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Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of
Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali
> Chapter IV : Descent of the Son of
Books Section > The Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib > Chapter IV : Descent of the Son of Mary
IV : Descent of the Son of Mary:
Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them rulers (khalifahs) in the earth as He made those before them rulers (khalifahs). 1
The descent of the
son of Mary and the Finality of
The basis of the
Finality of Prophethood is decisive, whereas that of the
descent of the son of Mary is
During his second
advent, the son of Mary will not be a
When he (i.e. Jesus Christ) descends he will act on the Law (Shari'ah) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as if he were one of the members of his ummah. 12
Imam ibn Hajar Asqalani writes on the same subject:
"Jesus will be a judge (hakam) from among the judges of this ummah." 13
The view that after his descent Jesus will not receive any revelation had been common among the Muslim `ulama, but then the `ulama were divided into two groups. In the opinion of one, although Christ will return to his previous status of prophethood, he will not function as a prophet, nor will he receive any revelation. In the opinion of the other, he will be deposed from his office of prophethood. The author of Ruh al-Ma'ani (Commentary of the Quran) writes:
"When Jesus descends, he will retain his previous prophethood and under no circumstances will he be discharged from it, but he will not act according to it because of its abrogation for him or for that matter, for anyone else. He will be bound by this Shari'ah (of Muhammad) in its principle (asl) and detail (far'), thus he will not receive any revelation (wahy) and he will not give any command. He will be a khalifah and a judge (hakam) from among the judges (hukkam) of the religion and ummah of the Holy Prophet and function according to what he had learned of the Shari'ah of the Holy Prophet before his descent from heaven."14
Contrary to this, the other view is:
"His (Jesus') being the follower of our Holy Prophet means that he will be deprived of the attribute (wasf) of prophethood and messengership which means that prophethood and messengership will no longer remain with him." 15
Not to function as
a prophet amounts to dismissal from the office of
The dismissal from
prophethood of a person is against the Quranic
Sending a prophet
to do the work of a mujaddid is against Divine
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Paraclete (Comforter) will not come unto you.... When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you unto all truth." 20
As these words about the Holy Prophet were uttered by Jesus himself, how sad and unfortunate it is that we should think that even the Holy Prophet could not complete his prophetic mission for which God had, against His plain and manifest practice, to carry Jesus physically alive to heaven and keep him there for two or three thousand years. This is a position of shame and indignation for Islam and cannot be tolerated at all. Even the Muslim `ulama had rejected such a thought. This is how Imam ibn Hajar `Asqalani interprets the hadith about the descent of Jesus:
"He will descend in the latter ages as a mujaddid (renovator) for the business of Islam." 21
Thus, if the work is the same which a mujaddid is supposed to do, why is a prophet sent instead? Not only is a prophet sent in his place, but for the work of a mujaddid he is kept alive for two or three thousand years. It seems as if there was a great mission to be accomplished for which, contrary to all divine laws, a prophet had to be kept alive. And when we look at the work, for which all this trouble has been taken, it is simply and plainly the work of a mujaddid! As I have just explained above, it is against Divine practice to send a prophet to do the work of a mujaddid. Thus, when there is no need for a prophet to appear and there is no work of prophethood to be done, how can we accept the need of keeping a prophet alive and then bringing him down from the sky without any physical changes occurring in his body? Yes, if in this ummah no mujaddid can appear and the Holy Prophet had not said that there will be a mujaddid at the head of each century, 22 then we can accept the need of depriving a prophet of his office to do the work of a mujaddid. But when the followers of the Holy Prophet are capable of being appointed as mujaddids (renovators), it is absolutely meaningless to send a prophet in the capacity of a mujaddid, and this affair cannot be attributed to God Who is Hakim (Wise) and the work of a hakim cannot be void of wisdom.
The Quran and its
followers are enough to provide conclusive arguments against
that he who perished by clear argument might perish, and he who lived by clear argument might live 23
was unable to do this work! Were the followers of the Holy Prophet, who illumined all parts of the world with the light of Islam, and kingdoms and empires fell before them, unable to dispel the darkness of the false doctrines of Christianity? It is insulting to the Quran and to the spiritual power of the Prophet that we should look for another prophet to accomplish this work. And then we hold the view that Jesus will be able to do this work in spite of his being deprived of his office as a prophet, but the Prophet Muhammad whose period of prophethood extends to the Day of Judgement and whose spiritual grace flows among his followers, God forbid, is unable to help Islam! Such a belief is the greatest disrespect to the Holy Prophet.
When Jesus Christ was first appointed as a prophet he plainly declared, "I am indeed a servant of God" 24 and "sent by Him",25 and in the Gospels his sayings still exist: "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but One, that is God" 26 and: "I can of my own self do nothing.... If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." 27
When Christians do not accept these sayings of Jesus, even now (in their literal sense) how will they accept his claims when he is dismissed from his post of prophethood? On the other hand, when they hear him saying "I am Jesus but I am not God" they will immediately denounce him, call him an impostor and a fraud and will say: "Our Jesus was God." How can all this be conclusive argument against the Christians? However, Islam is such a spiritual force that it will root out all the wrong creeds and doctrines of Christianity. The Prophet Muhammad has attained the summit of perfection and neither needs Jesus nor Moses to accomplish his mission. To manifest his spiritual excellence he is reported to have said:
"Had Moses and Jesus been alive they would have but followed me." 28
Those who are dependent on the Holy Prophet and are the recipients of spiritual blessings from him - those are the people who will be the true servants of his religion. The one who comes from outside will lay Islam under a great obligation. One who has any sense of honour for Islam will never tolerate such a situation. The Holy Prophet affirmed the truthfulness of Moses as well as of Jesus and cleared them of all the accusations laid against them by their opponents. In fact, he affirmed the truthfulness of all the prophets of the world. Thus all the prophets and nations lie under his obligation and he lies under the obligation of none. The Quran says:
We have not sent thee (the Prophet Muhammad) but as a mercy to the nations. 29
For the sake of argument, let us suppose that Jesus Christ will descend from above. What substantial proof will there be about the truthfulness of his claim that, "I am Jesus and have descended on earth from the sky?" Will the Western world give up its belief of two thousand years only because a few hundred or a few thousand Muslims of Damascus - where he is supposed to descend on the minaret of a mosque - give evidence that they had seen with their own eyes the descent of Jesus from the sky? The Christians will reject both the claimant and the witnesses. I wonder, how could Jesus' coming in this way be conclusive argument against Christianity?
In short, Jesus' second coming after the Holy Prophet is clearly against the firm doctrine of the Finality of Prophethood. His appearance in this way is an insult to the Quran and the Holy Prophet. In other words, it means that the holy power of the Prophet of Islam cannot operate through his own ummah - called the best of the ummahs - and accomplish the work which only a prophet of Israel can do. However, if it was God's work, it could not be void of wisdom! Why did He keep a person alive against all natural laws for such a long time, not on the earth but in the heavens? There he stands above all his physical needs and no change takes place in his body! He is superior to ordinary human beings and becomes a co-sharer in the Divine attributes! But strangely enough, when he comes, it is in the capacity of a mujaddid!
Apart from all this, we are confronted with another difficulty. According to the Quran, Jesus Christ has suffered death like other mortals (and the authentic traditions also support this view), but as this subject is vast and needs a detailed discussion, I shall deal with it in the next chapter. However, the belief in the descent (nuzul) of Jesus does not mean that he had not died, because some people do hold the view that he died once before and after his descent he will die for a second time. Thus it is mentioned in Fath al-Bari:
"When he (Jesus) descends on earth and the ordained term has passed he will die for the second time." 30
It is for this reason that I have kept the question of descent quite separate from the death of Jesus. I will go so far as to say that if Jesus were alive and had not died, the doctrine of Khatm-i Nubuwwat debars him from coming, unless, of course, he breaks the Seal of Prophethood.
The son of Mary
will be a follower:
"The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: `How would you feel when the son of Mary makes his appearance among you, and he is your Imam from among yourselves (wa imamukum minkum)?" 31
To understand the meaning of these words, we turn to another hadith of the Sahih of al-Muslim on the subject and the source of the report is Ibn abi Zi'b. Instead of imamu-kum min-kum, the words are:
"He, (the Messiah), will be your Imam from among yourselves (wa amma-kum minkum)." 32
Walid ibn Muslim said to Ibn abi Zi'b that Auza'i had reported these words from Zuhri. Ibn abi Zi'b said: "You know what is meant by wa amma-kum minkum? Walid ibn Muslim said: "You tell me." The reply Ibn abi Zi'b gave was:
"He will perform the function of an Imam by the Book of your Lord." 33
From another source, al-Muslim has reported the hadith thus:
"How will you feel when the son of Mary descends among you and he will be your Imam?" 34
These three reports support one another and belong to the most authentic category of traditions. As against them, Imam Ahmad has reported another tradition in which it is mentioned that Jesus will ask Imam Mahdi to lead the prayers. 35 On the basis of this hadith, it is thought that imamu-kum minkum means that the son of Mary will "make his appearance among you and your Imam, that is, the Mahdi, will be someone else from among you."
For three reasons this interpretation is not correct. Firstly, the three authentic traditions do not support this view. They all agree that the words imamu-kum or amma-kum only refer to the son of Mary. Secondly, if Bukhari and Muslim thought that imamu-kum minkum referred to another person, that is, to Imam Mahdi, they would have certainly given some consideration to reports about the Mahdi by mentioning some of them in their collections. By reflecting on all such traditions they have shown that they only believed in the coming of the son of Mary. Therefore the words imamu-kum minkum, according to Bukhari and Muslim mean nothing else except that the son of Mary will be your Imam from among yourselves. Thirdly, in the tradition quoted by Imam Ahmad, there is no word which indicates that this is what is meant by the words imamu-kum minkum. He is only referring to an event that the son of Mary will not lead the prayers but it will be someone else. In Ibn Majah, it is mentioned that a righteous man will be the Imam 36 and it only refers to the leadership (imamat) in prayers. However, these four sentences,
wa imamukum mimkum (he is your Imam from among yourselves), wa amma-kum minkum 37 (he will be your Imam from among yourselves), wa amma-kum bi kitabi Rabbi-kum (he will perform the function of an imam by the Book of your Lord) and fa amma-kum (he will be your Imam),
clearly indicate that the son of Mary, whose descent is mentioned here, will be a member of the Muslim community and their Imam. The word minkum (from among yourselves) which has been accepted both by Bukhari and Muslim, undoubtedly establish the fact that the son of Mary (Ibn Maryam) is from among the community of Muhammad and not an Israelite prophet, because, in the beginning of the report, the words kaifa antum (how would you feel), address the followers of Muhammad in particular. This also conclusively proves that the son of Mary, whose descent is mentioned in the above traditions, is not an Israelite Messiah but a person who is a member of the Muslim community. The words kaifa antum - an expression of surprise - also point towards this direction. One is surprised only at a time when something unexpected happens. Thus, in the words uttered by the Holy Prophet, there is a clear reference that the ummah of Muhammad will one day be confronted with this situation of surprise, that they will expect something but the descent of the Messiah will be contrary to their expectations. It was also foretold that this Imam will be a member of the community of Islam. It must be borne in mind that the contents of a prophecy are to some extent synoptical and all the details are never given, as is evident from the prophecies mentioned about the Holy Prophet in the sacred scriptures of the world. Here, also, those who give the matter a little thought will find enough words in the prophecy to understand its true meaning, although the details are missing.
The mention of
different complexions proves that the coming Messiah is not
the Israelite Messiah:
"I saw `Isa. He was of medium height and was of fair complexion." 38
In the same report, it is stated that the Holy Prophet also saw Moses and Abraham. This hadith is reported by Abu Hurairah. There is another hadith supporting it, but the reporter in this case is Ibn Umar.
