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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Who Was Jesus, Son of Mary?

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Translated by Ramy Noaman

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al‐`Uthaymeen was asked about the creed of the Muslims with respect to Jesus, son of Mary, peace be upon him.

He replied:

“The creed of the Muslims concerning Jesus, son of Mary, peace and blessings be upon him, is that he is one of the noble messengers. In fact, he was among those of Great Determination, and they were: Muhammad, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus, peace and blessings be upon them. Allah mentioned them in two places in His Book.

In Surat Al‐Ahzab (Chapter of the Confederates):

ِن ٱبۡ َسى ِعي َو َسىٰ ُمو َو َم ِهي َرٲ َوِٕابۡ ٍ۟ح ُّ نو ِمن َو َك ِمن َو ُهمۡ ِميَثـَٰق َن ٱلَّ نِبِّ يـۧ َن ِم َخذَۡنا َٔاَوِٕاذۡ ًظ ي ِل َغ ا ًق ٰ ـ َث ي ِّ م م ُه ۡ ن ِم ا َن ۡذ َخ َٔا َو َۖم َي ۡرَم

And [mention, O Muhammad], when We took from the prophets their covenant and from you and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus, the son of Mary; and We took from them a solemn covenant. [Qur’an ]33:7

In Surat Ash‐Shura (Chapter of Mutual Consultation):

ِهۦۤ ِب َّ صيَۡنا َو َما َو َك ِٕاَليۡ َحيَۡنآ َٔاوۡ ٓى ِذ َوٱَّ ل ً۟حا ُنو ِهۦ ِب َّ صىٰ َو َما ِن ِّ دي ٱل َن ِّ م ُكم َل َع َرَش َعَلى َٓاُبَر َوَلاَتَتَفَّ رُقواِْفيِۚه ۡنَٔاِقيُمواْٱلِّ ديَن ۖٓىَٰٔا َوِعيَس َوُموَسىِٰٕاۡبَرٲِهيَم ُب ي ِن ُي ن َم ِه ۡ ي َل ِٕا ىٓ ِد ۡ ہ َي َو ُء آ َش َي ن َم ِه ۡ ي َل ِٕا ىٓ ِب َت ۡج َي ُه َّ ل ل ٱ ِۚه ۡي َل ِٕا ۡ م ُه و ُع ۡد َت ا َم َن ي ِٓا ِر ۡ ش ُم ۡلٱ

He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus ‐ to establish the religion and not be divided therein. [Qur’an :42]13

The Muslims believe that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, was a human being, from among the progeny of Adam. He was created from a mother, with no father. The Muslims believe that he is the slave of Allah and His Messenger; for he is a worshiper, not one who is worshiped; and a Messenger who does not lie.

They believe that he does not have any attributes of lordship, whatsoever. Indeed, he is as Allah said:

َل ِءي َرٲٓ ِٕاسۡ ِّ لَبِنىٓ ً۟ال َمَث ُه َعلَۡنـٰ َج َو ِه َعَليۡ َعمَۡنا َٔانۡ َعبۡدٌ ِٕاَّ لا َو ُهِٕانۡ

Jesus was not but a servant upon whom We bestowed favor and We made him an example for the Children of Israel. [Qur’an ]43:59

And they believe that he did not command his people to take him and his mother as deities besides Allah. Rather, he said to them what Allah commanded him with:

ۚمۡ ُك َرَّ ب َو َرِّ بى َه ٱلَّ ل ُدواْ ۡعُب ٱ ِن َٔا ۤۦ ِه ِب َمرَۡتِنى َٔا َمآ ِٕاَّ لا ۡم ُه َل ُت ُقلَۡما

…to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. [Qur’an ]5:117
And that he, peace be upon him, was created by the word of Allah, Almighty and Majestic, as Allah, Exalted, said:

ُٓانَفَيُكوُن ٍ۟بُثمَّ َقاَلَلُهۥ ِمنُتَرا َخَلَقُهۥ َءاَدَۖم َٓاَمَثِل ِعنَدٱلَّ لِه ِعيَسىٰ َمَثَلِٕاَّ ن

Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was. [Quran ]3:59

The Muslims believe that there was no Prophet between him and Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, as Allah, Exalted said:

َصِّ دً۟قاِّ لَماَبيَۡن ُّ م َرُسوُلٱلَّ لِهِٕاَليُۡكم َمرَۡيَمَيـَٰبِنىِٕٓاسَۡرٲِٓءيَلِٕاِّ نى ِعيَسىٱبُۡنَوِٕاذَۡقاَل

م ُه َء آ َج ا َّ م َل َف ُۖد َم ۡح َٔا ۤ ۥ ُه ُم ۡس ٱ ى ِد ۡع َب ۢ ن ِم ى ِت ۡ أ َي ٍ۟ل و ُس َر ِب ا َۢر ِّ ش َب ُم َو ِة ٰ ٮ َر ۡو َّ ت ل ٱ َن ِم َّ ى َدَي

۟ ٌ ن ي ب ِ م ُّ ٌ ۟ ر ح ۡ س ِ ا ذ َ ـ ٰ ه َ ْ ا و ل ُ ا ق َ ِت ٰ ـ ن َ ي ِّ ب َ ۡ ل ٱ بِ

And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”[Qur’an ]61:6

And they believe that no one’s belief is complete until he believes that Jesus is the slave of Allah and His Messenger, and that he is innocent and pure of what he was described with by the Jews who said: “He is the son of a slut, and he was born out of infidelity” ‐and we seek refuge with Allah ‐while Allah, Exalted, has declared his innocence from this.

(This is) just as they ‐i.e. the believers ‐declare innocence from the path of the Christians who have strayed from understanding the truth regarding Jesus, son of Mary, such that they took him and his mother as two deities besides God; and some of them said: he is the son of God; and some of them said: he is the third of three.

As for what concerns his killing and his crucifixion, Allah, Glorified, has emphatically denied that he has been killed or crucified, in straightforward, absolute terms. For Allah, Almighty and Majestic, said:

َصَلُبوُه َوَما َوَماَقَتُلوُه َرُسوَلٱلَّ لِه ۡرَيَم َم ِعيَسىٱۡبَنَوَقوِۡلِهمِٕۡاَّ ناَقَتلَۡناٱلَۡمِسيَح ا َّ ل ِٕا ٍم ۡل ِع ۡن ِم ۦ ِه ِب م ُه َل ا َم ُۚه ۡ ن ِّ م ٍّ۟ ك َش ى ِف َل ِه ي ِف اْ و ُف َل َت ۡ خ ٱ َن ي ِذ َّ ل ٱ َّ ن ِٕا َو ۡم ۚ ُه َل َه ِّ ب ُش ن ِك ٰـ َلَو َحِكيً۟ما َعِزيًزا َوَٓااَنٱلَّ لُه َّ رَفَعُهٱلَّ لُهِٕاَلۡيِهۚ َوَماَقَتُلوُهَيِقيَۢنا)١٥٧(َبل ِّۚ نٱِّ تَباَعٱلَّ ظ ُن و ُك َي ِة َم ٰ ـ َي ِق ۡ ل ٱ َم ۡو َي َو ۖۦ ِه ِت ۡو َم َل ۡ ب َق ۦ ِه ِب َّ ن َن ِم ۡؤ ُي َل ا َّ ل ِٕا ِب ٰ ـ َت ِك ۡل ٱ ِل ۡه َٔا ۡن ِّ م ن ِٕا َو ( ١ ٥ ٨) َشِہيً۟دا)١٥٩(َعَلۡيِہۡم

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness. [Qur’an ]4:157‐159

Therefore, anyone who believes that Jesus, son of Mary, peace and blessings be upon him, has been killed or crucified, then he has belied the Qur’an, and whoever belies the Qur’an has disbelieved. For we believe that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, was not killed or crucified, but we say: the Jews carried the sin of killing and crucifixion, for they assumed that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.

But they did not kill him in reality. Rather, they killed one who was made to appear to them (to be Jesus) when Allah placed his (Jesus’) appearance upon one of them, so they killed him and crucified him. And they said: “We killed Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah!” Therefore, the Jews carried the sin of the killing and of the crucifixion due to their testimony against themselves.

