Characteristics of Jesus (a.s) in the Quran- Part 5

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Characteristics of Jesus (a.s) in the Quran- Part 5
Jesus Christ (a.s), the sign for coming the Day of Resurrection
The Quran considers Messiah as one of the signs for coming the Day of Resurrection and notes that you must not be doubtful about the Day of Resurrection as well, you must not regard Jesus as your God. He is the servant of God and one of his characteristics is that his coming is one of the signs for coming the Day of Resurrection. In this regard the Quran says: “And indeed, Jesus will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour (Resurrection), so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf-Verse 61). The explanation of this verse is dependent upon the interpretation of its previous verses. In the previous verse it has been mentioned that: “And when the son of Mary was presented as an example, immediately your people laughed aloud. And they said, "Are our gods better, or is he?" They did not present the comparison except for [mere] argument. But, [in fact], they are a people prone to dispute. Jesus was not but a servant upon whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf-Verses 57-59). The commentators states that when the verse “Indeed, you [disbelievers] and what you worship other than Allah are the firewood of Hell. You will be coming to [enter] it” (Surah Al-'Anbya'-Verse 98) was revealed, the idolaters of Quraish began to dispute and said: “Jesus is the Christian’s God too. If except the Almighty God, all other gods and even Jesus are about to be burnt in the fire, we do not mind if our gods be burnt in the fire too, because they are never more honorable than Jesus. So if Jesus is about to suffer from this fate, our gods will suffer too.” In response to this statement the Quran says: “You are wrong, it is about your artificial idols, and Jesus Christ had never been God but he is Our servant to whom We bestowed upon Our blessings and through him, We showed one of the signs of Our power in the Israelites. He is the sign for coming the Day of Resurrection, do not be doubtful about the Day of Resurrection and obey Me.” In other words, considering the verse “what you worship” and the statement of “Your gods will be burnt in the fire”, it becomes clear that the term “gods” refers to non-wise and soulless gods”. But it has to be mentioned that honorable creatures with high status who also have a soul won’t be burnt in the fire only because others have misconceptions about them. Burning the wooden idols is done so as to humiliate them and to indicate that they are not God. So, it is not related to the one who is worshiped by others while he is wise and does have a soul, because the one who is worshiped as God, acknowledges that he is the servant of God. As the interpretation of the verse “Indeed, you [disbelievers] and what you worship other than Allah are the firewood of Hell” Al-Zamakhshari has narrated that when this verse was revealed, Abdullah Ibn Zebara began to dispute with the Prophet Muhammad and said: “O Muhammad (pbuh), is this verse only related to us and our gods or is it the gods of all nations?” The Prophet Muhammad said: “the latter”. Abdullah Ibn Zebara said: “I swear to the God of the Kaaba that I won over you because you are saying that Jesus, the son of Mary is a prophet and say “peace be upon Jesus” whereas Jesus and his mother are worshipped by the Christians and he is regarded as the God of the Christians and the angels are also worshipped by another group. Accordingly, will of all them be burnt in the Hellfire? In this case, it will be better if we and our gods also be burnt in the fire.” In response to this person the following verse was revealed: “Indeed, those for whom the best [reward] has preceded from Us - they are from it far removed.” (Surah Al-'Anbya'-Verse 101). Anyhow according to this verse one of the characteristics of Messiah is that he is regarded as one of the signs for coming the Day of Resurrection. The question is: what does the sentence “He is the [a sign for] knowledge of coming the Resurrection” mean? Some commentators have stated that it refers to the means of becoming aware of the Day of Resurrection. It means that Jesus is the means or the sign by whom we can become aware of the Day of Resurrection, because he has been born without having a father and at the same time he can bring the dead to life. Therefore, it won’t be hard for God to make the Day of Resurrection happens and to bring the dead to life. So, no longer be doubtful about the Day of Resurrection. Some other commentators also believe that the sentence “Jesus is [a sign for] knowledge of coming the Resurrection” means that this prophet is the sign by which we can recognize that the Day of Resurrection is approaching and he will descend to the earth before the Day of Resurrection and through his coming, people will understand that the Day of Resurrection is approaching. Definitely the birth of Messiah had not been the sing for the Day of Resurrection, because the Prophet Muhammad himself who was born after him, had been more qualified than him for this status. But in a specific period of time, the resurrection of Jesus is the sign for proximity of the Day of Resurrection and it has to be said that hadiths and narrations also prove this issue. Accordingly it is said that: “One day, as the just leader and arbiter the Messiah will descend to the earth before the Day of Resurrection.” Jabir ibn Abd-Allah says “I heard from the Prophet Muhammad who said: “Jesus Christ will descend to the earth