The Return of the Prophet Jesus (as) to Earth in the Hadith
Heading the list of these great Islamic scholars is Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi legal school. In the final chapter of his book Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, Abu Hanifa states:
The hadith relating the Prophet Jesus' (as) 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." 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:
We present a selection of these hadiths:
The Prophet Jesus (as), son of Maryam, will definitely descend as a just judge and a just ruler. (Imam Nawawi, Commentary on Sahih Muslim)
Doomsday will not take place until the Prophet Jesus, son of Maryam, comes as a fair ruler and a just imam. (Sunan Ibn Majah)
By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the son of Maryam (the Prophet Jesus [as]) will shortly descend among you people as a just ruler. (Sahih Bukhari)
There is no prophet between him (the Prophet Jesus [as]) and me. He will certainly descend. Recognise him when you see him. He is of medium height, of a reddish white colour. He will wear two sets of yellow dyed clothing. Water will fall from his hair even if it does not rain. He will fight with people for Islam. He will slay the antichrist [make him ineffective] and then remain for exactly forty years on Earth. Then he will die, and Muslims will perform the prayers for him. (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
What will you do when the son of Maryam descends among you and leads as one amongst you? (Sahih Muslim)
The Prophet Jesus, son of Maryam, (as) will then descend and their [the Muslims'] commander will invite him to come and lead them in prayer. But he will say: "No, some among you are commanders over some [among you.]" (Sahih Muslim)
The Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) Will Come in This Century
Works by great and esteemed scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah, including Sunan Abu-Dawud and Maktubat of Imam Rabbani, explicitly state that Allah sends an individual every century in order to revive and rid religious morals of any innovations:
According to Abu Huraira's account, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: Certainly Almighty and All-Powerful Allah will send an individual at the beginning of every century who will renew the faith and free it from subsequent accretions. (Sunan Abu Dawud, 5/100)
One hadith handed down from our Prophet (saas) states that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear in the Islamic year 1400 in the words:
People will gather around Hazrat Mahdi (as) in the year 1400. (Risalat al-Huruj al-Mahdi, p. 108)
The religious moral values of Islam will rule the whole world, as the result of a specific process, in this century, while the system of the dajjal (the antichrist) that opposes those values will entirely disappear. But following this period of progression, which will last for approximately 100 years, the world will again find itself in a phase of degeneration, around the 1500s according to the Islamic calendar. In one hadith narrated by many scholars, including Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, a great Ahl al-Sunnah hadith and Islamic jurisprudence scholar, our Prophet (saas) provides important information about the beginning of human history by saying that 5600 years had passed up until his own day:
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal transmitted in his ‘Ilal: FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED YEARS HAVE PASSED FROM THIS WORLD. (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 89)
Many other hadith contain explicit references to the life span of the world being 7000 years:
Anas Ibn Malik narrates that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: THE LIFE SPAN OF THE WORLD IS SEVEN DAYS IN THE DAYS OF THE HEREAFTER. Almighty Allah has said: ONE DAY IN THE SIGHT OF YOUR LORD IS LIKE A THOUSAND OF YOUR YEARS. Allah will ASCRIBE THE EQUIVALENT OF GOOD DEEDS OF THE SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS OF THE AGE OF THIS WORLD to the one who meets the need of any of his brothers in the faith on the path of Allah as if he spends his days in fasting and his nights in worship. (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 88)
Narrated from Daqqaq Ibn Zaid al-Juhani: I told the Messenger of Allah (saas) of a dream I had had. In that dream the Messenger of Allah (saas) was at the top step of a seven-stepped pulpit. He said: THE SEVEN-STEPPED PULPIT YOU SEE IS THE SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS OF AGE OF THIS WORLD. (Al-Burhan fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 89)
Said Nursi, the renovator of the Islamic 1300s and the greatest one of the last millennium, cited the Islamic 1500s as the period of dominion of Islamic moral values. He stated that Muslims would enjoy a time of clear and explicit victory up until then. He said that in the years after that, the rise of the moral values of Islam would come to an end and that the Last Day would break for the unbelievers in the Islamic year 1545. (Allah knows the truth.)
The great Sunni scholar al-Barzanji states that the life span of the world will not last until the Islamic 1600, in other words, that the Last Day is expected to come in Islamic 1500s by Allah's leave. (Allah knows the truth.)
Suyuti's statement made on the basis of the hadith handed down from our Prophet (saas) is as follows:
As is clear from the hadith of the Prophet (saas) and statements by great Islamic scholars, the Islamic 1400s we are now living in is the age of the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as). The Prophet Jesus (as) will return to Earth in this century, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear and the moral values of Islam will rule the world.
