Previously, I briefly touched on one of the narrations presented by those Ulama who believe the promised Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, is alive and did not die:
أَلَسْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ رَبَّنَا حَيٌّ لا يَمُوتُ ، وَأَنَّ عِيسَى يَأْتِي عَلَيْهِ الْفِنَاءُ
“Do you know that our Lord is living and does not die, while death will come to Jesus?”
I intend to dedicate this entry to a comprehensive discussion on this narration, which I believe to be weak and rejected for a number of reasons. I have previously mentioned that there are two chains for this Hadith allegedly attributed to the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam). One has been brought by Imam Ibn Abi Hatim ar-Razi in his tafsir, and the other by Imam Ibn Jarir at-Tabari in his well known tafsir. As for the latter, Ibn Jarir narrates from a certain al-Muthanna bin Ibrahim al-Aamili, who is majhul al-hal, i.e., unknown. In the former, Ibn Abi Hatim narrates from his father, Abi Hatim Muhammad bin Idris ar-Razi, from the narrator Ahmad bin Abdir-Rahman bin Wahb bin Muslim al-Qarshi. This Ahmad bin Abdur-Rahman has been declared weak by the muhaddithin. In fact, the great muhaddith, Imam Ahmad bin Shu’aib an-Nasa’i, has declared him a kadhdhab “liar” (ad-Du’afa wal-Matrukin; p.60, no.73):
The actual narrator of this Hadith is ar-Rabi’ bin Anas, who was not a companion of the Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam]. The narration is mursal on this basis. Furthermore, two other narrators of this Hadith, Abdullah bin Abi Ja’far and his father, Abi Ja’far Isa bin Mahan ar-Razi, are both problematic, to say the least, according to several muhaddithin. In summary, this Hadith is full of problems with regard to its sanad and by no means can it be said to be a sound Hadith from the Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam].
As for the content of the narration, it too is problematic. It describes a discussion between the Prophet Muhammad [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam] and some Christians regarding Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Christians believe to be divine. In order to refute this false doctrine, the Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam] allegedly argued: “Do you not know that our Lord is living and does not die, while death will come to Jesus?”, to which the Christians confess بَلَى meaning, “yes, certainly”. But the problem is that in Christian dogma, Jesus of Nazareth, after his alleged resurrection, has eternal life and will never die again. It is inconceivable that any group of Christians would admit in a debate that they believe death will come to Jesus some time in the future, as the majority of Muslims believe. On this very basis, the narration is extremely suspect. On the contrary, according to al-Wahidi, the Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam] actually said:
أَلَسْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ رَبَّنَا حَيُّ لَا يَمُوتُ ، وَأَنَّ عِيسَى أَتَى عَلَيْهِ الْفَنَاءُ
“Do you know that our Lord is living and does not die, while death came to Jesus?”
[Asbab an-Nuzul p.97]:
Here the verb أَتَى is in the past tense, meaning death already came to Jesus of Nazareth. This makes more sense, as the Christians also believe that Jesus died or perished, though by means of crucifixion and was resurrected thereafter. But the point is that if this narration is sound, it means the Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam] argued that Jesus could not be the Lord because the Lord is living and never dies, while according to Christians themselves, Jesus died, at least temporarily. Therefore, if anything, this narration proves that Jesus died and is not alive if it is authentic from the Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam].