Jesus will Return


The Return of Jesus (as) To Earth
Jesus (as) Did Not Die
An examination of the verses about Jesus (as) in the Qur'an indicates that Jesus (as) neither died nor was killed, but he was raised to the presence of Allah: As mentioned earlier, in Surat an-Nisa, it is related that Jesus (as) was not killed but raised to the presence of Allah. The related verse follows:
And (on account of) their saying, "We killed the Messiah, ‘Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat an-Nisa: 157-158)

In some English translations, we see that some other verses are translated to give the sense that the Prophet Jesus (as) died before he was raised to the Allah’s presence. These verses are as follows:

God said: "O ‘Isa (as)! Verily, I shall cause you to die (tawaffa), and shall exalt you unto Me…" (Surah Al ‘Imran: 55)

In the 117th verse of Surat al-Ma’idah, the event narrated in the Prophet Jesus' (as)’ words is also translated so as to suggest that he died:

"Nothing did I tell them beyond what You did bid me to say: ‘Worship God, who is my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer’ And I bore witness to what they did as long as I dwelt in their midst: but since You have caused me to die (tawaffa), You alone have been their keeper: for You are witness unto everything. (Surat al-Ma’idah: 117)

However, the Arabic meanings of the verses above show that the Prophet Jesus (as) did not die in the sense we know. In Arabic the word which is translated in these verses as "to die" is "tawaffa" and comes from the root "wafa – to fulfill". Tawaffa does not actually mean "death" but the act of "taking the self back" either in sleep or in death. From the Qur'an again, we understand that "taking the self back" does not necessarily mean death. For instance in a verse in which the word "tawaffa" is used, it is not the death of a human being that is meant but "taking back his self in his sleep":


It is He Who takes you back to Himself (yatawaffakum) at night, while knowing the things you perpetrate by day, and then wakes you up again, so that a specified term may be fulfilled. Then you will return to Him. Then He will inform you about what you did. (Surat al-An’am: 60)

The word used for "take back" in this verse is the same as the one used in Surah Al ‘Imran 55. In other words, in both verses, the word "tawaffa" is used and it is obvious that one does not die in one’s sleep. Therefore, what is meant here is, again, "taking the self back.” The same is also true for the following verse:

Allah takes back people’s selves (tawaffa) when their death arrives and those who have not yet died, while they are asleep. He keeps hold of those whose death has been decreed and sends the others back for a specified term. There are certainly Signs in that for people who reflect. (Surat az-Zumar: 42)

As these verses suggest, Allah takes back the self of the one who is asleep, yet He sends the selves of those whose deaths have yet not been decreed. In this context, in one's sleep one does not die, in the sense in which we perceive death. Only for a temporary period, the self leaves the body and remains in another dimension. When we wake up, the self returns to the body.

Imam al-Qurtubi makes clear that there are three meanings to the term ‘wafat’: the wafat of death, the wafat of sleep, and last, the wafat of being raised up to Allah, as in the case of Sayyiduna ‘Isa (as).To conclude, we can say that Jesus (as) may have been in a special state, raised up to the presence of Allah. What he actually experienced was not death in the sense with which we are familiar, but merely a departure from this dimension. Surely, Allah knows best.

Jesus (as) Will Come Back to Earth

From what has been related so far, it is clear that Jesus (as) did not die but was raised to the presence of Allah. However, there is one more point that is underlined by the Qur'an: Jesus (as) will come back to earth. The Qur'an explicitly declares the return of Jesus (as) to earth.

Surah Al ‘Imran 55 is one of the verses indicating that Jesus (as) will come back:

When Allah said, "‘Isa, I will take you back and raise you up to Me and purify you of those who are disbelievers. And I will place the people who follow you above those who are disbelievers until the Day of Rising. Then you will all return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 55)

The statement in the verse, "And I will place the people who follow you above those who are disbelievers until the Day of Rising" is important. Here, there is reference to a group strictly adhering to Jesus (as) and who will be kept above the disbelievers until the Day of Judgment. Well, who are these adherents, then? Are they the disciples who lived in the time of Jesus or are they the Christians of today? During his lifetime the followers of Jesus (as) were few. After his death, the essence of the religion degenerated rapidly. Furthermore, the people known as the disciples faced serious pressure throughout their lives. During the succeeding two centuries, having no political power, those Christians having faith in Jesus (as) were also oppressed. In this case, it is not possible to say that early Christians or their successors during these periods were physically superior to the disbelievers in the world. We might logically think that this verse does not refer to them.

When we look at the Christians of today, on the other hand, we notice that the essence of Christianity has changed a lot and it is quite different from what Jesus (as) originally brought to mankind. Christians embraced the perverted belief that suggests that Jesus (as) is the son of God and similarly held the doctrine of the trinity (The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit). In this case, it is flawed to accept the Christians of today as the adherents of Jesus (as). In many verses of the Qur'an Allah states that those having faith in the trinity certainly are disbelievers:

Those who say that the Messiah, son of Maryam, is the third of three are disbelievers. There is no god but One God. (Surat al-Ma’idah: 73)

In this case, the commentary of the statement, "And I will place the people who follow you above those who are disbelievers until the Day of Rising" is as follows: first, it is said that these people are the Muslims who are the only true followers of the authentic teachings of Jesus (as); second, it is said that these people are the Christians, whether or not they hold idolatrous beliefs, and that could be seen to be confirmed by the dominant position that nominal Christians hold on the earth today. However, both positions will be unified by the arrival of Jesus (as), since he will abolish the jizyah, meaning that he will not accept that Christians and Jews live with any other religion than Islam, and so will unite all the believers as Muslims. The Prophet and last Messenger of Allah (saas), has also given the glad tidings of the return of Jesus (as). The scholars of ahadith (reports on the sayings and the traditions of Prophet Mohammad) say that the ahadith on this subject, in which Allah’s Messenger (saas) said that the Prophet Jesus (as) will descend amongst people as a leader before the Day of Judgment have reached the status of mutawatir. That means that they have been narrated by so many people from each generation from such a large group of the Companions that there can be no possible doubt of their authenticity.

For example:

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said, "By the One in Whose hand is my self, definitely the son of Maryam will soon descend among you as a just judge, and he will break the cross, kill the pig and abolish the jizyah, and wealth will be so abundant that no one will accept it, until a single prostration will be better than the world and everything in it. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, 'A party of my ummah will never stop fighting for the truth victoriously until the Day of Rising.' He said, 'Then ‘Isa ibn Maryam, peace be upon him, will descend and their amir will say, "Come and lead us in prayer," but he will say, "No! some of you are amirs over others," as Allah's showing honor to this ummah.'" (Sahih Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated, "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘There is no prophet between me and him, that is, ‘Isa, peace be upon him. He will descend (to the earth). When you see him, recognize him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the pig, and abolish the jizyah. Allah will cause to perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Dajjal and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him.’" (Abu Dawud)


Earlier in this section, we analyzed the verses 157-158 of Surat an-Nisa'. Just after these verses Allah states the following in Surat an Nisa 159:

There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies; and on the Day of Rising he will be a witness against them. (Surat an Nisa: 159)

The statement above "who will not believe in him before he dies" is important. Some scholars stated that the "him" in this verse is used for the Qur'an and thus made the following interpretation: There will be no one from the people of the Book who will not have faith in the Qur'an before he (a person from the people of the Book) dies. Nevertheless, in verses 157 and 158, which are the two verses preceding this verse, the same "him" is undoubtedly used for Jesus (as). Surat an-Nisa' 157:

And (on account of) their saying, "We killed the Messiah, ‘Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him.

Surat an-Nisa' 158: Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.

Just after these verses in Surat an-Nisa 159, there is no evidence indicating that "him" is used to imply someone other than Jesus (as). Surat an-Nisa' 159:

There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies; and on the Day of Rising he will be a witness against them. (Surat an-Nisa: 159)

In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that on the Day of Judgment, the "tongues and hands and feet will testify against them about what they were doing" (Surat an-Nur: 24 and Surah Yasin: 65). From Surah Fussilat 20-23, we learn that "hearing, sight and skin will testify against us." In none of the verses however, is there reference to "the Qur'an as a witness". If we accept that the "him" or "it" in the first sentence refers to the Qur'an - though grammatically or logically we have no evidence whatsoever - then we should also accept that the "he" in the second statement also refers to the Qur'an. To accept this however, there should be an explicit verse confirming this view.

However, the commentator Ibn Juzayy does not mention the possibility of the Qur’an being the "him" referred to, and Ibn Juzayy transmitted the views of all the major commentators in his work. When we refer to the Qur'an, we see that when the same personal pronoun is used for the Qur'an, there is generally mention of the Qur'an before and after that specific verse as in the cases of Surat an-Naml: 77 and Surat ash-Shu'ara: 192-196. The verse straightforwardly defines that People of the Book will have faith in Jesus (as) and that he (Jesus (as)) will be a witness against them. The second point is about the interpretation of the expression "before he dies." Some think this is "having faith in Jesus (as) before their own death." According to this interpretation everyone from the people of the Book will definitely believe in Jesus (as) before he/she faces their own death. In Jesus' time however, Jews who are defined as the people of the Book not only did not have faith in Jesus but also attempted to kill him. On the other hand, it would be unreasonable to say that Jews and Christians who lived and died after the time of Jesus had faith - the type of faith described in the Qur'an - in him. To conclude, when we make a sound evaluation of the verse, we arrive to the following conclusion: Before Jesus' (as) death, all the People of the Book will have faith in him.2In its real sense, the verse reveals plain facts, which are:

