Dawah with Insight – Part 17: Signs of the Day of Judgment (Part A)
Category: Synopsis of Friday Sermons
Undoubtedly, the journey of man on earth will one day end and the divine project will be realized. Hence, the Last Hour is sure to come and it is near. “People ask you (O Prophet) about the Hour, say, ‘God alone has knowledge of it. You never know, the Hour may well be near.’” (al-Ahzab, 33:63)
This is a clear indication that with the advent of Allah’s final Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (SAW), the coming of the Hour is closer to humanity than ever before. This belief has been confirmed by Muhammad (SAW). In an authentic hadith, he (SAW) informs, “I and the Hour were sent like this,” and he joined his index and middle fingers, showing how near the Hour is.
One may wonder and ask, is it really near, considering that it has been more than fourteen centuries since the arrival of Muhammad (SAW). The answer is yes. Time is relative, a day on earth per our calculation is 24 hours, however, a day with Allah is equal to 1,000 years of our counting. “And indeed, a day with your Lord is like a thousand years of your count.” (al-Hajj, 22:47) Consequently, 1,400 years is hardly a day and a half according to Allah’s calculation. On the other hand, it may be only moments according to another method of calculation,“The angels and the spirit ascend unto him in a Day which is equivalent to fifty thousand years.” (al-Ma’arij, 70:4) Indeed the Hour is near. “They see it as far away. But We see it (quite) near.” (al-Ma’arij, 70:6,7)
We are indeed approaching the Last Hour and the end of the world is looming, “The Event ordained by Allah will come to pass, so seek not to hasten it.” (al-Nahl, 16:1) Surely, the time of “Their account has drawn near for the people, yet they are heedless (of it and) turning away.” (al-Anbiya, 21:1) Indeed most people are heedless of the greatest event to occur, al-Sa’ah. People live its signs yet they turn away from it. “So are they waiting for The Hour to come upon them suddenly? Its signs are already here, but once the Hour has actually arrived, what use will it be then to take heed.” (Muhammad, 47:18) The prophet (SAW) did inform that on that day all people will believe, however, their belief will not be accepted on that day. It will be too late.
The signs of the Last Hour may be divided into two types, minor and major signs. Among the minor signs there are some that have already past and some that have occurred and will occur again. There are some that have not occurred yet.
Among the minor signs that have occurred and ended are:
The advent of Muhammad (SAW) and his death: As mentioned earlier, the Prophet (SAW) said, “I and the Hour were sent like this.” Anas (RA) a prominent companion of the prophet (SAW) said that one day, when the sun was about to set, the Messenger of Allah gave a speech to his Companions, saying, “By He in whose Hand is my soul! Not much of this world is left compared to what has already passed of it, except as much as what is left in this day of yours compared to what has already passed of it.” Anas said, “We could only see a small part of the setting sun at the time.” These couple of minutes from the time the sun was setting to seeing part of the sun that has set, indicate that not much time has left for the Hour to come. Keep in mind, when one considers the age of the world at billions of years old, 1,400 years since the arrival of Muhammad (SAW) is an insignificant amount of time.
The splitting of the moon: The miracle of the moon split into two parts attests to the prophethood of Muhammad (SAW) and is one of the signs of the Hour when the present world ends and the Hereafter begins. Anas bin Malik (RAA) said, “The people of Makkah asked the Messenger of Allah to produce a miracle, and he showed them the moon split into two parts and they saw (the mount of) Hira’ between them.” According to the report of Jubayr Bin Mut’im (RAA), “The Prophet said to us, witness this, witness this.” Of course the disbelievers denied the miracle and accused the Prophet of performing magic. The miracle occurred before migration and is confirmed by Allah (SWT), “The Hour has drawn near and the moon is split (in two). And if they see a sign, they turn away and say, ‘same old magic.’” (al-Qamar, 54:1,2)
Among the signs that have occurred and will occur again are:
The End of the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari (RAA) narrates that one night they prayed salatul maghrib (sundown prayer) with the Prophet (SAW) and then they decided to wait and join him for the Isha prayer. When the prophet (SAW) came out, he exclaimed, “You are still here.” They informed him that they wished to pray salatul Isha with him. He (SAW) said, “Good for you.” He then looked up to the sky and many of us also looked up and he said, “The stars are trust-keepers for the heaven, and when the stars wane, the heaven is brought what was promised (i.e. of the corruption of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment); and I am a trust-keeper for my companions, so when I go my Companions will be brought what was promised them (i.e. of fitna and division); and my Companions are trust keepers for my community, so when they go my community will be brought what was promised to you.”
