Q. I was trying to find some info on Prophet Isa’s return, can you help? Can you tell me where he is now and in what state as if he is still a human or just his soul is waiting to return? Do you have an article on this subject?
A. The true belief of a Muslim regarding Isa (AS) (Jesus) (in accordance to the creed of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah) is that He was not killed or crucified. Instead he was lifted bodily into heaven by Allah. Hence, he is in the heaven now and is in the state of a human being.
About this incident, the following verse states:-
“And for their saying (in boast): ‘We killed Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’; but they killed him not nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them, And those who differ therein are full of doubt, with no certain knowledge, but only follow mere conjecture, for of a surety they killed him not. But Allah lifted him up to Himself, and Allah is All- Mighty, All-Wise. And there is none of the people of the Book but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Judgement, he will be a witness against them.’ (Sura Nisa (4) ver. 157-159)
These Verses tell us that Prophet Jesus was lifted up to the heaven after his opponents from Jews complained and misled the king of that time, as they wanted to slay him and crucify him.
Regarding these verses, the great exegete, Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes in Al Bidaya wan Nihayah:-
Ibn Abu Hatim has narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas saying: “When Allah wanted to lift him up to heaven, Jesus came to his companions in the house. There were twelve people, with some from among his disciples. He had just taken a bath, and his head was still dribbling with water, He said to them: ‘There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after he had believed in me.’ Then he said: ‘Who from among you will take my likeness and be killed in my place, so he will reach my rank?’ A youth came forward. But Jesus said to him: ‘Sit down.’ Then he repeated the same question, and the same youth stood up and came forward, and said: ‘I.’ Jesus said: ‘You are the one,’ and then the likeness of Jesus was put on him, and Jesus was lifted up to the heaven from the window (in the roof) of the house.”
The Jews came looking for him. They took the youth and killed him and then crucified him. Later the Christians became divided into three groups. One group, who are called Jacobites (Ya ‘qubiyah), believe that it was God Himself among them who stayed with them as long as He wanted to, then went back to the heaven. Another group who are called Nestorian (Nasturiyah), believed that it was the son of Allah who was with them, and stayed among them as long as he wanted, then Allah lifted him up. But the group of true believers said that he was the slave of Allah and His Messenger who stayed among them as long as he wanted, then his Lord Allah took him up to Him. The two disbeliever groups joined together against the believer group and killed them, and so the real teachings of Islam taught by Jesus became obscure till Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad.
Hasan Basri and Ibn Ishaq said: The king, who ordered the killing of Jesus, was David bin Naura. He commanded Jesus to be killed and crucified. They surrounded Jesus who was in a house inside Bait-ul Maqdis. It was a Saturday night. When they were about to enter the house, his likeness was put on one of those who were present there with him. And Jesus was lifted up from the window (in the roof) of that house to the heaven. When the police entered the house they found the youth on whom the likeness of Jesus was put, so they took him and crucified him. They even put a crown of thorns on his head to mock him. Those Christians who were not present there at that time, believed what Jews claimed, that they killed Jesus.
Allah said: “And there is none of the people of the Book, but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Judgement, he will be a witness against them’ This refers to the time when Prophet Jesus will descend to the earth before the Day of Judgement, and kill the swine, break the Cross, impose the Jizyah (tax), and will not accept (any religion) except Islam.”(Al Bidayah wan Nihayah).
We, (as muslims) also believed that Prophet Isa (AS) Jesus will return to the earth as a human being. He will return just as he was taken up from the earth and will go after the anti Christ (Dajaal) to slay him. He will then rule with justice and fairness in accordance to the teachings of Islam.
The following authentic hadith which has been recorded by Imam Tirmizi shows the return of Isa (AS). It states:-
‘Sayyidina Nawwas ibn Sam’an Kilabi narrated: Allah’s Messenger (SA) mentioned the dajjal one day. He exposed his baseness and emphasised his mischief till we thought that he was behind the palm trees. We then dispersed from Allah’s Messenger only to return shortly. He recognised our state of mind and said, “How is it with you? We said, “O Messenger of Allah, You mentioned the dajjal and made it soft as well as emphatic so that we imagined that he was behind some date-palm trees” (They meant: He is sure to Come). He said, “More fearful to me than the dajjal (are some other things), for if he emerges while I am among you then I will contend with him on your behalf. And, if he comes and I am not among you then let everyone of you contend with him on his own behalf, and Allah is my khalifah over every Muslim. The dajjal will be a youth with curly hair and one eye. He will resemble Abd Uzza ibn Qatan. So those of you, who see him, should recite the initial verses of Surah al-Kahf. He will come from what is between Syria and Iraq and corrupt (people on) right and left.
O slaves of Allah be steadfast’. We said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, how long will he tarry on earth?” He said, “Forty days, (the first) day like a year, a day like a month and a day like a week, and the rest of his days like your days.” We submited, “O Messenger of Allah will a day’s prayer suffice us in the day that would be like a year?’ He said, “No, but make an estimate for it.” We submitted, “O Messenger of Allah what will be his speed of movement on earth? He said, Like rain which is driven forward by the wind. He will come to a people and invite them but they will reject him and return him his words. So, he will turn away from them, and their properties will follow him and they will become bereft of everything on their hands. He will then come upon another people whom he will invite and they will respond to him and confirm him, so he will command the sky to pour rain. It will pour rain. He will command the earth to grow and it will produce crops. Their pasturing animals will come to them with their humps high, their udders full of milk. He will come upon the waste land and command it to bring forth its treasures. So, they will come out of it and go after him like swarms of bees. He will then summon a young man, his youth showing on him with fullness. He will strike him with the sword and cut him into two pieces, then he will summon him and he will be revived with a shining, laughing face. While he is like that, Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus) will descend in the east of Damascus at the white minaret, donned in two Saffron coloured garments, his hands on the wings of two angels. If he lowers his head, it will drip and when he raises it, those drops will fall down like shining pearls. (This is a description of his extreme radiance). And no one (who disbelieves) will feel his breath but will die. And, the limit of the reach of his breath will be his sight. He will then seek the dajjal and catch up with him at the gate of Ludd, and he will kill him. Then he will stay on earth as long as Allah wills. Allah will reveal to him, Collect my slaves at Tur, for I have sent there such of My slaves whom no one can fight. Allah will then send Yajuj and Majuj. They will come as Allah has said ‘and they shall come forth from every mound’ (21:96).
The first of them will pass the lake Tibriyah (Tiberias) and drink all its contents. Then the last of them will pass and remark, ‘Indeed, there was once, in here water!’ They will travel till they end up at the mountain of Bayt al Maqdas. They will recall, ‘We have killed all who were on earth. So, come let us kill those who are in heaven’. They will shoot their arrows into the sky and Allah will return to them their arrows reddened as with blood. (Meanwhile) Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus) and his companions will surround them, and the head of an ox will seem better to each of them then a hundred dinars are to one of you today. So, Isa ibn Maryam will turn to Allah with his companions. So, Allah will send down upon them insects on their necks, and by morning all of them would have perished as though they were one person. Isa and his companions would descend but not find space of even a span without being filled with their fat, odour and blood. So, Isa and his companions would again turn to Allah Who will send birds on them. Their necks will be like camels and they will carry the corpses away to mahbul. Thereafter, Muslims will kindle fire with their arrows, bows and quivers for seven years. Allah will send down on them rain which no mudhouse or tent will keep out but the earth will be washed and it will shine like glass. Then the earth will be commanded to grow its fruit and other produce and bring back its blessings. A whole group will eat from the pomegranate and they will shelter themselves under its peel. There will be tremendous blessing in milk so that a whole group of men will be satiated with the milk of one she-camel, a whole tribe with the milk of a cow and a whole family with the milk of a shegoat. While they are thus living, Allah will send a wind that will take away the soul of every believer, but there will remain the evil people who will have sexual intercourse on the roads just as donkeys have. The Hour will come upon them. (Recorded by Tirmizi who said it was good and sound).
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan