In this article, we discuss the life of Prophet Eesa (A.S) in the light of Islam. Imran (Maryam’s father) was an imam (prayer leader) in Bayt Al-Maqdis (Al-Aqsa site in Jerusalem) and well respected by those who took care of religious affairs in Bayt Al-Maqdis. The name of Imran’s wife was Hannah bint Faqudh (Hannah daughter of Faqudh) who didn’t have any children before Maryam. One day, she saw a bird feeding its chick. Seeing that, her longing for a child grew intense and thus she made a sincere prayer to Allah to grant her an offspring. In that prayer she made a promise to Allah that if He gave her an offspring, she would dedicate her child to His worship and in taking care of the holy places in Bayt Al-Maqdis. Hannah’s prayers were accepted by Allah, and soon she became pregnant (Surah Aal-e-Imran, Verse 36). After the birth of Maryam, Hannah decided that she would fulfill her promise and give the newly born child to the service of Bayt-Al Maqdis. Maryam’s mother left with Maryam, carrying her in her infant cloth, and took her to the rabbis from the offspring of Haron, the brother of Prophet Moses. They were responsible for taking care of Bayt Al-Maqdis (the Musjid) at that time, just as there were those who took care of the Kaabah (in Makkah). Maryam’s mother said to them, “Take this child whom I vowed – to serve the Musjid, I have set her free, since she is my daughter and I shall not take her back home.” They said, “She is the daughter of our Imam, as Imran used to lead them in prayer, “who took care of our sacrificial rituals.” Zakariyya said, “Give her to me, for her maternal aunt is my wife.” They said, “Our hearts cannot bear that you take her, for she is the daughter of our Imam.” So they conducted a lottery with the pens with which they wrote the Tawrah, and Zakariyya won the lottery and took Maryam into his care (Kathir I. , Tafsir Ibn Kathir, p. 763). Thus, Maryam came under the guardianship of Prophet Zikariyya (A.S). Maryam fulfilled the promise of her mother and dedicated her life to the worship of Allah. She was modest, honorable, innocent, and dedicated to her task of worship. The following hadith by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) shows the extent of Maryam’s dedication to her worship: The best woman (in her time) was Maryam, daughter of Imran, and the best woman (of the Prophet’s time) is Khadijah (his wife), daughter of Khuwaylid (Kathir I. , Tafsir Ibn Kathir, p. 763). Maryam’s piety did not remain unobserved by Prophet Zakariyya (A.S), whenever He (A.S) went to visit Maryam, he found her with food and supplies and he wondered about its source and asked her about it to which she used to respond that the food came from Allah. As Maryam grew, she found out about her status of the chosen one. The Quran states: And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allah has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinn) (of her lifetime). O Mary! Submit yourself with obedience to your Lord (Allah, by worshipping none but Him Alone) and prostrate yourself, and Irkai (bow down) along with Ar-Rakiun (those who bow down).Quran (Surah Aal-e-Imran, Verses 42-43). Maryam could not fully comprehend or interpret the meaning of this news. But soon she found out that she was pregnant. This astonished her because she had never been touched by a man. This obviously upset Maryam greatly and to avoid any embarrassment she withdrew from her family and the public’s eye and went to a place east of Jerusalem. It was here that Allah sent angel Jibrail (A.S) in the form of a man. This made Maryam afraid but then he gave her the news that she was about to give birth to a child named ‘Eesa’ (Jesus) and that the child would be among those who are loved and blessed by Allah. Maryam was also foretold by Allah that this child would speak from his cradle. The Quran has described this instance in Surah Aal-e-Imran, Verses 45-46. As is obvious, Maryam was upset to know that she was pregnant. And when the angel told her about this child she asked: She said: “How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste?” Quran (Surah Maryam, Verses 20). Allah stated the answer of the Angel in Surah Maryam: He said: “So (it will be), your Lord said: ‘That is easy for Me (Allah): And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allah), and it is a matter (already) decreed, (by Allah)’” Quran (Surah Maryam, Verses 21). Although this could have caused Maryam some agony, Allah kept her safe and filled with provisions and food. Furthermore, Allah told her not to talk to anyone about the matter and to keep quiet. The Quran describes this instance in Surah Maryam, Verses 22-26. After giving birth to Prophet Eesa (A.S), Maryam came back to Jerusalem with her child. Since she was widely considered to be a pure and pious woman, the people of Jerusalem were amazed to see a child with Maryam. They asked her about his father but she said nothing and pointed to the child. This further confused the people because there was no point in asking an infant about his birth.
Jews started asking her questions: It was said that Joseph the Carpenter was greatly surprised when he knew the story, so he asked Mary: “Can a tree come to grow without a seed?” She said: “Yes, the one which Allah created for the first time.” He asked her again: “Is it possible to bear a child without a male partner?” She said: “Yes, Allah created Adam without male or female!” (Kathir I. , Stories of Prophets, p. 178) While the people (mostly Jews of the time) were taunting Maryam asking her about the child’s father, a miracle happened. The infant which was still in cradle started speaking to the Jews. The Quran mentions the words of the infant as follows: He [Eesa (Jesus)] said: “Verily I am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever’s I be, and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat, as long as I live. “And dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest. And Salam (peace) be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!” Quran (Surah Maryam, Verses 30-33). Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Quran and in Islamic literature, the most common being al-Masīḥ (“the messiah). Jesus is also, at times, called “Seal of the Israelite Prophets”, and because, in general Muslim belief, Jesus was the last prophet sent by Allah to guide the Children of Israel. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad (Pbuh), and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter’s coming.