And as for the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, Allah has declared his disaffiliation from this, protected him, and He, Glorified and Exalted, raised him to Him in the sky. And he will descend to the earth in the end times, and he will rule with the Shari`ah of the Prophet (Muhammad), peace and blessings be upon him, then he will die on the earth, he will be buried in it, and he will be raised from it just as the rest of the progeny of Adam will be raised from it, as per the statement of Allah, Exalted:

ۡخَر َوِمۡنَہاُنخِۡرُجُكمَۡتاَرًةُٔا َوِفيَہاُنِعيُدُٓاۡم َخَلقَۡنٰـُكمِۡمنَۡہا

From the earth We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will extract you another time. [Qur’an ]20:55

And His statement:

َن ُجو َر ُتخۡ َوِمنَۡہا َن َتُموُتو َوِفيَها َن َتحَۡيوۡ ِفيَہا َلَقا

“Therein you will live, and therein you will die, and from it you will be brought forth.”

[Qur’an ]7:25
‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Taken from: Fatawa Al‐Aqeedah pp 589‐591

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Infidelicious

    April 14, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    I was born into a North-European Protestant Christian culture, and I can safely say: whether Jesus was born of a virgin, crucified, or resurrected or not doesn’t make a nick of difference to his message: love one another. That’s about it. Whatever crazy interpretations Christians make of his life doesn’t change his message. Hope you can follow me. Salaam.

    • Avatar

      Follow Jesus

      April 26, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      It does make a difference. Because that dude whose message is to love one another also attests to being the Son of God and savior for the world. You cannot embrace the message without embracing the messenger.

  2. Avatar

    Sam Soh

    June 20, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    To those who are in doubt of Jesus, please trace the historical facts and timeline to find the truth, not based on writings written 500 years after the death of Jesus. Most accounts recorded in new testament were written by people who experienced direct encounter to Jesus, or possessed close relationship with Jesus’ followers. Peace be with you.

  3. Avatar

    Parvez Khan

    October 17, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    http://www.jesuswillreturn.com/s1_4.html

    Notice the prophet (saw) said that isa ibn maryam will descesnd and rule by the Quran and not the Injeel. [bukhari and muslim] this again proves that isa ibn maryam will come back.
    Reminder of the prophetic signs regarding the return of masih isa ibn maryam (as):
    isa ibn maryam (as) will descend onto a white minerat in eastern damascus [tafsir Ibn kathir]
    Isa (as) will perform salah in Ash Sham (musnad Ahmad — reported by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud]
    Isa ibn maryam will defeat the dajjal in ludd which is in palestine and show the blood of dajjal on his sword to the people [bukhari and muslim]
    Isa ibn maryam will perform hajj and umra [ibn majah]
    when isa passes away he will be buried in madina [Bukhari]

    • Avatar

      MOHAMED LAIZ

      November 3, 2015 at 10:28 PM

      IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE SAME JESUS OF ISRAEL WOULD COME AGAIN THAN YOU ARE WRONG AS IN THE HOLY QURAN IT IS MENTIONED THAT JESUS CAME OF THE JEWS THIS IS MENTIONED IN THE HOLY QURAN IN MANY PLACES SO HOW WILL YOU CHANGE IT EXCEPT IF SOMEONE ELSE COMES IN HIS PLACE.

  4. Avatar

    Parvez Khan

    November 28, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Proofs that Jesus (as) was raised up alive

