Examination of the word tawaffā in the Qur’an. As it relates to the death of Jesus.

“And for their saying: We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah, and they killed him not, nor did they impale him but he was made to appear to them as such. And certainly those who differ therein are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge about it, but only follow conjecture, and they killed him not for certain.” (Qur’an 4:157)

 Whom ever Allah (swt) has given understanding in the deen Allah (swt) has given a great deal of good.

Contrary to what is usually thought Qur’an 4:157 is not a negation of the death of Christ Jesus (as).  It is a negation that a certain group of people killed him or that they impaled him to death.

It would be akin to saying that the Chinese did not kill Abraham Lincoln nor did they impale him.  Qur’an 4:157 rather than being a text negating the death of Jesus (as) is an acquittal passage.

“Get you down, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood-for a time. Allah said: “THEREIN SHALL YOU LIVE, and therein shall you die, but from it shall you be taken out. (Qur’an 7:24-25)  

This has been the case from the time of Adam (as) and his descendants for every human being until today without exception.

If anyone tries to counter by saying that Christ Jesus (as) is still living on Earth just in one of the seven heavens, than we have the right to ask them.  “When it says that Allah (swt) took him to himself do any of you believe that Allah (swt) is one of the seven heavens?

The verb tawaffā (verbal noun: tawaffī) seems to cause a great deal of needless distress among Muslim exegetes.   Why is this so?

I am going to argue that if it was not for these oral traditions Muslim exegetes would not argue the way they do at all.

So keep in mind that the interpretation of the verses that clearly say that Jesus died are influenced by ‘the tradition‘.

Yet, the Qur’an itself offers no cause for confusion. Tawaffā appears in twenty-five passages in the Qur’an, and twice in relation to Christ Jesus (Q 5:117and Q 3.55).

For twenty-three of those passages the Muslim commentators generally follow the standard definition of this term, that is that Allah (swt) separates the soul from the body or makes someone die.

Think about this Muslim brothers and sisters. For those passages that are not tied into ahadith about Jesus(as) coming back they are translated and understood as per usual.

Interestingly enough we have the following du’a:

“And you do not resent us except because we believed in the signs of our Lord when they came to us. Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims [in submission to You].” (Qur’an 7:126)  How often do we say this du’a after congregational prayers?

rabbanā afrigh ʿalaynā sabran wa-tawaffanā muslimīn (Ameen!)

So let us use the ol google machine -aka-the much fear and dreaded ‘shaykh google’ and put two and two together shall we?

So what I am going to do as an experiment so that you the reader can follow along is I am going to call upon the good people at https://www.islamawakened.com-who ever they are, may Allah (swt) bless them.

They put all translations out for everyone to see.

So what I am going to do is show you all the disparate translations into the English language. I will than put those that don’t  immediately convey the idea of death-at least to me.

Passage number 1

And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – they, [the wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days]. And when they have fulfilled their term, then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable manner. And Allah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do.” (Qur’an 2:234)

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/234/

Ya Allah people 51 disparate translations from people coming from different approaches to Islam have translated the passage as DEATH.

The two odd one’s out: Ahmed Hulusi a translation still in progress.. and Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali and even than it finally puts “And the ones of you who are taken up, (i.e., those who die).”

You want to talk about consensus? The consensus here is that yutawaffawna means death, to die. 

Passage number 2

“And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – for their wives is a bequest: maintenance for one year without turning [them] out. But if they leave [of their own accord], then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable way. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” ( Qur’an 2:24)

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/240/

Once again look at the translations 52 disparate translations and the verdict is that yutawaffawna means death, to die.

Passage number 3

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/3/193/

Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.” (Qur’an 3:193

Here are divergent translations:

“gather us to Thee with the pious” – Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“and take us with the obedient ones”-The Monotheist Group 2011 edition.

“take us back to You”-Aisha Bewley 

“and take us to You with the ever benign (ones)”-Muhmmad Mahmoud Ghali

“include us among the righteous people”-Bijan Moeinian

“and take us to Thee with the pious.” -Arthur John Arberry

“and claim us back with the righteous” -N J Dawood (2014)

“u never fail to fulfill Your oath” -Ahmed Halusi

44 Translators are in consensus that the term watawaffanā -is to cause to die.

In fact I would say that N J Dawood, Arberry, Bewley, Bakhtiar or the Monotheist Group none of them believe that watawaffana here means to be bodily raised up to heaven.

Passage #4

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/15/

“Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women – bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way.” (Qur’an 4:15)

“This confinement would be for an indefinite period”- Shabbir Ahmed

“if they repent and correct themselves, then leave them to their own accord”- Ahmed Halusi

Again the consensus here from 52 different disparate translations is that yatawaffāhunna is understood as death or to die. 

Passage #5

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/97/

“Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves – [the angels] will say, “In what [condition] were you?” (Qur’an 4:97)

“The angels will ask those whom they claim back while steeped in sin”- N J Dawood 2014

“And those the angels take, while still they are wronging themselves”-Arthur John Arberry

“And the angels who take those who wronged themselves will say”-Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“When the angles take the should of those who [had compromised and in consequence] were unjust to their own souls”-,Bijan Moeinian 

“Surely the ones whom the Angels take up, (while) they are unjust to themselves”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“Indeed, those whom the angels take away while they are wronging themselves” -Ali Quli Qara’i

“The angels ask those they take while they are wronging themselves” -Aisha Bewley,-

“Those whom the Angels take, while they had wronged their souls.”-The Monotheist Group (2011 Edition)

“While the angels are gathering the souls of those who wronged themselves.”-Safi Kaskas

“Those whom the angels will gather up”- T. B Irving

“Truly, those whom the angels gathered to themselves.”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

The overwhelming consensus of 42 translations is that tawaffāhumu is to die by taking the souls. 

Passage #6

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/5/117/

“I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You caused me to die., You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.” (Qur’an 5:117)

We know the drill on this crucial passage. So let us see the dissenting translations here:

“Thou hast caused me to die”-Muhammad Asad

“But when Thou didst cause me to die”-Shakir

“You did cause me to die”-Wahiduddin Khan

“You did cause me to die”- Safi Kaskas

“Ever since You took my soul”-Abdel Haleem

“And after my life had been done”- Ahmed Ali

“After You caused me to die”-Shabbir Ahmed

“but when you gave me Wafat”-Dr. Kamal Omar (NON COMMITTAL)

“You terminated my life”-Monotheist group-2013

“but when You caused me to die” -Muhammed Shafi

“Thou didst cause me to die”-Maulana Muhammad Ali

“so when You made me die”- Muhammad Ahmed-Samira

“Thou didst cause me to die”-Sher Ali

“When You terminated my life on earth”-Rashad Khalifa

“You caused me to die”- Amatul Rahman Omar

“Thou didst cause me to die” -George Sale

39 Translations overwhelming support /the consensus is that tawaffaytanī -is to be raised up, gathered up, recalled. I assume the majority believe bodily and alive.

So in the curious case of Jesus (as) the majority view is not to understand this as death. That was predictable; as it will be when we get to 3:55.

Passage #7

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/6/60/

“And it is He who takes your souls by night and knows what you have committed by day. Then He revives you therein that a specified term may be fulfilled. Then to Him will be your return; then He will inform you about what you used to do.” (Qur’an 6:60)

yatawaffākum

“Praise be to Allah who caused us to die than brought us back to life again..”-Du’a when waking.

“People are asleep but when they die they are awake’-‘Ali ibn Abi Talib

Question: Has anyone observed a person sleeping that their body suddenly disappeared or went some where else?

I think we all know the answer is No.