The Faithful Will Be Protected against the Fitnah [Trial and Tribulation] of the Dajjal by Means of the Prophet Jesus (as)
The concept of the dajjal (antichrist), which means "liar, cheat, he who confuses good and bad, truth and falsehood in people's minds and hearts, one who gilds a thing to conceal its true face, an evil and inauspicious entity who moves everywhere," is described as someone who will emerge in the End Times, the source and representative of all evil and fitnah. The dajjal may actually be a human being; or it 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 dajjal, and several verses refer to the dajjal's morality and system. The dajjal's emergence is reported as being one of the End Times' major signs:
The great Islamic scholar and imam, Abu Hanifa, states the following about the hadith describing the dajjal and other signs of the Last Day:
The emergence of the dajjal and of Gog and Magog is a reality; the rising of the Sun in the west is a reality; the descent of the Prophet Jesus (as) from the heavens is a reality; and all the other signs of the Last Day, as contained in authentic traditions, are established realities. (Abu Hanifa, Nu'man ibn Sabit (150/767), al-Fiqh al-Akbar)
The hadiths of our Prophet (saas) contain detailed information also about the characteristics of the dajjal. According to this, the dajjal will turn people away from the true path; depict good as bad and bad as good; deceive those who follow him with supposed blessings and oppress and use force against those who do not; bring forth confusion in the world and incite conflict; oppose religious moral values and act to turn people away from those values. The dajjal's time on Earth will be one when sincere believers face many troubles and difficulties and when the great majority of people turn their backs on religious moral values.
The dajjal'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 (saas) revealed that this individual's wickedness will be on a scale never before seen in history, and warned believers to avoid it. This warning is most important:
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. (Nu'aym ibn Mas'ud; Ismail Mutlu, Kiyamet Alametleri (Signs of the Last Day), Mutlu Publications, (Istanbul: 1999), 92-93)
This advice, as well as his prayer for shelter in Allah from the fitnah caused by the dajjal, is a guide for Muslims. Muslims from different sects and races ask Allah during their five daily prayers to protect them from the dajjal's evil. As the hadith reveal, the prayer that our beloved Prophet (saas) taught to believers is as follows:
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (saas) said: When any one of you utters tashahhud (in prayer) he must seek refuge with Allah from four (trials) and should thus say: "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the torment of the Hell, from the torment of the grave, from the trial of life and death and from the evil of the trial of Messiah al-dajjal.(Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1217)
The fact that the Prophet (saas) 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 dajjal is for believers. We know that after their daily prayers, Islamic scholars also added the words "Allahumma ajirni min fitna al-Messiah al-dajjal wa al-Sufyan" (O Allah, protect us from the trials of Messiah al-dajjal and the Sufyan). Aware of the immense scale of the dajjal's trial, Muslims seek Allah's protection with this prayer in their own daily prayers. This shows that Muslims are spiritually prepared for the dajjal. However, the most important preparation to be taken against the dajjal is exactly the one that must be taken to prepare for the Prophet Jesus' (as) coming.
In one respect, the second coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) will manifest the fact that this prayer has been answered. This is because the hadith reveal that the dajjal's trial can only be done away with by the Prophet Jesus' (as) return to Earth, and that when the dajjal sees the Prophet Jesus (as), "he will dissolve like salt in water." Some of the hadith revealing how the Prophet Jesus (as) will make the dajjal ineffective are as follows:
... As the dajjal spreads evil through the world, Allah will send the Messiah, Jesus (as), son of Maryam, who will meet the dajjal at the gate of Ludd [near Jerusalem] and make him ineffective. (Sahih Muslim)
As the dajjal spreads evil through the world, Allah will send the Messiah, Jesus (as), son of Maryam … The Prophet Jesus (as) will meet the dajjal at the gate of Ludd [near Jerusalem] and make him ineffective. (Sahih Muslim)
The Prophet Jesus (as) will soon return, and will then [spiritually] destroy the dajjal, the malicious, the inauspicious one.
Therefore, it is a matter of the greatest importance that all believers and those who wish to be protected from the dajjal's trial should fully support the Prophet Jesus (as) and strive to prepare the best possible environment before he actually returns.
On the one hand, Muslims must uncover the dajjal's wickedness and deceptions and wage an intellectual struggle against those elements that comprise the ideological foundations of the dajjal's system. On the other hand, they must prepare the groundwork for the great intellectual struggle that the Prophet Jesus (as) 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 honour 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' (as) return.