Will you explain the hadith "Son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you as a just ruler, will break the Cross, kill the pig and abolish jizyah; wealth will become so abundant that no one will accept it"?

Details of the Question

"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend as a just judge and a just ruler. He will break the cross, kill the pigs and abolish jizyah, and wealth will become so abundant that no one will accept it."(Ibn Majah, Fitan: 33; Muslim, Fitan: 23) How can this hadith be interpreted?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

1. (5004)- Hz. Abu Hurayra narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,  

"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you as a just ruler, will break the Cross, kill the pig and abolish jizyah (a tax taken from the non-Muslims who are in the protection of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts. A single prostration (sajdah) will be better than the world and everything in it."

Then, Abu Hurayra adds: "Read the following verse if you wish:

"And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he (Jesus) will be a witness against them." (an-Nisa, 4/159). [Bukhari, Buyu 102, Mazalim 31, Anbiya 49; Muslim, Iman 242, (155); Abu Dawud, Malahim 14, (4324); Tirmidhi, Fitan 54, (2234).]

EXPLANATION:

1. According to our belief, Hz. Isa did not die; he was raised to the sky. He lives in the sky with his worldly body. As it is seen in the hadith, he will come down to the earth close to the Day of Judgment and do positive things: He will compensate for the spiritual destruction caused by Dajjal (Anti-Christ). It is stated that when he comes, abundance and welfare will increase; his improvements will not be in the spiritual field only; he will realize economic improvements too.

Breaking the Cross means the abolishment of Christianity and its elimination. If it is considered that the church is behind the West, which is the source of the agony of humanity today, the abolishment of the church means the defeat of the West, saving it from egoism and making it attain real humanity. When the West, which dominates the world politics and economy, accepts the truth, the whole humanity will attain peace. For, the hand of the West is behind all of the social mischiefs and unrests that disturb people. This “Western hand” lies behind all of the agonies of humanity. 

The prohibition of pork is hidden under the breaking of the Cross. For, Christians take the permission of eating pork from their religion. When their religion is abolished, their custom of eating pork will be abolished along with many other wrong beliefs. Besides, it is remarkable that the following stated in a narration: وَلَتَذْهَبَنَّ الشَّحْنَاءُ وَالتَّبَاغُضُ وَالتَّحَاسُدُ "...hostilities, hatred and jealousy will definitely end". Thus, it is stated that the enmity that continued for ages, not centuries, will be eliminated. The deadlock about all those issues was the church. Its abolition by Hz. Isa is a sign that many things will change at once.  

2. The abolition of jizyah means Christians’ becoming Muslims. For, zakah is taken from Muslims, not jizyah. Then, only one religion will remain in the world and there will be nobody to pay jizyah. Some scholars reached the following interpretation from that phrase: "Wealth will increase so much that there will be no poor people to give the money collected from jizyah. Jizya is abandoned due to lack of need." Iyad states the following: "What is meant by the imposition of jizyah may be its imposition on unbelievers. Abundance may occur thanks to jizyah collected from all unbelievers."

Nawawi does not agree with Iyad's interpretation and says, "Hz. Isa will not accept any religion other than Islam." As a matter of fact, the following is stated in one of the conclusions of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal regarding the issue: وَتَكُونُ الدّعْوى وَاحِدَةً "The cause becomes the same (one)."

Nawawi states the following related to Hz. Isa's abolition of jizyah: "Jizyah is legitimate in this shari’ah but its legitimacy is dependent on Hz. Isa's descent." The hadith we are analyzing indicates this. Hz. Isa does not abrogate the decree of jizyah. The Prophet expresses abrogation with this statement of his. Ibn Battal states the following: "We accept jizyah before Hz. Isa's descent because we need it but we will not need wealth after his descent because there will be plenty of wealth during his period. Nobody will accept any goods or money. The following is also possible: The reason why jizyah from Christians and Jews is accepted and is regarded legitimate is the fact that the book they have is doubted to be revelation and they think it is related to ancient shari’ahs. When it becomes possible to see Hz. Isa in person, the doubt mentioned above is removed since their evidences fail and their states become apparent; thus, the attitude toward them becomes in the form of not accepting their jizyah."

