The Qur'an and the hadith contain many signs indicating that the period of the End Times is approaching. Some of these signs are clearly revealed in those two sources, while others are referred to in a more indirect manner. This is part of Allah's testing of humanity.
The great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi stressed this fact while explaining the signs of the End Times:
Religion is a test, an experience that separates the superior from the inferior. Therefore, an event that will be seen by everyone in the future will be debated in such a way that it will neither be completely obscure, nor so evident that it will inevitably be accepted by everyone. It will open the door to reason, but it will not do away with the possibility of choice. That is because if a sign of the Day of Judgment is seen in such a completely evident form that everyone is obliged to accept it, then a person with a coal-like predisposition will remain alongside a person with a diamond-like predisposition. As a result, the secret of Allah's charging humanity to act in compliance with His commands and prohibitions and the consequences of the test are lost.1
Thus, one characteristic of the End Times' signs may be that not everyone who sees them can immediately understand and interpret them. The fact that some of these signs have been described in an oblique manner may cause some people to have doubts. Yet these doubts are completely unfounded, for when such signs are analyzed with a clear and open mind, they can be understood. Moreover, commentaries by great Islamic scholars are valuable guides for believers.
People with true faith and the requisite fear of and respect for Allah also have, as a blessing from our Lord, a deep understanding and comprehension. Thanks to this, they can accurately identify what is wrong and also understand, to the extent that Allah wills, that wisdom is often expressed in oblique terms. Such people will never feel any doubt about what our Lord reveals and what our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has reported. They will evaluate the relevant hadith and Qur'anic verses through the eyes of faith, and will seek to understand the information contained within them. Rejecting wisdom-containing information just because one cannot understand it is unsuitable behavior for Muslims. Therefore, Muslims need to pray to our Lord in order to understand any wisdom that is unclear to them, remember that the End Times will be a most miraculous period, and prepare themselves for it in the most appropriate manner.
Muslims' Love of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh)
As Allah reveals in the Qur'an: "The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves…" (Surat al-Ahzab, 6), Muslims who have true faith also have a very deep, sincere, and powerful love of and respect for our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), the last prophet sent by Allah to humanity. Our Lord revealed the Qur'an to him and sent him as a messenger to lead humanity to salvation. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is a chosen and honorable believer in Allah's Sight.
Even though we have never seen our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), we can come to know his pleasing attitudes, words, and superior moral values from the Qur'an and the hadith, and we can do all in our power to take him as our friend in the Hereafter. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that he is the finest role model for all believers:
You have an excellent model in the messenger of Allah, for all who put their hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah much. (Surat al-Ahzab, 21)
One of the Muslims' main characteristics is that they make no distinctions in their love of and respect for all of Allah's prophets and obey them all from the heart: "... We believe in Allah and what has been sent down to us; what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob and the tribes; and what Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets were given by their Lord. We do not differentiate between any of them. We are Muslims, submitted to Him"(Surah Al 'Imran , 84). Muslims know that all of Allah's prophets are chosen, honorable, and respected individuals in His Sight. Allah created all of His messengers with superior moral values and perfect behavior so that they could serve as role models for humanity. The prophets are His beloved servants. Allah reveals in many verses that those who obey the prophets are actually obeying Himself, and that those who comply with Allah's prophets will be rewarded in this world and in the Hereafter. This devotion and obedience is shaped within that awareness.
Beginning with the Companions of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), it is a great source of honor for all believers who were the prophets' contemporaries to be with these blessed people. Being with the prophets, who set an example for all people with their deep faith in Allah, superior moral values, sharp intellects, and determination and courage is one of the most valuable blessings in this world. Those who sincerely obeyed the Prophet Abraham (pbuh); who had faith in the Prophet Joseph (pbuh); who fought against Pharaoh alongside the Prophet Moses (pbuh); and who followed such great individuals as the Prophets Noah, Solomon, Salih, Jacob, and David (peace be upon them all) have all received, by Allah's will, their rewards in the Hereafter. Those believers who have never seen one of the prophets can still pray to be counted among their friends in the Hereafter and to live with them in Paradise for all eternity.
