All about Jesus (Peace be upon him)
(a) Is belief in the existence of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) cardinal to Islamic faith?
(b) Will he appear again at the end, and if so, what will be his purpose? Is there any other Prophet still alive?
(a) Yes, Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh). We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt). We believe that he was the Messiah, translated ‘Christ’. We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe. We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission. We believe that he healed those born blind and the lepers with God’s permission.
Allah says in the Qur'an regarding Jesus Christ (pbuh):
And remember Jesus the son of Mary said: "O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah (sent) to you…” (Surah Saff 61:6)
Infact Islam makes it an article of faith to believe not only in Jesus Christ (pbuh) but all the Messengers that preceded and followed him. By name only twenty-five Messengers are mentioned in the Qur'an. Allah instructs us in the Qur'an:
“O you who believe! believe in Allah and his Messenger and the scripture which He has sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). And who denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Day of Judgment have gone far far astray.” (Al-Qur'an 4:136)
Thus belief in the Messengers, including Jesus (pbuh) is an important belief of Islam. Though Jesus (pbuh) is mentioned by name twenty-five times in the Qur'an, he is also referred with other respectable terms such as ‘Ibne Maryam’ - son of Mary; as ‘Masih’ – translated Christ, as ‘Rasulullah’ - Messenger of Allah, as ‘Abdullah’ – servant of Allah, as ‘a word of Allah’, as ‘a spirit proceeding from Allah’, as ‘a sign of Allah’ and numerous other epithets spread over fifteen different chapters of the Qur'an.
(b) It is also true that the Muslims, on the authority of the Qur'an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh). He was the only Prophet of Allah who was raised up alive. Allah says:
‘…They said (in boast) "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them; and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.’(Al-Qur'an 4:157-158)
Allah mentions the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh) in the following verse of the Qur'an:
“And indeed, he (i.e. Jesus) will be (a sign for) knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.” (Al-Qur'an 43:61)
The reason why Jesus (pbuh) is the only Prophet of Allah who was raised up alive by Allah is because he was the only Prophet whose “followers” mistook him as God. They wrongly say that he claimed divinity. Thus he will come back again to this world to clarify all such misconceptions. Says Allah in the Qur'an:
‘And behold! Allah will say "O Jesus the son of Mary! did you say unto men worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah"? He will say: "Glory to You! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing you would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart though I know not what is in yours. For You know in full all that is hidden.’ (Al-Qur'an 5:116)
There are no less than seventy Ahadith that speak of the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh). In one of the Ahadith, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:
"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims who are in the protection of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3. Hadith no. 425)
It should also be borne in mind that Jesus Christ (pbuh), in his second coming will not be coming with any new message or revelation. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:
"How will you be when the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Qur'an and not by the law of the Gospel”. (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4. Hadith No. 658)
Let’s now analyse the following words attributed to Jesus Christ (pbuh) in the Bible:
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [The Bible, Mathew 7:22-24]
In the verses quoted above, Jesus (pbuh) said that in his second coming, he would ask the people to depart from him, to get away from him because he wouldn’t know them. Who are these people? The Muslims or the Hindus? The answer is neither Hindus nor Muslims but the Christians, because Muslims or Hindus do not claim to do “Miracles” in the name of Jesus Christ (pbuh) nor do they cast out devils in his name.
Thus Muslims believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh) to be one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah and also believe in his second coming.
The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background. Becoming a Muslim is a simple and easy process that requires no pre-requisites. One may convert alone in privacy, or he/she may do so in the presence of others.
If anyone has a real desire to be a Muslim and has full conviction and strong belief that Islam is the true religion of God, then, all one needs to do is pronounce the “Shahada”, the testimony of faith, without further delay. The “Shahada” is the first and most important of the five pillars of Islam.
With the pronunciation of this testimony, or “Shahada”, with sincere belief and conviction, one enters the fold of Islam.
Upon entering the fold of Islam purely for the Pleasure of God, all of one’s previous sins are forgiven, and one starts a new life of piety and righteousness. The Prophet said to a person who had placed the condition upon the Prophet in accepting Islam that God would forgive his sins:
“Do you not know that accepting Islam destroys all sins which come before it?” (Prophet Muhammad (pbuh))
According to the gospel of Luke, John the baptist and Jesus were destined to be great men before they were a twinkle in anyone's eye. Angels, prophets, and complete strangers constantly remind their parents that they have a mission from God. In one scene, a prophet named Simeon addresses Mary specifically.
"Listen carefully. The child [Jesus] is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected. Indeed, as a result of him the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul as well!"
A lot of commentary suggests that Simeon was warning Mary that Jesus' rejection would be painful to bear as he lives out his cause for the Most High. But I think there's something else going on. When Simeon says that a sword will pierce her soul as well, it immediately follows the phrase about the thoughts of many hearts being revealed.
The word "sword" is better described as a javelin - a throwing spear - when we take a closer look at the Greek. And the etymology of the word "pierce" suggests a long path or journey. Have you noticed throughout these chapters that Mary keeps pondering things in her heart? Perhaps Simeon is saying that all the things Mary wondered about her son would eventually be revealed as he came into his own, and that Jesus' anointing was also her journey.
What do you think?