بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم
والصلوة والسلام على رسوله الكريم
وعلى آله واهل بيته اجمعين
Having firmly established the death of the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth primarily in light of the Holy Qur’an; one of the puzzling affairs which requires deep deliberation is concerning the prophecy of his second coming in the authentic Hadith. A strong indication of the reality of Jesus’s second coming as an Imam from within the Umma of the Prophet Muhammadﷺ is the following Hadith:
كَيْفَ أَنْتُمْ إِذَا نَزَلَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ فِيكُمْ وَإِمَامُكُمْ مِنْكُمْ
How will you be when the son of Mary descends amongst you and your Imam is among you
(Bukhari & Muslim)
Traditionally, Islamic scholars derive the promise of the coming of two distinct individuals from this Hadith; 1. Jesus son of Mary (peace be upon him), and 2. an Imam from among the Umma, usually interpreted as being the Mahdi, although there is no explicit mention of a Mahdi here.
The way the Hadith is phrased is meant to convey the idea that a time will come when the Muslim Umma will find itself in a unique or unprecedented position. While it is certainly true that the descent of Jesus from the Heavens would qualify as unique and unprecedented, the phrase Imamukum Minkum “your Imam from among yourselves” doesn’t quite fit if it is a reference to a distinct personality. The fact that the Muslims should have an Imam from among their own ranks is certainly not a unique, unprecedented or even strange state of affairs. However, if the Hadith is interpreted to mean that the Son of Mary shall descend among the Muslims in the sense that his descent shall be fulfilled through the rising up of an Imam from among the Umma, that would certainly accord to the phrasing of the Hadith.
Now it should be pointed out that other authentic versions of this Hadith, with very similar wording, cannot conceivably be interpreted as referring to a promise of the coming of two distinct individuals. For example, one version states:
كَيْفَ أَنْتُمْ إِذَا نَزَلَ فِيكُمْ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ، فَأَمَّكُمْ مِنْكُمْ
“How will you be when the Son of Mary would descend amongst you and would lead you as one amongst you?” (Sahih Muslim)
كَيْفَ أَنْتُمْ إِذَا نَزَلَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ، فِيكُمْ ، وَأَمَّكُمْ
“How will you be when the Son of Mary descends, among you, and leads you?” (Ibid)
These other versions of the Hadith, with slightly different wording, indicate that the Imam from among the Umma who shall lead them is none other than the Son of Mary.