The Muslim Jesus
After the emergence or the "rising" of the Mahdi, the second most important event among the Major Signs, is the return of Jesus Christ. Christians who love Jesus understandably get quite excited by the prospect that even Muslims are looking for and longing for His return. Unfortunately, the Islamic belief of just who this Jesus is that is coming, and what he does once he has arrived, is drastically different than what Christians believe about Jesus.
The first thing that Christians need to understand regarding the Islamic belief about Jesus is that Muslims of course reject the idea that Jesus was or is the Son of God. According to Islam, Jesus is not as the Bible articulates, God in the flesh. Secondly, in Islamic belief, Jesus never died on a cross for the sins of mankind. The Quran specifically denies that Jesus was ever crucified or that He ever experienced death. Muslims believe that after Allah miraculously delivered Jesus from death, he was assumed into heaven alive in a similar fashion to the biblical narrative regarding Elijah. Since then, Muslims believe, Jesus has remained with Allah and has been awaiting his opportunity to return to the earth to finish his ministry and complete his life. As such, to the Islamic mind, Jesus was not in any way a "savior". To Muslims, Jesus was merely another prophet in the long line of prophets that Allah has sent to mankind. The special title of Messiah, although retained in the Islamic tradition, is essentially stripped of any truly biblically defined Messianic characteristics. According to the sacred texts of Islam, as we are about to see, when Jesus returns, it most certainly will not be to restore the Nation of Israel to the Jewish people. Nor will Jesus’ purpose be to save and deliver his faithful followers from the ongoing persecution of the Antichrist. In order to understand the Islamic concept of Jesus’ return, the first thing that needs to be realized is that when Jesus comes back, he comes back as a radical Muslim!
This chapter will outline the Islamic traditions regarding the return of Jesus. Many of the Hadith below that refer to Jesus do not call him by the name Jesus, but rather Isa. Muslims occasionally will refer to Jesus by his English name for our sake, but the name that the Quran gives him, and which most Muslims use is Isa (or Eesa) al-Maseeh (the Messiah). Other common titles that Islam uses when referring to Jesus are Hadrat Isa (Honorable Jesus), Isa bin Maryam (Jesus son of Mary) or Nabi Isa (Prophet Jesus). Some of these titles may be used below.
The Return Of The Muslim Jesus
According to Islam’s sacred traditions, Jesus’ return is usually described as taking place just outside Damascus:
At this very time Allah would send Christ, son of Mary, and he will descend at the white minaret in the eastern side of Damascus wearing two garments lightly dyed with saffron and placing his hands on the wings of two Angels. When he would lower his head, there would fall beads of perspiration from his head, and when he would raise it up, beads like pearls would scatter from it. 1
The Subordinate Of The Mahdi
At this time, Jesus descends to meet the army of the Mahdi which will be preparing for battle. It will be just before the time of prayer.
Muslims will still be preparing themselves for the battle drawing up the ranks. Certainly, the time of prayer shall come and then Jesus, son of Mary would descend. 2
Based on the relevant Hadith, Islamic scholars seem to be in universal agreement that the Mahdi will ask Jesus to lead the prayers. Jesus will then refuse this request and will defer instead to the Mahdi to lead the prayer.
The Messenger of Allah said: A section of my people will not cease fighting for the truth and will prevail until the Day of resurrection. He said: Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their [Muslims’] commander [the Mahdi] would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: No, some amongst you are commanders over some. 3
The important element here that needs to be stressed is that Jesus will then pray behind the Mahdi as a direct statement regarding Jesus’ inferiority of rank to the Mahdi.
Jesus Christ will decline the offer and invitation of Imam Mahdi to come and lead the Muslims in prayer, and say his prayer behind Imam Mahdi. 4
Jesus (peace be upon him) will come and will perform the obligatory prayers behind the Mahdi and follow him. 5
(Jesus) will be following the Mahdi, the master of the time, and that is why he will be offering his prayers behind him. 6
Jesus The Faithful Muslim
After Jesus returns, in keeping with his identity as a faithful Muslim, he will perform the ritual pilgrimage to Mecca called hajj:
The Prophet said: Verily Isa ibn Maryam shall descend as an equitable judge and fair ruler. He shall tread his path on the way to hajj (pilgrimage) and come to my grave to greet me, and I shall certainly answer him! 7
Jesus Will Institute Islamic Law
While the Mahdi, as the Caliph (vice-regent) and Imam (leader) of the Muslims is clearly seen as being a superior to Jesus, Jesus is still said to be a leader of the Muslim Community. According to the Islamic traditions, Jesus’ primary purpose will be to oversee the institution and the enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law all over the world.
