Islam and the Quran

Will Jesus Return to Earth?

According to the Qur’an, Jesus (pbuh) is not alive. Allah has caused him to die. Allah the Almighty says:
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 the One to take your soul [1] and raise you up to Me. [2] And I am the One to purify you of those who ignore (the truth) and make those who follow you superior to those who ignore 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)

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)

Most of the Islamic scholars claimed that Jesus (pbuh) did not die by regarding the “I am …to raise you up to Me” part of the verse as evidence to it. According to them, God raised Jesus to a private abode in incorporeal heavens, and He will send him back before the Last Day.  The two verses above, however, clearly state that Jesus died. Furthermore, in the first two verses, the expression “I am the One to raise you up to Me” comes before “I am the One to take your soul“. As understood from this verse, God caused Jesus to die and took his soul to His level.

There are narrations which state that Jesus will return to earth before the Last Day. One of them is the following:
“By whom my soul is in his hand, soon, the Son of Mary (Jesus) will come down to be among you as a just Judge. He will break the cross, kill the pig, and abolish the Jizya (tax on Christians & Jews because Christianity and Judaism will end). There will be surplus in Wealth (and money) to the extent that no one will accept it (if you want to give charity) and a single prostration (to God) will be better than the World and all that is in it” (Bukhari, Anbiya, 50; Muslim, Iman, 71; Tirmidhi, Fitan, 54).
When we analyze this and similar narrations, we see the common theme that Jesus or Mahdi will come to earth and save Muslims from their sufferings in crisis. Another narration about that situation is: “Like the cup fills with water, so will the Earth fill with peace” (Ibn Majah, Fitan, 33).

Notice that none of the actions that Jesus is alleged to take when he returns, such as, breaking the cross, killing the pig and abolishing jizya are of the good deeds mentioned in the Quran. Indeed, they have no room in religion.

İsa aleyhisselamın kıyametten önce geleceğine inanmak, bir inanç konusu yapılmıştır. Halbuki bunu iddia eden alimler, ahad haberle inanç belirlenemeyeceğini söylerler. İsa’nın geleceğini bildiren hadisler ahad haberlerdir.

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 a witness to 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 God. 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. They certainly did not kill him, rather, God raised him up to Himself. Allah is Mighty and Wise.” (The Women 4:157-158)

In the verses above, 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 the One to  take your soul…” The complete sentence in verse 3:55 gives us a definite explanation about this topic: I am the One 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.

In conclusion, Muslims should give up their expectation of Jesus’ returning 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 mankind.

 

[1]According to Zumar 39:42, “death = wafat” is being taken of a soul from the body whose life-time is over. God takes souls at two times: when one sleeps and when dies. The soul keeps all the information, just like the operating system of a computer does. Therefore, God undertakes the protection of souls when their bodies sleep or die. The soul of a sleeping person returns to the body when he/she wakes up. The soul of a dead person will return to its body when the body is resurrected in the afterlife (Mu’minun 23:100, Takwir 81:7). Since Jesus (pbuh) will make his first speech after his death in the afterlife (al-Maedah 5:117), his return to Earth is not probable.

 

[2]Since active participles in Arabic are difficult to translate into English, most scholars translate this sentence into English as a verbal sentence in the future or present tense. Indeed, it is a nominal sentence, and the literal translation with respect to the Arabic sentence should be as the following: “I am the taker of your soul and the raiser of you to Me“.

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