Muslims: Did Jesus Die on the Cross?

According to the Wikipedia article, The issue of the crucifixion and death of Jesus (Isa) is important to Muslims as they believe that Jesus will return before the end of time. Muslims believe Jesus was not crucified, but was raised bodily to heaven by God, a belief purported to be found in the Gospel of Basilides[citation needed], of which, if it existed, no copies survive.

Depending on the interpretation of the following verse, Muslim scholars have abstracted different opinions. Some believe that in the Biblical account, Jesus’ crucifixion did not last long enough for him to die while others opine that God gave someone Jesus’ appearance, causing everyone to believe that Jesus was crucified (majority view). A third explanation could be that Jesus was nailed to a cross, but as his body is immortal he did not “die” or was not “crucified” [to death]; it only appeared so. In opposition to the second and third foregoing proposals, yet others maintain that God does not use deceit and therefore they contend that crucifixion just did not occur. The basis of all of these beliefs is the following verse in the Qur’an:

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-

—Qur’an, sura 4 (An-Nisa) ayat 157-158

Nine pieces of evidence refute the swoon theory:

*]Jesus could not have survived crucifixion. Roman procedures were very careful to eliminate that possibility. Roman law even laid the death penalty on any soldier who let a capital prisoner escape in any way, including bungling a crucifixion. It was never done.
*]The fact that the Roman soldier did not break Jesus’ legs, as he did to the other two crucified criminals (Jn 19:31-33), means that the soldier was sure Jesus was dead. Breaking the legs hastened the death so that the corpse could be taken down before the sabbath (v. 31).
*]John, an eyewitness, certified that he saw blood and water come from Jesus’ pierced heart (Jn 19:34-35). This shows that Jesus’ lungs had collapsed and he had died of asphyxiation. Any medical expert can vouch for this.
*]The body was totally encased in winding sheets and entombed (Jn 19:38-42).
*]The post-resurrection appearances convinced the disciples, even “doubting Thomas,” that Jesus was gloriously alive (Jn 20:19-29). It is psychologically impossible for the disciples to have been so transformed and confident if Jesus had merely struggled out of a swoon, badly in need of a doctor. A half-dead, staggering sick man who has just had a narrow escape is not worshiped fearlessly as divine lord and conquerer of death.
*]How were the Roman guards at the tomb overpowered by a swooning corpse? Or by unarmed disciples? And if the disciples did it, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels, and we are into the conspiracy theory which can be refuted separately.
*]How could a swooning half-dead man have moved the great stone at the door of the tomb? Who moved the stone if not an angel? No one has ever answered that question. Neither the Jews nor the Romans would move it, for it was in both their interests to keep the tomb sealed, the Jews had the stone put there in the first place, and the Roman guards would be killed if they let the body “escape.” The story the Jewish authorities spread, that the guards fell asleep and the disciples stole the body (Mt 28:11-15), is unbelievable. Roman guards would not fall asleep on a job like that; if they did, they would lose their lives. And even if they did fall asleep, the crowd and the effort and the noise it would have taken to move an enormous boulder would have wakened them.
*]If Jesus awoke from a swoon, where did he go? Think this through: you have a living body to deal with now, not a dead one. Why did it disappear? There is absolutely no data, not even any false, fantastic, imagined data, about Jesus’ life after his crucifixion, in any sources, friend or foe, at any time, early or late. A man like that, with a past like that, would have left traces.
*]Most simply, the swoon theory necessarily turns into the conspiracy theory or the hallucination theory, for the disciples testified that Jesus did not swoon but really died and really rose.

Taken from:
Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ
By Peter Kreeft

Hey Randy, we get to be good buds in this topic!

There are two common responses that I have received when bringing up this question.

  1. The Bible has been corrupted/changed and therefore the accounts of the crucifixion/resurrection are unreliable.

  2. Allah made it appear that Jesus was on the cross and perhaps someone else died in His place.

The first is refuted by textual criticism, and the second makes Allah a bit of a trickster. Things get even more messy when you actually look at the early history of the event. All early references to Him that come out of the 1st and 2nd Century say that He did in fact die; whether these references come from Christians or not does not change the conclusion that Jesus was indeed killed on that cross.

And lastly, the Qur’an says that the “followers of Jesus called themselves Muslims and prevailed over the non-believers” however you will not find any reference to these early “Muslims” and any traction that Jesus and His Disciples gained in bringing the truth of Allah to be prevailed.