The End Times is a very blessed period, one of glad tidings for all believers who love and obey the prophets, for Allah has revealed that after a gap of 2,000 years, He will send the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) back to Earth. The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth, by Allah's leave, as Islam's prophet and will prevail Islam on Earth with Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh).
This very important news is revealed both in the Qur'an and the hadith. All Muslims who feel a deep devotion to and love for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also love, respect, and honor the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). In a hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah, our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
The prophets are brothers of different mothers, but their religion is one. Of all men, I am the most deserving to be the brother of Jesus son of Maryam, for there was no prophet between me and him.2
As stated by our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), all of Allah's prophets communicated the same religious moral values to their societies. All of Allah's messengers called upon the people among whom they lived to believe only in Allah, serve Him, and live the kind of life that meets with His approval. In addition, they showed their people how to avoid Hell's eternal suffering. In other words, they relayed the same religion to their people. Allah states that the religion He revealed to His prophets and which they spread among their people is one and the same:
He has laid down the same religion for you as He enjoined on Noah. That which We have revealed to you and which We enjoined upon Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: "Establish the religion, and do not make divisions in it." (Surat ash-Shura, 13)
Therefore, when he returns, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will call people to this same Divine religion: Islam. Indeed, Allah reveals in the Qur'an that Islam is the only religion of which He approves: "The religion with Allah is Islam..." (Surah Al 'Imran, 19) When the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns to Earth, he will cleanse Christianity of its corrupted elements, rule the people according to the Qur'an (the last Divine text), and bring all people together in Islamic moral values.
Muslims will be this great prophet's sincerest supporters and defenders, for they have a deep love for him, just as they do for all of Allah's prophets. Given that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is one of Allah's chosen servants, and because they take only Allah, His prophets, and true believers as their friends, all Muslims feel a deep respect for the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). The source of this deep love and devotion is a result of their love and fear of, and respect for Allah, as well as their obedience to the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) Gave the Glad Tidings That Muslims Will Be the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) Helpers
The Qur'an, the hadith, and the works of great Islamic scholars reveal that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was raised to Allah's Presence and will return to Earth. His second coming is widely described in al-Hafiz ibn al-Dayba' al-Shaybani's Taysir al-Usul ila Jami` al-Usul,and such esteemed hadith collections as Imam Malik's Al-Muwatta',the Sahihs of Ibn Khuzayma and Ibn Hibban, and the Musnads of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi. Some of these hadith are as follows:
By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the son of Maryam (Jesus [pbuh]) will shortly descend among you people as a just ruler.3
Jesus (pbuh), son of Maryam, will definitely descend as a just judge and a just ruler.4
Some members of my community will be reunited with Jesus (pbuh), son of Maryam, and will witness his intellectual struggle against the antichrist.5
Islamic scholars consider this miraculous event to be tawatur (unanimously agreed upon), and the relevant hadith are considered to be of indisputable veracity. All hadith scholars agree that those who transmitted these hadith are completely reliable, are not to be doubted, and that no completely reliable hadith is to be questioned.6 In due course, we shall examine, with detailed examples, the great Islamic and hadith scholars' opinions that "there is no doubt about the return of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh)." However, we now need to briefly mention what the Hanafi legal school says about this event, as its founder, Imam Abu Hanifa, heads the list of those who discuss it. In the final chapter of his book Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, Abu Hanifa states:
The emergence of the antichrist and of Gog and Magog is a reality; the rising of the Sun in the west is a reality; the descent of Jesus, upon whom be peace, from the heavens is a reality; and all of the other signs of the Day of Resurrection, as contained in the authentic traditions, are established realities.7
In his hadith, our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) informed us of such matters as the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) descent, his struggle, and what the world will be like at that time. Each of these reports is good news for all Muslims. For example, Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that when the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns to Earth, Muslims will enjoy the honor of being his valuable helpers:
... I swear to Allah, Who sent me as a true prophet, that of course Jesus (pbuh), son of Maryam, will find in my community people to replace his disciples [when he returns close to the period of the End Times].8
Of course, being his helpers is both a very good piece of news and a major responsibility for true believers. All believers will sincerely wish to achieve such an honorable position.
