Answering Dr. Jamal Badawi:

Jamal Badawi's Misinformation and Misquotations - Part 6

[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 ]

Sam Shamoun

Badawi regarding Crucifixion during the time of Moses

The Quran claims that during the time of Moses Pharaoh threatened to crucify his enemies:

I will certainly cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, then will I crucify you all together. S. 7:124

Said he: You believe in him before I give you permission; most surely he is the chief of you who taught you the magic, so you shall know: certainly I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and certainly I will crucify you all. S. 26:49

Interestingly, the Quran also claims that crucifixion was being used in Egypt during the time of Joseph, nearly 400 years before Moses' time (1880 BC by conservative dating):

O my two mates of the prison! as for one of you, he shall give his lord to drink wine; and as for the other, he shall be crucified, so that the birds shall eat from his head, the matter is decreed concerning which you inquired. S. 12:41

Ibn Kathir comments on S. 7:124:

<"Surely, I will cut off your hands and your feet from opposite sides.">

by cutting the right hand and the left leg or the opposite, ...

<"then I will crucify you all."> just as he said in another Ayah ...

<"Fi the trunks of date palms"> [20:71], Fi in this Ayah means "on".

Ibn ‘Abbas said that Fir’awn was THE FIRST to crucify and cut off hands and legs on opposite sides... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir-Abridged, Volume 4, Surat Al-A’raf to the end of Surah Yunus, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; first edition May 2000], pp. 140-141; bold emphasis ours)

In fact, the Quran actually calls Pharaoh "Lord of the stakes", presumably due to his use of crucifixion in punishing individuals:

"Before them (were many who) rejected messengers,- the people of Noah, and Àd, and Pharaoh, the lord of Stakes." S. 38:12 A. Yusuf Ali

The problem with the preceding citations is that the earliest crucifixion reports date approximately 520 BC, nearly 1000 years after the time of Moses. Encyclopaedia Britannica notes:

"Crucifixion, an important method of capital punishment, particularly among the Persians, Seleucids, Jews, Carthaginians, and Romans [was practiced] from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, abolished it in the Roman Empire in AD 337, out of veneration for Jesus Christ, the most famous victim of crucifixion... In 519 BC Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon." (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1993, Vol. 3, p. 762; bold emphasis ours)

The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary, revised edition 1975, states:

CROSS... Crucifixion is first attested among the Persians (cf. Herodotus, Hist. i.128.2; iii.132.2, 159.1), perhaps derived from the Assyrian impalement. It was later employed by the Greeks, especially Alexander the Great, and by the Carthaginians, from whom the Romans adapted the practice as a punishment for slaves and non-citizens, and occasionally for citizens guilty of treason. Although in the Old Testament the corpses of blasphemers or idolaters punished by stoning might be hanged "on a tree" as further humiliation (Deut. 21:23), actual crucifixion was not introduced in Palestine until Hellenistic times. The Seleucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes crucified those Jews who would not accept hellenization (Josephus Ant. xii.240-41; cf 1 Macc. 1:44-50), ... (bold italic emphasis ours)

In his debate with Dr. Robert A. Morey, Is the Qur'an the Word of God?, Badawi appealed to the Encyclopaedia Judaica to offset Morey's claim that the Quran was in error regarding this issue. Badawi gave the impression that the Encyclopaedia Judaica affirmed that the Egyptians used crucifixion to torture their victims, thereby vindicating the Quran.

Let us quote the Encyclopaedia Judaica to see whether in fact it agrees with the Quran:

CRUCIFIXION, mode of execution by fastening the condemned to two crossed beams... There are reports of crucifixion from Assyria, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Punic, and Roman sources. It has been said to have first been imported into Israel by the Persians (cf. Ezra 6:11), but there is no report of a single instance of a crucifixion under the powers conferred on Ezra. If the hangings reported in the book of Esther (7:10. et. al.) were crucifixions, they were carried out in Persia, where crucifixions seem to have been customary. Crucifixion was the standard Roman mode of execution for non-Romans, and hence was practiced on a large scale in Judea under the Roman occupation... (Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 5, p.1134, Published by Scribners, NY, 1971; bold italic emphasis ours)

The first thing one notices is that the Encyclopaedia says absolutely nothing about crucifixion being implemented in Egypt during the time of Moses. It simply states that there are Egyptian reports referring to crucifixion but says nothing about when these reports were written. The problem is not whether the Egyptians used crucifixion to kill their victims, but whether the Egyptians used crucifixion during the time of Moses. Badawi is therefore clearly guilty of making a false claim and misquoting the Encyclopaedia Judaica in his attempt to defend the Quran against the historical error pointed out by Dr. Morey.

Badawi is presumably assuming that the mere mention of Egypt necessarily implies that crucifixion was being used during Moses' time. Not only is this an erroneous reading of the source, but also contradicts the data that shows that crucifixion wasn't in use until the sixth century BC.

