Chapter 4 verses 158-159
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Chapter 4 verses 158-159

Allah Raised Jesus عليه السلام to himself

وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا {158}بَلْ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا {159}

And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah;’ whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this conjecture into a certainty; On the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.(Chapter 4 Verses 158-159)

Firstly, it is clear that in no way does the fact that Isaas was not killed or crucified, suggest that heas is alive in the heavens. This same ayah can apply to even the Holy Prophetsaw who was neither killed nor crucified and was also raised. This applies to many prophets and many righteous people who have passed. They were neither killed nor crucified and were indeed raised by Allah, who is Al-Rafi, the One Who Exalts. However, this does not mean that any Prophet is alive in the heavens physically. Furthermore, this verse does not have the word alive, bodily, or the skies or the term heaven.

Some have tried to use the words “wa lakin shubbiha lahum” to mean that another person’s face was switched with the face of Isaas who was killed, while Isaas was raised to the heavens. This once again has no basis in the Qur’an nor do any Arabic dictionaries ever support such a meaning attributed to the words.

The Jews wanted to crucify Isaas meaning put him to death on the cross, to prove to the public that Isaas was God Forbid a false prophet as Deuteronomy Chapter 21 Verses 21-23 state in regards to the ones who die on the cross. This was the plan of the Jews to show that Isaas was God forbid, a false prophet. Such an interpretation that another person’s face’s likeness was put onto Isaas and that person was killed instead of Isaas, is totally unacceptable for many reasons. Firstly, the Jews wanted to show the people that Isaas would die on the cross to prove him false, so if another man died in his place, with his face, the people would have still seen Isaas, and to them he would remain a false prophet, God Forbid. Some believe that it’s because Isaas was going to be put on the cross, Allah decided that his prophet should not be persecuted, and therefore was raised to the heavens. This again is against the teachings of the Qur’an and contradicts the reaction the other prophets received from their people. The Holy Prophetsaw faced a lot of persecution in Ta’if and his feet would be drenched in blood. Hissaw‘s reply was always to pray to Allah for protection as did Isaas, which is the reason Allah did not let him die on the cross.

If we were to assume that Allah did indeed put the looks of Isaas onto someone else, Allah would be accused for many things against his way. Firstly one would say that Allah secretly raised a prophet of Allah from the earth to the heavens, contradicting the Qur’an and removing his prophet from his mission, in fear of the Jews who defeated him. How can a sincere Muslims after all of the proof in regards to the death of Jesusas present in the Qur’an and the Ahadith, believe that Allah was afraid of the Jews and they had defeated him? The Qur’an has made it clear that the Prophets always fulfill their missions in their lifetime on earth and are persecuted, but protected by Allah. Secondly, why would an innocent person have to die for no reason? Thirdly Allah has made it clear in the Qur’an that we should not alter ourselves yet the non Ahmadi Muslims have put such an allegation on Allah, that He himself altered his creation, God Forbid! The story in regards to the likeness Isaas being put on someone else is not Islamic at all.

Firstly Ibn Ishaq on the authority of a Christian convert who is not narrated with his name, has related a similar story but has given the name of the disciple as Sergus, meaning one who is unknown. This story is from Israliyyat traditions rather than from Islam. There are many contradictions within this narration which is sometimes used by the non Ahmadi Muslims in regards to Isaas flying up to the skies from a roof of a house. Many have quoted the name Titanyus as well while some say he was unknown. This story tries to state Allah was defeated by the Jews and forced to remove his Prophet from his mission because Allah was unable to handle the persecution of the Jews against Isaas. This story also tries to state that Isaas did not have faith in Allah and was too scared of the Jews. Was a prophet ever scared enough of his opponents where Allah had to remove his prophet from his mission?

There are many narrations presented by Tabari all contradicting each other, based off of Israliyyat traditions. Some say it was Judas who had the likeness of Isaas on him, and died in the place of Isaas. Tabari has given two traditions which support the first opinion of Judas but there is a second tradition where Jesusas asked which one of his disciples wants paradise for his soul today, and a faithful servant said he is ready, and was crucified while Jesusas was raised to the heavens. Tabari has used nine narrations for this second opinion.

