The awaited 'Second Coming' of Jesus Christ
Researched by A. Muhammad

He serves as knowledge for the Hour, so have no doubt about it and follow me; this is a straight path. 43:61

By reading from 43:57 onwards, we know that the word "He" in 43:61 refers to prophet Jesus. The words in 43:61 have been quoted by some Muslim scholars to claim that prophet Jesus will have a 'Second Coming' shortly before the end of the world.
When we read 43:61, we do not see any words that say that prophet Jesus will return to the world before the end of time. Such a claim is therefore a product of personal interpretation rather than one based on actual words in the verse.

The words that have been used by such interpreters to make such a claim are
"ilm lil-Sa'ah" (knowledge for the hour). When we inspect other Quranic verses where the phrase "ilm Al-Sa'ah" has been used, it can be concluded that the scholars who adopt such claims have taken this phrase out of context.

The following is the analysis of this matter in the light of the Quran:

FIRST:
"Knowledge" of the Hour

When we consult other Quranic verses that use the phrase
"ilm Al-Sa'ah"(knowledge of the Hour) we find that these words consistently refer to the timing at which the world will end. The following is one example:

They ask you about the Hour,
when will it come to pass. Say, "The knowledge thereof rests only with my Lord. None can reveal its time except He. 7:187

The 4th Arabic word in 7:187 is
"ayyan", and it means "when". The complete sentence: "They ask you about the Hour, when will it come to pass", confirms that the question being asked is one of timing. God follows that by saying, "The knowledge thereof" rests with Him alone. In other words, the knowledge of the time of the end of the world rests with God alone.

The word
"ilm" means knowledge. The knowledge of the timing of the Hour (when will the world end) that is spoken of in 7:187 is the same knowledge of the hour spoken of in 43:61. There can only be one timing for the end of the world.

Somehow, many translators changed the word
"ilm" (in 43:61), which is consistently used in the Quran to mean 'knowledge' to 'sign', thereby claiming that Jesus, and they add 'his return', is one of the signs of the end of the world!
Naturally, if a word such as 'knowledge' is altered to 'sign' the whole meaning will also be altered. It is interesting to know that nowhere in the translations of the same authors of the Quran have they translated the word "ilm" into "sign" except in 43:61!

The following are samples of such inaccurate translations:

Yusuf Ali
And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment).
- He translated "ilm" wrongly as "sign"
- He also added his own words: (for the coming)

The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab
And his (second) coming is truly a sign for the Hour.
- He translated "ilm" wrongly as "sign"
- He also added his own words: (second coming)

Farook Malik
He (Jesus) is, in fact, a sign for the coming of the Hour of Doom.
- He translated "ilm" wrongly as "sign"
- He also added his own words: (the coming)

Muhammad Sarwar
(Muhammad), tell them, "Jesus is a sign of the Hour of Doom.
- He translated "ilm" wrongly as "sign"
- He also added his own words: (Muhammad, tell them)

A.L. Bilal Muhammad
And this will be a sign of the Hour.
- He translated "ilm" wrongly as "sign"
- He changed the word "He" to "this".

SECOND: Quranic 'Signs of the Hour'

The Quran lists a number of signs that will occur and which will signal the imminent end of the world. Needless to say, the return of Jesus is not one of those signs, unless we deliberately change the word 'knowledge' in 43:61 to 'sign'!
The signs mentioned in the Quran that will happen shortly before the end of the world are:
- The splitting of the moon 54:1
- The appearance of the "creature" 27:82
- The smoke 44:10
- Gog and Magog 21:96

THIRD: Islam is not based on the Quran alone?

