh of Ramadaan."

(Tabaqat Kabir, vol. iii, p. 26)

Thus the members of the Holy Prophet’s household have not only revealed Jesus’ age at death but make it clear that it was his soul, not his body, which was taken up to heaven, and that he died on the 27th of Ramadaan.

III. Other Companions of the Holy Prophet

1. Explaining the Quranic verse, "O Jesus, I will cause thee to die (mutawaffi-ka)", Ibn Abbas is recorded as saying:

"Ibn Abbas said: mutawaffi-ka means ‘I will cause thee to die (mumitu-ka) ’."

(Bukhari, Kitab al-Tafsir, on verse 5:110).

2. "In the Mustadrak (a Hadith collection) it is reported from Ibn Umar that Jesus lived to the age of 120 years. It is likewise also in the Asabah." (Tafsir Kamalain).

3. The companion-poet Hasan Ibn Thabit sang:

Wa lau kanat-ad-dunya qadim-an bi-ahliha
la-kana rasulu-llahi fiha mukhalad-an.

"If any people of the world could exist forever, certainly the Messenger of Allah would have lived forever in it."

IV. The Four Imams of Jurisprudence

Of Imam Malik, one of the four imams of jurisprudence (fiqh), it is written:

"While most people believe that Jesus did not die, Malik said that he died."

(Majma al-Bahar, vol. i, p. 286)


"In the ‘Utbiyya it is written that Malik said that Jesus, son of Mary, died."

(Ikmal al-ikmal, Sharh of Muslim, vol. i, p. 265)

V. Classical scholars and elders

1. Imam Ibn Hazm, Amawi Zahiri Qurtabi, writes:

"Jesus, peace be upon him, was neither killed nor crucified, but God caused him to die and then raised him. The Almighty has said: ‘They did not kill him or crucify him’; and ‘I will cause thee to die and exalt thee’; and ‘I (Jesus) 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 ‘Allah takes souls (yatawaffa) at the time of death’. Thus there are two kinds of wafat: sleep and death. Jesus in his words ‘When Thou didst cause me to die (falamma tawaffaita-ni)’ was not referring to sleep, but it is correct that by wafat he meant death."

(Mahalli fil-Fiqh, p. 23)

"Imam Ibn Hazm adopted the apparent significance of the verse, and believed in his (Jesus’) death."

(Jalalain, under verse 3:55)

2. Abul Hasan Ali Hajwairi, popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh, writes:

"The Messenger of God said that, on the night of the Mi‘raj, he saw Adam, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Jesus and Abraham, in the heavens. Assuredly it was their souls."

(Kashf al-Mahjub, Chapter al-Kalam fir-ruh, p. 204).

3. In his Quranic commentary, the Shaikh al-Akbar Muhayy-ud-Din Ibn Arabi writes:

"The raising (raf‘) of Jesus means that, at the time of separation, his soul was raised from the lower world to the higher world. And his being in the fourth heaven signifies that the source of his soul’s benefit is the spirituality of that sun’s sky which resembles the heart of the world, and towards that is his place of return. That spirituality is a light which illumines that heaven with its love, and the shining of the rays upon his soul is done by its stimulation. And as Jesus’ place of return is towards its real place of rest, and cannot attain its true development, his (Jesus’) descent in the latter days will be in a different body."

(Commentary upon verse ‘God raised him to Himself’, p. 65)

4. Taqi-ud-Din Abul-Abbas Ahmad ibn Abdul Hakim ibn Abdus-Salam, known as Imam Ibn Taimiyya, has written:

"God has informed, in regard to the Messiah, that he told people only to worship God, ‘my Lord and your Lord’; and he was a wittness of them so long as he was among them, but after his death (wafat) only God was the Watcher over them. So if some people have misreported him, or misinterpreted his words, or deliberately altered the religion he brought, the Messiah cannot be held responsible for it, for he was only a messenger whose duty was just the delivery of the message."

(Al-Jawwab as-Sahih li-man baddala din al-Masih, vol. ii, p. 280)

5. Shaikh al-Islam Shams-ud-Din Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, known as Hafiz Ibn Qayyim, wrote:

"As for what is related about the Messiah that he was raised up to heaven at the age of 33 years, there is no sound authority for this which one could turn to."

(Zad al-Ma‘ad, vol. i, p. 20)


"With the exception of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, a person attains to heaven with his spirit only after death and separation from the body, so the spirits of all prophets went to heaven only after death and separation from the body." (ibid., p. 304)

6. Allama Juba’i is reported as saying:

"This verse shows that God caused Jesus to die (amata) and brought about his death (tawaffa-hu), and then raised him to himself."

(Commentary Majma‘ al-Bayan, vol. i, under verse falamma tawaffaita-ni)

7. Imam Asir-ud-Din Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Ali al-Andalasi, known as Abu Hayyan Nahwi, writes:

"This verse shows that God made Jesus die (tawaffa-hu wafat al-maut) before raising him."

(Bahr al-Muhit, vol. iv, p. 4)

8. Imam Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullah, known as Allama Shokani, has written:

"It is said that this verse shows that God caused Jesus to die before raising him."

(Fath al-Qadir Qalmi, p. 4)

Next: 5. Modern Muslim scholars (1)

Death of Jesus according to: 1. Quran || 2. Hadith || 3. Ijma || 4. Early Views || 5. Modern Muslim scholars (1) || 6. Modern Muslim scholars (2) || 7. Modern Muslim scholars (3)
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