Miraculous Event of the Ascension of Sayyidna ‘Isa (Jesus Christ) عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

Miraculous Event of the Ascension of Sayyidna ‘Isa (Jesus Christ) عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

By Mufti Azam Muhammad Shafi رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ

 

Surah ‘Al-‘Imran 3 : 54.55

54 وَمَكَرُوۡا وَمَكَرَاللّٰهُ ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ خَيۡرُ الۡمَاكِرِيۡنَ

 اِذۡ قَالَ اللّٰهُ يٰعِيۡسٰۤى اِنِّىۡ مُتَوَفِّيۡكَ وَرَافِعُكَ اِلَىَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡكَ فَوۡقَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡۤا اِلٰى يَوۡمِ الۡقِيٰمَةِ ​​ۚ ثُمَّ اِلَىَّ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ فَاَحۡكُمُ بَيۡنَكُمۡ فِيۡمَا كُنۡتُمۡ فِيۡهِ تَخۡتَلِفُوۡنَ 55

 

And they made a move, and Allah made a move. And Allah is the best of those who make moves. [54] When Allah said: “O ‘Isa, I am to take you in full and raise you towards Myself, and cleanse you of those who disbelieve, and place those who follow you above those who disbelieve, upto the Day of Doom. Then to Me is your return, whereupon I shall judge between you in what you have been differing in.” [55]

In these verses, the miraculous event of the Ascension of Sayyidna ‘Isa (Jesus Christ) عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ has been mentioned. “And they made a move” refers to the evil designs of the Jews who planned to arrest him and to get him crucified.

The next sentence i.e. “and Allah made a move” refers to the plan designed by Allah Almighty to save his prophet ‘Isa from their ill designs. They sent one of them to Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ to arrest him and Allah changed his face totally and made him resemble Sayyidna ‘Isa  عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, and raised Sayyidna ‘Isa to the heavens, while that person was crucified under the mistaken identity. How Allah had planned to save ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ from their clutches was disclosed to him when his enemies came to arrest him. The details of these disclosures have been mentioned in verse 55

Explanation of important words in the verse

Some sects which deny, contrary to the belief of the entire Muslim community, the Ascension of Sayyidna ‘Isa (Jesus Christ) عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, his being alive in the heavens and his descension towards the later times, have worked through the words and meanings of these verses to open doors f distortion in the Qur’anic text. Therefore, it seems appropriate that these words be explained in some details.

Let us begin with ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ خَيۡرُ الۡمَاكِرِيۡنَ translated as ‘and Allah is the best of those who make moves’. The word, makr in Arabic denotes a subtle and secret move or plan. If this is for a good purpose, it is good; and if this is for a bad purpose, it is bad. It was why the restriction of saiyy (السَّيِّئُ : evil) was placed with makr (مَكَرَ : move, plan) in: وَلَا يَحِيقُ الْمَكْرُ السَّيِّئُ إِلَّا بِأَهْلِهِ (And evil plan besets none but its perpetrator – Chapter 35: Verse 43).

The Qur’anic word, makr, is used exclusively for conspiracy, evil plan and strategy in the everyday idiom of the Urdu language (in which this commentary was originally written), therefore, it should not be equated with the Arabic usage. This is the reason why Allah has been called:  خَيۡرُ الۡمَاكِرِيۡنَ : ‘Khair al-Makirin’ here.

The verse means that the Jews started making a series of conspiracies and secret schemes against Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ going to the limit of convincing the ruler of the time that he was a heretic (God forbid) all bent upon changing the Torah and was going to make apostates of everybody. The ruler ordered the arrest of Sayyidna ‘Isa. While this was the scene on one side, the subtle and secret move made by Allah Almighty was countering their evil plans more effectively, which has been mentioned in the verses coming next.

