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  • Belief In The Hereafter: (2) The Signs

    Posted by Umer on September 17, 2020 at 10:22 am

    The Signs:

    When will the Day of Judgement come? The Quran has made it clear that no one except God has knowledge of this. Only He knows when it will come and He has not disclosed this matter even to any of His prophets and angels (7:187, 20:15, 41:47). However, the signs and portents which will signal its advent are mentioned in the Quran and the Hadith and also in previous divine scriptures. Some of these signs are very general and others are in the form of specific incidents and happenings. The signs of this first category are not mentioned in the Quran. Only the Hadith literature mentions them. Of the signs of the second category too, only one is mentioned in the Quran: the onslaught of Gog and Magog. Therefore, this only is the certain sign. Other signs which are generally known in this regard are found in narratives which the scholars of Hadith technically regard as Sahih. Some of these signs have already manifested themselves and others, if their ascription towards the Prophet (sws) is correct, shall definitely manifest themselves in future.

    The signs of the first category relate to the moral degradation that will appear in the whole world before the Day of Judgement. Thus it is reported that knowledge will be lifted, ignorance will increase, fornication, drinking and killings and lootings would become rampant so much so that innocent people will be killed; women will outnumber men to the extent that the affairs of fifty women will be entrusted to one man; only evil people will exist in this world and it will become devoid of people who take God’s name. [1]

    Of the signs of the second category, the most important is the onslaught of Gog and Magog. The Quran says:

    حَتَّى إِذَا فُتِحَتْ يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ وَهُم مِّن كُلِّ حَدَبٍ يَنسِلُونَ وَاقْتَرَبَ الْوَعْدُ الْحَقُّ فَإِذَا هِيَ شَاخِصَةٌ أَبْصَارُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا قَدْ كُنَّا فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِّنْ هَذَا بَلْ كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ (21: 96-97)

    Until the time arrives that Gog and Magog are let loose and they launch an onslaught from every hill and the certain promise of the Day of Judgement nears its fulfilment, then behold that the disbelievers shall stare in amazement; At that time, they will say: “Woe be to us! We remained indifferent to it; in fact, we have wronged our souls.” (21:96-97)

    Gog and Magog are from the descendants of Noah’s son Japeth who inhabited the northern areas of Asia. Later, some of their tribes reached Europe and after that settled in America and Australia. In the book of Ezekiel, they are called the leaders of Russia, Moscow and Tobalsac:

    The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Rush, Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him. (Ezekiel, 38:1-2)

    Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Rush, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north. (Ezekiel, 39:1-2)

    It is evident from the revelation of John the Divine that the onslaught of Gog and Magog will begin sometime after a thousand years have passed on the advent of Muhammad (sws) as a Prophet. At that time, they would be surrounding the earth from all sides. When the disorder they would spread reaches its culmination, fire will descend from the heavens and the tremors of the Day of Judgement will begin:

    When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. [2] But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Revelation, 20:7-9)

    This same period of time is ascertained by the signs of proximity of the Day of Judgement which the Prophet (sws) mentioned in a question posed to him by Gabriel when he came to him in human form to instruct people. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

    أَنْ تَلِدَ الْأَمَةُ رَبَّتَهَا وَأَنْ تَرَى الْحُفَاةَ الْعُرَاةَ الْعَالَةَ رِعَاءَ الشَّاءِ يَتَطَاوَلُونَ في الْبُنْيَانِ

    One sign is that a slave-lady will give birth to her mistress and the second is that you will see these indigent [Arab] shepherds walking about bare-footed, bare-headed trying to compete one another in making tall buildings.[3]

    The second of these signs is very obvious. Every person can see how it has manifested itself in Arabia ever since the last century. However, people have generally found it difficult to determine what is implied by the first of these signs. It is very evident to me: its implication is that slavery as an institution shall stand abolished. Both these events have taken place simultaneously. Viewed thus, these two predictions absolutely determine the period of proximity of the Day of Judgement.

