The Qur’an says: Jesus (peace be upon him) will come back
Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam was created not having a father, talked in the cradle, and was a great prophet sent to children of Israel. Jewish people wanted to kill him in his prophethood, but Allah (SWT) protected him from their harm and raised him to the heavens alive. He will come back to the world again in the End Times, participate to the ummah of last prophet, practice within last prophet’s sharia and spread Islam all over the world. Then he will die a natural death.
What we have told so far is narrated by Qur’an and its interpretation Sunnah so clearly that there is no need for further explanation. All the Muslims from the prophet’s time to the present time and today most of the Muslims have got the same belief.
The method and principle for the tafseer (interpretation) of the Qur’an is first of all to interpret Quran with Qur’an, then with Sunnah, and then with Sahaba (Companions) and Tabiin’s comments. The commentaries op beposing this method are included in “Ilhadi Tafseer (Deviational commentary)” in knowledge of tafseer.
While interpreting the verses about Prophet Isa, Hadith, the primary commentary of the Qur’an, is to be consulted. The Hadithes about the return of Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam in the End Times are in substantial numbers.
In fact, even if Hadith are not consulted, meanings appropriate to the truths in Hadith can be drawn from the Qur’an if one inspects it with a strong mind and a sincere heart. Below are the proofs from Qur’an about the ascension of Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam:
FIRST PROOF: ISA (JESUS) ALAYHISSALAM IS ONE OF THE SIGNS OF END TIMES ACCORDING TO THE QUR’AN
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told Qurayshians, “There is no goodness of the one who is worshipped other than Allah (SWT).” They said, “Do not you claim that Isa is a devout worshipper? Whereas he is worshipped other than Allah” Upon this the below verses of surah al Zukh’ruf (57-62) were revealed:
“And when the son of Mary was presented as an example, immediately your people laughed aloud. And they said, “Are your gods better, or is he?” They did not present the comparison except for [mere] argument.
But, [in fact], they are a people prone to dispute. He (Isa / Jesus) was not but a servant upon whom We bestowed favour, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel. And if We willed, We could have made [instead] of you angels succeeding [one another] on the earth. And indeed, he (Isa / 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. And never let Satan avert you. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”
Among these verses the 61st verse explicitly states that Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam is one of the signs of the End Times. (And indeed, Isa / 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.) The phrase ( إنه ) “indeed, he” refers to Prophet Isa mentioned in verse 59. The companions Abu Huraira and Ibn Abbas interpreted the verse in this way, too. (Ad-Durrul Mansur. V.7. 386-387). Tabari related many narrations that Ibn Abbas (RA) interpreted the verse in this way. In brief, Mucahid, Ikrime, Abu Yahya, Abu Razin, Caber and Yahya from Tabiin narrated this meaning from Ibn Abbas. Also the same tafseer was narrated from Abi Malik, Avf, Hasan Basri, Mujahid, Katada, Suddi, Dahhaq and Ibn Zayd from Tabiin. (see also Tabari tafseer)
The commentators Ibn Kathir, Nasafi, Jalalayn, Wahidi, Fakhr al-Din Razi and many other commentators interpreted the verse as mentioned above. In his commentary Imam Kurtubi says, “Scholars say, ‘This verse is the proof that Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam will not come with a new sharia and responsibility, but he will come to revive the things forgotten and forsaken in the religion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).’ ”
SECOND PROOF: PROPHET ISA (JESUS) ALAYHISSALAM WILL SPEAK TO PEOPLE IN THE CRADLE AND IN HIS OLD AGES
The word ( كهَْلا ) is mentioned two times in the Qur’an. Both are related to Prophet Isa’s speaking to people in his old ages:
“He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.” (Surah al ‘Imran, 46)
“(O Jesus! You) spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity.” (Surah al-Maida; 110)
The word ( كهَْلا ) is defined as “the person whose hair and beard gone grey, and on whom the signs of old age are seen.” One of the earliest commentators, Nahhas says it is the age of 40 and around (Maani’il Qur’an). He also says, “Kahl, according to linguists, is the person who is close to the age of 40”. (Kurtubi, Vol. 4, Pg. 89)1 It is also described as be tween the ages of 30-33 and 50. This is the period when the youth period ends and the maturity period begins.
Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam was 33 when he was raised to heavens. If he died at 33, as it is claimed, how could we explain the verse, “He will speak to the people in maturity?”
Among the linguists and commentators there are the ones who understand and interpret the verse “He will speak to the people in maturity” as ‘Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam will speak to people when he comes to the world at the end of the time,’ and in fact this is the truth. As Ibnul Munzir narrated in Lisan-ul Arab, the verse “He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity,” points to two miracles of Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam. Namely, as his speaking in the cradle is a miracle, his coming at the end of the time and speaking is also a miracle.
Pay attention to the verse in surah al-Maida: “[The Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favour upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity.”
Although speaking is a feature of every person who reaches the old age, Allah (SWT)’s reminding that it is a bounty to Prophet is to attract the attention to the difference.
Moreover, we can say that ‘speaking’ is always a bounty. However, the speaking reminded to Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam is the one in the cradle and the one at the time of old age. And the reason for this is to attract the attention to differences of these two situations. That is, as his speaking in the cradle is extraordinary, his coming at the end of the time and speaking is also a great event.
Among the commentators, Baydhavi and Jalalayn, while interpreting the 110th verse of Surah al-Maida, say that the word ‘Kaplan’ points to the return of Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam in the End Times.
THIRD PROOF: PROPHET ISA (JESUS) ALAYHISSALAM WAS NOT CRUFIED; HE WAS RAISED TO HEAVENS
And [We cursed them] for their disbelief and their saying against Mary
a great slander, 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 Book but that he will surely believe in him (Jesus) before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness. (Surah al-Nisa’, 156-159) In this verse it is clearly stated that Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam was not crucified. The People of the Book will surely believe in Jesus before his death:
“And there is none from the People of the Book but that he will surely believe in him (Isa a.s.) before his death.”
It is mentioned in the verse that “the People of the Book believe in him” Since the word is in the future tense, it refers to future not to past. From this perspective, it is concluded that “till this verse was revealed, the People of Book had not believed while dying; but after this verse is revealed they will believe at the time of dying.” Giving this meaning to the verse would be wrong, because the sharia of Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam was abolished and the last Prophet had come.
If you pay attention, the verse does not say ‘Jews’; it says ‘the People of the Book.’ On that sense, Christians also enter in this verse’s extend. After Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam was raised to the heavens, Christianity continued for almost 400 years not losing its essence. From this aspect, to talk about the Christians who had already believed in him would believe again while dying is wrong.
For whom will Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam bear witness?
It is stated in 159th verse of sura al Nisa, as follows:
“And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them.” For whom will Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam bear witness?
If we understand the verse as “while the People of Book die, they believe in him” which we stated that was wrong above, will the Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam bear witness for the people who believe when they are about to pass away? However; bearing witness requires witnessing, itself. It is impossible for Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam to bear witness for people who believe in him when they are about to die after him till the Judgement Day because he will not able to see them.
The excellent evidence for wrongness of that argument is those words of Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam which the Qur’an conveys us: “I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou was the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.” (Al Maida; 117)
What is actually meant in the verse and what is right is that when Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam returns back before Judgement Day, the People of Book will believe in him and he bears witness for that faith in the Judgement Day, which he becomes a witness of it in the world.
FOURTH PROOF: THE WORD TAWAFFA (توَفَيَّ)
It is stated in the 54th and 55th verses of sura Al ‘Imran, as follows: “And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah. Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.”
Three meanings have been given to the word ( متوفي ) in that verse:
a. Taking the spirit, b. Death, c. Sleep.
Let’s discuss these three meanings briefly.
a. The word tawaffa means qabdh (taking the spirit):
Contrary to popular perception, the word “tawaffa” does not always mean death, passing away in Arabic. Asım Efendi defines the word in the translation of Al-Qamus Al-Muhit of Fairuzabadi as such, “to take an object completely”.
In other words, the word “tawaffa” means “seizure, taking”. The verse regarding the Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam means to seize the body and spirit of him and it does not mean to take his spirit only. Razi being in the first place, many commentators give that meaning to the word. After listing the opinions on the meaning of that verse Imam Tabari says: “For us the most appropriate of these opinions is the one which says “I will seize and take you from the world and I will elevate you to myself ” because of the confirming narrations coming from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
As a result of these explanations the meaning of the verse is: “O Isa (Jesus)! Without doubt I will take you from the earth and elevate to my presence.”