At a time when the signs of the second coming are becoming clear, we need to think about the importance of the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) words. The fact that some people behave almost as if the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will not return, a grave mistake, must not be allowed to deceive others or lead them to make concessions on the subject. On the contrary, Muslims who realize that this event is a manifest truth revealed in the Qur'an and the hadith must experience the excitement of this extraordinary situation and make great efforts to welcome this blessed guest with the appropriate amount of love and enthusiasm. There is no time to waste on groundless doubts and apprehensions. Believers must prepare both themselves and those around them for this miraculous event and use the opportunities afforded by living in such a time to gain Allah's good approval.
When the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns in the End Times, he may ask:"Who are my helpers?" Those who aspire to be among his helpers must use this valuable period in which we are living to renounce and, from that point on, abandon all behavior and immorality that might be a source of shame when the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns. The most important attitude to be avoided, and which might constitute the greatest source of shame, is a lack of enthusiasm in this area. Given this reality, believers should constantly raise the issue of what an extraordinary event the second coming will be. Explaining the proofs that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was raised alive to Allah's Presence and will return, along with describing all aspects of this event's signs, will enable those who are still unconvinced to overcome their doubts. Moreover, constantly raising this issue will make it impossible for people to claim later on: "But we did not know. If we had known, we surely would have made the most suitable preparations." Thus, believers should use all available means to join together in order to prepare for this event.
True Followers of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh)
The essence of the Divine religion brought by the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) 2,000 years ago has been corrupted. As Allah reveals in the Qur'an, such distorted beliefs as the trinity and the deification of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) (Allah is surely beyond that) became part of Christianity after the time of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) himself.When he returns, his first action will be to cleanse Christianity of these distorted beliefs, for only he can do this. He will tell the Christian world, which is awaiting his coming, of Islam's moral values and direct Christianity in the direction of the true, Divine religion. Those who follow him will be true Christians.
The great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, the renovator (mujaddid) of the thirteenth Islamic century, describes these true Christians with considerable wisdom. When we look at his words closely, we see that true Christians are those who abide by the moral values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah and who obey the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). True Christians will be those Christians who reject the distortions and superstitious beliefs that have entered their religion and turn toward Islamic moral values. Muslims and Christians, who will have been freed from their superstitious beliefs, will then establish a great alliance (by means of the Prophet Jesus [pbuh]) that will cause all systems and practices that oppose religious moral values to collapse.
"At the end of time, Jesus (pbuh) will come and act in accordance with the Sunnah of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)," indicates that at that time, Christianity will be purified and divest itself of superstition in the face of the current of unbelief and atheism born of naturalist philosophy, and that it will then be transformed into Islam. At this point, the collective personality of Christianity will kill the fearsome collective personality of irreligion with the sword of heavenly revelation; so too, representing the collective personality of Christianity, Jesus (pbuh) will kill the antichrist [make him ineffective], who represents the collective personality of irreligion. In other words, he will kill atheistic thought.9
"...in the face of the current of unbelief and atheism born of naturalist philosophy": Bediuzzaman reveals that Jesus (pbuh) will lead a great struggle against the irreligious movements created by Darwinism and those who deny Allah's existence.
"...Christianity will be purified and divest itself of superstition … and that it will then be transformed into Islam"
Here, Bediuzzaman interprets the hadith that says that when Jesus (pbuh) returns in the End Times, he will abide by Islam's law and rules. His struggle will begin by cleansing Christianity from all of the myths and false beliefs that have entered into it over the centuries, and thereby return it to Islam.
Following the Qur'an, the collective personality of Christianity will be in the rank of follower, and Islam, in that of leader. True religion will become a mighty force as a result of this joining. Although defeated by the atheistic current while separate, Christianity and Islam will defeat and rout atheism as a result of their union. Then the person of Jesus (pbuh), who is present with his human body in the world of the heavens, will come to lead the current of true religion, as, relying on the promise of the One Powerful Over All Things, the Bringer of Sure News [Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)] has said. Since he has said it, it is true, and since the One Powerful Over All Things has promised it, He will certainly bring it about.10
"Following the Qur'an, the collective personality of Christianity will be in the rank of follower, and Islam, in that of leader"
Christianity's transformation, beginning with Jesus (pbuh), will conclude with all Christians adhering to the Qur'an, as required by the final book of revelation. Both Jesus (pbuh) and Christianity as a whole will adhere to Islam.
