The subject of Jesus' return to earth has been of great interest in the world in recent weeks. In order to learn the truth of this matter, one of course needs to study the signs in the Qur'an.
There is important evidence in the Qur'an regarding the second coming of Jesus. This may be set out as follows:
1. "... I will place the people who follow you above those who are unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection..."
The first verse indicating Jesus' return is given below:
When God said: "Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me, and purify you of those who are unbelievers. And I will place the people who follow you above those who are unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. Then you will all return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed. (Qur'an, 3:55)
God mentions that a group of Jesus' true followers will dominate the unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. Jesus did not have many followers during his tenure on Earth and, with his ascension, the religion that he had brought degenerated rapidly. Over the next two centuries, those who believed in Jesus were oppressed because they had no political power. Therefore, we cannot say that the early Christians dominated the unbelievers in the sense indicated by the verse given above.
At present, Christianity is so far removed from its original state that it no longer resembles the religion taught by Jesus. In this case, "And I will place the people who follow you above those who are unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection" carries a clear message: There has to be a group of Jesus' followers who will exist until the Last Day. Such a group will emerge in his second coming, and those who follow him at that time will dominate the unbelievers until the Last Day.
2. "There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies..."
In the Qur'an, we read that:
There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies; and on the Day of Resurrection he [Jesus] will be a witness against them. (Qur'an, 4:159)
The phrase "there is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies" is very interesting. Some scholars believe that the "him/it" in this verse refers to the Qur'an instead of Jesus, and so understand it to mean that the People of the Book will believe in the Qur'an before they die. However, it is beyond dispute that the same word in the preceding two verses refers to Jesus.
Another point we need to make here has to do with the interpretation of "before he dies." Some believe that this stands for the People of the Book "having faith in Jesus before their own death." According to this view, everyone from the People of the Book will definitely believe in Jesus before he or she dies. But so far, millions of the People of the Book have lived and died without ever believing in Jesus. Therefore, the verse does not speak of the death of this group, but rather of the death of Jesus. In the end, the reality revealed by the Qur'an is this: "Before Jesus dies, all People of the Book will believe in him."
This can only be possible with the return to Earth of Jesus and all the People of the Book having faith in him during this second life. That is in fact the promise in the hadiths. (Only God knows for certain.)
3. "He is a Sign of the Hour..."
In the Qur'an, we are informed of Jesus' return to Earth. This verse states that Jesus is a sign of the Hour:
He [Jesus] is a Sign of the Hour. Have no doubt about it. But follow me. This is a straight path. (Qur'an, 43:61)
The great scholars of Islam interpret this pronoun as referring to Jesus, an opinion that they base on other Qur'anic verses and hadiths. In his commentary, Elmalili Muhammad Hamdi Yazir writes that:
No doubt he [Jesus] is a sign of the Hour, one that declares that the Hour will come, that the dead will be resurrected and stand up, because the miracle of Jesus' second coming and his miracle of resurrecting the dead, together with his revelation that the dead will rise, prove that the Day of Judgment is real. According to the hadiths, his arrival is a sign of the Last Day. (Elmalili Muhammad Hamdi Yazir, Kuran-i Kerim Tefsiri (Qur'an Tafsir); www.kuranikerim.com/telmalili/zuhruf.htm)
Jesus lived six centuries before the Qur'an's revelation. Therefore we cannot consider his first life as a sign of the Day of Judgment. The verse says that Jesus will return toward the end of time or, in other words, during the last period of time before the Day of Judgment. In that context, his return is a sign of the Hour's imminent arrival. (God knows best.)
4. "He will teach him the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel."
The verses 45-48 of Sura 3 reveal that God will teach Jesus the "Book," the Torah, and the Gospel. Obviously, this book in question is very important. The same expression is also used in the verse given below:
Remember when God said: "Jesus, son of Mary, remember My blessing to you and to your mother when I reinforced you with the Purest Spirit so that you could speak to people in the cradle and when you were fully grown; and when I taught you the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel." (Qur'an, 5:110)
When we examine how "Book" is used here, we see that it refers to the Qur'an in both cases. The verses reveal that after the Torah, Psalms and the Gospel, the Qur'an is the final divine book. Another verse uses "Book" to denote the Qur'an, after mentioning the Torah and the Gospel. (Qur'an, 3:2-3)
In this case, the Qur'an is the third book that Jesus will be taught. But this will be possible only when he returns to Earth, for he lived 600 years before the Qur'an's revelation. The hadiths also reveal that Jesus will rule with the Qur'an, not the Gospel, on his second coming. This corresponds with the meaning of the verse. (Allah knows best.)
5. "The likeness of Jesus in God's sight is the same as Adam."
The verse "The likeness of Jesus in God's sight is the same as Adam." (Qur'an, 3:59) could also indicate Jesus' return. Muslim scholars who have written Qur'anic commentaries point out that this verse indicates the fact that both Prophets did not have a father, for God created both of them with the command "Be!" However, the verse could also have another meaning: Just as Adam was sent down to Earth from God's presence, Jesus could be sent down to Earth from God's presence during the End Times. (Only God knows for certain.)
6. "...The day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised up again alive..."
Surah Maryam also mentions Jesus' death in the following verse:
[Jesus said,] "Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised up again alive." (Qur'an, 19:33)
When this verse is considered in conjunction with Surah Al `Imran verse 55, an important reality emerges: While Surah Al `Imran states that Jesus was raised up to God's presence and does not mention that he died or was killed, Surah Maryam speaks of the day on which he will die. This second death can only be possible after he returns and lives on Earth for a period of time. (Only God knows for certain.)
7. "... you could speak to people in the cradle and when you were fully grown …"
Another piece of evidence for Jesus's return is the word kahlaan, used Surat al-Ma'ida 5:110 and Surah Al `Imran 3:46. These verses say:
Remember when God said: "Jesus, son of Mary, remember My blessing to you and to your mother when I reinforced you with the Purest Spirit so that you could speak to people in the cradle and when you were fully grown (kahlaan)…"(Qur'an, 5:110)
He will speak to people in the cradle, and also when fully grown (kahlaan), and will be one of the righteous. (Qur'an, 3:46)
Kahlaan, which is used only in these two verses, only in reference to Jesus, and to express Jesus' adulthood means "someone between the age of 30 and 50, someone who is no longer young, someone who has reached the perfect age." Islamic scholars agree that it denotes the age of 35 or above. They base their views on a hadith reported by Ibn 'Abbas that Jesus was raised up to God's presence in his early 30s, and that he will live for 40 years when he comes again. Therefore, they suggest that this verse is evidence for Jesus' return, since his old age will occur following his second coming. (Muhammed Khalil Herras, Fasl al-Maqal fi raf`i `Isa hayyan wa nuzulihi wa qatlihi ad-Dajjal (Cairo: Maktabat as-Sunnah, 1990), 20.)
In short, the miracle of the second coming of Jesus, revealed in a great many hadiths, is also mentioned in the Qur'an.
Jesus did not die, and will return to Earth again.