He (Jesus) is a Sign of the Hour... (Qur'an, 43:61)
A world of peace and security in which abundance will replace poverty and justice will prevail instead of cruelty, conflict, and tension - this is the longing of humanity. Due to all of the twentieth century's misery and pain, not to mention the ongoing problems all over the world today, this longing has become even more intense. A great majority of people desperately hope for a helping hand and wait for a savior who will save them from this misery, a person who will eliminate the negative elements of the current system; ensure justice, peace, and security; and guide people to the truth and all that is good.
Everyone is waiting for this salvation: the needy who wait for an extended hand; the well-off who are in pain because of spiritual distress; and those who long for justice, order, peace, and moral excellence. By God's Will, this event may be very near. The developments that we see all around us today are the signs indicating the closeness of this salvation.
The great event that will be a means of humanity's salvation is the second coming of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). His return to Earth, a belief held by both Christians and Muslims, will end this world's all-pervasive cruelty and injustice and transform it into a place of peace, abundance, and justice.
According to the Qur'an, approximately 2,000 years ago God thwarted the unbelievers' plots to murder Prophet Jesus (pbuh) by raising him up to Himself. The Qur'an and the related hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed (may God bless him and grant him peace) tell us that he will come back to Earth again in the End Times, the times preceding the Day of Judgment.
In this book, we will examine the signs of Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming from the Islamic sources and how the signs that they provide have come true one by one. People witnessing these signs may, by God's Will, hope that his return is close.
But before this, we need to emphasize that the world is also getting sociologically prepared for such a great event. As we mentioned earlier, the chain of events through which humanity has passed during the last two centuries has, both covertly and overtly, raised the expectation of a savior in the minds of people all over the world. People have increasingly seen that materialistic ideologies and lifestyles cannot save humanity; rather, they lead humanity closer to disaster and emptiness. This situation has caused many people to turn to the morality of religion.
Meanwhile, some secular researchers, scholars, or historians who analyze these developments also think that the world is searching for a Messiah and that this pursuit will deliver substantial results. For instance, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, the British researchers who have received worldwide attention with their book Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Dell: 1983), wrote another book, The Messianic Legacy (Dell: 1989), in which they examined Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and this expectation. In their book, they make the following comment:
Different as our modern world may be from the world of two thousand years ago, it is astonishing how much our own epoch has in common with what Jesus and his contemporaries regarded as the Last Times. We may, today, be technologically more adept and endowed with considerably more knowledge. But, regrettably, we do not appear to be any wiser, any more intelligent… We are once again living through an acute crisis of meaning, an uncertainty about our direction and our goals. The various systems, programmes and ideologies which, less than a century ago, seemed to promise so much have all, to one degree or another, proved hollow. As in Jesus's time, there is a pervasive awareness that something is disastrously wrong. Each new terrorist outrage, each new air crash, each new natural disaster produces a frisson of panic. The profound and rapid changes in our civilisation, the dissatisfaction with our systems of government, the increase use of indiscriminate murder and terrorism as a means of political protest - all have fostered a sense of general collapse, a wholesale disintegration of values.
Society feels itself 'held to ransom'… And, disillusioned by materialism's failure to answer the question, we seek, as in Jesus's time, a response in another dimension - a spiritual one.1
The authors add the following:
As in Jesus's time, we live, quite palpably, in the shadow of an impending apocalyptic event… We are all helpless hostages to a reality we no longer fully control… And beneath the general anxiety, the maddening sense of impotence, the disillusionment with inept or irresponsible politicians, there is a profound longing for a genuine spiritual leader… who will understand, will take charge and - without of course violating established democratic freedoms - assume the role of guide, conferring meaning once again on lives which have grown increasingly empty.2
These authors, who make this important social analysis, arrive at a conclusion for the twenty-first century: The return of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is also being prepared for in the sociological sense.
And yet our age appears determined to embrace on another form of Messianic myth in order to obtain a sense of meaning.3
It is no coincidence that this sociological infrastructure has been established at a time when the signs of Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming appear one after another. The hadith literature provides us with a detailed account of these signs. In addition, the signs of this event as revealed in the New Testament have parallels with those stated in the hadiths. The great majority of these signs have come true in our day, one after other and within the same period. That so many signs have come true in such a manner indicate the closeness of Jesus' second coming. While reading this book, you will also begin to realize this fact.
Keep in mind that, every portent examined in this book is a reminder that we are living in a blessed period. This historical good news, for which people have been waiting for centuries, is, by God's Will, about to come true. This is a great source of zeal and excitement for all believers.
God promises to the people of sincere faith "to make them successors in the land, as He made those before them successors." This promise is related as follows:
God has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land, as He made those before them successors; will firmly establish for them their religion, with which He is pleased; and give them, in place of their fear, security. "They worship Me, not associating anything with Me." Any who disbelieve after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur, 24:55)
By God's Will, Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return will cause religion's morality to pervade all over the world and all sincere believers to attain security. Along with all other believers, we hope that our Lord will honor us by letting us meet this blessed visitor and enable us to make the best preparations to meet him.