Imam al-Mahdi, the Amir over Isa (Jesus) son of Maryam

The Masih, ‘alaihi al-salam, obviously, is a member of our Ummah, under the Shari’ah of Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi. This is explicitly indicated in this chapter-heading by Imam Muslim (d. 261 H):
Chapter on the Descent of ‘Isa b. Maryam to Judge with the Shari’ah of our Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him.1
Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256 H) also records this hadith:
Ishaq– Ya’qub b. Ibrahim – my father – Salih – Ibn Shihab – Sa’id b. al-Musayyab –Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him:

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “I swear by Him in Whose Hand my life is, surely the son of Maryam will soon descend amongst you as a just judge.”2
Explaining this riwayat, al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) states:
The meaning is that he will descend to judge with this Shari’ah, for this Shari’ah is eternal. It will never be abrogated. In fact, ‘Isa will be one of the judges of this Ummah.3
Meanwhile, it is an undisputable fact that whosoever follows the Shari’ah of Muhammad is from his Ummah. This clearly is why al-Hafiz has proceeded to give him an entry in his book on the biographies of the Sahabah:
‘Isa the Masih b. Maryam the Siddiqah bint ‘Imran b. Mahan b. al-Ghar, the messenger of Allah and His Word which He said to Maryam.
Al-Dhahabi mentioned him in al-Tajrid, supporting those before him, and said: “‘Isa b. Maryam, the messenger of Allah. He saw the Prophet, peace be upon him, on the night of al-Isra and said salam to him. Therefore, he is a prophet AND A SAHABI; and he will be the last of the Sahabah to die.”
Al-Qadhi Taj al-Din al-Subki indirectly referred to him in his poem at the end of his al-Qawaid, and said: “He, who by consensus of all creatures, is better than the best of the Sahabah, Abu Bakr; and he is better than ‘Umar, ‘Ali and ‘Uthman. He is a young man from the Ummah of the Chosen Mustafa from Mudhar.”4
Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) further says in his Siyar:
Allah the Most High has not mentioned in His Book any Sahabi by name except Zayd b. Harithah and ‘Isa b. Maryam, ‘alaihi al-salam, who will descend as a just judge.5
Basically,‘Isa b. Maryam is the best of the Sahabah – by Sunni reckoning – and not Abu Bakr (contrary to the popular Sunni myth). He will follow and enforce the Shari’ah of Muhammad, and will be the last of the Sahabah to die. Since the advent of our Prophet, the Masih became a member of our Ummah, and will die as one of our own.
Interestingly, after ‘Isa’s descent, he will not be the supreme leader of the Ummah. Of course, he will be a judge who will enforce our Shari’ah. However, he will, in doing that, be taking orders from a higher authority, the khalifah of his time. Imam al-Bukhari records:
Ibn Bukayr – al-Layth – Yunus – Ibn Shihab – Nafi’, freed slave of Abu Qatadah al-Ansari – Abu Hurayrah:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “How will you be when the son of Maryam descends amongst you while your Imam will be from you?”6
Dr. al-Bastawi interprets that in this manner:
“while your Imam will be from you”, that is: the Imam will NOT be ‘Isa, he will be a man from the Ummah of Muhammad, peace be upon him.7
Of course, ‘Isa too is from this Ummah. However, he is a naturalized member while the Imam will be someone born into it. Well, by divine decree, only people from the Arab tribe of Quraysh can be khalifahs; and this rule will never change till the Hour. Imam Ibn Abi ‘Asim (d. 287 H) confirms:
Abu Salih Hudbah b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab – al-Nadhr b. Shumayl – Shu’bah – Habib b. al-Zubayr – ‘Abd Allah b. Abi al-Hudhayl:
We were sitting with ‘Amr b. al-‘As, discussing al-fiqh. Then, a man from Bakr, said, “If Quraysh do not desist, Allah will place this affair in another group among Arabs.” So, ‘Amr b. al-‘As replied, “You lied! I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: ‘The khilafah is in Quraysh till the establishment of the Hour.’”8
And‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) says:
Its chain is good.9
Imam Abu Ya’la (d. 307 H) also records:
Al-Hasan b. Isma’il Abu Sa’id – Ibrahim b. Sa’d – his father – Anas, may Allah be pleased with him:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “The Imams are from Quraysh.”10
Shaykh Dr. Asad says:
Its chain is sahih11
Since the Masih is an Israilite, he is automatically disqualified from running the khilafah. He can only pledge allegiance to and take orders from a supreme royal ruler from Quraysh. Imam al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H) documents too:
Ahmad b. Mani’ – Zayd b. Hubbab – Mu’awiyah b. Salih – Abu Maryam al-Ansari – Abu Hurayrah:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “The kingdom is in Quraysh.”12
Al-Albani comments:
The descent of ‘Isa will create a huge potential for confusion within the Ummah. Would it be proper for a prophet to take orders from a non-prophet? In order to forestall the possibility of disarray, both the Masih and the khalifah of his time will explain the matter clearly by deeds. Normally, the Imam of the Ummah cannot be led in salat by any of his subjects. Imam al-Nasai (d. 303 H) records:
Ibrahim b. Muhammad al-Taymi – Yahya b. Sa’id – Shu’bah – Isma’il b. Raja – Aws b. Dham’aj – Abu Mas’ud:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “No one can lead a man in salat in his place of authority, and no one can sit in his place of honour except with his permission.”14

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