The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) in The Hadith
The facts that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is alive in Allah's Presence and that he will return to Earth in the End Times appears in some detail in the hadith collections, among them al-Shaybani's Taysir al-Usul ila Jami' al-Usul; Imam Maliki's Al-Muwatta'; the Sahihs of Ibn Khuzayma and Ibn Hibban; and the Musnads of Ibn Hanbal and al-Tayalisi, regarded as the greatest sources of the most reliable hadith. Furthermore, many Islamic scholars have carried out research and studies on these facts and have written books and treatises on them. These are also invaluable sources. Heading the list of these great Islamic scholars is Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi legal school. Some of the other Islamic scholars who hold these views are listed below:
- Imam Abu Mansur Muhammad al-Maturidi, who, while studying the hadith regarding Jesus (pbuh), stated that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) would return to Earth and destroy the antichrist.88
- Al-Ajuri, regarded as one of the first experts on the Qur'an, stated that Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth in the End Times, for which reason the report must be believed.89
- Ibn Hazm stated that the report that Jesus (pbuh) would return is reliable.90
- Al-Pazdavi drew attention to the fact that reports of Jesus' (pbuh) second coming are openly revealed in many verses and hadith.91
- An-Nasafi stated that this event was one of the major signs of the Day of Judgment.92
- Saduddin al-Taftazani stated that the hadith about this event are completely trustworthy.93
- Ibn al-'Arabi reported that even though more than a thousand years has passed since Jesus' (pbuh) birth, he is alive in body and soul in Allah's Presence.94
- Al-Qurtubi wrote that he believes in the second coming of Jesus (pbuh) and indicated many trustworthy hadith to back up this belief.95
- Imam Rabbani wrote: "Jesus (pbuh) will descend from the sky and will be a member of the Prophet Muhammad's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) community. In other words, he will be one of his people and will abide by the Divine law."96
- Imam Abu Ja'far al-Tahawi, regarded as one of the most important Egyptian Hanafi scholars of his time, opined that the return of Jesus (pbuh) is a major sign of the End Times and stated the need to believe in this truth.97
- 'Ali al-Qari said that Jesus' (pbuh) second coming is a sign of the Day of Judgment and that when he returns, he will destroy the antichrist [spiritually]. According to al-Qari, belief in this report is obligatory, for the subject is fixed by a number of reports from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his followers.98
- In his book Maqalat al-Islamiyyin wa Ikhtilfa' al-Musallin (The Discourses of the Proponents of Islam and the Differences among the Worshippers), Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari said: "It is a requirement to believe in these elements on which the people of the hadith and the people of the Sunnah are agreed: in Allah, angels, the books, the prophets, the revelations received from Allah, and in the words of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) … that the antichrist will appear and that Jesus (pbuh) will destroy him [spiritually]."99
- Al-Bayadi draws attention to the fact that the second coming is one of the signs that the Day of Judgment is approaching, and that reliable hadith fully support this information.100
- Al-Suyuti reported that Jesus (pbuh) will come and rule with the law of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).101
- Al-Alusi said that when Jesus (pbuh) returns, he will rule with the law of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Muslims will be his helpers.102
- Abu Munteha, an Islamic scholar from the Ottoman period, said it was right to believe in the return of Jesus (pbuh).103
- Al-Shinqiti, a modern commentator, wrote: "Both the Qur'an and the generally accepted Sunnah are proofs that Jesus (pbuh) is at this moment alive, that he will descend in the End Times, and that his coming is regarded as one of the signs of the Day of Judgment."104
Taken all together, these and many other hadith clearly show the full agreement among all Islamic scholars that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will come again. For example, in his Lawami, Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Saffarini states that Islamic scholars are in agreement on the issue:
In his commentary, Ruh al-Ma'ani fi Tafsir al-Qur'an, the great Islamic scholar Sayyid al-Alusi cited examples of the views of other Islamic scholars and said that the community is agreed on the return of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), and that these statements were so well known as to attain the level of consensus. He also stated that belief in the coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was obligatory.106
The Hadith on the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) Are "Tawatur"
The hadith relating the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming are tawatur, a specialized term defined as "a tradition that has been handed down by a number of different channels of transmitters or authorities, hence supposedly ruling out the possibility of its having been forged."107 Generally reliable hadith are those which are reported by so many hadith experts that there is no room left for error.
The Islamic scholar Sayyid al-Jurjani expounded on this concept as follows:
In his Al-Tasrih fi ma Tawatara fi Nuzul al-Masih, the great hadith scholar Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri wrote that the hadith about the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming are all reliable, and quotes 75 hadith and 25 works by the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) Companions and their disciples (Tabi'un).
The following explanation appears in 'Awn al-Ma`bud, one of the important texts in Sunan Abu Dawud:
Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari stated that the hadith about the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) descent are trustworthy:
We saw earlier that the great Islamic scholar Imam al-Suyuti stated that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is alive in Allah's Presence and will return in the End Times, at which time religious moral values will prevail over Earth. In his book Al-Hawi li al-Fatawa and the collection Nuzul 'Isa ibn Maryam Akhir al-Zaman, he considered all of the relevant hadith, after which he stated that these were trustworthy:
After analyzing and explaining these hadith, the scholar Ibn Kathir outlined his thoughts:
Furthermore, many great Islamic commentators and scholars share the view that the hadith dealing with the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) being alive in Allah's Presence and his return, as well as those dealing with the antichrist and the Mahdi, are trustworthy. Among them are Ibn 'Atiyya, author of Al-Bahr al-Muhit; Imam al-Hafiz ibn Hajar, author of Fath al-Bari; Imam Ibn Rushd, author of Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari; Sheikh al-Ghumari, author of 'Aqidat Ahl al-Islam fi Nuzul 'Isa 'alayhi al-Salam; and Ja'far al-Kattani, author of Nazm al-Mutanathir fi al-Hadith al-Mutawatir.
Accounts in the Hadith About the Prophet Jesus (pbuh)
Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) received news of the Unseen directly from Allah:
He [Allah] is the Knower of the Unseen and does not divulge His secrets to anyone – except a messenger with whom He is well pleased, and then He posts sentinels before him and behind him. (Surat al-Jinn:26-27)
Our Lord reveals that He sent knowledge to the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in his dreams:
Allah has confirmed His messenger's vision with truth: "You will enter the Sacred Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] in safety, Allah willing, shaving your heads and cutting your hair without any fear." He knew what you did not know and ordained, in place of this, an imminent victory. (Surat al-Fath:27)
As can be seen, our Lord imparted pieces of concealed knowledge to our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in order to provide him and his Companions with His support and help. Some of his Companions witnessed some of these concealed things. They reported how he conveyed these concealed things to them. Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, reported from 'Umar ibn al-Khattab and Hudhayfa, and Imam Ahmad and Imam Muslim reported from Ibn Zayd al-Ansari, that:
Hudhayfa al-Yamani said:
A large part of our Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) reports about the future contains information about the second coming. When these hadith about the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) are examined, we notice that despite their large numbers, all of them agree with each other. When their information is examined, we see that they all contain similar reports that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth, rule the people with the Qur'an, will make the antichrist ineffective, cause true religious moral values to prevail on Earth, and usher in an era of peace and abundance for the whole world. Another noteworthy feature of these hadith is that they have been reported by a large number of witnesses. Indeed, this is why they are considered mutawatir, for so many people have reported them that they cannot possibly be false. The number of witnesses relating hadith regarding the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is greater than fifty. These include:
Anas Ibn Malik, Qatada, 'A'isha, Abu Hurayra, 'Imran ibn Husayn, Nafi' ibn 'Utba, Abu Barza, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Qaysan, 'Uthman ibn al-'As, Jabir ibn 'Abdullah, Abu Umama, Ibn Mas'ud, 'Abdulla ibn Amr, Samura ibn Jundub, Nawwas ibn Sam'an, Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf, Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamani, Abu al-Asas as-Sanani, Abu Umama al Bahili, Abu al-Darda', Abu Rafi', Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, Al-Hakam ibn 'Amr al-Ghifari, Rabi' ibn Anas, and 'Ammar ibn Yasir, may Allah be pleased with all of them.
