A)The birth of Jesus
The story of Mary and the birth of Jesus in Islam
Many people may be surprised that Muslims love Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the Quran, no woman is given more attention than Mary. Mary receives the most attention of any woman mentioned in the Quran even though all the Prophets with the exception of Adam had mothers. Of the Quran's 114 chapters, she is among the eight people who have a suraa named after them. Mariam means Mary in Arabic. The third chapter in the Quran is named after her father, Imran.
In the Quran, Mary's story begins while she is still in her mother's womb. The mother of Mary, said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate into Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things." (Quran 3:35).
She wanted the baby in her womb to serve only the Creator. When Mary was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!" (Quran 3:36). She had expected her baby to be a male child who would grow up to be a scholar or religious leader. However, God had a better plan. God is the best of planners. Quran 3:36 continues "…and God knew best what she brought forth- 'And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mariam, and I commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from Satan, the Rejected.'" Mariam literally means "maidservant of God".
The Quran discusses Mary's miraculous conception as well. "when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then we sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects." (Quran 19:16-17). After seeing the angel, she said: "I seek refuge from thee to (God) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear God." (Quran 19:1). The angel Gabriel responded: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son." (Quran 19:19). Her next response is expected. She asked: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?" (Quran 19:20). The Angel Gabriel said: "So (it will be): thy Lord said, 'That is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us.' It is a matter (so) decreed." (Quran 19:21). Mary then becomes pregnant.
God was Mary's only Provider. Muslims do not accept the virgin birth of Jesus as evidence of Jesus' divinity. "The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: 'Be.' And he was." (Quran 3:59). Adam's creation was even more miraculous because he was born without father and mother. When she brings the baby to her people, they said: "O Mary! truly a strange thing has thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!" (Quran 19:27-Cool. Mary then points to the baby. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" (Quran 19:29). Then a miracle occurs that is not mentioned in the Bible. In defense of his mother, Jesus said: "I am indeed a servant of God. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed where so ever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He hath made me) kind to my mother, and not overbearing or unblest; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!" (Quran 19:30-3).
The virgin birth of Jesus was a sign. "And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of our spirit, and we made her and her son a sign for all peoples." (Quran 21:91). All previous Prophets confirmed the oneness of God, Tawheed. Whereas the Holy Trinity is the fundamental concept of God in Christianity, Tawheed is the fundamental concept of God in Islam. God exists independent of religion. Muslims do not believe in the concept of Holy Trinity (Quran 5:73). God is not Jesus (Quran 5:72). On the Day of Judgment, when Jesus is asked if he had called people to worship him and his mother as two gods, Jesus will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden." (Quran 5:116).
B)Jesus in Qur'an
The Qur'an, the last of the Divine Books, revealed by the Creator to the last of the Messengers -Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace -is a source of knowledge about Jesus, peace be upon him, which is not generally known to most students of Christianity. The Qur'an not only leads us towards a better understanding of who Jesus was, but also, through that understanding, it increases our respect and love for him.
The Qur'an does not cover the life of Jesus in any great detail as regards specific events. The miracles and powers which he was given are mentioned including some which are not even described in the Bible -but mostly in general terms. Similarly, the Book which Jesus was given by God, the Ingil, is mentioned several times, but its exact contents are not indicated. However, the Qur'an is very specific as to his purpose, how he appeared on earth, who he was, and, equally important, who he was not, and how his mission ended.
B-1) Is Jesus the son of God?
In the Qur'an, God makes it perfectly clear that both Jesus and Mary were only human beings:
The Messiah son of Mary was only a Messenger like the Messengers who went before him and his mother was a truthful woman and they both used to eat food. See how we clarify the signs for them -and then see how they make up lies! Say: 'Do you worship what does not have any power to either harm or benefit you, instead of God?' And it is God Who is the One Who Hears, the One Who Knows. (Qur'an 5: 75-76).
It follows that Jesus could not possibly be the 'son' of God:
And they say, 'God has chosen a son.' Glory be to Him! Indeed whatever is in the heavens and the earth is His. Everything is subservient to Him, the Bringer into Being of the heavens and the earth -and when He decrees a matter, then all He says to it is 'Be!' and it is. (Qur'an 2: 116-117).