The word, ‘Mutawaffi’ in اِنِّىۡ مُتَوَفِّيۡكَ , takes ‘tawaffi as its verbal noun with its root being ‘wafyun. ‘ Lexically, the word means ‘to take in full’. This being its real meaning, its derivations wafa, if a’ and ‘istifa’ are used to convey that sense. In fact, the real meaning of tawaffi is ‘to take in full’ which is universally confirmed by all lexicons of the Arabic language. Since man completes his appointed time at the hour of death and the spirit or soul given by Allah is taken back fully and conclusively, it is in that context that this word is also used figuratively in the sense of death. A simple form of death is the daily sleep of human beings. For this too, the Holy Qur’an uses the same word when it says:

 

اَللّٰهُ يَتَوَفَّى الۡاَنۡفُسَ حِيۡنَ مَوۡتِهَا وَالَّتِىۡ لَمۡ تَمُتۡ فِىۡ مَنَامِهَا
‘Allah takes away lives of the living at the time of their death and of those that do not die, in their sleep’. (39:42)

 

Hafiz Ibn Taimiyyah says in al-Jawab al-Sahih (v. 2, p. 83): 

 

ibn-taimiyyah-al-tawaffi

Al-tawaffi, in the Arabic language, means: to exact fully or take in full. It takes three forms; the first: to take in sleep; the second: to take in death; and the third: to take the soul and the body all together.

 

In Kulliyat Abu al-Baqa’, it is said:

 

al-baqa-al-tawaffi

Al-tawaffi is putting to death and exacting of the soul in common usage while, in the classical usage, it is taking in full and the exacting of the due right.

Therefore, the majority of scholars have translated the word, مُتَوَفِّيۡكَ ‘mutawaffika’ in the verse understudy in the sense of ‘taking in full’. This means that Allah will not leave Sayyidna ‘Isa in the hands of the Jews, rather He would take him away which would be in the form that he would be risen unto Him in the heavens.

This is how the words I am to take you in full’ have been interpreteded by the majority of the scholars. However, some authentic commentators of the Holy Qur’an have interpreted these words in the sense of ‘giving death’ also, but they do not mean that the death of Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. will occur at the hands of his enemies. The true meaning of the verse, according to these commentators is as follows:

Allah Almighty said two things to comfort Jesus at a time when the Jews were bent on killing him. One: That his death will come, not at their hands in the form of killing, but that it would be a natural death. Two: In order to rescue him from the evil designs of those people, Allah Almighty will, at that time, raise Jesus towards Him. This explanation is exactly what has been reported from Sayyidna Ibn ‘Abbas  رضي الله عنه as quoted by al-Suyuti in his al-Durr al-Manthur v. 2, p. 36 on the authority. of several narrators

The gist 6f this tafsir or explanation is that tawaffi does mean giving death, but there is the element of precedence and sequence in the words used. The fact of وَرَافِعُكَ (I shall raise you) will come first and that of مُتَوَفِّيۡكَ  (I shall give you death) later. Now at this point, the wisdom behind mentioning the phenomenon of the earlier lies in the hint that it gives about the events which are to come later on. It means that raising towards Allah will not last forever; it would be temporary and then, he would return to the mortal world and prevail over enemies and later on, death will come to him in a natural way.

Thus, the event of his return from heaven and his death after having established his victory in the world was not only a miracle but a consummation of the honour and integrity of Jesus, عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ.. In addition to that, the unfounded Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus was also refuted. Had it not been so, the event of Jesus being raised towards the heavens alive would have further strengthened their false belief that he too was Living and Eternal like Allah. Therefore, by introducing the word مُتَوَفِّيۡكَ (pointing out to his death) first, all those misconceptions that might have arisen from ‘raising of Jesus’ have been refuted in advance.

