All Praise is for Allah alone. He is the Rabb of all that exists. Surely, we send the highest Salah and Salam upon the Final Prophet, the leader of the pious and upon his family, companions and those who follow their example with Ihsan till the Day of Reckoning.
One of the greatest hurdles confronting Muslims today is a lack of knowledge about certain essential beliefs that we as Muslims must unwaveringly adhere to. Of the most pertinent issues facing Muslims living in localities that are heavily influenced by western culture is how we view Issa bin Marium -Jesus the Son of Mary alihi as-Salaam (AS).
On a cyclical basis we are confronted with different “religious” occasions that are marked by our Christian neighbours, coworkers and acquaintances. It is paramount that we as Muslims have a firm understanding of what he Issa (AS) represents to us as Muslims. Whether it is Easter Monday or Christmas day, we as Muslims should know what Islam says about the issues that are presented to us on a regular basis.
This four part series will attempt to expound upon the basic knowledge that Muslims may already have. It will also seek to introduce evidences from the Nobel Quran and the Pure Sunnah with regards to issues that may not have been discussed in detail before. There are four main issues regarding Issa bin Marium (AS) that we as Muslims must have knowledge of.
- The Muslim Nation is more Worthy of Issa than all the other nations.
- Who was Marium? And the Truth about the Immaculate Conception and the Birth of Isaa (AS).
- The Life and Near Death of Issa (AS).
- The Inevitable Return of Issa to Slay the Dajjal (One-eyed liar or the Anti-Christ) and Lead the Muslim Nation.
We will attempt to deal with each of these four points continuing here with Part three in a knowledge-based manner. The opinions expressed will be those that are held by the majority of the Scholars of Islam. The weaker opinions or those that do not have an evidentiary basis will not be discussed unless to show their inaccuracy or incorrectness. In discussing this issue we will only turn to the verified sources of authenticity. We will only narrate that which is accepted as true and verified by the Muslim scholars of past and present. We will not look into sources that do not have an Islamic basis. A Muslim writes this discussion for Muslims, from exclusively Islamic scholarly sources. To debate these issues from others sources (Bible) is a wholly separate discussion that has no place here.
The Life and Near Death of Issa (AS)
The greatest crime committed by humanity is, was and will always be straying from the Light of Tawheed (Singling out only Allah in all acts of worship, big or small) and entering into the darkness of Shirk (joining others with Allah in an act of worship). Allah (SWT) says:
“And remember when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him: O My Son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great (greatest) Zulm (wrong).” Luqman 31:13
We also see that someone asked the Messenger (SAAW), “Which is the biggest sin in the consideration of Allah?” He (SAAW) said,
“That you set up a rival (in worship) to Allah though He Alone created you.” Saheeh al-Bukhari.
Therefore it is perplexing for a person who believes in the one true God (Allah), to understand how others can venerate and worship anything but Him (SWT)?
Allah (SWT) says:
“And they say: The Most Gracious (Allah) has begotten a son (or offspring or children). Indeed you have brought forth (said) a most terrible, evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins, that they ascribe a son (or offspring) to the Most Gracious!
But it is not befitting (the Majesty) of the Most Gracious (Allah) that He should beget a son (or offspring).
There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious as a slave.” Marium (19:88-93)
Allah (SWT) says:
“No son (or offspring or children) did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him. (If there had been other gods or rivals or sons), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some (gods) would have tried to overcome other (gods)! Glorified is Allah above all that they attribute to Him!” Al-Muminoon 23:91
So what happened to those who claim they love, follow and adhere to Issa (AS)?
We must look to three main verses from the Quran.
- Allah says: “And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allah).” Marium 19:21
- Allah says: “And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allah).” Marium 19:21
- Allah says: “Then when Issa came to know of their disbelief…” Ali-Imran 3:52
- Allah says: “…they killed him (Issa) not. But Allah raised him (Issa) up to Himself)…”
In understanding these three verses and the points they address we will learn the truth about Issas (AS) life and near death.
“And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allah).” Marium 19:21
We have already discussed the miraculous Immaculate Conception and the birth of this blessed Prophet and Messenger of Allah. We know turn our attention to the next stage in his life. His fulfillment of the mission that he (AS) was commissioned by Allah (SWT) to fulfill. We continue from where we left off in the second installment of this four part series.
Owing the delicate and confusing nature of this great occurrence, Allah (SWT) records the story of Issas (AS) life and times in the Quran with precision and point by point detail. To gain full benefit and strengthen our grasp of this great happening we will at times insert explanatory words and arguments (derived from the Tafseer of the Rabbani Scholars) in the midst of the verses (in Italics).
Allah describes to us in Surat Marium (19:26-36) what happened soon after Marium gave birth to the child.
“(Issa her infant son or Jibreel said) And if you see any human being say I have vowed a fast unto the Most Gracious (Allah) so I shall not speak to any human being this day.
Then she brought him (the baby Issa) to her people, carrying him. They said, O Marium! Indeed you have brought a Fariya (unprecedented, unheard of mighty thing (crime)). O sister (who is the likes of) Haroon (a pious man)! Your father was not a man who used to commit adultery, nor your mother was an unchaste woman!
It is important to note that the mistake of a person from a good family is always perceived in a different and more intolerable light than the mistake and sin of a person from a sinful home and immoral upbringing. The people automatically noted that your father and mother were pious and that they knew her as being one of piety and knowledge. What has caused you to fall into this (perceived) great sin?
Marium is also compared to a pious man named Haroon (Aaron) who is not to be confused with the Prophet of Allah Haroon (AS), the brother of Musa (AS). This shows that comparison with the righteous is valid and at times called for.
She (Marium) pointed to him (Issa). They said, How can we speak to a one who is a child in a cradle? Issa (AS) was not unique in this action. There were three children who spoke while still at an age when speaking would be deemed unnatural. Refer to Saheeh al-Bukhari Vol 4, Hadeeth # 645, which is narrated by Abu Hurira (RA). You may also benefit from Surati Ali-Imran (3:46) where you can see the angels professing to Marium that her child will speak at a young age.
He (Issa) said: Verily, I am a slave of Allah! He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet. I am a slave of Allah is the most complete description that He (AS) described himself with. In those words he is indirectly stating that I speak to you in this miraculous way only because Allah my Lord as granted me this ability. It sets the precedent for the rest of his life, works of Prophetic actions and miraculous deeds as solely granted to him by his One and Only Lord, Allah (SWT).
It is also stated in the books of Tafseer that Issa was born knowing the Torah and the laws of the Jews from infancy. It is also stated that at age five he taught the Torah in the Temples and to the Masses.
Allah made me a Prophet. I did not choose it or ascribe it to myself.
And He (Allah) made me blessed wherever I be, and has enjoined on me Salaah and Zakaah, as long as I live. The blessings of Issa was his knowledge and the ability to cure those whom Allah allowed him to cure.
And to be dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest
This shows the importance of being good to ones parents. It is put at the level of prayer and alms.
And Salaam (peace) be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! A single day of birth, a single day of death and a single day to be resurrected on the Final Day of Reckoning and Judgment.
Such is Issa, son of Marium. (It is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt (or dispute).
It befits not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glorified (and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him). When He (Allah) decrees a thing, He only says to it, Be! and it is. It is interesting to note that by Allah Willing a decree, the decree is instituted even before the order is Commanded. He only says to it, Be! and it is. This shows that the it comes into existance before being ordered to become.
(Issa said), And verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone). That is the straight path (Submitting yourselves to Him alone).”
This first miraculous happening was one of many to be worked by Issa (AS) by the Will of Allah. The scholars state that every Prophet and Messenger was sent with the type of evidence, signs, and proofs that their respective nations would respond to. During the time of Musa (AS), magic and illusions were widespread and falsely attributed to false deities. So Allah sent Musa with what would eclipse Pharaohs magicians. During the time of Issa (AS) curing the ill was seen as a divine power. Allah therefore sent Issa and granted him unique abilities.
Allah will remind Issa of these abilities on the Day of Judgment as Allah describes them to us in Suratil Maidah (5:110-115):
“(Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection), O Issa son of Marium! Remember My Favour to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh ul-Qudus (Jibreel) so that you spoke to the people in the (from the) cradle (at a young age) and (while) in maturity.
Jibreel aided you in ordering the people to work good deeds and to submit themselves to Allah while staying away from evil deeds throughout the whole of your time with them (people).
And when I taught you writing, al-Hikmah (the power of reasoning, logic, understanding. Putting everything in its proper place at the proper time for the proper reason), and the Torah and the Injeel (Gospel).
Allah granted Issa all of these intellectual capabilities from his inception as some of the people of Tafseer have stated. We do not establish this claim as truth, nor do we deny it as falsehood.
And when you made out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My Permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My Permission.
And you healed those who were born blind (not just those who happened to have lost their sight), the lepers by My Permission.
And when you brought forth the dead by My Permission.
And when I restrained the Children of Israel from you (when they resolved to kill you) since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said, This is nothing but evident magic.
This was the greatest miracle granted by Allah to Issa. We will shortly begin discussing the intricacies of how Issa was saved from the Jews and the Romans. This ayah also shows that those who sought the death of Issa were the Jews and not the Romans per-say. The ayah also shows that there were Jews who believed (Hawarieen or Disciples) and those who disbelieved.
And when I (Allah) put in the hearts of al-Hawarieen (the Disciples of Issa) to believe in Me and My Messenger (you O Issa), they said: We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.
This ayah shows clearly that Allah places guidance in the hearts of individuals. There were many that rejected the truth although they also witnessed the aforementioned miraculous occurrences. Guidance is solely from Allah, as is the misguidance of those whom were destined to reject the truth and Light of Tawheed.
(Remember) when the disciples said: O Issa, son of Marium! Is your Lord able to send down to us a table spread (with food) from heaven? Issa said, Fear Allah, if you are indeed believers!
Although they have seen clay birds being brought to life, the blind and lepers alleviated of their illness, the raising of the dead and many other miracles, they still say, “Is your Lord able!” The syntax of their question implies that if your Lord does not furnish us this table spread then He is UNABLE, not unwilling!
They said, We wish to eat thereof and to be stronger in Faith, and to know that you have indeed told us the truth and that we ourselves be its witnesses.
Once again the weakness of their faith is apparent. The syntax in their statement indirectly implies that if you have told us the truth and you really are a Prophet and a Messenger then your Lord will bring down the table spread that we request. Otherwise you have not spoken the truth. They admit that their faith is weak. Issa (AS) therefore invokes Allah for the table spread.
Issa, son of Marium, said, O Allah, Our Lord! Send us from Heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us for the first and the last of us a festival and a sign from You; and provide us Sustenance, for You are the Best to Sustain.
The request although seemingly simple enough in comparison with the other miracles performed by Issa is of a different nature. The request of the Disciples is a challenge to Allah.
Sufyan ath-Thawri (RA) states:
A day of festivity means a day that we can mark with your worship.
Salman al-Farisi (RA) said:
A day for us to mark by remembering you.
Allah said, I am going to send it down unto you, but if any of you after that disbelieves, then I will punish him a torment such as I have not inflicted on anyone among (all) the Alamin (all that exist, mankind and Jinn).
Abullah bin Amr bin al Aws (ra) states:
“The three most punished peoples on the Day of Ressurrection shall be: The Hypocrites (at time of Rasool ul Allah), those who disbelieved after the Table spread was brought down, and Pharaoh and his legions.
These verses represent a few of the abilities given to Issa (AS) by Allah (SWT).
Yet, in the midst of all of this we see that Allah says:
“Then when Issa came to know of their disbelief…” Ali-Imran 3:52
How can there be disbelief after all of these signs and proofs of Prophethood?
“Then when Issa came to know of their disbelief…” Ali-Imran 3:52
Allah (SWT) says in Surati ali-Imran (3:49-54):
“And (Allah) will make him (Issa) a Messenger to the Children of Israel (saying to them): I have come to you with a sing from your Lord, that I design for you out of clay a bird, as if it were a bird and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allahs Leave.
And I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I bring the dead to life by Allahs Leave.
And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely therein is a sign for you, if you believe.
And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord. So fear Allah and obey me.
Truly! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Allah alone). This is the Straight Path.
Then when Issa (Jesus) came to know of their disbelief, he said, who will be my helpers in Allahs Cause? The Disciples said, We are the helpers of Allah; we believe in Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims.
And they (the disbelievers from the Jews and Romans) plotted (to kill Issa), and Allah Planned too. And Allah is the Best of Planners.” Surat ali-Imran (3:49-54)
The plots of the Jews and Romans began to take form and Allah Planned on saving Issa (AS) and making him a sign and a test for mankind. In fact Jibreel informed Marium before she carried her child,
He (Jibreel) said: “So (it will be that you will carry a child without any male intervention), your Lord has said, That is easy for Me (Allah)! And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allah), and it is a matter already decreed.”
