Raising the Dead

This blog typically contrasts theological aspects of Christianity and Islam. It delves into the tenets of the two religions in intricate detail. However, sometimes, there are more philosophical questions to be answered. Rather than asking what the tenets are, sometimes the question must be asked why they exist. Why does the Bible say such and such? Why does the Qur’an say, or not say, something? To be specific, let’s consider how Muhammad and Jesus interacted with those who had died.

In Islam, there is little doubt about how Muhammad interacted with those who had died. Muhammad said that he was “a plain warner,” and that he was to convey Allah’s message to those living around him. Therefore, once someone died, Muhammad had no ability to interact with them anymore. The Qur’an makes it clear that Muhammad is not able to communicate with those who are no longer living. There are two separate ayat which are on point.

[35.22] Neither are the living and the dead alike. Surely Allah makes whom He pleases hear, and you cannot make those hear who are in the graves.

Again the Qur’an says regarding Muhammad,

[27.80] Surely you do not make the dead to hear, and you do not make the deaf to hear the call when they go back retreating.

Islamic commentaries, or tafsir, backup the straightforward meaning of these verses of the Qur’an. This shouldn’t be surprising. Once a person dies, it is no longer possible, humanly speaking, to engage with the deceased in any way.

Yet within the pages that recount the life of Jesus, there is an interesting account of one of Jesus’ friends, Lazarus, who died (John 11:14). The sisters of Lazarus had sent for Jesus while he was still sick in the hope that Jesus would cure him (John 11:3). But rather than directly go to him, Jesus delayed for two days before departing (John 11:6). By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the funeral and its associated activities were well underway (John 11:31) and Lazarus had been dead for four days (John 11:39).

However, Jesus had something else in mind. Rather than coming and curing the sickness, Jesus was interested in bolstering the disciples’ belief (John 11:15). Coming to the tomb, Jesus engaged in public prayer, not for the sake of necessity, but for the purpose of allowing those nearby to hear and better understand what was happening (John 11:42). At this point, Jesus calls for Lazarus to come out of the tomb, and he does (John 11:43-44).

So we see one of the differences between Jesus and Muhammad. Jesus raised the dead, and Muhammad did not. In itself, this observation is monumental enough. It isn’t too hard to see this difference and contemplate its significance. And so perhaps this article would end right here. Yet there is something else happening here that needs to be pointed out. The Qur’an also agrees that Jesus raised the dead! In chapter 5, verse 110, the Qur’an quotes Allah as asking Jesus to remember “when you brought forth the dead by My permission”. While the Bible cites other instances where men of God were able to bring back those who had recently died (Acts 9:40; Acts 20:10), the Qur’an has no other such records. According to the Qur’an, only Jesus is mentioned as being able to raise the dead.

The Muslim response is that Jesus only performed miracles as a man, and thus only by the permission of Allah. One Muslim author explains this as follows: “The Quran (3:49) clearly states that his miracles were purely granted by Allah and in no way it could be inferred that he had Godly powers, as believed by Christians.”[i] The issue of whether raising the dead proves Jesus was God in the flesh has been debated on various internet sites. While it’s an important question, I am not interested in repeating those endeavors at this time.

But here is the question that remains for Christians and Muslims. Why? Even If one assumes the Islamic explanation that Jesus was only a prophet and thus only allowed this ability as a prophet, the question remains. Why was Jesus allowed this power to raise the dead while Muhammad was not? It’s an inquiry that requires a cogent and compelling response.

Of course, as Christians, this question stands as well. However, as Christians, we have a clear and straightforward answer (John 11:25). But from the Islamic perspective, why is there this difference between these two religious figures that Islam deems as prophets. Why was one prophet granted such amazing power to raise the dead, and one not? Why was Jesus permitted the right to do this miracle while Muhammad was not? Like a trail of breadcrumbs, the clues are there for those who want to follow them.

http://www.iqrasense.com/islamic-belief/jesus-eesa-the-prophet-who-didnt-die.html

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21 Responses to Raising the Dead

  1. Refer to the following page on my blog: http://losthumanity.org/about/
    —-
    Excerpt:

    Immediately after the demise of the Prophet, the Muslim nation was ripped with internal strife and quarreled with each other over the question of who should succeed him. Although during his lifetime, the Prophet on numerous occasions had clearly identified the line of succession (through divine ordainment) to be his bloodline – the Ahlul Bayt. Despite this, the Muslim community (represented by an influential minority) rejected the appointment of the Prophet. The corrupt among them assumed leadership of the newly formed community thus usurping the rights of the Ahlul Bayt.

    Islam suffers the consequences of those actions to this day. The image of Islam and that of the Prophet have been tarnished. The teachings have been corrupted and the message misrepresented.

    But by the will of Allah, the true teachings of Islam continue to be protected and preserved through the Ahlul Bayt and their sincere followers. It is ONLY through them that the truth can be understood. It is only through their teachings that we can comprehend the original personality of the Prophet and his sublimely noble character.
    —–

    Miracles of deeds of the Holy Prophet of Islam were of various types and so numerous that many volumes have been written to record them. One of the great Shia scholars Allamah Fakhrul-lslam has written that he has counted more than four thousand of such miracles from authentic books.

    http://www.al-islam.org/prophethood-sayyid-saeed-akhtar-rizvi/miracles#miracles-deeds

  2. Jeanne says:

    Muhammad is still in the grave. I’ll go with the guy who not only raised others from the dead on His own authority, but had the power to raise Himself from the dead as well.

  3. “Do not say that those who are killed in God’s cause are dead; they are alive, but you are not aware of it”. – Noble Qur’an, Surah Baqarah, Verse 154 (http://al-quran.info/#2:154)

  4. That still doesn’t answer the original question. Why, according to the Qur’an, is Jesus the only prophet mentioned who was given permission to raise the dead?

    • The Holy Prophet Muhammad being the chief of all the Prophets performed countless miracles. Unfortunately, like I said earlier the mainstream Muslims have lowered and tarnished the true original personality of the Prophet. True Islam and the true personality of the Prophet is preserved in a minority group, who adhered and held fast to the command of the Prophet to obey and follow his pure and infallible bloodline – the divinely appointed successors after him.

      The Holy Prophet Muhammad did perform the miracle of raising people from the dead. Please refer to the following link:

      http://www.al-islam.org/hayat-al-qulub-vol-2-allamah-muhammad-baqir-al-majlisi/prophet%E2%80%99s-appearance-character-physique-and#miracles-raising-dead-talking-them-healing-sick-etc
      —–
      Twelfth miracle: Rawandi etc. have narrated that a mother of a young Ansari man was a blind old woman. He fell sick and the Prophet went to visit him. When he reached the home he found the young man dead, and his mother praying: “O my Lord, if You know that I have fled to You and Your Prophet in the hope that You will help me in every trial, then do not lay this calamity upon me.” The Messenger of Allah (S) removed the shroud from the face of the dead, the young man was immediately restored to life; he rose up and ate with the Prophet.
      —–

      • The Qur’an says,

        [29.50] And they say: Why are not signs sent down upon him from his Lord? Say: The signs are only with Allah, and I am only a plain warner. [29.51] Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Most surely there is mercy in this and a reminder for a people who believe.

        If you are Muslim, you must believe the Qur’an. Here it says Muhammad doesn’t do any miracles, but rather he is only a warner, the miracle (according to the Qur’an) is the Qur’an. How do you reconcile this verse with your beliefs?

        • Signs or miracles are no guarantee that they will bring change. The Noble Qur’an says [6:111]: “Even if We had sent down angels to them, and the dead had spoken to them, and We had gathered before them all things manifestly, they would [still] not believe unless Allah wished. But most of them are ignorant.”

          Did miracles shown by earlier prophets bring change and impress the people? No – and history has proven it.

          That being said, it was not beyond the capability of Prophet Muhammad to perform miracles – which he did as I mentioned in the earlier comment. Only that the Holy Qur’an does not publicize and characterize him by the miracles. Prophet Muhammad is way above and beyond this.

          • Shoeb, I still do not understand. The verse of the Qur’an I cited specifically says that Muhammad did not perform miracles. Do you disagree with that?