It is also important to understand the meaning of this ayah according to the Arabic lexicons as it is misinterpreted by many Muslims. In Lisan-al-Arab it is stated in regards to the word qatl “The true meaning of qatl is to separate the soul from the body”. The meaning of salb is not to be put on the cross itself, rather the meaning is to die on the cross. Many have confusions in regards to the English translation of this word as it is translated to crucified. We should remember that this word is used many times in the Qur’an and always refers to dying upon where one is placed. Lisan-al-Arab states in regards to the word salb: “Salb means death in a certain well known manner”. These dictionaries make it clear that “salb” refers to a type of death rather than simply being put on the cross.

The Word Rafa’a

Let us now analyze the next ayah in depth, where Allah states:

بَلْ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا {159}

On the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Chapter 4 Verse 159)

We know that Allah saved Isaas from the attempted crucifixion of the Jews and did not let him receive an accursed death. This next verse tells us that Allah exalted him to Himself. Now whenever we look at the word rafa’a, whenever it is used for a human being, it always refers to the elevation of the status on whom Allah has caused his exaltation. We see this clearly from the Qur’an, in many examples.

Allah States in regards to Prophet Idrisas:

وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا {58}

And We exalted him to a lofty station.(Chapter 19 Verse 58)

Now it is obvious that the Non Ahmadi Muslims do not believe Idrisas is alive in the heavens although the same word is attributed to him.

Here are more examples from the Qur’an and every single time, Allah speaks of causing rafa’a on a human being, it is spiritual:

Qur’anic Verse Word Used Root Word Translation
2:254 وَرَفَعَ رفع Raised(In Rank)
6:84 نَرْفَعُ رفع Raised(In Rank)
6:166 وَرَفَعَ رفع Raised(In Rank)
40:16 رَفِيعُ رفع Raised(In Rank)
43:33 وَرَفَعْنَا رفع Raised(In Rank)
94:5 وَرَفَعْنَا رفع Exalted Your Name
19:58 وَرَفَعْنَاهُ رفع Exalted (In Rank)


Some often raise the ignorant allegation that since body and soul was being mentioned in regards to Isaas throughout the verse saying that they did not kill him,  and nor did they crucify him this means that even the raising has to be body and soul. Allah States in the Qur’an:

ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ {22}

Then He causes him to die and assigns a grave to him;(Chapter 80 Verse 22)

In this verse Allah causes the body and soul to both die, but the grave is only assigned to the body rather than to the soul as well. This shows us that the words have to always refer to both the same thing if in the same verse or context. The verse in fact starts with the person being born, where both the soul are also included. However the grave is of course only for the body. Allah Also States:

وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَنْ يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَٰكِنْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ {155}

And say not of those who are killed in the cause of Allah that they are dead; nay, they are living; only you perceive not.(Chapter 2 Verse 155)

Similar is said in Chapter 3 of the Qur’an. Allah States:

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ {170}

Think not of those, who have been slain in the cause of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living, in the presence of their Lord, and are granted gifts from Him (Chapter 3 Verse 170)

In these verses Allah first refers to those killed physically in the cause of Allah and then states that they are living spiritually. Here again, the body is not included in both parts of the verse rather the latter speaks a spiritual living alone. It’s clear that their bodies are not getting anything, rather it’s the soul that is referred to. It is possible that sometimes the body is included alone, while sometimes the soul is included alone. In other times, both may also be included.

Allah also States:

وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِدْرِيسَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّيقًا نَبِيًّا {57} وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا {58}

And relate the story of Idris as mentioned in the Book. He was a truthful man and a Prophet. And We exalted him to a lofty station.(Chapter 19 Verses 57-58)

In these verses as well, Allah first Speaks about Idrisas and about him being a truthful man and a prophet meaning both bodily and spiritually but then the raising is only spiritual rather than both bodily and spiritual. There are more verses which support our side as well, and the non Ahmadi Muslims have no proof of their interpretation to prove that the verse has to apply to both soul and body if it had done so previously every single time. Wherever Allah mentions the rafa of any religious person, it has also included the word of darajat to show that whenever rafa occurs, it refers to a spiritual raise.

This shows us that rafa is only of the darajat as Allah mentions this, even if the word is not there.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِذَا قِيلَ انْشُزُوا فَانْشُزُوا يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ

O ye who believe! when it is said to you, ‘Make room!’ in your assemblies, then do make room; Allah will make ample room for you. And when it is said, ‘Rise up!’ then rise up; Allah will raise those who believe from among you, and those to whom knowledge is given, to degrees of rank. And Allah is Well-Aware of what you do. (Chapter 58 verse 12)

The word rafa’a in Ahadith is also always used for spiritual exaltation and never physical raise. Here are some beautiful Ahadith which further prove the point being made:

أَخْبَرَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ سَوَّادٍ، قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي يَحْيَى بْنُ أَيُّوبَ، وَذَكَرَ، آخَرَ قَبْلَهُ عَنْ عُمَارَةَ بْنِ غَزِيَّةَ، عَنْ أَبِي الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ لَمَّا كَانَ يَوْمُ أُحُدٍ وَوَلَّى النَّاسُ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي نَاحِيَةٍ فِي اثْنَىْ عَشَرَ رَجُلاً مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ وَفِيهِمْ طَلْحَةُ بْنُ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ فَأَدْرَكَهُمُ الْمُشْرِكُونَ فَالْتَفَتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقَالَ ‏”‏ مَنْ لِلْقَوْمِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ طَلْحَةُ أَنَا ‏.‏ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ كَمَا أَنْتَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ أَنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ أَنْتَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَاتَلَ حَتَّى قُتِلَ ثُمَّ الْتَفَتَ فَإِذَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مَنْ لِلْقَوْمِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ طَلْحَةُ أَنَا ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ كَمَا أَنْتَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ أَنَا ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ أَنْتَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَاتَلَ حَتَّى قُتِلَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَزَلْ يَقُولُ ذَلِكَ وَيَخْرُجُ إِلَيْهِمْ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ فَيُقَاتِلُ قِتَالَ مَنْ قَبْلَهُ حَتَّى يُقْتَلَ حَتَّى بَقِيَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَطَلْحَةُ بْنُ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ مَنْ لِلْقَوْمِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ طَلْحَةُ أَنَا ‏.‏ فَقَاتَلَ طَلْحَةُ قِتَالَ الأَحَدَ عَشَرَ حَتَّى ضُرِبَتْ يَدُهُ فَقُطِعَتْ أَصَابِعُهُ فَقَالَ حَسِّ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ لَوْ قُلْتَ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ لَرَفَعَتْكَ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَالنَّاسُ يَنْظُرُونَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ رَدَّ اللَّهُ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ‏.‏

It was narrated that Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said:

“On the day of Uhud, the people ran away, and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was in one position among twelve men of the Ansar, one of whom was Talhah bin ‘Ubaidullah. He said: ‘Who will face the people?’ Talhah said: ‘I will.’ The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Stay where you are.’ One of the Ansar said: ‘I will, O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).’ He said: ‘You (go ahead).’ So he fought until he was killed. Then he turned and saw the idolators. He said: ‘Who will face the people?’ Talhah said: ‘I will’. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Stay where you are.’ One of the Ansar said: ‘I will, O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).’ He said: ‘You (go ahead).’ So he fought until he was killed. This carried on, and each man of the Ansar went out to face them and fought like the one before him, and was killed, until only the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and Talhah bin ‘Ubaidullah were left. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Who will face the people?’ Talhah said: ‘I will.’ So Talhah fought like the eleven before him, until his hand was struck, and his fingers were cut off, and he exclaimed in pain. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘If you had said Bismillah (in the Name of Allah), the angels would have raised you with the people looking on.’ Then Allah drove back the idolators.”( Sunan an-Nasa’i 3149)

Another hadith states:

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ أَيُّوبَ، وَقُتَيْبَةُ، وَابْنُ، حُجْرٍ قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ جَعْفَرٍ – عَنِ الْعَلاَءِ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ وَمَا زَادَ اللَّهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلاَّ عِزًّا وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ لِلَّهِ إِلاَّ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives Allah adds to his respect, and the one who shows humility Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).(Sahih Muslim 2588)

Many also recite this prayer daily during our Salah:

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو كُرَيْبٍ، مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْعَلاَءِ حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ صَبِيحٍ، عَنْ كَامِلٍ أَبِي الْعَلاَءِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ حَبِيبَ بْنَ أَبِي ثَابِتٍ، يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَقُولُ بَيْنَ السَّجْدَتَيْنِ فِي صَلاَةِ اللَّيْلِ ‏ “‏ رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَارْحَمْنِي وَاجْبُرْنِي وَارْزُقْنِي وَارْفَعْنِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “When praying at night (Qiyamul-Lail), the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to say between the two prostrations: ‘Rabbighfir li warhamni wajburni warzuqni warfa’ni (O Lord, forgive me, have mercy on me, improve my situation, grant me provision and raise me in status).’” (Ibn Maja book 1, vol 5, hadith 898)

As a Muslim in every prayer we ask Allah to raise us, but did we ever see someone be raised physically? Of course not. We always ask for a spiritual raise and exaltation.