We want to attach an annotation of reservation to this interpretation: In this interpretation, it is meant that when Hz. Isa descends, everybody will know and recognize him as Hz. Isa. However, not everybody can know the persons of the end of time clearly. The relatives of those persons and people with high degrees can know them but others cannot. Otherwise, it will be contrary to the secret of testing.

The interpretation that the treasures of the earth will appear as Hz. Isa descends but that nobody will be interested in them “since Doomsday is close” does not sound satisfactory from this point of view.

3. "A single prostration (sajdah) being better than the world and everything in it" is explained as follows: “Nobody will accept sadaqah; therefore, the best way to approach Allah will be only through worshipping and performing prayers.” Some scholars interpret it as follows: "People will hate the world so much that a single prostration will be more beloved than the world and everything in it for them."

Ibnul-Jawzi states the following: "By reading a verse at the end of the narration, Abu Hurayra wanted to indicate that he established a connection between that verse and the phrase "A single prostration (sajdah) will be better than the world and everything in it". For, Abu Hurayra thus indicates that people will improve and they will strengthen their belief, doing good deeds. They will improve so much and attain such a strong belief that they will prefer a single prostration to the world and everything in it. What is meant by prostration is rak’ah."

4. There are various interpretations related to the verse too:

* As it is understood from the hadith, according to Abu Hurayra, the pronoun in "believe in him" and before his death in the verse refers to Hz. Isa. That is, the meaning is as follows: "Everybody from the People of the Book will believe in Hz. Isa before his death." Ibn Abbas interpreted it like that too. The following is stated in a narration from him: "No Jew and Christian will die before believing in Isa but belief at the time of death is of no use."

* Tafsir scholars have different interpretations regarding the issue. According to some of them, the pronoun him “in believe in him” refers to Allah or Muhammad (pbuh). The pronoun his in “before his death” refers to the People of the Book – and even to Hz. Isa. In that case, it is understood that the People of the Book will die by attaining real Islamic belief. According to an interpretation, "Neither Jews nor Christians will die before believing in Hz. Isa (truly)." Nawawi explains this view as follows: Accordingly, the meaning of the verse is as follows:

"Every individual from the People of the Book will believe that Hz. Isa is a slave of Allah and that he is the son of a female slave of Allah after seeing the truths with their eyes at the time of death and before death comes and before the spirit leaves the body (which is informed by verses and hadiths). However, belief in that state will of be no use as it is mentioned in the verse below:

"Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, "Now have I repented indeed;" nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous." (an-Nisa, 4/18)

Nawawi regards this interpretation more reasonable. He states the following: "For, in the previous interpretation, what is meant by the People of the Book is the People of the Book that were present when Hz. Isa descended. The apparent meaning of the Quran comprehends all of the People of the Book, whether they live at the time of Hz. Isa or previously."

* Some Islamic scholars say, "The descent of Hz. Isa, not other prophets, is based on the wisdom of rejecting Jews because according to their claim they killed Hz. Isa. Allah states that they lied."

* The following is also stated: "When Hz. Isa saw Hz. Muhammad and the qualities of his ummah, he prayed to Allah and asked Him to include him among the ummah of Muhammad; and Allah accepted his prayer. Thus, He gave him life up to the time of his descent as a mujaddid at the end of time. When his time is due, he will come down to the earth and kill Dajjal. His descent will be at the time when Dajjal appears."

Ibn Hajar regards the previous view more reasonable:

* It is controversial how long Hz. Isa will stay in the world when he descends.  
** According to some narrations, he will remain seven years.
** According to some narrations, he will marry after his descent and live for 19 years.
** It is stated in another narration that he will remain in the world for 40 years.
* A narration about Hz. Isa is as follows: "Hz. Isa descends wearing two clothes with the color of red soil; he breaks the cross, kills the pig, abolishes jizyah and invites people to Islam. Allah eliminates all religions except Islam during his period. The earth becomes secure. Lions and camels graze together. Children play with snakes."
* There is controversy about whether Hz. Isa died before he was raised to the sky but the following verse regarding the issue is essential:

"Behold! Allah said: ‘O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme...’" (Aal-i Imran, 3/55).

* It is controversial how old Hz. Isa was when he was raised to the sky; some scholars say he was 33 while others say 120.  

(Prof. Dr. İbrahim Canan, Kütüb-i Sitte)

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