The promoters of the 'Second Coming' of Jesus Christ cannot find in the Quran words that state, directly or indirectly, that Jesus will make a 'Second Coming'. And so they respond by saying that Islam is not based on the Quran alone, but also on the sayings of the prophet (hadith). Since the version of Islam they teach is based largely on hadith, it is no wonder then that they find in the books of hadith virtually whatever they wish to find:

Or do you have some book in which you are studying? Do you have in it whatever you choose? 68:37-38

They add that prophet Muhammad gave full details about the future 'Second Coming' of Jesus Christ. The following is one such hadith which they quote:

"By the One in Whose hand is my soul! The son of Mary is about to come back as a just ruler who will break the cross, kill the swine, and cancel the tribute, and money will be so great in amount that no one will be in need of it, and one act of prostration will be more lovable to a person than the whole world and everything in it."
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 3448
USC-MSA reference: Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 657

Their reference to hadith such as the one above is quite problematic when weighed against Quranic evidence.
It is asserted in the Quran that no one knows the "ghayb" (all unseen matters including the future) except God:

Say, "
No one in the heavens and the earth knows the 'ghayb' (unseen) except God, and they are unaware as to when they will be resurrected." 27:65

Despite the indisputable truth in 27:65, we find a huge number of hadith that contain future prophecies. The proponents of the hadith state that prophet Muhammad knew a large number of future events because God revealed to him such news of the unseen.
By making such a claim they dig an even bigger hole for themselves. This is because such a claim contradicts yet another set of Quranic verses.
As it happens, we read in the Quran that God commanded prophet Muhammad to tell his people specifically that he does not know the 'ghayb':

Say (O Muhammad)
, "I possess no power to benefit nor to harm myself other than what God has willed. If I knew the unseen, I would have increased my wealth, and no harm would have touched me. I am no more than a warner and a bearer of news for a people who believe." 7:188

Say (O Muhammad), "No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen except God, and they are unaware as to when they will be resurrected." 27:65

Say (O Muhammad)
, "I do not say to you that I have at my disposal the treasuries of God, or that I know the unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I follow nothing other than what is revealed to me." 6:50

If God revealed various news of the future to prophet Muhammad, would God at the same time command His prophet to proclaim to the people that he does not know the future?
Do they not realise that such a claim is gravely insulting to God be praised? God forbid! God never contradicts Himself nor His Word.

FOURTH: Seal of the prophets

Not only did God not say in 43:61, or anywhere in the Quran, that prophet Jesus will return to the world in a 'Second Coming', but God also gave us in the Quran conclusive indications as to why such a thing can never happen.

Muhammad was not the father of any of your men, but he was the messenger of God and
the seal of the prophets. God is Knowledgeable of all things. 33:40

We have confirmation in the words above that prophet Muhammad was the
"seal of the prophets". The word "seal" means the very last, after which there can be none. Nothing comes after the "seal". If prophet Jesus was to make a 'Second Coming', he would be the "seal" of the prophets sent to the world and not prophet Muhammad.
Whether a prophet comes to earth once or twice does not change the fact that by definition: the one who makes the last coming to earth is the "seal of the prophets". The Quran states categorically that Muhammad is the seal of all the prophets.

Faced with the verdict of 33:40, the promoters of the 'Second Coming' respond by saying that when prophet Jesus returns to the world, he will not come back as a prophet, but as an ordinary man. By adding this proviso they state that the return of Jesus, as an ordinary man, does not violate the truth in 33:40 (seal of the prophets).

When asked why would Jesus come back when the religion and all the Scriptures has been concluded with the revelation of the Quran, they seek their reply from the Torah by saying:
God made a prophecy to the Jews in the Torah about the coming of the Messiah and that when he comes he will establish the Kingdom of God on earth. The following verse is one of those frequently quoted:

Isaiah 42
1 Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to all nations.
4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.

The above words foretell that when the Messiah comes to earth he will establish the Kingdom of God, based on justice, on earth.

The Muslim promoters of the 'Second Coming' of Jesus Christ then add that when Jesus came the first time, the Jews were treacherous to him, and so, to protect Jesus and save him from being killed by the Jews, God raised Jesus up to him. As a result, they add, Jesus will be returned to the world (not as a prophet) to accomplish his mission of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth; the mission which he could not accomplish on his first coming.
What this claim amounts to is that God took Jesus back without Jesus accomplishing the mission which God foretold in the Torah (establishing the Kingdom of God on earth), and that God will send Jesus back to accomplish the unfinished mission.

