By Mawlānā Muhammad 'Īsā 'Abdullāh
Many Prophets have been sent by Allāh ta'ālā to the world
Allāh ta'ālā has sent many Prophets 'alayhis salām on this earth for the guidance of humanity. Every Prophet throughout the ages conveyed the message of the Oneness of Allāh ta'ālā and the existence of the life hereafter. The chain of Prophethood commenced with Prophet Ādam 'alayhis salām. Some other renowned Prophets 'alayhis salām include: Nūh 'alayhis salām, Mūsā 'alayhis salām, Dāwūd 'alayhis salām, Sulaymān 'alayhis salām, Yūsuf 'alayhis salām, Ibrāhīm 'alayhis salām, Zakariyyā 'alayhis salām and Yahyā 'alayhis salām.
Prophet 'Īsā 'alayhis salām and the Injīl (New Testament)
The Almighty Allāh sent 'Īsā 'alayhis salām to the nation of the Jews. Muslims love this Prophet dearly sent to Banū Isrā'īl.
(Remember) when 'Īsā, son of Maryam, said, 'O Children of Israel, I am the Messenger of Allāh towards you, confirming the Torah is (sent down) before me.' (61:6)
Prophet 'Īsā 'alayhis salām was given the Injīl by Allāh the Almighty, although Muslims believe that the original Bible has not been preserved in its original form.
… and We sent after them 'Īsā, son of Maryam, and gave him the Injīl. (57:27)
Maryam 'alayhas salām – the mother of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām
Prophet 'Īsā 'alayhis salām was born to Maryam 'alayhas salām, daughter of Hannah and 'Imrān, both were very pious people. Hannah desired to have a son and had vowed to the One Allāh ta'ālā to dedicate her child to the service of His religion if she was blessed with one. Allāh ta'ālā accepted Hannah's prayer,but to her surprise her newborn was a female.
(Remember) when 'Imrān's wife said: 'O my Lord, I have vowed that what is in my womb will be devoted exclusively for You. So, accept (it) from me. You, certainly You, are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. So, when she delivered her, she said: 'O my Lord, I have delivered her, a female child. And Allāh knew better what she had delivered, and the male was not like the female. I have named her Maryam, and I place her and her progeny under Your shelter against Shaytān, the rejected. So, her Lord accepted her, a good acceptance, and made her grow, a good growth, and made Zakariyyā her guardian. (3:35-37)
Maryam 'alayhas salām – a blessed child
The blessings of Allāh ta'ālā bestowed on Maryam 'alayhas salām became evident from her childhood. Zakariyyā 'alayhis salām, the Prophet of the time who was entrusted with her care, would see these blessings.
…Whenever Zakariyyā visited her at the place of worship, he found food with her. He said: 'Maryam, from where did you have this?' She said: 'It is from Allāh. Surely, Allāh gives whom He wills without measure.' (3:37)
Maryam 'alayhas salām was chosen by Allāh to become the mother of one of His most dear Prophets.
And when the angels said: 'O Maryam, Allāh has chosen you and purified you and chosen you over the women of all the worlds.' (3:42)
(Remember the time) when the angels said: 'O Maryam, Allāh gives you the good news of a Word from Him whose name is Masīh 'Īsā, the son of Maryam (the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary) a man of status in this world and in the Hereafter, and one of those who are near (to Allāh).' (3:45)
Maryam's 'alayhas salām Amazement
Maryam 'alayhas salām was amazed and could not understand as to how this miraculous birth would take place. The Qur'ān mentions:
She said: 'O my Lord, how shall I have a son while no human has ever touched me?' He said: 'That is how Allāh creates what He wills. When He decides a matter, He simply says to it 'Be!' and it comes to be.' (3:47)
Conception of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām
Christians and Muslims believe that 'Īsā 'alayhis salām was born without the agency of a father. This miracle was only possible through the power of Allāh.
So she conceived him, and went in seclusion with him to a remote place. (19:22)
Maryam 'alayhas salām experienced labour pains in solitude but the help of the Almighty Allāh was with her all the time; Jibra'īl 'alayhis salām was sent to console her after the birth of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām.
Then the labour pains brought her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She said: 'O that I would have died before this, and would have been something gone, forgotten.' Then he called her from beneath her: 'Do not grieve; your Lord has placed a stream beneath you. Shake the trunk of the palm-tree towards yourself and, it will drop upon you ripe fresh dates. So eat, drink and cool your eyes.' (19:23-26)
The birth of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām – A wonderful Miracle of Allāh ta'ālā
It is of no difficulty for Allāh ta'ālā to create a human from a mother and without a father. In the beginning of time Almighty Allāh had created Ādam 'alayhis salām from clay, without the means of a father and mother. He then created Hawwa 'alayhas salām from the rib of Ādam 'alayhis salām. So just as Ādam 'alayhis salām and Hawwa 'alayhas salām were created without a father and mother, 'Īsā 'alayhis salām was a human created without a father; all of them were the servants of Allāh. Nothing is impossible for Allāh ta'ālā.
Surely, the case of 'Īsā, in the sight of Allāh, is like the case of Ādam. He created him from dust, then He said to him, 'Be!' and he came to be.' (3:59)
Maryam 'alayhas salām - Falsely accused and slandered
Maryam's 'alayhas salām chastity was questioned by her people as they were not aware of the origins of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām and could not believe in his miraculous birth. The Qur'ān explicitly mentions that 'Īsā 'alayhis salām miraculously spoke to defend his mother even though he had just been born.
O sister of Hārūn, neither your father was a man of evil nor was your mother unchaste. So, she pointed towards him (the baby). They said, 'How shall we speak to someone who is still a child in the cradle?' Spoke he (the baby), 'Verily I am the servant of Allāh. He has given me the Book, and made me a prophet.' (19:29-30)
The Disciples of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām
After 'Īsā 'alayhis salām reached manhood, he commenced to preach the word of Allāh ta'ālā openly to all people. Pious men from the Banū Isrā'īl became his followers and were known as his disciples or 'the Hawāriyyīn'. They became devout followers of their Prophet and models for the generations to come. This is why Allāh exhorted the believers to become like the helpers of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām.
O you who believe, be supporters of (the religion of) Allāh, just as 'Īsā, son of Maryam, said to the Disciples, 'Who are my supporters towards Allah?' The Disciples said, 'We are the supporters of (the religion of) Allāh.' So a group from the children of Isrā'īl believed, and another group disbelieved. Then We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became victors. (61:14)
'Īsā's 'alayhis salām Miracles
Just as the other Prophets, 'Īsā 'alayhis salām was given the ability to perform various miracles with the Command of Allāh ta'ālā from the time he was born.
He shall speak to people while (he is still) in the cradle, and also later, when he is of mature age; and he shall be one of the righteous. (3:46)
'Īsā 'alayhis salām was able to bring the dead back to life, restore the eyesight of those born blind, cure the leper, and shape a bird out of clay and make it fly.
…I create for you from clay something in the shape of a bird, then I blow in it, and it becomes a living bird by the will of Allāh; and I cure the born-blind and the leper, and I cause the dead to become alive by the will of Allāh; and I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your homes. (3:49)
The Plot Against 'Īsā 'alayhis salām and his Ascent to the Heavens
The contemporary religious leaders felt threatened by his Prophetic mission. At the request of the Jewish hierarchy, Pontious Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea, ordered for 'Īsā 'alayhis salām to be arrested and crucified. When the soldiers entered the place where 'Īsā 'alayhis salām was residing, Allāh ta'ālā sent His angels to bring his beloved Prophet to Him. Thus, Muslims believe that 'Īsā 'alayhis salām was taken alive to the Heavens and shall reside therein until a time just before the Day of Judgement.
When Allāh said: 'O 'Īsā, I am to take you in full and to raise you towards Myself…' (3:55)
The Crucifixion in the Qur'ān
Muslims believe the person who was crucified on the cross was not 'Īsā 'alayhis salām but rather the Roman soldier who had entered 'Īsā's 'alayhis salām place of captivity to take him to be crucified. By the miracle of Allāh ta'ālā, this soldier's face was changed to resemble 'Īsā's 'alayhis salām and he was then inadvertently arrested and crucified. Allāh ta'ālā refers to this incident in the Qur'ān with the following words:
And for their saying, 'We have certainly killed the Masīh 'Īsā, the son of Maryam, the Messenger of Allah', while in fact they did neither kill him, nor crucify him, but they were deluded by resemblance. Those who disputed in this matter are certainly in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, but they follow whims. It is absolutely certain that they did not kill him, but Allāh lifted him towards Himself. Allāh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (4:157-158)
Another Sacred Mission of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām
Apart from conveying the Oneness of the Almighty, the Qur'ān mentions another important mission of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām.
