The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) is one of the greatest prophets sent by Allah. He is included in the “Ulul Azm” (five prophets who possessed distinction) amongst approximately 124,000 Prophets of Allah. He was sent a few hundred years before the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and gave his people the news about the arrival of the final Messenger of Allah, Ahmad (peace be upon him) Isa (peace be upon him) was born in Bethlehem which is located near Jerusalem. He had a very unique birth; an example of the Divine ability of Allah. He was born without the intervention of a man. As mentioned in the Qur’an (3:45-47), Allah caused his mother to conceive him without a father. Wahab Bin Man’ba mentions that when he (peace be upon him) was born, all the idols in the East and West fell down. Shaytan’s helpers became restless (when they found out Isa was born) and when the news of Isa reached the main devil (Iblees), they went (to Isa) and found him to be surrounded (and protected) by angels.
Isa (peace be upon him) was given a number of astonishing miracles from Allah. The first miracle he performed was his speaking to the people when he was in the cradle. This was to show the innocence of his mother Maryam Bint Imran (peace be upon her) who was the niece of the great prophet Zakariya (peace be upon him). She was ordered by Allah to leave her hometown to give birth to Isa (peace be upon him) because she wasn’t married. When she returned with Isa (peace be upon him), the people were overwhelmingly disappointed because her father and uncle were great men of Allah. Maryam (peace be upon her) was ordered to point to the child so that he could tell them who he was. Isa said, "Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.” (19:30)
Allah has mentioned his other miracles in Surah Aali-Imran (3), verse 49, such as making birds out of clay and bringing them to life, curing the blind and those who had leprosy, bringing the dead back to life and telling the people what they had eaten and stored in their homes i.e. this was ilm al ghaib (knowledge of the unseen). Ibn Katheer mentions that the blind people whom Isa (peace be upon him) cured were those who were born blind and were unable to be cured by doctors. As for those that had leprosy, doctors at the time were also unable to help them. He also mentions a very interesting analysis about why Isa (peace be upon him ) was specifically given these miracles. He writes: And many scholars have said: Allah sent every prophet with a miracle which was suitable to the people of the time (he was sent to). The dominant (tradition) during the time of Musa (peace be upon him) was magic and the power of sorcery. So he (Allah) sent him with a miracle that amazed all eyes and astonished every magician. And Isa (peace be upon him) was sent during the time of doctors (i.e. when medicine was considered at its peak) and scientists. He (Isa) came to them with signs that no person could imitate.
As Muslims, we believe that Isa (peace be upon him) is still alive and that Allah raised him to the heavens to save him from crucifixion. The Qur’an tells us that a crucifixion did take place but it was not Isa (peace be upon him) who experienced this. It was made to look like he was crucified i.e. someone was put in his place and Allah then raised Isa (peace be upon him) to the heavens. According to Hassan Al Basri, Isa (peace be upon him) was thirty four years of age when he was raised to the sky. It has been narrated by the leader of the believers, Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that Isa (peace be upon him) was raised (to the heavens) on the 22nd night of Ramadhan. Isa (peace be upon him) will return as a major sign of the day of judge- ment. He will help the Muslims defeat the tribes of Ya’juj and Ma’juj and the Anti-Christ, Dajjal. When he passes away, he will be buried in the chamber of the Messenger (peace be upon him) which has three graves inside it: The blessed grave of the Messenger (peace be upon him) the grave of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and the grave of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) . Abu Isa Al Tirmidhi said: The description of Muhammad (peace be upon him) written in the Torah and that Isa (peace be upon him) will be buried with him.
May Allah place us under the protection of Isa (peace be upon him) when the final hour is nearby. Ameen.
Imam Mansoor Mahmood al-Azhari,
Kirkcaldy Central Mosque
Graduate Jamia Al-Karam, Al-Azhar &
Cambridge Muslim College