Ibn Abbas (RA) and alleged death of Eisa (AS)

Ahmadiyya often allege that Ibn Abbas (RA) was at par with their heretic belief about the death of Eisa (AS). This article aims at a detailed refutation of the claim.

Ahmadiyya refer to the following saying of Ibn Abbas (RA);

قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ { مُتَوَفِّيكَ } مُمِيتُكَ
Ibn Abbas said: Mutawaffeeka [means] ‘I’ll cause you to die’ (Mumeetuka)” (Sahih Bukhari 14/149, Kitabul Tafsir)

This much is true but this saying alone does not give the complete view of Ibn Abbas (RA).

Correct position of Ibn Abbas (RA) on this issue:

The correct position of Ibn Abbas (RA) is that he believed in the physical ascension and return of Eisa (AS) even though he understood ‘mutawaffeeka’ to mean death. Following narration clarifies this;

عن ابن عباس في قوله { إني متوفيك ورافعك } يعني رافعك ثم متوفيك في آخر الزمان
It is narrated from Ibn Abbas about the Ayah “I’ll take you and raise you”; “It means I’ll raise you then will cause you to die near the End of Times.” (Durr Manthur 2/347 under 3:55)

It is thus obvious that Ibn Abbas (RA) believed in Taqdim & Takhir (advancing and retarding) in this verse.

Taqdim & Takhir is valid, not heretic:

In wake of the reality that sole person whose reference they cite in forwarding their argument about the meaning ‘mutawaffeeka’ made Taqdim in this verse (3:55) Ahmadiyya take exception to the whole idea of Taqdim and Takhir. While this only shows their frustration two references in this regard will suffice;

Imam Al-Razi in his commentary after explaining this verse from various angles says;

والمعنى : أني رافعك إليّ ومطهرك من الذين كفروا ومتوفيك بعد إنزالي إياك في الدنيا ، ومثله من التقديم والتأخير كثير في القرآن

“The meaning is; I will raise you unto me and will purify you from infidels and will cause you to die after I descend you in the word. And examples of advancing and retarding (taqdim and takhir) are numerous in the Qur’an.” (Tafsir Al-Kabir 4/227 under Qur'an 3:55)

An example is the following verse;

وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُمْ مِنْ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“Allah has brought you forth from your mothers‘wombs when you knew nothing, and He made for you ears, eyes and hearts, so that you may be grateful.” (Qur’an 16:78)

Clearly the idea of Taqdim and Takhir is implied in this verse as Allah surely makes for one his ears, eyes and heart before he comes forth from his mother’s womb though this is not mentioned in sequence.

And Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti in his monumental work on Qur’anic sciences and knowledge, Al-Ittiqan fi Uloom Al-Qur’an, has a complete chapter about it. He starts the chapter with the following words;

هوقسمان. الأول: ما أشكل معناه بحسب الظاهر، فلما عرف أنه باب التقديم والتأخير اتضح وهوجدير أن يفرد بالتصنيف، وقد تعرض السلف لذلك في آيات
“This, the first of two sections, deals with verses that remain ambiguous on face value. But knowing that they belong to the category known as Advancing and Retarding (taqdim and takhir) brings clarity to them. Though some of the pious ancestors have made passing references to them, such verses in fact, ought to have been dealt with exclusively in a separate work. “

And in the same section he writes;

وأخرج عن قتادة في قوله تعالى إني متوفيك ورافعك قال: هذا من المقدم والمؤخر: أي رافعك إلي ومتوفيك

“And he [Ibn Abi Hatim] quotes Qatada as saying that the verse ‘inn mutawafeeka wa rafiyuka’ (3:55) also belongs to the said category and must be understood thus: ‘rafiyuka ilayya wa mutawafeeka’.” (Al-Ittiqan section 44 p.1399-1400. Classified as Sahih by the research team of Markaz Al-Dirasat Al-Qur’ania, pub. Saudi Ministry of Islamic publications)

Please note, Qatada was one of the most prominent students of Ibn Abbas’ (RA) pupils. Also note that both Al-Razi and Suyuti have been recognized as Mujaddids by Ahmadis.

Isn’t it not amazing that one of their Mujaddid says that taqdim and takhir is very often found in the Qur’an, another says that the subject should have been dealt in a separate work and yet Ahmadis reject the idea altogether? Perhaps they have found no other way out of the quagmire of arguments they land into; thanks to their inconsistent methodology!

Hypocrisy of Ahmadiyya’ pseudo-prophet:

When it suits them they bestow epithets of honor on a person and when the same person rebukes their claims they abuse him.

In Azala-tul-Auham MGA referring to the narration of Ibn Abbas (RA) from Bukhari writes about him;

“It must be clear to the readers that Ibn Abbas is among the most prominent people in the understanding of Qur’an and in this regard there is a prayer of Holy Prophet (saaw) in his favour.” (Azala-tul-Auham p.247 , RK – vol.2 p.225)

But knowing the fact that idea of taqdim and takhir in this verse which is proved from Ibn Abbas (RA) and his students kills his argument he yelled all kinds of abuses against those who prescribe to this idea. (See Zamima Barahin Ahmadiyya p.178, RK – vol.21 p. 347)

What is it, if not hypocrisy and sham, to bisect a learned person’s opinion and accept a part of it and decline the rest?

