Here is Surah 4 ayat 157-158 Arabic text, transliteration, translation and Tafsir. As you know, surah 4 is called surah An Nisa. It is among the longest chapters of the Quran.
Surah An-nisa Ayat 157-158 In Arabic Text
- وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا ٱلْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ٱبْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَـٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱخْتَلَفُوا۟ فِيهِ لَفِى شَكٍّۢ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِۦ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا ٱتِّبَاعَ ٱلظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًۢا.
- بَل رَّفَعَهُ ٱللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًۭا
- Wa qawlihim innaa qatal nal maseeha ‘Eesab-na-Maryama Rasoolal laahi wa maa qataloohu wa maa salaboohu wa laakin shubbiha lahum; wa innal lazeenakh talafoo feehee lafee shakkim minh; maa lahum bihee min ‘ilmin illat tibaa’az zann; wa maa qataloohu yaqeenaa.
- Bar rafa’ahul laahu ilayh; wa kaanal laahu ‘Azeezan Hakeemaa.
Surah 4 Ayat 157-158 English Translation
Here you can read various translations of verse 157 and 158 of surah 4 which is Surah Nisa.
- And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.
- Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.
- That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-.
- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-.
Abul Ala Maududi
- and their saying: ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary’, the Messenger of Allah – whereas in fact they had neither slain him nor crucified him but the matter was made dubious to them – and those who differed about it too were in a state of doubt! They have no definite knowledge of it, but merely follow conjecture; and they surely slew him not,.
- But Allah raised him to Himself. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
- And because of their saying (in boast), “We killed Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah,” – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of ‘Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)]:.
- But Allah raised him [‘Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.
- And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.
- But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.
- And for their saying, “Surely we killed the Masih, Isa son of Maryam, (The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary) the Messenger of Allah.” And in no way did they kill him, and in no way did they crucify him, but a resemblance of him was presented to them (i.e. the matter was made obscure for them through mutual resemblance). And surely the ones who differed about him are indeed in doubt about him. (Or: it, “that”) In no way do they have any knowledge about him except the close following of surmise, and in no way did they kill him of a certainty.
- No indeed, Allah raised him up to Him; and Allah has been Ever-Mighty, Ever-Wise.
- and said, ‘We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God.’ (They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him-.
- God raised him up to Himself. God is almighty and wise.
Quran 4 Verse 157-158 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 157, we’ve provided the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi below.
Their criminal boldness had reached such proportions that they attempted to put an end to the life of the one they themselves knew to be a Prophet, and subsequently went around boasting of this achievement.
The least reflection on the incident of Jesus talking in his cradle (see the preceding note) makes it clear that there was no strong reason to doubt his prophethood.
Moreover, the miracles of Jesus which they themselves witnessed (see Surah Al ‘Imran 3: 49) had firmly established his claim to prophethood.
Thus, whatever treatment they meted out to him was not based on any misconception, for they were fully aware that the person whom they were subjecting to criminal treatment had been appointed by God as the bearer of His message.
It seems strange that a people should recognize a man to be a Prophet in their hearts and still try to assassinate him. The ways of degenerate nations are indeed strange.
Such people are absolutely unprepared to tolerate the existence of those who reproach them for their corruption and seek to prevent them from evil.
Read also Surah Al An’am Ayat 45.
Hence the reformers, including Prophets, who arise among corrupt nations are always persecuted; they are imprisoned and even put to death. The Talmud mentions that:
Nebuchadnezzar laid waste the land of Israel, when the city had been captured, he marched with his princes and officers into the Temple … on one of the walls he found the mark of an arrow’s head, as though somebody had been killed or hit nearby, and he asked:
‘Who was killed here?’ ‘Zachariah, the son of Yohoyadah, the high priest’, answered the people. ‘He rebuked us incessantly on account of our transgressions, and we tired of his words, and put him to death.’ (The Talmud Selections by H. Polano, London, Frederick Warne & Co.)
The Bible also mentions that when the corrupt practices of Israel exceeded all limits, and Jeremiah warned them that God would have them overrun by other nations in punishment for their wickedness, his warning was greeted by the Jews with the accusation that he was a collaborator with the Chaldeans and hence a traitor.
And under that pretext Jeremiah was sent to prison. In the same manner, about two and a half years before Jesus’ crucifixion, John the Baptist suffered a cruel fate. On the whole the Jews knew him to be a Prophet, or at least acknowledged him to be one of the most religious people in the nation.
But when he criticized the royal court of Herod, the King of Judah, he was first thrown into prison, and then, in response to the demand of a dancing girl, who was Herod’s favourite mistress’, his head was cut off.
If this record of the Jews is kept in mind, it does not seem surprising that, after having subjected Jesus – according to their belief – to crucifixion, they might have been overcome by jubilation and in a fit of self-congratulation might have boastfully exclaimed:
This verse categorically states that Jesus was raised on high before he could be crucified, and that the belief of both the Jews and the Christians that Jesus died on the cross is based on a misconception.
As a result of a comparative study of the Qur’anic and Biblical versions we are persuaded that, so far as the trial at the court of Pilate is concerned, it was probably Jesus who was tried.
Pilate sentenced him to death after the Jews showed their deep hostility to Truth and righteousness by openly declaring that, in their view, the life of a thief was of higher value than that of a man with such a pure soul as Jesus.
It was then that God raised Jesus up to heaven. The person the Jews subsequently crucified was someone else who, for one reason or another, was mistaken for the person of Jesus.
The fact that the person who had actually been crucified was someone other than Jesus does not in any way detract from the guilt of those Jews, for in their minds it was Jesus whose head they were crowning with thorns, in whose face they were spitting, and whom they were subjecting to crucifixion.
We are not in a position now to find out how and why such a confusion arose. As no authentic source of information is available to us, it would be inappropriate to conjecture and speculate about the cause of the misapprehension which led the Jews to believe that they had crucified Jesus, the son of Mary, whereas he had already passed far beyond their grasp.
“Those who differed’ refers to the Christians. The Christians have dozens of different versions, rather than one universally agreed view, regarding the crucifixion of the Messiah.
This in itself is an eloquent testimony that the Christians were doubtful about the actual event. Some of them held the view that the one who was crucified was someone other than-Jesus and that Jesus himself in fact remained standing somewhere nearby, laughing at their folly.
Others were of the opinion that the one who was crucified was certainly Jesus himself, but that he did not die on the cross and was still alive when brought down from it.
Others asserted that though Jesus died on the cross, he later returned to life, met his disciples and conversed with them about ten times. Again, some believe that the human body of Jesus suffered death and was buried, while the spirit of godhead in him was taken up on high.
Yet others believe that after his death the Messiah was resurrected physically and was subsequently taken up to heaven in physical form. Had the truth been fully known and well-established so many divergent views could not have gained currency.
(4:158) but Allah raised him to Himself. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
This is the truth revealed by God. What is categorically asserted here is merely that the Jews did not succeed in killing the Messiah, but that God raised him unto Himself.
The Qur’an furnishes no detailed information about the actual form of this ‘raising’. It neither states categorically that God raised him from the earthly sphere to some place in heaven in both body and soul, nor that his body died on earth and his soul alone was raised to heaven.
Hence neither of the two alternatives can be definitely affirmed nor denied on the basis of the Qur’an. If one reflects on the Qur’anic version of the event one gets the impression that, whatever the actual form of this ‘raising’, the event was of an extraordinary character. This extraordinariness is evident from three things:
First, the Christians believed in the ascension of the Messiah in both body and soul, which was one of the reasons for large sections of people to believe in the godhead of Jesus.
The Qur’an does not refute that idea but employs the same term, raf (i.e. ‘ascension’), employed by the Christians. It is inconceivable that the Qur’an, which describes itself as the ‘Clear Book’, would employ an expression that might lend support to a misconception it seeks to repudiate.
Second, one might assume that either the ascension of the Messiah was of the kind that takes place at every person’s death or that this ‘ascension’ meant merely the exaltation of a Prophet’s position, like that of Idris:
‘And We raised him to an exalted station’.Surah Maryam 19: 57
Had it been so, this idea would have been better expressed by a statement such as: And indeed they did not kill the Messiah; Allah delivered him from execution and caused him to die a natural death. The Jews had wanted to slight him but Allah granted him an exalted position.
Third, if this raf (exaltation, ascension) referred to in the verse: ‘Allah raised him to Himself was of an ordinary kind, the statement which follows, namely that ‘Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise’, would seem altogether out of context.
Such a statement is pertinent only in the context of an event which manifested, in a highly extraordinary manner, by the overwhelming power and wisdom of God.
The only Qur’anic argument that can be adduced to controvert this view is the verse in which the expression mutawaffika see (Surah Al ‘Imran 3: 55) is employed.
But as we have pointed out (see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 3, n. 51), this word can denote either God’s taking a man unto Himself in soul or taking him unto Himself in both body and soul.
Arguments based on the mere use of this word are not enough to repudiate the arguments we have already adduced.
Some of those who insist on the physical death of Jesus support their argument by pointing out that there is no other example of the use of the word tawaffa for God’s taking unto Himself a man in body as well as in soul.
But this argument is not tenable since the ascension of Jesus was a unique event in human history and, therefore, the quest for another example of the use of this term in the same context is meaningless.
What is worth exploring is whether or not the use of the word in such a sense is valid according to Arabic usage. If it is, we will have to say that the choice of this particular word lends support to belief in the ascension of Jesus.
If we reflect on this verse in the light of the assumption that Jesus died physically, it appears strange that the Qur’an does not employ those terms which would exclude signifying the simultaneous physical and spiritual ascension of Jesus.
On the contrary, the Qur’an prefers a term which, since it is liable to both interpretations (i.e. it can mean both spiritual and physical ascension), lends support to belief in the physical ascension of Jesus, even though that notion was used as a basis to support the false belief in the godhead of Jesus.
Belief in the physical ascension of Jesus is further reinforced by those numerous traditions which mention the return of Jesus, son of Mary, to the world and his struggle against the Anti-Christ before the end of time. (For these traditions see our appendix to Surah 33.)
These traditions quite definitively establish the second coming of Jesus. Now it is for anybody to judge which is more reasonable: Jesus’ return to this world after his death, or his being alive somewhere in God’s universe, and returning to this world at some point in time?