"The Holy Prophet said: I saw Jesus, Moses and Abraham. Jesus had a white complexion, curly hair and a broad chest." 39
These two traditions reported independently from different companions depict Jesus Christ as having a white complexion and curly hair. Together with these two reports, Imam Bukhari records two other reports which mention al-Masih al-Dajjal and the Messiah, son of Mary. This shows that in the latter two reports, the reference is to the coming Messiah who will destroy the Antichrist (Dajjal). In the first report, after mentioning the Antichrist, the Holy Prophet says:
"Tonight (in a dream) I found myself near the Ka`bah. I saw a man of wheatish complexion, very fair, from among the people of wheatish colour. The hair of his head rested on his shoulders below his ears and he had straight flowing hair. I enquired who he was. They said it was the Messiah, son of Mary." 40
The reporter of this tradition is Nafi' from Abdullah. Accordingly, Salim has also reported from his father:
"In a state of dream I found myself going round the Ka`bah and there was a person of wheatish complexion having straight hair .... I asked who he was. `It is the son of Mary,' they said. " 41
In the first two reports, where the Holy Prophet saw other prophets during the course of his Ascension, he found the Israelite Messiah having white complexion and curly hair. In the latter two reports, which mention his going round the Ka`bah, he saw the Messiah, son of Mary, having wheatish complexion and straight hair. Two authentic reports agree on two different complexions. This certainly shows that the Israelite Messiah is different from the coming Messiah. No other explanation is possible on this difference of complexion. When the commentators of Hadith were faced with this problem, they thought the Israelite Messiah and the coming Messiah were one and the same person, and so they tried to explain these reports thus:
"Both the descriptions can be reconciled in this way, that on account of tiredness his complexion became red and fair." 42
In other words, his real complexion was wheatish but it changed because of fatigue. But there are so many difficulties in accepting this interpretation. Firstly, it was the Holy Prophet who went up in the Mi'raj. Why should Jesus Christ get tired? What could be other reasons for changing his complexion in the heavens? Secondly, the Israelite Messiah, having fair complexion and curly hair, was an inhabitant of Syria. (The other people of that region had more or less the same complexion). Thirdly, in case the wheatish complexion changed into a fair colour, how can the differences between curly hair and the long flowing hair be resolved? Such conjectures are obviously wrong. The simple and straight fact is what Imam Bukhari has stated: imamu-kum min-kum (he will be your imam from among yourselves). In other words, the coming Messiah is not an Israelite prophet but is a member of the ummah of Muhammad. And the reports about the descriptions, which are mentioned together at the same place, also refer to the same point, that they are two different persons.
Prophecy of the
descent, or the second advent of a person in the previous
scriptures, means the appearance of a like of that
Prophecy about the
second advent of Elias (Elijah):
"Behold, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."43
The Jews thought that Elijah was alive in the heavens. (Elijah is the same prophet who, in the Quran, has been mentioned as Ilyas.) 44 It is again stated in the Old Testament:
"And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal." 45
And further on it is stated in the same chapter:
"And it came to pass, as they still went on and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." 46
On one hand there is a prophecy about the second advent of Elijah, the prophet, and on the other, his physical ascension into heaven is clearly mentioned, so much so that while going up in the chariot, Elijah's mantle "fell from him" 47 and it was taken up by Elisha. This leads to no other conclusion but that Elijah was taken up to the heaven. With such a clear description of the event, the Jews were perfectly justified in expecting the descent of Elias before the appearance of the Messiah.
How did Jesus
interpret the prophecy of the second coming of
"And his disciples asked him, saying, `Why then say the Scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, `Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you that that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they liked. Likewise shall also the son of man suffer of them.' Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist." 48
At another place in Mark (9: 11-13) the same incident is described in slightly different words. Then in Matthew, Jesus talks of John in clear terms and says:
"And if you will receive it, this is Elias, which was to come." 49
Why was John declared as Elias? The third Gospel explains when it states: "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias" 50
evidence that this was a Divine
The Jews believed, according to their scriptures, that Elias was physically taken up into heaven and he was still alive there and that the same Elias would appear before the coming of the Messiah as a testimony to the truthfulness of the Messiah's claim. When Jesus made a claim that he was the Messiah, the Jews objected that he could no be the Messiah. In reply, Jesus told them that John the Baptist, who bore a resemblance to Elias, was indeed Elias. On this decision of Jesus depended the truthfulness of his claim. If he was true in his claim, then, we have to admit that the second advent of Elias did not mean the actual appearance of Elias himself but the coming of someone like him. A Muslim who considers Jesus true in his claim and a Christian who is Jesus' follower, are both obliged to accept that in the terminology of prophecy, the second advent of a person who had earlier passed away - although people may think him to be alive - does not mean that he himself will actually return. On the contrary, another person resembling him will appear. Thus the descent of the son of Mary should be interpreted in the same way in which Jesus himself interpreted the prophecy of the descent of Elias.
The second advent
of the Messiah will be similar to the second advent of
Now let us stop and think for a moment. There was absolutely no obstacle in the reappearance of Elias. Prophethood was not terminated among the Jews nor was there any mention of Elias' death in the Old Testament. In addition to all this, he was going to appear for the guidance of his own people and not for another nation. But the coming of the son of Mary is not possible for the following reasons:
1. Prophethood has come to an end with the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, the son of Mary cannot come after him.
If Jesus Christ
himself appears he will definitely be a recipient of the
"When the condition will be such God will reveal to Jesus: I have created some servants of Mine with whom nobody is able to fight. Thus give My servants shelter toward the direction of (the Mount) Tur." 52
Apparently if by Jesus (`Isa) is meant the same Jesus, the Israelite prophet, then because he was a prophet, if God sends revelation to him after his second advent, then it must be prophetic revelation. Gabriel will bring revelation to him in the same manner in which he used to bring revelation to him during the period of his prophethood. This will certainly break the seal of the Finality of Prophethood, because this shows that his prophethood had remained intact. In this case, Jesus will be the last of the prophets (Khatam al-Nabiyyin) and not our Holy Prophet Muhammad. But if by the coming of Jesus here means the coming of a like of him from among the followers of Muhammad, then the sending of revelation to him will be interpreted according to the hadith where it is stated:
"Among those that were before you there used to be men who were spoken to by God, Although they were not prophets. " 53
In this way, the words of the hadith of Sahih al-Muslim need not cause any problem and the doctrine of Khatm-i Nubuwwat will also remain intact. If, however, we accept the view that Jesus himself is coming back and will receive prophetic revelation, then the edifice of the Finality of Prophethood is completely destroyed and the verse Khatam al-Nabiyyin and the authentic and continuous traditions are falsified.
The use of the word
prophet for the coming
The Quran does not
mention the coming of an Israelite
He (God) makes the spirit to light by His command upon whom He pleases of His servants, 57
then there must be a mention of the coming of Jesus, if he, is, in fact, coming himself, or, the coming of a like of him, if a like of him is coming. Some people say that the Israelite Messiah, himself, is coming according to the following verse of the Quran:
And there is none of the People of the Book but will believe in this before his death. 58
Apparently, there is no word in the verse indicating the nuzul (descent) of Jesus, but in a hadith, Abu Hurairah, while reporting on the descent of the son of Mary, had added the words:
If you like, read the verse, And there is none of the People of the Book but will believe in this before his death. 59
This was the only reason why this verse of the Quran was associated with the descent of Jesus, but as I have said before, in the verse itself there is not a single word that refers to the nuzul of Jesus. It should also be borne in mind that these words which are attributed to Abu Hurairah are not found in all the traditions about the descent of Jesus but have only been added to one hadith. If this addition is accepted as true, even then the above interpretation of the verse does not seem to be right. In this case, the meaning of the verse will be that at the time of the descent of Jesus, there will be none of the people of the Book who will not believe in him, that is to say, at that time all the Jews and Christians will become Muslims. To force this verse to yield such an interpretation, many words have to be added to the verse of the Quran. To say that "none of the people of the Book" apply to the people of the Book present at the time of the descent of Jesus is clearly opposed to the tenet of the Quran. The Quran has used the words in a general way, which include all the people of the Book. Therefore, how could all the millions of Christians and Jews who had passed away be excluded from believing in him before their death? Another great difficulty in accepting such a meaning of the saying of Abu Hurairah, (if that is truly his saying), is that it clearly contravenes some other verses of the Quran. At one place the Quran mentions of Jesus:
(God will) make those who follow thee above those who disbelieve to the day of Resurrection. 60
This verse makes it incumbent that, like the followers of Jesus, his deniers should also exist till the day of Resurrection. If this was not the true meaning, why were the words ila yaum il-qiyamati (to the day of Resurrection), added? If there was going to be a time before that, when none would remain a denier of Jesus and all would become his followers, then these deniers and followers must exist all the time - to the day of Resurrection. Therefore the explanation given to the verse in the light of Abu Hurairah's report is not right. 61 Again, this explanation is against the Quranic verse which says:
And if thy Lord had pleased, He would have made people a single nation. And they cease not to differ. 62
Thus, in view of these verses the interpretation put on the words "and there is none from among the people of the Book" is totally wrong. If this is supposed to be the opinion of Abu Hurairah, it still cannot be accepted, because it goes against the Quran. The interpretation of this verse according to Ibn `Abbas is that at the time of death, Jews who are deniers of the Messiah become convinced of the messengership of Jesus and Christians who have an exaggerated view of the claims of Jesus also realise that Jesus was not God but only a messenger. This interpretation is supported by Hazrat Ubay ibn Ka`b's alternative reading of this verse where qabla mautihim (before their death), is used instead of qabla mautihi (before his death). 63 In the qir'at (reading) of Ubay ibn Ka`b, the pronoun him in mautihim definitely refers to the "People of the Book". Therefore, the pronoun hi must also necessarily refer to them in mauti-hi, and not to Jesus. This verse will be discussed in detail in the next chapter dealing with the death of Jesus Christ.
There is a
reference about the descent of Jesus in verse 55 of Ch.
Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them rulers, (khalifahs), as He made those before them rulers. 64
There is no doubt in it that the outward meaning of this verse is the granting of worldly kingdom to Muslims and by making them khalifahs also refers to this, but there is a special reference to the Israelites in the words "those before them" (allazina min qablihim). Again, the Holy Prophet has a special resemblance to Moses as the Quran has indicated by the use of the word kama (as), in the following verse:
Surely We have sent to you a Messenger, a witness against you, as We sent a messenger to Pharaoh. 65
Thus, the making of khalifahs as God made those before them shows in the clearest terms that as the Holy Prophet resembled Moses, and Moses was granted a chain of khalifahs, similarly, a chain of khalifahs will be granted to the Prophet Muhammad. As Moses and the Prophet Muhammad not only enjoyed the status of prophethood but were also the leaders and kings of their nations, similarly, their khalifahs will be granted temporal as well as spiritual kingdoms. Some of the successors (khalifas) of Moses were kings and some were prophets; in some, prophethood and kingdom were both combined. 66 Thus, in the Divine promise in the above verse, (24:55), if there is a reference to the establishment of the kingdom of Islam, there is also a reference there to the raising of mujaddids among Muslims. The Holy Prophet was given words of comfort that after him some of his successors would be kings and some would be mujaddids who would be responsible for the establishment of temporal as well as spiritual kingdoms of Islam. Thus this verse contains a double promise.
Why was a promise
given to the Holy Prophet for the appearance of
khalifahs like that of the khalifahs of
It may be that your Lord may destroy your enemy and make you rulers in the land, then He will see how you act, 68
Muslims are also told:
Then We made you rulers after them, (those who were earlier destroyed), so We might see how you act. 69
Thus the Holy Prophet resembled Moses in such a way that his resemblance was found among his successors as well.
The verse of
succession, (istikhlaf) (24:55) shows that none of
the Holy Prophet's khalifahs will appear from outside
the ummah of Muhammad:
Allah has promised to those of you (min-kum), who believe and do good that He will surely make them rulers, (khalifahs) in the earth as He made those before them rulers. 70
It has been mentioned in the Hadith, with reference to the prophecies about the descent of Ibn Maryam, that he will be an imam from among yourselves (imamukum min-kum), similarly, in the verse of the Quran, the word min-kum (from among you), clearly indicates that the khalifahs in the ummah of Muhammad will be raised from among his followers and no one will ever appear from outside who can be called the khalifah of the Holy Prophet. Thus, this one verse of the Holy Quran is enough to decide the prophecy regarding the descent of Jesus, son of Mary. If Jesus is to come as the khalifah of the Holy Prophet, then according to the verse of succession (24:55), it is essential that he should be from among the Muslims and not from outside. And by adding the word kama (like), the fact of similarity has been specifically hinted at that he will be like the khalifas of Moses and not exactly like them. Thus only one meaning of the prophecy mentioned in the Quran, the Hadith and earlier scriptures can be deduced and that is, that someone from the nation of Muhammad can appear and nobody from outside.
The explanation of
the word descent
We sent down iron. 71 Iron is found in the mines on earth and does not descend from heaven.
We have indeed sent down to you clothing. 72 Clothing also does not descend from the sky.
Again, it is stated:
He sent down to you eight of the cattle in pairs. 73
About messengers and Books, this word is particularly used, although messengers are born in this world and Books do not descend from above as written documents. For example, the word nuzul has been used for the Holy Prophet himself: Allah has sent down to you a Reminder - a messenger who recites to you the clear messages of Allah. 74
In the chapter Al-Hadid, a mention has been made of the messengers, and along with them, the books. The Quran says:
And We sent down with them the Book and the measure.75
Sending down of the Book with the messengers indicates that the messengers were also sent down with the Book. But in the context nuzul only means appointment. In the Hadith, these two words have been used together:
"At that time God will appoint the Messiah, son of Mary, and he will descend near the minaret." 76
Here clearly the "appointment" of the Messiah is mentioned and "appointment" is made on this earth by the command of God. Thus the meaning of bi`that and nuzul is, in fact, the same.
2 Things resembling one another, hence susceptible to different interpretations (LL).
3 Doctrines which are firm, stated and decreed.
4 34:28; 7:158; 25:1.
8 17:89; 25:33.
9 15:9; 56:77-78; 85:21-22.
11 See Chapter 11. For further discussion, see The Last Prophet, Prophethood in Islam and Finality of Prophethood by Maulana Muhammad `Ali. (SMT)
12 Fath al-Bayan, v.7, p. 286.
13 Fath al-Bari fi Sharah Bukhari.
14 Ruh al-Ma`ani, under 33:40 by Sayyid Mahmud al-Alusi.
18 Tirmidhi, kitab al-Manaqib, ch.13, vol.2, p.214.
20 John 16:7-8, 13. Paraclete has been translated as Comforter. "Westenfells explains that the word used by Jesus was Mauhamana (Aramaic) and in Hebrew it was Mauhamanna, both meaning the praised. In the sister language, Arabic, this word will be Muhammad or Ahmad which are derived from the same root hamd, which means praising." For a detailed discussion, see Khwaja Nazir Ahmad's Jesus in Heaven on Earth, Ch. XVII. (SMT)
21 Fath al-Bari (Commentary of al-Bukhari).
22 Sunan Abu Dawud, beginning of Kitab al-Malahim.
26 Matthew, 19:17; Mark, 10:18; Luke, 18:19.
27 John, 5:30-31; Matthew, 20:20-23.
28 Al-Yawaqit wal Jawahir, vol.2, p.22. Fath al-Bayan, vol.2, footnote p.246. Bahr al-Muhit, vol.6, p.147.
30 Fath al-Bari (Commentary of al-Bukhari), vol. vi, p. 358.
31 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya, ch. Nuzul `Isa (B. 60:49).
32 Muslim, kitab al-Iman, ch. Nuzul `Isa (ch. lxxii:290), vol. I.
33 Muslim, kitab al-Iman, ch. Nuzul `Isa (ch. lxxii: 291), vol.1.
34 Ibid. (ch. lxxii:292).
35 Muslim, kitab al-ajsad, ch. Nuzul al-`Isa (60:47)
36 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya', ch. Nuzul Masih (49:60).
37 Maulana Muhammad Ali's comment in his book, A Manual of Hadith, will also be of some interest in this regard:
"This is a further prophecy relating to the ascendancy of Islam. The son of Mary is the Messiah, and Muslims are told that a Messiah would appear among them. This Messiah is called imamu-kum min-kum, i.e., your imam from among yourselves. In a hadith of the Sahih Muslim on the same subject, the words are wa amma-kum min-kum, i.e., he, (the Messiah), shall be your imam from among yourselves, leaving no doubt that a member of the Muslim community would be raised to the dignity of the Messiah. These words are no doubt added by the Holy Prophet to remove the possible misconception that the Israelite Messiah would appear among Muslims.
38 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Mi`raj, ch. wazkur fil-kitab al-Maryam (H.Q.19:16).
42 Fath al-Bari (Commentary of Al-Bukhari), vol. vi, p. 350.
43 Malachi, 4:5.
44 6:86; :123.
45 2 Kings, 2:1.
46 Ibid., 2:11
47 Ibid., 2:13.
48 Matthews, 17:11-13.
49 Ibid., 11:14.
50 Luke, 1:17.
51 2:143. Maulana Muhammad Ali writes while commenting upon this verse: "The bearers of witness are the persons who carry knowledge to others, bearing testimony to its truth in their own persons. Some commentators explain the word shahid as meaning a purifier. But shahid also signifies one possessing much knowledge (LL), and it means also an imam or a leader, and the significance is that just as the Holy Prophet delivered the message of truth to the Muslims and was their purifier and leader, the role of the Muslim community was to deliver the message of truth to the whole of humanity, and to be its purifiers and leaders." (SMT)
52 Muslim, kitab al-Fitan wa al-Ashrat al-Sa`ah, ch. zikr Dajjal (ch. mccvii:7015).
53 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya, ch. Manaqib `Umar.
54 Sahih al-Muslim, kitab al-Fitan wa Ashrat was Sa`ah, ch. zikr Dajjal.
55 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya, ch. nuzul al-I`sa; kitab al-mazalim ch. kasri salib.
56 Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Fitan,ch.45, vol.2.
58 4:159. "Before his death" is interpreted as "before Jesus' death." A detailed discussion of this verse will be found in Ch. III. (SMT)
59 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya, ch. Nuzul `Isa (B.60:48).
61 Similarly, the Quran says at another place, And We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the day of Resurrection (5:64). If all the people of the Book become Jesus' followers, the statement made in this verse will become null and void.
63 Ibn Jarir, (Commentary of the Quran) on 4:164, p.13.
66 Similarly, in the nation of Muhammad, khalifahs, (temporal rulers), will appear as well as mujaddids, (spiritual khalifahs); mujaddids will appear instead of prophets, (because prophethood has been terminated after the Holy Prophet).
67 The Holy Prophet's likeness to Moses also means that the prophecy of a promised prophet who will be the "like" of Moses (Deut. 18:18) was fulfilled in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. (SMT)
76 Ibn Majah, kitab al-Fitan, ch.33, p.482.
Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of
Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali
> Chapter IV : Descent of the Son of