It must be mentioned that centuries after the Exodus Egypt became a Roman province. It is therefore not surprising to find Egyptian records referring to crucifixion since this was the preferred Roman method of execution, assuming of course that these Egyptian reports were written during this time.

Whatever the situation, the fact remains that according to known history, the first to implement crucifixion were the Persians in the sixth century BC. After the Persians, the use of crucifixion began to spread elsewhere. The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8, 2000 edition, p. 260 affirms this:

History of Crucifixion as Capital Punishment. Crucifixion was used as a form of capital punishment from about the 6th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. It probably originated among the Persians, from whom it spread to other peoples such as THE EGYPTIANS, Carthaginians, and Romans. Crucifixion was not inflicted on Roman citizens, but only on slaves and subject peoples. In 337, it was banned by Constantine the Great out of respect for Jesus Christ, who suffered death on the cross at the hands of the Roman rulers of Palestine. (bold italic and capital emphasis ours)


CRUCIFIXION: Form of capital punishment by nailing or tying to a cross, common among the ancient Greeks and Romans, and derived from Persia, but unknown to Jewish law. The custom was introduced into Palestine by the Romans and was the usual punishment inflicted by them upon rebels... (The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, new revised edition 1966, published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City NY, p. 511; bold italic emphasis ours)

Finally, from the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4, 1967 edition, p. 485:


A method of capital punishment commonly used among the ancient peoples surrounding the Mediterranean basin from approximately the 6th century B.C. to the 4th Christian century. Crucifixion was finally banned by Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor, in A.D. 337 as a token of respect for Jesus Christ, who chose to redeem the world through the death on a cross... The earliest historical record of crucifixion as such dates back, on the authority of Herodotus (Hist. 9.20), to the beginning of the Persian period (6th century B.C.). Later Persian History is replete with stories of crucifixions. From the Persians, this method of execution spread to other peoples, the Phoenicians, THE EGYPTIANS, the Grecian Colonies (though it seems it was never practiced in Greece itself), the Carthaginians, and the Romans. Among the last, crucifixion was practiced with great abandon whenever the occasion seemed to warrant it. (bold and capital emphasis ours)

In light of the preceding data, not only do we find the Quran containing a substantial historical error we again find Badawi misapplying his sources to support his case.

For more information concerning this subject we recommend these rebuttals (1, 2).

Badawi on Muhammad's Polygamous Relations

In the debate Qur'an – Word of God or Muhammad, Dr. Anis Shorrosh challenged Badawi regarding Muhammad's polygamous relations, citing S. 33:50:

O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her – specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Shakir

This passage gave Muhammad certain rights forbidden to other Muslims.

Badawi responded by quoting S. 33:52:

It is not allowed to you to take women afterwards, nor that you should change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except what your right hand possesses and Allah is Watchful over all things.

Badawi stated:

"If all of his wives died after that verse, he would not have been permitted to marry a single one."

What Badawi forgot to mention is that certain Muslim scholars claim that S. 33:52 was actually abrogated by S. 33:50! Here are Ibn Kathir's comments regarding S. 33:52:

More than one of the scholars, such as Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd, Ibn Jarir and others stated that this Ayah was revealed as a reward to the wives of the Prophet expressing Allah's pleasure with them for their excellent decision in choosing Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, when the Messenger of Allah gave them the choice, as we have stated above. When they chose the Messenger of Allah their reward was that Allah restricted him to these wives, and forbade him to marry anyone else or to change them for other wives, even if he was attracted to their beauty - apart from slave-girls and prisoners of war, with regard to whom there was no sin on him. THEN ALLAH LIFTED THE RESTRICTION STATED IN THIS AYAH AND PERMITTED HIM TO MARRY MORE WOMEN, but he did not marry anyone else, so that the favor of the Messenger of Allah towards them would be clear.

Imam Ahmad recorded that ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: ‘The Messenger of Allah did not die until Allah permitted (marriage to other) women for him.’ It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i in their Sunans. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 8, Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 51 to the end of Surat Ad-Dukhan, p. 21; bold and capital emphasis ours)

We therefore see that both Aisha and the Companions such as Ibn Abbas claim that the restriction imposed upon Muhammad by S. 33:52 was actually annulled.

Another interesting fact about this is that S. 33:50 was revealed before 33:52 and yet the earlier verse canceled a verse that came later! The late Iranian Muslim scholar Ali Dashti writes:

"In Zamakhshari’s opinion, ‘A’esha’s words show that verse 52 was abrogated by custom and by verse 49 (‘O Prophet, We have made lawful for you...’). But an abrogating verse ought to come after the abrogated one. Nevertheless Soyuti, in his treatise on Qor’anic problems entitled ol-Etqan, maintains that in this case the earlier verse abrogated the later one." (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, Mazda Pub; ISBN: 1568590296, p. 128; bold emphasis ours)

Talk about confusion!