The reality is that disbelievers and polytheists have always been vehemently opposed to prophets,  عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلاَمُ. And parallel to that there has been the customary practice of Allah – when a people unto whom a prophet has been sent stick to their own opinion, do not listen to the prophet and do not believe in him even after having witnessed the miracles, then, one of the following two counter-actions were taken: Either those people were annihilated through some natural calamity as was done with Ad and Thamud and the peoples of Prophets Lut and Salih  عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلاَمُ or, alternatively Allah would instruct His prophet to migrate from the habitat of disbelievers and go to some other place. It was there that they were provided with such power and glory that they finally achieved victory against the people whom they were sent to. For example Prophet Ibrahim, عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ migrated from Iraq and sought refuge in Syria. Similarly, Prophet Musa (Moses) عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ , migrated from Egypt and came to Madyan. Finally, the Last prophet, Muhammad صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم migrated from Makkah and came to Madinah. It was from there that he finally attacked Makkah and conquered it. This raising of Jesus to the heavens to outmaneuver the threatening designs of the Jews was, in fact, an act of emigration in its own way following which he would return to this world and achieve total victory over the Jews.

Now comes the question as to why this emigration of his, quite separate from the rest, has the heavens as the destination? So, for that matter, Allah Almighty has Himself said about him that his case is like that of Adam,عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ . The way in which Adam’s birth differs from the normal birth of the rest of creation, (i.e., without a father and a mother) so it is that the birth of Jesus took a miraculous form different from the normal birth of human beings; and his death too, taking a unique and unmatched form, will materialize after hundreds of years following his return to the world – unprecedented indeed. Why then, should one be surprised if his emigration too follows some such unique pattern?

These marvels of nature led the ignorant among Christians into believing and declaring that he was God, while deliberation into the various aspects of these very marvels, are clear proofs of his servitude as a human being to God, obedience to the Divine will and the demonstration of human traits. It is for this reason that the Holy Qur’an has made a pointed reference to the refutation of belief in the Godhood of Jesus on all such occasions. The raising towards the heavens would have made this doubt all the more strong. Therefore, by bringing the word mutawaffika (I am to take you in full) earlier, this doubt was totally eliminated. Thus we come to realize that this verse, no doubt, aims at negating the Jewish plans since they were all set to crucify and kill Jesus, عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, and that Allah Almighty made their plans come to nothing. Moreover, this precedence and sequence of words became the mode of refuting the Christians as well, that Jesus was no God who was never to die but that a time will come when he too will meet his death.

In his Tafsir Imam al-Razi has said that such precedence and sequence occurs frequently in the noble Qur’an in order to cover similar expedient considerations under which an event due later has. been mentioned first while an event due earlier has been placed after that. (al-Tafsir al-Kabir, v. 2, p. 48)

As for رَافِعُكَ اِلَىَّ (And I shall raise you towards Me), the meaning is clear. Addressing Jesus here, it has been said: ‘I shall raise you to-wards Me’. Everyone knows that Jesus is not the name of just the spirit but that of the spirit and the body of Jesus. Now taking the raising of Jesus in the sense that the act of raising was spiritual only, and not physical, is all wrong. As far as the word, rafa (رَفَعَ : raising) is concerned, there are occasions when it is also used to indicate raising of ranks as it appears in the following verses of the noble Qur’an:

 

رَفَعَ بَعۡضَكُمۡ فَوۡقَ بَعۡضٍ دَرَجٰتٍ

…And raised some of you in ranks over others (6:165).

 

يَرۡفَعِ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مِنۡكُمۡ ۙ وَالَّذِيۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡعِلۡمَ

… and Allah will raise up in rank those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge (58:11).

So, it is obvious that the word, rafa : raising, in the sense of the raising of rank or status has been used figuratively in view of the context of the aforementioned verses. There is no reason here to ignore the real meaning and go by that which is figurative. Moreover, by using the word, ila : اِلٰى  (towards) alongwith the word, rafa ( رَفَعَ : raising), at this particular place, the possibility of such a figurative meaning has been totally eliminated. What is said in this verse is رَافِعُكَ اِلَىَّ: rafi’uka ilaiyya: I shall raise you towards Me. Then there is the verse from Surah al-Nisa’ (4:158), which refutes the belief of Jews; there too, what was said  وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا بَل رَّفَعَهُ اللّهُ إِلَيْهِ  that is, the Jews certainly did not kill Jesus, instead, Allah raised him towards Himself. This later expression is used for nothing but the raising alive of the spirit and the body.

Explained this far were the words of the verse.

Allah Almighty’s Five Promises to Jesus

In the verse under reference, Allah Almighty made five promises to ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ vis-a-vis the Jews:

1. The first promise was that his death will not come at the hands of the Jews through killing. It will be a natural death coming at its appointed time and that appointed time will come close to the Day of Doom, when ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ will come down from the heavens onto the earth as reported in details in sound ahadith transmitted through unbroken chains, part of which will appear later.

2. The second promise was to raise him towards the heavens in the existing situation. This was fulfilled right then. The report of this fulfillment was given in Surah al-Nisa’ (4:158) by saying:

 وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا بَل رَّفَعَهُ اللّهُ إِلَيْهِ 

Certainly, the Jews did not kill him, instead; Allah Almighty raised him towards Himself.

3. The third promise was: وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا , that is, to have him cleansed of false accusations brought on him by his enemies. That promise was fulfilled when the last of the prophets صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم came and refuted all false accusations of the Jews. For instance, the Jews threw slanders on the parentage of Sayyidna’ ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ because of his having been born without a father. The noble Qur’an refuted this slander by declaring that he was born without a father because such was the power and will of Allah. And that too does not call for much of a surprise. More surprising is the birth of Adam since he was born without both a father and a mother.

The Jews accused Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ of claiming to be God. There are many verses in the noble Qur’an in which, contrary to this accusation, Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ has been reported to have’ publicly confessed his being human and a servant and bondsman of Allah.

4. The fourth promise appears in وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡكَ فَوۡقَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡۤا (and placed those who follow you above those who disbelieve) which means that his followers will be made to overcome those who deny and oppose him. This promise was fulfilled in the sense that following here means the belief in and confession of the prophethood of Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. The belief in and the practice of all injunctions ascribed to him is not a pre-condition. Thus the Christians and the Muslims both fall in this category as they believe in the prophethood and messengership of Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ . However, this is a different matter that holding this much of belief is not enough to bring forth salvation in the Hereafter. Instead, the salvation in the Hereafter depends on believing in all injunctions brought by Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ . One of the instructions given by Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was that his followers should believe and have faith in the last of the Prophets صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم, who would come after Jesus departs. The Christians did not follow this instruction in matters of faith and belief, therefore, they deprived themselves of salvation in the Hereafter while Muslims acted in accordance with that too, therefore, they became deserving of salvation in the Hereafter. But, part of the promise which relates to having dominant authority over Jews was dependent on the prophethood of Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. That dominance in the world has always been the ‘fate of Christians and Muslims vis-a-vis the Jews, and surely, so shall it be through the Day of Judgement.

From the time when Allah Almighty made this promise right up to now, it has always been the case that the Christians and Muslims have dominated the Jews. The world has seen the establishment of their empires. The existence of the present state of Israel cannot make the truth of this position doubtful for several reasons. To begin with, and in reality, this state is no more than a manifestation of the military might of Russia and the Christians of Euro-American origin which they have established and maintained against Muslims. As soon as Russia, America and countries of Europe withdraw their patronage, the world will itself witness the instant collapse of this state and its disappearance from the map of the world. Therefore, people who can see the reality do realise the actual position of Israel or the Government of the Jews. It is by no means a manifestation of the domination of Jews. If, just for the sake of argument, it is taken to be their own state, even then, who would r in his right frame of mind – deny that, given the totality of Christians and Muslims, they are wielders of lesser influence and are much subjugated with fear. Even if we were to leave this aspect aside, we know that temporary domination by the Jews close to the Day of Judgement has been reported in the authentic reports of the Holy Prophet صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم . Now if this world is destined to exist for any considerable period of time and if the Day of Judgement is close, that domination too is not contrary to the reports which Muslims consider authentic. Moreover, such short-lived occupation cannot be given the name of a state or government especially when it is based on ‘a conspiracy hatched by the Christians and the communists.

