In the first place, we would like to stress that Muslims believe that Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) was not crucified. Allah saved and raised him, and someone else was crucified in his place. Jesus (may Allah be pleased with him) will return before the Day of Judgment. However, he will not come back as a Prophet with a new Divine message; rather he will follow the religion of Islam as taught by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). After his return, in sha’ Allah, Jesus’ mission will be to destroy evil and kill the Anti-Christ.
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states the following: There is a great deal written on this subject by the commentators of the Qur’an and many other Muslim writers. This is not the place to go in any detail about this subject. You may read some good Qur’anic commentaries such as Yusuf Ali’s translation and commentary or Maududi’s Towards Understanding the Qur’an and other writings on this subject.
Briefly, let me tell you that Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an,(And concerning their saying, ‘We killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s Messenger.’ They killed him not, nor crucified, but it appeared so to them. Indeed those who disagree concerning it are in doubt about it. They have no (true) knowledge about it except that they follow conjecture. Surely, they did not kill him. But Allah did take him up unto Himself. Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.)(An-Nisaa’ 4:157-158)
Thus, according to Allah’s testimony in the Qur’an, the crucifixion did not take place and Jesus was neither killed nor died on the cross. In the Gospel of Luke it is also written: “And he (Jesus) withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup (meaning death) from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him…” (Luke 22:41-43)
Some Muslim scholars such as Ibn Taymiyah in his book al-Jawab As-Sahih have expressed that Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed to Allah to remove the cup of death from him. Allah Almighty who loved and cared for Jesus did not refuse his prayer. It is Allah’s way that He accepts the prayers of His Prophets and Messengers. Thus, Allah accepted Jesus’ prayer and willed what Jesus himself willed. Allah saved Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) from the pain and agony of death on the cross. He sent His angels to strengthen him (i.e., to support him and to give him the assurance that Allah would save him), and then they took him away from those who tried to kill him. The crowd, however, became confused and some of them thought that they killed Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) Allah has informed us that this indeed did not happen.
There were many groups among early followers of Jesus who also believed that Jesus was saved from the death on the cross. They did not believe that he was crucified. However, slowly the doctrine of crucifixion (and with it the doctrines of redemption and atonement) became the orthodox doctrine and the Church condemned other positions. The Qur’an took the early and the true position in this matter. The Qur’an has emphasized both the humanity of Jesus as well as his greatness as a Messenger of Allah.