24. Is Isa more than a prophet?

Muslims believe that Isa (A.S.) was sent down as a Prophet of Allâh (God), but he (Jesus) is not God or Lord, nor the son of God. See question 41 about the Divinity of Jesus. Muslims do not believe that Isa (A.S.), also known as Jesus by Christians and others, died or was ever crucified. Muslims believe that He was raised to heaven and is there, and will descend at the appointed time, end all wars, and bring peace to the world. Like Jesus (A.S.), Muhammad is also a Prophet and Messenger. Muhammed is regarded as the last Prophet, though, and there is none after him. Hence, Muslims regard Islâm as the last religion, complete, with the Qur’an as the unchanged and the perfect word of God for over 1400 years, as Allâh promised to preserve it till the last day for all of humankind, unlike sacred texts of other religions which have multiple versions and are “revised” periodically. This statement and criticism is aimed at the multiple versions of the Bible produced by Christian scholars. Muslims seem to misunderstand the Christian quest for clarity of meaning of the text from generation to generation as the use of language changes.

What the Qur’an says about Jesus?

I. Isa’s birth ‘

The similitude of before Allâh is as that of Adam; He created him from dust then said to him ‘Be and he was’. (Surah 3 Al ’Imran ayah 59).

II. Isa’s death and resurrection

When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said: ‘Who will be my helpers to the work of Allâh?’ Said to the disciples: ‘We are Allâh’s helpers: We believe in Allâh, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims’. ‘Our Lord! We believe in what thou hast revealed and we follow the messenger: Then write us down among those who bear witness.’ And the unbelievers plotted and planned and Allâh too planned and the best of planners is Allâh. Behold Allâh said: O Jesus I am about to cause you to die and to lift you up to Me. I shall take you away from unbelievers and I will make your followers superior to those who reject faith until the day of resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you and the matters wherein you dispute.’ This quotation is adapted for clarity of meaning from the Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali translation and the N J Dawood translation. Ali’s translation does not mention death. Other translations mention Jesus being terminated which essentially means the same as death.’ (Surah 3 Al Imran ayat 54-56).

III. Was Isa killed and resurrected?

‘The People of the Book….said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Messenger of Allâh – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein they are full of doubts with no certain knowledge but only conjecture to follow, for a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allâh raised him up unto himself and Allâh is exalted in power. Wise – and there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Judgement he will be a witness against them. (Holy Qur’an. – Surah 4 Al Nisa ayat 157 – 159 – Abdullah Yusuf Ali version).

IV. Isa speaks about himself in the Qur’an.

‘Jesus is recorded as speaking from the cradle as a new born babe about himself in the presence of Mary his unchaste mother and the sister of Aaron; Jesus said: I am indeed the servant of Allâh: he hath given me revelation and made me a prophet, and he hath made me blessed where- so-ever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live. He hath made me kind to my mother and not overbearing or miserable, so peace is upon me the day I was born and the day that I die and the day that I shall be raised up to life again.’ (Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation Holy Qur’an, Suruh 19 Maryam ayat 29-33).

V. Isa – is He the son of God?

‘In blasphemy indeed are those who say that Allâh is Christ the son of Mary. Say who then hath the least power against Allâh, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary his mother and all – everyone that is on the earth? For to Allâh belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between he creates what he pleases for Allâh hath power over all things.’ (Surah 5 Al Ma’idah ayah 17 Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali translation). The puzzle this surah creates is this: Allâh created Jesus in Mary’s womb by decree. Is he therefore not the son of Allâh? Read Surah 3 ayah 45 where it is declared by the Angel ‘O Mary! Allâh giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him, his name will be Christ (Anointed One) Jesus (Saviour) the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of those nearest to Allâh.’

VI. Isa – is He the Messiah?

‘Behold the angels said: “O Mary! Allâh giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: His name will be Christ Jesus (the Messiah – N J Dawood’s version) the son of Mary held, in honour in this world and the hereafter and of those nearest to Allâh.’ Surah 3 Ali ‘Imran ayah 45

VII. Isa’s (A.S.) Descension (Return) and the Physical Features of Isa (A.S.)

‘He will resemble the famous Sahabi (A.S.) Hadhrat Urwa bin Masoodi (R.A.). He will be of average height and red and white in colour. His hair spread to the shoulders, straight, neat and shining as after a bath. On bending his head, it will seem as if pearls are falling. He will have an armour on his body. He will be wearing two pieces of cloth light yellow in colour.’ VIII. His Descension ‘He will descend on a Jamaat (group) that will be righteous at the time and comprising of 800 men and 400 women. The people will be preparing for war at the time against Dajjal (the anti-Christ). It will be time for Fajr prayers, and Imam Mahdi will be the Amir (leader). From the darkness of the dawn, a sound will suddenly be heard that ‘one who listens to your pleas has come’ — the righteous people will look everywhere and their eyes will fall on Isa (A.S.). Briefly, at the time of Fajr, Isa (A.S.) will descend. When descending, Isa (A.S.)’s hands will be on the shoulders of two angels (according to another source (Kab Abrar), a cloud will carry him). On their insistence Isa will introduce himself. He will inquire about their enthusiasm and thoughts on Jihad against Dajjal. Isa (A.S.) will descend on the eastern side near the Minaret in Damascus (or in Baitul-Muqaddus by Imam Mahdi). At the time Imam Mahdi will have proceeded forward to lead the Fajr Salaat. The Iqamat of the Salaat would have been said (already recited) and Imam Mahdi will call Isa (A.S.) for Imamat (to lead the prayer), but he ( Isa (A.S.)) will instead tell Imam Mahdi to lead the prayer since the Iqamat of that Salaat has already been said for him. Thus Imam Mahdi will lead the prayer, and Isa (A.S.) will follow him. After the ruku, he will make this statement: ‘Allâh has killed Dajjal and the Muslims have appeared.’

IX. The Killing of Dajjal (anti-Christ) and the Victory of the Muslims

‘After the completion of Fajr Salaat (congregational dawn prayers), Isa (A.S.) will open the door behind him where Dajjal accompanied by 70,000 Yahudis (Jews) will be. He will indicate with his hand to move away between him (Isa (A.S.)) and Dajjal. Dajjal will then see Isa (A.S.). At that time every Kafir on whom the breath of Isa (A.S.) will reach, will die. His breath will reach up to the distance of his eyesight. The Muslims will then come down from the mountains and break loose on the army of Dajjal. There will be war, Dajjal will retreat, and Isa (A.S.) will pursue Dajjal. Isa (A.S.) will have two flexible swords and one shield with him and with these he will kill Dajjal at the Gate of Hudd. He will show the Muslims the blood of Dajjal which will get on his shield. Eventually the Yahudis will be selected and killed. The swine will be killed and the cross broken. People will revert to Islâm. Wars will end, and people will return to their respective countries. One Jamaat (group) of Muslims will remain in his service and companionship.

Isa (A.S.) will go to Fajr Rawha and perform Haj or Umrah (or both) from there. He will also go to the grave of Prophet of Islâm and present his greetings and the Prophet of Islâm will reply. People will live comfortable lives. The wall of Yajooj and Majooj (Gog and Magog) will then break.’

X. The Blessings of Isa (Jesus) (A.S.)

a. Isa (A.S.) will descend and stay on earth.

b. His descension will be in the last era of the Ummat.

c. He will be a just ruler and a fair judge.

d. His Ummat will be the Khalifa (deputies) of Prophet of Islâm.

e. He will act himself and instruct others on the Qur’an and Hadith (Shariat/Tradition of Islâm).

f. He will lead people in Salat (Prayer).

g. He will stay on earth for a period of 40 years after descending. The will be the best era of the Ummat after the first era of Islâm.

h. Allâh will protect his companions from Jahannam.

i. Those who will save the Din (religious teaching) of Islâm by associating themselves with Isa (A.S.) will be amongst the most loved by Allâh Ta’ala.

j. During this period all other religions and madhhabs besides Islâm will perish, hence there will be no kaffirs (non-believers) in the world.

k. Jihad will be stopped.

l. No Khiraaj will be taken (tax takes from Muslims)

m. No Jizya (protection tax) money from the kafirs (non-believers)

n. Wealth and property will be in surplus to such an extent that there will be no one to accept the wealth of the other (everyone will be independent).

o. Receiving Zakat (almsgiving, charity to poor) and Saadaqa will be discarded (as there will be no poor to receive them!).

p. The people will love the sajda (prostration to God) more than the world and what it consists of.

q. All types of Din (religious) and worldly blessings will descend on earth (many halal (lawful) things will be created).

r. There will be peace, harmony and tranquillity during the time of Isa (A.S.)’s stay in the world.

s. There will be no animosity for a period of seven years, even between two persons.

t. All hearts will be free from miserliness, envy, hatred, malice and jealousy.

u. For a period of forty years no one will fall ill or die.

v. Venom will be taken out of all venomous animals.

w. Snakes and scorpions will not harm anyone to the extent that if a child put his hand in its mouth, he will not be harmed.

x. Wild animals will not harm anyone.

y. If a man will pass a lion, he will not be troubled or harmed, or even if any girl will open its mouth to test if it will do anything.

z. The camels will graze among lions, cheetahs with cattle and the jackals with goats.

aa. The fertility of the land will increase to such an extent that even if a seed is planted in a hard rock, it will sprout.

bb. A pomegranate will be so huge that a jamaat will be able to eat it and the people will use its peel as shade.

cc. There will be so much barakaat (blessing) in milk that a camel will suffice for a huge jamaat, a cow for a tribe and a goat for a family.

dd. Life is predicted to be most pleasant after the descension of Jesus (A.S.).

XI. Isa – His Marriage, Death and Deputies

After his descension on earth, Isa (A.S.) will marry. He will have children, and he will remain on earth 19 years after marriage. He will pass away and Muslims will perform his Janaza Salat and bury him next to Prophet of Islâm. (Tirmidhi). Extracted from: ‘Isa (Alaihis Salam): The Truth Revealed and Major Signs of Qiyamat’ by Mufti Afzal Hoosein Elias.

XII. Isa – Jesus Christ and the Trinity

Christians believe that Jesus Christ is not only the son of Mary (by His Incarnation) but also the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity – God being three in One. This belief is founded on the revelation given to the disciples at the time Jesus Christ lived on earth. At Jesus’ baptism recorded in Luke 4 verses 21 – 22: ‘One day when the crowds were being baptised, Jesus himself was baptised. As he was praying, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, ‘You are my dearly beloved Son, and you bring me great joy.’ At this event the Father God, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit were all manifest in One in purpose and unity. Later Jesus gave the disciples the great commission in Matthew 28 verses 18-20 when He commanded His disciples as follows: ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’

In 356 AD the early Church fathers wanted to put an end to the controversy of the mystery of the Trinity and compiled The ‘Athanasius Creed’ defining the Trinity. This Creed states: ‘The True Christian Faith is this, that we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance. For there is One Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Ghost; But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son of the Holy Ghost, is all One, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, the Holy Ghost Eternal. And yet there are not three Eternals (of infinities) nor three uncreated nor three that are Incomprehensible, but One Eternal and One Incomprehensible. So, likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty and the Holy Ghost Almighty; and yet there are not three that are Almighty, but One Almighty or Omnipotent. So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God, yet there are not three Gods but One God. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God or Lord; so we are forbidden by the Christian faith to say, that there be three God’s or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son; neither made, nor created, not begotten, nor proceeding. So there is One Father, not three Fathers; and there is One Son, not three Sons; and there is One Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity, none is afore or after the Other, none is first and last, none is greater or less than another; but the whole Three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal; So that all things, as aforesaid; The UNITY (ONENESS) IN TRINITY, and the TRINITY IN UNITY is to be worshipped.’

The need to define the Trinity was essential because many heresies had developed about the nature and character of God in the early Church times. At one point in time the ‘Maryamite’ controversy (worshippers of Mary the mother of Jesus as the third person of the Trinity) created such dissension in Jerusalem that the ‘Maryamites’ fled from Jerusalem to southern Arabia. Muhammed’s first wife’s and close friend Waraqa were ‘Maryamites’ and her close friend was an exile from Jerusalem.

Jesus is proclaimed as the returning Messiah in the Bible who will come back for his Bride. The marriage of the Lamb will happen when the Bride has made herself ready. The Bride is the Body of Christ, the company of those people who have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ, and they will be spotless pure and holy, (refer to Revelation 19 verse 7 and 9).