This is a great topic because Muslims sorta (in my experience) throw up their arms and say “Allah knows best” on this one.

I wouldn’t give an assessment of another faith tradition based on a Wikipedia article anymore than I would listen to a critique of Catholicism made by a non-Catholic based on what they read on Wikipedia.

Agreed as Dr. Kreeft shows here:

Proof that the Gospels we have today are the same Gospels originally written:

*]Because of the need for instruction and personal devotion, these writings must have been copied many times, which increases the chances of preserving the original text.
*]In fact, no other ancient work is available in so many copies and languages, and yet all these various versions agree in content.
*]The text has also remained unmarred by heretical additions. The abundance of manuscripts over a wide geographical distribution demonstrates that the text has been transmitted with only trifling discrepancies. The differences that do exist are quite minor and are the result of unintentional mistakes.
*]The quotations of the New Testament books in the early Church Fathers all coincide.
*]The Gospels could not have been corrupted without a great outcry on the part of all orthodox Christians.
*]No one could have corrupted all the manuscripts.
*]There is no precise time when the falsification could have occurred, since, as we have seen, the New Testament books are cited by the Church Fathers in regular and close succession. The text could not have been falsified before all external testimony, since then the apostles were still alive and could repudiate such tampering.
*]The text of the New Testament is every bit as good as the text of the classical works of antiquity. To repudiate the textual parity of the Gospels would be to reverse all the rules of criticism and to reject all the works of antiquity, since the text of those works is less certain than that of the Gospels.

Richard Purtill summarizes the textual case:

Many events which are regarded as firmly established historically have (1) far less documentary evidence than many biblical events; (2) and the documents on which historians rely for much secular history are written much longer after the event than many records of biblical events; (3) furthermore, we have many more copies of biblical narratives than of secular histories; and (4) the surviving copies are much earlier than those on which our evidence for secular history is based. If the biblical narratives did not contain accounts of miraculous events, biblical history would probably be regarded as much more firmly established than most of the history of, say, classical Greece and Rome. (Thinking About Religion, p. 84-85)

I agree, and I have not reached my understanding of Islam’s objections to the crucifixion and resurrection based upon reading a Wikipedia article. Instead, I have quoted Wikipedia because it provided me a quick and accurate summation of Islam’s beliefs on the subject that are easily verified by my readers.

It would be just as easy to deliberately sow discord and bad feelings between Christianity and other religions, just in case you ever feel the need.:rolleyes:

According to them, the answer will still be no cause its whats in the quran.

You will then get God explained how he ‘tricked’ us and some other irrational explanation which goes on and on and on and on and on with some other explanation that doesnt even relate to the subject at hand. This is how they debate. :rolleyes:

I’m not sure I understand what your point is.

Muslims deny that Christianity is true, and part of their reason for doing so is based upon their mistaken belief that Jesus did not actually die upon the cross.

The purpose of the Non-Catholic Religions forum is to discuss these kinds of issues, and refuting a false understanding of our faith is the duty of every Christian.

1 Peter 3:15
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

I presented a fair and balanced explanation of the Muslim beliefs (there are several theories) regarding Jesus, and I provided a careful refutation of those ideas in order to show a Muslim why Christian belief in the crucifixion and resurrection are reasonable.

Why have you taken offense at this effort in an apologetics forum? :shrug:

No, I don’t believe he was crucified. That belief is based on a few Qur’anic texts.

-There’s surah 4:157, which was already cited

-Surah 5:110, where Allah azza wa jal says to Jesus “…and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, 'This is not but obvious magic.’”

-Surah 3:55, which says “[Mention] when Allah said, "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ

In my opinion, most attempts from muslims to give an answer for the non-crucifixion of Jesus have been pitiful [to put it lightly]. The swoon theory is outside the realm of possibility, because Allah says that He restrained the jews from Jesus (i.e. He protected Jesus). The citation of gnostic Gospels is a dreadful way to try and prove anything Islamic, so we can throw that out as well. Bringing up authors like Bart Ehrman [and his books] is counter-productive because Ehrman believes that Jesus was crucified.

I don’t know how it went down, but I am pleased to concede that God can reconcile things that I cannot reconcile.