Here is the interesting point about these verses.  If as some of the exegetes want to understand it as ‘you put me to sleep‘ and ‘than raised me up‘  than what about those who say, “No he raises him up first and than will put him to sleep in the future!”  Does that really make any sense? They can’t both be correct.   Also know that HQ 5:117 or HQ 3:55 can’t be understood as falling asleep. It is negated by Qur’an 6:60.  and Qur’an 39:42 

Why?

  1. Allah (swt) takes souls at the time of their death,-If the souls are taken the person(body) dies.
  2. Other souls are taken during sleep-some he may take them than and there (they die in their sleep leaving behind a corpse)-
  3. He takes souls out of the bodies then returns them to their bodies and will wake them up at a specific term-they will die in the future.

So since our opponents in this discussion will absolutely rule out points 1 & 2 with regards to Christ Jesus (as) let us look at point 3.

Let us put up the two verses in consideration and juxtapose them.  We will put up two translations that are very user friendly to the ‘he didn’t die and was bodily raised up‘ crowd.

“Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee AND raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.” (Qur’an 3:55 Yusuf Ali translation)

“Never said I to them aught except what You did command me to say,’worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them while I dwelt among them; when You did take me up You were the Watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.” (Qur’an 5:117 Yusuf Ali translation)

Now if we only had HQ 5:117 and we were feeling really charitable (despite the fact the word is translated as death every where else)- we could say, “O.K.  maybe you have a point“.

However, HQ 5:117 has to also be in harmony with HQ 3:55 doesn’t it?

This is where our opponents are in a most difficult situation.  Why are they in a most difficult situation?  HQ 3:55 says, “mutawaffīka WA rāfiʿuka.”

Thus, their arguments make the Qur’an a redundant revelation. It would have been sufficient to just say that Allah (swt) ‘took him up’.

However, we have this slight problem. We have this very troublesome conjunction called ‘WA‘ -AND.

Why does Allah (swt) want you to know that he did something to Jesus (as) before “taking him up”?    Couldn’t Allah (swt) just say that he “took him up”?

Why would Allah (swt) say, “I made Jesus fall asleep and than I took him up.”  What theological point is being made there?

So in light of HQ 6:60 and HQ 39:42

Are there any indications in HQ 5:117 or HQ 3:55 that Allah (swt) took a soul out of Jesus -during a sleep phase -only to put it back in, and afterwards raise a body up?

Is Jesus(as) asleep (hence why he’s not doing zakat-for as long he lives?) being ‘disembodied‘ -meaning his soul is some where and his body is some where else?

In fact one of the Mauritanian Shaykhs -Shaykh Salek bin Siddina āl-Māliki who were called upon to correct brother Naheim Ajmal (Mufti Abu Layth) doesn’t buy into the argument of redundancy either.

This Shaykh knows full well what the text says and so he uses a different strategy -to save the hadith traditions-of course!

Read the following article and see for yourself! 

  (I have also downloaded this video-you know-in case it mysteriously vanishes)

Here are some notes I took of the video in the post linked to above.

I thought it was interesting the translator said:  @ 0:55 “Isa alayi salam has died a complete death” -what other kind of death is there?

@ 3:30 minutes the translator addresses what the Shaykh says.
mutawafikka a word that can be translated to ‘I will cause you to die‘ It is mentioned in a way that it is not indicating any particular order”
“Allah says I will cause you to die and I will raise you to me it doesn’t it is used…”

@5:11  minutes the translator addresses what the Shaykh says.

“So this ‘And’ the type of WA that is being used that are both things that are being done, not necessarily in a particular order.”
“In the statement that Zayd and Umar came it doesn’t mean that Zayd came first. Not in any way does it indicate an order of those things.”

My comments:

Firstly. May Allah (swt) have patience with the translator. The shaykh often would not allow the translator to finish which is a sign of really bad adab .If the idea is to convey in Arabic let it be conveyed in Arabic, but if there is an agreement that this knowledge is to be transmitted by translation into English, than give the translator time.