  5. Br Robert –

    The Noble Qur’an does not say anywhere that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did *NOT* have the ability to perform miracles. In any case, miracles are in reality performed by God. In and of themselves any Prophet or human being does not have an independent ability to perform miracles. They are all performed by the permission of Allah.

    If people will not accept the miracle of the Qur’an then it is futile to show other miracles to them – they will not believe, what is the point?

    Let me refer you to the following commentary on the verse:

    http://www.al-islam.org/enlightening-commentary-light-holy-quran-vol-14/surah-al-ankabut-section-5-argue-best-way-possible#surah-al-ankabut-verse-50

    “Without doubt, besides the Qur’an, the Prophet of Islam (S) had some other miracles which have explicitly been mentioned in history books, but by these words of theirs, they were not seeking for miracle. From one side, they wanted to ignore the miracle of the Qur’an, and, from other side, they used to ask for extempore miracles.

    The purpose of extempore miracles is that the Prophet (S) should do any extraordinary action they suggested according to their own desires. For instance, someone suggested him to make springs to gush forth, someone else said that he (S) had to change the mountains of Mecca into gold; and the third sought pretext that the Prophet (S) should ascend to sky.

    Thus, they wanted to show miracles as a worthless play, and, finally, to call him a sorcerer.”

    • Well, these are things about which we will not agree. But the question I have is why does the Qur’an mention that Jesus could raise the dead, but not say that Muhammad did so?

      • Towfeeqah says:

        I hope you see my comment..i hope it kind of helps you get an ans to this question….I spend a lot of time with the quran … I would like you to read this with an open mind…Muhammed is the last messenger….our Lord had been sending down for a couple of thousand years great books and glorious profits… now I pray that the Almighty help me too say this properly as this is strictly my theory.. (please dear world no not go crazy now when I say this) the Quran sums up all previous religions and messages….what you find is the tone of some of Surah’s is almost frustrated….. imagine your loving parents tone after they have gently and kindly been calling you for a long time…eventualy the parent gets fed up and uses a harsher tone and the child understand….oooo I have pushed my parent too far…it feels sometimes like the frustration of the Creator is in tone of the words….Muhammad was sent as a mercy to all mankind so they can get it together before this earth is stopped. it was for people to go and learn books of the time before the quran and the people should also learn about other profits…that is why the Quran refers to beautiful Jesus so many times…. Muhammad and the Quran was not sent to replace Jesus and the Gospel but too complete and reinterate…because dear Robert we are a stuborn creation…forgetful

        • If you truly believe that Muhammad did not come to replace Jesus, then may I ask how much time you have spent reading the Injil?

          • towfeeqah says:

            I went to a government primary school during Apartheid. RI was mandatory and the only religion the government allowed was Christianity. so from age 6 to 12 I was taught from the new testament mostly…it seems the old testament is just too harsh for what most people want as religion. I know some bible stories…. not enough to quote to yourself. funny enough it was researching something I heard in a surah that led me to your site. I listen to Quran almost everyday so when I a hear a reference to one of the older books I will try to look it up … I was looking into the raising of the dead and that’s how I found your article. to me the previous books (p.s let me just say how gratefull I am that our Rabb sent us more than one book of Guidance… All Praise be to God…for the mercy of these books) are a good source of reference, when I cross reference I usually understand the surah a bit better after doing all research that I can.

  6. gary says:

    According to the Bible, how many Old Testament prophets raised people from the dead? Answer: Two. Elijah and Elisha.

    That’s it. And they only did it three times. So the act of raising someone from the dead would have been seen as a very, very big deal. It was not like healing someone of a disease or casting out demons. Lots of people, it seems, could do those miracles. Nope, raising someone from the dead was the big kahuna of all miracles!

    In the Gospel of John chapter 11, we are told that Lazarus had been dead for four days. His body was decomposing to the point that he stunk. Lazarus death and burial were very public events. His tomb was a known location. Many Jews had come to mourn with Mary and Martha and some of them were wondering why the great miracle worker, Jesus, had not come and healed his friend Lazarus; essentially blaming Jesus for letting Lazarus die.