5. The fifth promise, that of giving a decision in respect of such conflicts in faith on the Day of Judgement will certainly be fulfilled on its appointed time as it has been indicated in the verse:

ثُمَّ اِلَىَّ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ فَاَحۡكُمُ بَيۡنَكُمۡ

Then, to Me is your return, whereupon I shall judge between you. (3:55)

JESUS: The question of his life and second coming:

The Jews are the only people in the world who say that Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was crucified, killed and buried following which he never returned to life. What happened really and truly has been clarified in verse 158 of Surah al-Nisa’ in the Holy Qur’an. Then, in  وَمَكَرُوۡا وَمَكَرَاللّٰهُ (And they made a move, and Allah made a move.) of the present verse, it has been pointed out that Allah Almighty made the sinister move of the enemies of ‘Isa recoil upon those who had gone into the house to kill Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ . It was one of them that Allah Almighty changed to look exactly like Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and then He raised Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ alive onto the heavens. The words of the verse are as follows:

 

 وَمَا قَتَلُوۡهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوۡهُ وَلٰـكِنۡ شُبِّهَ لَهُمۡ

And they did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but they were deluded by resemblance (4:157).

 

Details regarding this will appear under the commentary on Surah al-Nisa’.

The Christians said that Jesus was, no doubt, killed on the cross but was brought back to life once again and raised onto the heavens. The verse under reference has refuted this false notion as well. It is stressed here that similar to the Jews who were rejoicing after killing their own man, the Christians fell a victim to the same mistaken identity by believing that it was Jesus who got killed on the Cross, and as such, the Christians too became the victims of mistaken identity. This is obvious from the Qur’anic statement شُبِّهَ لَهُمۡ (they were deluded by resemblance) just like the Jews were deceived by mistaken identity.

As opposed to the view of these two groups, there is the Islamic belief, stated here in this verse and in several other verses clearly, which says that Allah Almighty raised him alive onto the heavens in order to rescue him from the Jews. He was not to be killed and he was not to be crucified. He is in the heavens alive and it will be close to the Day of Judgement when he shall come down from the heavens, lead the Muslims to victory over the Jews, and finally, he will die a natural death.

There is a consensus of the entire Muslim community on this belief. Hafiz ibn Hajr, in his Talkhis al-Habir, has reported this consensus (page 319). This belief, and the consensus of the community on it, stands proved on the authority of several verses of the Holy Qur’an and reports from mutawatir ahadith transmitted through an unbroken chain of reporting. However, this is not the place for its detailed discussion, and not necessary either. The reason is that scholars of the community have already taken up this question in special books with full clarity giving detailed answers to those who dispute in the Ascension of the Christ. For instance, the Arabic work, ‘Aqidatu I’Islam fl Hayati ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ by Hujjatu I’Islam Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri, Hayat-e-Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ (the Life of Jesus) in Urdu by Hadrat Maulana Badr ‘Alam Muhajir Madani, Hayat-e-Masih عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. in Urdu by Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Idris and hundreds of other books or essays dealing with this question have been widely published and circulated. While carrying out the orders of his respected teacher, Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri, this writer had collected more than one hundred mutawatir ahadith identified by him which prove in an undeniable manner that Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was raised alive and that he will return close to the Day of Judgement. This collection in book form and entitled, Al-Tasrih bima Tawatara fi Nuzul al-Masih has been recently published from Beirut with marginal notes and commentary by ‘Allama ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah, a revered scholar of Allepo, Syria.

Hafiz ibn Kathir while explaining the verse وَاِنَّهٗ لَعِلۡمٌ لِّلسَّاعَةِ  of Surah Al- Zukhruf (43:61) has said:

 

ibn-kathir-quran-43-61

There are ahadith from the Holy Prophet صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم , narrated in an uninterrupted succession, that he proclaimed the coming of ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ before the Day of Judgment as a just leader.