Second the respected shaykh knows full well the obvious that ‘mutawafikka‘ means ‘I will cause you to die‘.

Third he definitely is not on board with the interpretation: “No he raises him up first and than will put him to sleep in the future!

Fourth the shaykh being influenced by the traditions has to make the Qur’an confirm to his presuppositions.  As I said before if it were not for the traditions (which the shaykh brought up quite often) you would wonder if he would have felt the need to use this literary device.   In English we call this hysteron proteron.

For example you could say I put on my shoes and socks. No one understands that you put the shoes on and than the socks.

So what is important that we take away from this is that.

  1. The Shaykh understands the word means death
  2. A cursory reading of the text would be ‘I will cause you to to die and than elevate you.’
  3.  The obvious understanding of the text is made to conform to a literary device. This is obviously based upon the presupposition the shaykh holds to the ahadith.

Passage #8 

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/6/61/default.htm

And He is the subjugator over His servants, and He sends over you guardian-angels until, when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not fail [in their duties].” (Qur’an 6:61)

tawaffathu

The unanimous decision of 54 translations is that tawaffathu is death.

Passage # 9 

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/7/37/default.htm

yatawaffawnahum

“And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie or denies His verses? Those will attain their portion of the decree until when Our messengers come to them to take them in death, they will say, “Where are those you used to invoke besides Allah ?” They will say, “They have departed from us,” and will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers.” (Holy Qur’an 7:37)

“When Our messengers come to gather them”- M.M Pickthall

“Our Messengers drew near to gather them to themselves” -Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Our messengers come to carry them off”-T.B Irving

“So that when Our messengers come to take them”-The Monotheist Group (2011) -changed position in 2013.

“When Our angels arrive to take them back”-Abdel Haleem

“When Our messengers come to take them away”- “Ali Quli Qara’i

“When Our Messengers come to them to take them up”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“Our Messengers come to take them away.”- Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“Our messengers come to them, to take them away”- Arthur John Arberry

“Until when Our messengers come to them to take them away”- Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli

44 disparate translations are unanimous in their decision that yatawaffawnahum means to take the souls and or to die.

Worth mentioning is that ‘The Monotheist Group‘  changed their position in 2013.

Passage #10 

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/7/126/

“And you do not resent us except because we believed in the signs of our Lord when they came to us. Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims [in submission to You].” (Qur’an 7:126)

watawaffanā

“And call us to Thyself”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Take us back to You”-Aisha Bewley

“And take us to Thyself”-Hamid S Aziz

“Take us to Yourself”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“Lift us (from the world)”-Dr. Mohammad Tahir Qadri.

“And gather us unto Thee”- Arthur John Arberry.

“And take us to Thyself resigned”-Edward Henry Palmer

47 disparate translations believe that watawaffana is to die.  

Even those that don’t translate it as such take for example Dr. Mohmmad Tahir Qadri, do you really think his belief when making this du’a is that Muslims will be taken bodily into the sky? Does anyone really think Aisha Bewley believes this?

Passage #11

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/8/50/

And if you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieved… They are striking their faces and their backs and [saying], “Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire.” (Qur’an 8:50)

yatawaffā

“See how the angels receive”-M.M Pickthall

“Are called to themselves by the angels”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“See as the Angels take those who have rejected”-The Monotheist Group 2011 -changed in 2013 edition

“When the angels take away the faithless”-Ali Quli Qara’i

“As they take up the ones who disbelieved”,  -Muhmmad Mahmoud Ghali

“As the angels take away those who disbelieve”-Talal A. Itani (new translation)

When the angels take the unbelievers”-Arthur John Arberry

47 disparate translations are in agreement that yatawaffa means to separate the soul from the body, to cause to die.

Passage #12 

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/10/46/

natawaffayannaka

“And whether We show you some of what We promise them, [O Muhammad], or We take you in death, to Us is their return; then, [either way], Allah is a witness concerning what they are doing.” (Qur’an 10:46)

“We call thee to Us.”- Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Or retrieve you [first].”-Safi Kaskas

“Or take you to Oursefl”-Ahmed Ali

“Or take you back to Us”- Aisha Bewley

“Or take you away”-Ali Quli Qara’i.