    1st century: Abdullah Ibn Abbas (618 – 687 AH)
    “Allah (swt) raised Isa Ibn Maryam alive to the heavens.” [Bayhaqi]
    2nd Century: Imam Abu ʿAbdullah Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi‘i (767/150 – 820/204 CE/AH)
    “In the same way that the Prophet ‘Isa عليه السلام ascended to the heavens at Allah’s command, he will also return to Earth at Allah’s command and will enforce Islamic justice. People whose faith is weak may not regard this as possible. But it is an easy matter after recognizing the might of Allah.” (The Great Book of Scholarship of Shafi’i, Halil Günenç, expanded 2nd edition, p. 23)
    3rd Century: Abū Al-Hasan Alī Ibn Ismā’īl Al-Ash’arī (874/260 – 936/324 CE/AH)
    “There is a consensus among the community of the faithful [ijma’ ummat] that Jesus عليه السلام was raised alive to the heavens.” (Al-Ash’ari, Al-Ash’ari’s al-Ibana ‘an Usul al-Diyana, (Cairo: 1986), 2:115)
    4th Century: Abu Abd-Allah Muhammad ibn Abd-Allah al-Hakim al-Nishaburi (933/321 – 1012/403 CE/AH)
    [He is the author of the ahadith collection Al-Mustadrak in which he states that] “…Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه said about the verse of the Holy Qur’an (4:159): “This verse is proof that Jesus عليه السلام, son of Mary, will appear… All of the People of the Book will believe in him before his death.”” (Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, 2:309)
    5th Century: Abū Hāmed Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ghazālī (1058 CE – 1111/505 CE/AH)
    “…then the Qur’an would be erased from hearts and not a word of it would be remembered; and the people would return to the poetry, songs, and tales of the pre-Islamic period; then the Anti-Christ would go forth and ‘Isa, the blessings and peace of God upon him, would descend to kill him. The hour when all this occurs would be like the pregnant woman in travail, waiting for the moment of her delivery.” (The Secrets of Pilgrimage, p.17)
    “Out of the Prophets, Jesus Christ عليه السلام did not marry but he will marry after his second advent.” (The Revival of the Religious Sciences, Ihya Ulum Uddin, Secret of Marriages, p.21)
    Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi (1076 – 1148] reported that even though more than a thousand years has passed since Jesus’ (pbuh) birth, he is alive in body and soul in God’s presence. [Commentary on jami at-tirmidhi]
    6th Century: ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (1077 – 1166 CE)
    “Jesus عليه السلام did not marry; he never took a wife. At the end of time, Allah (Exalted is He) will send him back down to the earth, and He will then marry him to a young woman of Quraish, who will bear him a son.” (Utterances of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (Malfuzat): Collected Sayings from the Crown of Saints, translated by Muthar Holland, p.58)
    Fakhr al Din Al Razi (1149 – 1249) states; “The verse [4:158] “He raised him to His Presence” … makes it clear that Jesus was raised up alive to the heavens. [Tafsir Kabir]
    7th Century: Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 – 1328 CE)
    “The verse [4:158] “He raised him to His Presence” … explains that Jesus عليه السلام was raised in both body and soul.” (Imam Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu’ Fatawa, trans. by Abdurrahman ibn Muhammad ibn Qasim al-Asimi an-Najdi, 4:323)
    Ibn taymiya commented on the Quran ch 3 vs 55 that it states that Isa (as) did not die but rather was raised up alive while asleep. [Majmu’ Fatawa]
    8th Century: Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (1372/773 – 1448/852 CE/AH)
    “The Mahdi is of this Ummah, and that Jesus عليه السلام will come down and pray behind him.” (Fath al-Baari, v.5, p.362)
    “…there was no Prophet between Jesus عليه السلام and our Prophet [Muhammad], on whom peace and blessings of Allah and Jesus عليه السلام has no grave.” (Fath al-Baari 2/160, Kitabul Salaah)
    Hafiz Ibn Hajr (RA) clearly says about Jesus (PBUH):
    وَلَيْسَ لَهُ قَبْر
    “And he has no grave.” [fath al bari]
    9th Century: Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti (1445/849 – 1505/911 CE/AH)
    “As-Suyuti says Jerusalem is specially honoured by Muslems. It was at Jerusalem that the prophets sacrificed; that Jesus was born and spoke in his cradle; and it was from Jerusalem that Jesus ascended to heaven; and it will be there that he will again descend.” (A Muslim Seeker After God, Samuel M. Zwemer, p.115 and Durr al-Manthur)
    In his commentary, al-Suyuti said, based on reliable hadith, that the Prophet said Jesus (pbuh) did not die, and then continued: “In that case, Jesus عليه السلام was raised to the skies and will return before the Day of Judgment.” (Durr al-Manthur, 2:225-27)
    “This word [kahlaan] expresses the fact that he (Jesus عليه السلام) will descend from the heavens before the Day of Judgment, because he was raised to the skies before attaining old age.” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Surah al-Ma’ida (ch5):vs110, v.1: pg.447)
    Imam Suyuti writes in Durr Manthur:
    أخرج أحمد والبخاري ومسلم والبيهقي في الأسماء والصفات قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : كيف أنتم إذا نزل فيكم ابن مريم ، وإمامكم منكم؟
    Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim and Baihaqi in Asma wal Sifaat says: “What will be your condition when the son of Maryam (i.e. ‘Eisa) will descend amongst you and your Imam will be from amongst you?”
    11th Century: Rabbānī Shaykh Ahmad Al-Farūqī Al-Sirhindī Mujaddid Alf Thānī (1564 – 1624 CE)
    “Jesus عليه السلام will descend from the sky and will be a member of Prophet Muhammad’s (may God bless him and grant him peace) community. In other words, he will be one of his people and will abide by the Divine law.” (Letters of Rabbani (Istanbul: 1977), 1:436, 545, 722, 820, 846)
    12th Century: Shah Waliullah Dehlwi (1703 – 1762 CE)
    “None of the People of the Book will remain without believing in him before he dies and Jesus will remain a witness unto them” [exegetical note] “The Jews present at the time of the descent of Jesus Christ will definitely believe in him.” (Fath ur Rahmaan Fee Tarjumatul Qura’an, 4:159)
    13th Century; Bediüzzaman Said Nursî (1878 – 1960)
    THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAW) ALLUDED TO THIS GREAT MIRACLE OF THE ASCENSION OF JESUS AND HIS RETRUN WHEN HE SAID: “JESUS WILL APPEAR HAVING DESCENDED FROM THE SKIES; HE WILL ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH MY SHARI‘A.” (The Letters, Seeds of Reality, p. 544)
    14th Century; Muhammad Ash-Shanqeeti (1907 – 1973)
    Muhammad Ash-Shanqeeti (the reformer of 14th century) state that both the Quran and authentic hadith are proofs that Isa (as) is alive at the moment and he will descend before the last Day. [Adwaa-ul-Bayaan fee Tafseer-il-Qur’an bil-Qur’an]
    Each one of these personalities, among them some of the most distinguished exemplars in Islam declared their belief in the ascension or descent of ‘Isa ibn Maryam عليه السلام.
    This truth is indicated in a Prophetic Tradition: “Prophet Jesus will return to this world, join my community, and follow my Sharia.” [Bukhari – book on battles, Muslim – book on Faith and Ibn Majah – Book on trials]
    Narrated Abu Huraira (RA) that Prophet, may Allah bless him, said: “It is near that one who lives from amongst you shall meet ‘Eisa bin Maryam. He will be a rightly guided (imaman mahdiyyan] leader and a just ruler …”
    What is “Mahdi”?
    What? The heading says, ‘What is Mahdi?’ not, ‘Who is Mahdi?’ Yes, indeed that is what needs to be understood in the very first place.
    Mahdi is an attribute/characteristic which means ‘rightly guided.’ And it is used for so many people in various Hadith narrations. With a quick look I could find that following people have been called so;
    Abdullah bin Jarir (RA):
    In Sahih Bukhari we read that Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, prayed for Sayyidina Jarir bin ‘Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him;
    اللَّهُمَّ ثَبِّتْهُ وَاجْعَلْهُ هَادِيًا مَهْدِيًّا
    “O Allah! Make him firm and make him a guiding and a rightly-guided man [mahdiyyan].”(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 2809)
    Mu’awiya (RA):
    According to Jami’ Tirmidhi, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, prayed exactly the same way for Sayyidina Mu’awiya, may Allah be pleased with him;
    اللهم اجعله هاديا مهديا
    “O Allah! Make him a guiding and a rightly-guided man [mahdiyyan].” (Jami’ Tirmidhi, Hadith 3842. Classified as Hasan by Tirmidhi and Sahih by Albani)
    ‘Ali (RA):
    In one Hadith the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, addressing the people said about Sayyidina ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him;
    تجدوه هاديا مهديا يأخذ بكم الطريق المستقيم
    “You will find him a guiding and a right-guided person [mahdiyyan] who will take you on the right path.” (al-Isaba fi Ma’rifatil Sahaba 2/271. Hafiz Ibn Hajr said, its chain is good [jayyad])
    All the Pious Caliphs:
    A famous Hadith uses the word for all the pious Caliphs. It read;
    فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء المهديين
    “You must then follow my sunnah and that of the rightly-guided [mahdiyyeen] caliphs.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 4607. Classified as Sahih by Albani)
    The word ‘mahdiyyeen’ is plural of ‘mahdi.’
    Thus we find that all of these great men and many others were ‘Mahdi’ i.e. rightly-guided ones.
    A person from the lineage of the Prophet due to appear near the End of Times:
    Just like all these people and many others, near the End of Times will appear a person from the lineage of the Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him, whose being ‘mahdi’ i.e. rightly-guided is testified in original sources of Islam.
    The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said;
    المهدي من عترتي من ولد فاطمة
    “The Mahdi (lit. rightly-guided) will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatimah.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 4284. Classified as Sahih by Albani and others)
    But even he is referred to as ‘Mahdi’ not because it is his name but because he will be a rightly-guided person.
    About his name, another Hadith says;
    رجلا مني أو من أهل بيتي يواطئ اسمه اسمي واسم أبيه اسم أبي
    “A man who belongs to me or to my family whose name is same as my name and whose father’s name is the same as my father’s name.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 4282. Classified as Sahih by Ibn Qayyim, Albani and others)
    Why generally only a particular person is referred to as ‘Mahdi’?
    Now naturally the question arises, if so many people were given the title of ‘Mahdi’ why only one person is referred to as such? The answer is simple. ‘Eisa, may Allah bless him, is basically a Prophet, Pious caliphs and other companions themselves are praised much by the Qur’an so they have much greater references to be known with. However, the personality known and revered as ‘Imam Mahdi’ is so referred to as it will be his greatest position and as such makes him stand out among all other humans after the Prophets and their companions. And that is the reason we always, retain the word Mahdi when translating the narrations about him. And looking at the subtleties let me say that this contention of ours springs from the very wording of the Hadith and a comparison of various narrations.
    Please note, in the narrations using the word ‘mahdi’ (as singular adjective) for ‘Eisa, may Allah bless him, and various companions it is simply ‘mahdi’ i.e. without the article ‘al’ i.e. ‘the’ while the narration about the person to appear near the End of the Times is ‘al-Mahdi’ which makes him stand out among all those for whom this word is used. This is, let me reiterate, because his being rightly-guided is an honor for him greater than any other status of him.
    Miraculous ascend of isa ibn Maryam (as)
    It has been plainly stated in the Qur’an that Allah did raise ‘Eisa, may Allah bless him, to Himself and saved him from the evil designs of the Jews, the Murabbis try to confuse the simple facts by their twisting. And same is their attitude towards the Ahadith which clearly indicate that near the End of Times ‘Eisa, may Allah bless him, will descend from the Heavens. But as mostly Ahadith use the word نزل only which means ‘to descend’ they again twist such narrations by relating it to rather rare usage of the word which does not even fit the context of these narrations. Taking the spirit, context and the continuous and unanimous belief and understanding of Muslims of past 1400 years it is evident that those Ahadith do actually mean he will descend from the Heavens above. In fact there are many directives to this in various narrations.
    Meeting the Challenge
    Here are categorical Ahadith about the fact that ‘Eisa, may Allah bless him, was raised up alive to the Heavens and will descend from the Heavens above.
    Hadith 1
    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 to the heavens, he went to his companions … and ‘Eisa ascended to the Heavens through an opening in the top of the house.”
    (Ibn Abi Hatim 4/431 Hadith 6266, Ibn Kathir 2/449. Ibn Kathir graded it Sahih)
    Hadith 2
    عن صفية أم المؤمنين رضي الله عنها أنها كانت إذا زارت بيت المقدس ، وفرغت من الصلاة في المسجد الأقصى صعدت على جبل زيتا فصلت عليه وقالت : هذا الجبل هو الذي رفع منه عيسى عليه السلام إلى السماء
    It is narrated from Ummul Momineen Safiya, may Allah be pleased with her, that when she visited Bait Al-Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) and finished prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque she climbed up to Mt. Olives and prayed there as well and said: ‘This is the mountain from where ‘Eisa, may Allah bless him, was raised up to the Heavens.’ (Al-Tasrih bima Tawatar fi Nuzul Al-Masih Hadith 74 cf. Tafsir Fath Al-Aziz Surah 95)
    Hadith 3
    إن أبا هريرة رضي الله عنه قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : « كيف أنتم إذا نزل ابن مريم من السماء فيكم
    Narrated Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him: Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him, said “What will be your condition when the son of Maryam (i.e. ‘Eisa) will descend amongst you from the heavens…?” (Baihaqi’s Asmaa wal Sifaat 2/432 Hadith 855)
    Baihaqi (RA) was recognized as a Mujaddid of 4th century A.H.
    The Hadith in full along with the comments by Imam Baihaqi goes as under:
    أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْحَافِظُ، أنا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ، أنا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، ثنا ابْنُ بُكَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنِي اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ يُونُسَ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، مَوْلَى أَبِي قَتَادَةَ الْأَنْصَارِيِّ قَالَ: إِنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «كَيْفَ أَنْتُمْ إِذَا نَزَلَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فِيكُمْ وَإِمَامُكُمْ مِنْكُمْ» . رَوَاهُ الْبُخَارِيُّ فِي الصَّحِيحِ عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ بُكَيْرٍ، وَأَخْرَجَهُ مُسْلِمٌ مِنْ وَجْهٍ آخَرَ عَنْ يُونُسَ. وَإِنَّمَا أَرَادَ نُزُولَهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ بَعْدَ الرَّفْعِ إِلَيْهِ
    Abu Abdullah al-Hafiz (i.e. Imam Hakim) – Abu Bakr bin Ishaq – Ahmad bin Ibrahim – Ibn Bukayr – Laith – Yunus – Ibn Shihab – Nafi’ the freed-slave of Abu Qadadah al-Ansari — Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him – Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: “What will be your condition when the son of Maryam (i.e. ‘Eisa) will descend amongst you from the heavens and your Imam will be from amongst you?” Bukhari narrated it in al-Sahih from Yahya bin Bukayr. And Muslim also narrated it through another chain from Yunus (bin Yazid). And they (also) meant his descent from the Heavens after his ascension towards it.
    (Asma’ wa Sifaat 2/331 Hadith 895. Shaykh Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Hashidi has classified the narration as Sahih)
    Hadith 4
    عن أبى هريرة قال سمعت أبا القاسم الصادق المصدوق يقول …ثم ينزل عيسى بن مريم عليه وسلم من السماء فيؤم الناس
    Abu Huraira said: I heard Abul Qasim the Truthful and Trustworthy (i.e. Holy Prophet) say: ‘… then ‘Eisa ibn Maryam, on him be the peace, will descend from the heavens…’
    (Majma’ Al-Zawaid 7/349. Haithmi said, Bazzar has narrated it and all its narrators are those of the Sahih [i.e. Sahih Bukhari] except Ali bin Munzar and he is also trustworthy)
    Hadith 5
    قال ابن عباس : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : فعند ذلك ينزل أخي عيسى ابن مريم من السماء
    Ibn Abbas narrated: the Messenger of Allah, on whom be the blessings of Allah, said: ‘And near it (Bait al-Maqdis) will descend from the Heavens my brother ‘Eisa ibn Maryam.’
    (Kanzul Ummal 14/619 Hadith 39726)
    Compiler of Kanzul Ummal, Ali Muttaqi Al-Hindi (RA) was recognized as a Mujaddid of 10th century A.H. by Muslims.
    Hadith 6
    عن ابن عباس { إن تعذبهم فإنهم عبادك } يقول : عبيدك قد استوجبوا العذاب بمقالتهم { وإن تغفر لهم } أي من تركت منهم ومد في عمره حتى أهبط من السماء إلى الأرض يقتل الدجال ، فنزلوا عن مقالتهم ووحدوك