Prophet Eesa (A.S) grew he continued to invite people to worship the Only Lord, just as he invited them to purify the heart and soul. His teaching annoyed the priests, for every word of Jesus was a threat to them and their position, exposing their misdeeds. It was due to this reason that some tried to conspire against Jesus. They decided to embarrass him and to humiliate him. So they came up with a plan and brought an adulterous woman in front of him and asked him whether she should be stoned to death or not. They knew that doing this would leave Jesus with two choices. On the one side he had mercy and clemency he preached while, on the other side, he had to follow the Mosaic Law which stated that adulteress should be stoned to death. And when this plan failed and Jesus continued to preach, Jews became worried and decided to kill Jesus. After these orders were given, the Roman army started searching for Jesus. According to the Christian version they found him and crucified him. However, the Quran states the story differently. According to the Quran: They slew him not, nor did they crucify him but it was made dubious to them. (Holy Qur’an, Surah Nesaa, Verse 157) According to Hadith, Prophet Eesa (A.S) is on the second heaven. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) mentioned, “During the Meraj (Ascension), I met Prophet Eesa (A.S.) on the second heaven. I found him of medium stature, reddish white. His body was so clean and clear, that it appeared as though he had just performed ghusal (ablution, cleansing of the entire body) and come.” In another Hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) mentioned to the Jews that, ” Prophet Eesa (A.S.) is not dead, he will most surely return to you before Qiyamat (the Day of Judgement).” He will have an armour on his body. He will be wearing two pieces of cloth light yellow in color. He (A.S) will descend on a Jamaat (group) that will be righteous at the time and comprising of 800 men and 400 women. The people will be preparing for war at the time against Dajjal (the anti-Christ). It will be time for Fajr prayers, and Imam Mahdi will be the Amir (leader). From the darkness of the dawn, a sound will suddenly be heard that “one who listens to your pleas has come” — the righteous people will look everywhere and their eyes will fall on Eesa (A.S.). Briefly, at the time of Fajr, Eesa (A.S.) will descend. When descending, Eesa (A.S.)’s hands will be on the shoulders of two angels (according to another source (Kab Abrar), a cloud will carry him). On their insistence Prophet Eesa (A.S) will introduce himself. He will inquire about their enthusiasm and thoughts on Jihad against Dajjal. Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will descend on the eastern side near the Minaret in Damascus (or in Baitul-Muqaddus by Imam Mahdi). At the time Imam Mahdi will have proceeded forward to lead the Fajr Salaat. The Iqamat of the Salaat would have been said (already recited) and Imam Mahdi will call Hadhrat Eesa (A.S.) for Imamat (to lead the prayer), but he (Hadhrat Eesa (A.S.)) will instead tell Imam Mahdi to lead the prayer since the Iqamat of that Salaat has already been said for him. Thus Imam Mahdi will lead the prayer, and Hadhrat Eesa (A.S.) will follow him. After the ruku, he will make this statement: “Allah has killed Dajjal and the Muslims have appeared.” After the completion of Fajr Salaat (congregational dawn prayers), Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will open the door behind him where Dajjal accompanied by 70,000 Yahudis (Jews) will be. He will indicate with his hand to move away between him (Prophet Eesa (A.S.)) and Dajjal. Dajjal will then see Prophet Eesa (A.S.). At that time every Kafir on whom the breath of Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will reach, will die. His breath will reach up to the distance of his eyesight. The Muslims will then come down from the mountains and break loose on the army of Dajjal. There will be war, Dajjal will retreat, and Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will pursue Dajjal. Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will have two flexible swords and one shield with him and with these he will kill Dajjal at the Gate of Hudd. He will show the Muslims the blood of Dajjal which will get on his shield. Eventually the Yahudis will be selected and killed. The swine will be killed and the cross broken. People will revert to Islam. Wars will end, and people will return to their respective countries. One Jamaat (group) of Muslims will remain in his service and companionship. Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will go to Fajr Rawha and perform Haj or Umrah (or both) from there. He will also go to the grave of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and present his greetings and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) will reply. People will live comfortable lives. The wall of Yajooj and Majooj (Gog and Magog) will then break. After his descension on earth, Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will marry. He will stay on earth for a period of 40 years after descending. He will lead people in Salaat (Prayer) and instruct others on the Qur’an and Hadith (Shariat/Tradition of Islam). He will be a just ruler and a fair judge and this will be the best era of the Ummat after the first era of Islam. There will be peace, harmony and tranquility during the time of Prophet Eesa (A.S.)’s stay in the world. Prophet Eesa (A.S.) will have children, and he will remain on earth 19 years after marriage. He will pass away and Muslims will perform his Janaza Salaat and bury him near to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). (Tirmidhi).
(The authors write regularly on Islamic topics exclusively for “Kashmir Horizon”. Views are his own)