That is why I said the following at the beginning:

Because it is true for the most part that there isn’t an argument from the Islamic point of view.

Two facts from history:

  1. The New Testament exists.
  2. Christianity exists.

You don’t have to accept that either of them is true; you only have to acknowledge that they exist. Since that is undeniable, we can prove that Jesus was crucified and rose again on that first Easter morning in Jerusalem based upon the following argument:

There are five possible theories to explain the existence of Christianity and the New Testament: hallucination, myth, conspiracy, swoon and that Christianity is true.

I have already given refutations of the swoon theory. That leaves the hallucination, myth and conspiracy theories which are opposed to Christianity. If these theories are disproved, Christianity’s claim that Jesus rose from the dead will remain as the only explanation.

So, of the remaining choices, which is your favorite?

What you seem to be saying is that if I disbelive in the crucifixion, I must therefore give an explaination as to how Christianity came about-- and if I can’t do that, Christianity must be true. I reject that proposal. We’re just talking past each other at this point because the development of Christianity is a whole different issue.

The “swoon theory” is only proposed by some Ahmadiyyih Muslims.

The Qur’an in our view suggests that the Spirit of God…the Christ Spirit could not be crucified or killed.

Let’s read Surih 4 verse 157

Translation of A.Yusuf Ali

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

and read Surih 2:154

And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: “They are dead.” Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not.

The verse focuses on the reality of the spirit of the martyr who was slain! The spirit is living.

The same can be said in my view to the Surih 4:157… while the corporeal body was crucified the Spirit of Jesus was not killed…but in verse 158:

**Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-
There is also very lovely way this is confirmed by the Gospel of Luke…

The last words of Jesus on the cross according to the Gospel of Luke translated in the Jerusalem Bible read:

**…and when Jesus had cried out in a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit” with these words he breathed His last.

~ Luke 22:46

So Jesus committed His Spirit to God and the Qur’an says Allah raised him up unto Himself.

Yes. Exactly that. Why does the NT and Christianity exist if what they both claim to be true is not based on fact?

I reject that proposal. We’re just talking past each other at this point because the development of Christianity is a whole different issue.

Apparently, we’re not actually going to be talking at all. Is it because you have no plausible explanation for the existence of the Christian faith?

Christianity existed for hundreds of years before the birth of Mohammed.

Were the disciples of Jesus deceived? Or were they deceivers? Is Jesus a myth? Or is the Christian faith true?

Is there another option that I have failed to list here?

Are you then in agreement with Christians that Jesus died upon the cross?

There are things I will readily answer because I am knowledgeable about them. There are other things I will refrain from responding to because I lack sufficient knowledge. Church History is one of the areas of religious studies that I know little about. You may be disappointed at that, but I feel it’s better to be honest about the extent of my ignorance than to make up theories out of thin air about church history.

You’re thinking too much of me. Just because I am a muslim, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be able to answer things about the historicity of any given claim the Qur’an makes (in this case, the crucifixion and the advent of Christianity). I’m just a layman.

I’d like to turn this on its head by asking; Isn’t it true in the Quran, it says that Jesus will come back and be judge of mankind? Verse 43:61 (I think).

Do Muslims take this to mean being a matter of eternal life over death? If not then what does it mean, or if true what does it say about Jesus’ role for Muslims?


Does this then leave room for you to consider converting to Christianity given that you may one day accept the evidence of the death of your Prophet Jesus Christ? Or have you removed any thought of ever changing your Religious beliefs regardless of evidence?

This is a fair response.

Let me just say, however, that if you are going to reject Christianity’s claim that Jesus died, rose again and ascended (under His own power), then there ought to be some basis for rejecting it other than “My parents said so” or “My religious teachers said so” or even “Because the Qur’an said so.”

Even a layman can objectively look at the historical evidence for these things and make a decision about them. I hope you will. :slight_smile:

From my experience with a Muslim friend (who prays 5 times a day and at the Mosque without fail every Friday) whom I got to know through my father (Catholic ) and now been acquainted and had a very fruitful friendship for over 40 years now, only questioned me about Jesus’ divinity. I can also reveal that my friend is a Memon Muslim (Sunni)

He’s only brought up to me his disagreement that Jesus is God. Im not sure why he did not probe into Jesus’ crucifixion with me though which I felt should have been a follow up question. :hmmm:


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