Another hadith states:

إِذَا تَوَاضَعَ الْعَبْدُ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ السَّابِعَةِ

When a servant shows humility, Allah elevates him to the seventh heaven.”( Kanzul-‘Ummal)

This hadith has stated the word heaven as well, but even here it is not taken literally. Rafa’a is indeed spiritual in the Qur’an and the Ahadith whenever Allah Has raised a human. The concept of a body being raised to the heavens physically, does not exist in Islam. Now some further falsely claim that there is ijma on the physical bodily raise of Isaas being raised to the heavens. This is absolutely false and has no truthfulness behind it. I have explained rafa from the Qur’an and ahadith and will now prove its true meaning through dictionaries, views of the scholars and the sahaba as well.

In Aqrabul Mawarid it is written:

رفعه إلى السلطان اى قربه

“He was elevated to the king, i.e. he was brought close or became his intimate”

In Lisanal Arab it is stated:

فى أسماء الله تعلى الرافع هو الذي يرفع المئومن بالأسعاد و أولياءه بالقريب والرفع تقريب الشى من الشى

The name rafi is among the names of Allah because he elevates a believer with good fortune and his friends with nearness. The word rafa means to bring one thing close to another.

It is obvious that Isaas was a friend of Allah which makes it obvious that he was raised spiritually. One of the attributes of Allah itself is Al-Rafi, the One who Exalts. It’s been his law since the start of creation and never was it bodily.

Hazrat Imam Raghib states in his Qur’anic dictionary Mufradat:

رفيع الدرجات ﴿١٥ غافر﴾ رافع السّموات بعضها فوق بعضرفع الرفع يقال تارة في الأجسام الموضوعة إذا أعليتها عن مقرها، نحو: ﴿ورفعنا فوقكم الطور﴾ [البقرة/93]، قال تعالى: ﴿الله الذي رفع السموات بغير عمد ترونها﴾ [الرعد/2]، وتارة في البناء إذا طولته، نحو قوله: وإذ يرفع إبراهيم القواعد من البيت} [البقرة/127]، وتارة في الذكر إذا نوهته نحو قوله: ﴿ورفعنا لك ذكرك﴾ [الشرح/4]، وتارة في المنزلة إذا شرفتها، نحو قوله: ﴿ورفعنا بعضهم فوق بعض درجات﴾ [الزخرف/32]، ﴿نرفع درجات من نشاء﴾ [يوسف/76]، ﴿رفيع الدرجات ذو العرش﴾ [غافر/15]، وقوله تعالى: ﴿بل رفعه الله إليه﴾ [النساء/158]، يحتمل رفعه إلى السماء، ورفعه من حيث التشريف. وقال تعالى: ﴿خافضة رافعة﴾ [الواقعة/3]، وقوله: ﴿وإلى السماء كيف رفعت﴾ [الغاشية/18]، فإشارة إلى المعنيين: إلى إعلاء مكانه، وإلى ما خص به من الفضيلة وشرف المنزلة. ووقوله عز وجل: ﴿وفرش مرفوعة﴾ [الواقعة/34]، أي: شريفة، وكذا قوله: ﴿في صحف مكرمة *** مرفوعة مطهرة﴾ [عبس/13 – 14]، وقوله: ﴿في بيوت أذن الله أن ترفع﴾ [النور/36]، أي: تشرف، وذلك نحو قوله: ﴿إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجس أهل البيت﴾ [الأحزاب/33]، ويقال: رفع البعير في سيره، ورفعته أنا، ومرفوع السير: شديده، ورفع فلان على فلان كذا: أذاع خبر ما احتجبه، والرفاعة: ما ترفع به المرأة عجيزتها، نحو: المرفد.


