Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world, with many apparent similarities between their beliefs. However, there is a crucial difference among some sects of Christianity and Islam, which is the question of the divinity of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Christianity is usually regarded as a Monotheistic religion, some of its denominations, though, hold that Jesus (PBUH) is a part of Trinity and is God. But Muslims believe Jesus (PBUH) is a human being. They love prophet Jesus (PBUH) and honor him as one of the greatest prophets, yet for them, Jesus (PBUH) is not God nor the son of God.
According to the verses of the Quran and what Muslims believe, God is One and unique in essence, attributes and actions, and is not like any of His creatures. So having a child, which is the reproduction of a similar one, is impossible for Him. “The originator of the heavens and the earth—how could He have a child when He has had no spouse? He created all things, and He has knowledge of all things” (6:101).
From the Islamic perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to consider human form for Allah. This is also acknowledged in the bible as Jesus (PBUH) said once when he was among his followers: “You have never heard His voice at any time nor seen His form” John (5:37).
Muslims believe Jesus (PBUH) was created just as Adam (PBUH) was created without a father. And that his life as a human began miraculously by Allah just as He created Adam (PBUH) the first time. If Jesus Christ (PBUH) was God, then how could he be born of his mother, Saint Mary? Or how could he die in the hands of humans? Also, if God could take human form, wouldn’t there need to be another God to run the universe? These ideas are explicitly rejected in the holy Quran: “There is no god but Allah, and indeed Allah is the All-mighty, the All-wise” (3:62)
We, human beings, need to have children for various reasons. We would satisfy many of our desires, having them, like our sensual or emotional needs. Some of us might want to have one to assist us with our works and needs. Some might seek a name after death, etc. None of these, however, would make any sense about Allah, who is the Creator of the universe, the All-mighty and the All-sufficient: “O mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah—He is the All-sufficient” (35:15).
The other reason that proves Jesus Christ (PBUH) is not God or the son of Him is that he was a human being with all human attributes and requirements. He was in his mother’s womb for some time; he was born; he would eat, drink and sleep and was nothing different from all other human beings except that he was the messenger of Allah: “The Messiah, son of Mary, is but an apostle. Certainly, [other] apostles have passed before him, and his mother was a truthful one. Both of them would eat food. Look how We clarify the signs for them, and yet, look, how they go astray!” (5:75).
More importantly, Jesus Christ (PBUH) himself never claimed that he is a God and has to be worshipped. In fact, he said the contrary in Mathew (15:9): “They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Or, in Numbers (23:19), he said: “God is not man… or a son of man”. In many other verses, he admitted that he was only an apostle of God, not God, nor the son of Him, and there is only one true God: “Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only TRUE God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” John (17:3).
You see, there are serious contradictions and misconceptions between different verses of the New Testament and also what Christians believe about Prophet Jesus (PBUH). But what the holy Quran suggests is clear: “Say, ‘He is Allah, the One. Allah is the All-embracing. He neither begat, nor was begotten, nor has He any equal.’” (112:1-4) And that Jesus (PBUH) was a prophet, born without a father, just as Adam and Eve were born without parents. Miracles were given to him by Allah to convince people that Allah, the only true God exists.
All Abrahamic religions believe in the return of the savior, the liberator of the human beings and redeemer, in the End-Time. Prophets and divine messengers have promised the day that the whole universe will be full of justice and tenderness. Other religions also have similar beliefs, although they differ in some minor aspects, which will be discussed below. We go through references from different religions and faiths to examine their views about the last savior.
In Upanishads, which is a collection of ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, the last savior is called Kalki. He is believed to be the tenth avatar of Hindu god Vishnu in the last of the four stages in the endless cycle of existence known as "Samsara," which is defined "as the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Or as the world of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukkha)" . He rides a white horse with a fiery sword. He will end the darkest and destructive period to remove adharma [i] and will usher in the Satya Yuga [ii].
