One of the supposed excuses put forward by societies that denied the message of the prophets was the claim that the prophets were seeking to turn them away from their traditional religions. Every community has its own customs and traditions, cultural heritage and traditional beliefs. Among these beliefs there may be various superstitious practices and rites that are incompatible with the moral values preached by the prophets. Prophets rid the societies to which they are sent of such superstitious practices and rites that have become entangled with their beliefs and call on them to abide by the moral values of the true faith in the Sight of Allah. Yet some people, despite being aware of the false aspects of their traditional beliefs and practices, are unwilling to heed this call. As revealed in the Qur’an, they persist in their devotion to “the faiths of their ancestors,” in other words to various false traditions and customs. The position of such people is described as follows in the Qur’an:
When they are told, “Follow what Allah has sent down to you,” they say, “We are following what we found our fathers doing.” What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided! (Surat al-Baqara, 170)
The devotion that these people feel towards the religion of their ancestors stems from the concern they feel at the loss of their established order. For these people, the overturning of the whole system on which they have constructed their interests, rank and station, and supposed prestige within society is something that cannot be accepted. For that reason they regard the true faith preached by the prophets as a great threat to themselves and do all in their power to oppose the prophets. We are told in the Qur’an that people possessed of such immoral values have always opposed the messengers sent to them:
Similarly We never sent any warner before you to any city without the affluent among them saying, “We found our fathers following a religion and we are simply following in their footsteps.” (Surat az-Zukhruf, 23)
People similar to those who opposed the Prophet Jethro (as), the Prophet Noah (as), the Prophet Lot (as), the Prophet Solomon (as), the Prophet Abraham (as) and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saas) may well oppose the Prophet Jesus (as) for the same reason when he returns. And the false indoctrination perpetrated by these people on the community in which they live may cause the majority of people not to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as).
In addition, when he returns the Prophet Jesus (as) will rule with Islam. This may be greeted with some astonishment, especially by some Christians who have false traditions and beliefs. The fact is though that the Prophet Jesus (as) will call them to the truth and salvation. However, a failure to comprehend this may lead those concerned into a grave error. (Allah knows the truth.)
At the heart of the unease and surprise that some Christians may feel on this subject lies the fact that after the ascension of the Prophet Jesus (as) into the Presence of Allah, Christianity became corrupted, especially with regard to such distorted beliefs as that the Prophet Jesus (as) is the son of Allah (Surely Allah is beyond that) and the trinity (Surely Allah is beyond that). In order to preserve Christianity, even though it has been corrupted, these people may well oppose the Prophet Jesus’ (as) preaching the message of the existence and oneness of Allah, telling people that he is Allah’s servant and merely His prophet, and calling on them to adhere to Islamic moral values. Those who wish to preserve this false religion they learned from their ancestors may make very great efforts in order to prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) being recognized and communicating the message of the true faith. When called to the truth by the Prophet Moses (as), Pharaoh and his court were similarly unwilling to abandon the perverted religion of their ancestors and even sought to hinder the Prophet Moses (as) and the Prophet Aaron (as) through ugly slanders. The people’s attitude towards the message of the Prophet Moses (as) is revealed as follows in the Qur’an:
They said, “Have you come to us to turn us from what we found our fathers doing, and to gain greatness in the land? We do not believe you.” (Surah Yunus, 78)
As revealed in this verse, the tribe of the Prophet Moses (as) exhibited an irrational and illogical devotion to the false beliefs of their ancestors, and also attempted to neutralize the believers’ message by uttering slanders. When, by Allah’s leave, the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to earth and again calls people to the moral precepts of the Qur’an, similar people may well spread the lie that this holy prophet is not actually the Prophet Jesus (as) at all. They may well utter slanders against this holy prophet. This kind of propaganda from the people in question may cause a great many people who live far removed from religious moral values to be influenced by their lies and cause them not to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as).
In addition to the historical degeneration of Christianity, it is also possible that in the End Times Christian communities will move even further away from their faith under the indoctrination of the system of the antichrist. In his works, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has also drawn attention to the way that the system of the antichrist distances these communities away from spiritual values:
... at the command of satan and due to his temptations, the great antichrist will abrogate the injunctions of the Christian Law, and destroying the bonds in accordance with which the life of Christian society is administered, he will prepare the ground for anarchy and Gog and Magog. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays, p. 467)
According to these statements by Bediuzzaman, with its indoctrination and misdirection, the system of the antichrist will do away with precepts of the true Christianity and will corrupt the moral values that permit Christians’ social order and that bind them together. All these conditions, noted by Bediuzzaman, may mean that when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to earth some people will fail to be aware of this holy prophet and his honorable struggle, and that others will pretend not to recognize him in the light of their own aims.