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;-
—Qur’an 4:157-158


Most Muslim scholars today interpret the above event as one in which Allah substituted someone else for Jesus and that person was crucified. I differ, and instead interpret the verses as follows: Allah took his soul while he was nailed on the wooden cross. His blessed body was then taken down, prepared for burial, and sealed in a cave with Roman guards posted outside the cave. Allah Most High then returned his soul to his body while it was concealed in the cave. The body (the soul now with it) was then transformed from the spatiotemporal dimension of existence to a transcendental form and was then raised into the Samawat (i.e., the seven strata of space and time that exist between this world and Allah’s ‘arsh). Hence although Jesus was nailed on the cross, and had blood on his hands, he never experienced that death which the Qur’an calls maut (i.e., when the soul is taken and not returned).

Lessons from the Birth of Mary’s Son

The typical Islamic interpretation is that somebody else made to look like Jesus Christ ended up being killed on the cross.

Sheik Imran Hossein offers a rather interesting take on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
His interpretation is that it was Jesus himself who was nailed to the cross, BUT was not killed as a result of it – because God took his soul making his body “lifeless”. This lifeless body caused the Jews to think he was crucified. i.e – suffered a death resulting from being nailed to a cross. The crux of his argument is that “crucifixion” results in the death of the crucified one. But, In Jesus’ case, he was saved because God intervened, and thereby was not crucified.

Then, on his website, he goes on to say that after Jesus’ lifeless body was placed in a cave guarded by Roman guards, God returned Jesus’ soul to his body and raised him up. If this is indeed what transpired, then it means that Islam doesn’t deny that Jesus was nailed to the cross, but only that Jesus did not suffer death as a result of crucifixion… so the Jews cannot boast that they “crucified” Jesus to death. I’d advice readers to spend 10 minutes watching the video. (English)

God knows best!