and the leader of the Muslims (according to other Hadiths, the term “the leader of the Muslims” refers to Imam al-Mahdi (a.s))” will say to him: I intend to perform Salah (prayer) with you. He will say: “No, some of you are Imam and leader of some other people and this is the way God has respected this nation. (Then Messiah will follow Imam al-Mahdi in Salah)”. According to another hadith the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “How will you be when the son of Mary will descend among you while your leader (Imam) is one of you.” Anyhow, using the term “knowledge” for the Messiah emphasizes and refers to the fact that the resurrection of Jesus is definitely one of the signs for coming the Day of Resurrection. Then he adds that: “The Day of Judgment will definitely occur and it is near, so never be doubtful about it and do not act like the negligent people, neither in terms of your belief nor your deed an follow me because this is a straight path.” Which path is straighter than making you aware of the dangerous future that awaits you and showing you the way to save yourself in the Day of Resurrection (The Rising of the Dead)? But Satan always intends to keep you in ignorance. So be aware of it.
Resurrection of Jesus (a.s), one of the signs of the Day of Judgment
On the eve of the Day of Judgment, some events will occur which are known as the sign for the Day of Judgment. Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman has narrated a Hadith from the Prophet Muhammad. Accordingly, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has stated that there are four signs for the Day of Judgment: Dajjal, resurrection of Jesus (Jesus’s returning to the earth) (a.s), a fire that shall gather all people of the world in Mahshar for the Last Judgment, and the smoke. Hudhayfah asked: “what do you mean by the smoke?” After reading the above mentioned verse, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “It refers to the smoke that will envelop east and west of the world for forty days. In this situation the believers feel as if they have caught flu, however the unbelievers will be drunken and the smoke will come out of their noses, ears and buttocks.” In this regard, many other Hadiths have also been narrated which have referred to the same issue. In this regard Abu Malik al-Ash'ari has also narrated a hadith from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Accordingly the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says: “Your God has warned you by three things: “The smoke by which the believer feels as if he has caught flu, and all parts of the unbeliever’s body will swell and the smoke will come out of all his body’s holes. The second is a creature which will be brought forth from the earth and the third sign is Dajjal.” In this regard, Amir al-Mu'minin has narrated a Hadith form the Prophet Muhammad. Accordingly, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says: “There are ten signs for coming the Day of Judgment: Sufyani, Dajjal, smoke, creature from the earth, the uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a.s), the rise of the sun form the west, the emergence of Jesus (a.s), the occurrence of a very great earthquake in the east, the occurrence of the similar earthquake in Arabian Peninsula and the fire which will emit from the lower part of 'Adan and will drive the people to toward the Day of Judgment.” Commentators have stated that the emergence of Jesus Christ (a.s) is one of the signs for coming the Day of Judgment. Jabir ibn Abd-Allah says: I heard from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who said: “One of the signs for the Day of Judgment is the emergence of Jesus (a.s). “Jesus, the son of Mary will descend to the earth and at this moment their leader will say to him: I intend to perform Salah (prayer) with you and follow you in Salah. Jesus Christ (a.s) will not accept and will say: in order to revere this nation (of Mahdi) by the Almighty God, some of you (Imam al-Mahdi (a.s)) has been regarded as the leader of some other people.” In another Hadith, he said: “What will you feel, when Jesus, the son of Mary (a.s) emerges and your Imam (Imam al-Mahdi (a.s)) be one of you?”
21- The testimony of Jesus Christ (a.s)
According to the Holy Quran, the Prophets of God and especially Jesus Christ are witness to the deeds of their people. Accordingly, the Quran introduces the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as the one who is witness to other witnesses: “So how [will it be] when We bring from every nation a witness and we bring you, [O Muhammad] against these as a witness?” (Surah An-Nisa'-Verse 41). In Surah the fact that Jesus is a witness is expressed as the following: “And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness.” (Surah An-Nisa'-Verse 159). Jesus (a.s) is not only aware of the ordinary deeds but he is also completely aware of his people’s behaviors and beliefs. There are some ways to prove the fact that in this world the prophets and especially Jesus are witness to our deeds: one of these ways is accompaniment, it means that when the Almighty God has considered the prophets as the ones who are witness to the so-called court of Divine Justice and has regarded them among the true witnesses, the verity of the witness is determined by the fact that the witness be present at the scene and be in this world. So the prophets are practically witness to people’s deeds. It means that while doing their deeds, the prophets are witness to people’s deeds and they see whatever they do accordingly they are witness to their deeds in the so-called