[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jesus – Ascension & Return

No change should there be in the creation of Allah [Quran 30:30] 
Mission of the Messengers-VIII

Related posts:
Mission of the Messengers



Abstract
Several people across many religions expect a Messiah to come save the Believers. Some Muslims believe that Messiah Jesus (Masih Isa ibn-e-Maryam) was raised alive and is with God, while others assert that he died a natural death. Yet others are in doubt. This also leads them to assert that there will be no second coming of Jesus. Based on some verses of the Quran, I believe that Jesus was raised alive and will return as the Messiah.  


Full Text
Muslims believe that all prophets and messengers preached the same religion and foretold the same future events. Almost all religions expect the return of a Messiah before the end of the world.

Similarly, almost all religions and mythologies remember a Great Flood.  In Surah Yasin, after the mention of the Believers being carried in an Ark during the Great Flood, and before going on to discuss the moment and events of the Hereafter, it states:

[Al Qur’an 36:45, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] And when it is said to them, "Fear what (is) before you and what (is) behind you so that you may receive mercy."

As discussed in Mission of the Messengers: World History and Future Implications, the Great Flood destroyed all except the Believers, and the Qur’an predicts the rise of the Beast (Creature of the Earth) and another Flood.

Some Muslims believe that Messiah Jesus (Masih Isa ibn-e-Maryam) was raised alive and is with God, while others assert that he died a natural death. Yet others are in doubt. This also leads them to assert that there will be no second coming of Jesus.

Based on the following verses of the Quran, I believe that Jesus was raised alive and will return as the knowledge of the Hour to fulfill his mission.


Chosen Ones
The third chapter of the Quran recounts in detail the life of Mary and her son Jesus. The narration begins at Q3:33 which lists in sequence the chosen ones, and informs us that Allah has chosen the Family of Imran:

[Al-Qur’an 3:33, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Nuh, and (the) family (of) Ibrahim and (the) family (of) Imran over the worlds.

 Jesus is the maternal grandson of Imran, and because Jesus did not have a father, he is of Imran’s lineage.  


Raised Alive
In the same chapter, towards the end of the narration about Mary and Jesus, God tells Jesus:

[Al-Qur’an 3:55, Translation: Pickthal] (And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ.

In Surah Nisaa, verses 157-158 state: 

[Al Qur’an 4:157-158, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] And for their saying, "Indeed, we killed the Messiah, Isa, son (of) Maryam, (the) Messenger (of) Allah." And not they killed him and not they crucified him but it was made to appear (so) to them. And indeed, those who differ in it (are) surely in doubt about it. Not for them about it [of] (any) knowledge except (the) following (of) assumption. And not they killed him, certainly. Nay, Allah raised him towards Him. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.


Raised or Died: technical difference
Q3:55 uses the words ‘mutawaffeeka warafiAAuka ilayya’. ‘Mutawaffeeka’ which shares the same root as ‘wafaat’.  Q39:42clearly distinguishes between ‘wafaat’ and ‘maut’ as two different actions:

[Al Qur’an 39:42 Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] Allah takes the souls (at the) time (of) their death, and the one who (does) not die in their sleep. Then He keeps the one whom, He has decreed for them the death, and sends the others for a term specified. Indeed, in that surely (are) signs for a people who ponder.

Wafaat means to take away, that is, it is the removal of nafs (the word translated as ‘souls’ in the above translation) from the body which Allah removes every time we sleep, while the nafs is not returned to that body upon whom death (maut) has been decreed. 

Another example from the Qur'an that mutawaffeeka means to take away or remove, and does not mean death: 
[Al Qur’an 6:60 Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] And He (is) the One Who takes your (soul) by the night and He knows what you committed by the day. Then He raises you up therein, so that is fulfilled (the) term specified. Then to Him will be your return then He will inform you about what you used to do. 


Among those Brought Near to God
Surah Al-Waqiah mentions three categories of people, among which the foremost in faith will be those brought near. Interestingly, in the Quran, the only human being mentioned by name as among those brought near is Jesus:

[Al Qur’an 3:45, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] When said the Angels, "O Maryam! Indeed, Allah gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, his name (is) the Messiah, Isa, son (of) Maryam, honored in the world and (in) the Hereafter, and of those brought near (to Allah).

In Surah Nisa, Q4:172, the angels and the Messiah are mentioned as those worshipping Allah: 

[Literal (word-by-word)] Never will disdain the Messiah to be a slave of Allah and not the Angels, the ones who are near (to Allah). And whoever disdains from His worship and is arrogant then He will gather them towards Him all together.

[Shakir] The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him, and whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Himself. 

[Yusuf Ali] Christ disdaineth nor to serve and worship God, nor do the angels, those nearest (to God): those who disdain His worship and are arrogant,-He will gather them all together unto Himself to (answer).

Interestingly, in Arabic grammar, present and future tenses are both represented by the same verb. And so, the above verse can be understood as either in the present tense or the future tense. I understand it in the present tense.  


The Hour
[Al Qur’an 43:85, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] Nay, they deny the Hour and We have prepared for (those) who deny the Hour, a Blazing Fire.

[Al Qur’an 19:75, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] Say, "Whoever is in [the] error, then surely will extend for him the Most Gracious an extension, until when they see what they were promised, either the punishment or the Hour, then they will know who [he] (is) worst (in) position and weaker (in) forces."

[Al Qur’an 30:55, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] And (the) Day will (be) established the Hour will swear the criminals not they remained but an hour. Thus they were deluded.

