Hello Brother Petewaldo
I hope this article will resolve the questions you have put forthhttp://www.harunyahya.com/books/faith/did_not_die/jesus_did_not_die_03.php
Some main points are highlighted...
Jesus (pbuh) Is Not Dead
The Qur'an reveals, among many other glad tidings, that Jesus (pbuh), one of God's messengers, is not dead and was not put to death. Qur'an 3:55 and Qur'an 4:157-58 head the list of those verses that relate how Jesus (pbuh) was not killed but was raised alive to God's presence. Jesus (pbuh), who now lives in God's presence, will return to Earth during the End Times. As the verse states: [God said:] "Jesus, I will take you back [mutawaffeeka] and raise you up [wa raafi`uka] to Me and purify you of those who are unbelievers. And I will place the people who follow you above those who are unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection..." (Qur'an, 3:55)
The part requiring special consideration is the sentence "I will take you back [mutawaffeeka] and raise you up to Me." A close examination reveals a most important truth: The verb carries a sense that differs from what is normally meant by "to die." The word translated into English as "to die" comes from the Arabic root waffaa derived from the verb tawaffaa, which does not imply death, but rather taking the soul, or surrender. The Qur'an also reveals that taking a person's soul does not always imply death. For instance, another verse uses tawaffaa to refer not to a person's death, but to taking his or her soul while asleep: God takes the souls [of people] at death [yatawaffaa], and those who do not die [lam tamut] during their sleep. Those on whom He has passed the decree of death [al-mawt], He keeps back [from returning to life], but the rest He sends [to their bodies] for a term appointed. Verily in this are signs for those who reflect." (Qur'an, 39:42)
The word here translated as "taking back" is the same as that used in Qur'an 3:55: tawaffaa. Since a person does not actually die during the night, the word yatawaffaa here refers not to death, but to taking the soul at night. If tawaffaa were being used in the sense of death, then that would mean that all people would be biologically dead during sleep. Thus, Jesus (pbuh) would have died every night of his life. Such an assertion is both irrational and illogical.
Another instance in which sleep is regarded as a kind of death, but which does not refer to biological death, is the following hadith: "All praise is for God, Who has made us alive after He made us die [sleep] (Al-hamdu li Allah illadhi ahyana ba'da maa amatana; wa ilayhi al-nushoo)
Our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) often said this after he woke up."18
No doubt, he used these wise words not to refer to biological death when one is asleep, but rather to a sleeping person's soul being "taken." Ibn Kathir, the famous Islamic scholar and commentator, used this hadith, along with many other proofs in his commentary on Surah Al -Imran, to explain that tawaffaa refers to sleep. Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, another Islamic scholar who examined the meaning of tawaffaa, stated that it did not mean death, and drew attention to the use of mawt in Qur'an 39:42: Had Jesus (pbuh) died [which is not the case], then the word mawt revealed in the verse: "God takes the souls [of people] at death" (39:42), would not have been revealed… This is because if, as has been claimed, God had referred to normal death [in the biological sense], then this would have been clearly stated. Since God refers to the fact that the Jews did not kill Jesus (pbuh), but that he was taken and raised to the sky, then one must think of a meaning beyond that of ordinary death.20
Sheikh al-Islam Mustafa Sabri, a contemporary of al-Kawthari, cites this verse as evidence and offers the following interpretation: "If we were to take the word tawaffaa as meaning 'killing,' then souls would also have to die." 21
In his commentary on the Qur'an, the Islamic scholar Mawlana Sayyid Abul A-la Mawdudi makes the following statement about mutawaffeeka, which appears in Qur'an 3:55 (the same word is also used in Qur'an 5:117): The word mutawaffeeka, in the Arabic text comes from the word tawaffaa, meaning "to take the surrender of" and "take the soul," although here it is used in a figurative sense. Here, it means "relieving from duty. 22
Abu Mansur Muhammad al-Maturidi, regarded as one of the first Qur'anic commentators, also stated that the verse does not refer to Jesus (pbuh) dying in the familiar biological sense: The thing being referred to in the verse is not passing on in the sense of death, but in the sense of the body being taken from this world.23
Islamic scholars agree that mutawaffeeka means that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, but that he was raised to God's presence and will return to Earth. For example, the famous commentator and scholar al-Tabari stated that mutawaffeeka is used in the sense of "removing from Earth" and interpreted the verse in the following terms: In my opinion, the soundest thing is to take this word in the sense of "to take into one's possession, "draw [away] from Earth." In that case, the meaning of the verse is: "I shall take you from Earth and into the heavens." The rest of the verse emphasizes the [believers'] victory over unbelievers in the End Times, which confirms the above idea." 24
Further on in his commentary, al-Tabari included other interpretations of mutawaffeeka. Islamic scholars are in general agreement that its correct interpretation is "a kind of sleep." According to Imam Hasan al-Basri, the Egyptian scholar Muhammad Khalil Herras stated that the verse means: "I shall put you to sleep and raise you to My presence as you sleep." In his commentary, al-Suyuti said, based on reliable hadith, that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, and then continued: In that case, Jesus (pbuh) was raised to the skies and will return before the Day of Judgment.25
The great Islamic scholar Imam Ibn Taymiyya stated that Qur'an 3:55 indicates that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, but most likely experienced a kind of "sleep death." He then wrote: This verse is proof that the death of Jesus (pbuh) is not being referred to… The word al-tawaffi [the infinitive form of the word mutawafeeka used] in the verse requires the death of the soul without that of the body, or of both, but with the existence of another piece of evidence explaining the circumstances in this sense. The meaning may be the death of sleep (as in Qur'an 6:60). The words at the end of the verse, to the effect that: "I shall separate you purified from the unbelievers," are also along these lines. Had Jesus' (pbuh) body been separated from his soul, then his body would be in the ground, as with the other prophets.27
In his commentary, Hamdi Yazir of Elmali stated that the verse in question means: In my view, a summary of this interpretation and belief is as follows: The soul of Jesus (pbuh), described as a "word from God" and reinforced with the "Purest Spirit", has not yet been taken. His soul has not come to the hour of death. "The Word" has not yet returned to God. He still has work to do in this world.28
As we have seen, this verse does not mean "death" in the sense as it is generally used in English. The expression in this verse reports that Jesus (pbuh) was placed in a condition similar to sleep and then raised to God's presence. Jesus (pbuh) did not die, but was merely removed from this dimension by His will. (God knows best.)
An Explanation of Qur'an 4:157-58
And [on account of] their saying: "We killed the Messiah [qatalnaa], Jesus son of Mary, messenger of God." They did not kill him [maa qataloohu] and they did not crucify him [maa salaboohu], but it was made to seem so to them [shubbiha]. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him [maa qataloohu]. God raised him to Himself. God is Almighty, All-Wise. (Qur'an, 4:157-58)
Before considering the evidence in these verses in detail, we must explain one particular subject: the words maa salaboohu, which is translated as "they did not crucify him." This word's root is the verb salaboohu: "to hang, execute, crucify." This being the case, the belief that Jesus (pbuh) was crucified, one of Christianity's main tenets, is unfounded.
Those Who Claim Jesus (pbuh) Was Killed Are Speculating
The fact that they have doubts shows that the unbelievers did not achieve their goal. Had they really killed Jesus (pbuh), there would be no room for doubt and they would be certain that they had succeeded. Let us consider this with an example. Someone who opens fire in order to kill someone else will know whether the intended victim has actually been killed or not. Alternatively, there needs to be very exceptional circumstances for there to be any doubt about whether someone condemned to death has actually died. If there is doubt, something out of the ordinary must have occurred. Those who had sought to kill Jesus (pbuh) would have felt no doubt as to whether they had succeeded or not. However, our Lord reveals that they did have such doubts, were only speculating, and had no certain information. This is one of the proofs that Jesus (pbuh) did not die but was raised alive to God's presence.
Foiling this Trap Shows God's Superior Might
Another element that attracts our attention is the expression: "God raised him to Himself. God is Almighty, All-Wise" (Qur'an, 4:158). In all likelihood, this extraordinary situation shows God's superior might. (God knows best.)
In their commentaries on this verse, Islamic scholars point out that these words represent an extraordinary revelation of God's might and wisdom. For example, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi said:
God reveals at the end of the verse that "God is Almighty, All-Wise." The intention behind almightiness here is the perfection and immaculate nature of that might, and that behind wisdom is the perfection and immaculate nature of knowledge. In this way, God has indicated the raising of Jesus (pbuh) and that no matter how impossible this may seem to a person, it is not impossible relative to His might and wisdom. A similar situation can be seen in the verse: "Glory be to Him, Who took His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] to the Further Mosque [Masjid al-Aqsa]…" (Qur'an, 17:1). That is because no matter how much such a journey may be impossible relative to the power of Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace), it is a most easy matter relative to the might of God.30
Mehmed Vehbi interpreted one of the elements of wisdom behind this revelation:
The elevation of Jesus (pbuh) to the heavens is determined in this verse. Although elevation to the heavens is impossible relative to human power, in order to announce that this is not difficult relative to His might and wisdom, God declares in the verse's preceding part that He is All-Wise and Almighty. And in order to reveal the perfection of His knowledge, He reveals that He is sovereign and that His might and wisdom are sufficient to elevate Jesus (pbuh) to the heavens.31
Hasanayn Muhammad Mahluf cited Prophet Muhammad's (may God bless him and grant him peace) ascent to heaven and stated:
In the same way that our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) ascended to the heavens in both body and soul awake, so Jesus (pbuh) was raised alive to the heavens. There is nothing peculiar here. Situations of this kind are miraculous. There is no need for any comparison on this matter. God possesses might over all…32
Hasanayn Muhammad Mahluf: "The belief of Muslims is this: Jesus (pbuh) was neither crucified nor killed, but was raised alive in body and soul to the heavens. He will continue to live in the heavens for as long as God so wills…"34
God Raised Jesus (pbuh) to His Presence
Our Lord has revealed that He raised Jesus (pbuh) to His presence:
... [I will] raise you up to Me and purify you of those who are unbelievers. And I will place the people who follow you above those who are unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. Then, all of you will return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed. (Qur'an, 3:55)
And [on account of] their saying: "We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, messenger of God." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. God raised him to Himself. God is Almighty, All-Wise. (Qur'an, 4:157-158)
As these verses reveal, those who sought to kill Jesus (pbuh) failed to achieve their goal, because God protected and rescued him by raising him to His presence. The words raafiu'ka and rafa'ahu that appear in the verses come from the Arabic root rafa'a, which means "to rise." Islamic scholars interpret rafa'a as the opposite of "being lowered." The Islamic scholar Abu Musa al-Ash'ari interpreted Qur'an 3:55 together with Qur'an 4:158, and wrote that: "There is a consensus among the community of the faithful [ijma' ummat] that Jesus (pbuh) was raised alive to the heavens."38 (Ijma' ummat refers to the agreement on this issue of those Islamic scholars who expounded upon Islamic law and lived during the same century).
In interpreting these verses, the great majority of Islamic scholars agree that "Jesus (pbuh) did not die, but was raised to God's presence, and that this ascension took place in both body and soul." Examples of their opinions are given below:
The interpreter and commentator Fakhr al-Din al-Razi had this to say about "God raised him to Himself," which appear in Qur'an 4:158:
With the ascension here, God refers to an ascension to a place where no laws apart from that of God apply. This verse makes it clear that Jesus (pbuh) was raised to the heavens… 39
In his commentary, Hasan Basri Cantay interpreted raafiu'ka as meaning "raising and lifting up to Himself," and wrote that "God raised and lifted up Jesus (pbuh) in both body and soul."
Imam Ibn Taymiyya opined: The verse "He raised him to His presence" … explains that Jesus (pbuh) was raised in both body and soul.41
cont Zahid al-Kawthari stated that the ascension is so clear and certain that there is no room for any objections. Al-Kawthari cited Qur'an 3:55 and Qur'an 4:157-58 as evidence and said that this event is beyond doubt. He uses the word nass, which means certainty or indisputability stemming from a Qur'anic verse or a hadith. He went on to say: That is because the basic meaning of the word (rafa'a in the verses) is transportation from below to above. There is no element here that could be used to interpret the verses metaphorically. Therefore, there is no evidence for seeking to produce a meaning in the sense of ascension in honor and station.44 Mawdudi set out his views on the subject in the following terms:
If God had willed to reveal what is expressed in the verse [Qur'an, 4:158] in the words "God killed him" or "God raised his rank," He would have openly done so. Instead of the former, He could have revealed the words "Certainly they neither killed him nor crucified him, but He saved him and later on caused him to die at his own appointed hour of death." Instead of the latter, He could have revealed the expression "They tried to humiliate him by crucifying him, but God raised him greatly in rank."45 As clearly seen from the verses and the Islamic scholars' comments, Jesus (pbuh) was raised alive, with his body, to God's presence. This is a miracle of God, and a wonder that will inspire great enthusiasm and excitement among all believers. Claims that only his soul was raised to His presence, or that his ascension was only spiritual (in station), do not reflect the facts. The invalidity of such claims has been proven by many Islamic scholars, some examples of which have been cited above. 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 … No rational person could take the words "The elevator in my building raises me to the fourth floor every day," to mean that I am only raised to the fourth floor in spirit. Therefore, neither was Jesus (pbuh) raised only in spirit.46
Said Ramadan al-Buti interpreted the subject in the same way:
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.47
Furthermore, if the word rafa'a indicated a spiritual rank, then the Qur'an could have used the same term for other prophets. Thus, the emphasis on Jesus (pbuh) being "raised to God" contains great wisdom, for it was not used in connection with Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace), Moses (pbuh), Solomon (pbuh), David (pbuh), Shu`ayb (pbuh), Noah (pbuh), Abraham (pbuh), and Lot (pbuh), or with any other prophet mentioned in the Qur'an. When mentioning these prophets' deaths, various forms of the word mata (death in the biological sense) are employed, whereas Jesus (pbuh) was "raised up" (rafa'a). This phenomenon will be discussed in detail in later chapters. While the souls of all people, including prophets, are raised to God's presence, the use of rafa'a with regard to Jesus (pbuh) indicates an extraordinary situation. (God knows best.) The Egyptian scholar Muhammad Khalil Herras, who has researched and published his findings on Jesus' (pbuh) return to Earth, says:
If the use of the word rafa'a in Qur'an 4:158 referred solely to the "raising of the soul," this would not cancel out Jesus' (pbuh) killing and crucifixion, and the wisdom revealed in the verse would not apply. For example, if the Jews had killed Jesus (pbuh), his soul would, in any case, have been raised to God. Indeed, we know that the souls of all prophets and believers ascend to God after they die. There is no difference in this regard between Jesus (pbuh) and all other people. Therefore, there is a special feature in this verse: the raising of Jesus (pbuh), while still alive, in both body and soul. At the same time, when we look at the end of this verse, we see that it manifests God's glory and wisdom.48
Contrary to what some people maintain, the ascension is not a spiritual one or one of degree. God reveals that He foiled the trap set for Jesus (pbuh). Thus, given the fact that Jesus (pbuh) did not die, the information revealed in the verse shows that Jesus (pbuh) was raised to God with body and soul, and not merely spiritually. The plotters were confounded by Jesus' (pbuh) ascension to God. (God knows best.) The scholar Zahid al-Kawthari expounds on this by giving the following example: One verse regarding Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) states: "… God will protect you from people…" (Qur'an, 5:67). There can be no doubt that the verse means something other than: "He raises your station before people." Our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) was attacked physically, and so God placed him under His physical protection. This also applies to Jesus (pbuh), who was physically attacked as well. Therefore, it is impossible for the ascension referred to in the verse to have been merely a spiritual one.49
All of this evidence shows that Jesus (pbuh) is still alive and will return to Earth when God wills. (God knows best.) Ibn Taymiyya also drew attention to this subject:
Had God willed to refer to death, Jesus (pbuh) would have died like all other believers. God takes the souls of all believers and raises them to the skies. It would thus appear that there was nothing out of the ordinary in this. In other words, there would be no significance in God's referring to Jesus (pbuh) in this way.50
Sheikh al-Islam Mustafa Sabri opined:
Had the verse referred solely to killing, then there would have been no need to use the word raafiu'ka, since Jesus' (pbuh) soul would be raised like all other souls.51 Peace!Sorry I am editing it...its too long to read...please refer to the full article if you are unsure about any points...though I still think its too long...