Statements from the Companions and the Later Generations
The Companions are very valuable believers who attained the honors of being alongside and being taught by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Thus, their statements regarding the verses about the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) contain information of what the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught them about this unique prophet. When we examine their statements about the relevant verses, we notice that all of them believed that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was not dead and would return to Earth. Some of these statements are as follows:
-Referring to Surah Al 'Imran:46, Ibn Zayd said: "Jesus (pbuh) spoke to people while he was still in the cradle. When he [spiritually] destroys the antichrist, he will speak to people as an adult."115
-'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas said about Surat an-Nisa':159 "This verse is proof that Jesus (pbuh), son of Maryam, will appear … All of the People of the Book will believe in him before his death."116
-Muhammad ibn 'Ali Abi Talib (also known as Ibn Hanafiyya), explained Surat an-Nisa':159 in these terms: "He will descend before the Day of Judgment. All Jews and Christians will believe in him."117
-Qatada expounded on the same verse, as follows: "When Jesus (pbuh) descends, all religions will believe in him and he will bear witness for them on the Day of Judgment."118 He stated about Surat az-Zukhruf:61 thus: "The appearance of Jesus (pbuh) is an indication of the Day of Judgment."119
-In explaining Surat an-Nisa':159, Abu Muhammad al-Madani said: "When Jesus (pbuh) descends to Earth, he will [spiritually] destroy the antichrist…."120
-Al-Hakam ibn 'Amr al-Ghifari explained Surat an-Nisa':159 in the following words: "At the moment when Jesus (pbuh) son of Maryam descends, all of the People of the Book will believe in him."121
-Al-Hasan al-Basri made the following comment: "I swear to Allah that Jesus (pbuh) is at this moment alive in Allah's Presence, and that everyone will believe in him when he returns." With regard to Surat an-Nisa':159, he said: "Allah raised Jesus (pbuh) to His Presence. He will send him before the Day of Judgment as a holder of rank. Good and bad, all will believe in him."122 He also made a similar comment regarding Surat az-Zukhruf:61, saying that the meaning of the verse was that Jesus (pbuh) would return to Earth.123
-On the same subject, Ibn 'Abbas said: "In Surat az-Zukhruf:61, Allah indicates that Jesus (pbuh) will appear before the Day of Judgment."124
Islamic Scholars Regard the Coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) as an Article of Faith
Almost all the works that elucidate articles of faith among the People of the Sunnah agree that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth before the Day of Judgment, struggle and make the antichrist ineffective, and cause true religious moral values to prevail on Earth. In their analysis of the proofs presented in the Qur'an and the hadith, Islamic scholars inform us that the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming is an important article of faith. They explain the matter thus:
1. Allah has revealed that: "They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them" (Surat an-Nisa':157). In addition, Allah reveals in many other verses that Jesus (pbuh) is alive in His Presence and that he will come again. Islamic scholars agree that it is impossible to maintain any other position. For instance, Ibn Hazm emphasized that: "Anyone who says that Jesus (pbuh) was killed will either be someone who leaves the just religion or an unbeliever."125
2. The fact that the hadith on this subject are completely tawatur (trustworthy) and so clear is important evidence for Muslims. Furthermore, there is no hadith that asserts that Jesus (pbuh) will not return.
3. The hadith reported by Jabir ibn 'Abdullah: "He who denies the appearance of the Mahdi is inevitably blaspheming against what was revealed to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). He who denies the appearance of Jesus (pbuh), the son of Maryam, has become an unbeliever. Someone who denies that the antichrist will appear is also inevitably an unbeliever," is another important piece of evidence. This hadith appears in such important Islamic sources as Sheikh Muhammad Parisa's Fusul-i Sitta, Ibn Ishaq's Kitab al-Ta`aruf li Madhhab Ahl al-Tasawwuf, Imam Suhayli's al-Rawd al-Unuf, and Imam Suyuti's Alamat al-Mahdi. Moreover, Abu Bakr explained the hadith in these terms: "It was revealed to us from Muhammad ibn Hasan, to him from Abu 'Abdullah al-Husayn ibn Muhammad, to him from Ibn Uways, to him from Malik ibn Abas, to him from Muhammad ibn Munkadir, and to him from Ibn Jabir."126
4. Another factor is the number and reliability of the hadith narrators regarding the second coming. Among these people are Abu al-Asas al-Sanani, Abu Rafi', Abu al-Aliya, Abu Umama al Bahili, Abu al-Darda', Abu Hurayra, Abu Malik al-Khudri, Jabir ibn 'Abdullah, Hudhayfa ibn Adis, Safina, Qatada, 'Uthman ibn al-'As, Nafi' ibn Kaysani, Al Walid ibn Muslim, 'Ammar ibn Yathir, and 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with all of them.
