How do we understand Qur’an 4:159?
“And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them.” (Qur’an 4:159)
- It is important to note that from the (Qur’an 4:153-to 4:159) the entire theme is directed towards the Jews.
- None among the Jews that Jesus preached to but that it is prerequisite for them to believe in him before their death.
- Jesus is a witness against those who witnessed his preaching.
- This is confirmed by: “I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when you caused me to die, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. (Qur’an 5:117)
- Who else would he be a witness against?
If we believe in the dominant interpretation of Sunni/Salafi Islam they need to answer the following questions:
- Why would Jesus be a witness against them if they all die believing in him?
- Wouldn’t Jesus be a witness against those who did not believe in him?
- If you interpret none must believe in him but before their death, surely thousands of Jews and Christians died without believing Jesus is a prophet.
- How can this apply to Christians if they already believe in him?
- How do you answer that if it means to believe in him as a prophet before his alleged return than he wouldn’t need to be a witness against them any way.
- Prove grammatically that Qur’an 4:159 is a break in theme from 4:153 on wards and refers to some future eschatological event.
- Prove grammatically and thematically that the verse in question includes Christians.
“And when Allah will say: O Jesus son of Mary! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah, he will say: Glory be to You, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, You would indeed have known it; You know what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in your mind, surely you are the great Knower of the unseen things. I did not say anything to them except what you commanded me with: That worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness over them as long as I was among them, but when you caused me to die (Arabic: Tawafaytani), you were the watcher over them, and you are witness of all things.” (Qur’an 5:116-117)
There are several things to take from the above passage:
1) This dialogue is taking place on the Day of Judgment where Prophet Jesus suggests that he has no knowledge of what has happened since his demise on Earth and after his ministry ended. “I was a witness over them as long as I was among them.”
2) From the discussion, it is clear that Prophet Jesus only came to Earth once acting as a witness over his people. If indeed there was a ‘second coming‘ before the Day of Judgment, he would have full knowledge of what had happened since his first departure. After all, he abolished the Jizya and forced the Christians to convert to Islam. This conversation with Allah (swt) would make little to no sense.
3) Imagine if the ahadiths that are put in the mouth of the Blessed Prophet (saw) are true for a moment. So now Jesus (a.s) comes back and everyone becomes a Muslim. The Dajjal is defeated. Jesus (a.s) gets married. Then Allah (swt) causes Jesus (a.s) to die.
Then we have Jesus (a.s) saying after he dies to Allah (swt) “I was a witness over them as long as I was among them, but when you caused me to die, you were the watcher over them, and you are witness of all things.”
Rather bizarre it seems.
Especially if we take the following text into consideration: “And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death.” (Qur’an 4:159)
A rather bizarre situation the ‘traditional‘ and ‘dominant‘ position leaves us in.
No, Jesus is dead and he we will not return. Do not expect the Mahdi either!
Do expect…the return of the Khilafa (insh’Allah)