Jesus(pbuh): Dead or Alive?

Verse 4:157-158 from Surah An-Nisa’ are the other two verses often analyzed to prove that Jesus(pbuh) did not die.  Let us examine to see if the contention is valid one or a corrupt analysis.
In the verse 4:157-158, Allah says:

4:157 And (because of) their saying: “Surely we have killed the Masih, – ‘Isa, son of Mar-yam” the Rasul of Allah, and they could not murder him, nor could they kill him by crucifixion, but he was made to resemble to them. And verily those who differ regarding him are certainly in a doubt about him. They have no knowledge about it but are merely following a guess; and they could not kill him for certain;
4:158 On the contrary, Allah exalted him towards Himself.  And Allah is Exalted in Power, most Wise.

 WA ma qataluhu yaqinan (157).Bal rafa’ahu-llahu ilaihi …..(158)
The Jews always claimed that they killed the Masih,  the son of Maryam.  Allah is telling Muhammad(pbuh) that although they claimed that they killed the Masih, in reality they could not murder him nor could they kill him by crucifixion.   Then again, in the very same verse, Allah is telling that they could not kill him for certain.

Two types of death are being discussed here (a) a general murder  (b) killing by crucifixion.  The Jews wanted to cause either of the two types of death to Jesus(pbuh).  Allah assures us that they failed to cause either type of death to him.  The traditional Muslim faith is that since Jesus(pbuh) was not murdered or killed by crucifixion, only possibility is that he is alive somewhere!!!  Muslims  totally ignore the fact that Jesus(pbuh) could have died a natural death later on! If Jesus(pbuh) died a natural death, it is still valid that the Jews could not (a) murder him or (b) kill him by crucifixion.

Crucify vs. Kill by Crucifixion:

Your strongest argument is that this verse clearly tells “…. They could not murder him nor could they crucify him….”. I have checked the translation of the word “swalabu” by Yusuf Ali, Pickthall, Hilali & Khan, Rodwell, Sarwar, Khalifa and Shakir. They all translated the word as “crucify” and not “kill by crucifixion.” I would not say they are wrong. To understand the word ‘crucify’ you will have to apply your analytical mind.

The very intent of putting a person on the cross was to kill him as an evil or a wretched person. On few occasion if a person did not die on the cross, the Jews used to break his legs and hands and leave him to die. Jews would make sure that if a person was doomed for cross that person must die. Jews would not put a person on the cross and later let him walk away. So the meaning of crucifixion has an inherent sense of causing death thereby. Webster dictionary defines the word “crucify” as “to put to death by nailing or binding the hands and feet in a cross.” In case of Jesus(pbuh) if the scholars translate the word as “crucify” they are not wrong. But if we interpret the meaning that he was never ever hanged on the cross,  then we are missing the entire message. If we further say that Jehova or someone else was hanged in his place, then we are really messing up everything and failing  to see the true message of the Quran.

Please look carefully at the verse. The question of “killing” is the issue. In response to the claim by the Jews that they killed Jesus(pbuh), Allah’s reply is that (1) he was not killed or murdered in the normal fashion (2) he was not killed by crucifixion. This negates the possibility of Jews killing Jesus(pbuh) in any manner whatsoever, supported by the very last sentence of the same verse: “they could not kill him for certain.”

Invention of a story:  
Although every attempt was done to prove that Jesus(pbuh) evaded death and was raised alive, because of verse 3:54, the Muslims could not prove conclusively that Jesus(pbuh) was raised alive.  So they took the refuge of verses 4:157-158 to justify the belief. In order to substantiate the belief, now they invented a rambling story that has no support from the Quran.  However, let us analyze the story.

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