A summary of the point I am making is as follows:

Sometimes rafa means raising sometimes above, like about Ibrahimas. Sometimes it refers to the dhikr of someone. He also states that sometimes it refers to someone’s rank being raised. For example, we raised some over others by rank. We then states the verse saying that Allah Raises whoever he wills. He then quotes this ayah of Isaas being raised and says there are two views. He believed Isaas was alive but still claimed there are two views of this. Our opponents claim that rafa towards Allah can only happen bodily but this is totally false and Imam Raghib has proven this here. Imam Raghib states that the raising of Isaas can mean towards the heavens but there is also a meaning that he was raised in his rank.

Furthermore, we see in Tafsir Kabeer of Imam Al Razi under Chapter 3 verse 55:
الوجه التاسع: أن يقدر فيه حذف المضاف والتقدير: متوفي عملك بمعنى مستوفي عملك { وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَىَّ } أي ورافع عملك إلي، وهو كقوله
{ إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ ٱلْكَلِمُ ٱلطَّيّبُ }
فاطر: 10] والمراد من هذه الآية أنه تعالى بشّره بقبول طاعته وأعماله، وعرفه أن ما يصل إليه من المتاعب والمشاق في تمشية دينه وإظهار شريعته من الأعداء فهو لا يضيع أجره ولا يهدم ثوابه، فهذه جملة الوجوه المذكورة على قول من يجري الآية على ظاهرها

Imam Razi believed Isaas was alive in the heavens, but despite this he is saying that when Allah Said He raised Isaas to himself, He meant He raised the works of Isaas , in the same way Allah says in the Qur’an that all good words go to Allah. He states that by raising Isaas Allah means he has accepted the good works of Isaas. He then states:

والمشبهة يتمسكون بهذه الآية في إثبات المكان لله تعالى وأنه في المساء، وقد دللنا في المواضع الكثيرة من هذا الكتاب بالدلائل القاطعة على أنه يمتنع كونه تعالى في المكان فوجب حمل اللفظ على التأويل، وهو من وجوه:
الوجه الأول: أن المراد إلى محل كرامتي، وجعل ذلك رفعاً إليه للتفخيم والتعظيم ومثله قوله
{ إِنّى ذَاهِبٌ إِلَىٰ رَبّى }
[الصافات: 99] وإنما ذهب إبراهيم صلى الله عليه وسلم من العراق إلى الشام وقد يقول السلطان: ارفعوا هذا الأمر إلى القاضي، وقد يسمى الحجاج زوار الله، ويسمى المجاورون جيران الله، والمراد من كل ذلك التفخيم والتعظيم فكذا ههنا.

The Mushabihah Firqa states that rafa here means that Allah is limited to the heavens and how that this is wrong. He states that Allah is not limited to one spot alone. He states that raising is spiritual and that it refers to a person’s respect. He quotes the ayah that Ibrahimas said I am going towards my Lord and that in reality Ibrahimas went from Iraq to Sham rather than Iraq to the heavens. At the end of stating all of this, he ends up saying:

واعلم أن هذه الآية تدل على أن رفعه في قوله { وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَىَّ } هو الرفعة بالدرجة والمنقبة، لا بالمكان والجهة، كما أن الفوقية في هذه ليست بالمكان بل بالدرجة والرفعة.

Know that in this verse that I will raise you towards myself, tells us, that raising Isaas means raising in rank and his status rather than being raised to a specific place or direction. This clears everything up and is beautifully explained by Imam Razi. This is all in Tafseer e Kabeer of Imam Razi under Chapter 3 verse 55.

Hazrat Ibn Arabi, a famous saint of Islam stated:

 رفع عيسى عليه السلام اتصال روحه عند المفارقة عن العالم السفليّ بالعالم العلوي. وكونه في السماء الرابعة إشارة إلى أن مصدر فيضان روحه روحانية تلك الشمس الذي هو بمثابة قلب العالم ومرجعه إليه وتلك الروحانية نور يحرّك ذلك الفلك بمعشوقيته وإشراق أشعته على نفسه المباشرة لتحريكه ولما كان مرجعه غلى مقرّه الأصليّ ولم يصل إلى الكمال الحقيقيّ وجب نزوله في آخر الزمان، بتعلّقه ببدن آخر وحينئذ يعرفه كل أحد فيؤمن به أهل الكتاب، أي: أهل العلم العارفين بالمبدأ والمعاد كلهم عن آخرهم قبل موت عيسى بالفناء في الله، وإذ آمنوا به يكون يوم القيامة أي يوم بروزهم عن الحجب الجسمانية وقيامهم عن حال غفلتهم ونومهم الذي هم عليه الآن { شَهيداً } شاهدهم يتجلى عليهم الحق في صورته كما أشير إليه.