    About the verse, ‘If you punish them they are your servants’ Ibn Abbas said, he [‘Eisa] will say: ‘These slaves of yours have invited your chastisement by what they said [and believed]’. ‘And if you forgive them’ i.e. ‘those whom I left behind me and those who were there when I came down from the Heavens to Earth to kill al-Dajjal and they turned back from what they said [i.e. Trinity] and believed in your Oneness…’
    (Durr Manthur 4/27 under Surah 5 Ayah 118)
    The writer of Durr Manthur, Jalaluddin Suyuti (RA) was recognized as a Mujaddid of 9th century A.H. by Muslims.
    Hadith 7
    Thalabi and Zamakhshari mentioned the Hadith from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said;”Isa will descend from the Heavens.”
    [Tafsir Qurtabi under Quran chapter 43 verse 61; “And indeed, Jesus will be a sign of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.”]
    Note that Zamakhshari accepted the belief of Ahle Sunnah near the end of his life.
    Hadith 8
    Al Hasan Al Basri said; “Allah raised and lifted up Jesus alive with his body and soul.” [Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim on Quran 3:55]
    Hadith 9
    Prophet Muhammad (saw) said; “Allah (swt) raised Isa ibn Maryam (as) to the heavens.” [Bayhaqi]
    Hadith 10
    Hasan (RA) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to the Jews, ‘Jesus the son of Mary has not died, he will return to earth before the Doomsday.'” (Al-Tabari H.7133)
    Taqdim & Takhir is valid:
    The 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 delaying) in this verse.
    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)
    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 Delaying (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 Mujaddid.
    The conjunction ‘wa’ does not imply sequence:
    Imam Al-Razi, recognized as Mujaddid, 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)
    Explicit narrations from Ibn Abbas (RA) about ascension, life & return of Eisa (AS):
    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)
    Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “Just before Allah raised `Isa to the heavens, `Isa went to his companions, who were twelve inside the house. When he arrived, his hair was dripping water and he said, `There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after he had believed in me.’ He then asked, `Who volunteers that his image appear as mine, and be killed in my place. He will be with me (in Paradise)’ One of the youngest ones among them volunteered and `Isa asked him to sit down. `Isa again asked for a volunteer, and the young man kept volunteering and `Isa asking him to sit down. Then the young man volunteered again and `Isa said, `You will be that man,’ and the resemblance of `Isa was cast over that man while `Isa ascended to heaven from a hole in the house. When the Jews came looking for `Isa, they found that young man and crucified him. Some of `Isa’s followers disbelieved in him twelve times after they had believed in him. They then divided into three groups. One group, Al-Ya`qubiyyah (Jacobites), said, `Allah remained with us as long as He willed and then ascended to heaven.’ Another group, An-Nasturiyyah (Nestorians), said, `The son of Allah was with us as long as he willed and Allah took him to heaven.’ Another group, Muslims, said, `The servant and Messenger of Allah remained with us as long as Allah willed, and Allah then took him to Him.’ The two disbelieving groups cooperated against the Muslim group and they killed them. Ever since that happened, Islam was then veiled until Allah sent Muhammad (saw).” This statement has an authentic chain of narration leading to Ibn `Abbas, and An-Nasa’i narrated it through Abu Kurayb who reported it from Abu Mu`awiyah. Many among the Salaf stated that `Isa asked if someone would volunteer for his appearance to be cast over him and that he will be killed instead of `Isa, for which he would be his companion in Paradise. [Sunan An-Nasa’I and Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
    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 of the 8th century.
    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.
    Zamakhsharī insists that sūrat al-zukhruf (43) verse 61 means that the Hour will not arrive (he explains that ʿilm here means shart, “precondition”) before Jesus returns to Earth, at which time he will kill al-Dajjāl, follow Quran and perform Hajj. [Al Kashaf]
    Muqatil ibn Sulayman explains that with the phrase “knowledge of the Hour” the Quran means that the imminent coming of the end times will be known by the descent of Jesus from heaven. [Tafsir Muqatil]
    Ibn Kathīr insists that sūrat al-zukhruf (43) vs.61 refers to the return ofJesus to this world in the end of times, noting how many important authorities (Abū Hurayra, IbnʿAbbās, Abū al-ʿĀliyya, Abūl-Salām, ʿIkrima, al-Hasan, Qatāda, Dahhāk and others) provide hadīths that transmit this report from the Prophet himself. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
    According to Abū Jaʿfar al-Tabarī (d. 310/923) the mufassirūn are in agree-ment that Jesus did not die, that instead he ascended to heaven body and soul while someone else died in his place. [Tafsir tabari]
    Following is another explicit and categorical narration that proves that the messiah isa ibn Maryam (as) was raised up alive.
    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 physical ascension and return of Isa ibn Maryam (AS).
    Meaning of ascension according to leading scholars:
    1- Raghib Isfahani writes;
    الرفع يقال تارة في الاجسام الموضوعة إذا أعليتها عن مقرها
    “Raf’a is sometimes used for corporeal things to mean raising or elevating it from its resting place.” (Mufradat Al-Qur’an 1/200)
    2- Al-Feyumi writes;
    فَالرَّفْعُ فِي الْأَجْسَامِ حَقِيقَةٌ فِي الْحَرَكَةِ وَالِانْتِقَالِ وَفِي الْمَعَانِي مَحْمُولٌ عَلَى مَا يَقْتَضِيهِ الْمَقَامُ
    “So Raf’a in relation to corporeal things is used properly to denote motion and removal and in relation to ideal things it is accorded in meaning to what the case requires.” (Al-Misbah Al-Munir 3/443)
    3- Edward William Lane says the same; infact he quotes the above two statements in his Arabic-English Lexicon part.3 p.287
    Raf’a in relation to Eisa (A.S.) refers to both his body and soul and not just soul:
    1- A careful but honest look into the wording of the Qur’an shows that Raf’a is used for the body of Eisa (A.S.) as well and not just his soul;
    We see that in Qur’an 3:55;
    إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ
    “When Allah said: .O Eisa , I am to take you in full 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.”
    Just as مُطَهِّرُكَ (cleanse you) and اتَّبَعُوكَ (follow you) refer to the whole person, body as well as soul, رَافِعُكَ (raise you) also refers to both body and soul. There is no basis to maintain the difference between reference of pronouns of مُطَهِّرُكَ ,اتَّبَعُوكَ and رَافِعُكَ. And as body is a corporeal thing so in the light of actual meaning of the word it most certainly denotes its displacement. This also leads us to the True Islamic belief that even مُتَوَفِّيكَ (take you) refers to the whole person, body as well as soul and not merely the soul.
    Meaning of ‘Cleanse you’:
    2-‘Cleanse you’ refers to Eisa’ (A.S.) departure from the evil company of the Jews. The very fact the verse reads ‘cleanse you of those who disbelieve’ shows it was physical separation and not spiritual for disbelievers could have never been close to the Mighty Prophet (A.S.) in spiritual sense. This cannot be a reference to his being relieved from the false accusations of Jews and Christians because context has nothing to do with it. It refers to the evil plot of the Jews (verse 54) and Allah’s plan to save him from their dirty trick. Same is evident in light of the scholarly opinions see e.g. Tafsir Kabir of Al-Raazi and Tafsir Kashshaf of Zamakhshari. Al-Raazi has been recognized as Mujaddid.
    According to Zamakhsharī,“When God informed Jesus that He would raise him to heaven alive and purify him [ch 3 vs 55] from the followers of the Jews, he said to his companions: ‘Who would like to have my likeness cast on him, to be killed and crucified,and to enter paradise?’ One of them said,‘I would’. [Jesus’] likeness was cast on him and he was killed and martyred.” [Zamakhsharī, Al-Kashfʿan haqā’iq ghawāmid al-tanzīl, ed. Muhammad Husayn Ahmad (Cairo: Matbaat al-Istiqāma, 1365/1946), 1:586–7, on ch 4 vs 153–9]
    3- Similarly in Qur’an 4:157-158;
    وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ مَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا () بَلْ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمً
    “And for their saying, .We have certainly killed the Masih Eisa the son of Maryam, the Messenger of Allah., while in fact they did neither kill him, nor crucify him, but they were deluded by resemblance. Those who disputed in this matter are certainly in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, but they follow whims. It is absolutely certain that they did not kill him. But Allah lifted him towards Himself. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”
    Here again just as وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ (and they killed him not), وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ (nor crucify him) and وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا (and for a surety they killed him not) refers to the body of Eisa (A.S.); رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ (Allah lifted him) also refers to the body of Eisa (A.S.) and not just his soul. Again there is no reason to drop body from رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ (Allah lifted him).
    Another important proof of this event is the Arabic word bal, which appears in Qur’an, 4:158, and has the literal translation of “on the contrary.” The features of its meaning and use in Arabic linguistics indicate a very important fact: According to the rules of Arabic linguistics, the sentence that comes after it must have a meaning that is completely opposite to the preceding statement. That being the case, it is likely that the verses referring to Jesus (pbuh) “… They did not kill him,” (Qur’an, 4:157) “on the contrary [bal] God raised him up to Himself…” (Qur’an, 4:158) refer to the state of being alive, rather than the state of being dead. (God knows best.) Sheikh al-Islam Mustafa Sabri offered the following interpretation:
    If the term bal, which appears in Qur’an 4:158 and which I have translated as “on the contrary,” comes after a sentence expressing a negativity, then, according to the rules of Arabic linguistics, the sentence following it must mean the exact opposite of the one preceding it. The opposite of death is life. This is a requirement of the rules of linguistics. If we say that “the ascension here is a spiritual one” and “Jesus (pbuh) died in the normal sense,” then we are violating that rule. In that case, the ascension following the expression “on the contrary” would not represent the opposite to the verbs of “killing” and “crucifying” in the negative sentence preceding it. That is because it may be possible for a person to be killed and for his or her soul to rise to the skies. Otherwise, this term would be meaningless, and there are no meaningless terms in the Qur’an … According to those who support the thesis that the ascension is only one of the soul, the meaning of the verse is this: “They did not kill him and did not crucify him … on the contrary, God raised his station.” There is no particular oratory here, let alone succinctness.
    The mutual compatibility between the verse’s previous and later sections necessarily reveals a fact. For example, if an Arab says: “I am not hungry; on the contrary, I am lying on my side,” this is not a correct sentence. In the same way, there is a discrepancy between the components in the sentence: “Khalid did not die; on the contrary, he is a good man.” What would be correct is to say: “Khalid did not die; on the contrary, he is alive.” To say: “The chairman was not killed; he is a man with a superior station in God’s presence” also leads to a break in meaning in the sentence, for his having a high station in God’s sight is no obstacle to his being killed. The term bal expresses a contradiction between the preceding and the following words. In other words, bal cancels out a previous statement.
    The early scholar of tafsir Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi (d.145 A.H) in his commentary Tafsīr Muqātil explains that the phrase wa-lakin shubbiha la-hum refers to the fact that the image of Jesus was cast onto a man having received the image of Jesus; he was killed in Jesus place. And Allah (swt) raised Isa Ibn Maryam (as) alive to the heaven. [Tafsir Muqatil]
    A tradition on the authority of Ibn Ishāq relates that Muhammad ibn ‘Alī al-Bāqir stated that Jesus was with his disciples when he asked, “Who among you desires to be my companion in paradise by taking on my image before the people who will kill him in my place?”A disciple called out, “I, O Messenger of Allah.”At this he acquired the image of Jesus, while Jesus first fell asleep and then was taken into heaven alive (thus the sequence of mutawaffīka wa-rāfiʿuka ilayya in Q 3.55 is explained). [Tafsir Tabari on ch 4 vs 157]
    “When Allah said, “O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve….” [3:55]
    Muslim scholars regard the above verse as clear proof that Isa (as) was raised up alive literally since it’s impossible for prophets to be spiritually impure. Also the verse suggests that God raised Jesus away from the environment polluted with the disbelievers.

    • Avatar

      MOHAMED LAIZ

      November 3, 2015 at 10:31 PM

      DEAR FRIEND CAN YOU SHOW ANY AUTHENTIC SAHIUL HADITH WHICH MENTIONS THE WORD HEAVEN OR SKY …………………. YOU ARE ALL GOING TO TAFSEER WHERE THEY CHANGE THE WORDS WHILE EXPLAINING

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#Islam

A Word On Muslim Attitudes Toward Abortion

Dr Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, Guest Contributor

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The Qur’an describes Muslims committed to its mores as “a moderate nation,” and that sense of balance qualifies them to stand as “witnesses over humanity” (Q 2:143). Contemporary Muslims revel in this assertion, especially when it seems that “Islam” proposes a via media solution to a highly polarizing subject as abortion. What currently constitutes “Islam” on a given topic, however, often reflects the personal prerogative apparently offered to the average Muslim by a list of diverse legal perspectives. In other words, the mere fact that multiple legal opinions exist on one or more topics is now taken as license to appropriate any one of them, without any deep ethical reflection on the implications of the opinion, however anomalous it may be.

“Islam is the golden mean between all ethical extremes” is what certain Muslims would assert. So if one extreme bars abortion under all circumstances and the other seeks to allow it throughout the duration of the pregnancy, one would assume that Islam must land somewhere in the middle, both forbidding and allowing abortion in certain circumstances. This moral assumption isn’t far from the truth. However, the mere existence of multiple opinions on a topic does not mean that each opinion has equal validity, nor does it mean that every opinion is valid for one to adopt. Similarly, “Islam” or “Islamic law” cannot be summed up into a simple formula like “majority rules” or “when in doubt about prohibition or allowance, the action is, therefore, merely disliked.”