“Indeed, that which you are promised, will surely come to pass, and you cannot escape.” (al-An’am, 6:134) In other words, the Hour that you are promised will surely come. The Rightly Guided Caliph era of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali was short lived; hardly 30 years. The Prophet (SAW), however, prophesized the good news that near the end of time, there will come a time when vicegerency in the pattern of prophethood (caliphate) will once again return. This will be the last chapter of human history where people will live in peace under the divine system of justice.
In this prophecy according to al-Nu’man Ibn Bashir (RAA), the prophet (SAW) predicted five periods of history starting with his own time. The first period was his prophethood. He (SAW) informed his companions that prophethood will remain with them until Allah (SWT) ends it, i.e. he (SAW) expires. The second period predicted was a system of caliphate on the methodology and prophetic way and that will eventually come to an end. We know this second period as the period of the four rightly guided caliphs that came after the Prophet’s demise.
According to the prophecy, the third period of Islamic history is that there will be a period of cruel kingship or Mulkan ‘Adodan, literally, biting kingship. This is the period of the Umayyad and Abbasids where simple life and just rule were replaced by dynasties, lavish living and kings rule with an iron fist i.e cruel kingship, although there were brief periods of just rulers such as Umar bin Abdul Aziz (the great-grandson of the second rightly guided caliph Umar bin al-Khattab). The Prophet (SAW) predicted that this period will also come to an end and be followed by the fourth period which is imposed kingship, Mulkan Jabriyah. Contemporary scholars such as Dr. Israr Ahmad (RA) interpret this to mean the colonial power that ruled after the abolishment of the Islamic Caliphate in 1924.
In the fourth period of our Islamic history, the Islamic empire that stretched from east to west was divided into small nation states. Nationalism replaced religion. The cruel kingship of Muslim rulers was replaced by the imposed kingship of the British, French, Italian and Dutch rulers among other Western powers. The Prophet (SAW) predicted that this period will eventually come to an end if Allah wills.
The last and final period prophesized by the Prophet was the return of the Islamic Caliphate on the pattern of prophethood. It has been almost a century since the abolishment of the Ottoman Caliphate. The nation-states gained independence from the colonial powers and the direct rule has come to an end. Muslim countries, however, are still under the influence of the West, indicating that this period has not ended completely. We are living the last days of Western domination in Muslim lands and are awaiting a leader that will restore the Islamic Caliphate and rule according to the divine system of justice. When this period comes it will mark the end of times because according to the narrator of the hadith, the prophet (SAW) after enumerating the five periods of our Islamic history kept silent indicating that it will be the end of the world.
Groups like ISIS among other groups who allege to be the group that will establish Islam on the prophetic way are far from the truth. Their barbaric actions that range from killing Muslims, beheading innocent people, destroying mosques, churches and temples, selling young captive girls and slaying religious leaders among many other tragedies are absolutely contrary to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Their actions disqualify them to lead the 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.
Indeed, the emergence of al-Mahdi and the return of Jesus (AS) are among the prophecies the Prophet (SAW) predicted near the end of time. The mission of Jesus upon his return is to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. He will be assisted by the Mahdi and both be helped by the believers. The false messiah, al-Dajjal who will have much influence over many people will eventually meet his fate. Jesus (AS) will kill al-Dajjal by Allah’s leave and will rid the world of evil. During such time justice will be established and peace will be restored. This will be the period of Caliphate in the pattern of prophethood.
