بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله وحده و الصلاة و السلام على من لا نبي بعده و على آله و أصحابه أجمعين
by Adeel Tariq Khan and Waqar Akbar Cheema
Did the prophecy of Messenger of Allah –on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- about return of Jesus fail?
Time and again we have come across various arguments put forward by the missionaries that force us to think several times before thinking to put forth a rebuttal as the arguments are extremely silly. What you are reading here is one of the silliest arguments put forth by the missionaries. We would rate it as the second most senseless (or amusing) allegation, the first one being this one. We hope they stick to their point and don’t later claim their allegation to be a joke of some sort.
A few sayings of the Prophet of Islam –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- quoted from a variety of sources have been put forward claiming that they contain errors; errors in the Hadith and in the judgement of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him). Here we will discuss these allegations. There are plenty of sayings of similar nature but one is sufficient for proper explanation.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle 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 no-body will accept charitable gifts.
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 34, number 425)
Based on this Hadith, missionaries allege that Prophet Muhammad –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- believed that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) would descend during the lifetime of his companions and that his appearance was described to the companions so that they may recognize him.
If a person has never opened any book of Hadith in their lifetime and this wild theory is presented to them, perhaps they would accept it. One has to be this much out of context to convince anyone on this false conclusion. Before going to the context and looking at this Hadith in the light of other prophecies, let us examine a few Arabic words from the Hadith.
Descend amongst ‘you’
The narrations say:
“Descend amongst you (plural).”
The words for people or men (الناس، رجال) are not there in Arabic. The translators have used it as ‘descend amongst you people’ for an accurate message of the translation because the plural for ‘you’ in English is still ‘you’. Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) does not mention whether Prophet Muhammad –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- spoke to him alone or to a group of people. Since it is not mentioned, we should not assume. The ‘you’ in plural refer to Muslims in general not just any group from amongst the Muslims in particular as it has not been limited by the Prophet. Please note that ‘you’ in all the narrations of such sort have a plural ‘you’ and are therefore not personal in nature. However, a missionary namely Sam Shamoun, has stated that this refers to the companion i.e. Abu Huraira personally and is not valid for all Muslims of later generations. The claimant of such an absurd allegation is Arabic speaking himself and it is hard to accept that this is a genuine error on his part rather than a deliberate attempt to twist the message to suit his desires.
Other narrations (the context)
Since the above narration is from Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him), why don’t we quote how he interpreted the prophecies?
Abu Huraira said that the Messenger of Allah –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- mentioned India and said, "A group of you will conquer India, Allah will open (conquer) it for them to the extent that they (Muslims) bring its (India's) kings/rulers chained. Allah will forgive their (Muslim fighters') sins. When they (Muslim fighters) return back (from India), they will find (Jesus) the son of Mary in Al-Shaam (Syria)."
(Kitab al-Fitan, Hadith 1236, Makteba al-Tawheed, Cairo, 1412 A.H.)
Here we have established the fact the Jesus (peace be upon him) would come just around the time Hind (India) would be captured by the Muslims and if we assume the missionary’s argument to be correct for a moment, by turning off our brains, we would have to accept that Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) would witness that incident in his lifetime, i.e. conquest of India. However, according to his own statement, he never understood the words of Prophet Muhammad –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- to mean this way. He never understood them to be referring to either only him or people of his time but he understood them to be for the Muslim nation to follow. Here is what he says:
Abu Huraira said, "The Messenger of Allah –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- promised us the conquest of India. If I get killed (in the conquest of India), then I will be among the best of martyrs. And if I return (alive from the conquest of India), then I will be Abu Huraira, the freed (meaning a man who has been freed from Hellfire)."
(Musnad Ahmad, Hadith 7128. Dar al-Hadith ed. Classified as Sahih by Ahmad Shakir)
In some narrations of the report another sentence is added in between: “If I come across that (in my life time), I will spend my soul and wealth.” (Sunan al-Nasai, Hadith 3173)
It is very clear from his statement that he knew that the time is not mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Here it shows that he did not know whether it would be during his lifetime of after him but the missionary states that the prophecy was personal and to be fulfilled during his lifetime. The one to whom it was said and the one who narrates it to us does not understand it the way the missionary tries to misinterpret.
Furthermore, it has been clarified by the Prophet of Islam –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- himself. Na’im bin Hammad narrated:
Abu Hurayrah (R.A.) said: ‘If I could find that Ghazwa (lit. battle), then I would sell all my new and old belongings and would participate in it. When Allah would grant us success and we return, then I would be a free Abu Hurayrah; who would come to Shaam (Syria) with such a joy of finding Jesus (peace be upon him) over there. O Messenger of Allah. At that time it would be my intense wish to meet (or come close to) Jesus (peace be upon him) and that I may tell him that I am the companion of Muhammad (peace be upon him).The narrator tells that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) smiled and then said: ‘very difficult, very difficult’. (Kitab al-Fitan, Hadith 1236)
Mark the words “very difficult, very difficult.” It clarifies that Prophet –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- did not mean to address Abu Huraira or for that matter other companions –his immediate listeners- as he foretold the return of Jesus –peace be upon him.
Another narration tells us that Abu Huraira –may Allah be pleased with him- asked the people of generation next to him to convey his greetings to Jesus –peace be upon him- if they were to meet him.
Abu Huraira said: “O my nephew! If you see him (i.e. Jesus) say (to him): ‘Abu Huraira sent greetings unto you.’” (Mustadrak al-Hakim, Hadith 4162. Classified as Sahih by al-Hakim. al-Dhahabi agreed with him)
This again shows Abu Huraira –may Allah be pleased with him- never understood the prophecy as Sam does.
In fact there is a narration that actually kills the whole rant of insane missionaries. The narration reads;
The Messenger of Allah –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said: “How can that ummah (community) be destroyed in whose beginning is myself and in whose end is Jesus the Son of Mary?” -Narrated by Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Ali bin Husain and Jubayr bin Nufayr.
(See, Kanzul Ummal Hadīth 38671 & 38858, Mishkat al-Masabih H. 6287 and Mustadrak al-Hakim, Hadith 4351. Classified as Hasan by Al-Azizi and Ibn Hajr)
The missionary alleges that Prophet Jesus -peace be upon him- had to descend very soon after the Holy Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as per the Hadith, and it has been more than 1,400 years and he still hasn’t descended. Only a materialistic mind could raise such an argument. The universe is billions of years old and human race itself is several thousand years old. Considering a few thousand years out of hundreds of thousands is definitely a very short amount of time. Furthermore, Qur’an describes the time on earth being very short:
[Allah] will say, “How long did you remain on earth in number of years?”They will say, “We remained a day or part of a day; ask those who enumerate.” (Qur’an 23: 112, 113)
According to another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah –on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- described his advent and the Day of Judgment as too close.
Narrated Sahl bin Sad As-Sa'idi: Allah's Messenger, holding out his middle and index fingers, said, "My advent and the Hour's are like this (or like these)," namely, the period between his era and the Hour is like the distance between those two fingers, i.e., very short. (Sahih Bukhari, Book 63, Hadith 221)
With this vision of the Prophet –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- known there remains no confusion about the meaning of ‘shortly’ and the established Islamic belief of return of Jesus only near the End of Times.
There are thousands of prophecies by Prophet Muhammad may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- in numerous books  etc. The subject is a sea of knowledge and if you ask me, it is a science in its own right. Going into further narrations would open up the maze of never ending discussions, of questions and counter questions and, especially for such unknowledgeable missionaries, would cause many troubles in understanding even the slightest of this knowledge. Therefore, minimum possible narrations have been used to clarify the misconception or deceit being put forward by the enemies of Islam.
LET ME TURN THE TABLES
In the same vein serious questions can be raised about the prophecies of ‘Holy’ Bible. In the Book of Acts, Peter in his second sermon reminds the Jews;
“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (Acts 3:22)
Every Christian will say that all these ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘ye’ refer to Jews of the time of Jesus whereas definitely they were not the immediate audience of Moses- on him be peace. Let no one assume that this is Peter paraphrasing the prophecy for one clearly finds ‘me’ in the verse. For a surety Peter could never say that the prophesized Prophet was to be like him. As ‘me’ refers to Moses, the words ‘you’, ‘ye’ and ‘your’ are also with respect to him. And if Christians can assert that by ‘you’ Moses meant Jewish people 1300 years after him can they not tell Sam Shamoun not to embarrass them by making such stupid arguments against the Blessed Prophet of Islam- on him be the peace and blessings of Allah?
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV, Matthew 7: 1-2)
Indeed Allah knows the best!