Muslims Reject Crucifixion: 3 Ways to Respond
What do you imagine Muslims believe about Easter or the Crucifixion?
Years ago, I never gave this question much thought. Then I met Iman and Nader, two Muslim international students who grew up in an Islamic nation. The first Spring living in America’s heartland, they noticed chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs at the store, and churches promoting Easter egg hunts. Observing all these things, the two imagined Easter had something to do with a rabbit.
“Why would Christians worship a rabbit?”
In order to fit-in with American culture, Iman decorated their tiny apartment with all the Easter decorations she could find. She posted fun Easter pictures on Instagram for her family to see back home. When we met for coffee, I mentioned her cute Easter Instagram pictures. She beamed.
Seek First to Understand
“Did you ever hear about Easter growing up?”
No, she hadn’t.
“What do you know about Easter?” I asked.
“Not much,” she confided.
Asking curious questions like this, helped me better understand what she believed. Then it was natural for me to share my own Biblical faith and invite her to an Easter Service. You can do the same.
The Crucifixion in the Quran
As you build relationships with Muslims in your circle of influence, don’t assume they know that Easter has anything to do with Jesus. This Easter season, look for opportunities to ask curious, open-ended questions about what they believe. Then listen hard.
You’re sure to discover that your Muslim friend probably doesn’t know that Easter has anything to do with Jesus or the Crucifixion. That’s because there are only five verses out of thousands in the Quran that mention anything about Jesus’ death or resurrection.
Here’s a summary about what the Quran has to say about this important topic:
- Jesus wasn’t killed
- Jesus wasn’t crucified
- People were mistaken to think they killed/crucified Jesus
- Allah raised up Jesus to be with him in heaven
Just like how Christians differ on interpreting verses in the Bible, Muslims differ on interpreting these five Quranic verses. The language in the Quran is unclear, vague, and open to various interpretations. Your Muslim friend might not even know that there are verses on this subject in the Quran. So, it’s best not to bring it up.
If your friend does bring up the Quran, don’t make assumptions. Just ask your friend,
“How do you interpret these verses?”
Then listen hard and pray for discernment.
Why should you know this?
You have top-of-mind awareness for Jesus’ death and Resurrection because it’s the Bible’s central message and the core of salvation. However, your Muslim friend will not have this same context. To them, Jesus’ death and Resurrection are meaningless to their salvation.
“I reject the Crucifixion”
When you bring up Jesus and the Crucifixion, anticipate that your Muslim friend will reject it. That’s because Islam teaches that Allah’s prophets can’t lose or be killed by humans. To Muslims, Jesus’ death at human hands is an unacceptable defeat, Allah would not allow it.
With this objection in mind, there’s no “silver-bullet” answer you can say that will quickly address your Muslim friend’s concerns about the Crucifixion. If you do hear this concern, embrace it as a normal part of the process as you share your faith. Take a breath. Pray. Keep a curious, loving posture. Then ask open-ended questions to understand what your friend believes.
3 Ways to Respond
1) Seek First to Understand
Dr. Stephen Covey said, “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.” Knowing this, one of the most important things you can do to address concerns about the Crucifixion is to seek first to understand.
2) Anticipate Concerns
Your Muslim friend will be challenged by the Crucifixion because it is the opposite path of their salvation worldview. Even Jesus’ followers 2,000 years ago didn’t understand why He had to be crucified. They didn’t understand the Scriptures about Jesus that God revealed to prophets for over 1,000 years.
3) Pray Together, in Jesus’ Name
They needed Jesus to open their minds so they could understand Scriptures (Luke [24:45]). Like all humans, before any Muslim can understand Scriptures, they will need Jesus to open their minds. One of the most fruitful things you can do is offer to pray with your friend in Jesus’ name that God would open their minds to understand His revelations in the Holy Bible.
Don’t Do This
Your natural instinct may be to try to address concerns for the Crucifixion by pointing to the abundance of historical evidence for the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Don’t do it. It’s one of the most common mistakes we see.
Here’s why: Sharing historical evidence won’t help lead your Muslim friend to Christ. Instead, share historical information once he/she has become a new Believer. Then it will help strengthen their newfound faith.
Take Your Learning Deeper
Until then, there are five far more important things to know and do to handle concerns about the Crucifixion.
Take your learning deeper and get empowered with a 5-step framework for handling objections and two especially fruitful prayers to pray.
Watch our free 50-minute “Handle Objections” training video. You can watch it on-demand. Look for it in iHOPE’s password-protected library. Go HERE to sign up to access the video.
Tags: Crucifixion, Muslims, Resurrection, Evangelism, Share Your Faith, Make Disciples, Easter, Jesus, Share Jesus, Good News, Gospel, Gospel to Muslims, Christian Witness, Gospel for Muslims