The Cosmic Significance of the Descent of ‘Isa (peace be upon him)

Translated by Zameelur Rahman

Qutaybah ibn Sa’id narrated to us: Layth narrated to us [and] Muhammad ibn Rumh narrated to us: al-Layth informed us: from ibn Shihab: from ibn al-Musayyab: that he heard Abu Hurayrah say: Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,

“By Him in Whose hand is my soul, the Son of Maryam (peace be upon him) will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish jizyah, and the wealth will pour forth to such a degree that none will accept it.” (Sahih Muslim)

His statement “the Son of Maryam will soon descend among you” to the end [of the narration]: [meaning,] among this ummah, since this address was to a part of the ummah of those who did not comprehend his descent.

The weak servant (Allah pardon him) says:

Know that when Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) intended to manifest the attribute of His grace (in’am) and vengeance (intiqam), He created the creation and put it into categories. Thus, he created the fountains of faith and guidance from a species other than man, and they are the Angels, and from the species of man, and they are the Prophets and Messengers (Allah’s blessings and His peace be on them all); and He created the mines of disbelief and deviance from a species other than man, and they are the devils, and from the species of man, and they are the lying imposters (al-dajjalun al-kadhdhabun) (the curse of Allah be upon them). Hence, the former are the masters of the felicitous, living in the abode of His bounty and grace, and the loci of the manifestation of His mercy and pleasure (Glorified and High is He); and the latter are the heads of the miserable, falling into the locus of His punishment and anger, and are the loci of the manifestation of His vengeance and wrath.

Hostility exists between the two groups and opposition occurs between the two parties, as is necessitated by the tension arising between the beautiful (jamaliyyah) and dominating (qahriyyah) attributes of Allah. The Angels of Allah are, thus, on one side and the devils on another side and the Friends of the Most Merciful are on one side and the imposters, the enemies of Allah, on another side, and they have not ceased to be engaged in war and aggression in every age, “and they shall continue to differ until Allah’s command comes and for this did He create them” (Qur’an 11:118-9). “Each does He supply, both these and those, from the bounty of thy Lord. And the bounty of thy Lord is not confined. See how He prefers one of them above another, and verily the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preferment” (Qur’an 17:20-1).

Of what is known with surety is that every time a lying imposter surfaces in this ummah, a man or a group from the inheritors of the Chief of the Prophets (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stands to repel his schemes, quell his deception and suppress his work, and Allah (Glorified and High is He) assists the truthful and forsakes the liar. This hostility between the Friends of the Most Merciful and the friends of the devil will continue until the head of disbelief will emerge from the east. He is the greatest imposter (al-dajjal al-a’zam) and the greatest enemy of Allah that every prophet warned his people about. The chain of lying imposters will be sealed by him and the levels of disbelief and deviance in the species of man will culminate in him, such that his disbelief will pass from his soul to his body and from his heart to his face until k-f-r will be written between his eyes. He will claim divinity despite the accursed being one-eyed. He will produce with him the likeness of heaven and hell. Seventy thousand of the Jews of Isfahan will follow him, shawls draped over them. He will set foot in every land except the two mosques, i.e. Makkah and Madinah. He will command the heaven and it will rain and the earth and it will bring forth vegetation. He will pass by ruins and say to it “bring out your treasures” and its treasures will follow him like worker bees [follow] the queen bee. He will order a man to be torn with a saw from the middle of his head until his legs part [from each other], then he will walk between the two parts and say to him “stand” and he will stand erect. There is no trial greater than this trial and by it the believers will be tried and shaken, a great shaking.

