Easter Sunday is the culmination of the holy week for the Christians around the world, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What are Islamic views on the death/crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Before I delve into the answer, I would begin by pointing out that Jesus Christ is highly revered by Muslims around the world. Jesus Christ is not only a noble Prophet in Islam but one of the 5 most elite Prophets (Ulul Ambia), the other 4 bearing Noah, Abraham, Moses and Muhammad Peace be upon them all. The Qur’an frequently praises Jesus and his mother, Mary.
Like the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad and Torah to Moses, Gospel or Injil as it is known in the Qur’an, was revealed to Jesus.
Both Injil and Gospel mean ‘glad tidings’ or ‘good news’. According to the teachings of the Qur’an, the Gospel was revealed to Jesus and is considered guidance and light to the believers.
And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous. And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed—then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient.
The Qur’an 5:46-47
Key Islamic beliefs about Jesus
- He was born of a miraculous birth, without a father. The Qur’an gives a parallel with Adam’s birth.
- He was a prophet and a messenger of God. He was the word of God, the spirit of God, and the Messiah. All people in this world will honor him, and he will be honored in the hereafter.
- However, he was neither divine nor the Son of God.
- He did not die on the cross, but rather God made him ascend to the heavens to protect his honor. He will return to earth before the Day of Judgment, bringing peace and justice to earth.
- Jesus preached the unity of God.
- He performed many miracles, as noted below, all of them by the will of God, and thus the ultimate power and supremacy lies with God
Jesus- The Messiah
Muslims consider Jesus as the Messiah. It is based on the teachings of the Qur’an. In fact I have Muslim friends named Isa and Masih (meaning Messiah).
Behold! The angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ [masiyah, messiah] Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah; He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.’
The Qur’an 3:45–46
Jesus-The Spirit of God
One of his nicknames in the Quran is Ruh Allah, or “the spirit of God”. The spirit of God however does not denote the same meaning as the father, son and the Holy Spirit components in the doctrine of trinity. Jesus Christ was endowed with many unique miracles, reflecting some of God’s attributes, the likes of which are not seen before, or after him. God bestowed these miracles upon him as a sign to prove his prophecy.
And What about Qur’an’s views on Crucifixion?
Mainstream Islamic view is that Jesus did not die on the cross but was made to appear as he did. This is of course in direct contradiction to the widely held Christian belief (and in fact a key doctrine). However, Muslims also believe that Jesus ascended to Heaven, and is by God and will return before the end of time to establish justice in the world.
And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah (Christ), Isa (Jesus) son of Marium (Mary), the messenger of Allah (God); and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.
The Qur’an 4:157-158
This (denying that Jesus died on the cross) may be upsetting to Christians but the Qur’an also explains elsewhere why God decided to raise Jesus to Himself.
And they plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.
The Qur’an 3:54
And when God said: O Jesus, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so l will decide between you concerning that in which you differed.
The Qur’an 3:55
It turns out that God did not want his enemies to succeed or have the satisfaction of killing him, so He raised Jesus to Himself. Whether this ascension was physical or spiritual form is debated among the Muslims.
The Qur’an also talks about the table spread, perhaps in reference to the last supper in the following verses when the disciples request Jesus to ask God for the table Spread in chapter 5, verses 112 and 113.
When the disciples said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Is your Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven? He said: Reverence God, if you are true believers. They said: We desire that we should eat from it and that our hearts may be at peace, and that we may know that you have indeed spoken the truth to us and that we may be of among the witnesses to it.
Hearing this, Jesus goes on to pray to God for the table spread with heavenly food.
Jesus the son of Mary said: O Allah, our Lord! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast (Eid) for us, for the first of us and for the last of us, and a sign from You. Give us sustenance, for You are the Best of Sustainers.
The Qur’an 5:114
And in another set of verses in chapter 19, named after his mother, Mary (Surah Maryam), Jesus points out to his own status.
He (Jesus) said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me revelation and made me a Prophet; “And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;
“(He) has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable;
The Qur’an 19: 30-32
“So peace (Salam) is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”!
Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.
The Qur’an 19: 33-34