court of Divine Justice. Another way is based on inferring the analogy. It means that according to the Holy Quran some Prophets such as Messiah (a.s) have been regarded as those who brought near to Allah. In this regard in surah Al-Mutaffifin, the Quran says: “The deeds of the righteous are witnessed by those who brought near to Allah”. Accordingly, inevitably the deeds of the other people are witnessed by those who brought near to Allah. In short, it has to be said that the deeds of the righteous are witnessed by the prophets as well as those brought near to Allah. Therefore, the deeds of the righteous are witnessed by the prophets and since the righteous are superior to the wicked, the one who is witness to the righteous and is aware of their deeds will definitely be witness to the wicked and is aware of their deeds. The reason is that in comparison to the righteous and virtuous people, the wicked and criminal people are at a lower level. The description of the above mentioned inference is that the glad tidings which has been given to Mary (a.s) by the angels was that the Almighty God would give you a son whose name would be the Messiah and he would be among those brought near to Allah. In this regard the Quran says: “[And mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ]” (Surah 'Ali `Imran-Verse 45). In the Holy Quran, one of the most paramount and great attributes which is given to the pioneer believers is that they are called as those brought near to Allah. The righteous are superior to “the companions of the right”. In the Holy Quran sometimes people are divided into the wicked, the righteous, those brought near to Allah and sometimes they are divided to the companions of the left, the companions of the right and those brought near to Allah. In both divisions, Jesus Christ is regarded as those brought near to Allah which are glorified in the Holy Quran. In this regard the Quran says: “And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allah. Then [for him is] rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.” (Surah Al-Waqi`ah-Verses 88-89). The Arabic version of this verse presumably shows that they are rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure. Regarding the record (writing of deeds) of the righteous that according to holy verse 177 of Surah Al-Baqarah they believe in Allah, the Last Day and the revelation and they perform good deeds, the Quran says: The record (writing of deeds) of the righteous is in 'illiyyun and what can make you know what is 'illiyyun? (This description is a kind of description which is accompanied by glorification). 'illiyyun is an important record (writing of deeds) which encompasses the record (writing of deeds) of the righteous. 'illiyyun is [their destination recorded in] a register inscribed. It has been written by the holy scribes of God or the righteous and it is witnessed by those brought near to Allah. In this regard the Quran says: “No! Indeed, the record of the righteous is in 'illiyyun. And what can make you know what is 'illiyyun? It is [their destination recorded in] a register inscribed which is witnessed by those brought near [to Allah].” (Surah Al-Mutaffifin-Verses 18-21). If the writer of 'illiyyun be of the righteous, they are witnessed by those brought near to Allah and if the holy scribes of God refer to the angels who inscribe by the permission of Allah, again they are witnessed by those brought near to Allah. Because the one who is not superior to the 'illiyyun, is not able to witness the record of 'illiyyun. Therefore, in order for the one who has become near to Allah to be superior to 'illiyyun, he must be superior to 'illiyyun. As a result, based on the above mentioned analogy, 'illiyyun and the deeds and record (writing of deeds) of the righteous are witnessed by Jesus Christ. Moreover, the record (writing of deeds) of the wicked is witnessed by those brought near to Allah because the record of the wicked is in sijjeen and sijjeen is inferior to 'illiyyun. In this regard the Quran says: “No! Indeed, the record of the wicked is in sijjeen. And what can make you know what is sijjeen? It is [their destination recorded in] a register inscribed. Woe, that Day, to the deniers.” (Surah Al-Mutaffifin-Verses 7-10). The prefect human beings who are aware of the 'illiyyun, will definitely be aware of the 'illiyyun except those secrets the awareness of which have not been allowed to anyone by the Almighty God due to preservation of the human dignity. In this regard in Du'a Kumayl (the Supplication of Kumayl) Amir al-Mu'minin (a.s) says: O, God! You are aware of all my deeds however, due to Your kindness You do not allow others to be aware of some truth. Because God is witness to everything and when others are witness, it is witnessed by God. As a result the way 'illiyyun, sijjeen and the deeds of the righteous and the wicked are witnessed by those brought near to Allah is different from the way the deeds of all people are witnessed by God. Regarding being witness to others, Jesus Christ said to the Almighty God, as long I was among them, I was witness to their deeds like as an observer and not as an onlooker and bystander, so if they took the straight path, I would encourage them and if they deviated the straight Path, I would guide them to the straight path. In this regard the Quran says: “When And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.” (Surah Al-Ma'idah-Verse 117). Although after their death, the prophets were still witness to peoples’ deeds, they were not witness to their deeds as observers. It mean that their presence is not related to their prophetic missions and the fact that they have to guide the ones who deviate from the straight path. To be witness to people’s deeds as an observer is specific to this world when they are alive. It should be noted that the statement of Jesus Christ who said: “You were the Observer” means neither after me, You are the only observer nor You were not the observer before me, because Jesus himself had given the glad tidings of coming another prophet after himself. In this regard the Quran says: “And bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad” (Surah As-Saf-Verse 6) and the deeds of the people are witnessed by all prophets. He also emphasize that: “You are, over all things, Witness”. The act of observation of God is absolute and before the birth of Jesus He had been the observer and after his birth when he was alive He was the Observer too and after Jesus’s death God is still the observer. The Almighty God is not only observer over all nations, but He is also observer over the prophets. Therefore, He is observer over those who are witness and those who are witnessed. Although, God’s observation has also been attributed to others by Him, He is the only true, absolute and independent witness and observer. As a result, the observation of those brought near to Allah including Jesus is considered as one of the aspects of the observation of the Almighty God. In this regard the Quran says: “And say, "Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do” (Surah At-Tawbah-Verse 105). So, being witness to the deeds is not specific to the Prophets and the Messengers (Peace be upon them) but it is regarded as the greatness of those brought near to Allah, because they are aware of human beings’ beliefs, behaviors and deeds. However, the so-called path of Wilayah is always open, and every human being will have a share of Wilayah and to the extent of his proximity to Wilayah, he will be witnessed to the deeds of others. Therefore, the one who is witness to others’ deeds will not be unaware of his own deeds because the Quran says: “And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves.” (Surah Al-Hashr-Verse 19). Such a person won’t be witness to his own deeds and he has become unaware of himself and will never be able to be witness to others’ deeds. Accordingly, the principle of being witness to others is plausible for human being and the Quran has stated that in in order for a person to be able to be witness to other’s deeds, he must be among those brought near to Allah and this so-called path is open for everybody because the term “the believers” in the mentioned verse, is not specific to Ahl al-Bayt, although they are the real exemplar of the believers and the extent to which they are witness to people’s deeds is not comparable to others. But it is not impossible that one of those who brought near to Allah get to a level at which he be able to be witness to the deeds of others.
23 - Intercession of Jesus Christ (a.s)
Jesus Christ were witness to the deeds of the people in this world and in the Day of Judgment in the so-called court of Divine Justice, he would honestly testify as a witness. So, he bears witness to the truth and according to the Holy Quran, only those who bear witness to the truth can have the power of intercession. In this regard the Quran says: “And those they invoke besides Him do not possess [power of] intercession; but only those who testify to the truth [can benefit], and they know.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf-Verse 86). It should be noted that as a group of commentators imagined that in order for the sins of his people to be forgiven by God, Jesus Christ has been sacrificed. However, the Arabic equivalent for the term intercession does not mean “the act of sacrifice”. In the Day of Judgment, the intercession is done by the permission of God and no one is allowed to intercede with others without His permission. In this regard the Quran says: “Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission?”(Surah Al-Baqarah-Verse 255). The one who intercedes with the people must be allowed by God. In this regard the Quran says: “And they cannot intercede except on behalf of one whom He approves” (Surah Al-'Anbya'-Verse 28). Hence, the disbelievers and the hypocrites are not allowed to intercede with other as well they won’t be interceded either. The reason is that the outline of the act of intercession has been specified. Accordingly, those they invoke besides Him do not possess power of intercession; but only those who testify to the truth. In this regard the Quran says: “And He does not approve for His servants disbelief. And if you are grateful, He approves it for you.” Surah Az-Zumar-Verse 7). Therefore, the intercession is specific to the Almighty God and in order for the Messiah (a.s) to intercede with someone, the permission of God is required.

Sources

1 - A 'lam al-Qur'an, p. 445

2 - Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, Manshur Javed, vol. 12, p. 365 and p 412

3 - Andisheh Qom website, the article of Jesus (a.s) in the Quran

4 - Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 3, pp. 302-315, vol. 14, pp. 54-55, Vol. 2, p 490, vol. 5, p 221, vol. 14, p. 62, vol. 16, pp. 416-417, vol. 19, p. 304 and p. 426, vol. 18, p. 176

5 - Tafsir Nemooneh, vol. 2, pp. 549-560, Vol. 13, pp. 54-56, vol. 24, p. 72, vol. 21, p. 100

6 – Thematic exegesis by Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli, vol. 7, p 370 and pp.243-258 vol. 4, p. 275

7 - Ayatollah Motahhari, familiarity with the Quran 6, pp. 133-132

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