Qadianis, also called Ahmadis, the followers of the religion founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian, say that, Prophet Jesus (PBUH) died a natural death. And moreover these heathens try to prove their point from the Holy Quran, but all in vague. They can only deceive those people who don’t know the Quran in detail and the Arabic language. But Alhamdulillah Muslim scholars have done great work and have refuted their false propaganda in an irrefutable manner. All praise is to Allah.
MEANING OF 'MUTAWAFFEKA' & 'TAWAFFAITANI' IN QURAN 3:55 & 5:117.
Qadianis say that the word mutawaffeeka in Quran 3:55 and tawaffaitani in Quran 5:117 speak of the death of Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and they erroneously translate the verses as;
“Lo! God said:`O Jesus! Verily I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto me...” (3:55)
"I said to them naught save as Thou didst command me: 'Serve God, my Lord and your Lord.'; and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die Thou wast the Watcher over them. And Thou art Witness of all things.'” (5:117)
But this is wrong. I present the Islamic view point in detail in the following lines;
Quran 3:55 informs believers that Allah will “take back” Jesus (PBUH), protect him from the unbelievers, and raise him to His presence. Many great Islamic scholars and commentators have interpreted this verse to mean that Jesus (PBUH) did not die. As the verse states:
“When Allah said: ‘O Isa , I am to take you in full (mutawaffeeka) and to raise you towards Myself, and to cleanse you of those who disbelieve, and to place those who follow you above those who disbelieve up to the Day of Doom. Then to Me is your return, whereupon I shall judge between you in that over which you have differed.’” (3:55)
The part requiring special consideration is the sentence; “I will take you back (mutawaffeeka) and raise you up to Me.”
And indeed Quran 5:117 also goes on the same lines.
"I have not said to them anything but what You have ordered me to say, that is, 'Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord‘ and I was a witness over them as long as I was with them. But when You recalled me (tawaffaitani), You were the One watching over them. You are a witness over everything." (5:117)
A close examination reveals a most important truth: The verb carries a sense that differs from what is normally meant by “to die.” The word translated into English as “to die” comes from the Arabic root waffaa derived from the verb tawaffaa, which does not imply death, but rather taking the soul, or surrender.
Meaning of tawaffa:
Ibn Taymiyya said:
In Kulliyat Abu Al-Baqa it is stated:
The Qur’an also reveals that taking a person’s soul does not always imply death. For instance, another verse uses tawaffaa to refer not to a person’s death, but to taking his or her soul while asleep:
"Allah fully takes away (yatawaffaa) the souls (of the people) at the time of their death (mawtiha), and (of) those who do not die (lam tamut), in their sleep. Then He withholds those on whom He had decreed death (al-mawt), and sends others back, up to an appointed term. Surely, in this, there are signs for a people who ponder." (Quran 39: 42)
The word here translated as “taking back” is the same as that used in Qur’an 3:55 and 5:117: tawaffaa. Since a person does not actually die during the night, the word yatawaffaa here refers not to death, but to taking the soul at night. If tawaffaa were being used in the sense of death, then that would mean that all people would be biologically dead during sleep. Thus, Jesus (PBUH) would have died every night of his life. Such an assertion is both irrational and illogical.
3-Explanation from Hadith:
Another instance in which sleep is regarded as a kind of death, but which does not refer to biological death, is the following Hadith:
Narrated Huzaifa: When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) moved to his bed (to sleep) he would say; ‘All praise is for God, Who has made us alive after He made us die [sleep] (Al-hamdu li Allah illazi ahyana ba’da maa amatana; wa ilayhi al-nushoor).’ (Sahih Bukhari Hadith 5837)
No doubt, he used these wise words not to refer to biological death when one is asleep, but rather to a sleeping person’s soul being “taken.”
4-Jesus (PBUH) was given a kind of sleep:
Ibn Kathir, the famous Islamic scholar and commentator, used this Hadith, along with many other proofs in his commentary on Surah Al’-Imran, to explain that tawaffaa refers to sleep. In addition, he indicated the word’s meaning in other verses where it appears.
Ibn Kathir gave his opinion using a Hadith handed down by Ibn Abi Hatim: Ibn Abi Hatim says that: “My father told us …
... from Hassan that the meaning of the verse ‘I will take you back…’ is this: Here it means that ‘I shall kill you with the death of sleep.' In other words, I shall cause you to sleep.’ So, Allah raised Jesus (PBUH) to the heavens while he was asleep." (Ibn Kathir 2/47)
Infact there is a Hadith which clarifies beyond all doubt. It goes as;
Hasan (RA) narrated: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to the Jews, 'Jesus has not died, he will return to you before the Doomsday.'" (Al-Tabari H.7133)
5-Antonym of Hayat (Life) in the Quran?
Further we know that in the Holy Quran only the word mawt (death) is used in contrast to hayat (life) e.g. See Quran 67:2, 25:3, 2:260, 30:19, 2:164, 16:45, 45:5, 3:49, 42:9. But not even once has the Quran used tawaffa against hayat. This is strong evidence that to the Author of the Quran tawaffa is not the opposite of hayat.
