How about the Messianic mission attributed to Jesus Christ toward the
end of time in Islamic resources?
Some of the first converts to Islam were subjected to the severest
persecutions in Makka. They bore them patiently and never thought of
retaliation, as the Qur�an ordered the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace
and blessings, to call unbelievers to the way of God with wisdom and fair
preaching and advised him to repel the evil with what was better and to
respond to the sins and faults of his enemies with forbearance and
forgiveness. Eventually the intolerance of the Makkan polytheists compelled
the Muslims to abandon their homes and property in Makka and emigrate to
Madina where they could live according to their beliefs, and where the full
social and legal dimensions of Islam could evolve in peace. But the
hostility of the Makkans continued and in Madina itself, the Muslims became
the target of Jewish conspiracies. Also, since the Helpers, the native
believers of Madina, had to share, although willingly, everything they had
with their emigrant brothers, all the Muslims suffered privations.
The Battle of Badr was the first major confrontation of the Muslims with
the enemy forces. Although outnumbered, the believers won a great victory.
Until then (if we do not accept the opinions of some interpreters of the Qur�an that sura Muhammad, which contains regulations about how to treat
prisoners of war, was revealed before sura al-Anfal) no Divine commandment
had been revealed about how the captives should be treated. The Muslims did
not even know whether they were to kill the enemy on the battlefield or take
them as prisoners. After the battle the Prophet, upon him be peace and
blessings, consulted, as he always did where there was no specific Divine
commandment, with his Companions on this question. Abu Bakr said:
O God�s Messenger! They are your people. Even though they did you and the
believers great wrong, you will win their hearts and cause their guidance if
you forgive them and please them.
However, �Umar gave this opinion:
O God�s Messenger! The prisoners of war are the leading figures of Makka.
If we kill them, unbelief will no longer be able to recover to encounter us.
So, hand over to each of the Muslims his kin among them. Hand over to �Ali
his brother �Aqil to kill. Let Abu Bakr kill his son, �Abd al-Rahman, and
God�s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, turned to Abu Bakr and
You are, O Abu Bakr, like the Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, who
said: �He who follows me is of me, and he who disobeys me�but You are indeed
Oft-Forgiving, Most Compassionate� (Qur�an, 14.36). You are also like Jesus,
who said: �If You punish them, they are Your servants. If You forgive them,
You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise� (Qur�an, 5.118).
Then he turned to �Umar and said:
O �Umar! You are like Noah, who said: �O my Lord! Leave not even a single
unbeliever on earth!� (Qur�an, 71.26). You are also like Moses, who said (of
Pharaoh and his chieftains]: �Our Lord, destroy their riches and harden
their hearts so that they will not believe until they see the painful
chastisement.� (Qur�an, 10. 88).
God�s Messenger accepted
the advice of Abu Bakr and acted accordingly.
Humanity and religion
The episode just mentioned above from the early history of Islam
illustrates an important aspect of the nature of man in relation to the
mission of Prophethood and religion in man�s life.
Man is a �tripartite� being composed of the spirit, the carnal self and
the body. These three elements are so closely interrelated that neglecting
one results in failure to achieve perfection. Man has accordingly been
endowed with three essential faculties, namely the spiritual intellect,
reason and will. During his life-time, man experiences a continual inner
struggle to choose between good and evil, right and wrong. The motor of this
struggle is the will, as directed by reason. However, human reason can be
swayed by carnal desires, personal feelings, interests and such emotions as
anger and rancor, so it needs as its guide the spiritual intellect. The
spiritual intellect, including conscience, is the source of moral values and
Historically it is the Divinely-revealed religions that have determined
what is right and wrong on the authority of their Revealer, namely God, and
of the character of the Prophets who conveyed first Revelation.
Because of his worldly nature, man can be too obedient a servant of his
lusts. When such men as are captive to their lusts gain enough power to rule
over their fellows, they light fires of oppression on the earth and reduce
the poor and the weak to slaves or servants. Human history is full of such
instances. However, as God is All-Just and never approves oppression, He
sent His Prophets in certain phases of that history in order to guide and
correct the individual and collective life of mankind. All of the Prophets
came with the same doctrine, the fundamentals of which are believing in One
God, Prophethood, the Resurrection, Angels, Divine Scriptures and Divine
Destiny and worshipping God. All of the Prophets also conveyed the same
moral principles. In this sense, all the Divine religions are one and the
same, but the flow of history through some epochs varying in cultural,
geographical, social and economic conditions required different Prophets to
be sent to each nation and certain differences to be made in the acts and
forms of worship and in the subdivisions of the law�until such time as these
conditions allowed that the Seal of the Prophets, the Prophet Muhammad, upon
him be peace and blessings, could be sent and the religion completed so
that, in its essentials, it sufficed thenceforth to solve all the problems
humankind will encounter until the end of time and be applicable in all
conditions. (There is an important point to be added in this connection.
When a Prophet passed away, his nation over time altered some of the
principles of his religion, borrowed some polytheistic elements from pagan
practices, and went astray, thus corrupting the Divine religion. This
historical fact was another reason for the Prophets being sent one after the
other over the course of time).
Moses, Jesus And Muhammad, upon them be peace
Islam, as the last, universal form of the Divine religion, orders its
followers to believe in all of the Prophets. Being a Muslim also means being
a follower of Jesus and Moses and of all the other Prophets at the same
The Qur�an declares:
The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been revealed
to him by his Lord, and so do the believers. They all believe in God and His
angels, His Scriptures and His Messengers: �We make no distinction between
any of His Messengers��and they say: �We hear and obey. Grant us Your forgiveness,
our Lord; to You is the journeying (2.285).
Since, due to their historical conditions, the messages of all the
previous Prophets were restricted to a certain people and period, certain
principles had prominence in those messages. Also, God bestowed some
special favors on each Prophet and community according to the dictates of
the time. For example, Adam, upon him be peace, was favored with knowledge
of the �names�, that is, the keys to all branches of knowledge. Noah, upon
him be peace, was endowed with steadfastness and perseverance. Abraham, upon
him be peace, was honored with intimate friendship with God and being the
father of numerous Prophets. Moses, upon him be peace, was given the
capability of administration and exalted through being the direct addressee
of God, and Jesus, upon him be peace, was distinguished with patience,
tolerance and compassion. All the Prophets have, however, some share in the
praiseworthy qualities mentioned, but each of them surpasses, on account of
his mission, the others in one or more than one of those qualities.
When the Prophet Moses was raised as a Prophet, the Israelites were
leading a wretched existence under the rule of the Pharaohs in Egypt.
Because of the despotic role and oppression of the Pharaohs, slavery was
ingrained in the souls of the Israelites and had become a part of their
character. In order to reform them, to equip them with such lofty feelings
and values as freedom and independence, and to rebuild their character and
free them from subservience to the Pharaohs, the Prophet Moses, upon him be
peace, came with a message containing stern and rigid rules and measures.
This is why the Book given to Moses was called the Torah, meaning Law.
Again, as a requirement of his mission, the Prophet Moses, upon him be
peace, was a reformer and educator of somewhat unyielding and stern
character. Therefore, it was quite natural for him to pray in reference to
Pharaoh and his chieftains: �Our Lord, destroy their riches and harden their
hearts so that they will not believe until they see the painful
In the time when Jesus came, the Israelites had abandoned themselves to
worldly pleasures and led a materialistic life. The Qur�an (9.34) states
that not only the common people but also, and more so, the rabbis and
scribes consumed the goods of others in vanity and barred people from God�s
way. They exploited religion for worldly advantage:
You see many of them vying in sin and enmity and how they
consume the unlawful; evil is the thing they have been doing. Why do the
masters and rabbis not forbid them to utter sin, and consume the unlawful?
Evil is the thing they have been doing (Qur�an, 5.62-3).
A similar sentiment is to be found in the Gospels, attributed to Jesus:
You snakes�how can you say good things when you are evil.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good person brings good
things out of his treasure of good things; a bad person brings bad things
out of his treasure of bad things (Matthew, 12.34-5).
Take care: be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and
Sadducees. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees are the authorized
interpreters of Moses� Law. So you must obey and follow everything they tell
you to do; do not, however, imitate their actions, because they don�t
practice what they preach. They tie onto people�s backs loads that are heavy
and hard to carry, yet they aren�t willing even to lift a finger to help
them carry those loads. They do everything so that people will see them. . .
They love the best places at feasts and the reserved seats in the
synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the market-places and to
have people call them �Teacher�. . . How terrible for you, teachers of the
Law and the Pharisees. You hypocrites. . . You give to God one tenth of the
seasoning herbs, such as mint, dill and cumin, but you neglect to obey the
really important teachings of the Law, such as justice and mercy and
honesty. These you should practice, without neglecting the others (Matthew:
Chapters 23, 13, and 12).
When Jesus, upon him be peace, was sent to the Israelites, the spirit of
the Religion had been dwindled away and the Religion itself reduced to a
device for its exponents to rob the common people. So, before proceeding to
put the Law into effect, Jesus concentrated on faith, justice, mercy
humility, peace, love, repentance for one�s sins and begging God�s
forgiveness, helping others, purity of heart and intention and sincerity:
Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor: The
Kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Happy are those who mourn: God will comfort them.
Happy are those who are humble: They will receive what God
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God
requires: God will satisfy them fully.
Happy are those who are merciful to others: God will be
merciful to them.
Happy are the pure in heart: They will see God. (Matthew:
As for the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, he has all
the qualities mentioned above, except being the father of Prophets, and in
addition, he has, because of the universality of his mission, the
distinction of being like Moses, upon him be peace, in that he is a warner
and established a Law and fought with his enemies, and like Jesus, upon him
be peace, in that he is a bringer of good news who preached mercy,
forgiveness, helping others, altruism, humility, sincerity, purity of
intention and moral values of the highest degree. We should remember that
the Qur�an declares that God sent the Prophet Muhammad as a mercy for the
whole of creation. Again, Islam presents God, before all other Attributes
and Names, as the All-Merciful and the All-Compassionate. This means God
mainly manifests Himself as the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate and His
wrath and punishment are only accidental. That is, it is man himself who
attracts God�s wrath because of his sins and wrongdoing. But God is the
All-Forgiving and He forgives most of the sins of His servants:
Whatever misfortune befalls you, is for what your own hands
have earned and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness. (Qur�an, 42.30)
The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, had the mission of
both Moses and Jesus. It is evident from the historical episode we mentioned
at the beginning of this article that among the leading Companions, while
Abu Bakr represented the �mission of Jesus�, �Umar (may God be pleased with
them both) stood for the �mission of Moses�. Since Islam must prevail to the
end of time, it requires its followers to act, according to circumstances,
sometimes as Moses and sometimes as Jesus, upon them be peace.
The Messianic mission of Jesus Christ toward the end of time
We see in the reliable books of Hadith many sayings of the Prophet
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, that the Prophet Jesus will come
back to the world before the end of time and practice the law of Islam.
Although those Traditions have so far been interpreted in different ways, it
cannot be wrong to interpret them as meaning that, before the end of time,
Islam must manifest itself mostly in that dimension of it represented by
Jesus. That is, the main aspects of the Messengership of Jesus must be given
prominence in preaching Islam. These aspects are:
Jesus always travelled. He never stayed in one place, he preached his
message on the move. Therefore, in order to preach Islam, the �missionaries�
of Islam must travel or emigrate from place to place. They must be �the
repenters, the worshippers, the travellers (in devotion to the cause of
Islam and to convey it), the bowers, the prostraters, the commanders of good
and the forbidders of evil, and the observers of God�s limits.�
there is good news (Qur�an, 9.112).
Second, mercy, love, and forgiveness had the first place in Jesus�
mission. He was a bringer of good news. Therefore, those who have dedicated
themselves to the cause of Islam must give prominence to mercy, love, and
forgiveness and, never forgetting that the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be
peace and blessings, was sent as a mercy for all the worlds, for the whole
of existence, they must convey good news to every place and call people to
the way of God with wisdom and fair exhortation. They must never be
repelling. The world today needs peace more than at any time in history, and
most of the problems of the modern world arise from excessive worldliness,
scientific materialism and the ruthless exploitation of nature. Everyone
talks so much today of the danger of war and the pollution of air and water
that peace and ecology are the most fashionable words on people�s tongues.
But the same people wish to remove those problems through further conquest
and domination of nature. The problem lies in rebelling against Heaven and
in the destruction of the equilibrium between man and nature as a result of
the modern materialistic conception of, and corrupt attitude toward, man and
nature. Most people are reluctant to perceive that peace within human
societies and with nature is possible through peace with the spiritual
order. To be at peace with the earth one must be at peace with the spiritual
dimension of one�s existence and this is possible by being at peace with
In the Qur�an, Jesus introduces himself as follows:
I am indeed a servant of God... He has commanded me to
pray and to give alms as long as l live. And He has made me dutiful to my
mother and has not made me oppressive, wicked. (79.31-2)
This means, from the viewpoint of Jesus� promised mission toward the end
of time, children will not be dutiful to their parents. Therefore, the
�missionaries� of Islam in our age must, besides performing their prayers
accurately and helping the poor and needy, be very careful about showing due
respect to their parents and elders. The Qur�an enjoins:
Your Lord has
decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you show kindness to your
parents. If either or both of them attain old age with you, (show no sign of
impatience, and) do not even say �uff� to them; nor rebuke them, but speak
kind words to them (17.23).
Those who have dedicated themselves to the cause of Islam
must attach the utmost importance to life and therefore try to prevent wars,
find cures for illnesses and know that reviving a person spiritually is more
important than healing diseases
One of Jesus� miracles was healing diseases and reviving the dead by
leave of God, that is, respect for life was very important in his message.
The Qur�an attaches the same degree of importance to life and regards one
who kills a man wrongly as if he had killed all mankind, while, on the other
hand, one who saves a life is as if he had saved the life of all mankind.
So, those who have dedicated themselves to the cause of Islam must attach
the utmost importance to life and therefore try to prevent wars, find cures
for illnesses and know that reviving a person spiritually is more important
than healing diseases. The Qur�an declares:
O you who believe! Respond to God and the Messenger, when
the Messenger calls you to that which will give you life. (8.24)