Another reference talks about a just commander at the end-time who is the leader of angels and humans, who knows the truth and gets hold of everything from deep in the seas too high in the mountains, and no one greater than him will come to earth .
In Zoroastrianism, there are three saviors who each will rise in a thousand years. The last one is an eschatological savior figure who will destroy evil and will bring about the renovation of the world. He is called Saoshyant, which means the beneficent in its single form. Yet, in its plural form, it is considered to mean the redeemer. The Khorda Avesta describes this savior as such:
Whose name will be the victorious SAOSHYANT and whose name will be Astvat-ereta. He will be SAOSHYANT (the Beneficent One) because he will benefit the whole bodily world; he will be ASTVAT-ERETA (he who makes the bodily creatures rise up), because as a bodily creature and as a living creature he will stand against the destruction of the bodily creatures, to withstand the Druj of the two-footed brood, to withstand the evil done by the faithful. 
Accordingly, the Soashyant will rise at the end-time and fight against the vices in the world and spread justice and goodness far and wide.
In some of the Buddhist references, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, we read about the future Buddha of this world, called Maitreya, who will be a successor to the present Buddha. In Sanskrit, Maitreya means kindness and love. According to Buddhist religious texts, Maitreya will be the fifth and last Buddha who will appear on the earth. The arrival of Maitreya is expected at a time in the future when the dharma will have been forgotten by most on the earth. That is when Maitreya will appear on the earth to achieve complete enlightenment and to teach the pure dharma .
The Taoist last savior, called Li Hong, is depicted as an ideal leader who would reappear to set right heaven (tian) and earth (dì) at a time of upheaval and chaos. Li Hong will appear at the end of the world cycle to rescue the chosen people, who would be distinguished by certain talismans, practices, and virtues .
The Jews belief in the savior is manifested in the idea of the coming of Moshiach (i.e., Messiah). This person is believed to be a descendant of King David, who will "gather the Jews from all over the world and bring them back to the land of Israel" . There are many verses in different scriptures and Talmudic [iii] literature which refer to this figure and enumerate his characteristics and manners [iv]. For instance, Isaiah says:
And there shall come forth a rod from the stock of Jesse [King David's father], and a branch shall grow from his roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge by what his eyes see, nor decide by what his ears hear. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Those who follow Judaism believe that their savior has not been born yet. Therefore, they are eagerly awaiting the coming of the one who will save them and establish a just dominion in which "there will be world peace, no more wars nor famine, and, in general, a high standard of living" .
Christians believe that Jesus Christ (PBUH) is himself the savior of humankind, and he was born for this purpose. The name Christ literally means "the anointed one" or the Messiah . As the Gospel of Matthew says, Jesus Christ (PBUH) has been sent to "Save his people from their sins" (1:20-21). It is also believed that Jesus Christ (PBUH) had been crucified to atone the sins of humanity and lead them toward salvation. According to Christian sources, Jesus Christ (PBUH) was the savior who was awaited by the Jews as whose coming was predicted in the Torah as the Moshiach.
Another point which makes Jesus Christ (PBUH) the awaited savior in Christianity is the idea of his second coming or the Second Advent in the end-time to whose "day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32). This is the belief in "the future return of Christ in glory when it is understood that he will set up his kingdom, judge his enemies, and reward the faithful, living and dead" . Different gospels, including Matthew chapters 24–25; Mark, chapter 13; Luke, chapter 21:5–26, and John, chapter 14:25–29, are mentioned as the evidence for this belief. Moreover, according to biblical verses, there will be many signs indicating the end-time among which the second coming of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and the last judgment.
Therefore, like many other religions, Christians also believe in a savior or as they call it the Messiah, who will make this world a better place and free it from oppression and injustice.