Other Muslims claimed that S. 33:52 was not forbidding Muhammad from marrying all women in general, but only those women that the Quran said were unlawful for him. This means that he was still free to marry more wives. Ibn Kathir explains:

On the other hand, others said that what was meant by the Ayah,

<It is not lawful for you (to marry other) women after this,>

means, ‘after the description We have given of the women who are lawful for you, those to whom you have given their dowry, those whom your right hand possesses, and daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, maternal uncles and aunts, and those who offer themselves to you in marriage - other kinds of women are not lawful for you. This view was narrated from Ubayy bin Ka’b, from Mujahid in one report which was transmitted from him, and others.

At-Tirmdhi recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘The Messenger of Allah was forbidden to marry certain kinds of women apart from believing women who had migrated with him...

Allah has made lawful believing women, and believing women who offered themselves to the Prophet for marriage, and He made unlawful every woman who followed a religion other than Islam, as Allah says:

<And whosoever disbelieves in faith, then fruitless is his work> (Ibid, pp. 21-22; bold emphasis ours)

Both of the preceding interpretations pose problems for Badawi.

Ibn Kathir concludes by citing Ibn Jarir who actually agrees with Badawi:

Ibn Jarir, may Allah have mercy on him, stated that this Ayah is general in meaning and applies to all kinds of women mentioned and the women to whom he was married, who were nine. What he said is good, and MAY BE what many of the Salaf meant, FOR MANY OF THEM NARRATED BOTH VIEWS FROM HIM, and there is no contradiction between the two. And Allah knows best.

<nor to change them for other wives even though their beauty attracts you,>

He was forbidden to marry more women, even if he were to divorce any of them and wanted to replace here with another, except for those whom his right hand possessed (slave women). (Ibid, p. 22; bold and capital emphasis ours)

One immediately notices Ibn Kathir’s difficulty in trying to reconcile the contradictory statements passed on by those claiming to have heard Ibn Jarir. Yet this view doesn't solve the problem for Badawi. Muhammad was still free to have sex with as many slave-girls and prisoners of war as he liked. This means that apart from his nine wives, Muhammad was permitted to have an unlimited number of concubines for sexual pleasure. In light of this, we really fail to see the significance of forbidding Muhammad to marry additional wives seeing that he was allowed other ways of satisfying his sexual cravings.

Badawi also claimed that Muhammad's polygamous marriages were actually an evidence of his humanity. Badawi stated that for twenty-five years Muhammad was married to only one wife, Khadijah, who was fifteen years older than him. Badawi emphasized the point that Muhammad's polygamous marriages occurred within the last seven years of his life, after the death of his first wife.

The answer to this is rather simple. Khadijah was a rich merchant who employed Muhammad before marrying him. It is therefore not surprising that Muhammad did not marry anyone else since to do so might have jeopardized his right to her wealth.

Badawi concluded by giving the example of Muhammad's marriage to Umm Salama as a proof of his kindness. Umm Salama was an older widow who had four children. Both Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab offered to marry her, but she refused because she didn't want to be a burden to anyone due to her old age and four children. Yet Muhammad married her and told her that her children would be like his children.

Badawi is quite selective in his examples. Although it is true that Muhammad showed kindness to Umm Salama, Muhammad failed to show the same kindness to other women like Sauda bint Zam’ah. Sauda was one of Muhammad's wives. She had gotten old and Muhammad decided to divorce her.

The Quran refers to this situation:

And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better, and avarice has been made to be present in the (people's) minds; and if you do good (to others) and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is aware of what you do. S. 4:128

Ibn Kathir states:

Making peace is better than separation. An example of such peace can be felt in the story of Sawdah bint Zam’ah who when she became aged, the Prophet wanted to divorce her, but she made peace with him by offering the night he used to spend with her to A’isha so that he would keep her. The Prophet accepted such terms and kept her.

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to ‘A’ishah.’ And he did...

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that ‘A’isha said that when Sawdah bint Zam’ah became old, she forfeited her day to ‘A’isha and the Prophet used to spend Sawdah’s night with ‘Ai’ishah...

<And making peace is better>. It refers to the wife relinquishing some of her marital rights and his acceptance of the offer. Such compromise is better than total divorce, as the Prophet did when retained Sawdah bint Zam’ah. By doing so, the Prophet set an example for his Ummah to follow as it is a lawful act... (the following citation taken and adapted from Tafsir Ibn Kathir-Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147 [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; first edition March 2000], pp. 599-601, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 5, Sura An-Nisa, ayat 24-147, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa’i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000 first edition], pp. 193-194; bold emphasis ours)

This is further confirmed in the two Sahih collections:

Narrated Aisha:

Whenever Allah's Apostle wanted to go on a journey, he would draw lots as to which of his wives would accompany him. He would take her whose name came out. He used to fix for each of them a day and a night. But Sauda bint Zam’a gave up her (turn) day and night to ‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet in order to seek the pleasure of Allah's Apostle (by that action). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 766)

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Never did I find any woman more loving to me than Sauda bint Zam’a. I wished I could be exactly like her who was passionate. As she became old, she had made over her day (which she had to spend) with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to ‘A’isha. She said: I have made over my day with you to ‘A’isha. So Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) allotted two days to ‘A’isha, her own day (when it was her turn) and that of Sauda. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3451)

Not only did Muhammad fail to treat Sauda fairly, but also failed to treat many of his other wives fairly. For example, Muhammad separated his wives into two groups. One group he would sleep with more often, while the others he would have sex with only when he liked. Al-Zamakhshari writes:

It is related that the Prophet (refrained from sexual intercourse and) put off temporarily the following wives: Sauda, Juwairiya. Safiyya, Maimuna, and Umm Habiba. In so doing he used to grant them a share (of sexual intercourse) according TO HIS WISH. Among the wives whom the Prophet preferred to take to himself belong ‘A’isha, Hafsa, Umm Salama, and Zainab (bint Jash). Thus, he used to put five off temporarily in order to take four to himself. (On the other hand) it is related that, disregarding divorce and the selection concerned with it, the Prophet treated (all his wives) the same, with the exception of Sauda, who relinquished the night belonging to her to ‘A’isha and said (to the Prophet): ‘Do not divorce me but let me remain in the company of your wives!’... (Helmet Gatje, The Qur’an and Its Exegesis, translated and edited by Alford T. Welch [Oneworld Publications, Oxford England], pp. 90-91; bold and capital emphasis ours)


Narrated ‘Urwa from ‘Aisha:

The wives of Allah's Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of ‘Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah's Apostle. The Muslims knew that Allah's Apostle loved ‘Aisha, so if any of them had a gift and wished to give to Allah's Apostle, he would delay it, till Allah's Apostle had come to ‘Aisha’s home and then he would send his gift to Allah's Apostle in her home. The group of Um Salama discussed the matter together and decided that Um Salama should request Allah's Apostle to tell the people to send their gifts to him in whatever wife's house he was. Um Salama told Allah's Apostle of what they had said, but he did not reply. Then they (those wives) asked Um Salama about it. She said, "He did not say anything to me." They asked her to talk to him again. She talked to him again when she met him on her day, but he gave no reply. When they asked her, she replied that he had given no reply. They said to her, "Talk to him till he gives you a reply." When it was her turn, she talked to him again. He then said to her, "Do not hurt me regarding Aisha, AS THE DIVINE INSPIRATIONS DO NOT COME TO ME ON ANY OF THE BEDS EXCEPT THAT OF AISHA." On that Um Salama said, "I repent to Allah for hurting you." Then the group of Um Salama called Fatima, the daughter of Allah's Apostle and sent her to Allah's Apostle to say to him, "Your wives request to treat them and the daughter of Abu Bakr on equal terms." Then Fatima conveyed the message to him. The Prophet said, "O my daughter! Don't you love whom I love?" She replied in the affirmative and returned and told them of the situation. They requested her to go to him again but she refused. They then sent Zainab bint Jahsh who went to him and used harsh words saying, "Your wives request you to treat them and the daughter of Ibn Abu Quhafa on equal terms." On that she raised her voice and abused ‘Aisha to her face so much so that Allah's Apostle looked at ‘Aisha to see whether she would retort. ‘Aisha started replying to Zainab till she silenced her. The Prophet then looked at ‘Aisha and said, "She is really the daughter of Abu Bakr." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 755)

Muhammad's wives complained about his preferential treatment of Aisha and demanded to be treated equally. Muhammad justified his preferential treatment by claiming that Divine revelations came to him on no other bed except Aisha's. If Muhammad is correct, this means that Allah himself distinguished Aisha's bed from the rest, implying that Allah was quick to satisfy Muhammad's desires. This is something that even Aisha herself noticed:

Narrated Aisha:

I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah's Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily)." (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311)

Hence, the preceding examples should sufficiently refute Badawi's erroneous claim that Muhammad's marriages were an indication of his greatness.

Badawi on the Meaning of Tawaffa

The Quran teaches that Jesus actually died before ascending into heaven:

"Lo! God said: ‘O Jesus! Verily I shall cause thee to die (mutawaffeeka), and shall exalt thee unto me, and cleanse thee of those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee above those who are bent on denying the truth, unto the day of resurrection. In the end unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to differ." S. 3:55 Muhammed Asad

"I did not say to them aught save what Thou didst enjoin me with: That serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die (tawafaytani), Thou wert the watcher over them, and Thou art witness of all things." S. 5:117 M.H. Shakir

The words mutawaffeeka and tawafaytani stem from the verb tawaffa. This verb always means death when God or angels is the active agent. This therefore proves that Christ actually died before ascending into heaven.