Firstly, it is evident that the verse refers to the future because there is mention of the death of Jesus (as). Yet, Jesus (as) did not die but was raised up to the presence of Allah. Jesus (as) will come to earth again, he will live for a specified time and then die.

Secondly, all the people of the Book will have faith in him. This is an event which has yet not occurred, but which will definitely happen in the future. Consequently, by the expression "before he dies", there is a reference to Jesus (as). The People of the Book will see him, know him and obey him while he is alive. Meanwhile, Jesus (as) will bear witness against them on the Last Day. Allah surely knows best.


That Jesus (as) will come back to earth towards the end of time is related in another verse in Surat az-Zukhruf 61.Starting from az-Zukhruf 57, there is reference to Jesus (as):

When an example is made of the son of Maryam (‘Isa) your people laugh uproariously. They retort, "Who is better then, our gods or him?" They only say this to you for argument's sake. They are indeed a disputatious people.

He is only a slave on whom We bestowed Our blessing and whom We made an example for the tribe of Israel.

If We wished, We could appoint angels in exchange for you to succeed you on the earth. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 57-60)

Just after these verses, Allah declares that Jesus (as) is a sign of the Day of Judgment.

He is a Sign of the Hour. Have no doubt about it. But follow me. This is a straight path. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 61)

Ibn Juzayy says that the first meaning of this verse is that Jesus (as) is a sign or a precondition of the Last Hour. We can say that this verse is a clear indication that Jesus (as) will come back to earth at the end times. That is because Jesus (as) lived six centuries before the revelation of the Qur'an. Consequently, we cannot interpret his first coming as a sign of the Day of Judgment. What this verse actually indicates is that Jesus (as) will come back to earth towards the end of time, that is to say, during the last period of time before the Day of Judgment and this will be a sign for the Day of Judgment. Allah surely knows the best. The Arabic of the verse "He is a Sign of the Hour" is "Innahu la ‘ilmun li’s-sa’ati…" Some people interpret the pronoun "hu" (he) in this verse as the Qur'an.

However, the preceding verses explicitly indicate that Jesus (as) is mentioned in the verse: "He is only a slave on whom We bestowed Our blessing and whom We made an example for the tribe of Israel"3 In Sahih Muslim, it is also stated that the ahadith in which it is said that the Prophet Jesus (as) will descend amongst people at the end of time have reached the degree of being mutawatir, i.e. narrated by so many people in each generation that it is not possible to have any doubt of their authenticity, and that it is counted as one of the major signs of the Day of Rising. (Sahih Muslim, 2/58)

Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al-Ghifari said, "The Messenger of Allah (saas) came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion). He said: ‘What are you discussing?’ We said: ‘We are discussing the Last Hour.’ Thereupon he said: ‘It will not come until you see ten signs before it’ – and (in this connection) he made mention of the smoke, the Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of ‘Isa the son of Maryam (as), Yajuj and Majuj, and landslides in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia at the end of which fire will burn forth from the Yemen, and drive people to the place of their assembly." (Sahih Muslim)

(4) Another verse indicating the second coming of the Jesus (as) is the following;

When the angels said, "Maryam, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, ‘Isa, son of Maryam of high esteem in this world and the hereafter, and one of those brought near. He will speak to people in the cradle, and also when fully grown, and will be one of the righteous," she said, "My Lord! How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?"

He said, "It will be so. Allah creates whatever He wills. When He decides on something He just says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is. He will teach him the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Injil…" (Surah Al ‘Imran: 45-48)

In the verse, it is heralded that Allah would instruct Jesus (as) about the Injil, the Torah and the "Book." No doubt, this book in question is very important. We come across the same expression in the Surat al-Ma'idah 110:

Remember when Allah said: "‘Isa, son of Maryam, remember My blessing to you and to your mother when I reinforced you with the Purest Spirit so that you could speak to people in the cradle and when you were fully grown; and when I taught you the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Injil; and when you created a bird-shape out of clay by My permission…" (Surat al-Ma'idah: 110)

When we analyze the "Book" in both of the verses, we see that it may indicate the Qur'an. Primarily, there is only one known divine book on the earth apart from the Torah, the Zabur and the Injil. Besides, in another verse in the Qur'an, next to the Torah and the Injil, the word "Book" is used to indicate the Qur'an.

Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what has there before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Injil, previously, as guidance for mankind, and He has sent down the Furqan (the Criterion of judgment between right and wrong). (Surah Al ‘Imran: 2-4)

In this case, we may well consider that the third book which will be taught to Jesus (as) will be the Qur'an and we could assume that this will be possible only if he comes to earth at the end of time. Jesus (as) lived 600 years before the revelation of the Qur'an and it is unlikely that he knew the Qur'an before it was revealed. In this case, that he will learn the Qur'an during his second sojourn on earth could be a reasonable explanation. This is also explained in a hadith(singular of ahadith):

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said, "By the One in Whose hand is my self, definitely the son of Maryam will soon descend among you as a just judge, and he will break the cross, kill the pig and abolish the jizyah, and wealth will be so abundant that no one will accept it, until a single prostration will be better than the world and everything in it. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The ‘ulama (Islamic scholars) say that the meaning in this hadith of his acting as a just judge/ruler is that he will judge by the shari’ah of Islam, i.e. by the judgments in the Book of Allah, the Qur’an, and in the Sunnah of the Last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah surely knows best. As seen, verses on Jesus' (as) return to the earth are very explicit and remarkable. No similar statements are made for any other prophet mentioned in the Qur'an. Furthermore, no other prophet is referred to as "a Sign of the Hour" and no statement used for any other prophet in the Qur'an includes any connotation implying their return to the earth. However, all these statements are used for Jesus (as). The meaning of this is very clear.

There are Other Examples of People in the Qur'an Who Left the World and Then Returned After Hundreds of Years

A man who was resurrected after a century

One of these people is a man who remained dead for a century. This is related in Surat al-Baqarah:
Or the one who passed by a town which had fallen into ruin? He asked, "How can Allah restore this to life when it has died?" Allah caused him to die a hundred years then brought him back to life. Then He asked, "How long have you been here?" He replied, "I have been here a day or part of a day." He said, "Not so! You have been here a hundred years. Look at your food and drink - it has not gone bad - and look at your donkey so We can make you a Sign for all mankind. Look at the bones – how We raise them up and clothe them in flesh." When it had become clear to him, he said, "Now I know that Allah has power over all things." (Surat al-Baqarah: 259)

In the verses given in the previous pages, there is mention of the fact that Jesus (as) did not die but was "taken back." In the verse above, the man, however, definitely died. Consequently, even a dead person can rise again by the will of Allah. This is explicitly related in the Qur'an. There are similar other examples in the Qur'an.

Companions of the Cave awoke after years

Another example is related in the story of the "Companions of the Cave" related in Surat al-Kahf. Allah relates the story of young men who were compelled to take refuge from the cruel tyranny of the emperor of the time in a cave. It is related that they fell asleep and were woken up after years of sleep. The related verses follow:

When the young men took refuge in the cave and said, "Our Lord, give us mercy directly from You and open the way for us to right guidance in our situation." So We sealed their ears with sleep in the cave for a number of years. (Surat al-Kahf: 10-11)

You would have supposed them to be awake whereas in fact they were asleep. We moved them to the right and to the left, and at the entrance, their dog stretched out its paws. If you had looked down and seen them, you would have turned from them and run and have been filled with terror at the sight of them.

That was the situation when we woke them up so they could question one another. One of them asked, "How long have you been here?" They replied "We have been here for a day or part of a day." They said, "Your Lord knows best how long have you been here. Send one of your number into the city with this silver you have, so he can see which food is purest and bring you some of it to eat. But he should go about with caution so that no one is aware of you." (Surat al-Kahf: 18-19)

The Qur'an does not explain exactly how much time the young men spent in the cave. Instead, the duration of this period is implied by the words "for a number of years." People’s guess at this period however was rather high: 309 years. Allah says:

They stayed in their Cave for three hundred years and added nine.

Say: "Allah knows best how long they stayed. The Unseen of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. How perfectly He sees, how well He hears! They have no protector apart from Him. Nor does He share His rule with anyone." (Surat al-Kahf: 25-26)

Surely, what matters here is not whether this period is short or long. The point is, Allah takes some people back, either by making them sleep, or simply making them die from this life for a particular period and then revives them. Just like people waking from a dream, Allah gives them life again. Jesus (as) is one of these people and, at due time, he will live again in this world. After fulfilling his task, he will die just like any other human being in accordance with the commandment of the verse in which He said: "On it you will live and on it you will die and from it you will be brought forth." (Surat al-A’raf: 25)