Other Evidence That The Prophet Jesus (Pbuh) is Not Dead
In this chapter, we will look at other evidence that Jesus (pbuh) is not dead and that he will return to Earth.
Allah refers in the Qur'an about the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) miraculous birth, his message to and struggle against his unbelieving society, his miracles by His' grace, and his disciples. Allah also reveals that he will return to Earth near the Day of Judgment. We have already looked in some detail at Surah Al 'Imran:55 and Surat an-Nisa' :157-158, which indicate, according to their lexical meanings and the interpretations of the vast majority of Islamic scholars and commentators, that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) did not die. This evidence can be listed, as follows:
1. Jesus (pbuh) was neither killed nor crucified.
2. Jesus (pbuh) was raised to God's presence.
3. The unbelievers were shown someone resembling him.
4. The unbelievers' ideas on this subject consist of conjecture and speculation.
5. He is a sign of the Day of Judgment.
6. God taught him the Book – in other words, the Qur'an – in addition to the Torah and the Gospel (God knows best).
7. The People of the Book will obey him when he returns.
8. Those who follow him will be made superior to the unbelievers until the Day of Judgment.
9. He will return to Earth as an adult and will speak to people.
10. He will die after he comes again.
Jesus' (pbuh) return to Earth, one of the most important and greatest events in world history, is revealed in the Qur'an. Such good news will both increase the enthusiasm of those believers awaiting his second coming with joy and excitement, and will also cause them to accelerate their preparations for this event. On the other hand, this evidence will also remind those who have not really thought about this event and, hopefully, will cause them to raise their awareness of the issue.
Jesus (pbuh) Is a "Sign of the Hour"
In addition to revealing that Jesus (pbuh) is still alive, the Qur'an reveals that he will return:
When an example is made of the son of Mary, your people laugh uproariously. They retort: "Who is better, then, our deities or him?" They only say this to you for argument's sake. They are indeed a disputatious people. He is only a servant upon whom We bestowed Our blessing and whom We made an example for the Children of Israel. If We willed, We could appoint angels in exchange for you to succeed you on Earth. (Qur'an, 43:57-60)
The next verse states that Jesus (pbuh) is a sign of the Day of Judgment:
He [Jesus] is a Sign of the Hour. Have no doubt about it, but follow Me. This is a straight path. (Qur'an, 43:61)
The first meaning of this verse is that Jesus (pbuh) is a sign or a precondition of the Day of Judgment. We can confidently say that this verse indicates his return, because he lived six centuries before the Qur'an's revelation. Therefore, we cannot consider his first life as a sign of the Day of Judgment. The verse indicates that he will return toward the End Times or, in other words, right before the Day of Judgment. In that context, his return is a sign of the Hour's imminent arrival. (God knows best.)
Some say that the pronoun hu (he/it) in this expression refers to the Qur'an. However, when one looks at other verses, it appears that whenever hu stands for the Qur'an, the Book is inevitably referred to in either the preceding or following verse. Alternatively, other expressions show that the Qur'an is the subject. Some of these verses are as follows:
No indeed! Truly it [the Qur'an] is a reminder, and whoever wills pays heed to it. Inscribed on Honored Pages, exalted, purified. (Qur'an, 80:11-14)
When they are told: "Believe in what God has sent down," they say: "Our faith is in what was sent down to us," and they reject anything beyond that, even though it [the Qur'an] is the truth, confirming what they have. Say: "Why then, if you believe, did you previously kill the prophets of God?" (Qur'an, 2:91)
They are the ones whom God has guided, so be guided by their guidance. Say: "I do not ask you for any wage for it. It [the Qur'an] is simply a reminder to all beings." (Qur'an, 6:90)
We have sent it [the Qur'an] down with truth, and with truth it has come down. We only sent you to bring good news and to warn. We have divided up the Qur'an, so that you can recite it to humanity at intervals, and We have sent it down little by little. Say: "Believe in it or do not believe in it." Certainly, when it is recited to them, those who were given knowledge before it fall on their faces in prostration. (Qur'an, 17:105-7)