He is basically first stating that the rafa of Isaas is spiritual and of his ruh which left his body and went to Allah. He then states that in the end times, the nazul of Isaas would be in a different body rather than the Messiah of the past. He states that it won’t be the same Messiah as he has died, rather someone in his likeness in another body.

Ahmadas stated in regards to Ibn Arabirh:

It seems that ibn al-‘Arabi had in the latter part of his life recanted from what he had said previously [regarding the bodily descent]. Which is why his latter statement contradicts his earlier one. Similarly some other schools of Sufism believe in the death of the Prophet Jesus. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 21 Pages 291-292)

The Qur’an also supports this idea of Ibn Arabirh as Allah States:

وَحَرَامٌ عَلَىٰ قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا أَنَّهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ{96}

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فُتِحَتْ يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ وَهُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ حَدَبٍ يَنْسِلُونَ {97}

And it is an inviolable law for a township which We have destroyed that they shall not return. It shall be so even when Gog and Magog are let loose and they shall hasten forth from every height.(Chapter 21, Verses 96-97)

Allah makes it clear that no one returns from death, even when Gog and Magog are let loose. This shows us that, in the end times, the people who have died including the good and bad, would return to the world in a spiritual sense. This means that people of the same nature will come, the good people and the bad people. This is what Ibn Arabi is referring to.

Allah has made it clear in the Qur’an that Messengers are given rafa’a, some over the others. Allah states:

تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِنْهُمْ مَنْ كَلَّمَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ ۗ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَلَٰكِنِ اخْتَلَفُوا فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ آمَنَ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ كَفَرَ ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلُوا وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ {254}

These Messengers have We exalted, some of them above others: among them there are those to whom Allah spoke; and some of them He exalted by degrees of rank. And We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs and strengthened him with the Spirit of holiness. And if Allah had so willed, those that came after them would not have fought with one another after clear Signs had come to them; but they did disagree. Of them were some who believed, and of them were some who disbelieved. And if Allah had so willed, they would not have fought with one another; but Allah does what He desires.(Chapter 2 verse 254)

It is also interesting to note that Allah decided to Mention Isaas right after speaking about a spiritual rafa’a. There is no mention of any prophet being raised to the heavens. Never did Allah use the term body for any Prophet when referring to his raise. All Prophets are raised to Allah but this is never physical.Allah also States:

Some have also claimed that Allah has Used illayhi. This word does not suggest a physical ascension either. Illayhi is basically the turning of attention towards Allah or the spiritual return of the soul It has been used in the Qur’an many times. Allah States:

وَقَالَ إِنِّي ذَاهِبٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ {100}

And he said, ‘I am going to my Lord, Who will guide me.(Chapter 37 verse 100)

Allah also States:

فَآمَنَ لَهُ لُوطٌ ۘ وَقَالَ إِنِّي مُهَاجِرٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {27}

And Lot believed him; and Abraham said, ‘I take refuge with my Lord; surely He is the Mighty, the Wise.’(Chapter 29 verse 27)

He Further States:

يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ {28} ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّةً{29}

And thou, O soul at peace! Return to thy Lord well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee.(Chapter 89 verse 28-29)\

In this verse Allah makes it clear that going back to Allah refers to going to the heavens after death.

Allah also states:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَاسْتَكْبَرُوا عَنْهَا لَا تُفَتَّحُ لَهُمْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَلَا يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّىٰ يَلِجَ الْجَمَلُ فِي سَمِّ الْخِيَاطِ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُجْرِمِينَ {41}

Those who reject Our Signs and turn away from them with disdain, the gates of the spiritual firmament will not be opened for them, nor will they enter Heaven until a camel goes through the eye of a needle. And thus do We requite the offenders. (Chapter 7 Verse 41)

In this verse Allah shows us that those who reject the signs of Allah, won’t have the gates of the heavens opened for them. If such people don’t have the gates of the heavens opened, nor do the believers  then why would Allah mention this? Allah mentioning that the gates of heaven will not be opened for the disbelievers tells us that the gates of heavens will be open for those0 who accept Allah. This shows us that going to the heavens means entering Jannah.

