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Do Muslims Believe Jesus Will Come Back?

25 August, 2022
Q Do Muslims believe that Jesus will come back? Do they believe, like the Christians that someone will come first acting like Jesus? If so, how are we going to recognize the true Jesus?


Salam (Peace) Dear Carey,

Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

For Muslims, the second coming of Christ is one of the basic articles of faith. Most Muslims believe—on the basis of the Noble Quran and the sayings of the Prophet (Hadith)—that before the Last Day, Jesus will return to earth. The meaning of the relevant verse in the Quran is as follows:

{And their saying, “We killed the Messiah, `Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah.” … They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.} (An-Nisaa 4:157-158)

Note the verse, {Allah raised him up to Himself}. The Arabic word used for “raised up” is rafa`a. In one view, this need not mean a physical lifting up, so the word in this context may refer to the raising of Jesus to a lofty station, as one of the closest to God. That is to say, this does not necessarily mean that Jesus did not die, but only that he was spiritually elevated to a high status in divine presence.

But if we look at the above verses more closely, we may understand the following from them:

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The Romans and the Jews did not kill Jesus; they did not crucify him; but it appeared so. The question is: what happened to Jesus, then?

And the answer is: {Allah raised him up to Himself}.

As Jesus was not killed or crucified, the above must be the answer to our natural question, namely, what actually happened to Jesus at that point of time.

Allah Saved Jesus

It does not seem reasonable to believe that in this context “raising him up” meant elevating his spiritual status before God. So, we must understand that Allah saved Jesus from an accursed death on the cross between two thieves as the Gospel alleges.

Furthermore, Muslims reject the Christian claim that an innocent Son of God (or God Himself) had to die on the cross to save sinners from punishment, for the following reason:

The Christian belief is that Adam and Eve disobeyed God, for which all their children would be punished with eternal damnation. To save the sinners, God decided to crucify His Son. This is alleged to be divine justice. Thus it was that Jesus had to be nailed to the cross and left to die a slow death.

Punishing an innocent man to save sinners violates all norms of justice. And holding every newborn baby as sinful on account of the primordial sin of Adam is incompatible with divine mercy.

So the concept of blood sacrifice by the Son of God to save sinful Man is abhorrent to reason, justice, and the very idea of an All-Merciful God. And hence, the atoning crucifixion of Jesus could never have happened. In other words, the truth is what the Quran says: that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified.

Jesus Will Return

It is noteworthy that the Muslims agree with Christians that Jesus will return, as the Quran and the Hadith both support that belief. Here is one hadith:

“Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger, (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘By the One in Whose hand is my self, definitely the son of Maryam will soon descend among you as a just judge, and he will break the cross, kill the pig, and abolish the jizyah, and wealth will be so abundant that no one will accept it, until a single prostration will be better than the world and everything in it.” (Al-Bukhari)

When you write, “someone acting like Jesus”, you mean the Antichrist, I suppose. In Muslim tradition, he is known as the Dajjal. Here is a brief description of the Dajjal:

“He is called Dajjal because he is a liar. … He will claim lordship by performing many miraculous acts to attract people. … Part of the trials that will follow the appearance of the Antichrist is that by ordering for rain, it will rain, by ordering for the earth to be covered by plantation and plants, it will be; he will make all the beasts follow him; by ordering the buried treasures to be uncovered, they will be brought forth to the surface.”

He will come at a time of drought, starvation and war, and “he will amplify his authority by manipulating people because of the great need of food and peace on the earth at that time. His powers will be so great that he will rule the earth for a few years. Then when he gathers an army together to fight against those that reject him, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) will descend and eventually destroy him.” (From the fatwa of Sheikh Muhammad `Ali Al-Hanooti.)

Our scholars say that when Jesus comes, everyone may not be able to recognize him; but those who are very close to him will recognize him through their belief. And it is certain that only those who believe in Allah and live by the Quran can become his close followers.

And Allah knows best. Thank you and please keep in touch.


(From Ask About Islam archives)

About Professor Shahul Hameed
Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.