Q. Was Jesus nailed to the cross? Can you give me details surrounding this event according to Islam? Should we believe in the bible also?
A. Jesus was not nailed on the cross nor was he killed. Instead, he was taken up bodily into the heavens. This is the established teaching of Islam which is evident in the Holy Quran and the authentic traditions of the Prophet (S.A).
In the Holy Quran, Allah has categorically stated, ‘And they did not kill him (Jesus) nor did they crucify him. However, it was made doubtful to them and they did not kill in certainty. And those who differed therein are full of doubts. They have no knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely, they killed him not. Instead Allah lifted him unto Himself and Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al Quran Sura Nisa Verses 157-158)
While explaining the above, Hafiz Ibn Katheer has given the authentic narration of Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R.A) in which he said, ‘When Allah intended to raise Jesus to the heavens, he (Jesus) came out to his companions who were twelve (in number) from among his disciples (Hawariyeen). So he came to them in the house while his head was dripping with water and said, ‘Certainly there will be among you he who will disbelieve in me twelve times after he had believed in me’. He then said, ‘Who amongst you will like that my semblance be cast upon him so that he be killed in my place and he shall be with me in my rank’. A young man stood up who was the youngest among all. Jesus said to him, ‘Sit’. Jesus made the same request again and the same young man stood up who was told to sit. For a third time Jesus made the request and the same young man stood. Upon this Jesus said, ‘It is you’. Allah then placed the semblance of Jesus upon the young man and he lifted Jesus from the house to the heavens. Those who were searching for Jesus, from among the Jews then came to the house and seized the one who resembled Jesus. They killed him and then crucified him. Some of them denied Jesus twelve times after they had believed in him. (Based upon this), Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) further said, ‘The followers of Jesus became divided into three groups. One group said, ‘Allah was amongst us for whatever time he desired and then ascended to the heavens. This group is known as the Yaqubiya. Another group said, ‘The son of Allah was amongst us for whatever time he desired, and then Allah took him up to Himself. This group is known as the Nasturiya. The third group said, ‘Amongst us was the servant of Allah and His Messenger. He remained with us for whatever time Allah desired and then He (Allah) took him up to Himself. These were the Muslims. The two unbelieving groups came together and fought the Muslims until they killed them. Islam kept on being suppressed until Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad (S.A). Having quoted this, Hafiz Ibn Katheer said, ‘This is a sound narration from Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A)’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.1 pg.574-575)
There are a few verses in the Holy Quran as well as Mutawatir Ahadith (Prophetic traditions) which establish the firm belief of the Muslims that Jesus (A.S) was not killed and crucified. The great Muhadith Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani has mentioned that this is the Ijma (unanimous opinion/verdict) of the entire Muslim Ummah.
With respect to believing in the present day bible, Muslims must not do so. The present day bible has been changed from its origin and many verses have been taken out, while fabricated statements have been placed in it. Allah has ordered us to believe in the Injeel (Gospel) which He has revealed to Jesus (A.S) and so, our faith must be in this. However, the present day bible does not represent the Injeel which was revealed to Jesus, hence, we are not required to believe in it.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan