Can you please provide proofs for the belief that Prophet Jesus will return at the time of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi aswell? Ayaat from the Quran and Hadiths would be appreciated.
The Return of Jesus in Islam
Muslim scholars irrespective of their denominations are quite unanimous that upon the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance) Prophet Jesus will also descend to Earth from the heavens. During that time Jesus and Imam Mahdi will spread peace and justice on Earth, and the Earth will attain unprecedented peace, justice and welfare. Jesus will be like the minister for Imam Mahdi and his main mission will be to correct the dogma of Trinity and to clarify his humane personality and servitude to God.
The Islamic doctrine of the descension of Jesus to Earth is derived from a couple of Ayaat in the Quran and many Ahadith which are narrated by both Shi’a and Sunni narrators. The following are the most important reasons for this doctrine:
1. Jesus is still alive
The holy Quran in a unique style denotes the false dogma of crucifixion. The holy Quran clearly states that Allah raised Jesus to Himself. Thus, Jesus has not tasted physical death as yet. On the other hand, ‘every creature shall have a taste of death’. [29:57]. In conclusion, Jesus must return to earth to live a physical life and die a physical death.
2. The People of the Book believe in Jesus before his death
The Almighty Allah states: “And there will be none of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him before his death and on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.” [4:159].
Most interpreters of the Quran agree that the above Ayah is with reference to the time of the return of Jesus to Earth. During that time there will be no Jews or Christians, but rather those who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and a human being. According to this interpretation, the pronoun in ‘before his death’ returns to ‘Jesus’ not a Jew or a Christian.
Shahr bin Houshab narrated: “Hajjaj bin Yusuf said to me: “There is an Ayah in the Quran that I’m baffled as to its meaning. I said: O Amir! Which Ayah is that? He said: “And there will be none of the People of the Book …” By Allah! I have ordered the execution of many Christians and Jews and I have witnessed their death, but none of them believed in the humanity of Jesus before his death.” Shahr said: “I said to Hajjaj: This is not the meaning of the Ayah. (He meant the pronoun in that phrase returns to Jesus not the Jews and Christians). The meaning of the Ayah is that Jesus will descend to Earth before the Day of Resurrection and there will be no Jews or Christians but believers in Jesus, and he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.” Hajjaj asked from whom I had learnt that interpretation from. I replied: Imam Baqir, son of Imam Sajjad, son of Imam Husain, son of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib narrated this to me.” Hajjaj said: By Allah, you gained it from a pure spring.”
3. The followers of Jesus will be superior over disbelievers
Almighty Allah states: “And when Allah said: O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection. Then you (believers and disbelievers) will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matter in which you used to dispute.” [3:55].
The above Ayah is one of the controversial Ayaat in the story of Prophet Jesus. Some Christian preachers use this Ayah to prove the superiority of Christians over the adherents of all other religions whom they also call ‘disbelievers’ until the Day of Judgment.
Christians assumed the Quranic phrase ‘those who follow you’ equals Christians. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Christianity today is in essence very different from the actual teachings of Prophet Jesus. The followers of Jesus were those who truly followed his teachings. According to the Quran, the dogma of Trinity is in full conflict with the teachings of Prophet Jesus. Thus, how could Trinitarians be regarded as the followers of Jesus?!
The examples of ‘those who follow you’ from the time of Jesus till the advent of Islam are those sincere believers who believed in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and followed his teachings. With the rise of Islam, Muslims who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah are the true followers of Jesus. The disbelievers in return are those who never believed in Jesus as a Prophet such as the Jews or even the Christians who believed in the divinity of Jesus. Thus Almighty Allah has made the true monotheists who believe in Jesus as His Messenger superior in their ideology over the disbelievers who do not believe in Prophet Jesus.
Another meaning for the Ayah is to say when Imam Mahdi (a.s) reappears and Jesus returns to Earth, the true followers of Jesus who include all Muslims, Jews, Christians who truly followed Jesus, will be superior to the disbelievers.
4. Prophetic narrations confirm the descent of Jesus
Numerous Narrations in both Sunni and Shi’a sources confirm and detail the descending of Jesus at the same time as Imam Mahdi.
Renowned Sunni narrators such as al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu-Dawood and many others have narrated the narrations of the return of Jesus at the time of Imam Mahdi, and that he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.
Ibn Jouzi in his book ‘Tathkeratul-Khawas’ narrated: “Mahdi and Jesus will reunite. When it’s the time for Prayers, Mahdi will ask Jesus to lead the Prayers, but Jesus will say: You are more preferred to lead the Prayers. Then Jesus will pray behind him.”
According to the narrations of his return, Jesus will break the cross and abandon the meat of the pig. He will also abolish the Jazyah for the People of the Book of his time who will have no excuse to adhere to their false principles. They have to either convert to Islam and hence no Jazyah will apply to them or will be executed by Jesus. Jesus will live on the Earth for 40 years before he dies. Imam Mahdi will pray on his body and will attend his burial in pubic.
The Return of Jesus and the Seal of Prophet-hood
One of the theological problems about the return of Jesus is the paradox between this concept and the seal of Prophethood. Undoubtedly, Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet and Messenger of God. With Prophet Muhammad, prophethood ceased to continue. Then how could one of the previous prophets return to earth after Prophet Muhammad?
The answer to the above paradox is that Prophet Jesus will not return to Earth to bring a new Shari’a Law. Thus, he will pray behind Imam Mahdi. In fact, Imam Mahdi who is the 12th and the last successor of the Prophet of Islam will lead the world. The main purpose of the return of Jesus to Earth is in order for him to prove to the Jews and the Christians the truth about himself.
Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei