Is Muhammad the Last Prophet?

Sam Shamoun

The Quran claims that Muhammad is the seal or the last of the prophets:

Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of God and the last (end) of the Prophets. And God is Ever All-Aware of everything. S. 33:40 Hilali-Khan

This has been widely understood to mean that there will be no more prophets after Muhammad. Regarding the above text, a commentary attributed to Muhammad’s first cousin and renowned Muslim scholar Ibn Abbas says:

(Muhammad is not the father of any man among you) i.e. Zayd, (but he is the messenger of Allah) but Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (and the Seal of the Prophets) with him Allah has sealed the advent of prophets, such that there is no prophet after him; (and Allah is Aware of all things) of your words and works. (Tanwīr al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn ‘Abbās; source)

The hadith reports have Muhammad claiming to be the final prophet:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "The Israelis used to be ruled and guided by prophets: Whenever a prophet died, another would take over his place. There will be no prophet after me, but there will be Caliphs who will increase in number." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What do you order us (to do)?" He said, "Obey the one who will be given the pledge of allegiance first. Fulfil their (i.e. the Caliphs) rights, for Allah will ask them about (any shortcoming) in ruling those Allah has put under their guardianship." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 661)

Narrated Jubair bin Mutim:
Allah's Apostle said, "I have five names: I am Muhammad and Ahmad; I am Al-Mahi through whom Allah will eliminate infidelity; I am Al-Hashir who will be the first to be resurrected, the people being resurrected there after; and I am also Al-'Aqib (i.e. There will be no prophet after me)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 732)

But the Quran and ahadith contradict this claim since these sources say that Jesus is returning to the earth in the end of days:

And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of God," -- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)]: But God raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And God is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise. And there is none of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), but must believe in him ['Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), as only a Messenger of God and a human being], before his ['Iesa (Jesus) or a Jew's or a Christian's] death (at the time of the appearance of the angel of death). And on the Day of Resurrection, he ['Iesa (Jesus)] will be a witness against them. S. 4:157-159 Hilali-Khan

The foregoing has been traditionally interpreted to mean that Jesus was taken physically, bodily into heaven from where he will return to the earth. Once he returns, all the Jews and Christians will believe in him as God’s Messenger and Prophet. Here is what the commentary of Ibn Abbas says regarding Sura 4:159:

(There is not one of the People of the Scripture) the Jews and Christians (but will believe in him) in Jesus, that he was not a sorcerer, Allah, His son or His partner (before his death) after the soul of Jesus expires, that is after he comes down again and then dies after every single Jew in their time, (and on the Day of Resurrection he) Jesus (will be a witness against them) through delivery of the message. (Tanwīr al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn ‘Abbās; source; bold emphasis ours)

The Sunni commentary by the two Jalals states:

And there is not one of the People of the Scripture but will assuredly believe in him, in Jesus, before his death, that is, [before the death] of one belonging to the People of the Scripture upon seeing the angels of death with his very eyes, at which point his faith will not profit him; or [it means] before the death of Jesus, after he descends at the approach of the Hour, as is stated in hadith; and on the Day of Resurrection he, Jesus, will be a witness against them, of what they did when he was sent to them. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold emphasis ours)

Here is the other text believed to refer to Christ’s return to the earth

And he ['Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)] shall be a known sign for (the coming of) the Hour (Day of Resurrection) [i.e. 'Iesa's (Jesus) descent on the earth]. Therefore have no doubt concerning it (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). And follow Me (God) (i.e. be obedient to God and do what He orders you to do, O mankind)! This is the Straight Path (of Islāmic Monotheism, leading to God and to His Paradise). S. 43:61 Hilali-Khan

Ibn Abbas believed that the sign of the hour refers to the descent of Jesus:

(And lo! Verily) in the coming of Jesus the son of Mary (there is knowledge of the Hour) there is an indication of the coming of the Hour; it is also said that this means: his coming is a sign of the advent of the Hour. (So doubt ye not concerning it) so have no doubt in the coming of the Hour, (but follow Me) by professing Allah’s divine Oneness. (This) profession of divine Oneness (is the right path) an established religion with which Allah is pleased: i.e. the religion of Islam. (Tanwīr al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn ‘Abbās; source)

Al-Jalalayn concur with him:

And indeed he, that is, Jesus, is a portent of the Hour - [the arrival of] it is known by the sending down of him - so do not doubt it (tamtarunna: the indicative nun has been omitted for apocopation together with the waw of the [third] person [plural] on account of two unvowelled consonants coming together) but, say to them: 'Follow me, in the affirmation of [God's] Oneness. This, to which I command you, is a straight path'. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source)

The hadith literature also confirm the point that Christ will return:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425)

Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: A section of my people will not cease fighting for the Truth and will prevail till the Day of Resurrection. He said: Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their (Muslims') commander would 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 honour from Allah for this Ummah. (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0293)

Thus, it is Jesus who is the last prophet and messenger, not Muhammad.

Aware of the dilemma that these narrations cause for Muhammad’s claim of being the seal or last prophet, Muslims have composed some convenient explanations. For example, some claim that Muhammad meant that no new prophet would come after him, which is not what the Quran or hadiths say. The Islamic literature expressly states that Muhammad is the last prophet and that no prophet will come after him, period. It makes no qualification that no new prophet will come after Muhammad.

Moreover, the Quran teaches that in the latter days Allah will cause a beast to go forth throughout the earth to testify against mankind:

When the Word falls on them, We shall bring forth for them out of the earth a beast that shall speak unto them: 'Mankind had no faith in Our signs.' S. 27:82 Arberry

Here is how renowned Sunni exegete Ibn Kathir explained this text:

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said...

<A beast will emerge from the earth, and with it will be the staff of Musa and the ring of Sulayman, peace be upon them both. It will strike the nose of the disbelievers with the staff, and it will make the face of the believer bright with the ring, until when people gather to eat, they will be able to recognize the believers from the disbelievers.>

It also was recorded by Imam Ahmad, with the wording...

<It will strike the nose of the disbelievers with the ring, and will make the face of the believer bright with the staff, until when people gather for a meal, they will say to one another, O believer, or O disbeliever.>

It was also recorded by Ibn Majah. Ibn Jurayj reported that Ibn Az-Zubayr described the beast and said, "Its head is like the head of a bull, its eyes are like the eyes of a pig, its ears are like the ears of an elephant, its horns are like the horns of a stag, its neck is like the neck of an ostrich, its chest is like the chest of a lion, its color is like the colour of a tiger, its haunches are like the haunches of a cat, its tail is like the tail of a ram, and its legs are like the legs of a camel. Between each pair of its joints is a distance of twelve cubits. It will bring out with it the staff of Musa and the ring of Sulayman. There will be no believer left without it making a white spot on his face, which will spread until all his face is shining white as a result; and there will be no disbeliever left without it making a black spot on his face, which will spread until all his face is black as a result, then when the people trade with one another in the marketplace, they will say, `How much is this, O believer' `How much is this, O disbeliever' And when the members of one household sit down together to eat, they will know who is a believer and who is a disbeliever. Then the beast will say: `O so-and-so, enjoy yourself, for you are among the people of Paradise.' And it will say: `O so-and-so, you are among the people of Hell,' This is what Allah says…

<And when the Word is fulfilled against them, We shall bring out from the earth a beast for them, to speak to them because mankind believed not with certainty in Our Ayat.> (Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Sura 27:82; source; bold emphasis ours)

The two Jalals write that:

And when the word [of judgement] falls upon them, [when] they deserve that chastisement befalls them as well as all [other] disbelievers, We shall bring forth for them a beast from the earth which shall speak to them [saying], that is, which shall speak IN ARABIC to those who are alive at the time when it appears, among its other statements, it will say to them on Our behalf: 'Indeed mankind (read tukallimuhum inna'l-nasa; a variant has tukallimuhum bi-anna'l-nasa, 'to tell them that mankind') had no faith in Our signs', in other words, they did not believe in the Qur'an and what it comprises [of the mention] of resurrection, reckoning and requital. With its [the beast's] appearance the enjoining of decency and forbidding of indecency will cease, and thereafter no disbeliever will believe - just as God revealed to Noah [when He said to him]: None of your people will believe except he who has already believed [Q. 11:36]. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

This means that Allah will send another messenger after Muhammad, namely one from among the beasts! Muhammad is clearly not the last prophet or messenger.