" Although defeated by the atheistic current while separate, Christianity and Islam will defeat and rout atheism as a result of their union"
A great power will form when Christians, under Jesus' (pbuh) leadership, adhere to the Qur'an, because the world's two largest monotheistic religions are two huge powers in terms of politics, economics, and spirituality. After their unification, they will have enough power to destroy all forms of irreligion. Materialist philosophy, which distances people from their true purpose in life and forces them into selfishness, lovelessness, and aggressiveness, will be eradicated, along with all forms of irreligion.
"...Then the person of Jesus (pbuh), who is present with his human body in the world of the heavens, will come to lead the current of true religion..."
This alliance, when combined with the Christians' acceptance of the Qur'an, will achieve a global majority status and move as one body led by Jesus (pbuh). Bediuzzaman reminds us that Jesus' (pbuh) leading of the true religion is based upon the hadith and stresses that, as a result, this news is true knowledge.
The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) Will Protect Believers from the Antichrist
The concept of the antichrist, which means "liar and cheat; the one who confuses good and bad, as well as truth and superstition in the people's hearts and minds; who gilds the surface of things and conceals their true nature; the evil and inauspicious one who travels to all places," is described as a person who will appear in the End Times and who will be the source and representative of all evil and strife. However, the antichrist may not actually be a human being; rather, this person may be a system or an ideology that represents a way of thinking or practice that is against religious moral values. Many hadith contain a great deal of information about the antichrist, and several verses refer to the antichrist's morality and system. This individual's emergence is reported as being one of the End Times' major signs:
Abu Hurayra narrated: "There are three things that, when they are manifested, will be of no benefit to the faith of a person who did not have faith before: the antichrist, the beast, and the sun rising in the west."11
Abu Hanifa said this about the hadith that refer to the antichrist and other signs:
The emergence of the antichrist and of Gog and Magog is a reality; the rising of the Sun in the west is a reality; the descent of Jesus (pbuh) from the heavens is a reality; and all the other signs of the Day of Resurrection, as contained in authentic traditions, are established realities.12
In addition to the signs of the antichrist's coming, the hadith also reveal his characteristics in considerable detail: The antichrist will cause people to turn away from the true path, portray good as evil and evil as good, deceive those who follow him with so-called blessings, oppress those who fail to obey him, wreak confusion upon the world, encourage conflict, oppose religious moral values, and seek to turn people away from those values. The antichrist's time on Earth will be one when true believers experience many troubles and difficulties, and when most people turn away from religious moral values.
The antichrist's emergence will have a profound effect on the whole world, and will be the source of developments that will inflict many catastrophes and troubles upon humanity. Since his main target will be religious moral values and true believers, the period in question may be a particularly difficult one for the believers. In addition, many people will believe in his deceptions and follow him. Such an environment will have to be opposed by all people of good conscience and believers. In addition, they will have to wage a powerful intellectual struggle against this environment, one in which, by Allah's will, they will be victorious. However, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) revealed that this individual's wickedness will be on a scale never before seen in history, and warned believers to avoid it:
I tell you these things so that you may understand the situation and not fall into his snare, and so that you may tell those who come after, because his wickedness is the worst wickedness of all.13
This advice, as well as his prayer for shelter in Allah from the strife caused by the antichrist, is a guide for Muslims. Muslims from different sects and races ask Allah during their five daily prayers to protect them from the antichrist's evil. As the hadith reveal, the prayer that our beloved Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught to believers is as follows:
Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated that: "When one of you finishes his prayer, let him seek Allah's protection from four things by saying: Oh Allah, I seek your protection from the suffering of Hell, the agony of the tomb, the wickedness of life and death, and the wickedness of the antichrist."14
The fact that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught this prayer to his followers in person and recommended that they say it during the daily prayers shows how important the question of the antichrist is for believers. We know that after their daily prayers, Islamic scholars also added the words Allahumma ajirni min fitna al-Masih al-Dajjal wa al-Sufyan (O Allah, protect me from the wickedness of the antichrist and the sufyan). Aware of the immense scale of the antichrist's evil, Muslims seek Allah's protection with this prayer in their own daily prayers. This shows that Muslims are spiritually prepared for the antichrist. However, the most important preparation to be taken against the antichrist is exactly the one that must be taken to prepare for the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) coming.
