American Public University
The Beliefs about Eschatology in the Faiths of Christianity and Islam
Professor Blair Clark
October 1, 2012
There are many beliefs about eschatology in the different faiths of the world. Islam has two main sects: Sunni and Shia, and Christianity has two main sects as well: Catholic and Protestant, with Protestant covering a varied assortment of varying customs and instructions. There is one thing that the religious faiths of Islam and Christianity have in common. They both believe that Jesus will play a part in the end of days. In Islam Jesus is referred to as Isa who was a prophet. A Christian who studies Islamic eschatology will marvel why Jesus is positioned into the role of conqueror. Why wasn’t Muhammad or a different Muslim prophet? Jesus is distinctive among the prophets since he was elevated up to Allah’s company without dying. The Quran forecasts Jesus’ reappearance as a indication of the ultimate judgment (Sura 43:61). Jesus’ ministry was short-lived and unfinished; therefore, his reappearance will allow him to complete his ministry to Allah. Jesus’s role in Muslim eschatology is comparable to the Christian belief that he will come another time to judge individuals. He will be preceded by the Mahdi, who will come to the world to demonstrate and get ready for another teacher’s coming, Jesus. Eschatology is defined as the study of "last things," or the conclusion of human history. While exact understandings differ generally, most Christian eschatologies center on the belief that the just will be compensated when God conquests over Satan in the last days. Compared to eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, the final reality or aim of Islam and Christianity is to live always in Heaven with God. Buddhism, Hinduism, and other eastern religions think that the final reality is one-ness with environment or with you. Islamic eschatology is not well-defined mostly by happenings. These happenings are significant but the key players are more important. There are three main people in the Islamic account of the end times. They are the Mahdi, the Dajjal, and Isa. The Mahdi is the key person though the Quran does not mention him. (1) His primary title means “the Guided One” but he is given various other titles in the hadiths: Twelfth Iman, Lost Iman, Lord of Command, Lord of the Age, He Who Will Arise, Authoritative Source, The Awaited Imam, and The Remnant of God. He is described as a man of average height with an attractive and brilliant face with long, stunning black hair that flows onto his shoulders. He will have a wide forehead and high nose and he will stammer.(2) It is the belief of Muslims that the Mahdi will come as a Great Imam or divine leader to the world and fill the world with justice, peace, and change the world to Islam, together with Jesus. Jesus will break the cross which means that Jesus will destroy the idea that he died as the Son of God on the cross. He will defeat al-Dajjal or false Messiah. The Mahdi will create an Islamic world by changing all Christians and Jews or by killing them. It is the belief of the Shia Muslims that the Mahdi has been born. The Ithna-asheri or Twelvers of the Shia faith drew information from several Shia Hadiths. Mohammed said there would be Twelve Great Imams and then the Mahdi would come. Mohammed ibn Hasan ibn Ali was born in 869 A.D. but he vanished at the age of five years old. It is believed that he has been hidden by God and that the Mahdi will reappear when the time is right for him to complete his task of making the world ready for judgment. Mahdi tradition in Sunni Islam is much the same as in Shia Islam, with the major point of difference being the belief that the Mahdi was born and taken by God to be hidden. The Sunnis do not believe that Mohammed ibn Hasan is the Mahdi. They say that he could not have been the Mahdi because according to...