Gad has not chosen any son, and there is not any other god as well as Him -otherwise each god would certainly have taken over what it had created, and some would have exalted themselves over others. Glory be to God above what they assert -the Knower of the Unseen and the Seen, may He be exalted far above the partners they associate with Him! (Qur'an 23: 91-92).
Surely the life-transaction is only for God. And those who choose guardians other than Him (say), 'We only worship them so that they will bring us nearer to God.' -Surely God will judge between them concerning what they used to disagree about. Surely God does not guide whoever denies in disbelief. If God had wanted to have a son, He could certainly have chosen whatever He wanted from His creation -Glory be to Him! He is God, the One, the Compeller! (Qur'an 39: 3-4).
Thus in the opening ayat of Surat al-Kahf, God states that one of
the reasons why the Qur'an has been revealed is to warn those who
claim that God has a son:
ln the Name of God the Merciful the Compassionate
Praise belongs to God who has revealed the Book to His slave (Muhammad). And He has not put any distortion in it, only charity, in order to warn of a severe punishment from Him, and to give good news to the believers who do good that theirs will be a good reward, where they will dwell for ever, and to warn those who say, 'God has chosen a son,' which is something they know nothing about, and neither did their fathers. The words which they utter are dreadful-surely what they say is nothing but a lie. (Qur'an 18:1-5).
Thus it also follows that anyone who thinks -by virtue of Mary's degree of perfection, and by virtue of the miraculous nature of the immaculate conception -that Jesus can somehow be associated with being God in any way is mistaken:
Those who say ,'Surely God is the Messiah , son of Mary,' have indeed disbelieved. Say: ' And who would have any power at all over God if He wished to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother, and whoever is on earth, all together? And dominion over the heavens and the earth and what is between them belongs to God -He creates what He wants -and God has power over everything. (Qur'an 5: 17).
The Qur'an also follows that any concept of trinity is false:
O People of the Book, do not go to extremes in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth. Surely the Messiah Jesus son of Mary was a Messenger of God, and His Word which He sent down into Mary, and a Spirit from Him -so believe in God and His Messengers, and do not say, "Three.' Stop it! (That would be) better for you. Surely God is only One God! Glory be to Him -far beyond His having a son -when whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His. And God is enough to look after it.
The Messiah would never be too proud to be a slave of God, and neither would the angels who are near (to God). And as for whoever is too proud to be His slave, and is arrogant, He will gather them altogether to Him. And as for those who believed and did good, He will give them their reward in full, and increase it for them out of His generosity -and as for those who were proud and arrogant, He will punish them with a painful punishment, and they will not find anyone to be their friend or helper instead of God. (Qur'an 4: 171-173).
Those who say ,'Surely God is the Messiah ,son of Mary,' are certainly disbelievers. And the Messiah said: '0Tribe of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord. As for whoever associates partners with God, surely God has certainly forbidden him the Garden and his abode will be the Fire -and for the wrong doers there will be no helpers.' Those who say, 'Surely God is one of three in a trinity,' are certainly disbelievers -for there is no god except the One God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, a painful punishment will certainly befall those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather tum to God in repentance and seek His forgiveness? And God is Forgiving, Compassionate (Qur'an 5: 72-74).
B-3) People rejection
In spite of his extraordinary purity, and the piercing clarity of his words and signs, there were inevitably people who rejected Jesus, both while he was on earth and after he had been taken away from it:
And when the son of Mary is given as an example your people turn away from it and say, 'Are our gods better, or him?' And they only mention him for the sake of argument -indeed, they are an argumentative people! Surely he was only a slave whom We blessed, and whom we gave as an example to the Tribe of Israel. And if We had wanted, We could certainly have put angels among you to be leaders in the earth; and surely there is certainly knowledge about the Hour, so do not be in any doubt about it, and follow Me -that is the straight path; and do not let Satan lead you astray -surely he is clearly your enemy.
And when Jesus came with clear proofs, he said ,'I have indeed come to you with wisdom and in order to clarify what you used to disagree about for you -so fear God and obey me. Surely it is God who is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him -that is the straight path'. But the groups among them disagreed -so woe to those who do wrong, from the punishment of a painful Day. (Qur'an 43: 57-65).
B-4) Killing of Jesus
Although both the Romans and the Pharisees wanted Jesus dead, albeit for different reasons, God makes it clear that they did not kill Jesus, even though it was their intention to do 80:
And they plotted, and God plotted -and God is the best of plotters. (And remember) when God said, '0 Jesus, surely 1 am going to take you up, and raise you up to Me, and free you from those who disbelieve -and 1will put those who follow you above those who disbelieve until the Day of Standing -and then you will all return to Me, and 1 will judge between you concerning what you used to disagree about. And as for those who disbelieve,I shall punish them with an intense punishment in this world and in the next world -and they will not have any helpers.' And as for those who believe and do good, He will give them their reward in full-and God does not love wrong doers. 'And what we are telling you is from among the signs, and a wise reminder.'
Surely the similarity of Jesus with God is like the similarity of Adam. He created him from dust, and then said to him,'Be!' –and he is.This is the truth from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt.
And as for whoever argues with you about him (Jesus), after the knowledge which has come to you, then say: 'Come, let us summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, and then let us humbly pray, and invoke the curse of God upon those who lie'.
Surely this explanation is certainly true, and there is not any god except God -and surely God is certainly the Mighty, the Wise. And if they tum away, then surely God is aware of those who are corrupt. (Qur'an 3:54-63).
God also refers to the fact that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified in the following passage from Surat an-Nisa, in which He describes the consequences of the actions of those from among the Tribe of Israel who disbelieved and broke their covenant with God:
And because of their breaking their covenant, and their rejecting the signs of God, and their killing the Prophets without any justification, and their saying, 'Our hearts are covered over,'-indeed God has set a seal on them because of their disbelief 50 that they will not believe except for a few -and because of their disbelief and their spreading a great slander against Mary, and their saying, 'Surely we killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary', a Messenger of Cod -and they did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it appeared so to them. And surely those who disagree about it are certainly in doubt about it; they have no knowledge about it but only fol1ow speculation. And they did not kill him for certain, but God took him up to Himself. And God was ever Mighty, Wise .And there is not one of the People of the Book but will certainly believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Standing he will be a witness against them -and because of the wrong doing of the Jews, We forbade them the good things which were permitted for them (before), and because of their turning away from the way of God so much, and their taking usury -and they were indeed forbidden it -and their devouring people's wealth through deception, We have prepared a painful punishment for those of them who disbelieve. But those of them who are firm in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what has been revealed to you (Muhammad), and in what has been revealed before you -and those who establish the prayer, and those who pay the zakat, and those who believe in God and the Last Day -to these we shall give a great reward. (Qur'an4: 155-162).
C ) Muslims beliefs about Jesus
The Islamic view of Jesus (PBUH) occupies a space between two extreme views held by the previous Abrahamic faiths
1)The Jews, who rejected Jesus (PBUH) as a Prophet of God and calling him an impostor and a false prophet.
2)The Christians on the other hand, consider him to be son of God and worship him as such.
Islam considers Jesus (PBUH) to be one of the great Prophets of God and respect him as much as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Mohammad (Peace be upon all of them) This is in conformity with the Islamic point of view about the oneness of God and the oneness of Divine Guidance.
The essence of Islam, which is the willing submission to the will of God, was revealed to Prophet Adam who passed it on to his children. The Revelations to all prophets, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (PBUT) were all in conformity with the oneness of God. The message of God to all the prophets was the same that is to define the relationship between humanity and God, man to man and his environment, and how to live according to God's Instructions.
Thus Islam views any contradiction among the revealed religions as arising from humanly constructed elements introduced into these religions. The position of Jesus (PBUH) in Christianity and Islam should not be an exception.
The Holy book of Islam (Qur'an) highlights the important aspects of (Virgin) birth of Jesus (PBUH), his mission and his ascension to heaven. In some cases it corrects the Christian beliefs concerning Jesus (PBUH)
The Qur'anic account of Jesus (PBUH) starts with the conception of his mother -Mary.
Jesus (PBUH) is mentioned by name twenty- five (25) times in the Holy Qur'an. We are told in the Holy Qur'an that Mary conceived the child miraculously by the order of God. God said, " Be and it becomes". No animal act of being "begotten" (as alluded in the Bible) is involved in the conception of this mighty prophet of God.
Jesus (PBUH) was son of Mary, definitely not the son of God. Jesus (PBUH) was a 'creature' not the Creator. Common logic says that the creature cannot create the Creator. In Islam virgin birth of Jesus (pbuh) exhorts the power of God Almighty, His Omnipotence Who can do things that defies human explanations.
The concept of creation in Islam is very simple, logical and natural that God Almighty created everything that exists in the universe and beyond it.
Qur'an rejects the concept of Trinity as strongly as it rejects the sonship of Jesus (PBUH) this is because God is One and only One and no one else shares His divinity or His authority. This is the essence of all monotheistic revelations. Three, by reason and by simple arithmetic, are not one. Christian contention that Jesus (pbuh) was 100% god and 100% human seems meaningless because that leave no room or space for holy ghost to be a part of trinity, which is a basic tenant of Christian faith. When Christian
theologians cannot defend an irrational argument they resort to calling this illogical explanation of nature of Jesus (pbuh) as a "mystery".
Jesus (PBUH) was a link in a long chain of prophets and messengers sent by God to various societies and nations whenever they needed guidance or whenever they deviated from the teachings of God. Jesus (PBUH) was especially prepared by God to be sent to the Jews who had deviated from the teachings of Moses and their forefathers. God miraculously supported Jesus (PBUH) in his conception, in his birth and in his childhood. To prove that he was the true messenger from God Jesus (PBUH) was given numerous miracles during his lifetime that he performed with the permission of his Creator. Jesus (pbuh) declared that the message he was delivering was not his own but was from God the Creator of the universe.
"I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak" (John 12: 49)
In John (12: 50) Jesus (pbuh) was suppose to have said,
" Whatever I speak, just as the Father has told me, so I speak"
Likewise there are numerous passages in the bible where Jesus (pbuh) is distinguishing himself from the divinity, and rather attributing divinity to God who was his Creator. For example when Jesus (pbuh) answered a certain ruler who asked, " Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 18: 18)
In his answer Jesus (pbuh) is disclaiming divinity by saying
" Why do you call me good? No one is good but One. That is God" (Luke 18:19)
In this verse Jesus (pbuh) is clearly distancing himself from attributes of God the Creator to Whom belongs all goodness and He is the source of all that is good.
Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus (pbuh) declare himself to be God and ask his followers to worship him.
Here I have not mentioned anything of what Qur'an says about the mighty prophet of Islam -Jesus (pbuh) because to a common Christian, a quote from my holy book will not be acceptable. That is why I am trying to prove it from the Bible that Jesus (pbuh) never claimed to be Divine, never claimed to be God himself, and never asked his followers to worship him.
In this presentation I am using only the Bible as my source of reference since Christians believe in this book and its quotes should be acceptable to them. All religions existing at the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago were not only different but also mutually contradictory. Looking at the Christian literature of that time we find that the Bible does NOT talk about a universal GOD, but of the God of Israel. We read in Bible again and again.
" And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me" (1Samuel 25, 32)
" And also thus said the king, Blessed be the Lord of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it (I kings 1: 48)
" Blessed be the lord of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord (1Chronicles 16:36)
" And he said, Blessed be the Lord of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying. (II Chronicles 6:4)
"God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things" (psalms 72:18)
As a "Fundamentalist" Christian you believe in Jesus (pbuh) who also regarded himself as a teacher for the people of Israel. If others approached him, he would send them away.
Please read Mathew (15:21-26) in which Jesus (pbuh) turns away the woman from Tyre and Sidon by saying
" I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel----------But he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs" . Mathew( 15:21-26
Jesus also taught the apostles:
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces" (Mathew, 7:6)
Here Jesus (pbuh) regards Jews as his "Children" and Gentiles (that includes anyone who is not a Jew) are called as "Dogs" and "pigs".
There are only two ways to resolve this division and disagreement between religions, either we must hold that there are several gods, in different parts of the world OR, if God is one for the entire humanity and universe, we must prove Him so. If we can prove that God is ONE then these conflicting claims should resort to one teaching.
According to Bible Jesus (pbuh) was not a universal teacher.
Jesus (pbuh) says in Matthew 5: 17,18
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one little shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
This verse clearly and unequivocally tells us that Jesus (pbuh) came to confirm the Jewish law. He wanted to make sure that this law was not destroyed. This also shows that Jesus (pbuh) did not preach a new religion, he was sent to continue the religion and teachings of Moses (pbuh).
Christian missionaries have gone to all parts of the world, but Jesus (pbuh) himself had no such plans. The question is not what Christian believers are trying to do; the question is, what was the intension of Jesus (pbuh) himself. What was the design of God Who sent Jesus (pbuh)? This no one can express better than Jesus (pbuh) himself, and Jesus (pbuh) said clearly:
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mathews 15:24)
" For the son of man is come to save that which was lost (Mathews 18:11)
Look at the language of Jesus (pbuh) He is emphatically saying that I have come only to save and fulfill the Jewish law that was distorted by the Jews. By the way, please note Jesus (pbuh) is calling himself
"son of man" not the son of God.
The teaching of Jesus (pbuh), therefore, is only for people of Israel , not for others.
I know that Evangelical Christians will certainly quote the following verse in which it is said that Jesus (pbuh) exhorts his followers to go to other people. Here is that verse.
" Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Mathews 28:19)
But to argue from this verse that Jesus (pbuh) had commanded his followers to take his message to people other than Israel is not correct. It only means that the followers of Jesus (pbuh) were commanded by him to preach his message (saving the Jewish law) to all twelve tribes of Israel and not to all nations and people as such. Jesus (pbuh) speaks in clear terms in the following verse:
" Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel " (Mathews 15:24)
I repeat again " I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel"(Mat. 15:28
"It is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs" (Mathews. 15:26)
We further read:
" These twelve tribes Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel"(Mathews 10:5,6)
These verses are clearly exhorting here that the followers of Jesus (pbuh) - (Christian preachers), should first go to Israeli towns, them to others. For, to go to the " lost sheep of Israel" does not mean only to visit their towns, but to convert them to Christianity. The idea therefore is that until the Israelites have become Christians, no attention is to be paid to others. Jesus (pbuh) makes it very clear that the task of preaching to Israel and converting them will not be completed until his second coming. Thus we read
" But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the son of man be come " (Mathews. 10:23)
From this it is clear that according to Mathews 28:19, Christian preachers are required to establish Christianity in the towns of Israel and not merely to visit those towns but to make them Christians. It is made quite clear in the Bible that this duty of preaching to the Israelites would not be over until the second coming of the son of man.
Therefore in preaching to other than Jews, while the second coming of Jesus (pbuh) had yet to take place, Christian preachers are acting against the teaching of Jesus (pbuh).
The apostles of Jesus (pbuh) also regard it as incorrect and consider it against the wishes of Jesus (pbuh) to preach the Gospel to non- Israelites.
We read in Acts. "
Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as Phenice and Cyrus and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only (Acts 11:19)
Similarly when the apostles heard that Peter in one place had preached the Gospel to non-Israelites, they were annoyed. Please read:
" And when Peter was come to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them" (Acts, 11:2,3)
Can Jesus (pbuh) be a role model for all humanity?
Every one knows that if you want to become a football player, you go to an accomplished football player. If you want to become a carpenter, of course you go to a master carpenter. Likewise if you want to become a good human being you can read the teachings of Jesus (pbuh) and try to follow them.
But you cannot emulate Jesus (pbuh). First of all according to the Christian belief system he was not human but he was god himself.
As a human how can human beings emulate god?
Jesus (pbuh) was not a father, he had no children. He was not a grandfather, he was not a neighbor, he was not a ruler, and he was not a commander of an army or head of a State. What can you learn from him since he did not know any of these skills?
Therefore Jesus (pbuh) cannot be a role model of any human being.
Before the Holy Prophet of Islam, nobody addressed a Message to the whole of mankind; before the Holy Qur'an no book addressed itself to the whole of humanity. It is the holy prophet of Islam alone declared:
Say. " O Mankind, truly I am a Messenger to you all, from Allah" (Al Qur'an 7:159)
The revelation of the Qur'an, therefore, was meant to remove those differences and that had come to pass between religion and religion and people and people, which had arisen out of the inevitable limitations of earlier teachings and loss of true teachings due to passage of time and changes in the languages and numerous translations from one language to another that came about over span of several centuries.
The Prophet of Islam is a perfect role model for all human beings as he was human himself. He was a father, he was a grandfather, he was a neighbor, he was a head of State, and he was the commander in chief. He showed how any human being could live a life of human being following his example.
If the Qur'an had not come, these differences would have endured and the world would have never known the truth that it had only One Creator, nor would it have realized that its creation had one purpose in view that is to show our responsibly towards our Creator and our responsibility towards our fellow human beings.
If Prophet of Islam had not come, humanity would have not known how to behave with each other.
D) The Return of Jesus
Both Islam and Christianity expect the return of Jesus at the end of times, and both expect trials and tribulations to occur at the time. Many of the themes of these trials are similar, but they are also very different in detail and definition. Both religions expect the nation of believers to be the final victors, but the Christian believes that these are defined as the believers in the Gospel of the New Testament and in Christ as 'the Savior' and 'the Incarnation' of God, whilst the Muslim knows that it refers to those who believe in the pure monotheism entailed in submission to the One and Only True God.
The return of Jesus is preceded in both religions by signs, again similar in general description, but subtly different in detail. Both religions teach that the return of Jesus will be preceded by a great and powerful figure of falsehood and temptation, called the Maseeh ad-Dajjal (The False Messiah) by the Muslims and the Anti-Christ by the Christians. Before this event other signs that agree with each other include a general increase in immorality and fornication, murder and crime, and general lawlessness, debauchery and falling away from religion and true knowledge. Accompanying these signs of civil malaise will be internecine wars, and natural disasters following closely one upon the other. The details and timings of these, however, are substantially different, even within particular faiths. How the Christian faith regards the second coming depends on the doctrinal view held. Four broad views are prominent: Historical and Dispensational Ante-millennialism, and Preterist Post and A-millennialism.
Ante-millennialism has two branches of interpretation. Both postulate that Jesus will come and then, after defeating the Anti-Christ, will rule the earth with the 'elect' for 1000 years before the evil souls are resurrected, and Satan is unbound in the resurrected Anti-Christ They differ significantly concerning the events around this second coming.
Preterism is the general name for the viewpoint found in both the views that oppose Ante-millennialism. It sees the return of Jesus as having already happened at the time of the destruction of the temple Jerusalem, at least in terms of judgment. That is, they see people as judged when they die. Hence it sees the earth itself as everlasting, and that perfecting our faith and the truth about God is a never ending task set us by God. Among the partial Preterits, the moment of perfection is the second physical coming of Jesus, who will then reign forever over those who have achieved salvation.
Post-millennialism sees the 1000 year reign of Jesus as more figurative than literal, and that it has already begun. Jesus is literally the king of earth right now, judging the dead as they die, and the Christian church is in the process of perfecting belief in him and defeating Satan. Then Jesus will return to vanquish the Anti-Christ, heralding the end of the world, and establish the Church to rule with him.
A-millennialism also sees the 1000 year reign as figurative and already established, but, like ante-millennialism, it envisages Judgment Day as the day of sorting out the good from the bad and eternally consigning them to their respective destinations.
These viewpoints often overlap, so one is not sure where one doctrine leaves off and the other starts. None of them, however, conform to the Islamic view of the reign of Jesus and his role in the second coming.
Islam sees Jesus' return as a completion of his life and work, which he left incomplete. As the true Messiah, he alone has the power granted to him by God to defeat the false Messiah at the end of time. His rule will witness the invasion of the Gog and Magog, whom not even he will be able to defeat. Rather, he will pray to God who will then destroy them Himself. The end of the Gog and Magog will herald the beginning of a world hegemony in which every one will believe, or at least submit to, his reign as God's representative. He will rule by God's Law as taught by Muhammad (i.e. Islam), may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, until he dies at the age of about 70 or 75. In this period of time there will be plenty for all, and peace throughout the world. Then, some time after he dies and is buried, all the Muslims will be caught up by a breeze and wafted into the hereafter. The remaining people on earth will be unbelievers, and they alone will witness the final chapter of earth.
Many of these events described in Islam echo the concept of the Messiah at the end of times conceived of in Judaism, although they believe the Law with which he will reign will be the Law of Moses, rather than Muhammad, may God praise them both. Both Islam and Judaism regard the coming of the Messiah as essentially uniting, gathering believers together from the ends of the earth. Both see his rule as returning to the fundamentals of faith and Law. Both see his role as that of a leader who will fight God's war against the forces of evil, and that this war will be followed by a peaceful hegemony in which God's Law will prevail throughout the world.
