وَ کُنۡتُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ شَہِیۡدًا مَّا دُمۡتُ فِیۡہِمۡ ۚ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّیۡتَنِیۡ کُنۡتَ اَنۡتَ الرَّقِیۡبَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ
Translation: “I (Messiah) was a witness over them as long as I was among them. But when you caused me to die, You were the Watcher over them.” [Surah 5:117]
Because this verse is so clear and precise regarding the fact that the Messiah (peace be upon him) has already died and is no longer alive in this world, Syed Qutb was forced to indicate this reality, hence he wrote:
ثم يخلي يده منهم بعد وفاته.. وظاهر النصوص القرآنية يفيد أن الله – سبحانه – قد توفى عيسى بن مريم ثم رفعه إليه. وبعض الآثار تفيد أنه حي عند الله. وليس هنالك – فيما أرى – أي تعارض يثير أي استشكال بين أن يكون الله قد توفاه من حيات الأرض, وأن يكون حياً عنده. فالشهداء كذلك يموتون في الأرض وهم أحياء عند الله. أما صورة حياتهم عنده فنحن لا ندري لها كيفاً. وكذلك صورة حياة عيسى -عليه السلام – وهو هنا يقول لربه: إنني لا أدري ماذا كان منهم بعد وفاتي
Translation: He then disclaims any responsibility for what they did after his Wafaat. Taken at face value, the Qur’ānic text means that God gathered Jesus then elevated him to Himself. Some reports indicate that he is alive with God. In my view, there can be no contradiction between the two situations; for God may have determined that Jesus had completed his term of life on earth, and He may have taken him so that he be alive with Him. Martyrs die and finish their lives on earth, but they are alive with God. We do not know what form their life with God takes, nor do we know what form of life Jesus has; but he says here to his Lord that he does not know what they did or said after his Wafaah.
Reference: Fee Zilal al-Qur'an; p.1001
*Note: By comparing the life of the Messiah with Allah to the life of the Martyrs, Syed Qutb has hinted at the fact that Jesus (peace be upon him) has died and is no longer alive in this world; otherwise the comparison with Martyrs would be superfluous, since the Martyrs also experience death by way of killing. The Martyrs are not taken up into Heaven in their bodies without experiencing death.