Was `Isa (as) crucified?


Assalamoalaikum dear sheikh,

I hope you are safe.

Is there any marfu lafzan Sahih or Hasan Hadith that indicates that Sayyiduna Isa did not die?

Certain modern scholars (including a famous one teaching at Zaytuna college, see “The Crucifixion and The Qur’an: An Exegetical and Historical Inquiry Into Surah 4:157-158.“) believe that he died and was resurrected and will come again. They say that it is reported by Ibn Wahb in Tabari.  Ibn Hazm had a similar view. They believe in the crucifixion like Christians.

I know that the report from Ibn Abbas that he was substituted is sahih and marfu hukman because he condemned taking from the Isra’iliyyat so can’t be from the latter or his own ijtihad.

Do you think that the below verse’s Zahir is that Jesus will die once and be resurrected once, hence refutes the above view of Ibn Hazm?

It is this verse from surah Maryam:

And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.” https://quran.com/19/29-31

The whole issue is around mutawaffika and Ibn Ashur appears to support the view on death in 5:33 and quotes Malik and another report of Ibn Abbas as support:


Jazak Allah khairan,



Wa-alaykumussalam warahmatullah,

I. As for “any marfu lafzan Sahih or Hasan Hadith that indicates that Sayyiduna Isa did not die” see the hadith of Isra’ and Mi`raj where the Prophet (saws) said he saw `Isa (as) making tawaf with his hair dripping with water from a bath he had taken; and another hadith in which he foretold that `Isa would descend with his hands resting on the shoulders of two angels by his right and left sides, his hair dripping with water as if he just came out from the bath. That is because, as stated in yet another hadith, at the time he was raised up he was just coming out of the dimas (bath). See more such hadiths in books on (i) The Prophet’s Night Journey and Heavenly Ascent; (ii) The Life of Prophets in Barzakh; and (iii) al-Tasrih bi-ma Tawatara bihi Nuzul al-Masih (Mass-Transmitted Reports on the Descent of the Messiah), available here.

II. As for the report from Ibn Abi Talha from Ibn `Abbas that he said mutawaffika in Surat Al `Imran 3:55 means mumituka (causing you to die): (i) it is sahih because al-Bukhari included it in his Sahih ta`liqan (without chain) and said qala Ibnu `Abbas (Ibn `Abbas said), although understood as not meeting Bukhari’s highest standard of authenticity (as shown by Kawthari even if he went too far in claiming that the chain through Ibn Abi Talha is weak); BUT (ii) it is understood in light of what is also related from Ibn `Abbas, that it means “he dies AFTER he comes down again” in conformity with the view of the vast majority gloss of that verse as cited by al-Wahidi (al-Basit, al-Wasit):

وقال ابن عباس في رواية عطاء: هذا مقدم ومؤخر، يريد: إني رافعك إلي ومتوفيك بعد أن أهبطك إلى الأرض حتى تكون فيها وتتزوج ويولد لك حتى تموت

The above qualified meaning was also specified by Makki al-Qaysi in his Tafsir as meaning “after coming down again”:

وقال ابن عباس، معنى {مُتَوَفِّيكَ} هي وفاة موت (يعني) بعد نزوله من السماء

and this was said before him by al-Farra’ in Ma`ani al-Qur’an as cited by Ibn `Atiyya and al-Tha`alibi in their Tafsirs:

وقال الفَرَّاء: هي وفاةُ مَوْتٍ، ولكنَّ المعنى: إني متوفِّيك في آخر أمْرِكَ عنْد نزولِكَ وقَتْلِك الدَّجَّال، ففي الكلامِ تقديمٌ وتأخير.

i.e. in conformity with (i) what Tabari later called the tawatur of Prophetic hadiths to that effect and (ii) the vast majority of the exegetes saying that the sequence involves taqdim and ta’khir (pre-positioning and post-positioning), which is a frequent syntax in the Qur’an and Hadith.

