my life after graduate: Islamic Fact, Chapter 17

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Islamic Fact, Chapter 17

The Jewish tradition, as is well known, contains expectations of a figure called the Messiah, who in Christian tradition is identified with Jesus. For the Jews, this figure is yet to come but even in Christianity the Messiah, although he came two thousand years ago in the person of Jesus, will accomplish his expected work in a future time upon his return. Thus the expectation of a future activity of the Messiah is common to Judaism and Christianity. In this chapter I discuss Islamic view of this expectation.

One important difference between the Christian and Muslim view of Jesus’ return is of course that in the Muslim view he will return as a follower of the Prophet Muhammad and will very closely relate with the Muslims. This is by no means unreasonable. For, if the returned Jesus will be anything like the Jesus of Nazareth who came to this world two thousand years ago, then it is natural to think that he will be neither acceptable to committed Christians nor to committed Jews – Christians, because Jesus is nothing like the second person of the Christian trinity, the Son of God who comes to be crucified for the salvation of the world; and Jews, because he was not acceptable to them during his first coming and nothing suggests that he will be acceptable to them during his second coming. But someone like Jesus of Nazareth can be easily backed by the Muslims.

Another important difference between the Christian and Muslim views is that in the Muslim view Jesus’ return takes place in history as we know it, before the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment. Even in traditions in which Jesus’ return is a sign for the coming of the hour, the return does not play any role in bringing the hour nor does Jesus perform any special function in the hereafter. In the Christian tradition Jesus is presented as the eschatological “judge of the living and the dead”. But in Islam the final judge is God himself. In fact, Jesus, like other messengers (7:6), will himself be judged and questioned. The Qur`an even gives the interrogation of Jesus that will take place before God as the final judge:

And when God will say, O ‘Isa son of Maryam! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides God, he will say: Glory be to you, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, you would indeed have known it; you know what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in your mind, surely you are the great knower of the unseen things.1 did not say to them aught save what you did enjoin me with: That serve God, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when you did cause me to die, you were the watcher over them, and you are witness of all things. If you should chastise them, then surely they are your servants; and if you should forgive them, then surely you are the Mighty, the Wise. God will say: This is the day when their truth shall benefit the truthful ones; they shall have gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide in them for ever: God is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with God; this is the mighty achievement. God’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is in them; and he has power over all things (5:116-120).


Abu Sahajj said...

Asalaamu alaikum,

Nice blog! JazakAllah Kheir.