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 . Abu Umaamah Al-Baahili narrated: “…while their Imaam will have advanced to pray the Fajr prayer with them, Eesa, the son of Mary will descend [at the time of the Fajr prayer]. The Imaam will draw backward so that ‘Eesa would go forward and lead the people in prayer. However, ‘Eesa 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 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 said in his book entitled Faydh Al-Qadeer,
"He (i.e. ‘Eesa ) 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 is present, he would draw backward so that ‘Eesa would advance (to lead the people in prayer) but ‘Eesa 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 will lead Al-Mahdi in prayer. This was authoritatively asserted by Sa’d At-Taftaazaani who considered ‘Eesa to be better, as it is possible to reconcile (the narrations) that ‘Eesa would first pray behind the Mahdi in order to show that he (‘Eesa) descended to be a follower of our Prophet Muhammad ruling by his [Prophet’s] Sharee’ah (law). Then the Mahdi would be led by ‘Eesa 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.