“Or whether We will take you to Ourself”-Hamid S. Aziz

“We definitely take you up to Us” -Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“Or We take you back to Us”-Muhammad Taqi Usmani

“Or take you”-Talal A. Itani

“Or We call you unto Us”-Maududi

“We call you towards Us”-  Faridul Haque

“Or We call you to Us”-  Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“Or We call you unto Us”- Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi)

“We call thee unto Us”-Arthur John Arberry

“Or we will take thee to ourself”-Edward Henry Palmer

“Or whether we first take thee to Ourself”-John Medows Rodwell

“Or claim you back to Us”-N J Dawood (2014)

37 disparate translations are of the view that natawaffayannaka means to cause to die, to separate the soul from the body.

Now there are a few points that need to be mentioned here. Understand that many people who are Sufi don’t believe that the Prophet (saw) is dead. They believe that the Prophet (saw) was poisoned by a Jewish woman and that made Him (saw) a martyr.  Therefore he is alive ‘though we do not perceive it‘.  However, if you ask them do they believe a body is in the Prophets Mosque in Medina and they will answer ‘of course‘.

In fact every one of those translators who translate as they do ask them point blank “Do you believe there is a body in the Mosque in Medina with the Green Dome?

Remember the point I mentioned earlier about these people making the Qur’an redundant?

Lets take the translation of Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

Let us look at he translates the above text:

“And whether We definitely show you something (i.e., some form of punishment) of what We promise them, or We definitely take you up to Us, then to Us will be their return; thereafter Allah is Ever-Witnessing over whatever they perform.” (Qur’an 10:46)

We definitely take you up to Us” -Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

Now let us look at he translates HQ 3:55

“As Allah said, “O Isa, (Jesus) surely I am taking you up to Me, and I am raising you up to Me, and I am purifying you of the ones who have disbelieved. And I am making the ones who have closely followed you above the ones who have disbelieved until the Day of the Resurrection. Thereafter to Me will be your return; so I will judge between you as to whatever you used to differ in.” (Qur’an 3:55)

I am taking you up to Me, and I am raising you up to Me.” – Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali.

Notice the redundancy in the language used?    He could have just translated as “I am taking you up to Me”  OR  “I am raising you up to Me” -because in his mind they both mean the same thing.

This is the exact kind of problems that they run into when they approach the Qur’an with a mind of making it to conform to the oral traditions.

Passage # 13

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/10/104/

yatawaffākum

“Say, [O Muhammad], “O people, if you are in doubt as to my religion – then I do not worship those which you worship besides Allah ; but I worship Allah , who causes your death. And I have been commanded to be of the believers.” (Qur’an 10:104)

“Who will call you to Himself”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Who will gather you (all)”-T.B. Irving

“Who will eventually retrieve you back to Him”- Safi Kaskas

“Who takes me”-The Monotheist Group 2011 edition -changed in the 2013 edition.

“Who will take you back to Him”-Aisha Bewley

“Who takes you to Himself”-Hamid S. Aziz

“Who takes you up to Him”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“I only serve Allah Who will cause (all of) you to”-Maududi

“Who will gather you to Him”-Arthur John Arberry

“Who takes you to Himself”_Edward Henry Palmer

“Who will claim you back”-N J Dawood (2014)

43 disparate translations understand yatawaffākum to mean to terminate the life of, to take the souls, to cause to die.

Passage #14

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/12/101/

tawaffanī

“My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” (Qur’an 12:101)

“Call me to Thyself as one who submits.”-Dr. Laleh Bakthiar

“Gather me in as a Muslim.”-T.B Irving

“Take me as one who has surrendered.”-The Monotheist Group 2011 Edition -changed in the 2013 edition

“O receive me to Thee in true submission.”-Arthur John Arberry

“Take me to Thyself resigned,” -Edward Henry Palmer

49 different disparate translations understand tawaffani as to die , to separate the soul from the body.