It [the Qur'an] is certainly a reminder to you and to your people, and you will be questioned. (Qur'an, 43:44)
My signs were recited to you, and you turned on your heels, arrogant toward it, talking arrant nonsense all night long. Do they not ponder these words [the Qur'an]? Has anything come to them that did not come to their ancestors, the previous peoples? (Qur'an, 23:66-68)
When one looks at the verses in Surat az-Zukhruf, one can see that the Qur'an is not being referred to in either the verses immediately preceding or following the reference to "a Sign of the Hour." The verses are referring to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). Therefore, the pronoun in question also refers to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). In fact, based on both the verses and on reliable hadith, great Islamic scholars state that in this case, hu does refer to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). Abu Hurayra, Ibn `Abbas, Qatada, Malik ibn Dinar, Thabit ibn al-Dahhak, Abu Razin, Abu `Ali `Abd al-Rahman, Humayd, and Ibn al-Muhaysin say that the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming is a sign of the Day of Judgment.63
Many commentators, such as al-'Alusi, al-Shawkani, al-Sabuni, al-Ghumari, Omar Nasuhi Bilmen, Sayyid Qutb, and Hasan Basri Cantay interpreted the verse thus in their commentaries:
In his interpretation of the verse, Imam al-Tabari also used Ibn Kathir's explanation as evidence. Ibn Kathir said: "There are reliable hadith of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will descend to Earth before the Day of Judgment as a just head of state and just ruler," thus depicting the verse as evidence for the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming. In his commentary, Hamdi Yazir of Elmali wrote:
It is certain that he represents knowledge of that hour, evidence, and a sign of the Day of Judgment when the dead will be resurrected. That is because Jesus' (pbuh) appearance, his miracle of resurrecting the dead, and his giving news of the rising of the dead are evidence of the approach of the Day of Judgment and probable signs of the Hour according to the hadith.65
Among contemporary Islamic scholars, Sayyid Qutb drew attention to the important evidence concerning the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming. As we read in his commentary:
Many hadith regard Jesus' (pbuh) descent to Earth prior to the Day of Judgment. Indeed, the verse, "He is a sign of the Hour" also indicates this. In other words, Jesus (pbuh) will descend to Earth at a time close to the Day of Judgment. In a second style of reading, the verse reads "wa innahu la 'ilmun li al-saa'ati." In other words, his descent is a sign, a sign of the Day of Judgment. Both styles of reading express the same meaning. His descent from the skies is a news of the Unseen World, spoken of by the right-speaking and trustworthy Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and indicated in the glorious Qur'an. Apart from the information from these two sources, which will remain unchanged until the Day of Judgment, nobody can say anything else about the subject.66
Al-Kawthari stated that even in the oldest doctrinal texts, this verse was used as evidence of the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return.67 Omer Nasuhi Bilmen explained the verse in these terms:
It gives news, in an indubitable manner, that Jesus (pbuh) is a sign of the approach of the Day of Judgment and that the Day of Judgment will certainly come … His appearance on Earth is regarded as a law of the Last Day…68
In fact, this title is unique to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), for although the Qur'an describes the lives of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), the Prophets Abraham, Noah , Moses , Solomon , Joseph, David, and Jacob (peace be upon them all), and a great many other prophets, this title is applied to none of them. This fact is yet another indication that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) possesses a special feature that the other prophets do not: He will return to Earth after having been raised to Allah's Presence. (Allah knows the truth.)
The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) Was Taught the Book, the Torah, and the Gospel
In the Qur'an Allah mentions that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was taught the Torah, the Gospel, and the Book:
When the angels said: "Maryam, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Maryam, of high esteem in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near. He will speak to people in the cradle and also when fully grown, and will be one of the righteous,' she exclaimed: "My Lord! How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?" He said: "It will be so. Allah creates whatever He wills. When He decides on something, He just says to it 'Be!,' and it is. He will teach him the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah, and the Gospel." (Surah Al 'Imran:45-48)
The identity of this "Book" is of the greatest importance. The same expression also appears in another verse:
Remember when Allah said: "Jesus, son of Maryam, remember My blessing to you and to your mother when I reinforced you with the Purest Spirit so that you could speak to people in the cradle and when you were fully grown; and when I taught you the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel..." (Surat al-Ma'ida:110)
An analysis of the Qur'an shows that the expression the Book in both verses refers to the Qur'an, as well as to the Torah and the Gospel. Consider the following verses:
Allah, there is no deity but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what was there before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel. (Surah Al 'Imran:2-3)
And We have sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming and conserving the previous Books… (Surat al-Ma'ida:48)
In other verses, the Book refers to the Qur'an:
For this We sent a messenger to you from among yourselves to recite Our signs to you, purify you, and teach you the Book and Wisdom and things you did not know before. (Surat al-Baqara:151)
"Am I to desire someone other than Allah as a judge, when it is He Who has sent down the Book to you clarifying everything?" Those to whom We have given the Book know that it has been sent down from your Lord with truth, so on no account be among the doubters. (Surat al-An'am:114)
We have only sent down the Book to you so that you can make clear to them the things about which they differ, and as a guidance and a mercy to people who believe. (Surat an-Nahl:64)
You did not expect to be given the Book. It is nothing but a mercy from your Lord. So, do not lend support to the unbelievers. (Surat al-Qasas:86)
Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to you the Book that is recited to them? There is certainly a mercy and reminder in that for people who believe. (Surat al 'Ankabut:51)
We have sent down the Book to you with the truth so that you can judge between people according to what Allah has shown to you. But do not be an advocate for the treacherous. (Surat an-Nisa':105)
Clearly, the third "Book" to be taught to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is the Qur'an. But this can only happen if he returns to Earth in the End Times, since he lived some 600 years before the Qur'an was revealed. In addition, many hadith say that when the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns to Earth, the Qur'an, and not the Bible, will rule:
"He will lead you according to the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of your Apostle."69
Another important piece of information is that the term revealed for the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was not revealed for any other prophet. For example, Allah reveals in the Qur'an that the Torah was given to Moses (pbuh), that Pages were given to Abraham (pbuh), and that the Book of Psalms was given to David (pbuh). If there were books revealed before the prophets' own time, Allah states in the Qur'an that they knew them. However, only in the case of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) does Allah state in the Qur'an that a prophet will be taught a book that was revealed after his own time. This is one of the indications that he will return to Earth and that when he does so, he will rule with the book revealed after his lifetime: the Qur'an.
The Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) Followers Will Be Superior to the Unbelievers
In addition to revealing that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) did not die, Surah Al 'Imran:55 also says that he will come to Earth again:
When Allah said: "Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me, and purify you of those who do not believe. And I will place the people who follow you above those who do not believe until the Day of Resurrection. Then you will all return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed." (Surah Al 'Imran:55)
In this verse, Allah reveals the existence of a group of people who will sincerely follow the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and who will be superior to the unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. The number of his followers during his lifetime was very small, and the message that he brought underwent a rapid degeneration after his ascension to Allah. Throughout the next two centuries, his followers, who came to be known as Christians, were subjected to severe persecution and had no political power. Therefore, it is out of the question to say that the Christians living at the time were superior to the unbelievers and that they are the ones being referred to in this verse.
Over the intervening centuries, Christianity moved away from its essence and turned into a different religion. Christians adopted two mistaken beliefs: the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was the son of Allah (Allah is surely beyond that.) and the trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost [or Holy Spirit]). Given this, we cannot regard present-day Christians as those who will follow the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) in the End Times, because Allah reveals in several verses that those who believe in the trinity are actually unbelievers:
Those who say that Allah is the third of three are unbelievers. There is no deity but the One Allah. (Surat al-Ma'ida:73)
That being the case, the expression "I will place the people who follow you above those who do not believe until the Day of Resurrection" has a very clear meaning: There needs to be a community that will follow the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and exist until the Day of Resurrection. Such a community will emerge when the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns. At that time, his followers will be made superior to the unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. Another verse that supports this reads:
O you who believe! Be helpers of Allah, as Jesus son of Maryam said to the Disciples: "Who will be my helpers to Allah?" The Disciples said: "We will be the helpers of Allah." One faction of the Children of Israel believed and the other did not. So, We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became victorious. (Surat as-Saff:14)
It appears from the above verse that during Jesus' (pbuh) lifetime, some people did not have faith. The last part of the verse; "… so We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became victorious," gives news of a time when those who believe in the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will be superior. In all likelihood, this period is the time of the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming. During this time, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will make the true religious moral values prevail and the believers will be superior to the unbelievers by Allah's leave.
The Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) Adult Ministry
Another piece of evidence for the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return is the word kahlaan, which is used in the following verses:
Remember when Allah said: "Jesus, son of Maryam, remember My blessing to you and to your mother when I reinforced you with the Purest Spirit so that you could speak to people in the cradle [mahd] and when you were fully grown [kahlaan]…" (Surat al-Maida:110)
He will speak to people in the cradle and also when fully grown [kahlaan], and will be one of the righteous. (Surah Al 'Imran:46)
Kahlaan, which appears only in these two verses, only in reference to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), and only to express the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) adulthood, is used for someone between the age of 30 and 50, someone who is no longer young, someone who has reached the perfect age. Islamic scholars agree that it denotes the age of 35 or above, based upon a hadith reported by Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was raised up to Allah's Presence in his early 30s and that he will live for 40 more years when he comes again. Given that he can reach old age only by coming again, he must come again.70
Although all of the prophets spoke with their people, invited them to the true religion, and communicated their message at a mature age, the Qur'an does not use such expressions when talking about them. Rather, they are used only to voice a miraculous situation, because the expressions in the cradle and when fully grown, when used one after the other, refer to two miraculous events. The Egyptian Islamic scholar Khalil Herras drew attention to this:
The famous Islamic scholar al-Ghumari stated that one piece of wisdom here is that the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) speaking in the cradle and then in adulthood show that he has a miraculous life. He wrote that just as the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) speaking as an infant is a miracle from Allah, there has to be a miraculous aspect to his speaking as an adult to people:
Imam al-Suyuti drew attention to kahlaan in Surat al-Ma'ida:110 when he stated: "This word expresses the fact that he (Jesus [pbuh]) will descend from the heavens before the Day of Judgment, because he was raised to the skies before attaining old age."73 In his Commentary, Imam al-Tabari gave the following explanation of these verses:
These statements [Surat al-Ma'ida:110] indicate that in order to complete his lifespan and speak to people when fully grown, Jesus (pbuh) will come down from the heavens, because he was raised to the heavens when still young ... In this verse [Surah Al ‘Imran:46], there is evidence that Jesus (pbuh) is living. The Ahl al-Sunnah share that view, because this verse states that he will speak to people when fully grown. He will be able to grow fully only when he returns to Earth from the heavens.74
In his commentary on Surah Al 'Imran:46, Omer Nasuhi says that this verse is a piece of evidence that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return:
As we have seen, Islamic scholars interpret kahlaan as indicating that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will come again. (Allah knows the truth.) All of this evidence reveals that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return in the End Times.
All People of the Book Will Believe in the Prophet Jesus (pbuh)
Among the verses that Allah gives the glad tidings of the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return is:
There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them. (Surat an-Nisa':159)
The great majority of commentators and scholars agree that the pronoun his in the term qabla mawtihi (before his death), points to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). Arabic linguistics also agree with this view. The plural suffix hum is used in all the Qur'anic verses concerning the People of the Book (e.g., Surat al-Bayyina:1 and 6, and Surat al-Hashr:2). In this verse, however, the singular suffix hu is used. This means that the People of the Book will believe in the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) before his biological death after he returns to Earth.76
The phrase "and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them," is one of the proofs that the verse does refer to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). That being the case, the verse should be interpreted in these terms: "When Jesus (pbuh) comes, all People of the Book will believe in him." This indicates that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return and that true religious moral values will rule Earth under his leadership.