This (alternate sound narration and qualified interpretation of the mumituka narration) is also the way that commentators of Sahih al-Bukhari understood it such as:

(i) Ahmad b. Isma`il al-Gurani (d. 893) — the student of the Hafiz Ibn Hajar — in al-Kawthar al-Jari:

(قال ابن عباس: {إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ} [آل عمران: 55]: مميتك) تمسك به بعضهم بأنه مات ثم رفع، وليس كذلك؛ لأن الواو لا تدل على الترتيب، وإنما قدم التوفي على الرفع لئلا يتوهم أن برفعه إلى السماء ينجو من الموت

and (ii) Anwar Shah Kashmiri in his commentary on Bukhari entitled Fayd al-Bari:

قوله: (وقال ابنُ عَبَّاس: {مُتَوَفّيكَ} [آل عمران: 55] مُمِيتُك). واعلم أنه ليس في نَقْلٍ إسلامي أن عيسى عليه الصلاة والسلام أُمِيتَ، ثُم رُفِع، غير أنه يُرْوى عن وَهْب بن مُنبِّه، فعلم أنهم أخذوه من النقول القديمة، نعم قاله تابعيُّ من المسلمين أيضًا. وقد ثبت عنه بأسانيدَ أصحَّ منه تفسيرُ: {مُتَوَفِّيكَ} برافِعِك إلى السماء. ولَئن سلّمناه، ففيه تقديمٌ وتأخيرٌ

NOTE: its hukm is NOT marfu` but mawquf regardless of authenticity, as (i) it is a linguistic gloss (as indicated by Ibn `Ashur) from Ibn `Abbas’s own ijtihad and not a disclosure of ghayb; and (ii) no one has said such a thing among the authorities to my knowledge. We should not assert such things without proof.

III. Nor, as pointed out by Kawthari, is the unqualified view authentically related from Malik even if “it appears Ibn Hazm was deluded by it.” And if it were, it would be understood in qualified terms or else rejected outright, as Ibn `Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamhid:

وَالصَّحِيحُ عِنْدِي فِي ذَلِكَ قَوْلُ مَنْ قَالَ مُتَوَفِّيكَ قَابِضُكَ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ لِمَا صَحَّ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ مِنْ نُزُولِهِ وَإِذَا حُمِلَتْ رِوَايَةُ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ عَلَى التَّقْدِيمِ وَالتَّأْخِيرِ أَيْ رَافِعُكَ وَمُمِيتُكَ

IV. The same goes for the report from Wahb if its chain were not flimsy, then its understanding would be the same as what those quoted above and below said about that from Ibn `Abbas.

V. As for Ibn `Ashur’s claim that mutawaffika cannot mean qabiduka (seizing you), it was long put to rest by Tabari and Maturidi in their Tafsirs–and the latter flatly rejected the unqualified meaning of Ibn `Abbas’s report–and Ibn `Abd al-Barr as already cited, among others, such as Ruyani in Bahr al-Madhhab:

العرب تقدم الكلام مؤخرًا، وتؤخر مقدمًا. قال الله تعالى “إنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ ورَافِعُكَ إلَيَّ” [آل عمران: (55)] معناه إني رافعك إلي ومتوفيك لأن رفع عيسى عليه السلام قد كان، ووفاته ستكون في المستقبل

Thus the unqualified view that mutawaffika in the Aya of Al `Imran means “causing you to die” and that `Isa first died and then was raised up (i) is completely shadhdh, (ii) is the Christian position, (iii) comes from the Abduh-Shaltut school, and (iv) typifies parties either ungrounded in tafsir and hadith and their sciences; or leaning to novel views and/or Mu`tazilism or worse; or both ungrounded and unorthodox or, more precisely, ignorant and heretical. It was refuted by Tabari himself when he said “Allah was never to make `Isa die twice,” as established by the verse from Surat al-Rum:

اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ هَلْ مِنْ شُرَكَائِكُمْ مَنْ يَفْعَلُ مِنْ ذَلِكُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ) سورة الروم: 40

It was also thoroughly refuted by Kawthari in several texts, Abd Allah al-Ghumari in Iqamat al-Burhan, and Anwar Shah Kashmiri in two books on that topic: al-Tasrih bi-ma Tawatara bihi Nuzul al-Masih, and `Aqidat al-Islam fi Hayat `Isa `Alayhissalam (Islamic Doctrine on the Life of `Isa, upon him peace), the latter of which the Prince Ghazi Trust has made available online here:

عقيدة الاسلام في حياة عيسى عليه السلام

The Prophet (saws) adduced that verse when he disputed with the delegation of Najran Christians to show to them that Sayyidina `Isa was not killed and did not die, so those misguided ones are taking the side of Najran Christians and arguing against the Prophet (saws). And Allah knows best.


Hajj Gibril Haddad

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