Legal positivism plagues both religious and secular-minded people. Just as an act does not acquire its moral strength simply because it is legal, morally appropriate opinions are not always codified into law. If it is true that any unjust law is no law at all, where is the injustice and to whom is it being perpetrated against in the debate between pro-lifers and pro-choicers? Is it deemed unjust to prevent a pregnant woman from disposing of an “insignificant lifeless part of her body” that no one other than herself should be able to decide what to do with? Or is one “depriving a helpless growing person” of the opportunity and right to exist after its Creator initiated its journey into the world? Does a law that prevents a woman impregnated by a family member or rapist from an abortion oppress her? Or does such a law protect the life of a vulnerable fetus, who, like other weak members of society, is expected to be protected by the strong? Does it do both or neither? And if one is taking the “life” of this fetus, what proof is there that it is a living creature?

While these are all extremely important questions, this missive is neither intended necessarily to answer them nor to resolve today’s raging political debate. The main goal here is to offer ideas that should be on the minds of Muslims when deciding to join such debates or promoting the idea that their “religion” provides the best solution to social polarization, when by “religion” we mean the opinion of a small minority of scholars in some place and time in Muslim history.

Islamic law is very sophisticated; the legislative process is not facile, nor is it a place where any Muslim is entitled to pragmatically select the opinions that he/she finds attractive and accommodating. It demands knowledge of particular aims, the ability to properly realize those aims in the lives of people, and understanding the epistemic and metaphysical foundations that ensure that judgments conform to coherent rationale. In other words, the laws of Islam and the opinions of jurists cannot be divorced from their philosophical and evidentiary underpinnings. Otherwise, the thread holding the moral tapestry of Islam together falls apart completely at its seams.

Is Abortion Lawful in Islam?

Many past and present have written about the Islamic view of abortion. The ancient scholars prohibited it at all stages of the pregnancy and made practically no exception. Some would later allow for it only if the mother’s life was in danger. That notwithstanding, six popular legal opinions exist regarding abortion:

  • Unlawful (haram), in all stages of the pregnancy.
  • Permitted (ja’iz), during the first 40 days but unlawful (haram) afterwards.
  • Disliked (makruh), before the passage of 40 days but unlawful (haram) afterwards.
  • Permitted (ja’iz), if it is from illicit intercourse (zina).
  • Permitted (ja’iz) without conditions, before 120 days.
  • Permitted only for a legitimate excuse.

The late mufti of Fez, Morocco, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ta’wil (d. 2015) said,

The first opinion forbidding that during the [first] 40 [days] and beyond, regardless of whether or not it is due to an excuse, even if from illicit intercourse, is the view of the supermajority [of jurists].[1]

The Qur’an is a Book of Ethical Teaching

The reasons for the cavalier attitude among contemporary Muslims about abortion are multiple. The most significant reason may be that at times Islam is seen as a synonym for shariah. The truth, however, is that the shariah is only part of Islam. Islam covers law (fiqh), creed (aqidah), and ethics (akhlaq). Even though the Qur’an consists of laws, it is not a book of law. It is a book of ethical teachings. Merely 10%–12% of the Qur’an relates to legal injunctions. It is not characteristic of the Qur’an to enjoin upon Muslims to command what is “compulsory” or “recommended” and to forbid what is “unlawful” and “disliked.” What is common though is for it to command us to do what is “ma’ruf” and to avoid what is “munkar.”

“Ma’ruf” and “munkar” can be translated respectively as “what is socially commendable” and “what is socially condemnatory.” This is in spite of the fact that social acceptability and unacceptability are often subjective. This does not mean that the Qur’an is morally relativistic. It is quite the contrary. What this means, however, is that the Qur’an’s aim is not merely to teach Muslims what one can and cannot do. It means, rather, that the Qur’an has a greater concern with what Muslims “should” and “should not” do. For this very reason, the companions of the Prophet seldom differentiated between his encouragement and discouragement of acts by the juristic values of disliked, unlawful, recommended, and compulsory. Rather, if the Prophet encouraged something beneficial, they complied. And, if he discouraged from something potentially harmful, they refrained.

The Qur’an permits many actions. However, to permit an act is not equivalent to encouraging it. It permits polygyny (Q 4:3), the enslavement of non-Muslim war captives (Q 8:70), and marrying the sister of one’s ex-wife (Q 4:23). Similarly, some Muslim jurists validate marriage agreements wherein the man secretly intends to divorce the woman after a certain period of time known only to him.[2] This is the case, even though the average Muslim man is monogamous; practically no Muslim today believes it is moral to enslave a person; the vast majority of Muslims find the marriage of one’s sister-in-law upon the death of one’s wife to be taboo; and they chide men who marry with a temporary intention of marriage. If the mere existence of permission or legal opinion permitting a socially condemnable act is a legitimate reason to adopt it, why would Muslims be uneasy about these cases but inclined to take a different stance when it comes to abortion?

The proper Islamic position on any given issue of public or private concern should not only consider what the law or jurists have to say about the topic. Rather, one should also consider how theology and ethics connect with those laws or opinions. That is to say, one should ask, “What wisdom does God seek to realize from this injunction or opinion?” assuming that such a wisdom can be identified. Secondly, one need ask,

“Who and how many will be helped or harmed if this action is undertaken?”

The Qur’an is the primary source of Islam’s ethics. And, one often observes a major difference between its morality and the morality validated by certain jurists, often lacking a clear connection to Qur’anic and prophetic precepts. That notwithstanding, a juristic opinion can sometimes masquerade as one that is authentically Islamic, especially when it aims to appease or assuage a social or political concern. Consequently, one finds some contemporary scholars championing opinions simply­ because they exist, like that of mainstream Shafi’is who traditionally argued that the reason for jihad was to rid the world of unIslamic doctrines (kufr); or certain contemporaries who validated taking of the lives of innocent women, children, and other non-combatants in suicide bombings; those who endorsed the execution of Jews for converting to Christianity and vice versa;[3] or others who classified slaves as animals rather than human beings?[4] For, surely, there are Muslim jurists who validate each one of these opinions, despite their evidentiary weakness. Hence, simply because there is an opinion allowing for abortions does not necessarily mean that it is something Islam allows, even in cases of rape and incest.

When Does Life Begin?

Medieval Muslim scholars, naturally, lacked the scientific tools that we have today to determine whether or not the fetus growing in its mother’s womb was actually a viable creation and a living creature from conception. Other than when the fetus first showed signs of movement in its mother’s belly, scholars took their cues from the Qur’an and prophetic tradition on when the fetus possessed a soul or if it did so at all. For this reason, very few scholars have offered clear answers to the question of when human life begins, while they agreed that upon 120 days, the child is definitely a living person.

According to the Andalusian scholar of Seville, Ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 1148),

The child has three states: 1) one state prior to coming into [material] existence …, 2) a state after the womb takes hold of the sperm …, and 3) a state after its formation and before the soul is breathed into it …, and when the soul is breathed into it, it is the taking of a life. [5]

Al-Ghazzali (d. 1111) said,

Coitus interruptus (‘azl) is not like abortion and infanticide (wa’d) because it [abortion] is a crime against an actualized existence (mawjud hasil). And, it has stages, the first being the stage of the sperm entering into the womb, then mixing with the woman’s fluid, and then preparing for the acceptance of life. To disturb that is a crime. Then, if it becomes a clot (‘alaqah) or a lump (mudghah), the crime is more severe. Then, if the soul is breathed into it and the physical form is established, the crime increases in gravity. [6]

These are some of the most explicit statements from Medieval Muslim scholars; they deemed that life begins at inception. The Qur’an states, “Does man think that he will be left for naught (sudan)? Was he not a sperm-drop ejected from sexual fluid?” (75:36-37). In other words, the “sperm-drop” phase is the start of human existence, and existence is the basis for human dignity, as with other living creatures. The human being was a “sperm-drop.” If that is so, this strongly suggests that meddling with this fluid, even before the fetus begins to grow and develop limbs and organs, would be to violate the sanctity of a protected creature. The Qur’an further says, “Did We not create you from a despicable fluid? And then, We placed you in a firm resting place, until a defined scope” (Q 77:20-22). The use of the second person plural pronoun (you) in these verses strongly suggests that the start of human life begins at inception. This is not to mention the multiple verses forbidding one from killing one’s children due to poverty, fear of poverty, or out of shame or folly.