Yet Badawi begs to differ. Badawi claims that in classical Arabic the word tawaffa meant to complete a term or debt. Badawi asserts that the verb means that Christ completed his term and was recalled into heaven without dying.

Sadly for Badawi, the data does not support his claim. Moiz Amjad ("The Learner", publishing on tells us why in his answer to the following question:

The Qur'an Regarding the Death of Jesus...

In reading one of the responses that were written on Renaissance and Understanding Islam, there was the use of "mutawafik" as "death". However, according to Dr. Jamal Badawi and some others, this is not a correct translation for the following reasons:

  1. "mutawafik" should not be translated as "death" since this is only how the current corrupted Arabic translates it. In fact, in the classical days mutawafik would indicate "completed term" or "recalled". Thus, Jesus simply completed his term and then will return to die and be raised. ...


The implication of the word under consideration, as explained by Dr. Jamal Badawi and the other referred Muslim scholars is supported neither by the Qur'an, nor by any authentic source of the Arabic language.

The word ‘mutawaffik’ is the active participle (ism al-faa'il) for the noun ‘tawaffa’. Aqrab al-Mawaarid, one of the most authentic Arabic dictionaries has explained ‘tawaffa’ to imply:

It should be quite clear from the above explanation that the meaning of the word ‘mutawaffik’ as described by Dr. Jamal Badawi and other Muslim scholars, who ascribe to the same opinion, is not very accurate. ... (Source; bold emphasis ours)

Muslims that essentially agree with the Learner include Malik Ghulam Farid:

424. Mutawaffi is derived from Tawaffa. They say Tawaffa Allahu Zaidan, i.e., God took away the soul of Zaid, namely He caused him to die. When God is the subject and a human being the object, Tawaffa has no other meaning than that of taking away the soul whether in sleep or death. Ibn ‘Abbas has translated Mutawaffi-ka as Mumitu-ka, i.e., I will cause thee to die (Bukhari). Similarly, Zamakhshari, an Arab linguist of great repute, says: "Mutawaffi-ka means, I will protect thee from being killed by the people and will grant thee full lease of life ordained for thee, and will cause thee to die a natural death, not being killed" (Kashshaf). In fact, all Arabic lexicographers are agreed on the point that the word Tawaffa as used in the aforesaid manner, can bear no other interpretation, and not in any other sense. Outstanding scholars and Commentators like (1) Ibn ‘Abbas, (2) Imam Malik, (3) Imam Bukhari, (4) Imam Ibn Hazm, (5) Imam Ibn Qayyim, (6) Qatadah, (7) Wahhab and others are of the same view (Bukhari, ch. on Tafsir; Bukhari, ch. on Bad’ al-Khalq; Bihar; Al-Muhalla, Ma’ad, p. 19; Manthur ii.; Kathir). The word has been used in no less than 25 different places in the Qur’an and in no less than 23 of them the meaning is to take away the soul at the time of death. Only in two places the meaning is to take away the soul at the time of sleep; but here the qualifying word "sleep" or "night" has been added (6:61; 39:43). The fact cannot be denied that Jesus is dead. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "Had Moses and Jesus now been alive, they would have found themselves forced to follow me" (Kathir). He even fixed the age of Jesus at 120 years (‘Ummal). The Qur'an, in as many as 30 verses, has completely demolished the absurd belief of the physical ascension of Jesus to, and his supposed life in, heaven. (The Holy Qur'an – Arabic Text and English Translation with Commentary, edited by Farid, published under the auspices of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, fourth successor of the Promised Messiah and Head of the Ahmadiyyah Movement in Islam [Islam International Publications Ltd., 1988], pp. 142-143; bold emphasis ours)

The following statements from the late Maulana Muhammad Ali basically echo the words we just read from Farid:

"I ‘Ab says that the significance of mutawaffi-ka is mumitu-ka, i.e. I will cause thee to die (B. 65:12). According to LA, ‘You say tawaffa-hu-llahu when you mean Allah took his soul or caused to die.’ And according to LL, it signifies ‘God took his soul (S, Q) (either at death or in sleep, see the Quran 6:60); or caused him to die (Msb)’. No other significance can be attached to the words when thus used. Some commentators say that Jesus remained dead for three hours; others say seven, and so on (Rz). But the word is used here to really show that the Jewish plans to cause Jesus' death on the cross would be frustrated and that he would afterwards die a natural death... Pickthall's translation is, O Jesus, I am gathering thee, and this is the Biblical idiom for causing to die. Yusuf Ali, in his first edition, translated the words as meaning I will cause thee to die, but in the second edition he changed it to I will take thee." (Ali, Holy Quran [Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Isha’at Islam Lahore Inc., USA 1995], p.147, f. 436; bold emphasis ours)

Kashif Ahmed Shehzada claims:

"The expression in arabic <MUTE VA FEEKA> comes from the root word <VAFFA> which carries the meaning of 'Completing something or some task to such an extent that nothing else is left out'. In the same manner <Vafaat> means 'Death', as in Death the life term of a person is fully completed. Following are some references from Standard Arabic dictionaries which tell us about the meaning of the word <VAFFAT>.

'VAFFAT' = "Death", "Decease" (An advanced Learners Arabic-English Dictionary by H.Anthony Salmone pp1222)

'VAFFAT' = "Death", "Demise", "Decease" (Al Mawrid Arabic-English Dictionary pp 1240)

'TUVAFA' = "To take the life of anyone" (A Dictionary & Glossary of the Koran by J.Penrice pp 161)

'TUUFFA' = "To die", "Expire", "Pass away", "Give up the ghost", "Breath ones last", "Part ones life" (Al Mawrid Arabic-English Dictionary pp 391)

In English to Arabic dictionaries ie reverse the meaning of 'vaffat' is again confirmed;

"DEATH" = 'vaffat' (Al Manar English-Arabic Dictionary pp 157)

"DEATH" = 'vaffat'(Al Asri English-Arabic Dictionary pp 193)

"DEMISE" = 'vaffat' (Al Asri English-Arabic Dictionary pp 199)

"DEMISE" = 'vaffat' (Al Mawrid English-Arabic Dictionary pp 259)

"DEATH" = 'vaffat' (Al Mawrid Eng Arabic Dictionary pp 251)

And much more.

However apart from General Arabic works of Reference, this word has also been used in the sense which conveys the meaning ofdeath or demise or completion of one's life term in the Qur'an itself. The following verses are very clear in ascertaining the meaning of "Vaffa", "Mutavafa" etc in the Qur'an itself. Please check all of these and above in Arabic to confirm them yourself. They are from M.H.Shakir's translation where otherwise stated.


"Our Lord! surely we have heard a preacher calling to the faith, saying: Believe in your Lord, so we did believe; Our Lord! forgive us therefore our faults, and cover our evil deeds and MAKE US DIE <TUWAFFANA> with the righteous." (3:193)

"And you do not take revenge on us except because we have believed in the communications of our Lord when they came to us! Our Lord: Pour out upon us patience and CAUSE US TO DIE <TUWAFFANA> in submission." (7:126)

"My Lord! Thou hast given me of the kingdom and taught me of the interpretation of sayings: Originator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my guardian in this world and the hereafter; MAKE ME DIE A MUSLIM <TUWAFFANI MUSLIM AN> and join me with the good." (12:101)

"But how will it be when the angels CAUSE THEM TO DIE <TAWAFAT'HUM> smiting their backs." (47:27)

"And (as for) those of you WHO DIE <YUTAWAFFAUNA> and leave wives behind,"(2:234)

"And as for those who are guilty of an indecency from among your women, call to witnesses against them four (witnesses) from among you; then if they bear witness confine them to the houses until DEATH TAKES THEM AWAY <YATAWAFFAHUNNE> or Allah opens some way for them." (4:15)

"And Allah has created you, then He CAUSES YOU TO DIE <YATAWAFFA'KUM> , and of you is he who is brought back to the worst part of life, so that after having knowledge he does not know anything; surely Allah is Knowing, Powerful." (16:70)

"O people! if you are in doubt about the raising, then surely We created you from dust, then from a small seed, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete, that We may make clear to you; and We cause what We please to stay in the wombs till an appointed time, then We bring you forth as babies, then that you may attain your maturity; and of you is he who is CAUSED TO DIE <YUTAWAFFA> , and of you is he who is brought back to the worst part of life." (22:5)

"Say: The angel of death who is given charge of you shall CAUSE YOU TO DIE <YATAWAFAAKUM>, then to your Lord you shall be brought back." (32:11)

The above verses are very distinct and clear in informing us the meaning of 'Yutavafa''" (Source; bold emphasis ours)

In the September 18th 1992 edition of the Saudi Arabian Newspaper, Arab News, Adil Salahi responded to the question whether Jesus actually died:

"I have certainly answered that question by saying that Jesus Christ did not die, but Allah raised him to Himself. In this, I have only given the view of the majority of scholars, including contemporary ones. I have quoted the Quranic verse which says in reference to what the Jews used to assert: "And their statement. ‘We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah’. They certainly have neither killed him nor crucified him, although it was made to appear so to them." This verse concludes with a categorical statement: "For certain they have not killed him, but Allah has raised him to Himself. Allah is Almighty, Wise."

"There are a number of hadiths which speak of the return of Jesus Christ to this world when he will resume his mission of preaching when the message of the Oneness of Allah. That will definitely be the Divine message in its final form, i.e. Islam, as preached by Prophet Muhammad (peace be on them both). Those Hadiths and the Quranic statements which speak of the raising of the Prophet Jesus provide a full justification for the view of the majority of scholars that Jesus Christ did not die but was raised by Allah and that he will make a second appearance at a time which will be appointed by Allah Himself and known to Him alone. However, there are references to Jesus Christ in the Quran which use a term that is most frequently used to indicate death although not necessarily so. Linguistically speaking, the word means the completion of a term. When it refers to life, it means the completion of one's life and its termination by death. It is used in this sense in other verses of the Quran. Dr. Kamal Umar quotes these verses in his book and translates them as referring to the death of Jesus. Thus, he gives the translation of Verse 55 of Surah 3 as follows: "When Allah said: Isa! (this is the Arabic name of Jesus) certainly I would cause you to die and would raise you to Myself and will protect you from those people who rejected you." In this respect, Dr. Umar is not alone. A number of scholars, some of them prominent indeed, have expressed this view and argued that this expression which occurs in three different verses in the Quran, means actually that Jesus Christ died a natural death. They point out that Allah has protected him from his enemies, by foiling their attempts to kill or crucify him. There is no argument among Muslim scholars that Jesus Christ was neither killed nor crucified. But, as you see, some scholars argue that he died a natural death.

"When these scholars refer to the "Ascension" of Jesus, or, use the Quranic expression, his being raised to Allah, they interpret this as having an abstract sense. According to them, it means that his position with Allah has been enhanced and he has been given a very high status. This is indeed the case, because Jesus Christ is one of the five messengers of Allah who have shown the greatest resolve in their service of Allah's cause. The other four are: Noah, Abraham, Moses and Muhammad (peace be on them all).

"When these scholars speak about the Hadiths which tell of the second coming of Jesus Christ and what he will be doing, such as breaking the cross, killing the pig and preaching the message of Oneness of Allah, they cast strong doubts about their authenticity. Their argument is not without validity. Where does this leave us? The answer is that there are two views: The first, which is held by a majority of scholars, is that Jesus Christ did not die but was raised by Allah and that he will make a second coming at a time determined by Allah, when he will be preaching the message of Islam. The other view is that Jesus Christ died a natural death after Allah had saved him from his enemies. Both groups of scholars agree that Jesus Christ was neither killed nor crucified. Needless to say, those who subscribe to the second view do not speak of a second coming of Jesus Christ.

"What we need to know is that the raising of Jesus Christ alive to Heaven is not an article of Islamic faith. This means that if a person denies it he is not an unbeliever. A person is not considered to be an unbeliever for preferring a reasonable and valid interpretation of a Quranic verse. Had the Quranic verse been of the sort that cannot admit more than one interpretation, then denying its meaning could easily land the person who makes such a denial in the class of unbelievers. This means that a person may adopt the view he prefers, but when he does so, he should arrive at the conclusion he prefers after carefully studying the matter and considering the evidence in support of their view. Dr. Umar has made a choice to which he is certainly entitled. I chose the view and I am equally entitled to it." (Source)

Orthodox Muslim Nadeem Quraishi commenting on S. 3:55 writes:

Interpretation of the wordwafat’:

The key word here is "wafat". The most correct meaning of "wafat" is death, or take away soul. If soul is taken away from a person, it is nothing but death. The problem arises with regards to this verse, when Muslims refuse to interpret the meaning of "wafat" as death. Irony is that all scholars who translated the Holy Quran do agree "wafat" means death. Each and every scholar translated the word "wafat" as death in at least 20 different instances in their translations. However, in this particular verse, they interpreted the meaning as ‘take away’ and insinuate physical ascension. These translators did not hesitate to twist the actual meaning of the word of Allah to support Christian faith and to some extent weak Hadith narrated by Wahab bin Munnabba, Kab Akbar and one isolated Hadith by Abu Hurairaa.

While the Quran is the word of Allah, Hadith is word of a person. Hadith is not the words of Allah. A person can err, Allah cannot err. That is why we often refer to some Hadith as Sahih Hadith - i.e. True Hadith. Because some Hadith may not be true. We don’t say the same thing about the Quran that some of its verses are Sahih verse and some are doubtful! This fact itself indicates that a few Hadith are not absolutely correct. Hadith is the sayings of prophet Muhammad(pbuh), but the prophet himself did not write down the Hadith. Several generation after the death of the prophet,Hadith was compiled by scholars. In this process hundreds of Hadith were rejected as they appeared to be false. In the end when the scholars agreed that a particular Hadith is correct, it was compiled into a book.

In spite of this we consider some Hadith to be true and some as weak. Some Muslims even say that for one correct Hadith there are thousands of false Hadith. This boils down to the fact that there are few Hadith that are not true. Fact remains that Hadith is a collection of words of a person, by persons. Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying reject all Hadith.