[Al Qur’an 30:47, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] And verily, We sent before you Messengers to their people, and they came to them with clear proofs; then We took retribution from those who committed crimes. And it was incumbent upon Us (to) help the believers.

[Al Qur’an 54:43-46, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] Are your disbelievers, better than those, or for you (is) an exemption in the Scriptures? Or (do) they say, "We (are) an assembly helping (each other)?" Soon will be defeated (their) assembly, and they will turn (their) backs. Nay, the Hour (is) their promised time, and the Hour (will be) more grievous and more bitter.

Knowledge of the Hour 
In Surah Zukhruf, the discourse about Isa ibn-e-Maryam begins at Q43:57. Q43:61 is variously translated to mean that either there is no doubt about the Hour, or that Jesus is/will be the knowledge of the Hour. I am inclined to believe that Jesus will be the knowledge, the sign which will inform us, that the Hour is imminent or has come upon us. Then 43:66 again mentions the Hour that it will come suddenly or unexpectedly. Verse 43:85 literally states that the knowledge of the Hour is with God:

[Al Qur’an 43:85, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] And blessed (is) the One Who - to Whom (belongs the) dominion (of) the heavens and the earth and whatever (is) between both of them and with Him (is the) knowledge (of) the Hour, and to Him you will be returned. 

Note that both Q43:61(لَعِلْمٌ لِّلسَّاعَةِ) and Q43:85 (عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ) mention the knowledge (عِلْمُ) of the Hour and not command (أَمْرُ).  Of course the Hour will occur when God commands it (Q16:77 أَمْرُ السَّاعَةِ), but the word knowledge indicates that these verses are conveying where Jesus is presently, and that when Jesus returns, Believers will know that the promised Hour is imminent.   

In 7:187, the word 'knowledge' is emphasised twice:

[Al Qur’an 7:187, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] They ask you about the Hour, when will be its appointed time? Say, "Only its knowledge (is) with my Lord, no (one) can reveal [it] its time except Him. It lays heavily in the heavens and the earth. Not will it come to you but suddenly." They ask you as if you (were) well informed about it. Say, "Only its knowledge (is) with Allah, but most (of) the people (do) not know." 


People of the Book & Belief in Jesus
Jesus was born in the bani Israel tribe, who are one of the People of the Book:

Not he (was) except a slave, We bestowed Our favor on him and We made him an example for (the) Children of Israel.

Even though Jesus was born miraculously, spoke when a baby, performed wondrous miracles in his youth, yet most people did not believe in him:

[Al-Qur’an 3:55, Translation: Pickthal] (And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ.

Quran 4:157 is quite clear that they neither killed nor crucified Jesus. 

As discussed above, Q43:61 goes on to state that Jesus will be the knowledge of the Hour.  When Jesus returns, and before he dies a natural death, all People of the Book will believe that he is the Messiah and a Slave and Messenger of God: 

[Al-Qur’an 4:159, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] And (there is) not from (the) People (of) the Book but surely he believes in him before his death. And (on the) Day (of) the Resurrection he will be against them a witness.  


Childhood and Maturity
It is believed that Jesus died when he was in his thirties. According to Q46:15, the age of maturity is forty years. Two verses of the Qur’an state that Jesus will speak both from the cradle and in maturity:

[Al-Qur’an 3:45-46, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] When said the Angels, "O Maryam! Indeed, Allah gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, his name (is) the Messiah, Isa, son (of) Maryam, honored in the world and (in) the Hereafter, and of those brought near (to Allah). And he will speak (to) the people in the cradle and (in) maturity; and (he will be) of the righteous."

Jesus spoke ‘from the cradle’ in his past coming, and he will ‘speak in maturity’ when he comes again as expected:  

[Al-Qur’an 5:109-110, Translation: Literal (word-by-word)] (The) day Allah will gather the Messengers and He will say, "What was (the) response you received?" They said, "(There is) no knowledge for us. Indeed You, You (are the) Knower (of) the unseen." When Allah said, "O Isa, son (of) Maryam! Remember My Favor upon you and upon your mother when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit, you spoke (to) the people in the cradle and (in) maturity. And when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you make from the clay like the shape (of) the bird by My permission then you breath into it and it becomes a bird by My permission, and you heal the born blind and the leper by My permission, and when you bring forth the dead by My permission. And when I restrained (the) Children (of) Israel from you when you came to them with the clear proofs then said those who disbelieved among them "This is not but clear magic."


Lessons in Faith, Wealth, Knowledge and Power
In Surah Al-Kahf, Q18, one of the opening statements of the chapter is that it is intended to warn those who say that God has a son (Q18:4). The miracle of long sleep of the Ashab-e-Kahf is discussed at length, followed by the statement that there is no doubt about the Hour (Q18:21). Also related in detail are the voyages of Dhu-al-Qarnayn, his containment of the Gog and Magog [Yajuj Majuj], followed by the statement that when the promise of God undoubtedly occurs (Q18:98), they will be let loose again.
It is popularly believed that we should recite/study Surah Al-Kahf weekly as it will help us face the fitna of the Dajjal, who is expected to be a great trial before the arrival of the Messiah. The chapter contains important lessons in faith, wealth, knowledge and power.  



References and Links


The Qur’an
Most translations of the Qur’an quoted here are Literal (Word by Word). To compare 50+ English translations of any verse, please click on the link to go directly to verse, or go to Qur’an index of this website and choose Chapter and Verse: http://islamawakened.com/index.php/qur-an



Last updated on August 4, 2016

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