Thus, it appears outwardly that none will stand to resist the seal of the lying imposters besides the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers. He is the one [with regards to whom] Allah took the covenant of the Prophets to believe in him and assist him (Qur’an 3:81). Adam and those other than him will be under his standard on the Day of Resurrection; the Intimate (Khalil i.e. Ibrahim) and the Sacrifice (Dhabih i.e. Isma’il) prayed for him; the Messiah prophesized his coming and Musa will have no option if he was alive but to follow him. The levels of prophethood and messsengership culminate in him such that the traces of the seal of prophethood which is an attribute of [his] soul travels into his noble body, whereby the seal of prophethood is in between his shoulder blades, one of the signs of his authenticity transmitted from the ancients. He is the absolute servant of Allah who was sent with the truth to all of man, as a bringer of glad tidings and a warner (Qur’an 34:28). There, thus, remains not on the surface of the earth tent-dwellers, nor city-dwellers, but Allah admits him into his upright religion.

It would thus accord more with what is apparent to people that the pure self of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will be a proof against the greatest enemy of Allah, and will defend his ummah. However, Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) elevated his rank and made the matter of the accursed imposter weaker than that he should stand to oppose him (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and come out to duel him. And He extolled the stature of the blessed Muhammadan ummah whereby he perpetuated [the life of] the seal of the Prophets to the Children of Israel, our master ‘Isa (peace be upon him), who is called “the Spirit of Allah” due to the preponderance of the effects of life in him, [kept] living, upright, healthy and unsullied till now in his high and fortified fortress and [in] a place which is not the place of generation and corruption, until he will descend in the last of times ruling, not by the law of the Evangel, but by the law of the Seal of the Prophets (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and will stand as his representative to destroy his enemy and to manifest his religion over all religions and cut off the Jews, the followers of the imposter, and repel them, and extinguish the signs of the Christians, and rectify what they distorted of the true religion.

Of what is known with clarity is that the greatest of what our Prophet was attributed with and elevated by is absolute servitude to the Absolutely Worshipped. He is called the servant of Allah in His (Exalted is He) statement, “And when the servant of Allah stood up in prayer to Him, they crowded on him, almost stifling” (72:19). The usage of this special title is not conferred on any Prophet in the Qur’an besides Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), personally, and ‘Isa (upon him be blessings and peace), relating from his [own] statement, “I am indeed the slave of Allah” (19:30). Hence, this is a subtle indication that ‘Isa (peace be upon him) has a specific connection to Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the most well-known of his attributes and the most elite of his qualities of absolute servitude. Thus, the one who says “I am indeed the slave of Allah” in the cradle is more deserving from all the Prophets (upon them be blessing and peace) to be sent as a protector and representative in the Muhammadan presence to help his ummah and destroy his enemy, who disdains servitude and establishes divinity for himself. Refuge is [sought] from Allah.

From what increases the beauty of this correspondence, is [that] the Messiah (peace be upon him), despite his claim for himself of pure servitude, was one of those whom a great nation took as a god – Allah is greatly elevated above what the oppressors, the worshippers of the Messiah of guidance and the worshippers of the messiah of misguidance, say – and the miracles which issued from the accursed imposter as an evil feat (istidraj) of bringing the dead to life etc., since they accord with the form of the kind of miracles that occurred at the hand of the Messiah, and the great blessings that will occur after his (peace be upon him) descent by way of miracle, ‘Isa (peace be upon him) is more deserving of destroying the accursed from this perspective also.

This is an elaboration of some of what the teacher of our teachers, the distributer of the sciences and goodness [Shaykh Muhammad Qasim al-Nanautwi] (Allah illuminate his resting place), summarized in his Urdu book Ab Hayat.

Al-Hafiz ibn Hajr said in al-Fath, “The ‘ulama said: the wisdom behind the descent of ‘Isa (peace be upon him) and not any other Prophet is to confound the Jews in their belief that they killed him. Thus, Allah (Most High) manifests their lie and [demonstrates] that He is the One who curses [lit. kills] them. Or his descent was because of the nearness of his appointed [time of death] in order for him to be buried in the earth, since it is not [appropriate] for one created from dust to die in other than it. It was said that he supplicated to Allah when he saw the quality of Muhammad and his ummah to make him from amongst them, so Allah accepted his supplication and perpetuated him until he descended in the last of times as a renewer of the matter of Islam, so he will coincide with the emergence of the imposter and kill him. The first is more likely.”

Fath al-Mulhim, vol. 2, pp. 202-4