Still, others claim that even though Jesus comes after Muhammad he will judge by the law given to the latter:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said "How will you be when the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Quran and not by the Law of Gospel?" (Fateh-ul Bari page 304 and 305 Vol 7). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 658)

Al-Jalalayn say in reference to Sura 33:40 that:

Muhammad is not the father of any man among you: he is not Zayd's biological father and so it is not unlawful for him to marry his [former] wife Zaynab [after him]; but, he is, the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets, and so he will not have a son that is a [fully grown] man to be a prophet after him (a variant reading [for khatim al-nabiyyina] has khatam al-nabiyyin, as in the instrument [known as a] 'seal', in other words, their [prophethood] has been sealed by him). And God has knowledge of all things, among these is the fact that there will be no prophet after him, and even when the lord Jesus descends [at the end of days] he will rule according to his [Muhammad's] Law. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold emphasis ours)

This somehow is supposed to explain away the fact that Jesus is a prophet who comes after Muhammad, when in reality this is nothing more than a non sequitur. In fact, there are several major problems with this position.

First, Muhammad himself didn’t come to establish a new religion, but to complete and perfect the religion and practices of Abraham who was supposedly a Muslim:

Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists. Most surely the nearest of people to Ibrahim are those who followed him and this Prophet and those who believe and Allah is the guardian of the believers. S. 3:67-68 Shakir

Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to God, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For God did take Abraham for a friend. S. 4:125 Y. Ali

The Quran further asserts that Abraham and Ishmael instituted many of the practices of Islam:

And when We made the House (at Makka) a resort for mankind and sanctuary, (saying): Take as your place of worship the place where Abraham stood (to pray). And We imposed a duty upon Abraham and Ishmael, (saying): Purify My house for those who go around and those who meditate therein and those who bow down and prostrate themselves (in worship). And when Abraham prayed: My Lord! Make this a region of security and bestow upon its people fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day, He answered: As for him who disbelieveth, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the doom of Fire - a hapless journey's end! And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House, (Abraham prayed): Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower. Our Lord! And make us submissive unto Thee and of our seed a nation submissive unto Thee, and show us our ways of worship, and relent toward us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Relenting, the Merciful. Our Lord! And raise up in their midst a messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Thy revelations, and shall instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom and shall make them grow. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty, Wise. And who forsaketh the religion of Abraham save him who befooleth himself? Verily We chose him in the world, and lo! in the Hereafter he is among the righteous. When his Lord said unto him: Surrender! he said: I have surrendered to the Lord of the Worlds. S. 2:125-131 Pickthall

The Quran goes so far as to say that Muhammad’s religion is (supposedly) nothing more than the cult of Abraham:

And strive hard in God's Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts that His Name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islāmic Monotheism to mankind by inviting them to His religion, Islām), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islāmic Monotheism). It is He (God) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur'ān), that the Messenger (Muhammad) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind! So perform As-Salāt (Iqamat-as-Salāt), give Zakāt and hold fast to God [i.e. have confidence in God, and depend upon Him in all your affairs] He is your Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.), what an Excellent Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.) and what an Excellent Helper! S. 22:78 Hilali-Khan

In light of the foregoing, it should come as no surprise that Muhammad is commanded to follow Abraham’s religion and to imitate his guidance and that of the other prophets:

They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with God." S. 2:135 Y. Ali

Say: "God speaketh the Truth: follow the religion of Abraham, the sane in faith; he was not of the Pagans." S. 3:95 Y. Ali

That is Our argument. We gave it unto Abraham against his folk. We raise unto degrees of wisdom whom We will. Lo! thy Lord is Wise, Aware. And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob; each of them We guided; and Noah did We guide aforetime; and of his seed (We guided) David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward the good. And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias. Each one (of them) was of the righteous. And Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot. Each one (of them) did We prefer above (Our) creatures, With some of their forefathers and their offspring and their brethren; and We chose them and guided them unto a straight path. Such is the guidance of Allah wherewith He guideth whom He will of His bondmen. But if they had set up (for worship) aught beside Him, (all) that they did would have been vain. Those are they unto whom We gave the Scripture and command and prophethood. But if these disbelieve therein, then indeed We shall entrust it to a people who will not be disbelievers therein. Those are they whom Allah guideth, so follow their guidance. Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I ask of you no fee for it. Lo! it is naught but a Reminder to (His) creatures. S. 6:83-90 Pickthall

Lo! Abraham was a nation obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the idolaters; Thankful for His bounties; He chose him and He guided him unto a straight path. And We gave him good in the world, and in the Hereafter he is among the righteous. And afterward We inspired thee (Muhammad, saying): Follow the religion of Abraham, as one by nature upright. He was not of the idolaters. S. 16:120-123 Pickthall

He hath ordained for you that religion which He commended unto Noah, and that which We inspire in thee (Muhammad), and that which We commended unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus, saying: Establish the religion, and be not divided therein. Dreadful for the idolaters is that unto which thou callest them. Allah chooseth for Himself whom He will, and guideth unto Himself him who turneth (toward Him). S. 42:13 Pickthall

The ahadith state:

Narrated Mujahid:
That he asked Ibn 'Abbas, "Is there a prostration in Surat-al-Sad?" (38.24) Ibn 'Abbas said, "Yes," and then recited: "We gave ... So follow their guidance." (6.85,90) Then he said, "He (David) is one them (i.e. those prophets)." Mujahid narrated: I asked Ibn 'Abbas (regarding the above Verse). He said, "Your Prophet (Muhammad) was one of those who were ordered to follow them." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 156)

Thus, if Jesus following Muhammad’s religion implies that he is not to be viewed as a prophet or messenger coming after Muhammad, then by the same token Muhammad cannot be a messenger or prophet since he did nothing more than follow the religion and cult of Abraham.

Furthermore, the prophets after Moses were commanded to uphold the Torah:

How come they unto thee for judgment when they have the Torah, wherein Allah hath delivered judgment (for them) ? Yet even after that they turn away. Such (folk) are not believers. Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto Allah) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers. And We prescribed for them therein: The life for the life, and the eye for the eye, and the nose for the nose, and the ear for the ear, and the tooth for the tooth, and for wounds retaliation. But whoso forgoeth it (in the way of charity) it shall be expiation for him. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers. S. 5:43-45 Pickthall

Jesus himself followed in their footsteps by confirming the Torah:

And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah - a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers. S. 5:46-47 Pickthall

Again, if the Muslim logic were sound then this means that none of these men were prophets since they followed the revelation of the Torah which, according to the Holy Bible and hadith literature, was given to Moses.

What the foregoing shows is that Jesus returning to (supposedly) follow Muhammad’s law does absolutely nothing to undermine the fact that he is a prophet and messenger that comes after Muhammad.

Moreover, Jesus doesn’t completely judge by the law of the Quran since he abolishes the jizya, a poll tax which the Quran imposes on Jews and Christians:

Fight against those who (1) believe not in God, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by God and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islām) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. S. 9:29 Hilali-Khan

Therefore, just as Muhammad changed certain practices of the true prophets before him while claiming to be following their example and their religion, Jesus will also abrogate and change certain aspects of the Quran even though he is supposed to be a follower of Muhammad’s law!

What makes this all the more ironic is that Jesus does to Muhammad’s law what he had previously done to the Law of Moses, make specific changes and abrogate certain aspects of the Torah!

And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Taurāt (Torah), and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord. So fear God and obey me. S. 3:50 Hilali-Khan

Hence, just as Jesus was a messenger and prophet who came after Moses who made certain modifications to the latter’s revelation, Christ will come after Muhammad as a messenger and prophet who modifies the Quranic law as well!

As if this were not enough to refute the Muslim explanation, the Quran expressly says that Jesus existed with God as his Word and Spirit even before being born of Mary:

O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of God aught but the truth. The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, was a Messenger of God and His Word, WHICH HE BESTOWED ON MARY and A SPIRIT FROM HIM; so believe in God and His Messengers. Say not: "Three (trinity)!" Cease! (it is) better for you. For God is One God, Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And God is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. S. 4:171

Jesus is a Spirit that came from God as his Word to Mary, which presupposes Christ’s prehuman existence. What this means is that despite coming as a prophet and messenger after Moses, Jesus was actually there even before Moses. In a similar manner, even though Jesus comes after Muhammad he was actually there even before Muhammad. This shows that just because Jesus is a prophet who came before Muhammad this doesn’t mean that he isn’t also a prophet whom comes after him at the same time, anymore than Jesus being there before Moses refutes his being a messenger and prophet who came afterwards.

More importantly, Jesus will actually do what Muhammad was supposed to do, namely abolish unbelief. Muhammad is reported to have called himself al-Mahi, the one by whom Allah would eradicate unbelief:

Narrated Jubair bin Mutim:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, 'I have several names: I am Muhammad and I am Ahmad, and I am Al-Mahi with whom Allah obliterates Kufr (disbelief), and I am Al-Hashir (gatherer) at whose feet (i.e. behind whom) the people will be gathered (on the Day of Resurrection), and I am Al-Aqib (i.e. who succeeds the other prophets in bringing about good)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 419)

Jubair b. Mut'im reported on the authority of his father that he heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I am Muhammad and I am Ahmad, and I am al-Mahi (the obliterator) by whom unbelief would be obliterated, and I am Hashir (the gatherer) at whose feet mankind will be gathered, and I am 'Aqib (the last to come) after whom there will be no Prophet. (Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5810)

Yet the abolishment of the jizya implies that, at Christ’s return, there will no longer be any unbelievers. After all, jizya is taken from those individuals from the people of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians) who refuse Islam, but when Jesus returns they will all believe or be killed which explains why jizya will no longer be imposed. This is even expressly stated in the following report:

Narrated AbuHurayrah:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace_be_upon_him). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 37, Number 4310)

To put it simply, it is not Muhammad who eradicates unbelief but Jesus Christ when he returns from heaven. Therefore, it is Jesus, not Muhammad, who is Al-Mahi!

And the very fact that there will no longer be unbelievers when Jesus descends means that much of the Quran will be inapplicable and unnecessary. After all, there are many verses within the Quran detailing how Muslims should treat non-Muslims, which will no longer be carried out when Christ returns to abolish unbelief.

As it stands, Muhammad is not the last prophet nor is he the one who seals up the prophethood. According to Islamic narrations, Jesus is the last prophet who will eradicate unbelief and usher in the final hour. Hence, Jesus seals up prophecy and vision, not Muhammad.

The Islamic Explanation For Christ’s Return

The question that the reader should be asking at this point is why does Islam teach that Christ will return to the earth seeing that he is merely a prophet? According to the Holy Bible, one of the reasons Jesus returns is to manifest his universal sovereignty as King of kings and Lord of lords:

"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." Revelation 17:14

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:11-16

Since Islam doesn’t believe this one may be wondering why, then, does Jesus return?

There are few Muslims, such as Dr. Jamal Badawi, who have come up with what they believe to be a good explanation of why Christ comes again, as opposed to some other prophet. Badawi claims that this is for the purpose of clearing up all the mass confusion surrounding the Person and work of Christ. Jesus, according to Badawi, returns because he is the only prophet that has sparked so much division and controversy about himself making it necessary for him to come back and clear this all up.

The reader should immediately see why this explanation doesn’t sufficiently address the point since Jesus doesn’t need to return to clear up the confusion surrounding his Person. God can send an angel from heaven at the end of time to announce to the world that Jesus is only a messenger of God and that Islam is the true religion and this would suffice to convince the masses who Jesus really is. In fact, God can resurrect Muhammad and have him return which would definitely be sufficient proof that he is a true prophet and that Islam is the correct religion.

There is a more plausible explanation for Muhammad’s belief in Jesus’ second coming. Muhammad may have wanted to placate Christians by agreeing that Jesus would return, since he may have felt that to deny this truth would cause the Christians to completely reject him. He was already stepping on many toes by his express denial of Jesus’ Sonship and crucifixion, so he may have felt that also denying Christ’s second coming would have been simply too much for the Christians to accept. It may even be that Muhammad accepted the second coming of Christ on the grounds that all prophets have to die, and since he claimed that Christ ascended physically into heaven he believed that Jesus would have to return in order to experience the fate of all mankind.

Whatever the case maybe, the Muslim explanation proposed by Badawi doesn’t provide an adequate reason for Muhammad’s belief in Christ’s return.

Further Reading

The Incoherence of the Qur'an: Was Muhammad the Last Messenger?

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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