Minaret of Prophet Isa (upon him be peace)
This minaret, which is on the left side of the Umayyad Mosque is also known as the Jesus minaret. It is from here that Prophet Isa (upon him be peace) will descend back to earth towards the end of time.
- Muslims believe that Isa (upon him be peace) did not die on the cross but Allah (ﷻ) raised him to heaven and he will return one day to defeat the Dajjal (Anti-Christ). According to a Hadith, he is on the second heaven. The Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned, “During the Me’raj (Ascension), I met Isa (upon him be peace) on the second heaven. I found him of medium stature, reddish white. His body was so clean and clear, that it appeared as though he had just performed ghusal (ablution, cleansing of the entire body) and come.”
- In another Hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned, “Allah will send Maseeh ibne Maryam (Messiah son of Mary). Thus he will descend near the white eastern minaret of Damascus, clad in two yellow sheets, leaning on the shoulders of two angels.” [Sahih Muslim]
- The physical features of Isa (upon him be peace): He will resemble the famous sahabi Urwa bin Masoodi (may Allah be pleased with him). He will be of average height and red and white in colour. His hair will be spread to the shoulders, straight, neat and shining as after a bath. On bending his head, it will seem as if pearls are falling. He will have armour on his body. He will be wearing two pieces of cloth light yellow in colour.
- He will descend on a Jamaat (group) that will be righteous at the time and comprising of 800 men and 400 women. The people will be preparing for war at the time against Dajjal. It will be time for Fajr prayers, and Imam Mahdi will be the Amir (leader) of the Muslims. From the darkness of the dawn, a sound will suddenly be heard that “one who listens to your pleas has come” – the righteous people will look everywhere and their eyes will fall on Isa (upon him be peace). Briefly, at the time of Fajr, Isa (upon him be peace) will descend. When descending, Isa (upon him be peace)’s hands will be on the shoulders of two angels (according to another source (Kab Abrar), a cloud will carry him). On their insistence Isa (upon him be peace) will introduce himself. He will inquire about their enthusiasm and thoughts on Jihad against Dajjal. Isa (upon him be peace) will descend on the eastern side near the minaret in Damascus (or in Baitul-Muqaddus according to another narration). At the time Imam Mahdi will have proceeded forward to lead the Fajr Salaat. The Iqamat of the Salaat will already have been recited and Imam Mahdi will call Isa (upon him be peace) for Imamat (to lead the prayer), but he (Isa (upon him be peace)) will instead tell Imam Mahdi to lead the prayer since the Iqamat of that Salaat has already been said for him. Thus Imam Mahdi will lead the prayer, and Isa (upon him be peace) will follow him. After the ruku, he will make this statement:“Allah has killed Dajjal and the Muslims have appeared.”
- Isa (upon him be peace) will subsequently kill Dajjal and a great era of peace and harmony will come to the world. Isa (upon him be peace) will marry and have children and will live for 19 years after his marriage. He will then pass away and be buried next to the Prophet (ﷺ) in Majid-e-Nabwi, Madinah.
This church in Bethlehem, one of the oldest in the world has been built over the place where Christian tradition holds that Isa (upon him be peace) [Jesus] was born. A marble floor in the basement denotes the exact spot. A stone block marks the spot where a palm tree once stood which Maryam (upon her be peace) [Mary] shook during the pains of labour.
- Isa (upon him be peace) is mentioned very often in the Quran. He is mentioned by name 25 times, by the title Al-Masih 11 times, and by the name Ibn Maryam (the son of Mary) 23 times.
- The Quran states that Isa (upon him be peace) was the result of a virgin birth. The most detailed account of the annunciation and birth of Isa (upon him be peace) is provided in Surahs 3 and 19 wherein it is written that Allah sent an angel to announce that she could shortly expect to bear a son, despite being a virgin:“(Remember) When the angels said O Mary! Allah gives thee good news of a son through a Word from Him! His name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to Allah! And he shall speak to the people in the cradle, and when of middle age, and he shall be of the Righteous She said My Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me? He said, That is as it shall be. Allah creates what He pleases. When He decrees a thing He says to it “Be” and it is!” [3:45-47]
- Muslims do not accept the virgin birth of Jesus as evidence of Jesus being God. The Quran further states:“The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: ‘Be.’ And he was.” [3:59]
- Maryam (upon her be peace) gave birth to Isa (upon him be peace) at the age of 13. She did not marry and did not give birth to any other children. She lived a long life and was still alive when Isa (upon him be peace) was raised up to the heavens at the age of 33. Her grave is in Jerusalem.
- Note that some Muslim scholars don’t believe the location of this church to be the birthplace of Isa (upon him be peace) but a place a few kilometres away.
- The Byzantine Queen Helena inaugurated the construction of the Basilica of the Nativity in 339 CE at the site where the Roman emperor Hadrian had built a shrine dedicated to Adonis. The Basilica was destroyed and rebuilt by emperor Justinian in 531 CE and reinforced to its present fortress shape by Tancred in 1169 CE. During Ottoman rule, the main entrance was reduced to the existing small door (called the Door of Humility) in order to prevent horsemen from entering the church while riding.
- An anti-war protest was held in front of the church on 30th March 2003 in which Father Pancratius, the residing parish priest banned George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair and Jack Straw forever from entering the church for their role in the Iraq war. He described them as child-killers, who would tarnish the church if they entered it.