How Jesus raised “dead” to life?
Another misconceived belief among Muslims is that Jesus rose dead to life, and made birds from clay. The verse 3:48 and 5:110 are cited to strengthen such belief. We read for example in 5:110.
إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ اذْكُرْ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَتِكَ إِذْ أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ النَّاسَ فِي الْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلًا ۖ وَإِذْ عَلَّمْتُكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ ۖ وَإِذْ تَخْلُقُ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ بِإِذْنِي فَتَنفُخُ فِيهَا فَتَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَتُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَإِذْ تُخْرِجُ الْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَإِذْ كَفَفْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَنكَ إِذْ جِئْتَهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ إِنْ هَـٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ
“Allâh said, `O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My blessing upon you and upon your mother, how I strengthened you with the holy revelation. You spoke to the people (when you were) in the cradle and when of old age, and how I taught you the Scripture and the wisdom and the Torah and the Evangel, and how you determined from clay the likeness of a bird by My leave, then you breathed into it (a new spirit) then it became a soaring being by My leave, and by My leave you absolved the blind, the leprous, and by My leave you raised the (spiritually or nearly) dead to life, and how I warded off the Children of Israel from (putting) you (to death). It was the time when you came to them with clear arguments, but those among them who disbelieved had said, “This is naught but a hoax cutting (us) off (from the nation).” (5:110)
You read in verse 30:19 and again in verse 57:17 “It is Allâh Who gives life to the earth after its death”, and again in 30:52 you read, “And you [-Prophet Muhammad] cannot make the dead hear, nor can you make the deaf hear the call when they retreat turning their backs (on you)”. These verses clearly tell you that the “dead” are the ones who are spiritually dead. Anyone who revives a dead soul with the life of spiritual knowledge and truths about real Lord has thereby brought him to life. That is to say, they are formed like a bird that soars high with his enlightened spirit. Allâh says, “He alone raises the dead to life” (42:9). Raising the spiritually and morally dead by God through His Prophets is that eternal, luminous and sublime life of which Allâh says:
مَن كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ
“Who was lifeless (before) and to whom We gave life and We provided for him a light whereby he moves about among the people,[…] (6:122)
Another misunderstood words in the above cited verse 5:110 are أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُس “I strengthened you with the holy spirit”, [as Yusuf ‘Alî translates]. God, when He perfected the human body said to Engels, “So when I have shaped him in perfection and have breathed My revelation (Rûh رُوحِ) into him, fall you down in submission to him” (15:29). Thus, every human being is attributed with this formal Divine Spirit (Rûh رُوحِ), The word Rûh رُوحِ is used in the sense of Divine Revelation and Mercy in the Holy Qur’ân (cf.16:2; 32:9; 38:72; 42:52; 16:102; 2:253; 2:87; 58:22; 26:193; 4:171). Rûh al-Quds رُوحِ الْقُدُس is that ‘holy spirit’ who brings the Divine Revelation of Allâh’s to His Messenger. You can read in verse 16:102
قُلْ نَزَّلَهُ رُوحُ الْقُدُسِ مِن رَّبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيُثَبِّتَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
“Say, `The Spirit of Holiness (رُوحِ الْقُدُس Rûh al-Quds) has brought this (Qur’ân) down from your Lord to suit the requirement of truth and wisdom, (Allâh has revealed it) so that He may strengthen those who believe in their faith and so that (this may serve as) a guidance and good tidings for Muslims”. (16:102).
Christians call upon Jesus their Lord, the Helper and the Saviour apart from “Father” and the “Holy Ghost”. Allâh says:
وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَا يَخْلُقُونَ شَيْئًا وَهُمْ يُخْلَقُونَ أَمْوَاتٌ غَيْرُ أَحْيَاءٍ ۖ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ
“And the things whom they call upon apart from Allâh can create nothing. Rather they are themselves created. They are dead, not alive. And they do not perceive when they shall be raised (to life again)” (16:20–21).
Allâh did not say here, and at other relevant places (cf. 21:8; 21:34; 5:109; 3:144) with the exception of Jesus. He could have said so, if Jesus were alive sitting somewhere in heaven. Allâh has expounded the whole affair about Jesus in different ways and with various arguments.
Readers of the Holy Qur’ân must be very clear that Taurâtالتَّوْرَاة and Injîl cited in verse 5:110 and else where refer to the original books that were revealed to Moses (the Taurât التَّوْرَاةَ) and the teachings promulgated by Jesus (the Injîl الْإِنجِيلَ). The Old and New Testaments, and in some other Gospels are not Taurâtالتَّوْرَاة and Injîl الْإِنجِيلَ mentioned in the Holy Qur’ân. Similarly, Zabûr are not the Psalms of David (Clarke, W. K. L., Concise Bible Commentary. London: Society for Promotion of Christian Knowledge [S.P.CK], 1952). Jesus never received his own Book of Law. Nowhere in Qur’ân you read Jesus was given a Book similar to the one given to Moses or to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The verse 55:110 simply tells us, God taught him the Book – that is “Divine Law” (عَلَّمْتُكَ الْكِتَابَ). As the subject of this chapter is not the review of the previous books, no further details about them will be provided here. [Precise summary on this subject is to read in Qur’ân and Hadîth by Allâmah Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi; Printed and Published by: Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania P.O. Box 20033 Dâr-es-Salâm, Tanzania, ISBN 9976 956 87 8).
In order to understand the word الْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلًا (cradle and maturity) in the verse 5:110 correctly, one has to go back to the original classical Arabic words and their meanings from dictionaries of the classical Arabic and put aside the modern Arabic dictionaries. There are many such dictionaries that can serve the purpose (see introduction and One has to keep in view the allegorical style of the Holy Book.
Therefore, you should be careful what the sermon readers and preachers tell you, and read what Allâh says about them in verses 3:187; 4:51; 5:13-14; 6:91 and 7:162. Allâh speaks the Truth and He is the sole Lord (cf. 3:62)