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Here is Surat An-Nisa' 4/159:

And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness. source

The question is, whose death is this? Is it belong to Jesus(puh), or a person from the People of the Scripture? Generally, what does this verse say?

Please, give answers supported by Quran, word meaning (from Arabic), maybe historical background, and then lastly supported by hadith. A mixture would be great! Thanks.

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4 Answers 4

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And there is none of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), but must believe in him ['Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), as only a Messenger of Allah and a human being], before his ['Iesa (Jesus) or a Jew's or a Christian's] death (at the time of the appearance of the angel of death). And on the Day of Resurrection, he ['Iesa (Jesus)] will be a witness against them.

We can take help of Muhsin Khan's translation to understand.

The death is referring to in common any person of the people of scripture.

This verse is picked from the sequence 4:153 to 4:162 and all these verses are talking about Jews in particular.

Every person of the people of scripture (especially Jews) must believe in Jesus (pbuh) before his (person's) death comes and may also imply that Christians must believe in Jesus (pbuh)(and his message of worshiping One God) perfectly.

That is the intent of the ayah. (As far as I know)

Creator knows the best.

May the creator guide us all.

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  • Rather it seems that the verse is focusing on the death of a man among the People of the Scripture. Like the Jews and Christians must believe the real identity of Jesus(puh) before their deaths, or he won't be a witness against them in the Day of Resurrection, because they were his nation.
    – kalahari
    Apr 2, 2015 at 18:00
  • I mean in a bad way
    – kalahari
    Apr 2, 2015 at 19:11
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Chapter 4 verse 159 And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness.

This refers to Jesus (PBUH) dead. Remember as a christian i believed that he died for my sins Hebrew Chapter 9 verse 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

This is for us to understand that he did not die a physical death when he left the first time.

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  • Thanks but this seems not the true answer. According to this verse nobody can pay for another person's sins. In that point, Christian belief is not true. Also Jesus(puh) was a prophet and thus should have call his people to Allah with the same principles Islam has. So, the verse in question still unclear to me. Will the People of Scripture believe him in that way before his death in the future? Then why will he witness against them?
    – kalahari
    Feb 23, 2015 at 20:25
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He is talking about the Jews, in context read 4:155 - 159 There is none that must surely believe in jesus before he dies. (the jew) or in the resurrection he (jesus) will be a witness against him. In the 4 verses he explains that the Jews killed most of the prophets that came to them (155) but that they didn't kill jesus (157) but that they must believe in him before they die (159)

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  • Try answering the question more clearly. This answer provides very little help to the question.
    – Seeker
    Mar 13, 2017 at 11:19
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"And there is none from the people of the book except that he surely believe in it before his death."

It - the aforementioned event of crucifixion.

His - the Jew/Christian/people of the book

So let's translate it as the following:

"And there is none from the people of the book except that he will surely believe in [Jesus's death on the cross] before his [person of the book's] death."

This makes the most sense. In order for a Jew to remain a Jew, he must believe that Jesus (as) died a cursed death on the cross since it shows he was not a true prophet (See Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

And in order for a Christian to remain a Christian, he must also believe that Jesus (as) died a cursed death on the cross since it is the entire basis for their dogma of atonement. And it is a must for every Jew/Christian to keep this belief until their death.

So, by negating the idea that Jesus (as) died on the cross, the Quran beautifully counters this belief by both the Jews and the Christians by establishing Jesus's (as) prophethood and destroying the concept of atonement.

The often-mentioned idea that all Jews/Christians will believe in Jesus (as) before Jesus's (as) death is not in accordance with the Quran or logic. First of all, the Quran makes it clear that Jews and Christians will remain until the Day of Judgement:

"And from those also who say, ‘We are Christians,’ We took a covenant, but they too have forgotten a good part of that with which they were exhorted. So We have caused enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection. And Allah will soon let them know what they have been doing." (5:14)

"And the Jews say, ‘The hand of Allah is tied up.’ Their own hands shall be tied up and they shall be cursed for what they say.... And We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection..." (5:64)

"When Allah said, ‘O Jesus, I will cause thee to die [a natural death] and will exalt thee to Myself, and will clear thee from the charges of those who disbelieve, and will place those who follow thee above those who disbelieve, until the Day of Resurrection..." (3:55).

If Jews and Christians are all supposed to become Muslims, then these verses will be meaningless. Yes, Islam is to be supreme above all other religions. But for these verses to remain true a small group of Jews and Christians would have to remain until the Day of Judgement, no matter how small or insignificant they may be.

Secondly, what about all the Jews since Jesus (as) that have passed away? They didn't believe in Jesus (as) and died while rejecting him. The claim that this verse refers specifically to the Jews/Christians during his second coming is illegitimate since nothing in these verses refer even remotely to a second coming.

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  • Was around 6 years ago but ok.
    – Abdullah
    Apr 11, 2023 at 0:37
  • @Abdullah Yessirrrrrrr
    – No Worries
    Apr 11, 2023 at 12:54

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