They add that when Jesus returns he will rule over the whole world for 40 years and will then establish the Kingdom of God over the whole world as is prophesied in the Torah.
This collection of make-shift claims raises a number of serious issues:

1-
Can the divine plan of God ever be interrupted or prevented due to the acts of humans? The seriousness of their proposed scenario is that it means that Jesus was prevented from accomplishing the will of God on his first coming to earth, due to the opposition of the Jews! As a result, God altered His initial plan and deferred the accomplishment of the mission to a 'Second Coming'! Such claim is a great insult to Almighty God.
To that they respond by saying that God never changed His plan, for it was always the plan of God that Jesus would come to the world twice. However, those who make such a claim are quickly reminded that the prophecy in the Torah about the coming of the Messiah, which they endorse and quote, speaks of one coming and not two comings. Nowhere in the Torah is there any mention of two comings of the awaited Messiah. It is therefore improper to refer to a prophecy in the Torah but also amend it to suit their claims.
The suggestion of two comings of the Messiah violates the Torah as well as the Quran.

2-
Rolling on from the previous point, it would also be appropriate to ask: Why did God send Jesus the first time around if Jesus would not accomplish the role given to him in the prophecy which they quote from the Torah (establishing the Kingdom of God)?
This role given to Jesus (establishing the Kingdom of God) is not to be confused with the Quranic mission for which God sent Jesus, which is to deliver the Injeel as guidance to the Children of Israel. Nowhere in the Quran is there mention that Jesus, or any prophet, was sent to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. But since the Muslim promoters of the 'Second Coming' of Jesus Christ use the role given to Christ in the Torah to justify his 'Second Coming', then the above question is indeed valid.

3-
In addition, the attempt to dodge the verdict of 33:40 (prophet Muhammad was the seal of the prophets) by claiming that when Jesus Christ returns he will return as an ordinary man, is not in harmony with the role of Christ which they borrow from the Torah and which they use:
Would God assign such a momentous role of ruling over the whole earth and establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth to an ordinary man, or to a chosen prophet of God? The claim that Jesus Christ would return as an ordinary man is totally irrational and has indeed backfired on its promoters, just like all their other claims have done.
To conclude this specific issue, the mere suggestion that God altered His plan in response to the wickedness of the Jews is scandalous and blasphemous in content. Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds, he only need say "Be" and it is. Nothing can ever prevent, change or delay the will of God and His divine plan:

Have they not travelled in the land and seen what was the outcome of those before them? They were more powerful than them, but
nothing can thwart God in the heavens nor in the earth. He is Knowledgeable, Capable. 35:44

FIFTH: The 'barrier'

When death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back so that I may do good deeds regarding what I have neglected." But no! This is just a word he utters.
A barrier lies behind them until the Day they are resurrected. 23:99-100

The words in 23:99-100 inform us of a rule God has set and that cannot be broken. The word
"barrier" in the above words confirms that all who die are prevented from coming back to earth. The purpose of a "barrier" is to completely prevent crossing over.
It is important to note that when God sets a rule, and does not make any exceptions for such a rule, the rule applies to all human beings.
The rule applies to all men and women, at all times, ordinary men as well as all the messengers and prophets of God. The "barrier" set by God means that Jesus Christ, as well as any human being who departs this world, can never make a come back.

SIXTH: The verdict of 5:117

And when God said, "O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as two gods besides God?' " He said, "Glory to You, it is not for me to say what I had no right to say. Had I said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, while I do not know what is within Yourself. You are the Knower of the unseen. 5:116

I have not said to them other than what You commanded me to say, that: 'You shall worship God, my Lord and your Lord.' I was witness over them for as long as I was among them. When You took me back, You were the Watcher over them. You are Witness over all things. 5:117

In response to the question God directed
to Jesus in 5:116, Jesus confirmed that he did not tell the people except what God commanded him to say. Jesus also said that he was witness over the people for as long as he was among them on earth, but that after God took him back, all connection between him and the world was severed. From that moment, Jesus would not be a witness over anyone on earth. The finality in the words spoken by Jesus would mean little if Jesus was to make a 'Second Coming', for then he would once again be a witness over the people.

