What Muslims Believe About the Cross

There are a variety of Muslim opinions concerning the last days of Jesus and His crucifixion and resurrection. Early Islamic scholarship appears to be largely silent about the subject. Indeed the vast Hadith collections (traditions about Mohammed) of the Islamic scholars Burkhari and Muslim say nothing about the crucifixion.

They said boasting, “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them …. for surely they killed him not. No, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (Qur’an, Chapter “The Women” 4.157-158)

Most Muslims believe that death by crucifixion was not a worthy death for a good prophet like Jesus. Based on the Qur’anic passage cited above, the majority of Muslims in our day say that Jesus never went to the cross. It is commonly thought that He was taken up into heaven without dying and that someone else died on the cross in His place. There are several variations on this theory, but many Muslims say that Judas, the disciple, was actually crucified instead of Jesus. Supposedly he was made to look like Jesus and was crucified as a punishment from God because of his betrayal. Other Muslims believe that Jesus was crucified but He survived and died later or that He survived, then was elevated to heaven and did not die at all.

Prayer ideas:

  • Believers in Jesus need to explain Christ’s death and resurrection simply and with much care. Muslims need to understand why the Messiah needed to die and how His resurrection brings us new life.
  • Pray especially that Jesus would be increasingly revealed to Muslims as the victorious one who has overcome our sin and guilt, bondage to evil spirits and the horrors of death to bring us salvation. Pray for Muslims in your region, country and elsewhere according to Luke 24:19-26 and Acts 3:13-16.

Learn More

Download the Crucifixion PDF, an in-depth look at the subject, history and consequences of the cross, death and resurrection of Christ. A must for those who wish to discuss the subject with Muslims.
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