Daughters become Mistresses and the Poor Arabs would Compete in lofty Buildings: Among the many questions Jibril (AS) asked the Prophet (SAW) in the famous hadith was, “When will the Hour come?” The Prophet (SAW) replied, “The one who is questioned knows no more than the questioner.” Jibril then inquired, “What are its signs?” The Prophet (SAW) gave two signs, “When the female slave (of Allah) gives birth to her mistress, and when you see the poor, naked, barefoot shepherds compete in building lofty buildings.”
Factually, no one can deny the occurrence of these two signs. We are living this reality every day. In the first instance, mothers give birth to daughters expecting that when they reach the age of puberty mothers will be treated kindly, gently and respectfully. Instead, mothers have to deal with an attitude that is repugnant to Islamic teachings. The relationship between the mother and daughter will be reversed. Instead of the usual custom where mothers guide and tell their daughters what to do, daughters disrespectfully while raising their voice boss their mothers. Unfortunately, daughters get their way and mothers eventually surrender. In other words daughters become the mistress and mothers become subordinates.
In the second instance, the Prophet (SAW) informed that there will come a time when the poor and destitute Arabs become very rich. They will in essence, abandon their religious duties and compete with one another in constructing tall buildings. Prophecy fulfilled. One may look at the lofty buildings that have been erected in the last couple of decades in the Arabian deserts. The desert of Dubai became a miniature New York with its iconic tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. Other Arab states compete. Saudi Arabia will soon surpass Dubai as it plans to build yet a taller tower in Riyad. This competition is an all-out race to bring about the Final Hour. The Prophet (SAW) said, when these signs come to pass expect the Hour. We are indeed living the end of times leading up to the coming of al-Dajjal.
Before the Hour comes, knowledge will disappear and there will be much bloodshed: The Prophet (SAW) in one of his authentic traditions informs, “Before the Hour comes there will come a time when knowledge will disappear and ignorance becomes prevalent and there will be much harj.” Upon inquiry, the prophet (SAW) explained what harj is; it is bloodshed. On another occasion, the Prophet (SAW) mentioned harj and one of the companions commented, “O messenger of Allah each year we kill so many idolaters (in battle fields).” The Prophet (SAW) said, “No, you will not be killing idolaters, rather you will kill one another, until a man will kill his neighbor, his cousin and relatives.” Some of the people said, “O Messenger of Allah! Will we be in our right minds during that time?” He (SAW) replied, “No, reason and intellect will be taken away from most of the people at that time, and there will be left the insignificant people who have no brain.”
Certainly the knowledge of the signs of the Hour have been ignored, our heedlessness of such signs have led us to killing one another be it in Syria, Iraq, Yemen or elsewhere in the Muslim world. Expect the Hour.
One may ask, what must we as believers who frequent mosques and are certain about the hereafter do about all this? We must rectify ourselves and invest in the life to come. While some believe this is the only life to live, we must pay heed to the constant reminders Allah (SWT) repeats in the Qur’an.
“And they (the deniers of Truth) say, ‘There is nothing beyond our life in this world, and we will not be raised (from the dead).’” “And if you could only see, when they are made to stand before their Lord, (and) He will say, ‘Is this not real?’ They will say, ‘Yes indeed, by our Lord.’ He will say, ‘Taste then the torment as a result of your disbelief.’” “Lost indeed are those who belie the meeting with Allah until, when the Hour suddenly comes they say, ‘How regretful we are for ignoring it.’ And they will be carrying the burden of their sins on their backs. How awful those burdens will be!” “The life of this world is nothing but a play and a distraction; and certainly the abode of the Hereafter is far better for those who are righteous. Do you (O people) not understand?” (al-An’am, 29-32)
The time has come to, “Rush towards your Lord’s forgiveness and a garden as vast as the heavens and earth prepared for the righteous.” (Aal Imran, 3:133)
Conscious believers migrate from all that Allah (SWT) dislikes and struggle against their passions, lusts and desires as well as wrong trends of society while patiently enduring the current trials, for the Hour is real and near. May Allah (SWT) save us from such trials, ameen.