What we are doing here is not glossing but to expound the verse through the essential meaning of the word.
b. The word “tawaffa” means death:
The word “tawaffa” has been used to mean passing away but two probabilities are stressed in that point.
1. The statement “I will take your life” does not mean “I take it, now” and there is no evidence proving that perception. The essential meaning of the verse is, “they will not take your life but I will take it in the End Times when the time comes”.
2. There are advancements and postponements in words in many places in Qur’an. (See al Itqan v.2) Here is also advancement and postponement. The meaning of the verse is as follows: “I will elevate to myself and (when the time is up, in End Times) I will take your life.”
The ones who claim that the word mutawaffa ( متوفي ) in the verse meant “he died” building this claim on Ibn Abbas both slander him and distort the subject. Most of the narrations coming from Ibn Abbas point out that he believes that the Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam was not killed but was elevated to heaven and will come back in the End Times of the world.
According to another narration coming from Ibn Abbas, he accepts that there is advancement and postponement in the verse. The narration is as follows:
Through the chain of Ishaq b. Bishr and Ibn Asakir, (Jawhar, Dahhaq), Ibn Abbas expounds the verse “It is me who will take your life and will elevate you to myself ” as follows: “It is me who will elevate you to myself and will take your life in the End Times”. (Ad Durrul Mansur v.2 p.226 [Turkish version])
c. The word tawaffa means sleeping:
It is one of the most important essentials to expound the Qur’an again with Qur’an. This is the most reliable way of understanding the demand of Allah (SWT). The word tawaffa is used in the Qur’an to mean sometimes death and another times sleep –as mentioned above.
It is Allah (SWT) that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep. (Al Zumar: 42) Some scholars said about the verse regarding Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam that it means “I will make you sleep and elevate to myself.
FIFTH PROOF: PURIFICATION OUT OF INFIDELS
“I will clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme” What is meant in this verse is that he will be cleaned out of the slanders and falsehoods of Jews and Christians. How much what Jews claimed about Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam and his mother Maryam is nasty, the claims that Christians attach to him which he had never said is as nasty as the Jews’. The Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam will come back and all Jews and Christians will believe him and they will give up their false beliefs and convictions about him. That was declared by the following verse: “Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s Light (by blowing) with their mouths: But Allah will complete (the revelation of) His Light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it). It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it).” (As – Saff; 8, 9) “Proclaiming it (Religion of Truth) over all religion” will take place after Prophet Isa comes back and become the ummah of our Prophet (PBUH) in the End Times. What pagans say will not prevent it from happening.
SIXTH PROOF: THE ONES WHO OBEY PROPHET ISA (JESUS) ALAYHISSALAM WILL PREVAIL ON INFIDELS TILL THE JUDGEMENT DAY.
I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection. (Al ‘Imran, 55)
Who are those indicated in the verse who will obey Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam and will be superior to the infidels till the Judgement Day?
There are three possible groups meant here;
1. The true followers of Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam who believed him before distortion of Bible.
2. The Christians after the distortion of Bible.
3. The ones who obey Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam when he comes back and acts according to Prophet’s Muhammad’s (PBUH) law.
It is clear that first two items are incorrect. The believers before distortion of Bible cannot be meant in the verse because they could not prevail over the infidels even if they had the true belief; and after 300 years they were defeated by infidels who adopted the trinity creed. However; the verse stresses that this mentioned group will be superior on infidels till the Judgement Day. The infidels who adopted the trinity after distortion of the Bible cannot be meant; because the Qur’an says that they are infidels.
Moreover, their rivalries were the ummah of Muhammad (PBUH) and Muslims were superior to them for a thousand years unless we consider the last two centuries. Therefore, these people are not whom the Qur’an means.
When we look closely we see that it is said in the verse “the ones who obey you” but it is not meant Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who came after six centuries. What is logical, reasonable and suitable to Qur’an and explanations of our prophet is the third possibility which is “The ones who obey Prophet Isa (Jesus) alayhissalam when he comes back and applies the law of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the End Times of the world”.