By: Dr. Alia Amer
The Prophet `Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him), son of Maryam, was raised up to heaven when the Jews wanted to crucify him. His ascension to Heaven and his future return to earth are mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an. Almighty Allah says,
And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness. (Al-Nisa’ 4:157-159)
The Prophet `Isa (as) will return at the end of time, as stated in the Qur’an:
And indeed, Jesus will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour (Al-Zukhruf 43:61)
The Prophet `Isa (peace be upon him) will descend at the time when Muslims are experiencing greatest hardships. He will come to their help and make the religion of Allah prevail on Earth.
The Muslims will recognize him by the features that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) described him.
He (peace be upon him) said, “I am the closest of all the people to `Isa, son of Maryam, for there is no Prophet between him and me. He will come again and when you see him, you will recognize him. He is of medium height and his complexion is reddish-white. He will be wearing two garments, and his hair will look wet, although no water had got to it.” (Ahmed)
The Time when Prophet `Isa Descends
The coming of `Isa (peace be upon him) will be a glad tiding to Muslims who stood firm and fought for the cause of Allah (glory be to Him) and did not succumb to the temptations of the Dajjal (Antichrist). At that time, the only two options for humanity will be to embrace Islam or die.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah will send the Messiah, son of Maryam, and he will descend to the white minaret in the East of Damascus, wearing two garments dyed with saffron, placing his hands on the wings of two angels. When he lowers his head, beads of perspiration will fall from it, and when he raises his head, beads like pearls will scatter from it. Every Kaffir (unbeliever) who smells the fragrance (of his breath) will die, and his breath will reach as far as he can see. He will search for the Dajjal until he finds him at the gate of Ludd where he will kill him. Then a group of people whom Allah has protected will come to `Isa (peace be upon him), son of Maryam, and he will wipe the traces of hardship from their faces and tell them of their place in Paradise. At that point, Allah will reveal to `Isa: “I have brought forth some of My Servants whom no-one will be able to fight. Take my servants safely to Al-Tur.”” (Muslim)
He will descend when the Muslims gather to fight the Dajjal when they are preparing their ranks for the Fajr prayer, and their Imam had advanced to lead them. The Imam will then step back and ask `Isa (peace be upon him) to advance and lead the prayer, but he will refuse.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) informed us, “….While their Imam is going forward to lead them in Fajr (Dawn) Prayer, `Isa will descend. The Imam will step back to let `Isa lead people in the Prayer but `Isa will place his hands between the man’s shoulders and say: ‘Go forward and lead the prayer for the Iqamah (call to commence the Prayer) was made for you, and so the Imam will lead the people in prayer.'” (Ibn Majah)
The symbolic gesture from `Isa (peace be upon him) to let the Imam lead the prayer will be to show that he will be following the true religion, Islam, and will not bring forth any different rules different from the Shari`ah.