It’s mentioned that Jesus(pbuh) will return to earth before the end of the world. Will Jesus descend from the sky, or will his spirit appear into a man in the world?
According to the Qur’an, Jesus (pbuh) is not alive. Allah has taken his soul.
Allah the Almighty commands:
اِذْ قَالَ اللّٰهُ يَا ع۪يسٰىۤ اِنّ۪ي مُتَوَفّ۪يكَ وَرَافِعُكَ اِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذ۪ينَ كَفَرُوا وَجَاعِلُ الَّذ۪ينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذ۪ينَ كَفَرُوۤا اِلٰى يَوْمِ الْقِيٰمَةِ ثُمَّ اِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَاَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ ف۪يمَا كُنْتُمْ ف۪يهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
“Once Allah said: “O Jesus, I am going to take your soul and raise you up to Me. I will purify you of those who ignore. I will make those who follow you superior to the ignorers till the Day of Rising. Then you all will be returned to Me (being resurrected) and I will judge between you regarding all on which you have differed.” (Al-e Imran/Family of Imran 3:55)
The souls of all people ascend to heavens when they die. However, the souls of ignorers are not let beyond because the gates of the heavens are closed to ignorers:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَاسْتَكْبَرُوا عَنْهَا لَا تُفَتَّحُ لَهُمْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَلَا يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّىٰ يَلِجَ الْجَمَلُ فِي سَمِّ الْخِيَاطِ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُجْرِمِينَ
“The gates of heavens will not be opened for those who ignored and lied against Our verses arrogantly. They will not enter the Garden until a camel goes through a needle´s eye.” (al-A’raf 7:40)
According to the following verse, Allah takes the souls upon death and during the sleep:
“Allah takes the souls at the time of death and takes those that do not die during their sleep. He withholds those for whom He decreed death and sends the others back until an appointed term.” (Az-Zumar/The Throngs 39:42)
Allah had withheld the soul of Jesus just as He withholds the souls of other people.
Below is another verse. These are the statements of Jesus which he will pronounce in the Hereafter:
مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ اِلَّا مَاۤ اَمَرْتَن۪ي بِه۪ۤ اَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللّٰهَ رَبّ۪ي وَرَبَّكُمْ وَكُنْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَه۪يدًا مَا دُمْتُ ف۪يهِمْ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَن۪ي كُنْتَ اَنْتَ الرَّق۪يبَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَاَنْتَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَه۪يدٌ
“I told them what you commanded to me: Be the servants of Allah, my Master and your Master. I was the witness of them as long as I was among them. After you took my soul, they were under only your observation. You are the witness of all things.” (Al-Maidah/The Feast 5:117)
In another verse Allah tells us how He rescued Jesus from the hands of Jews when they had decided to crucify him:
وَقَوْلِهِمْ اِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَس۪يحَ ع۪يسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللّٰهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلٰكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ وَاِنَّ الَّذ۪ينَ اخْتَلَفُوا ف۪يهِ لَف۪ي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ مَا لَهُمْ بِه۪ مِنْ عِلْمٍ اِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنّ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَق۪ينًا بَلْ رَفَعَهُ اللّٰهُ اِلَيْهِ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ عَز۪يزًا حَك۪يمًا
“They say: We have killed Jesus Christ, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah. They did not kill him, nor hang him, but to them, he (the killed person) was made to seem alike (Jesus). Those who differ in this matter are in a dilemma. They do not know anything. They only follow the assumptions. It was certainly not they who killed him, but Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Mighty and Wise.” (The Women 4:157-158)
In the above verses, Allah informs us clearly that the soul of Jesus was taken. Moreover the expression: “…and raise you up to Me…” is mentioned in the verse after the expression “…I am going to take your soul…” The complete sentence in verse 3:55 gives us a definite explanation about this topic: “I am going to take your soul and raise you up to Me.” As it is clarified in this verse, Allah took the soul of Jesus when the time of death came for Jesus; and then ascended the soul of Jesus to Himself.
As the conclusion, Muslims should give up their expectation of Jesus’ returning back and saving the world. Rather, they should work to learn Islam from its original resource, the Qur’an; and preach it to Muslim or non-Muslim every human being, thus causing the salvation of the mankind.