Allah also reveals that all the prophets and messengers will bear witness for their communities on the Last Day:
… when the messengers' time is appointed. (Surat al-Mursalat:11)
Our Lord reveals that Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) bore witness for his own community:
How will it be when We bring a witness from every nation and bring you as a witness against them? (Surat an-Nisa':41)
However, Allah reveals in the Qur'an that "There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before his death" only in the case of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). Moreover, Allah does not use such an expression in the Qur'an for any prophet who came before the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and in whom the People of the Book believed. No similar account is offered with regard to the Prophets Abraham, Solomon, David, Moses, Joseph, or Jacob (peace be upon them all).
If every member of the People of the Book were to believe in the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) before his or her own death, then a similar case would have been revealed with regard to the other prophets who were sent to them. However, this expression is employed only in relation to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). Therefore, it is another important proof that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) differs from other prophets.
As we have seen, the his in the expression before his death is evidently the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). It is impossible to interpret the verse, as some people have, in a way that indicates that "Each member of the People of the Book will believe in Jesus (pbuh) before they die." Some of the Jews, a People of the Book, tried to kill the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) because they did not believe in him. They later continued in their unbelief and believed that they had killed him.
In the light of all this, we can understand the following from this verse: the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth and, like every other human being, will live and die. When he returns, all of the People of the Book will see and know him, and will obey him while he lives. The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will bear witness to this in the Hereafter. (Allah knows the truth.) The great majority of Islamic scholars share this view. Abu Hurayrah and Ibn `Abbas, both of whom were Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), also stated that this verse indicates his second coming. Al-Qurtubi interprets the verse in the following terms:
Al-Tabari interprets the verse thus in his Commentary:
In his account, Khalil Herras stated that al-Tabari's interpretation is accurate and that Surat an-Nisa':159 is evidence of his second coming:
The Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) Death Will Occur after His Second Coming
Another verse that points to the second coming is Surah Maryam:33. The phrase the day I die provides very important information. This is revealed in:
"Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised up again alive." (Surah Maryam:33)
The Arabic original for the day I die is amootu, which stems from the word mawt, which is used elsewhere in the Qur'an in the sense of biological death. In other verses referring to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), tawaffaa, and not mawt, is used for his death. The meaning of tawaffaa is not biological death, but the taking of the soul in a kind of sleep. Meanwhile, mawt expresses death in the familiar sense. Therefore, in contrast to the other verses, this verse indicates that the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) death will take place after his second coming.
63. Al-Sa'ani, Tafsir 'Abdul-Raziq, 2:163; Ibn Qutayba, Gharib al-Qur'an, 400.
64. Al- 'Alusi, Ruh al-Ma'ani fi Tafsir al-Qur'an, 25:95; Mohammad al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadir, 4:562; Al-Sabuni, Safwat al-Tafasiri, 3:162; Sayyid Qutb, Fi Zilal al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an), 5:3198.
65. Yazir, Hak Din Kuran Dili, www.kuranikerim.com/telmalili/zuhruf.htm.
66. Qutb, Fi Zilal al-Qur'an, www.sevde.de/Kuran-Tevsiri/Kuran_Tefsiri.htm.
67. Al-Kawthari, Nazra 'Abira fi Maza'im, 105.
68. Bilmen, Kuran-i Kerim'in, 7:3292.
69. Sahih Muslim hadiths.
70. Herras, Fasl al-Maqal, 20.
71. Ibid., 19-20. (emphasis added by the author)
72. Al-Ghumari, Al-Burhan, 87-96.
73. Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, 1:447.
74. Tafsir al-Tabari, 2:528 and 1:247.
75. Bilmen, Kuran-i Kerim'in, 1:366.
76. Herras, Fasl al-Maqal, 76.
77. Al-Qurtubi, Al-Jami' li Ahkam al-Qur'an, 6 :10-11.
78. Al-Tabari, Jami' al-Bayan, 4:18.
79. Herras, Fasl al-Maqal, 17-21.