Ibn Qayyim mentioned in Manar al-munif that the leader… is the Mahdi who will request Jesus to lead the Muslims in prayer. Jesus will remain on the earth, not as a prophet, but as one of the Community (ummah) of Prophet Muhammad. Muslims will follow him as their leader. According to Shalabi, the Mahdi will lead the Muslims in prayer, and Jesus will rule the Muslims according to the Divine Law (Shari’ah). 8
Jesus, the son of Mary will descend and will lead them judging amongst them according to the holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. 9
Jesus: The Greatest Muslim Evangelist
Islamic tradition teaches that because Jesus will declare himself to be a Muslim, he will lead many Christians to convert to Islam. Regarding those who do not convert to Islam, the Quran states that Jesus will be a witness against them on the Day of Judgment:
There is not one of the People of the Scripture (Christians and Jews) but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them. (Surah 4:159)
Commenting on the above verse, Mufti Muhammad Shafi and Mufti Mohammad Rafi Usmani in their book, Signs of the Qiyama [the final judgement] and the Arrival of the Maseeh [the Messiah] explain that the phrase "will believe in him before his death" means that Christians and Jews will:
…confirm that he is alive and has not died and he is not God or the Son of God but (merely) His (Allah’s) slave and Messenger, and Isa (Jesus) will testify against those who had called him son of God, the Christians, and those who had belied him, the Jews. 10
Sheikh Kabbani, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of Americaclearly articulates the Islamic perspective regarding Jesus’ evangelistic role when He returns.
Like all prophets, Prophet Jesus came with the divine message of surrender to God Almighty, which is Islam. This verse shows that when Jesus returns he will personally correct the misrepresentations and misinterpretations about himself. He will affirm the true message that he brought in his time as a prophet, and that he never claimed to be the Son of God. Furthermore, he will reaffirm in his second coming what he prophesied in his first coming bearing witness to the seal of the Messengers, Prophet Muhammad. In his second coming many non-Muslims will accept Jesus as a servant of Allah Almighty, as a Muslim and a member of the Community of Muhammad. 11
Al-Sadr and Mutahhari, likewise articulate this same expectation:
Jesus will descend from heaven and espouse the cause of the Mahdi. The Christians and the Jews will see him and recognize his true status. The Christians will abandon their faith in his godhead (sic). 12
Jesus Will Abolish Christianity
It is crucial to understand that according to Islamic tradition and belief, when Jesus returns, he does not merely come to convert most Christians to Islam but to literally abolish Christianity entirely. This fact is understood when we analyze a very well-known, and oft-quoted tradition that refers to four specific things that Jesus will do when he returns. Jesus is said to:
- Break crosses.
- Kill all swine.
- Abolish the jizyah tax (a Muslim tax on non-Muslims)
- Kill the Muslim antichrist and his followers.
The Prophet said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus. He will descent (sic) (to the earth)… He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. 13
The three actions of breaking "the cross", killing pigs and abolishing the jizyah tax are based on the notion that Jesus will eliminate all other religions on the earth other than Islam. Shafi and Usmani explain that to "break the cross" means to "abolish worship of the cross". Several Muslim friends that I’ve spoken with have expressed their understanding of this tradition: Jesus will break or remove all crosses from the rooftops and steeples of churches throughout the earth. This action will thus indicate that Jesus will be making a clear statement regarding his disapproval of the false notion that he was ever crucified on a cross. The killing of the swine is so that the "Christian belief of its lawfulness is belied." 14 The reason for abolishing the jizyah tax (the compulsory poll-tax that non-Muslims must pay in order to live in a Muslim land) is based on the idea that when Jesus returns, the jizyah tax will no longer be accepted. The only choice that Christians will have is to accept Islam or die. As Sideeque M.A. Veliankode states in Doomsday Portents and Prophecies:
Jesus, the son of Mary will soon descend among the Muslims as a just judge… Jesus will, therefore, judge according to the law of Islam… all people will be required to embrace Islam and there will be no other alternative. 15
Even Harun Yahya, likewise affirms this belief in his book, Jesus Will Return when he says,"Jesus will remove all systems of disbelief in that period." 16
Muslim jurists also confirm these interpretations: consider, for example, the ruling of Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 1368) from The Reliance of the Traveller, the classic Shafi manual of Islamic jurisprudence:
"… the time and the place for [the poll tax] is before the final descent of Jesus (upon whom be peace). After his final coming, nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus’ descent (upon him and our Prophet be peace) …" 17
Jesus The Slayer Of Jews
Beyond the "accomplishment" of abolishing Christianity on a worldwide scale, another of Jesus’ primary jobs is to kill a figure know as the Dajjal, or the Muslim version of the Antichrist. But not only will Jesus kill the Dajjal, but also all of the Dajjal’s followers, who consequently, will mostly be Jews. Muhammad Ali Ibn Zubair in an article entitled,Who is the evil Dajjal? elaborates:
The Yahudis (Jews) of Isfahaan will be his (The Dajjals) main followers.