Passage #15

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/13/40/

natawaffayannaka

“And whether We show you part of what We promise them or take you in death, upon you is only the [duty of] notification, and upon Us is the account.” (Qur’an 13:40)

40:77 check it out.

“Or call thee to Ourselves”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

T. B Irving and Safi Kaskas finally let us die.

“Or We take thee away.” -Abdul Majid Daryabadi

“We take you back to Us”-Aisha Bewley

“Or take you away”-Ali Quli Qara’i

“Or take you to Ourself”-Hamis S. Aziz

“Or We take you to Us”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“Or We take you back to Us”-Muhammad Taqi Usamani

“Or We take you away before that happens”-Maududi

“Or call you to Us before it”- Faridul Haque

“Or We call you to Us”- Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“Or We call you to Us before”- Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi)

“Or We lift you.”-Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

“We call thee to Us”-Arthur John Arberry

“Or we will take thee to Ourself”;-Edward Henry Palmer

“Or whether we take thee hence”-John Medows Rodwell

“Or claim you back to Us”-N J Dawood (2014)

37 Disparate translations understand natawaffayannaka to mean to die , to separate the soul from the body.

Passage #16

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/16/28/

tatawaffāhumu

“The ones whom the angels take in death [while] wronging themselves, and [who] then offer submission, [saying], “We were not doing any evil.” But, yes! Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what you used to do.” (Qur’an 16:28)

“Those whom the angels call to themselves”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Whom the angels will carry away”-T.B. Irving

“Those whom the Angels take while they had wronged their souls”-The Monotheist Group 2011 Edition -changed in the 2013 edition.

“Those whom the angels take away while they are wronging themselves”- Ali Quli Qara’i

“Those whom the angels take away while they are wronging their own souls.”-Hamid S. Aziz

“Whom the Angels take up while they are unjust to themselves.”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“The unjust, who will be seized by the angels, will submit themselves”-Muhammad Sarwar

“Whom the angels take while they were still harming themselves.”-Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“Whom the angels take while still they are wronging themselves”-Arthur John Arberry

“Those whom the angels took away were wronging themselves;”-Edward Henry Palmer

“Those whom the angels will claim back”- N J Dawood (2014)

43 different and disparate translations have tatawaffāhumu understood to be taken in death.

Passage #17

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/16/32/

tatawaffāhumu

“The ones whom the angels take in death, [being] good and pure; [the angels] will say, “Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise for what you used to do.” (Qur’an 16:32)

“Those whom the angels call to themselves”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Whom the angels carry off”-T.B. Irving

“Those whom the Angels take”-The Monotheist Group 2011 Edition-changed in 2013 edition

“Those the angels take in a virtuous state.”-Aisha Bewley

“Those whom the angels take away while they are pure”.-Ali Quli Qara’i

“To those whom the angels take away in a goodly state”-Hamid S. Aziz

“Whom the Angels take up while they are goodly”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“They will be received by the angels of mercy”-Muhammad Sarwar

“Those who are in a wholesome state when the angels take them”-Talal A. Itani

“Whom the angels take while they are goodly”-  Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“Whom the angels take while they are goodly”-Arthur John Arberry

“To those whom the angels take off in a goodly state:-Edward Henry Palmer

“Whom the angels will claim”-N J Dawood (2014)

41 different and disparate translations understand tatawaffāhumu as to take in death, to take the soul.

Considering that this is the exact same verb form you would think we should see the same translators right? It is the same verb form as in passage #18.

Aisha Bewely is not consistent in her translation of tatawaffāhumu

Passage #18

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/16/70/

yatawaffākum

“And Allah created you; then He will take you in death. And among you is he who is reversed to the most decrepit [old] age so that he will not know, after [having had] knowledge, a thing. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Competent.” (Quran 16:70) 

“He calls you to Himself.” Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Then He will gather you (all) in”-T.B. Irving

“He will take you”-The Monotheist Group 2011 Edition -2013 edition they changed their position.