Where they differ is in who this end of time figure represents. To the Jews, the Messiah necessarily will be a Jewish leader who re-establishes Israel and the temple and all its rites in Jerusalem. To the Muslim, he represents the championing of pure Islam, sorting hypocrites from true believers.
All three visions of the Messiah at the end of time hold something in common. In this article, however, we will expound the Muslim picture of the future, which is envisioned to be just around the corner. This vision is very clear and subject to little doctrinal variation, unlike both Jewish and Christian viewpoints. It is up to you to draw the parallels that are apparent and reject that which does not reflect the truth represented herein.
Christians believe that Jesus is alive today, and many denominations believe him to be active. They also believe that he has been resurrected already, and that he will never die again. The Muslim position, however, is that he never died, and therefore is still alive. It says in the Quran, that the Jews claim:
"We killed Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, Messenger of God."
However, God denies this, as the verse continues:
"But they killed him not, nor crucified him; It was only a likeness shown to them: Most certainly they killed him not. Rather, God lifted him up to Himself." (Quran 4:157-158)
This action of lifting is literally an upward movement, physically being taken from the earth into heavens, just as he will be physically brought back on the wings of angels from the heavens to the earth when he returns. Christians estimate his age to be 31-33 years of age at ascension, because the synoptic Gospels are considered to describe approximately 1 year of his life. The Gospel of John purportedly describes 3 years of his life from the moment he began preaching, of which Luke says:
"And Jesus himself began to be about 30 years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph ... and (he) was led by the spirit into the wilderness." (Luke 3:23 and 4:1)
Muslim scholars agree. Hasan Basri said, "Jesus was 34, while Sa'eed bin Mussayyib said, "He was 33," when he was lifted up to heaven.
"And there is none of the People of the Book but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Judgment, he will be a witness against them." (Quran 4:159)
God, here, is talking about the 'People of the Book' believing in Jesus before the latter dies well after he was lifted up into the heavens. The implication is that he is not yet dead. In fact, he is securely kept by God until he completes his appointed term. As God says in the Quran:
"It is God Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and (the souls) of those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed." (Quran 39:42)
"It is God Who takes away the souls at night, and has knowledge of all that you have done by day, and raises you up again that a term appointed be fulfilled; then will you be returned unto Him. Then He will inform you of all that you used to do." (Quran 60:60)
'The term appointed' denotes the numbered days of our lives, already known and confirmed by God. The word "to take away" is a promise made by God to Jesus which God will do when His messenger is threatened by disbelief. The Quran informs us that He told Jesus:
"Indeed I will take you (away) and lift you up to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve... " (Quran 3:55)
Thus we have a promise of God fulfilled when he saved Jesus from crucifixion, and another that will be fulfilled when He returns Jesus to earth and he completes his life here - a promise confirmed in the revelation given to Mary at the annunciation:
"God gives you tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be Jesus Christ, son of Mary, held in honor in the world and in the hereafter, and one of those who are nearest (to God). He shall speak to the people in infancy and when middle-aged ,and shall be of the righteous." (Quran 3:45-3:46)
Since middle-aged is older than the early thirties, this prophecy concerns his speaking to the people after his return. So this second promise (that everyone will believe in him before he dies) concerns his second mission when he descends to earth again. When he arrives, he will be the same age as he left, and then he will live for another forty years. The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
"There is no prophet between me and him (Jesus), and he shall descend. He... will stay in the world for forty years; then he will die and the Muslims will offer the funeral Prayer for him." (Abu Dawood, Ahmed)
The return of Jesus will be close to the end of time. In fact, his descent will be one of the major signs the final hour is due. The Quran discloses that:
"He (the son of Mary) shall be a known sign of the Hour; so have no doubt concerning it and follow Me." (Quran 43:61)
His appearance will be followed by only two or three other unmistakable portents. Among these are the appearance of the beast ,the wafting of the believers from the earth, leaving only disbelievers behind, and the rising of the sun from the west.
The ten major signs, among which is the second coming of Jesus, are summarized in one hadeeth:
"The Hour will not come until you see ten signs: the smoke; the False Messiah; the Beast; the sun rising from the West; the descent of Jesus son of Mary; the Gog and Magog; and three tremors - one in the East, one in the West, and one in Arabia, at the end of which fire will burst forth from the direction of Aden and drive people to the place of their final assembly." (Ahmed)
May God save us from disbelief and preserve us from being among those who witness the final moments.