    Let’s step back and look at the facts asserted in this passage: Only two OT prophets had raised people from the dead, and these two prophets were considered probably the two greatest Jewish prophets of all time: Elijah and Elisha. If this story is true, the supernatural powers of Jesus were on par with the supernatural powers of the greatest Jewish prophets of all time! If this event really did occur, it should have shocked the Jewish people to their very core—a new Elijah was among them! This event must have been the most shocking event to have occurred in the lives of every living Jewish man and woman on the planet. The news of this event would have spread to every Jewish community across the globe.

    And yet…Paul, a devout and highly educated Jew, says not one word about it. Not one. Not in his epistles; not in the Book of Acts. Think about that. What would be the most powerful sign to the Jews living in Asia Minor and Greece—the very people to whom Paul was preaching and attempting to convert—to support the claim that Jesus of Nazareth himself had been raised from the dead? Answer: The very public, very well documented raising from the dead of Lazarus of Bethany by Jesus!

    But nope. No mention of this great miracle by Paul. (A review of Paul’s epistles indicates that Paul seems to have known very little if anything about the historical Jesus. Read here.)

    And there is one more very, very odd thing about the Raising-of-Lazarus-from-the-Dead Miracle: the author of the Gospel of John, the very last gospel to be written, is the only gospel author to mention this amazing miracle! The authors of Mark, Matthew, and Luke say NOTHING about the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Nothing.

    This is a tall tale and nothing more!

  7. Gary,

    Many events are portrayed in some of the gospels and not others. However, you start with incorrect information about the gospel accounts of Jesus raising people from the dead being only mentioned in John. Since you incorrectly posit that this is the only place where Jesus raises someone from the dead, it must not be true. However, there are many such events portrayed in the gospels, some corroborated in multiple gospels. It’s easy to come to the wrong conclusion when you start with the wrong information.

    You can look at Matthew 9:18-19,23-25.
    Read Mark 5:35-43.
    Also check out Luke 8:41-42; 49-55
    See also Luke 7:11-17.

    I could go on with other reasons as to why your logic breaks down, but we can start here.

    • gary says:

      I never alleged that there is no other mention of Jesus raising people from the dead in the other Gospels. What I asserted was that the raising of LAZARUS is only mentioned in one Gospel…the last Gospel written and a Gospel which most scholars believe was NOT written by an eyewitness.

      The evidence points to this story being a tall tale and nothing more.

  8. Gary,

    I don’t follow your logic. There are plenty of accounts throughout the gospels of Jesus raising people from the dead. Some are mentioned once, others more than once. Why do you consider the account of Lazarus any more or less authentic than the others?

    Moreover, nothing in the Qur’an is corroborated by any other source, so applying your logic that confirmation is required to secure authenticity, the Qur’an would be immediate thrown out as unverifiable.

  9. Towfeeqah says:

    Dear Brother Robert…what a nice article. I am a Muslim….let me share this thought with you…for truly it is wonderful. Muhammad did not have to raise the dead to show people what and how easy it can be for our Creator to raise the dead (with or without a profit…I do believe that Gentle Jesus is a beloved profit of our Creator and not the Creator) . back to the point…Muhammad did not have to do it because Jesus already done it. Think of these beautiful profits as peas from the same pod…they are kin too each other…they do not have to start a new…they pick where the one before left off.. how glorious and wise our Creator is…my prayer is that Christians start looking at Islam and the Quran as a continuation of Jesus message. May God be pleased with us.

  10. The Injil is not the Bible , the Injil is the Revelation
    given to the prophet Jesus .
    and the closet name can be given to that Injil in English is the Gospel of Jesus .
    and like everybody know Jesus never write any gospel neither tell his disciples to write.
    so there is no INJIL
    AND THE BIBLE IS NOT THE INJIL NOT EVEN A PART OF IT.

    • Adam,

      In your comment, you said that Jesus never told his disciples to write down His words. Are you saying that if a religious leader does not specifically tell his followers to write down his words, that invalidates his message? Be careful how you answer.

  11. Sandy says:

    A man who had 13 wives and you guys compare him to Jesus. That man wasn’t a prophet of God.

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