“Will take you back again”-Aisha Bewley

“Then He takes you away”-Ali Quli Qara’i

“Then He will take you to Himself”-Hamid S. Aziz

“Thereafter He takes you (to Him)”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“Then He takes you back”-Muhammad Taqi Usmani

“Then He takes you away”-Talal A. Itani

“Then He will gather you to Him”-Arthur John Arberry

“Then He will take you to Himself”-Edward Henry Palmer

“By and bye will he take you to himself”-John Medows Rodwell

“And He will then reclaim you”-N J Dawood (2014)

41 disparate translations  understand yatawaffākum- as to cause to die, to separate the soul from the body.

Passage #19

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/22/5/

yutawaffā

“O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed – that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind.” (Qur’an 22:5)

My Comments:  One thing is certain you cannot escape death. Look at all these translators who were very reluctant to use the word death or dying.  They resisted and resisted and finally they yield.

“And among you there is he whom death will call to itself”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“[Then] there are some of you who are taken away”-Ali Quli Qara’i –this guy still resist 😉 

“And among you there is he who is taken up, (i.e., dies)“-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali.  So now Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali sheds light on what he means by ‘is taken up‘ i.e -death.

“Then We (rear you) that you may attain your (age of) full strength. And among you then is he who is allowed to complete (the normal life-span)”- Dr. Kamal Omar -odd translation

“And some of you die“-Arthur John Arberry

“And of you are some who die“-Edward Henry Palmer

“Some among you die young”-N J Dawood (2014)

Passage #20 THE MOST POWERFUL VERSE  FOR LOOKING AT ALL THESE ODD TRANSLATIONS

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/32/11/

yatawaffākum

Say, “The angel of death will take your soul who has been entrusted with you. Then to your Lord you will be returned.” (Qur’an 32:11)

“Will gather you”-Muhammad Asad

“Will gather you”-M.M Picthall

“Will call you to itself.”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Will gather you in”-T.B Irving

“Will retrieve you”-Safi Kaskas

“Will take you”-The Monotheist Group 2011-the 2013 edition modified their translation

“Will take you up”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“Will collect you”-Shabbir Ahmed

“Will take you”-Umm Muhmmad Sahih Internationl

“Will reclaim you”-Talal A. Itani

Will gather you”- Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“Shall gather you”-Arthur John Arberry

“Shall take you away”-Edward Henry Palmer

“Will claim you back.”-N J Dawood (2014)

“Will gather you”-Sayyid Qutb

The reason why this is the most powerful verse yet discussed is because it deals with the angel of death.  What does the angel of death do? It is very obvious.  The fact that translators who we have seen use ambiguity use that same ambiguity here makes it now both known and clear what they mean.   So for example when we see them use terms like:

“gather you”

“call you to itself”

“retrieve you”

“take you up”

“collect you”

“claim you”

“reclaim you”

“summoned”

We now know with certainty that all along these authors meant ‘to die’ to separate the soul from the body’ ‘to take the soul’.  What else does the Angel of Death do?   Notice you kept seeing practically the same group of people that will over and over use ambiguous terms. Instead of making their case plain in the most obvious situation “the angel of death” -they still choose to use ambiguous language –which sheds light on their ambiguity in all other places! This actually means that the verb tawaffā (verbal noun: tawaffī) is being translated nearly 100% of the time as to die, to cause to die, to separate the soul from the body! Thank you! Al hamdulillah!

Passage # 21 

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/39/42/

yatawaffā

Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that do not die [He takes] during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Qur’an 39:42)

This is another very powerful verse.  Not a single translator can play with the text here.   It is as Allah (swt) says,

“We have brought them a Scripture – We have explained it on the basis of knowledge – as guidance and mercy for those who believe.” (Qur’an 7:52)

The beautiful thing about this verse is that death is clearly contrasted with sleep (as explained in a similar verse above).