6-Views of leading learned scholars:
Islamic scholars agree that mutawaffeeka means that Jesus (PBUH) did not die, but that he was raised to Allah’s presence and will return to Earth. For example;
Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari, the famous commentator and scholar , stated that mutawaffeeka is used in the sense of “removing from Earth” and interpreted the verse in the following terms: "To me the soundest opinion is to take this word in the sense of 'to take into one’s possession', 'draw (away) from Earth.' In that case, the meaning of the verse is: 'I shall take you from Earth and into the heavens.' [This is] because of the multiple ways it has been narrated from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) that Jesus son of Mary will descend, kill Anti-Christ (Dajjal)..." (Al-Tabari 3/51)
The great Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya stated that Quran 3:55 indicates that Jesus (PBUH) did not die, but most likely experienced a kind of “sleep death.” He then wrote: “This verse is proof that the death of Jesus (pbuh) is not being referred to… The word al-tawaffa [the infinitive form of the word mutawafeeka used] in the verse requires the death of the soul without that of the body, or of both, but with the existence of another piece of evidence explaining the circumstances in this sense. The meaning may be the death of sleep (as in Qur’an 6:60). The words at the end of the verse, to the effect that: “I shall separate you purified from the unbelievers,” are also along these lines. Had Jesus’ (PBUH) body been separated from his soul, then his body would be in the ground, as with the other prophets.” (Majmu‘Fatawa 4/322-323)
So in the light of the Quran, Hadith and the views of learned scholars the meaning of mutawaffeeka is 'to take in full' i.e. with both body and soul.
7-Ibn Abbas's (RA) view on Mutawaffeeka:
Now coming to the view of the pious Companion Ibn Abbas, we see that many people often quote a saying of him to confuse the whole case. It is quoted in Sahih Bukhari without any chain,
Ibn Abbas (RA) said: "Mutawaffeeka is 'I'll cause you to die.'" (Sahih Bukhari 14/149)
The complete narration along with chain is found in Ibn kathir 2/47, Al-Tabari 6/457, Ibn Abi Hatim 3/14 Hadith 3630.
But we ought to consider other narrations of Ibn Abbas (RA) to understand his actual position on this issue. The following one clarifies his stand point;
Narrated Az-Zahaak from Ibn Abbas that the verse 'Inni Mutawaffeka wa rafiuka' means: "I will raise you to myself then I'll cause you to die near the End of Times." (Durr Al-Manthur 2/347)
It is enough to show that even according to Ibn Abbas' (RA) view Jesus (PBUH) is alive yet and the verse to him refers only to his death in the End of Times after his descent.
One may say how can the order be changed i.e. how can rafa (raising) precede tawaffa (death as per Ibn Abbas' view) while it is mentioned later according to the make up of the sentence. This is no problem as it’s common in Quran that something mentioned later in the sentence precedes what's mentioned before it. A perfect example is Quran 3:110.
"You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah."
One can see that belief in Allah comes first but its mentioned after the mention of enjoining what is right and forbidding the wrong.
Ibn Abbas (RA) believed in the physical ascension of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). This fact also refutes any notion of attributing Jesus' (PBUH) death to him.
Ibn Abbas said, "When Allah intended to raise Jesus (PBUH) to the heavens, he went to his companions,...Jesus (PBUH) ascended to heaven through an opening in the top of the house."
(Ibn Abi Hatim 4/431 Hadith 6266, Ibn Kathir 2/449. Ibn Kathir called it Sahih)
This detail is enough to maintain that even the opinion of Ibn Abbas (RA) in essence goes with the established opinion of other Sahaba and later Muslim generations.
And it'll be nothing less than sham and hypocrisy to take one narration of a person and reject the other for no reason.
‘And Muhammad is only a messenger — messengers have already passed away (qad khalat) before him. If, then, he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels?’ [Translation by Qadianis](Quran 3: 144)
1-Meaning of ‘qad khalat’:
Here the actual Arabic word is 'qad khalat' which comes from the word 'khala'.
About 'khala' Raghib Isfahani says:
"Al-Khallu (the root of khala) is used for for both time and space and but as there is a nuance of the past in (its usage of) time so linguists take it to refer to the past." (Mufradaat al-Quran 1/158) .... and then he gives Quran 3:144 and 13:6 as its examples.
Thus he makes it clear that the verse does not refer to the death of the Prophets before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It does not even deal with their being alive or dead rather it only refers to their fact of their having lived in the past.
2-Meaning of 'khala' for persons:
It’s also wrong to say that when used for persons the word khala means death for we read in the Quran:
‘...and there never were a people, without a Warner having lived (khala) among them (in the past)’ (Quran 35: 24)
Even according to the translation of Sher Ali Qadiani it reads as; ‘and there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent.’
In this verse translating the word 'khala' as Qadianis say otherwise will certainly be absurd.
3-Its meaning in relation to Quran 5:75:
Quran 5:75 goes as:
Some try to relate it to Quran 5:75 mistranslating it as:
“The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; surely, Messengers like unto him had indeed passed away before him.” [Qadiani Translation]
Infact to take this verse 5:75 to refer to death of all the prophets is erroneous because we know that while Jesus (PBUH) walked this Earth Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) was alive. So the correct translation of this verse is as under;
“The Masih, son of Maryam, is no more than a Messenger. There have been messengers before him…”
Therefore the best translation of Quran 3: 144 is as done by Shaykh Taqi Usmani i.e.
‘And Muhammad is but a messenger, there have been messengers before him. So, if he dies or is killed, would you turn back on your heels?’
All the explanation above refutes the Qadiani position in favor of the Islamic creed.
INDEED ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST!