Question :

a) Is belief in the existence of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) cardinal to Islamic faith?

(b) Will he appear again at the end, and if so, what will be his purpose? Is there any other Prophet still alive?

Ans.
(a) Yes, Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh). We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt). We believe that he was the Messiah, translated ‘Christ’. We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe. We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission. We believe that he healed those born blind and the lepers with God’s permission.

Allah says in the Qur'an regarding Jesus Christ (pbuh):

And remember Jesus the son of Mary said: "O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah (sent) to you…” (Surah Saff 61:6)

Infact Islam makes it an article of faith to believe not only in Jesus Christ (pbuh) but all the Messengers that preceded and followed him. By name only twenty-five Messengers are mentioned in the Qur'an. Allah instructs us in the Qur'an:

“O you who believe! believe in Allah and his Messenger and the scripture which He has sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). And who denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Day of Judgment have gone far far astray.” (Al-Qur'an 4:136)

Thus belief in the Messengers, including Jesus (pbuh) is an important belief of Islam. Though Jesus (pbuh) is mentioned by name twenty-five times in the Qur'an, he is also referred with other respectable terms such as ‘Ibne Maryam’ - son of Mary; as ‘Masih’ – translated Christ, as ‘Rasulullah’ - Messenger of Allah, as ‘Abdullah’ – servant of Allah, as ‘a word from Allah’, as ‘a spirit proceeding from Allah’, as ‘a sign of Allah’ and numerous other epithets spread over fifteen different chapters of the Qur'an.

(b) It is also true that the Muslims, on the authority of the Qur'an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh). He was the only Prophet of Allah who was raised up alive. Allah says:

‘…They said (in boast) "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them; and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.’(Al-Qur'an 4:157-158)

Allah mentions the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh) in the following verse of the Qur'an:

“And indeed, he (i.e. Jesus) will be (a sign for) knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.” (Al-Qur'an 43:61)

The reason why Jesus (pbuh) is the only Prophet of Allah who was raised up alive by Allah is because he was the only Prophet whose “followers” mistook him as God. They wrongly say that he claimed divinity. Thus he will come back again to this world to clarify all such misconceptions. Says Allah in the Qur'an:

‘And behold! Allah will say "O Jesus the son of Mary! did you say unto men worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah"? He will say: "Glory to You! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing you would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart though I know not what is in yours. For You know in full all that is hidden.’ (Al-Qur'an 5:116)

There are no less than seventy Ahadith that speak of the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh). In one of the Ahadith, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:

"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims who are in the protection of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3. Hadith no. 425)

It should also be borne in mind that Jesus Christ (pbuh), in his second coming will not be coming with any new message or revelation. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:

"How will you be when the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Qur'an and not by the law of the Gospel”. (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4. Hadith No. 658)

Let’s now analyse the following words attributed to Jesus Christ (pbuh) in the Bible:

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [The Bible, Mathew 7:22-24]

In the verses quoted above, Jesus (pbuh) said that in his second coming, he would ask the people to depart from him, to get away from him because he wouldn’t know them. Who are these people? The Muslims or the Hindus? The answer is neither Hindus nor Muslims but the Christians, because Muslims or Hindus do not claim to do “Miracles” in the name of Jesus Christ (pbuh) nor do they cast out devils in his name.

Thus Muslims believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh) to be one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah and also believe in his second coming.

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Do Muslims believe the Bible accounts of Jesus' life, or do they have their own version in the Qur'an? How much of the Bible do Muslims believe is the truth?
Dear haoqide ,

" ……………. Muslims must believe in these 2 issues. The first issue is the Gospel ( Bible ) that was revealed from the Lord of the Worlds to the Prophet of Allaah ‘Eesa ( Jesus ) (peace be upon him). Belief that Allaah revealed a Book to His Prophet ‘Eesa and that the name of this book was the Gospel (Injeel), are basic principles of faith that we must believe in. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’ — and they say, ‘We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all)’”
[al-Baqarah 2:285]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Jibreel, when he asked him about faith, as mentioned in the well-known hadeeth: “Faith means to believe in Allaah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in His divine will and decree, both good and bad.” (Agreed upon).
Disbelieving in that or doubting it is misguidance and kufr or disbelief in Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Believe in Allaah, and His Messenger (Muhammad), and the Book (the Qur’aan) which He has sent down to His Messenger, and the Scripture which He sent down to those before (him); and whosoever disbelieves in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, then indeed he has strayed far away.
137. Verily, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe (again), and (again) disbelieve, and go on increasing in disbelief; Allaah will not forgive them, nor guide them on the (right) way”
[al-Nisa’ 4:136-137]
“Verily, those who disbelieve in Allaah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allaah and His Messengers (by believing in Allaah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, “We believe in some but reject others,” and wish to adopt a way in between.
151. They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment”
[al-Nisa’ 4:150-151]
The second issue is the Gospel or, more precisely, the Gospels that the Christians have today. Although one of the basic principles of our faith is to believe in the Gospel that was revealed to ‘Eesa, we also believe that there is no longer any book that remained as it was revealed by Allaah, neither the Gospel nor anything else, apart from the Qur’aan. Even the Christians themselves do not believe that the books that they have before them were revealed in that form from God, nor do they claim that the Messiah wrote the Gospel or at least that it was written during his lifetime. Imam Ibn Hazm (may Allaah have mercy on him) says in al-Fasl fi’l-Milal (2/2):
We do not need to try hard to prove that the Gospels and all the books of the Christians did not come from God or from the Messiah (peace be upon him), as we needed to do with regard to the Torah and the books attributed to the Prophets that the Jews have, because the Jews claim that the Torah that they have was revealed from God to Moosa, so we needed to establish proof that this claim of theirs is false. With regard to the Christians, they have taken care of the issue themselves, because they do not believe that the Gospels were revealed from God to the Messiah, or that the Messiah brought them, rather all of them from first to last, peasants and kings, Nestorians, Jacobites, Maronites and Orthodox are all agreed that there are four historical accounts written by four known men at different times. The first of them is the account written by Matthew the Levite who was a disciple of the Messiah, nine years after the Messiah was taken up into heaven. He wrote it in Hebrew in Judaea in Palestine, and it filled approximately twenty-eight pages in a medium-sized script. The next account was written by Mark, a disciple of Simon ben Yuna, who was called Peter, twenty-two years after the Messiah was taken up into heaven. He wrote it in Greek in Antioch in the land of the Byzantines. They say that the Simon mentioned is the one who wrote it, then he erased his name from the beginning of it and attributed it to his disciple Mark. It filled twenty-four pages written in a medium-sized script. This Simon was a disciple of the Messiah. The third account written was that of Luke, a physician of Antioch who was also a disciple of Simon Peter. He wrote it in Greek after Mark had written his account, and is similar in length to the Gospel of Matthew. The fourth account was written by John the son of Zebedee, another disciple of the Messiah, sixty-odd years after the Messiah has been taken up into heaven. He wrote it in Greek, and it filled twenty-four pages in a medium-sized script. End quote.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Jawaab al-Saheeh (3:21):
With regard to the Gospels that the Christians have, there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are agreed that Luke and Mark did not see the Messiah, rather he was seen by Matthew and John. These four accounts which they call the Gospel, and they call each one of them a Gospel, were written by these men after the Messiah had been taken up into heaven. They did not say that they are the word of God or that the Messiah conveyed them from God, rather they narrated some of the words of the Messiah and some of his deeds and miracles. End quote.
Moreover, these books which were written after the time of the Messiah did not remain in their original form. The original versions were lost long ago. Ibn Hazm said:
With regard to the Christians, there is no dispute among them or anyone else that only one hundred and twenty men believed in the Messiah during his lifetime… and all of those who believed in him concealed themselves and were afraid during his lifetime and afterwards; they called people to his religion in secret and none of them disclosed himself or practised his religion openly, because any of them who was caught was executed.
They continued in this manner, not showing themselves at all, and they had no place where they were safe for three hundred years after the Messiah was taken up into heaven.
During this time, the Gospel that had been revealed from Allaah disappeared, apart from a few verses which Allaah preserved as proof against them and as a rebuke to them, as we have mentioned. Then when the Emperor Constantine became a Christian, then the Christians prevailed and started to practise their religion openly and assemble in safety.
If a religion is like this, with its followers practicing it in secret and living in constant fear of the sword, it is impossible for things to be transmitted soundly via a continuous chain of narrators and its followers cannot protect it or prevent it from being distorted.
End quote. Al-Fasl, 2/4-5.
In addition to this huge disruption in the chain of transmission of their books, which lasted for two centuries, these books did not remain in the languages in which they were originally written, rather they were translated, more than once, by people whose level of knowledge and honesty is unknown. The contradictions in these books and their shortcomings are among the strongest evidence that they have been distorted and that they are not the Gospel (Injeel) that Allaah revealed to His slave and Messenger ‘Eesa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Allaah indeed spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“Had it been from other than Allaah, they would surely, have found therein many a contradiction”
[al-Nisa’ 4:82].