(Remember) when 'Īsā, son of Maryam, said, 'O children of Isra'il, I am a messenger of Allāh sent towards you, confirming the Torah that is (sent down) before me, and giving you the good news of a messenger who will come after me, whose name will be Ahmad.' (61:6)
The Second Coming of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām in Islamic literature
Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam mentioned that one of the major signs before the Day of Judgement will be the descent of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām from the Heavens into this world. Muslims share in the Christians' belief of the second coming of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām whose main task will be to fight the forces of the Antichrist or Dajjāl. The Antichrist will claim Lordship and oppose the establishment of the worship of One God on Earth.
The prophecy reads that 'Īsā 'alayhis salām will come back to Earth resting his arms on the shoulders of two angels and descend on the white eastern minaret of the Jāmi' Masjid of Damascus in Syria. This prophecy was made at a time when the Muslims had not yet conquered Syria; hence there was no mosque in that region. However, this prophecy turned to reality many years later which is a testimony to the Prophethood of Muhammad sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam. Upon his descent, it will appear as if drops (of water) are flowing from his head though it would not be wet. 'Īsā 'alayhis salām will then take command of Imām Mahdi's 'alayhis salām forces (leader of the Muslims) and chase the Antichrist, who will be killed by the gates of Lydda.
Has 'Īsā 'alayhis salām Married Any Woman in this World?
The ahādīth of Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam make mention that 'Īsā 'alayhis salām will marry and have children, but only after his second coming.
'Īsā 'alayhis salām will descend to the earth, then he will marry and children will be born to him and he will stay for (a period of) 45 years. (Mishkāt)
'Allāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmirī rahimahullāh in his book 'At-Tasrīh' has reported a hadīth which reads, '...and the Last Day will not take place until the Masīh ('Īsā 'alayhis salām) marries (someone from amongst) your family and (children) are born to him.'
The ahādīth further mention that after the descent of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām prosperity will be so vast and common that there shall be none wanting to receive alms. After having lived many blissful years in this world, 'Īsā 'alayhis salām will experience a natural death. He will be then buried in that chamber wherein the Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam lies in the city of Madīnah (Saudi Arabia). These and many other future events preceding the Last Day have been mentioned in the Qur'ān and been foretold in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam.
('Īsā 'alayhis salām said,) '...and He has made me a blessed one wherever I be, and has enjoined salāh and zakāh upon me as long as I am alive, and (He has made me) good to my mother, and he did not make me oppressive (or) ill-fated. And peace is upon me the day I was born, the day I shall die, and the day I shall be raised alive again. That is 'Īsā, the son of Maryam, to say the truth in which they (Christians) are disputing.' (19:31-34)
'Īsā 'alayhis salām in the Qur'ān - A Magnificent Prophet
Being just like all the Prophets 'alayhis salām before him and an elected servant, he was blessed by the Almighty Allāh ta'ālā to preach His word.
The Masīh shall never spurn to be a slave of Allāh, nor shall the angels who are stationed near to Him...(4:172)
The Power and Might of Allāh ta'ālā
Allāh the Almighty has mentioned in various places of the Qur'ān how people should believe in Him and regard Him as the Sole Creator, Sustainer and Most Loving Being to His entire creation.
It is not for Allāh to have a son. Pure is He. When He decides a thing, He simply says to it, 'Be' and it comes to be. (19:35)
'Īsā 'alayhis salām Being Questioned by Allāh ta'ālā on the Day of Resurrection
The Qur'ān mentions that on the day of Judgement, Almighty Allāh ta'ālā will question 'Īsā 'alayhis salām whether it was he who told the people to consider him more than a Prophet of Allāh ta'ālā.
And when Allāh said, 'O 'Īsā, son of Maryam, did you say to the people: 'Take me and my mother as gods beside Allah?'' He said, 'Pure are You, it does not behoove me to say what is not right for me. Had I said it, You would have known it. You know what is in my heart, and I do not know what is in Yours. You alone have full knowledge of all that is unseen. I have not said to them anything but what You have ordered me to say, that is, 'Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord' and I was a witness over them as long as I was with them. But when You recalled me, You were the One watching over them. You are a witness over everything.' (5:116-117)
A Last Word:
These are the beliefs of Muslims concerning one of the greatest men in the history of mankind, 'Īsā 'alayhis salām, loved and admired by Christians and Muslims alike.
To entertain any beliefs which are contrary to the sacred personality of the Prophets and Messengers of Allāh ta'ālā is an act of disbelief. Tarnishing or denying the Prophethood of 'Īsā 'alayhis salām or any other Prophet is blasphemous for Muslims just as it is to depict the Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam in any other manner contrary to his noble character. Allāh's Messengers and Prophets 'alayhis salām are to be believed in as they were and as mankind has been taught regarding them strictly through Divine Revelation. May Allāh ta'ālā bless us always with His Guidance.