By Bassam Zawadi
The Qur’an states that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final seal of the Prophets:
Muhammad (SAW) is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever AllAware of everything.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) reaffirms this in an authentic narration attributed to him:
The Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him) affirmed: “The chain of Messengers and Prophets has come to an end. There shall be no Messenger nor Prophet after me.” (Sunan Al Tirmidhi, Kitab: ur-Rou’ya Bab: Zahab-un- Nubuwwa, Hadith No. 2198, Source)
Sheikh Al Albani in his book Erwaa’ Al Ghaleel, no.2473, under the 8th narration says regarding the above hadith:
أخرجه أحمد ( 3 / 267 ) والترمذي ( 2 / 44 ) وقال : ” حديث حسن صحيح ” والحاكم ( 4 / 391 ) وقال : صحيح على شرط مسلم ووافقه الذهبي وهو كما قالا .
Collected by Ahmad (3/267) and Al Tirmidhi (2/44) and said: “This hadeeth is hasan (good) saheeh (authentic)” and Al Hakim (4/391) said, “It is authentic based on the criteria of Muslim (i.e. Saheeh Muslim)” and Al Dhahabi agreed with him and it is like he said.
There are some who point out that one of the signs of the Day of Judgment is the return of Jesus (peace be upon him). Jesus (peace be upon him) is as we all know a Prophet of God. Hence, how could we say that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet if Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and is going to return after Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) death?
Two responses could be provided to this apparent problem.
The first one is easy and just a matter of common sense. Jesus (peace be upon him) cannot be considered the last Prophet because he was sent approximately six hundred years before Muhammad (peace be upon him). The fact that Jesus (peace be upon him) ascended unto heaven temporarily and is going to come back again does not change that fact. Just because Jesus (peace be upon him) outlived (and out lives) Muhammad (peace be upon him) that doesn’t change the fact that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final seal of the Prophets.
Second response is that Jesus (peace be upon him) will not return to earth as a Prophet. When he returns he won’t be performing the functions that a Prophet performs nor the functions he performed during his first send off to planet earth. Imam Al Nawawi in his commentary under Saheeh Muslim, Book 031, Number 5914 states:
قال العلماء : وفي هذا الحديث دليل على أن عيسى بن مريم صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا نزل في آخر الزمان نزل حكما من حكام هذه الأمة , يحكم بشريعة نبينا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم , ولا ينزل نبيا
The scholars said: In this hadith there is proof that when Jesus son of Mary (peace be upon him) descends down to earth during the end times he will be coming down as a ruler and judge from amongst the rulers and judges of this Ummah and rule and judge by the Shariah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He won’t be coming as a Prophet. (Imam Al Nawawi, Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Fadaa’il Al Sahaabah, Bab: Min Fadaa’il ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib Radiya Allaahu ‘Anhu, Commentary on Hadith no. 4418,Source)
Jesus (peace be upon him) ruling by the Shariah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and coming down as a judge is attested by several authentic hadeeth:
Book 001, Number 0289:
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger or Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: I swear by Allah that the son of Mary will certainly descend as a just judge and he would definitely break the cross, and kill swine and abolish Jizya and would leave the young she-camel and no one would endeavour to (collect Zakat on it). Spite, mutual hatred and jealousy against one another will certainly disappear and when he summons people to accept wealth, not even one would do so.
Book 001, Number 0292:
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: What would you do when the son of Mary would descend amongst you and would lead you as one amongst you? Ibn Abi Dhi’b on the authority of Abu Huraira narrated: Your leader amongst you. Ibn Abi Dhi’b said: Do you know what the words:” He would lead as one amongst you” mean? I said: Explain these to me. He said: He would lead you according to the Book of your: Lord (hallowed be He and most exalted) and the Sunnah of your Apostle (may peace be upon him).
See more hadiths here.
So as we could see, Jesus will be coming:
– As a judge and ruler, no where is it stated that he would be coming as a Prophet
– To rule by the revelation sent to Muhammad (peace be upon him) and not by new revelations
In conclusion, there is no contradiction between Jesus’ second return and Muhammad (peace be upon him) being the final Prophet of God.