My contention is that the position of the Quran is superior to Hadith. Whenever a Hadith comes to contradict a Quranic verse, the Quran must prevail, not the Hadith. But to most Muslims, the argument is Hadith has to be correct no matter what, because so many scholars unanimously certified that those are Sahih or True!!! So to ratify a Hadith, let the Quran become wrong or let one verse of the Quran contradict another verse, who cares? Let Allah’s word be confusing and contradictory, a Muslim is happy because to him Hadith is absolute!!! What a shame!…

The most correct meaning of the word "wafat" is death. Wherever in the Holy Quran the word "wafat" is used, all these translators derived the meaning as death, except in this verse 3:54, wherethey don’t see "wafat"as death!!!! What is the problem here? Why are they contradicting the meaning of ‘wafat’? What stops them from translating the words of Allah in its true context? They are seeing imaginary words only to support heresy they learned during their childhood.

Here are some of the verses in the Holy Quran where Allah used the word "wafat". The verses are 2:234, 2:240, 3:193, 4:15, 4:97, 6:61, 7:37, 7:126, 8:50, 10:46, 10:104, 12:101, 13:40, 16:28, 16:32, 16:70, 39:42, 40:67, 40:77, 47:27 etc. Ineach of the instances, all these scholars translated the word "wafat" as death, or a word very close to death but none of them used a word to mean take away in a live condition…

You many [sic] go ahead and verify the translations of all other verses. If you do so, you will start discovering an emerging corruption (pardon me) by all the scholars. They misguided you by not translating a word correctly. Given all these facts, may we conclude that Jesus(pbuh) must die first before he can be raised?

Some Muslims say that ‘wafat’ here means death of Jesus(pbuh) after his descent from the Heavens in the later years. Good thing is that these Muslims do agree that 'wafat' means death! Please note, the verse here clearly denotes his relationshipwith his own people and not with any other people of the later days. The peopleof the later days would admittedly be followers of Muhammad(pbuh) and not of Jesus(pbuh). (Source)

Finally, Neal Robinson in his book Christ In Islam and Christianity notes:

"The root form wafa (ed.- from which tawaffa is derived), with the three consonants w, f and y is not found in the Quran. We do, however, find two instances of the elative of the corresponding adjective (9:111 and 53:41), which suggest that the meaning of the root form is ‘to fulfill (a promise)’ or ‘to be complete’.

Form II, waffa, occurs eighteen times as a finite verb and once as a participle:

In one instance, where Abraham is the subject and the object is not expressed, the meaning seems to be close to that of the root form, 'to fulfill [a promise]'(53:37).

In every other instance the meaning is 'to pay/repay in full' and the context is the last judgement when God will recompense people for their actions in this life (active: 3:57, 4:173, 11:15,111, 24:25,39, 35:30, 46:19, passive: 2:272,281, 3:25, 3:161,185, 8:60, 16:111, 39:10,70, active participle: 11:109).

Form IV, awfa, also occurs eighteen times as a finite verb and once as a participle:

Frequently, it means 'to fulfil (a covenant, vow, promise or obligation)' (with human subject: 2:40, 3:76, 5:1, 6:152, 13:20, 16:91, 17:34, 22:29, 48:10, 76:7, active participle 2:177. With God as subject 2:40).

It can also mean 'to give full (measure)' (with human subject: 6:152, 7:85, 11:85, 12:59,88, 17:35, 26:181).

Form X, istawaffa, occurs only once where it has the meaning 'demand full payment', 'exact in full' (83:2).

Form VI, tawaffa, occurs 25 times as a finite verb and once as an active participle:

With angels or angelic messengers as the subject it means 'receive' or 'gather' [at death] (4:97, 6:61, 7:37, 8:50, 16:28,32, 32:11, 47:27). Cf. one instance where death itself is the subject (4:15).

With God as the subject it seems to mean:

(a) 'to receive in death' or 'cause to die' (10:104, 16:70, 39:42),

(b) 'to receive in death' or 'cause to die' prematurely (Muhammad 10:46, 13:40, 40:77, the pious 3:193, 7:126, 12:101),

(c) 'to receive' souls in sleep, which is likened to death (6:60, 39:42),

(d) 'to receive' Jesus (5:117, participle 3:55).

In the passive it is a euphemism for death, particularly a premature death (2:234, 240 22:5, 40:67)."

(Christ in Islam and Christianity, State University of New York Press, 1991, pp. 117-118; bold emphasis ours)

In light of the evidence, it seems that Badawi has chosen to ignore the linguistic data that undermines his entire argument. The data from the Quran and Arabic usage proves that when God or angels are the active agent of tawaffa, the verb always means death. Seeing that God is the active agent of the verb in the passages dealing with Jesus' final moments demonstrates that the Quran does affirm that Jesus actually died before ascending into glory.

This concludes our series. May our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ use this series to bring many to his loving embrace and saving grace.

In the service of our great God and Savior, the risen King of eternal glory, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. We love you always.

Further responses to Dr. Badawi
Further articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page