At this stage, I would like to draw the attention of the reader to a point which, if noticed even with a small measure of sanity and justice, would leave no room for any doubt regarding this question. The point is that in the eleventh section of Surah ‘Al-‘Imran, Allah Almighty while referring to past prophets deemed it sufficient to refer to prophets Adam, Nuh, Al-Ibrahim, and ‘Al-‘Imran briefly in one single verse. After that, it was in nearly three sections and twenty-two verses that reference was made to Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and his family with meticulous detail – something which has not been made in that manner even in respect of the Last of the prophets صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم to whom the Qur’an was revealed. Note the detailed mention of the grandmother of Jesus, her pledge, the birth of his mother, her name, her upbringing, the conceiving of Jesus by his mother then the detailed narrative of his birth, followed by the description of what his mother ate and drank, after childbirth, her return to the family with the newborn child, their blames and curses, first the gift of eloquence to the newborn as his miracle, then his growing up and call to his people, opposition faced and the help of disciples, the hostile attempts by the Jews to trap and kill him, his being raised alive onto the heavens – then complete details of his additional traits, his looks, physique, dress and its likes – these are accounts which have not been taken up in the whole spectrum of the Qur’an and Hadith in respect of any prophet or messenger with that much of detail. This point is an open invitation to everyone to think as to why did this happen and what was the wisdom behind it.

Even a moment’s reflection here makes it clear that the Last of the prophets صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم , being the final prophet and messenger with no apostle to come after him, took special care to guide his community about conditions that it was going to face right through the Day of Judgement. He, therefore, took it upon himself to identify those who would be worthy of the community’s following. He, as a matter of principle, described them with a profile of their general qualities. There were other blessed people whom he identified by name and emphatically asked the community to follow them. Other than these, he also marked out the astray and the deviating who posed a danger to the faith of the community.

Of the mischief-makers who were to come after the Holy Prophet صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم the most notorious was Dajjal (the anti-Christ) the imposter of the Messiah, whose disturbing wickedness was terribly deviation-prone. Therefore, the Prophet صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم related many de-tails of his profile, attending conditions and distinguishing traits, so that there remains no room for the community to doubt about his being a mischief monger whenever he appears. Similarly, among the later day religious reformers and power-worthy elders, Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is the most distinguished whom Allah Almighty blessed with the station of prophethood, kept him alive in the heavens to come to the rescue of the Muslim community during the wicked period of Dajjal (anti-Christ) and appointed him to kill Dajjal close to the Day of Judgement. This is why it was deemed necessary that the community should be given the clearest indications of his person and qualities as well so that no human being remains in doubt while identifying Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. when he comes, the second time.

There are many elements of wisdom in this treatment.

Firstly, should the community find it difficult to identify ‘Isa (Jesus Christ) عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ , the very purpose of his coming will be negated. If the Muslim community will not identify and cooperate with him, how could he help and support them? Secondary, although Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ will not come into the world at that time designated as Prophet, but he would come to lead the Muslim community as the Khalifa (viceregent) the Holy Prophet صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلّم, the personal station of prophethood that he has will not be taken from him. Instead, he would be like the governor of a province or state who continues to hold that position even if he has gone out to visit some other province or state for some reason. Therefore, even though he is not as a governor in that province, the office of the governorship has not been ipso facto taken away from him. Similarly, Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ will not be without his attribute of prophethood at that time and the way the rejection of his prophethood was infidelity earlier, so infidelity it shall be at that time. Now the Muslim community which has already nursed and shown its faith in his prophethood as based on the guidance of the Qur’an would fall into the grievous error of rejection if it fails to recognize him when he comes. So, clarifying his signs and attributes in a greater measure was extremely necessary.

Thirdly, since the event of the coming of Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ will take place towards the later years of this mortal world, chances were given the ambiguity in his marks of identification that some other person could come up with the claim of being Messiah, the son of Mary, in which case, these indicators will serve well to refute and reject any such claim. This is what happened in pre-partition India where Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian claimed that he was the promised Messiah. The scholars of the Muslim community refuted his claim on the basis of these very cited indicators.

In short, here and at other places, the very fact of such detailed description concerning Sayyidna ‘Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is in itself indicating that his reappearance is due close to the Day of Judgement and that he would return to the world. This humble writer has taken up this subject in full details in his Urdu treatise entitled Masih Maw’ud ki pahchan (Identifying the Promised Messiah) which may be consulted for these details.