Imam Mahdi in the Verse (4:159) (2)

2- Other commentators said that the pronoun hi in “qabla mawtihi” refers to ‘Isa himself and that the faith of the People of the Book in ‘Isa before the death of ‘Isa will occur at the moment of 'Isa's descent from Heaven. These commentators give, as an argument supporting this view, some of the traditions that say the Prophet ‘Isa is still alive and did not die on the Cross, and that he will return from Heaven at the End of Time and that all the Jews and Christians existing at that time will believe in him.

Then Tabataba’i gives his own opinion after having compared the verses concerning ‘Isa in the Qur’an, and concludes his argument by saying that the pronoun hi in “Qabla mawtihi” refers to ‘Isa and that ‘Isa is not dead and will not die unless all the People of the Book believe in him and this is confirmed in the traditions.

Tabataba’i reports from the Tafsir al-Qummi in which a tradition is mentioned concerning this verse: “My father reported from Qasim ibn Muhammad who reported from Sulayman ibn Dawud, who reported from Abi Hamza, who reported from Shahr ibn Hushab who said : “Hajjaj told me: ‘O Shahr, a verse of the Quran is causing me confusion, and I do not understand its  meaning.’

 I asked: ‘O Amir! Which verse is it?’ He said: ‘The verse: “And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them”.

By God, although I would give the order to slit the throat of a Jew or a Christian and would stand nearby until his last breath and would attentively look at him to see if he is testifying the legitimacy of Jesus, the Messiah or not, I would see nothing but his lips closed until his body would get cold. In such case, how is it that that verse of the Quran informs us that every Jew, before his death, becomes a believer in Jesus?’ I told him: ‘May God correct you; the meaning of the verse is not as you understood it.’

‘Then what is the meaning?’ he said. ‘Before the Day of Judgement, Jesus will descend from Heaven and from all the nations no one will remain, be he Jew or non Jew, unless he becomes a believer in Jesus before he dies and Jesus will perform his prayers behind the Mahdi.’

When Hajjaj heard these comments, he was most amazed and said: ‘Wonderful! From whom did you learn this? From whom are you reporting these comments?’ I replied: ‘Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib related it to me.’ To this, he answered: ‘By God, you obtained this from a pure source.’”

Allama Tabataba’i then reports the same event from the tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur that ibn Manzar reported from Shahr ibn Hushab who said: “Hajjaj told me: ‘O Shahr, there is a verse in the Quran that whenever I recite it, a feeling of objection rises within myself and it is the following verse: “And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death.”

At the same time the captives of war are brought to me and I usually slit their throats but I never hear anything from them before their death.’ I told Hajjaj: ‘You did not get the proper meaning of the verse; when the soul of a Christian leaves his body, the angels slap him from behind and from ahead and say: ‘O Wicked one! When you were on earth, you used to believe that either Jesus is God, or is the son of God or is a third God while he was God’s servant, His soul and His word.’ When the Christian hears these words, he becomes a believer. However, at that time, his faith has no benefit.

 Likewise, when the soul of a Jew leaves his body, the angels slap and beat him from behind and ahead and say: ‘O Wicked one! You were the one who believed that you had killed Jesus! He was the servant and the soul of God.’ Hearing this, the Jew starts believing in Jesus but at a time when his faith is no longer of benefit to him. This event occurs continuously for each one of the Christians and the Jews, until the time of Jesus' descent.

In fact, at that time, each one of the People of the Book, either dead or alive, will believe in him (Jesus).’ Hajjaj asked: ‘Where did you get that from?’

I replied: ‘From Muhammad ibn Ali.’ He said: ‘Indeed, you got it from the fount of knowledge.’ Shahr then added: ‘By God, I never heard that story except from Umm Salama but in order to make Hajjaj (who was an enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt) jealous, I lied and told him that I heard it directly from Muhammad ibn Ali.”

The author, in order to confirm that the verse concerns the Mahdi, reported from the same work (al-Durr al-Manthur) that Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, and Bayhaki in the Kitab al-Asma wa al-Sifat reported a tradition in which the narrator said: “The Prophet said: ‘How will you react when the son of Mary (Jesus) descends among you and your Imam will be from among yourselves?”(1)

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NOTES:

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1. ... عن أبي هريره قال: قال رسول الله. (ص)  كيف أنتم إذا نزل ابن مريم فيكم و إمامكم منكم.