The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) similarly offers sufficient indication that even though the fetus is not fully formed, it is still an actualized existence and living creature. The Prophet reportedly said, “The miscarried fetus will remain humbly lying with its face down at the gates of heaven saying, ‘I will only enter when my parents do.’”[7] Similarly, it is reported that when the second caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khattab ordered that an adulteress discovered to be pregnant be stoned to death, the companion, Mu’adh b. Jabal, said to him, “Even if you have a right to punish her, you do not have a right to punish what is in her belly.”[8] The Prophet and his followers after him never executed a pregnant woman guilty of a capital crime until she gave birth and someone had taken on the care of the child. In addition, they imposed a hefty fine on those who were directly responsible for a woman’s miscarriage.[9] All of this indicates that the fetus is to be respected from the time the male’s sperm reaches the ovum of the woman.

Imam Al-Razi’s Ethical Reflection on the Qur’anic Verse, 6:140

God says in the Qur’an, “Ruined are those who murder their children foolishly without knowledge and forbid what God has provided them with while inventing falsehoods against God. They have strayed and are not guided aright” (6:140).

About this verse, Imam Fakr al-Din al-Razi (d. 1210) comments,

Many issues relate to the verse: the first issue is that God mentioned, in the preceding verse, their murder of their children while depriving themselves of the sustenance that God provided them with. Then, God brings these two matters together in this verse while clarifying to them all that is a logical consequence of this judgment, such as ruin, folly, lack of knowledge, the deprivation of what God has provided them, false statements against God, straying, and the privation of guidance. So these are seven characteristics, each of which is an independent cause for censure. The first is ruin (khusran), and that is because a child is an immense blessing from God upon a person, so when one strives to terminate its existence, he/she suffers great ruin and especially deserves great censure in life and a severe punishment in the hereafter due to terminating its existence. Censure in life is warranted because people say one has murdered one’s child out of fear of it eating one’s food. And there is no censure in life greater than such. Punishment in the hereafter is warranted because the closeness resulting from childbirth is one of the greatest sources of love. Then, upon achieving it, one sets out to deliver the greatest of harms to it [the child], thereby committing one of the gravest sins. As a consequence, one of the greatest punishments is warranted. The second is folly (safahah), which is an expression of condemnable frivolousness. That is because the murder of the child is only committed in light of the fear of poverty. And, even though poverty is itself a harm, murder is a much graver harm. Additionally, this murder is actualized, while the poverty [feared] is merely potential (mawhum). So enforcing the maximum harm in anticipation of a potential minimal harm is, without doubt, folly. The third regards God’s saying, “without knowledge.” The intent is that this folly was only born of the absence of knowledge. And there is no doubt that ignorance is one of the most objectionable and despicable of things. The fourth regards depriving one’s self of what God has made lawful. It is also one of the worst kinds of stupidity, because one denies one’s self those benefits and good things, becoming entitled by reason of that deprivation of the severest torment and chastisement. The fifth is blaspheming God. And it is known that boldness against God and blaspheming Him is one of the cardinal sins. The sixth is straying from prudence (rushd) with relation to the interests of the faith (din) and the benefits found in the world. The seventh is that they are not guided aright. The benefit of it is that a person might stray from the truth but may return to proper guidance. So God clarifies that they have strayed without ever obtaining proper direction. So it is established that God has censured those described as having murdered children and denied what God has made lawful for them, with these seven characteristics necessitating the worse types of censure. And that is the ultimate hyperbole.[10]

The Ethical Contentions of a Moroccan Mufti

We have already quoted Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ta’wil of Morocco. Like the medieval scholars, he maintained a very conservative opinion on abortion, allowing it only if the mother’s life was at risk. The following is a list of his nine ethical contentions against abortion and those scholarly opinions allowing it. The bulk of what follows is a literal translation of his views. Regarding why abortion is immoral, he says:

  • Firstly, it is a transgression against a vulnerable creature who has committed neither sin nor crime, a denial of it from its right to existence and life that God has given it and Islam has guaranteed as well as the taking of a life in some situations.
  • Secondly, it is a clear challenge to God’s will and a demonstratively defiant act meant to stubbornly contend with God’s action, creative will, and judgment. And that manifests itself in the murder of what God has created, the voiding of its existence, and a commission of what He deems unlawful.
  • Thirdly, it a decisively demonstrative proof of hard-heartedness, the absence of mercy, and the loss of motherly and fatherly affection or rather the loss of humanity from the hearts of those who daringly undertake the act of abortion with dead hearts and wicked dark souls.
  • Fourthly, it is the epitome of self-centeredness, selfishness, narcissism, and sacrifice of what is most precious¾one’s own flesh and blood, sons and daughters¾to gratify the self and enjoy life and its attractions far away from the screams of infants, the troubles of children, and the fatigue resulting from them.
  • Fifthly, it is a practical expression of one’s bad opinion of God, the lack of trust in His promise to which He decisively bounded Himself to guarantee the sustenance of His creation and servants. It also shows ignorance of His saying, “And, there is not a single creature on earth except that God is responsible for its sustenance, just as He knows its resting place and place from which it departs. Every thing is in a manifest record (Q 11:6); as well as His saying, “And do not kill your children due to poverty. We will provide for you as well as for them” (Q 6:151); in addition to His saying, “And, do not kill your children out of fear of poverty. We will provide for them and for you” (Q 17:31). This is in addition to other verses and prophetic traditions that indicate that all provisions are in God’s control and that no soul will die until it exacts its sustenance in full as the Prophet said.
  • Sixthly, it is a bloody war against the Islamic goal, introduced by the Prophet and to which he called and strongly encouraged, of population growth and increase in posterity.
  • Seventhly, it undermines the aims of the Islamic moral code that considers the preservation of offspring to be one of the five essentials upon which the sanctified revealed moral code is built.
  • Eighthly, it goes against the nature to which God has disposed both animals and human beings to of love of children, childbearing, and the survival of progeny….
  • Ninthly, it is the grossest display of bad manners towards God and the epitome of ingratitude towards a blessing and the rejection of it. And that is because both pregnancy and children are among God’s favors upon His servants and among His gifts to the expectant mother and her husband.

These are some important matters of consideration. Every Muslim, woman, and man, will ultimately need to decide what burdens he/she is prepared to meet God with. While abortion is an emotionally charged matter, especially in Western politics, emotions play no role in the right or wrong of legislation. Although our laws currently may not consider a fetus aborted before its survival outside of the womb to be viable, the Muslim who understands that legal positivism does not trump objective or moral truths should be more conscientious and less cavalier in his/her attitude about the taking of life and removing the viability of life.


[1] Al-Ta’wil, Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Qasim. Shadharat al-Dhahab fi ma jadda fi Qadaya al-Nikah wa al-Talaq wa al-Nasab. Hollad: Sunni Pubs, 2010, p. 148.

[2] Muhammad b. ‘Abd Al-Baqi Al-Zurqani quotes Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr as saying,

They unanimously agreed that anyone who marries without mention of a particular condition while having the intention to remain with her for a period that he has in mind is permitted (ja’iz), and it is not a temporary marriage. However, Malik said this is not an attractive thing to do (laysi hadha min al-jamil). Nor is it part the conduct of moral people (la min akhlaq al-nas). Al-‘Awza’i took a solitary view saying that it is a temporary marriage. And, there is no good in it (la khayra fihi). ‘Ayyad stated it.

Al-Zurqani, Muhammad b. ‘Abd Al-Baqi b. Yusuf. Sharh al-Zurqani ‘ala Muwatta’ al-Imam Malik. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, (no date), 3/201.

[3] Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani said about the prophetic tradition, “Kill whoever changes his lifepath”, “Some Shafi’i jurists clung to it concerning the killing of anyone who changes from one non-Islamic faith to another non-Islamic faith (din kufr)…”

Al-‘Asqalani, Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar. Fath Al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari. Muhammad Fu’ad ‘Abd Al-Baqi Edition. Riyadh: Al-Maktabah Al-Salafiyyah, (no date), 12/272.

[4] Al-Ra’ini, Muhammad al-Hattab. Qurrah al-‘Ayn bi Sharh Waraqat al-Imam al-Haramayn. Beirut: Mu’assassah al-Kutub al-Thaqafiyyah, 2013, p. 78.

[5] Al-Wazzani, Abu ‘Isa Sidi al-Mahdi. Al-Nawazil Al-Jadidah Al-Kubra fi ma li Ahl Fas wa ghayrihim min al-Badw wa al-Qura al-Musammah bi Al-Mi’yar Al-Jadid Al-Jami’ Al-Mu’rib ‘an Fatawa al-Muta’akhkhirin min ‘Ulama al-Maghrib. Rabat: Wizarah al-Awqaf wa al-Shu’un al-Islamiyyah, 1997, 3/376.

[6] Al-Ghazali, Muhammad Abu Hamid. Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din. Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, p. 491.

[7] This is how Qadi Abu Bakr b. al-‘Arabi relates the report as related by Al-Wazzani in his Nawazil 3/376. In the Musnad of Abu Hanifah, however, the Prophet reportedly said, “You will see the miscarried fetus filled with rage.” When it is asked, “Enter Paradise”, it will respond, “Not until my parents come in [too].” Al-Hanafi, Mulla ‘Ali Al-Qari. Sharh Musnad Abi Hanifah. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1985, p. 252.

[8] Ibn ‘Asakir, Abu al-Qasim ‘Ali b. al-Hasan. Tarikh Madinah Dimashq wa Dhikr Fadliha wa Tasmiyah man hallaha min al-Amathil aw ijtaza bi Nawahiha min Waridiha wa Ahliha. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1997, p. 342.

[9] Among the fines due for causing the miscarriage of a fetus are: 1) prison or flogging; 2) the penance for murder (kaffarah), which is the freeing of a slave, fasting two consecutive months which is compulsory for Shafi’is and recommended for Malikis; and 3) the gifting of a slave to the woman who lost her child.

[10] Al-Razi, Fakr al-Dina. Tafsir al-Fakr al-Razi al-Mushtahir bi Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir wa Mafatih al-Ghayb. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1981, pp. 220-221

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What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

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The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

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The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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Should I Pray Taraweeh Or Make Up Prayers?

Danish Qasim

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Every Ramadan I’m asked by Muslims whether they should pray Taraweeh or make up missed prayers. They have the guilt of missed prayers but the desire to pray Taraweeh. They do not want to miss out on the special Taraweeh prayer but know that they have to make up obligatory prayers.

I find Muslims bogged down by not only the number of prayers to make up but by the fact that they have to make up prayers that they missed, sometimes too many to count. They emotionally want to move past the memory of missing prayers. While one should not dwell on the sin of missed prayer, at the same time, they should also realize that the prayers remain a debt that needs to be addressed.

Many of us feel a shame associated with past sins. This connection is a sign of true repentance. Shame due to sins, however, becomes problematic when it serves as an impediment for our religious progress. When the guilt reaches this level, one should seek refuge in Allah from Shaytaan and ignore all negative thoughts.

We, as Muslims, should believe that Allah has forgiven our sins, including missed prayers. Forgiveness is done through our repentance. Therefore, we should see makeup prayers as an opportunity to draw closer to Allah, rather than a punishment. Allah tells us in a Hadith Qudsi that

“My servant does not draw nearer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than what I have ordained upon him. He continues to draw near to me with nafl (non-obligatory) actions until I love him” (Bukhari).

Each time we perform a make-up prayer, we are doing what Allah loves us to do the most- an obligatory action. We are drawing nearer to Allah and should feel grateful for being able to do so.

In the Hanafi school of thought, one can pray makeup prayers as non-emphasized sunnahs, which include the prayer of greeting the mosque[1] and Tahajjud prayer. Many Muslims feel more spiritual praying these types of nafl prayers, and they will take their time to pray with the presence of heart. However, when they pray makeup prayers, they rush, praying quickly to get past it as soon as possible. The dreadful feeling of makeup prayers is due to a negative association for the initial neglect, but we must see makeup prayers as not only more critical than nafl prayers, but as something that can be done as nafl prayers.

Taraweeh is an emphasized Sunnah[2] and for Hanafis that means one does not neglect taraweeh[3] due to previously missed prayers[4]. One should have a regiment of making up prayers, such as praying one makeup of Zuhur after praying Zuhur for the day and manage that along with Taraweeh.

For Malikis[5] and Shafis[6] however, one is not supposed to pray Taraweeh if he has prayers to make up. For those following this view, I would advise them to still go to the masjid if that is their habit during the Taraweeh time and pray those due prayers in a space outside of the congregation so they can still enjoy the Ramadan atmosphere in the masjid. Also, it’s worth noting that in the Shafi school, one can have the intention of a makeup prayer even if the imam is praying a different prayer[7]. Hence, twenty rakah of Taraweeh in units of two can be prayed by a follower as ten makeup prayers for Fajr.

Ramadan is a great time to form positive habits. If you do not already have a routine of making up missed prayers, establish one this Ramadan. Make your routine something that you can be consistent with throughout the year, not just when you have the Ramadan energy. We are advised in a hadith to only take on the amount of good actions that we are able to bear because the best actions are those in which we can be persistent, even if they are minor (Ibn Majah 4240).

Lastly, as Ramadan is here, I urge everyone to remember that praying Isha in congregation is more important than praying Taraweeh in congregation. Taraweeh is more alluring due to its uniqueness, and you will see latecomers quickly praying Isha so they can join the Taraweeh prayer. Each prayer is worship, but the priorities of worship are based on its status. Obligatory prayer is more important than a non-obligatory prayer, although every prayer is important. We must prioritize what God prioritizes.

[1]  “ويسن تحية ) رب ( المسجد ، وهي ركعتان ، وأداء الفرض ) أو غيره ، وكذا دخوله بنية فرض أو اقتداء ( ينوب عنها ) بلا نية)”
(رد المحتار على الدر المختار)

[2]  (التراويح سنة  مؤكدة لمواظبة الخلفاء الراشدين  للرجال والنساء إجماعا ” ( رد المحتار على الدر المختار

[3] (والسنة نوعان : سنة الهدي ، وتركها يوجب إساءة وكراهية…”  (رد المحتار على الدر المختار”

[4] وأما النفل فقال في المضمرات : الاشتغال بقضاء الفوائت أولى وأهم من النوافل إلا سنن…”
المفروضة وصلاة الضحى وصلاة التسبيح والصلاة التي رويت فيها الأخبار . ا هـ . ط أي كتحية المسجد ، والأربع قبل العصر والست بعد المغرب” (رد المحتار على الدر المختار،باب قضاء الفوائت)

[5]   (ولا يتنفل من عليه القضاء، ولا يصلي الضحى، ولا قيام رمضان…”  (لأخضري”

[6]   “وَإِنْ كَانَتْ فَاتَتْ بِغَيْرِ عُذْرٍ لَمْ يَجُزْ لَهُ فِعْلُ شَيْءٍ مِنْ النَّوَافِلِ قَبْلَ قَضَائِهَا”
(الفتاوى الكبرى الفقهية على مذهب الإمام الشافعي ,فتاوى ابن حجر الهيتمي)

[7]

تنبيه : تصح قدوة المؤدي بالقاضي ، والمفترض بالمتنفل ، وفي الظهر بالعصر ، وكذلك القاضي بالمؤدي ، والمتنفل بالمفترض ، وفي العصر بالظهر ؛ نظراً لاتفاق الفعل في الصلاتين وإن تخالفت النية ، والانفراد هنا أفضل ؛ خروجاً من الخلاف ، وعلى أن الخلاف في هذا الاقتداء ضعيف جداً فلم يقتض تفويت فضيلة الجماعة ، وإن كان الانفراد أفضل . ( تحفة المحتاج مع حاشية الشر واني ۲ / ۳۳۲ – ۳۳۳ )

وذكر في ( إعانة الطالبين ۲ / ۷ ) : وإن لم تتفق مقضيتها شخصاً . . فهي خلاف الأولى ولا تكره

. وذكر في « البجيرمي على المنهج ۱ / ۳۳۳ ) : قوله ( ويصح الاقتداء لمؤد بقاض ومفترض بمتنفل . . . ) : أي ويحصل له فضل الجماعة في جميع هذه الصور على ما اعتمده الرملي .

————————————————————

– قول متن المنهاج ( وتصح قدوة المؤدي بالقاضي ، والمفترض بالمتنفل . . . ) قضية كلام المصنف – أي النووي – كالشارح الرملي أن هذا مما لا خلاف فيه ، وعبارة الزيادي وابن حجر : ( والانفراد هنا أفضل ؛ خروجاً من الخلاف( فيحتمل أنه خلاف لبعض الأئمة وأنه خلاف مذهبي لم يذكره المصنف ، لكن قول ابن حجر بعد على أن الخلاف في هذا الاقتداء ضعيف جداً . . ظاهر في أن الخلاف مذهبي . ( الشبراملسي ) . ( حاشية الشرواني ۲ / ۳۳۲ )

وهذا لا يجوز في المذهب  الحنفي  “…يشترط أن يكون حال الإمام أقوى من حال المؤتم أو مساويا”  (رد المحتار على الدر المختار(

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