Issa (AS) was chosen to be a sign to mankind of Allahs Power and ability. He (AS) was also chosen to be a sign and an indicator of the nearness of the Day of Resurrection.
Allah (SWT) in His infinite Wisdom and Knowledge saved Issa from the clutches of the Jews and the pagan Romans, promising to return him as a savior of Humanity and a leader of the people of Tawheed and Sunnah.
“…they killed him (Issa) not. But Allah raised him (Issa) up to Himself)…”
Of the greatest issues separating Christians from Muslims is the falsely claimed Crucifixion of Issa son of Marium (AS). Allah (SWT) therefore describes to us in the Quran what truly transpired and took place on the fateful day that the Jews and Romans attempted to extinguish yet another Prophet and Messenger of Allah. Allah (SWT) states in Surati Ali-Imran (3:54-58):
“And they (the disbelievers from the Jews and Romans) plotted (to kill Issa), and Allah Planned too. And Allah is the Best of Planners.
And (remember) when Allah said: O Issa! I will take you (Mutawaafeek) and raise you to Myself and clear you (of the forged statements) of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you (Monotheists) superior to those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allah) till the day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will Judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute.”
The word Mutawafeek is important in understanding this verse in the light of the Quran and Sunnah. Although this word is synonymous with dying or death, here the word is to be literally translated as meaning to be placed in a state of Minor death. Each and every night you and I experience this when we enter into sleep. The intended meaning can be deduced from the following verses in the Quran that uses the exact same root word. Allah (SWT) says:
>”It is Allah Who takes the souls (Yatawafa) at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.”
“It is He (Allah) who takes your souls (Yatawafaakum) by night (when you are asleep), and has knowledge of all that you have done by day, then he raises you (gives you ability to wake) up again so that a term appointed (your life period) is to be fulfilled. Then in the end unto Him will be your return. Then He will inform you what you used to do.” Al-Anaam (6:60)
Rasool ul Allah (SAAW) also taught us to say when we wake in the morning:
“All praise be to Allah who has given me Life after death (minor death = sleep). And to Him is our Resurrection.” Reported by Al-Bukhari
From this we see that Issa was raised physically while in a state of sleep to Allah (SWT) who is Established Above His Throne in the manner that Befits His Majesty and Honor.
Surati Ali-Imran (3:54, 55)
Allah (SWT) also states in Surati Nisa (4:157, 158):
“And because of their (the Jews) disbelief and uttering against Marium a grave false charge (that she has committed illegal sexual intercourse);
And because of their (the Jews) saying (in boast), We killed the Messiah Issa, son of Marium, the Messenger of Allah (they say this in mockery), but they killed him not, nor crucify him, but the resemblance of a Issa was put over another man (and they killed that man). And (surely) those who differ therein are full of doubts (amongst themselves). They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture (speculation). For surely they killed him not.
But Allah raised him (Rafaahu) up (Issas body and soul together) unto Himself. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.”
Ibn Abi Hatim, Al-Imam an-Nasaai and others report with authentic chains of narration, as deemed by Ibn Kathir, that Ibn Abbas (ra) said regarding these verses:
“Issa (AS) came out one day to the disciples with his head dripping water. He (AS) said to them, “Who of you volunteers to have my likeness placed upon him, be crucified in my place and in so doing earn a place beside me in al-Jannah (Paradise)?” The youngest of the disciples stood up first and with conviction volunteering for this task. Issa instructed him to sit down and did not accept his offering of himself. Issa (AS) repeated the offer three times and all three times the youngest of the disciples was the first to volunteer. Issa (AS) said, “You are the one for this!” Allah (SWT) then placed the likeness of Issa upon this young man and raised Issa (AS) through the roof of the home up into the heavens while he was in a state of sleep (Sinaatan min al-Naoum). The Jews entered upon the disciples and took the young man and crucified him.”
That is the truth of the matter as it is established in the untarnished words of Allah and the Purifying Sunnah of His Messenger Muhammed (SAAW). This is what all Muslims must establish as being the truth with complete certainty and acceptance.
In our next discussion we will learn of the advent of Issa (AS) that is promised to us in the Quran and Authentic Sunnah. When will Issa return? Why will he return? Who will he return to support? And more importantly, who will he fight against? The Inevitable Return of Issa to Slay the Dajjal (One-eyed liar or the Anti-Christ) and Lead the Muslim Nation.