Here there is 100% unanimous approval from the translators that yatawaffā is death, final death, physical death, taking the soul from the body.

Translators (any of us) can try and play fast & loose with the words of Allah (swt) but sooner or latter we will get caught out.

Passage #22

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/39/42/

yatawaffa

“It is He who created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot; then He brings you out as a child; then [He develops you] that you reach your [time of] maturity, then [further] that you become elders. And among you is he who is taken in death before [that], so that you reach a specified term; and perhaps you will use reason.” (Qur’an 39:42)

“While some of you He recalls”- Maududi

“And some are summoned before completing the whole cycle”-Bijan Moeinian

“Are taken away before”-Edward Henry Palmer

Once again there is unanimous understanding that ‘yatawaffa’ means to die, to be taken in death, to take the soul, to separate the soul from the body.

Remember as well that these ambiguous terms ‘summoned’ ‘taken away’ ‘recalled’ ‘gone with the wind’ ‘spirited away’ etc. none of that is ambiguous to us now. It all means to have died.

Passage #23

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/40/77/

natawaffayannaka

 “So be patient, [O Muhammad]; indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And whether We show you some of what We have promised them or We take you in death, it is to Us they will be returned.” (Qur’an 40:77)

“We call thee to Us”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Recall you to Us”-T. B. Irving

“Or take you back to Us”-Aisha Bewley

“Or take you away”-Ali Quli Qara’i

“We definitely take you up (to Us)”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“We recall you”-Farook Malik

“Or take you to Us”-Talal A. Itani 

“Or  We recall you (from this world)”-Maududi

“Call you to Us”- Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah

“Or make you depart from the visible life”-Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri  (from the visible life-what’s he mean here make you become invisible?) (walk around cloaked from vision)

“We call thee unto Us”-Arthur John Arberry

“Take thee to ourself”-Edward Henry Palmer

“Or claim you back”-N J Dawood 2014

The unanimous decision is that natawaffayannaka means to cause to die, to take the life of, to separate the soul from the body. The only exception seems to be Dr. Mohammad Tahir Ul  Qadri who seems to be offering everyone the power of invisibility; however I am sure that you dear reader will see this is not the case.

Passage #24

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/47/27/

“Then how [will it be] when the angels take them in death, striking their faces and their backs?” (Qur’an 47:27)

tawaffathumu

“When the angels gather them”-M.M Pickthall

“Angels will call them to themselves”-Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

“Gather them up”-T. B. Irving

“Then the angels take them away”-Ali Quli Qara’i

“Angels take them up”-Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

“The angels take them”-Arthur John Arberry

Again the unanimous consensus is that tawaffathumu means to die, to cause to die, to take the soul at death, to separate the soul from the body.

Passage #25

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/3/55/

mutawaffīka

“When Allah said, “O Jesus, indeed I will cause you to die and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ.” (Qur’an 3:55)

We all know the drill of how the masses understand these ayats and how both the bulk of majority scholarship want the masses to understand them.

Tawaffā appears in twenty-five passages in the Qur’an, and twice in relation to Christ Jesus (Q 5:117and Q 3.55).

In 23 of these passages it is clearly understood as death. However, when it comes to the passages concerning Christ Jesus it is not.  Why is that?

We all know the reason.     We even have a prominent and respected shaykh from Mauritania be brought into this.    The respected shaykh instead of reading the text plainly uses a literary device in a desperate gambit to save the oral traditions -why of course!

Jesus (alayi salam) he is dead. He is not coming back! Open your eyes brothers and sisters, dear truth seekers.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Examination of the word tawaffā in the Qur’an. As it relates to the death of Jesus.

  1. Toby

    If I may ask, have you received any condemnation from your Sunni cousins for your view of the fate of Christ ?

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