What Does Jesus Have to Do With Jihad?

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Did you know Jesus is prominent in Islamic eschatology?

Not only do Muslims believe Jesus is a miracle-working prophet, he’s also the Messiah who will return from heaven at the end of days.

The Qur’an underlies these beliefs in two passages. First and foremost in the mind of many Muslims is the understanding that Jesus didn’t die on a cross. As 4:157–158 states, “[Jesus] was not killed, nor was he crucified, but so it was made to appear. . . . Allah took him up to himself.”

Yet the Qur’an also shows Jesus asserting his own death. In 19:33 he says, “Peace is on me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I rise alive.” If Jesus didn’t die on the cross and was instead raised directly to heaven, how can he say “peace is on me the day I die”? Only if he will return to earth once more and die then.

On account of these verses the Qur’an is understood to teach that Jesus is currently in heaven, awaiting his return to earth after which he will initiate the latter days and then die before the final day of resurrection. This belief is nearly universal among Muslims.

Furthermore, in the hadith Muhammad says:

Surely Jesus the son of Mary will soon descend among you and will judge mankind justly; he will break the cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya. (Sahih al-Bukhari 4.55.657)

Jesus the Future Jihadist

Also prominent in Muslims’ view of the end times is a battle between Jesus and the Antichrist, theDajjal. According to Sahih al-Muslim, “The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-Amaq or in Dabiq.” After this battle with the Romans, the Antichrist will challenge Muslims and even have the upper hand against them until Allah sends Jesus back from heaven. Then “Allah would kill them by his hand and he would show them their blood on [Jesus’s] lance” (Sahih al-Muslim 2897).

Beyond this point, Islamic eschatology begins to vary widely depending on one’s denomination. Many believe Jesus will fight alongside Muslims, who will be fighting Jews, and even the stones will cry out against Jews on that day. Muhammad said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him’” (Sahih al-Bukhari 4.52.177).

Some believe Jesus will appear with another apocalyptic figure, the Mahdi, either equal to or superior to Jesus. But details vary among Muslims on these matters, and apart from these two figures are many other signs of the end of days. (You might consult David Cook’s Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature for more information.) Regardless of the specifics, though, it’s a common Muslim view that Jesus will engage in jihad at the end of the world.

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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition
Nabeel Qureshi