وَتِلْكَ حُجَّتُنَا آتَيْنَاهَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ ۚ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَاتٍ مَنْ نَشَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ {84}

And that is Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We exalt in degrees of rank whomso We please. Thy Lord is indeed Wise, All-Knowing.(Chapter 6 Verse 84)

Allah States that He raises whoever He wills by their rank. Nowhere does he mention that He raises the body of anyone. In many more verses, Allah makes it clear that the raise refers to rank. Allah also States:


وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا وَلَٰكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ ۚ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِنْ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَثْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا ۚ فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {177}

And if We had pleased, We could have exalted him thereby; but he inclined to the earth and followed his evil inclination. His case therefore is like the case of a thirsty dog; if thou drive him away, he hangs out his tongue; and if thou leave him, he hangs out his tongue. Such is the case of the people who disbelieve in Our Signs. So give them the description that they may ponder.(Chapter 7, Verse 177)

In this ayah, Allah States that He could have raised the person, but he inclined to the earth. In this verse there is the word rafa, and the word for earth but regardless of this, no one claims this would mean that the person would physically be raised to the heavens. Allah is showing us that the person would have been raised if he did good deeds, and further gives us a lesson in this verse. Anyone who does good deeds and behaves opposite to how the person in this verse behaved, is raised by Allah. Otherwise, if his actions caused him to not get rafa from Allah, and nor do the people of God get rafa, than what is the difference between the good and the bad? It is obvious that this verse shows us that all who do good, and truly follow the way of Allah, are raised. Whichever person does good till his death, he is given rafa by Allah, meaning spiritually raised by Allah.

Every single time a person passes away, we pray, as the Qur’an states:

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ {157}

Who, when a misfortune overtakes them, say, ‘Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.’(Chapter 2 Verse 157)

In this verse, we clearly say that to Allah we Belong and to Him shall we return, however it is obvious that returning to Allah always happens after death and never refers to the body.

Now I will share a beautiful reference from Hazrat Imam Suyutirh. He beautifully narrates a statement of a companion named Hazrat Anas. Imam Suyuti states in his Tafseer Durr al Manthur, under Chapter 43 verse 41:

وأخرج ابن مردويه والبيهقي في شعب الإِيمان من طريق حميد، عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه في قوله: { فإما نذهبن بك فإنا منهم منتقمون } الآية. قال: أكرم الله نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يريه في أمته ما يكره، فرفعه إليه وبقيت النقمة.


He states quoting Hazrat Anasra, who is a companion of the Holy Prophetsaw and stayed with the Prophetsaw all his life. He states that the conditions of the ummah which the Prophetsaw would be bothered and disturbed by were not shown to him by Allah out of His grace for the Prophetsaw. He then states that Allah raised himsaw to himself before such conditions had occurred, meaning that he passed away and was blessed with heaven and the things that were supposed to bother him began after his death.

Even the sahaba believed that rafa meant death and meaning going to the heavens after the death, in a spiritual sense. If they believed rafa was physical and Isaas was alive in the heavens. they would not use this ayah for the rafa as it has to do with death. This clearly shows us that rafa ilayhi is always spiritual and that it occurs after death. This should clear all misconceptions and leave no confusion in regards to this issue. We have the view of the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammadsaw, the companions and many great scholars themselves.

A third point to be made clear is that according to the Qur’an there are many ayahs that show us that Allah is not confined to the heavens nor does He Have a direction which He is confined to. It is clear that Isaas was raised but in his status. He was not a false prophet and Allah removed all of the misconceptions by Making sure heas did not die on the cross and received a natural death.

