The Second Coming of Jesus (SWS)
By Tariq Hashmi
Response: I posted a question regarding your views on the second coming of Jesus (sws) as mentioned in the Aug 2002 issue of your journal (http://www.monthly-renaissance.com/augresp2y2.html) to the website, ‘Islamweb’, and I got the response that your views on the issue are unfounded1. I would like your response on their critique.
I appreciate your concern on
religious matters and your endeavor to get to the truth by pursuing the matter
with interest. We should accept everything about Islam only after careful
analysis and thorough intellectual investigation. In what follows is our
response to the Fatwa issued by Islamweb.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. Allah, the Most High, informed us in the Qur’an that ‘Isa (Jesus), the son of Mary (rta) will descend from the heavens to earth in the last days.
Many Ahadith of the Prophet (sws), for whose narrators it is impossible to lie, confirmed this as well, so there is no room for doubt about his descent.
Allah says: ‘And there is none of the people of the Scripture [Jews and Christians], but must believe in him [‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam [Mary], as only a Messenger of Allah and a human being], before his [‘Isa (Jesus) or a Jew’s or a Christian’s] death [at the time of the appearance of the angel of death]. And on the Day of Resurrection, he [‘Isa (Jesus)] will be a witness against them’ (4:159)
author of the Fatwa has failed to substantiate his first statement. He
has not presented any Qur’anic verse that can form a definitive argument
about his claim that Jesus (sws) will descend before the Hour. I seek refuge in
the Almighty from putting my words in His mouth. All that the author has been
able to present are traditions – which only speak conspicuously about the second
coming whereas the Holy Qur’an itself says nothing – ascribed to later
authorities mentioned in the commentaries on the Qur’an.
Allah says in Surah Al-Zukhruf after mentioning ‘Isa, son of Mary, ‘And he [‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)] shall be a known sign for [the coming of] the Hour [Day of Resurrection] [i.e. ‘Isa’s (Jesus) descent on the earth]. Therefore have no doubt concerning it [i.e. the Day of Resurrection]. And follow Me [Allah] [i.e. be obedient to Allah and do what He orders you to do, O mankind]! This is the Straight Path [of Islamic Monotheism, leading to Allah and to His Paradise]. (43:61)
Al-Tabari said: ‘This means that the coming back of ‘Isa is a sign of the coming of the Hour [Day of resurrection].’ Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘ “and he” means the descent of ‘Isa. Mujahid said: ‘and he will be a known sign for the closeness of the Hour; that is to say that one of the signs of the hour is the descent of ‘Isa before the Day of Judgment.’ This is also the opinion of Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Al-Suddi, and Al-Dahhak.
understand of the verse is that Jesus (sws) is a sign of the Hour and there is
nothing in the verse, which specifies that his status of being a ‘sign’ is to be
manifested in future. We believe that Jesus (sws) is a sign of the Hour not for
those who are supposed to witness his second coming – because it is never going
to be – but for all those who know his supernatural birth. The Qur’an has
made a subtle reference to this reality at other places. In 3:59, the Qur’an
compares the creation of Jesus (sws) with that of Adam (sws). The purpose is
to make it clear that the Almighty is all-powerful and can execute his plans
without material means or resorting to natural laws. He can raise people to life
after they are dead. We believe that all these interpretations though they are
not decisive have been influenced by the narratives about the second coming. The
verse, if studied in the light of the Qur’an, makes much better sense but
sadly has been misconstrued to accommodate the narratives.
So both the verse of Allah and the sayings of the interpreters of the Holy Qur’an; the Companions (rta) and the pious predecessors indicate that ‘Isa (Jesus) will descend again before the Day of Judgment. Therefore, it becomes evident that the statements of the said website that the Qur’an did not mention this is not correct.
not yet seen any clear Qur’anic statement which mentions that Jesus (sws)
will return before the Day of Judgment. I could not find it except for the
opinions of the scholars which in turn need to be substantiated by clear
The statement of the website that you have mentioned that Imam Malik did not mention anything about the descent of ‘Isa is not correct. Indeed Imam Malik reported in the Mu’atta a Hadith in which the description of ‘Isa and Al-Masih Al-Dajjal are mentioned; this proves that he believes in their descent.
Imam Malik reported in Mu’atta that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Prophet (sws) said: ‘In my dream, I was asleep circumambulating the Ka‘bah; suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion and lank hair walking between two men, and water was dripping from his head. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ The people said: ‘He is the son of Mary’. Then I looked behind and I saw a red-complexioned, fat, curly-haired man, blind in the right eye which looked like a bulging out grape. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘He is Ad-Dajjal’. The one who resembled to him among the people, was Ibn Qattan.’ (Al-Zuhri said: ‘He [Ibn Qattan] was a man from the tribe Khuza‘ah who died in the pre-Islamic period.’
The fact that Imam Malik reported the above Hadith is evidence enough that he believed in the descent of ‘Isa, and the appearance of Dajjal. That’s why Ibn ‘Abdu’l-Barr, a Malikite scholar, said in Al-Tamhid, which is a book about the interpretation of the Mu’atta when interpreting the above Hadith: ‘In this Hadith, - Allah knows best - there is evidence that ‘Isa will descend on shrines and will make Tawaf (circumambulation) around the Ka‘bah.’ He also said in his book Al-Istidhkar: ‘Ahl-i-Sunnah believe in the descent of ‘Isa’.
We conclude from the above that the descent of ‘Isa [Jesus] is mentioned in the book of Allah, in the Sunnah of the Prophet (sws), and mentioned in the Mu’atta which is before Bukhari and Muslim, and this is also the opinion of Ahl-i-Sunnah of the Malikite school of thought and others.
indeed the strangest kind of argument presented thus far. Please read the
translation of the narrative by the author himself. I do not see anything in
this report from the Mu’atta, which implicitly or explicitly refers to
the second coming of Jesus Christ (sws). In the very same report and some other
reports, the Prophet (sws) is reported to have told that he saw Moses (sws),
Abraham (sws) and many other prophets. Does this also mean that they all are to
come in future? Those who believe in the second coming of Jesus (sws) may
interpret the narrative as the author does but I do not find it referring to the
future event for the Holy Prophet (sws) is also reported to have observed other
prophets as well which, of course, are not believed to be alive and are to
return to earth again.
وروى علي بن أبي طلحة عن ابن عباس متوفيك أي مميتك
‘Ali Bin Abi Talhah has reported that Ibn Abbas said: Mutawaffika connotes Mumayyituka (I am going to give you death)5.
As for the statement of Ibn ‘Abdu’l Barr, we can only say that he formed this opinion because of the other narratives in this regard which, of course, got spread afterwards. There is a great gap of time between the author of the Mu’atta and its commentator. You can see that the narrative in question does not mention resurrection. It only says that the Prophet (sws) saw both Jesus (sws) and the Dajjal in his dream. The author of Al-Tamhid has submitted other narratives from various books of Hadith and has postulated that the scholars of Ahl-i-Sunnah believe in his second coming as reported by reliable narrators from the Prophet (sws). He has also very honestly discussed the differences of opinion of the scholars of the same Ahl-i-Sunnah faction on the issue. Please see his words from his other book Al-Istidhkar:
وقد ذكرنا الآثار التي أشرنا إليها ها هنا في التمهيد بإسانيدها ومتونها وذكرنا من أخبار عيسى بن مريم - عليه السلام - هناك في رفعه وكيف كان الأمر في ذلك ومعنى توفيه واختلاف العلماء فيه
We have mentioned the evidence towards which we have made reference here in our book Al-Tamhid along with their text and the chain of narrators. We dealt with the traditions regarding the resurrection of Jesus and how did it happen and the meaning of his being taken up and the difference of opinion among the scholars on that issue6.
Is it not interesting that the
author of the Fatwa lost this line of objective study and mentioned only what
favored his own views?
وأهل السنة مصدقون بنزول عيسى في الآثار الثابتة بذلك عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم من نقل الآحاد العدول
The Ahl-i-Sunnah testify to the decent of Jesus mentioned in the authentic sayings from the Prophet (sws) transmitted through the individual reports by narrators who are of sound characters7.
It should be noted that it is an
acknowledged fact with the scholars of the Hadith and is known to all
notable scholars of Muslim history that individual reports (ie. Hadith
literature) do not form a source of certain knowledge. I cannot understand why
the author of this Fatwa repeatedly makes statements such as ‘who cannot
lie’ regarding the transmitters of Ahadith. We do believe that the works
of the greater scholars of the past on the narrators of the Hadith
literature have enabled us to distinguish the reliable Ahadith from the
fake ones but none ever claimed that their works and research were definitive.
By taking this position, the author is actually negating the Muslim stance in
this regard. Imam Malik has rejected many sound traditions after
mentioning them in his book for he found that they ran contrary to the consensus
of the people of Madinah, for example, his views on transfer of reward
and about a dog that licks a pot.
As regards the website which is mentioned in the question, after visiting it, we discovered that this site is stating that Islamic creed (belief) is not taken from the Sunnah but from the Qur’an only. This is a misguidance and a complete ignorance.
None of the Muslim Imams said this. Indeed the Sunnah explains the Qur’an and clarifies it, and the Prophet (sws) did not speak of his own desires. We are bound to believe in what the Prophet (sws) informed us about the ‘Aqidah (creed).
The Prophet (sws) said: ‘Indeed I was given the book and something similar to it.’ As reported by Abu Da‘ud and others.
Therefore, the Islamic creed is taken from the Qur’an and from the Sunnah.
Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: ‘The Sunnah interprets, clarifies and explains the Qur’an. And the authentic Ahadith of the Prophet (sws) in which he describes his Lord, and which the people of knowledge acknowledged, received, and believed in, and passed on to us we have also to believe in them.’ Allah knows best.
This of course does not represent the complete picture of our view. I’d suggest that you go through the material published under the banner of ‘Renaissance’ and see what we believe in and what we do not. I think that we must do enough research before we accept something as truthful and before forming opinions about the views of other people. The word, Sunnah, has never been used in the Arabic language to connote ‘sayings’ or ‘beliefs’ or ‘concepts.’ It was only Imam Shafi‘i who held this view; he had to write volumes to prove his point. If you may, I will ask you to translate the following sayings of the Prophet (sws) replacing the word ‘Sunnah’ with the word ‘Hadith’; the absurdity of such rendering will manifest itself in no time.
النكاح من سنتي
Nikah is from among my Hadith. (Ibn Majah, No: 1846)
Yet another example:
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله خلفت فيكم ما لن تضلوا بعدهما ما أخذتم بهما أو عملتم بهما كتاب الله وسنتي
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Messenger of God said: ‘I have left among you two things after receiving which or practicing which you will not lose way as long as you hold on to them: the Book of God and my Hadith. (Bayhaqi, No: 20124)
The word ‘Sunnah’ has been
replaced by ‘Hadith.’ It is obvious that the Prophet (sws) did not
institute the transmission of Hadith. Hence, the inappropriateness of
using Hadith in place of Sunnah is apparent.
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