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Hey, thanks for the clarification of your beliefs! That obviously took a lot of time! I appreciate it.

I take issue with a couple of things you say in your reply, though:
Even the Christians themselves do not believe that the books that they have before them were revealed in that form from God, nor do they claim that the Messiah wrote the Gospel or at least that it was written during his lifetime.


True, Christians don't believe that God gave the Gospels to us written in His own hand, and we don't claim that Jesus wrote them himself, but we believe that these men were "borne along by holy spirit." - 2 Peter 1:21 In other words, the men who actually wrote the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, along with all other books of the Bible, were instruments being used by God through His holy spirit to write the books of the Bible.
They say that the Simon mentioned is the one who wrote it, then he erased his name from the beginning of it and attributed it to his disciple Mark. It filled twenty-four pages written in a medium-sized script. This Simon was a disciple of the Messiah. The third account written was that of Luke, a physician of Antioch who was also a disciple of Simon Peter. He wrote it in Greek after Mark had written his account, and is similar in length to the Gospel of Matthew. The fourth account was written by John the son of Zebedee, another disciple of the Messiah, sixty-odd years after the Messiah has been taken up into heaven. He wrote it in Greek, and it filled twenty-four pages in a medium-sized script.


I'm not sure who "they" are, but my whole life I've learned that the book of Matthew was written by Matthew, Mark by Mark, Luke by Luke, and John by John. I've never seen any evidence anywhere that Peter erased his name and wrote Mark's name on the account attributed to Mark. Evidence suggests that Mark was indeed one of Jesus' disciples, but he wasn't one of the 12 apostles. The fact that he wasn't one of the 12 doesn't mean he was any less faithful; had Jesus made all of his faithful disciples apostles, there would be hundreds of them. The fact that he only chose 12 doesn't make anyone else unfaithful. He was a close associate of Peter (called "my son" by Peter at 1 Pet. 5:13), so he could receive Peter's accounts of things as they happened and write them down. The book of Matthew was completed about the year 41 C.E., the book of Mark between 60 & 65 C.E., Luke 56-58 C.E., and John in 98 C.E. Yes, those accounts were written several years after the Messiah's death and resurrection to heaven; however, that doesn't make the accounts any less truthful. Matthew and John were both direct disciples of Jesus, so they were eyewitnesses of the things about which they wrote. And just as when different people see the same event they have different things they appreciate and notice more than others, so it was with the gospel writers. Since they were "borne along by holy spirit," it makes sense that their memories would be very vivid. It's no less reliable than when one writes an autobiography of his life. Does the fact that the events from his earlier years happened perhaps 15 years ago or more make his account innacurate? Does it mean that his story should not be believed, simply because of the amount of time he waited to write it down? Commonly, autobiographies are not put in the "fiction" section of bookstores, and neither should the Gospel accounts be.

Also, to say that God (Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah, as whatever name one knows him) had something written down for a purpose and then to say that its meaning was lost because of centuries of copying and translation is to say that God is not powerful enough to protect his own message. That's why I, along with tens of millions of others in the world, believe the Gospels were and still are accurate, truthful, God-inspired accounts of Jesus' ministry.
Ibn Hazm said:
With regard to the Christians, there is no dispute among them or anyone else that only one hundred and twenty men believed in the Messiah during his lifetime… and all of those who believed in him concealed themselves and were afraid during his lifetime and afterwards; they called people to his religion in secret and none of them disclosed himself or practised his religion openly, because any of them who was caught was executed.
They continued in this manner, not showing themselves at all, and they had no place where they were safe for three hundred years after the Messiah was taken up into heaven.


I'm not sure who Ibn Hazm is, but I assume he's referring to Acts 1:15, which says, "15 Now during these days Peter rose up in the midst of the brothers and said (the crowd of persons was all together about one hundred and twenty):" The fact that there were only 120 people there means that the "upper chamber" they occupied could only fit 120 people (Acts 1:13; Acts 2:1). It doesn't say, "And ALL of Jesus disciples were together." It's no different than someone saying, "I was with my friends, and we were all in the kitchen eating..." It doesn't mean that ALL of your friends would fit in your kitchen; it just means that the ones you were with were all in the kitchen.

As far as their "not showing themselves at all" and hiding for 300 years, that simply can't be true. If that were the case, how would there be such a huge increase in their numbers during that time, which is something secular historians will confirm.
The contradictions in these books and their shortcomings are among the strongest evidence that they have been distorted and that they are not the Gospel (Injeel) that Allaah revealed to His slave and Messenger ‘Eesa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Allaah indeed spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“Had it been from other than Allaah, they would surely, have found therein many a contradiction”
[al-Nisa’ 4:82].


I've studied the "contradictions" of the Bible, and in the case of every supposed contradiction, by doing a little deeper research, one can find that the Bible does in fact NOT contradict itself. It makes sense, especially when one considers the fact that the writers of the books were individuals, and thus thought more of different points, as I mentioned earlier.

Here are just a few that are supposedly contradictions that, with further study, can easily be reconciled:

From how many men did Jesus Christ expel the demons who took possession of a large herd of swine?

The Gospel writer Matthew mentions two men, but Mark and Luke refer to just one. (Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:2; Luke 8:27) Evidently, Mark and Luke drew attention to only one demon-possessed man because Jesus spoke to him and his case was more outstanding. Possibly, that man was more violent or had suffered under demon control for a longer time. Afterward, perhaps that one man alone wanted to accompany Jesus. (Mark 5:18-20) In a somewhat parallel situation, Matthew spoke of two blind men healed by Jesus, whereas Mark and Luke mentioned only one. (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35) This was not contradictory, for there was at least one such man.

· What color was the garment Jesus wore on the day of his death?

According to Mark (15:17) and John (19:2), the soldiers put a purple garment on Jesus. But Matthew (27:28) called it “a scarlet cloak,” emphasizing its redness. Since purple is any color having components of both red and blue, Mark and John agree that the cloak had a red hue. Light reflection and background could have given different casts to the garment, and the Gospel writers mentioned the color that was strongest to them or to those from whom they got their information. The minor variation shows the individuality of the writers and proves that there was no collusion.

· Who carried Jesus’ torture stake?

John (19:17) said: “Bearing the torture stake for himself, [Jesus] went out to the so-called Skull Place, which is called Gol´go·tha in Hebrew.” But Matthew (27:32), Mark (15:21), and Luke (23:26) say that ‘as they were going out, Simon of Cyrene was impressed into service to bear the torture stake.’ Jesus bore his torture stake, as John stated. In his condensed account, however, John did not add the point that Simon was later impressed into service to carry the stake. Hence, the Gospel accounts harmonize in this regard.

· How did Judas Iscariot die?

Matthew 27:5 states that Judas hanged himself, whereas Acts 1:18 says that “pitching head foremost he noisily burst in his midst and all his intestines were poured out.” While Matthew seems to deal with the mode of the attempted suicide, Acts describes the results. Judas apparently tied a rope to the branch of a tree, put a noose around his neck, and tried to hang himself by jumping off a cliff. It seems that either the rope or the tree limb broke so that he plunged downward and burst open on the rocks below. The topography around Jerusalem makes such a conclusion reasonable.

I realize that some of these points rely on faith in the Bible itself, something that I don't expect a non-Christian to have. So I understand if you look at these points and disagree. The fact remains that the prophecies that Jesus uttered as recorded in the Gospel accounts, as well as the prophecies recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek Scriptures written after Jesus' life course on earth have come true, or their times to come true have not yet arrived. If you'd like to know more about those prophecies specifically, just ask, or if you have any examples of verses in the Bible that contradict each other, please ask, and I'll be glad to show you why they don't.

One more question...have you read any of the Bible? If not, it's not fair to the Bible to simply quote scholars of your religion when they say things about it or its adherents. That's the reason I don't comment on the Qur'an; I've personally never read it.