What We Believe
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October 03, 2004 Q & A

Muslim View of Jesus' Crucifixion

Question:

Why do Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified?

Answer:

Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified because they believe that the Qur'an (or Koran) teaches that Jesus was not crucified. In this instance (as in others), what is taught in the Qur'an, the sacred book of Islam (popularly known as the Muslim faith or Mohammedanism), is in contradiction to what is taught in the Bible.

There is a reference in the Qur'an concerning the crucifixion of Jesus: Sura 4:157-158: "They [the Jews] slew him[Jesus] not nor crucified [him], but it appeared so unto them...they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain, But Allah took him up unto Himself."

Though the Qur'an does not say so expressly, the interpretation of many Muslims is that Muhammad (or Mohammed) taught that Jesus was replaced by another man as Jesus was carrying the cross and that the other man was the one crucified, not Jesus.

There are other references in the Qur'an on this. For more reading consult Suras 3:55 and the whole of Sura 19:27-35 and 19:91-95. There is not much precision here. Muhammad mixes Moses' sister Miriam and Jesus' mother Mary. He seems to say that Jesus ascended without dying, that God had no son, and that Jesus is a recognized prophet of Allah.

The Bible, of course, teaches that Jesus was crucified (and raised from the dead). The crucifixion of Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament. Here is an example from the Book of Psalms (I'll be quoting from the New International Version throughout):

... a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.... They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.... I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one.... All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him...." (Ps. 22:16, 18, 22-24, 27)

And here is an example from the Prophecy of Isaiah:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.... Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will ... prolong his days.... After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities." (Is. 53:5-6, 10-11)

In the New Testament, the crucifixion is taught in all four Gospels (as is the resurrection). In fact, the crucifixion of Jesus is taught throughout the entire New Testament. Here are some examples:

We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life! (Matt. 20:18-19).

When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Matt. 27:35, NIV)

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said...." (Matt. 28:5-6)

And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. (Mark 15:24)

"Don't be alarmed," he [the angel] said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here...." (Mark 16:6)

When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left. (Luke 23:33)

"He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words. (Luke 24:6-8)

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did. (John 19:23-24)

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:6)

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

...remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Eph. 2:12-13).

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Pet. 1:18-19)

And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." (Rev. 5:9)

I pray that you are following the crucified, risen, and ascended Jesus as His disciple and are attending the true church to join other worshipers of the Triune God.

 

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