Elevation or Crucifixion of Jesus?

Imam Ibn Kathir

Allah says:

"And when Allah said: ‘O Jesus! I will take you and lift you up to Me, and purify you of those who disbelieve, and will make those who followed you above those who disbelieved until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me shall you all return, and I shall judge between you in that which you dispute.’" (3:54,55)

Then He said in Surat An-Nisa':

"For their breaking the covenant, and their disbelief in Allah ’s Signs, and their slaying the Prophets unjustly, and for their saying: 'Our hearts are impermeable'. No, but Allah has set a seal upon them for their blasphemy, so little it is what they believe. And for their rejection to the Faith, and for their uttering against Mary a monstrous lie." (4:155,156)

"And for their saying (in boast): 'We killed Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah'; but they killed him not nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubt with no certain knowledge, but only follow mere conjecture, for of a surety they killed him not. But Allah lifted him up to Him, and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. And there is none of the people of the Book, but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Judgment, he will be a witness against them." (4:157-159)

These Verses tell us that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was lifted up to the heaven after his opponents from Jews complained and misled the king of that time, as they wanted to slay him and crucify him.

Ibn Abu Hatim has narrated from Ibn Abbas saying: "'When Allah wanted to lift him up to heaven, Jesus came to his companions in the house. There were twelve people, with some from among his disciples. He had just a bath, and his head was still dribbling with water. He said to them: 'There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after he had believed in me! Then he said: 'Who will from among you take my likeness and be killed in my place, so will become in my rank?' A young youth came forwards. But Jesus said to him: 'Sit down! Then he repeated the same question, and the same youth stood up and came forwards, and said: ‘I.' Jesus said: 'You are the one,' and then the likeness of Jesus was put on him, and Jesus was lifted up to the heaven from the window of his house.

Jews came looking for him. They took the youth and killed him and then crucified him. Later they became three groups. One group, who are called Jacobites (Yaqubiyah), believe that it was God Himself among them who stayed with them as long as He wanted to, then went back to the heaven. Another group who are called Nestorian (Nasturiyah), believed that it was the son of God who was with them, and stayed among them as long as he wanted, then his father lifted him up. But the group of true believers said that he was the slave of Allah and His Messenger who stayed among them as long as he wanted, then his Lord Allah took him up to Him. The two disbeliever groups collided together against the believer group and killed them, and so real teachings of Islam taught by Jesus became obscure till Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Hasan Basri and Ibn Ishaq said: The king who ordered the killing of Jesus, was David bin Naura. He commanded Jesus to be killed and hanged. They surrounded Jesus who was in a house inside Bait-ul-Maqdis. It was a Saturday night. When they were about to enter the house, his likeness was put on one of those who were present there with him. And Jesus was lifted up from the window of that house to the heaven. When the police entered the house they found the youth on whom the likeness of Jesus was put, so they took him and crucified him. Even they put a crown of thorns on his head to mock him. Those Christians who were not present there at that time, believed what Jews claimed, that they killed Jesus.

Allah said: "And there is none of the people of the Book, but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Judgment, he will be a witness against them." This refers to the time when Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) will descend to the earth before the Day of Judgment, and kill the swine, break the Cross, impose the levy, and will not be pleased but with Islam."'

Ibn Jarir has narrated from Wahb bin Munabbih, saying: Jesus came along with seventeen of his disciples to a house. Then police came and surrounded the house. However, when they entered the house, Allah put the likeness of Jesus on all of those who were there. They were confused, and said: "You have bewitched us. Either Jesus come to us, or we will kill of you." Jesus said to his companions: "Who can buy today a place in Jannah (Paradise)?" A man said: "I"' and went out, claiming: "I am Jesus." They took him and crucified him, and so they were deluded in their belief that they have killed Jesus, and so are the Christians. But Jesus was lifted up to Allah on that day.

Ibn `Asakir said: Mary lived after Jesus for five years, and then died at the age of fifty-three years.

Hasan Basri said: Jesus was thirty-four years old when he was lifted to the heaven. Sa'id bin Musayyib said: He was thirty-three years old when he was raised up to the heaven.

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