A particularly important observation is found in the words
"when You took me back" which were spoken by Jesus (5:117). Those words are in the past tense. Hence, when Jesus spoke those words it was after God raised him unto Him. Jesus was no longer on earth when he spoke those words, but somewhere in God's Kingdom. The importance of this observation comes to light when we read the following words:

The trance of death came with the truth
; that is what you were trying to evade. 50:19

Death brings with it all the truth. All that has been obscured from the human being during his worldly life is unveiled at the moment of death:

You have been oblivious of this, then We stripped you of your covering, and so your sight today is iron strong. 50:22

It was for that reason for example that when
Pharaoh was drowning he declared that he believes in God (10:90), for death brought the truth to him and he knew that God is God, but God told him that it was too late (10:91). For the same reason, repentance is accepted by God anytime during the life of the human being except at the moment of death (4:18).

Since Jesus said the words "when You took me back" after he departed from this worldly life, he would have known all the truth when he spoke those words. He would have had full knowledge if he was destined for a 'Second Coming' to earth. However, the words Jesus spoke in 5:117 indicated that he knew that he can no longer return to earth, and that he can no longer be a witness over anyone.

SEVENTH: The knowledge of the Hour (timing of the end of the world)

As mentioned above, the knowledge of the exact timing of the end of the world is known to God alone:

They ask you about the Hour,
when will it come to pass. Say, "The knowledge thereof rests only with my Lord. None can reveal its time except He. 7:187

However the Quran also tells us that God will make this information known shortly before the end of the world:

The Hour (end of the world) is surely coming. I will keep it
almost hidden so that every self is repaid for what it strives. 20:15

The Arabic words 'akad ukhfiha' in 20:15 mean
"I will keep it almost hidden". These words are very significant. They mean that the date of the end of the world will be hidden almost to the very end but will be revealed just before the very end of the world.

Consider the following example:
"I ran the marathon race, and I almost finished the race".

What these words mean is that I ran the marathon race and completed the majority of the distance but stopped very near the end of the race. Thus, it is correct to say, "I almost finished the race".

When God says that the Hour (end of the world) will be kept almost hidden, the same logic applies, that the timing of the Hour will be kept hidden for the greater part of the existence of the world, and will be revealed very near to the end.

CONCLUSION

If Jesus is not one of the 'signs' of the Hour, nor will Jesus make a 'Second Coming', then in what sense can Jesus be 'knowledge' of the Hour? W
hat exactly can we derive from 43:61? The verdict of 43:61 can be verified by summing up the input we derive from the Quranic verses related to this subject:

1- The "knowledge for the Hour" is known to God alone (7:187). The knowledge of all matters of the 'ghayb' (all unseen matters, including the future) is also known to God alone (27:65).

2-
God may reveal any of His Knowledge to any person, if that coincides with God's will:

They do not attain any of His knowledge except as He wills.
(2:255).

3-
The words in 43:61 do not say that Jesus is a 'sign' for the end of the world, nor do they say that Jesus will return to earth before the end of the world.

4-
The Quran contains several confirmations that Jesus will not make a 'Second Coming' to the world (33:40, 23:100 and 5:117).

5-
The "knowledge for the Hour" will not be kept hidden until the very end of the world, but will be revealed shortly before the end of the world (20:15).

6-
The word "knowledge" used in 43:61 is synonymous with the word 'information'. Since Jesus will serve as "knowledge for the Hour", this can only mean that there is some information related to Jesus and his life on earth that will provide knowledge for the timing of the Hour. This information will be revealed by God shortly before the end of the world (20:15).