Who will lead prayer when Jesus will descend? He or Al Mahdi?
Fatwa No: 172455

  • Fatwa Date:2-2-2012 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 10, 1433
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Question

Assalaamu alaikum. Jazakallahu khair for replying my question (Fatwa No: 2330954) regarding I'sa Ibn maryam (Peace be upon him). However the Hadith which i referred is not the hadith which you quoted in your answer. The hadith is " Abu Hurayra (R.A) reported as Allah's messenger (Saw) as saying "The last hour will not come until the romans will land at Al- A'maq or in Dabiq.......... the time of prayer shall come and Jesus (PBUH) would descend and lead them in prayer......" I have quoted only the relevant part of the hadith . Here it says I'sa (pbuh) will lead in prayer but another hadith says imam mahdi will lead the prayer. Kindly clarify. I have taken this translation from Islamsoft software (Sahih Muslim)

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds.  I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The Ahaadeeth (narrations) are clear that the one who will lead the people in prayer will be a man from this nation and that it will not be ‘Eesa, the son of Mary  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. Abu Umaamah Al-Baahili  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: “…while their Imaam will have advanced to pray the Fajr prayer with them, Eesa, the son of Mary  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention will descend [at the time of the Fajr prayer]. The Imaam will draw backward so that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention would go forward and lead the people in prayer. However, ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention would put his hand between his shoulders and say to him: “Go forward and pray, as it is for you that the call for the prayer was called, so their Imaam would lead them in prayer.” [Ibn Maajah]

This is in addition to the narrations mentioned in Fatwa will pray behind Al-Mahdi">170171, among which is the narration which reads: “...Your leader (in prayer) would be from amongst yourselves.

In addition to this, the wording of the Hadeeth in Arabic that was reported by Imaam Muslim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him does not mention the ‘prayer’, so it might be that the translator had taken this from the context.

On the other hand, some scholars have tried to reconcile between the two narrations as they interpreted the Ahaadeeth in two different ways. For instance, Al-Munaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book entitled Faydh Al-Qadeer,

"He (i.e. ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention) would descend at the time of Fajr prayer at the white minaret east of Damascus and he would find the Imaam (of prayer) Al-Mahdi wanting to establish the prayer. When he realizes that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention is present, he would draw backward so that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention would advance (to lead the people in prayer) but ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention would put him forward to lead the prayer and he would pray behind him. So, this is a great favor and honor for this nation. Thus, what is mentioned in this Hadeeth does not contradict what is mentioned in other narrations that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention will lead Al-Mahdi in prayer. This was authoritatively asserted by Sa’d At-Taftaazaani who considered ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention to be better, as it is possible to reconcile (the narrations) that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention would first pray behind the Mahdi in order to show that he (‘Eesa) descended to be a follower of our Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ruling by his [Prophet’s] Sharee’ah (law). Then the Mahdi would be led by ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention on the basis of the principle that the one who is less important is led by the one who is better and more important.

Allaah Knows best.

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