In Islam, the belief in the savior is rooted in the fact that Allah never leaves His creatures, especially human beings, on their own and support them through sending His apostles to guide them toward the right path: "and there is a guide for every people" Quran (13:7). He had sent 124000 prophets (PBUT) first, followed by righteous leaders who continued the path of previously chosen messengers of Allah. As the Quran says, "Certainly We wrote in the Psalms, after the Torah: 'Indeed My righteous servants shall inherit the earth.'" (21:105).
Therefore, the earth will never become empty of Allah's guide, and people will benefit from these guiding lights either directly or indirectly. Imam Mahdi (AS), the twelfth leader of Muslims and a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), who is leading a secret life at the time, will ultimately rise and spread peace and humanity throughout the earth. "The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) informed Muslims about his reappearance, telling his names, attributes, appellations, and peculiarities" . The time of his coming is unknown, and it is followed by the preparation of particular circumstances.
The signs that indicate his coming include "Widespread injustice and oppression, the advent of Dajjal (Anti-Christ) who would misguide the thinking of the people, the advent of Sufyani who is one of the pillars of mischief and corruption on the earth, the formation of the Islamic army, which would raise up black standards, the voice of the angel of the sky giving glad-tidings of his reappearance, the coming down on earth of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and his paying allegiance to and praying behind in congregation Prayers led by Imam Mahdi (AS)" 
This belief in the last savior, who would stand against tyranny and injustice and remind human beings of their real value, also, highlights Islam's optimism toward the future of the world.
Finally, we have reviewed the belief in the last savior or the person who will save humankind from the evilness and destruction in this world in different faiths and religions. On a more in-depth look, we can find many similarities between these beliefs. However, the Abrahamic religions had a more precise and more tangible attitude toward the idea of the last savior and the time of his coming. Therefore, the concept of the savior is one of the most essential and significant matters regarding the future of human destiny.
[i] Opposite to dharma, which includes unnaturalness, wrongness, evil, immorality, wickedness, and vice.
[ii] The period when humanity will be governed by gods and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal, and humanity will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme.
[iii] The central text of Judaism and the primary source of the Jewish religion.
[iv] Isaiah 2, 11, 42; 59:20, Jeremiah 23, 30, 33; 48:47; 49:39, Ezekiel 38:16, Hosea 3:4-3:5, Micah 4, Zephaniah 3:9, Zechariah 14:9, Daniel 10:14.
- the man on the white horse
- The Vishnu Purana, trans. Horace Hayman Wilson, London: Trübner & co., Book IV, Chapter 24.
- Khorda Avesta, Translated by James Darmesteter (From Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898.), Part five
- Anna K. Seidel. "Perfect Ruler in Early Taoist Messianism: Lao-tzu and Li Hung." History of Religions, Vol. 9, No. 2/3
- The end of days
- what does christ mean
- second coming
- Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Milani, The Promised Savior: An inquiry into the imamate of Imam Mahdi (as) from the viewpoint of Muslim thinkers, part 1, p.8.
- Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi, The Life of Imam al-Mahdi, Trans. Sayyid Athar Husayn S.H. Rizvi, p.259-283. Pdf.
One of the questions that arises about Imam Hussain’s (AS) movement, which is of great importance especially in the modern days, is whether he desired to form an Islamic community, and if so whether the people willingly wanted to accept his leadership or not. In other words, did Imam Hussain (AS) actually want to rule over the Islamic community? Did he seek power? Did people join Imam Hussain (AS) of their own free will or they were forced, enticed or threatened to do so? The answers will reveal the core message of Imam Hussain (AS)’s revolution for us today.
To answer these questions, we should first find out what the idea of the infallible Imams (AS) was about power. If we carefully look at their lives, we will come to know that they did not struggle for power nor did they have a craving to attain it. At the same time, though, whenever there was a public demand to govern over people, they did not refuse that request. Power or governing a community in the infallible Imams’ eye is nothing but a duty to serve people, protect their rights and bring justice among them.
They considered power as the means of reviving and expanding the divine goals and principles and preserving the moral values. So having political power was not of inherent value to them. You can see the proof in the following account:
“This world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat to me.”
After the death of the third caliph, Uthman, the crowd of people rushed to Imam Ali (AS) and asked him to take up the reins of government. But Imam Ali (AS) replied: “It is better for me to be your vizier and advisor rather than a ruler… leave me and go to others” . In fact, if it was not for the sake of justice and people’s frustration and call for help, Imam Ali (AS) would have never accepted to be the ruler, as he said: “In my view this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat” .
Or in another occasion, he said to one of his companions that his worn-out patched shoes were dearer to him than ruling over people unless for the fact that he may establish right and ward off wrong .
Imam Hussain (AS) had the same attitude toward power as his father. He did not seek a leadership role unless for the sake of eliminating injustice and corruption from the community. And that’s why Imam Hussain did not take the oath of allegiance to Yazid, the ruthless caliph of that time.
Clearly, it is every individual’s duty to fight against oppression and injustice in society. In other words, standing against tyranny is a moral and virtuous act in itself that is not entirely dependent on the companionship of others. However, when it comes to the issue of gaining power or accepting people’s leadership to fight against tyranny, the morality and value of this uprising depend on whether the leader is merely seeking reformation, or he struggles to gain supremacy over people. Such arrogance in leadership, in the latter case, can be eliminated by the presence of people.
When people of Kufa heard Imam Hussain (AS) had not pledged allegiance to Yazid’s government, they got impressed and sent thousands of letters to Imam Hussain (AS) asking him to go there and serve as their leader to fight against the tyranny. He did not take their request for granted nor did he accept their invitation right away. Instead, he decided to send his representative, Muslim ibn Aqil, to them to confirm their loyalty. That’s because in Islam the relationship between people and the government is a two-way street. On one way is the voting public -those who decide who becomes their leader and have to be loyal to him- and on the other path is the government, who also needs to be loyal to people and care about their well-being. And this is one of the important aspects of democracy in its true sense of the word.
Here another aspect of Imam Hussain’s (AS) movement is revealed which is beyond the mere fight against oppression: the necessity which made Imam Hussain (AS) decide to take power, i.e., people’s will and invitation.
Imam Hussain (AS) thought it was necessary to accept the people’s leadership because they had asked him to do so.
If Imam Hussain (AS) had sought supremacy, he would have accepted people’s leadership at any cost. But he fulfilled what God told him in the Holy Quran:
“Do not be like those who left their homes vainly and to show off to the people, and to bar [other people] from the way of Allah” (8:47)
He also said: “Indeed, I have not risen to make mischief, neither as an adventurer nor to cause corruption and tyranny. I have risen solely to seek the reform of the Ummah of my grandfather (PBUH&HP)” .
He expressed it manifestly in his speeches that he would accept people’s leadership only if the elites of the community were all agreed on that invitation. He repeated it once again when he was faced with Hur’s army on his way to Kufa and emphasized that the people of Kufa had invited him by sending thousands of letters and requested him to take over the affairs. He explicitly stated that if the people of Kufa regretted their decision, he would return. He did not want to impose himself on people!
People of Kufa had invited Imam Hussain (AS), they had chosen him as their leader. But they were too weak to stand for what they had asked for. They were threatened and enticed by the tyrant governor of Kufa and could not keep their promise. Their hearts were with Imam Hussain (AS), but in practice, their swords were against him. They left Imam Hussain’s (AS) side and so the democracy they wished for was not materialized among them.
Finally, in the Islamic view of democracy, there has to be a balance between the rights and duties of both people and the rulers. Otherwise, there would be a disaster.
Many times in a democratic scene, there is a ruler who oppresses a lot of people. However, in the tragic story of Imam Hussain (AS), there is a group of people who choose and invite their leader, and promise to support him but go back on their pledge and fight against him, which ultimately resulted in the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS), one of the most righteous people on earth.