Some falsely try to say that some verses claim Allah is in the Heavens. However, this does not mean that Allah is not present in other places. Allah has made it clear that He is everywhere and not limited. Allah States:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ{187}

And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’ (Chapter 2 verse 187)

Now Allah makes it clear of how near He is as well in the Qur’an, since He knew what would happen to the Muslims and how their beliefs would become corrupt. Allah States:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ ۖ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ{17}

And assuredly, We have created man and We know what his physical self whispers to him, and We are nearer to him than even his jugular vein. (Chapter 50 verse 17)

Allah Also States:

وَهُوَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّكُمْ وَجَهْرَكُمْ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُونَ {4}

And He is Allah, the Godboth in the heavens and in the earth. He knows your inside and your outside. And He knows what you earn.(Chapter 6 Verse 4)

Some say that this refers to His knowledge only, but this is nowhere in the verse. Allah Would have clarified this. No hadith or verse states that Allah is only in the heavens.

He Further States:

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا ۖ وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ {5}

He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, then He settled Himself on the Throne. He knows what enters the earth and what comes out of it, and what comes down from heaven and what goes up into it. And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah sees all that you do.(Chapter 57 Verse 5)


وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ {116}

To Allah belong the East and the West; so withersoever you turn, there will be the face of Allah. Surely, Allah is Bountiful, All- Knowing.(Chapter 2 Verse 116)

It is quite clear that the non Ahmadi Muslims only try to interpret the rafa’a of Isaas differently. The Qur’an has clearly stated that the concept of a physical ascension does not  exist. Allah States:

أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِنْ زُخْرُفٍ أَوْ تَرْقَىٰ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ حَتَّىٰ تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا كِتَابًا نَقْرَؤُهُ ۗ قُلْ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي هَلْ كُنْتُ إِلَّا بَشَرًا رَسُولًا {94} وَمَا مَنَعَ النَّاسَ أَنْ يُؤْمِنُوا إِذْ جَاءَهُمُ الْهُدَىٰ إِلَّا أَنْ قَالُوا أَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ بَشَرًا رَسُولًا{95}

‘Or thou have a house of gold or thou ascend up into heaven; and we will not believe in thy ascension until thou send down to us a book that we can read.’ Say, ‘Holy is my Lord! I am not but a man sent as a Messenger.’And nothing has prevented men from believing when the guidance came to them save that they said, ‘Has Allah sent a man as a Messenger?’(Chapter 17 Verses 94-95)

This verse is extremely clear. The disbelievers asked the Prophet Muhammadsaw for a sign to prove his truthfulness, and the sign they asked for, was for himsaw to physically go to the heavens. Hesaw showed us that it was not the habit of Allah to transport an earthly body to paradise by stating that “Holy is my Lord, I am not but a man sent as a messenger”. If we were to accept that Isaas physically went to the heavens, then the response of the Prophet Muhammadsaw would not be accepted and become an allegation against Islam. Secondly it would also infer that Isaas is neither a man nor a messenger, God Forbid. Even when the Holy Prophetsaw even had the spiritual journey of Miraj, he saw many prophets and described them beautifully. Not even in any Sahih or even daeef hadith did the Prophetsaw say that he met the souls of all Prophets and saw the physical body of Isaas. Him not saying this difference, shows that he saw all prophets in the same condition. Either all Prophets were bodily in heaven, or all Prophets souls were in heaven and they were there spiritually.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas states:

“Nowhere does the Holy Qur’an mention the bodily ascent of Jesus to heaven. His death, on the other hand, is specifically mentioned at several different places. One of these contains Jesus’ own confession of his death:

وَكُنْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنْتَ أَنْتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَأَنْتَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

As his death is established, it follows that his body must have been buried in the earth like the bodies of all dead people. The Holy Qur’an expressly states that it was his soul that ascended to heaven and not his body. That is why, in the verse just cited, he clearly acknowledged his death. Had he ascended to heaven alive in his physical body, he would not have said that he had departed the earth after his death. And, obviously, if it was only his soul which had ascended to heaven, then how can he possibly descend in his physical body?… If we were to assume that he had ascended to heaven in his physical body, we would have to acknowledge that, like all human and animal bodies, his body must also be affected by the passage of time and that one day he must die. Thus he may have died in heaven having lived out his normal span of life and may have been interned in a graveyard on some planet which is now supposed to be capable of supporting human life. On the other hand, if we are to assume the impossible—that he is still physically alive, then, after the passage of so many centuries, he must have arrived at extreme old age and will no longer be capable of performing any religious function or service. His descent upon earth in such a condition would serve no useful purpose and would only put him to unnecessary travail.” (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 3, Pages 125-127)