Given this, Islamic scholars regard belief in the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming and his causing true religious moral values to prevail as major articles of faith.
The information considered thus far shows that the relevant hadith are sahih (reliable) and mutawatur (trustworthy). The information that they contain, as well as the accounts narrated by the Companions and analyses of Islamic scholars, leave no doubt that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth. By Allah's will, this great miracle will occur and all people will, as a direct result, experience a most miraculous and beautiful period. (Allah knows the truth.)
88. Al-Maturidi, Tawilat al-Qur'an, 239.
89. Ajuri, al-Sharee'ah, 380-82.
90. Ibn Hazm, 'Ilm al-Qalam, 30-32.
91. Al-Pazdavi, Ehl-i Sunnet Akaidi (The Doctrine of the People of the Sunnah), trans. by Serafettin Golcuk (Istanbul: 1998), 352; Baybal, Ibrahimi Dinlerde, 238-40.
92. An-Nasafi, Aqaid (Istanbul: 1310/1892), 193-94; Baybal, Ibrahimi Dinlerde, 238-40.
93. Saduddin Taftazani, al-Aqaid al-Nasafiyya (Istanbul: 1310/1892), 193-4; Baybal, Ibrahimi Dinlerde, 238-40.
94. Ibn al-'Arabi, Fusus al-Hikam (Istanbul: 1287), 63; Baybal, Ibrahimi Dinlerde, 238-40.
95. Al-Qurtubi, Mukhtasar Tazkirah Qurtubi, trans. byAhmad Hijazi al-Shaqqa, (Beirut: 1986), 2:402-14.
96. Imam Rabbani, Letters of Rabbani (Istanbul: 1977), 1:436, 545, 722, 820, 846.
97. Baybal, Ibrahimi Dinlerde, 238-40.
99. Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, Maqalat al-Islamiyyin wa Ikhtilfa al-Musallin, 295.
100. Al-Bayadi, Isharat al-Maram min 'Ibarat al-Imam, 67.
101. Al-Suyuti, Nuzul 'Isa ibn Maryam Akhir al-Zaman (Suleymaniye Library), no. 1446/9.
102. Baybal, Ibrahimi Dinlerde, 238-40.
104. Al-Shinqiti, Adwa' Al Bayan fi Idah Al Qur'an bi Al Qur'an, 7:273; Baybal, Ibrahimi Dinlerde, 238-40.
105. Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Saffarini, Lawami, 2:94-95.
106. Al-Alusi, Ruh al-Ma'ani, 7:60.
107. Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, A Basic Dictionary of Islam (New Delhi: Goodword Books, 2000), 153.
108. Al-Sayyid al-Sharif, Zafar al-Amani fi Sharh Mukhtasar al-Sayyid al-Sharif al-Jurjani fi Mustalah al-Hadith, 46
109. Sunan Abu Dawud, 'Awn al-Ma'bud, 163.
110. Al-Kawthari, Nazra 'Abira fi Maza'im, 44.
111. Al-Suyuti, Al-Hawi li al-Fatawa, 2:277.
112. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 1:578-82.
113. Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim hadiths.
114. Sunan Abu Dawud.
115. Al-Tabari, Jami' al-Bayan, 3:188.
116. Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, 2:309.
117. Al-Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur, 2 :241.
118. Al-Tabari, Jami' al-Bayan, 6:19.
119. Al-Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur, 2 :20.
120. Al-Tabari, Jami' al-Bayan, 6:19.
121. Ibid., 6:19.
122. Al-Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur, 2 :284.
123. Ibid., 2 :20.
124. Khasmiri, al-Tasrih, 289-90.
125. Ibn Hazm, 'Ilm al-Qalam, 56-57.
126. Al-Suyuti, Al-Hawi li al-Fatawa, 2:161.