The Hadiths on Jesus Are "Tawatur"
The hadiths relating Jesus' second coming are reliable [tawatur]. Research shows that scholars share this view. Tawatur is defined as "a tradition which has been handed down by a number of different channels of transmitters or authorities, hence supposedly ruling out the possibility of its having been forged."1
Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani, an Islamic scholar, explains the concept of tawatur hadith as follows:
News of mutawatir, are the news upon which so many transmitters agree; to such an extent that, according to the tradition, it is unlikely for so many transmitters to reach to a consensus on a lie. This being the situation, if statements and meanings agree with one another, then this is called mutawatir lafzi [verbal mutawatir]. If there is common meaning yet contradiction between statements [words], then it is called mutewatir-i manawi [mutawatir by meaning].2
In his Al-Tasrih fi ma Tawatara fi Nuzul al-Masih, the great hadith scholar Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri writes that the hadiths about Jesus' second coming are all reliable, and quotes 75 hadiths and 25 works by companions of the Prophet and their disciples (tabi'un).
In the Sunni school of Islam, Imam Abu Hanifa is the greatest collector of hadiths on Jesus' second coming. In the final part of his Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, he states that:
The emergence of the Dajjal and of Gog and Magog is a reality; the rising of the sun in the West is a reality; the descent of Jesus, upon whom be peace, from the heavens is a reality; and all the other signs of the Day of Resurrection, as contained in authentic traditions, are also established realities.3
Jesus' second coming is one of the ten great signs of the Last Day, and many Islamic scholars have dealt with the subject in great detail. When all of these views are considered together, it becomes apparent that there is a consensus on this event.
For instance, in his work Lawaqi Al-Anwar Al-Bahiyah, Imam al-Safarini expresses that Islamic scholars agree upon this issue:
The entire ummah (Muslim community) has agreed on the issue that Prophet Jesus (pbuh), the son of Maryam, will return. There is no one from the people who follow Muslim laws who oppose this issue.4
In his commentary Ruh al-Ma'ani, the great Islamic scholar Sayyid Mahmud Alusi gives examples from the views of other Islamic scholars and explains that the Islamic community has reached to a consensus regarding Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming5, that information regarding this issue is well-known to the extent of being mutawatir by meaning, and that it is essential to believe in Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return to Earth.
Imam Kawthari also stated his views regarding Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) coming as follows:
The tawatur in the hadiths regarding Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming is mutawatir-i manawi. Aside from the fact that each one of the sahih and hasan hadiths may indicate different meanings, they all agree upon Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming. This is actually a fact which is impossible to deny for a person who is well acquainted with the knowledge of hadith... The hadiths related to the appearance of Mahdi and Dajjal and Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming are tawatur; it is certainly not an issue that is considered doubtful by experts on the hadith literature. The reason why some who deal with Ilm al-Kalam (science of theology) agree that it is essential to have faith in the hadiths related to the signs of Doomsday yet have doubts about whether some of these hadiths are mutawatir or not, is their inadequate knowledge about hadiths.6
The great Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir states his views after commenting on the related verses and explaining the related hadiths:
These are narrated from the Messenger of God (saas) as mutawatir and in these hadiths, there are explanations regarding how and where Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will appear...The authentic and mutawatir hadiths about Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return to Earth in his noble body is immune to any opposing interpretations. Consequently, everyone with the smallest speck of faith and fairness has to believe in Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming; only those who oppose to God's Book, His Messenger and Ahl al-Sunnah may deny Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming to Earth.7
Another explanation about the hadiths' reaching the level of tawatur is as folows:
Muhammad al-Shawkani said that he had collected 29 hadiths and, when he had recorded them all, he said: "Our hadiths have reached the level of tawatur (reliable), as you can see. With this, we reach the conclusion that the hadiths on the anticipated Mahdi, the Dajjal, and Jesus' second coming are mutawatir (genuine)."8
At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, al-Bazzaz, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, al-Tabarani, and al-Musuli recorded many hadiths narrated by the Companions, such as 'Ali, Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn 'Umar, Talha, Abu Hurayra, Anas, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, Umm Habiba, Umm Salama, 'Ali al-Hilali, and 'Abd Allah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz, upon whose narrations they based their collection on.9 For instance, Ibn Hajr Al-Haythami in the book Al-Sawa'iq Al-Muhriqa, al-Shablanji in his book Nur al-Absar, Ibn Sabbagh in his book Al-Fusul Al-Muhimma, Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Sabban in his book Is'af ar-Raghibin fi Sirat al-Mustafa wa Fada'il Ahl Baytihi at-Tahirin, and Muhammad Amin Suwaidi in his book Saba'ik az-Zahab, wrote that the hadiths about Jesus' second coming are reliable.10
These hadiths are recorded by the Ahl as-Sunnah scholars and hadith experts in their own works. For instance, Abu Dawud, Ibn Ahmad Hanbal, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, an-Nasa'i, al-Tabarani, al-Rawajini, Abu Nu'aym al-Isfahani, ad-Daylami, al-Baihaqi, as-Salabi, Hamawaini, Manawi, Ibn al-Jawzi, Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Sabban, al-Mawardi, al-Khanji al-Shafi, as-Samani, al-Khwarizmi, ash-Sharani, ad-Daraqutni, Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki, Muhibbuddin at-Tabari, Ibn Hajr al-Haythami, Shaikh Mansur 'Ali Nasif, Muhammad ibn Talha, Jalaluddin as-Suyuti, al-Qurtubi, al-Baghawi and many more deal with the subject in their books.
'Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda reveals that the hadiths about Jesus returning to Earth and killing the Dajjal have reached the degree of being mutawatir.11 In his Nazm al-Mutanathir min al-Hadith al-Mutawatir12, al-Kattani stated that "the descent of Jesus is established by the Sunnah, and Ijma al-Ummah (concensus of the Islamic community), and the hadiths on this issue and Dajjal and the Mahdi are mutawatir. In his commentary Al Bahru Al-Muhit, Ibn Atiyya al Garnati states that the Islamic community has the common belief that Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is alive, that he will come back at the End Times and that the hadiths about this issue are mutawatir.
Such books show the great number of hadiths that exist on this subject. Furthermore, the hadiths that reveal Jesus' second coming in the End Times as a sign of the Last Day are found in the main hadith source books, such as those by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Some of these are as follows:
By Him Whose Hand is my life, the son of Mary (Jesus) will certainly invoke the name of God for Hajj or for Umrah, or for both, in the valley of Rawha. (Sahih Muslim)
"It [the Day of Judgment] will not come until you see ten signs," and [in this connection] he mentioned the smoke, the Dajjal, the Beast, the rising of the Sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (Sahih Muslim)
By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary [Jesus] will shortly descend amongst you people as a just ruler. (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their [Muslims'] commander will invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: No, some amongst you are commanders over some [amongst you]. This is the honor from God for this Ummah [nation]. (Sahih Muslim)
How will you be when the some of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Qur'an? (Sahih al-Bukhari)
1. Ruqaiyyah Waris
Maqsood, A Basic Dictionary of Islam, (New Delhi:
Goodword Books, 2000), 153.