The conjunction ‘wa’ does not imply sequence:

Imam Al-Razi, recognized as Mujaddid by Ahmadis, says;

الواو في قوله { مُتَوَفّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَىَّ }لا تفيد الترتيب فالآية تدل على أنه تعالى يفعل به هذه الأفعال ، فأما كيف يفعل ، ومتى يفعل ، فالأمر فيه موقوف على الدليل ، وقد ثبت الدليل أنه حي وورد الخبر عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : « أنه سينزل ويقتل الدجال » ثم إنه تعالى يتوفاه بعد ذلك .

“The [conjunction] ‘wa’ [i.e. and] in the word of Allah ‘mutawaffeeka wa rafiuka’ does not imply sequence. So the verse says the Almighty does all these things but as to how he and when, this depends on the evidence. And it is proved with evidence that he [Eisa A.S.] is alive. There is a saying of the Prophet, on whom be peace, ‘He [Eisa] will return and kill Dajjal’ then afterwards the Almighty will cause him to die.” (Tafsir Al-Kabir 4/226 under Qur’an 3:55)

Infact MGA himself accepted that the Arabic conjunction ‘wa’ does not imply sequence. See Taryaq Al-Qulub p.143, RK – vol.15 p.454 (marginal note) but then without giving any valid reason opposed the same idea’s application to Qur’an 3:55.

Explicit narrations from Ibn Abbas (RA) about ascension, life & return of Eisa (AS):

The points of debate between Muslims and the Ahmadiyya are whether Eisa (AS) was physically raised upto the Heavens or not and if he will personally return before the End of the Times. Following narrations clarify his belief.

عن ابن عباس قال: لما أراد الله أن يرفع عيسى إلى السماء خرج على أصحابه ...ورفع عيسى من رَوْزَنَة في البيت إلى السماء

Ibn Abbas said, "When Allah intended to raise Eisa (AS) to the heavens, he went to his companions...and Eisa (AS) ascended to the Heavens through an opening in the top of the house."
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir 2/449, Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim 4/431 Hadith 6266. Ibn Kathir classified it as Sahih)

What explicit evidence is required after this?

عن سعيد بن جبير، عن ابن عباس:"وإن من أهل الكتاب إلا ليؤمنن به قبل موته"، قال: قبل موت عيسى ابن مريم

It is narrated from Sa’id bin Jubair from Ibn Abbas [about]; “No one will remain from among the People of the Book but will certainly believe in him before he dies.” He said; “Before the death of Eisa ibn Maryam.” (Tafsir Al-Tabari 9/380 Narration 10794-5 under Qur’an 4:159. Classified as Sahih by Hafiz Ibn Hajr in Fath Al-Bari 10/250, Kitab Ahadith Al-Anbiya, Chapter on the Descent of Eisa ibn Maryam)

Simple implication of this narration is that Ibn Abbas (RA) believed in the return of Eisa ibn Maryam (AS). Hafiz Ibn Hajr who authenticated this narration has been recognized as Mujaddid by Ahmadis.

We find a narration in Musnad Ahmad which says that Abu Yahya, the freed slave of Ibn Aqil Ansari, asked Ibn Abbas about the verse;

{ وَإِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ لِلسَّاعَةِ }
“And he is the sign of the Hour (the Day of Judgment)” (43:61)

قَالَ هُوَ خُرُوجُ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام قَبْلَ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ

Ibn Abbas said: “That is the descent of Eisa ibn Maryam, on whom be peace, before the Doomsday.” (Musnad Ahmad 3/284 Hadith 2921. Classified as Sahih by Ahmad Shakir)

Many more narrations to this effect are found in Tafsir Al-Tabari under this Ayah. All these narrations belie the notion of Ibn Abbas (RA) prescribing to the view held by Ahmadiyya.

Following is another explicit and categorical narration leaving no room for the usual Ahmadi twisting.

عن ابن عباس قال ... وإن الله رفعه بجسده، وانه حي الآن، وسيرجع إلى الدنيا فيكون فيها ملكاً، ثم يموت كما يموت الناس
Narrated from Ibn Abbas, he said: “… and verily Allah raised him [Eisa ibn Maryam] with his body while he was alive and he will soon return to this world and will be a ruler therein. Then he will die as other people die.” (Ibn S’ad’ Tabaqat Al-Kubra 1/53)

Alhamdulillah all the above details show it beyond all doubt that Ibn Abbas (RA) and his pupils adhered to the unanimous Islamic belief about the life and return of Eisa ibn Maryam (AS). And he is free from the charge that Ahmadis make against him by wrongly attributing to him a false belief.

May Allah guide Ahmadis and bring them out of the mental slavery of the cult!

Indeed Allah knows the best!

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    1. I wasn't able to find this reference (Sahih Bukhari 14/149, Kitabul Tafsir) on sunnah.com. The reference system is rather different.

      Please can you help find the reference to the Ibn Abbas hadith in sahih bukhari online?


    2. Allaha Bless You Guys, keep it up