In one respect, the second coming will manifest the fact that this prayer has been heard. This is because the hadith reveal that the antichrist's wickedness can only be done away with by the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return to Earth, and that when the antichrist sees the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), "he will dissolve like salt in water." Some of the hadith reveal how the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will scholarly eliminate the antichrist, as follows:
As the antichrist spreads evil through the world, Allah will send the Messiah, Jesus (pbuh), son of Maryam … Jesus (pbuh) will meet the antichrist at the gate of Ludd [near Jerusalem] and eliminate him [spiritually make him ineffective] .15
When Allah's enemy [the antichrist] sees him, he will dissolve like salt in water. Although he would dissolve until he has been completely destroyed, even if left on his own, Allah will still [spiritually] destroy the antichrist by the hand of Jesus (pbuh)...16
Jesus (pbuh) will soon return, and will then [spiritually] destroy the antichrist the malicious, the inauspicious one.17
Therefore, it is a matter of the greatest importance that all believers and those who wish to be protected from the antichrist's evil should fully support the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and strive to prepare the best possible environment before he actually returns.
On the one hand, Muslims must uncover the antichrist's wickedness and deceptions and wage an intellectual struggle against those elements that comprise the ideological foundations of the antichrist's system. On the other hand, they must prepare the groundwork for the great intellectual struggle that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will wage after his return, and must prepare themselves to support him. The information provided in the Qur'an and the developments described in the hadith indicate that one of history's most important periods is approaching.
Those who will enjoy the honor of living at such a historic time should feel great excitement at this prospect and should be aware of the scale of their responsibility. One of the first things that such people have to do is to prepare themselves and those around them for the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return.
How Should We Await the Second Coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh)?
The current state of the world shows us which subjects we need to give priority to as we prepare for this glorious event. This is a period when the damage inflicted on society by atheistic ideologies will perhaps be worse than in any other. The spread of violence, terror, cruelty, fraud, falsehood, immorality, conflict, and poverty all over the world shows that the world is full of "wickedness."
All of this cruelty and degeneration is gathering strength from the superstitious system established by those who deny Allah's existence and oneness and who do not believe in the Hereafter. Moreover, it is growing and spreading. In the face of this, Muslims need to eliminate the ideological sources that make up this environment's foundation and encourage this degeneration through intellectual arguments. One of the most important ways of doing this is for Muslims to struggle in a spirit of oneness and unity.
Muslims who fully live by the Qur'an's moral values and follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) must behave in a cohesive manner, bring a spirit of cooperative solidarity to the fore, and remind the Muslim world that all Muslims are "brothers and sisters in religion." In fact, our Lord tells Muslims to act in a spirit of unity and union:
Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate. Remember Allah's blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing. You were on the very brink of a pit of the Fire, and He rescued you from it. In this way, Allah makes His signs clear to you so that, hopefully, you will be guided. (Surah Al 'Imran, 103)
Furthermore, by Allah's will, this alliance will be one of the main stages in the intellectual destruction of atheistic ideologies. In the Qur'an, our Lord mentions this alliance and reveals that the believers must enjoy friendly relations among themselves and help each other if the wickedness in the world is to be eliminated:
Those who do not believe are the friends and protectors of one another. If you do not act in this way, there will be turmoil in the land and great corruption. (Surat al-Anfal, 73)
If the Muslims can set aside their differences and divisions, remember that they are "brothers" and "sisters," and live by the proper moral values brought about by this spiritual unity, they will set an example to the whole world and provide an entirely suitable environment for Jesus (pbuh).
When Jesus (pbuh) returns, the Muslim world must have already turned its internal cultural and traditional differences into elements of enrichment, eliminated the negative influence of atheistic ideologies upon it, and joined together in unity by living according to the Qur'an's moral values.