The Return of Jesus and Quranic Interpretation (4)
Even if for the sake of argument we agree that 43:61 actually means what you are telling it means, then also there are CLEAR-CUT Ahadis speaking of the return of Jesus PBUH. Can they be denied? I read your reply on this on your website, but it does not suffice. Yes, Ahadis were COMPILED 300 years after the Prophet PBUH’s era, but it does not mean that they were actually heard for the first time by the Muslims 300 years later than said. If something is contained in a Sahih Hadis (especially one which has no contradiction), why should it not be followed? And if you allege that these Ahadis speaking of Jesus’s return are actually fabricated, then what could the intention of the narrators of these Ahadis possibly be??
Let me just summarize my points to give an end to this argument.
1) All major Quranic interpreters and Mufassireen believed that Quran does speak about Jesus’s return.
2) There are absolutely clear Ahadis speaking of his return.
3) No Quranic verse or Sahih Hadis speaks about Jesus not returning before the Hour.
Please refute to these points if you are sure that Jesus PBUH will not return.
The fact that the second coming of Jesus, alaihissalaam, has been mentioned in several ahadith is true. I agree with you that it is not easily possible to dismiss them all by claiming that they were fabricated. There could be several possible reasons one could imagine of for the existence of those ahadith. I will mention them later but before doing that I would like to state two other facts too.
The Quran is not just silent about the issue but seems to be indicating that it was very unlikely that Jesus would return. I will clarify the Quranic position in another message. Unfortunately, because of the predominance of the concept of Jesus’s return in the minds of many people due to the mention of that possibility in ahadith, many Muslims have interpreted some Quranic verses in a manner that has created an impression that Quran supports the claim that Jesus was going to return.
The very first book of hadith that got published and widely circulated amongst the Muslim ummah was Mauta Imam Malik. Even though it carried many opinions of Imam Malik on issues of jurisprudence, it was primarily a book of hadith. Published in the middle of the second century hijrah, the book is a source of learning about information on important issues of religion available in the Madina of the second century hijrah. It is significant that while the book talks about the arrival of Dajjal close to the judgment day, it doesn’t mention the return of Jesus. The question that arises is: Was the fact of Jesus’s return not known to the people of Madina at that time while they knew about the arrival of Dajjal or was it that Imam Malik thought it wasn’t a fact significant enough to deserve to be included in his book?
As for ahadith on Jesus’s rerurn there could be several explanations possible: i) All those ahadith were created under the influence of information about Jesus’s return that Christian traditions were mentioning. ii) They were referring to the metaphorical return of Jesus: the spirit of Islam would be revived close to the judgment day like Jesus revived the spirit of Torah. iii) The mention of the arrival of al-Masihuddajjal by the prophet, alaihissalaam, was mistaken by some narrators to be suggesting the arrival of Jesus himself.
Of course, the possibility that the ahadith were referring to a Jesus-like person who was to come, as claimed by the Ahmadis, is not an acceptable possibility because in that case one has to believe that another person was to come from God after Muhammad, alaihissalaam, belief in whom was to be an integral part of Muslims’ faith. If we accept that proposition then we will also have to accept that the Quran was, God forbid, an incomplete book of religious guidance, because it doesn’t mention anyone coming from God belief in whom was important for a Muslim.
Whatever be the truth about the second coming of Jesus, and only Allah knows what it is, the understanding is not religiously significant. Had it been significant, it would have been clearly mentioned in the Quran.