Apart from having mainly Yahudi followers, he will have a great number of women followers as well. 18
Veliankode explains that one of the main reasons for Jesus return is "to refute the Jews over the controversial issue that they killed Jesus… However Jesus will kill them including their leader, the Antichrist." 19 Listing the events of the last-days as they occur, Muhammad Ali Ibn Zubair, author of The Signs of Qiyama (Judgement Day) begins:
His followers the Yahudis, will number 70,000… (Then) Hadrat Isa (honorable Jesus) kills the Dajjal at the Gate of Hudd, near an Israeli airport, in the valley of "Ifiq." The final war between the Yahudi’s will ensue, and the Muslims will be victorious. 20
We will discuss this "final war" between the Jews and the Muslims in more detail in a later chapter. But for now, it is important to remember that when this final war (or more accurately a final slaughter) occurs, according to Islamic tradition, it is the Muslim Jesus who is the primary instigator of such.
Jesus: A Good Muslim Family Man
One final aspect of the Muslim Jesus’ return must be pointed out. After converting the world to Islam and killing unbelievers, the Dajjal and his followers, Jesus is said to marry, have children and eventually die:
The Prophet said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus… He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. 21
After his descention (sic) on earth, Jesus will marry. He will have children, and he will remain on the earth 19 years after marriage. He will pass away and Muslims will perform his Funeral Prayer and bury him next to the Prophet Muhammad. 22
Now let’s review the various defining characteristics and actions of the Muslim Jesus upon his return to the earth:
1. Jesus is said to return to the earth in the last-days near a mosque in Damascus.
2. He will arrive at a time when the Mahdi and his army will be preparing to pray.
3. He will be offered to lead the prayer by the Mahdi, but will decline in direct deference to the Mahdi who Jesus declares to be the leader of the Muslims.
4. He will then pray behind the Mahdi as a subordinate.
5. He will be a faithful Muslim
6. He will make pilgrimage to Mecca.
7. He will visit Muhammad’s grave, and salute Muhammad, whereby Muhammad will return the salute from the grave.
8. He will destroy Christianity.
9. He will repeal the jizyah tax thus causing the only option for Jews and Christians to convert to Islam or die.
10. He will establish Islamic Shari’ah (Law) throughout the entire earth.
11. He will kill the Antichrist and his followers made up largely of Jews and women.
12. He will remain on the earth for roughly forty years, during which time he will marry, have children and then die.
As we have clearly seen, the Muslim Jesus, in both his nature and actions is far different than the biblical Jesus. Rather than coming to reign as King and Messiah over all the earth from Jerusalem, Jesus instead comes to convert the world to Islam or kill those who refuse to do so. Instead of coming to save and deliver faithful Christians and Jews, he comes instead to kill and slaughter them. We will discuss a bit more about what the Bible has to say about the return of Jesus in a later chapter.
1. Sahih Muslim Book 041, Number 7015
2. Sideeque M.A. Veliankode, Doomsday Portents and Prophecies (Scarborough, Canada, 1999), p. 351
3. Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0293, Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah
4. Veliankode, p. 350
5. Sais I-Nursi, The Rays, The Fifth Ray, p. 493, as quoted in Harun Yahya, Jesus will Return, (London, Ta Ha, 2001), p. 66
6. Ayatullah Baqir al-Sadr and Ayatullah Murtada Mutahhari, The Awaited Savior, (Karachi, Islamic Seminary Publications), prologue, p. 3
7. Hakim Mustadrak (2:651) # 4162 as related by Abu Harayra quoted in Kabbani, p. 237
8. Sahih Ashrat as-Sa’at, as quoted in Kabbani, p. 236
9. Veliankode, p. 351
10. Mufti Mohammad Shafi and Mufti Mohammad Rafi Usmani, Signs of the Qiyama and the Arrival of the Maseeh, (Karachi, Darul Ishat, 2000), p. 60
11. Kabbani, p. 237
12. Al-Sadr and Mutahhari, prologue p. 3
13. Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 37, Number 4310, Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: see also Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 656
14. Shafi, Usmani, p. 59
15. Veliankode, p. 358
16. Yahya, p.52
17. The Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper, a Classic Manuel of Islamic Sacred Law, Translated by Noah Ha Mim Keller, (Amana Publications, Beltsville Maryland, revised 1994) p. 603.
18. Muhammad Ali Ibn ZubairWhoIis the Evil Dajjal (the "anti-Christ")? Online article from http://www.islam.tc/prophecies/masdaj.html
19. Veliankode, p. 360, Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 656
20. Muhammad Ali Ibn Zubair, The Signs of Qiyama, translated by M. Afzal Hoosein Elias at http://members.cox.net/arshad/qiyaama.html
21. Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 37, Number 4310 Narrated by AbuHurayrah:
22. Tirmidhi, as quoted in Jesus (Isa) A.S. in Islam, and his Second Coming by Mufti A.H. Elias in http://www.islam.tc/prophecies/jesus.html
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