The Alleged Torture and Crucifixion of Jesus

Question and answer details
Why will Jesus come down to earth again? Was he really crucified and was he really tortured before the crucifixion?
Shahul Hameed
Salam (Peace) Dear Chevalnoir,

Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Muslims believe that before the Last Day, Jesus will return to earth. The meaning of the relevant verse in the Quran is as follows:

{And their saying, “We killed the Messiah, `Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah.” … They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:157-158)

Note that the Arabic word used for “raised up” is rafa`a. In one view, this need not mean a physical lifting up, so the word in this context may refer to the raising of Jesus to a lofty station, as one of the closest to God. That is to say, this does not necessarily mean that Jesus did not die, but only that he was spiritually elevated to a high status in divine presence.

But a careful reading of the above verse should make the following clear:

The Romans and the Jews
did not kill Jesus; they did not crucify him; but it appeared so.

The question is: what happened to Jesus, then?

And the answer is “Allah raised him up to Himself.” That is to say, Jesus was physically lifted up and thus was saved from the curse of a death on the cross.

Muslims reject the Christian claim that an innocent Son of God—or God Himself— had to die on the cross to save sinners from punishment. The Quran says that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified. So he must be alive. Hence it is natural for the Muslims to believe that Jesus will return; and it is noteworthy that the Quran and the Hadith support that belief. Here is one hadith:

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah's Messenger, (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my self, definitely the son of Maryam will soon descend among you as a just judge, and he will break the cross, kill the pig, and abolish the
jizyah and wealth will be so abundant that no one will accept it, until a single prostration will be better than the world and everything in it” (Al-Bukhari).

The above hadith essentially suggests that Jesus will return as a just judge between truth and falsehood. Breaking the cross, killing the pig, and so on simply mean that he will correct the false doctrines and beliefs spread about him and his teachings among his followers. Consequently many of them will follow him. And thus the followers of Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Jesus (peace and blessings be upon both of them) will be united into one Ummah (nation). This is the purpose of Jesus’ return to earth.

In brief, the Quran makes it clear that God saved Jesus from torture and death on the cross, and he will come back to earth as a just ruler. This is quite in keeping with the Biblical reference to Jesus’ prayer to God to save him, as well as to his second coming.

According to the Bible, death by crucifixion is an accursed one; so one cannot imagine a respectable prophet of God being subjected to a death described by the Bible as accursed. All this simply points to the fact that Jesus, who was a prophet of God, was saved by God from the pain of torture and the shame of a death on the cross.

And Allah knows best.
I hope this is informative.

Thank you and please keep in touch.


Useful Links:

Any Proofs for Jesus’ Divinity?

Did Jesus Die to Bring Eternal Life to Man?

Why God Made it Appear that Jesus Was Crucified?