    The signs which will manifest after these two have been mentioned by the Prophet (sws) at one instance and these include the onslaught of Gog and Magog. He is reported to have said: [4]

    إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَا تَكُونُ حتى تَكُونَ عَشْرُ آيَاتٍ خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ وَخَسْفٌ في جَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَالدُّخَانُ وَالدَّجَّالُ وَدَابَّةُ الأرض وَيَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ وَطُلُوعُ الشَّمْسِ من مَغْرِبِهَا وَنَارٌ تَخْرُجُ من قُعْرَةِ عَدَنٍ تَرْحَلُ الناس وَرِيحٌ تلقى الناس في الْبَحْرِ

    The meaning of this narrative is that these are the ten signs of the Day of Judgement and unless they appear, the Day will not come. These signs are:

    1. The sinking of the earth in the East.

    2. The sinking of the earth in the West.

    3. The sinking of the earth in the Arabian peninsula.

    4. Smoke; this could refer to a great atomic explosion also.

    5. Dajjal; This is an adjective meaning “a great deceiver”. It has also been referred to as al-masih al-dajjal. The implication is that before the Day of Judgement, a person will falsely claim to be Jesus (sws) and while making use of the notion of the return of Jesus (sws) found in Muslims, Jews and Christians will deceive people through some of his magical powers. It is mentioned in some narratives that he would be blind in one eye and his deception would be so evident to the believers that it would be as if they would see disbelief written on his forehead. [5]

    6. A land animal which will probably be born directly from the earth, the way all creatures were created directly in the beginning.

    7. The onslaught of Gog and Magog; this has already begun and is gradually going towards its culmination.

    8. The rising of the sun in the West.

    9. A fire that will rise from a pit of the Yemenite city of Eden and drive the people from behind.

    10. A wind that will blow people away into the sea.

    Besides these, the advent of Mahdi and that of Jesus (sws) from the heavens are also regarded as signs for the Day of Judgement. I have not mentioned them. The reason is that the narratives of the advent of Mahdi do not conform to the standards of Hadith criticism set forth by the muhaddithun. Some of them are weak and some fabricated; no doubt, some narratives, which are acceptable with regard to their chain of narration, inform us of the coming of a generous caliph;[6] however, if they are deeply deliberated upon, it becomes evident that the caliph they refer to is ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (d. 101 AH) who was the last caliph of the early history of the Muslims. This prediction of the Prophet (sws) has thus materialized in his personality word for word. One does not need to wait for any other Mahdi now. As far as the narratives which record the advent of Jesus (sws) are concerned, though the muhaddithun have generally accepted them; however, if they are analyzed in the light of the Quran, they too become dubious.

    Firstly, the personality of Jesus (sws) has been discussed in the Quran from various aspects. The Quran has commented on his dawah mission and his personality at a lot of places. The cataclysm that will take place on the Day of Judgement is also a very frequently discussed topic of the Quran. The advent of a celebrated prophet of God from the heavens is no small an incident. In spite of the fact that there were many instances in which this incident could have been mentioned, we find that there is not a single place in which it is mentioned in the Quran. Can human knowledge and intellect be satisfied with this silence? One does find this hard to digest.

    Secondly, the Quran has recorded a dialogue of God with Jesus (sws) which will take place on the Day of Judgement. During the course of this conversation, the Almighty will ask him about the real sphere in which the Christians had gone astray: the divinity of Jesus (sws) and Mary. He will ask Jesus (sws) if it was as per His instructions that he had told people to deify himself and his mother whilst leaving aside God. In response to this question, among other things, Jesus (sws) will say that he instructed his people in the very manner he was asked by God and that as long as he remained among them he watched over what they were doing, and that after his own demise he was not aware of what good or evil they did, and that after his death it was God who watched over them. In this dialogue, one can clearly feel that the last sentence is very inappropriate if Jesus (sws) had also come in this world a second time. In such a case, he should have responded by saying that he knew what happened with them and that a little earlier he had gone to warn them of their grievous faults. The Quran says:

    مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلاَّ مَا أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ وَكُنتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَّا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنتَ أَنتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ (117:5)

    Never did I say to them except what You commanded me to do: “Worship Allah my Lord and your Lord,” and I was a witness over them while I dwelt with them. When You gave death to me, You were the Watcher over them and You are a witness over all things.(5:117)

    Thirdly, in one verse of the Quran, the Almighty has disclosed what will happen to Jesus (sws) and his followers till the Day of Judgement. Sense and reason demand that here He should also have disclosed his second coming before the advent of this Day; however, we find no such mention. If Jesus (sws) had to come, why was silence maintained at this instance? One is unable to comprehend any reason for it. The verse is:

    إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ فِيمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ (55:3)

    “O Jesus! I have decided to give death to you and raise you to Myself and cleanse you from these people who have denied [you]. I shall make those who follow you superior to those who reject faith till the Day of Judgement.Then to Me you shall all return. So at that time I shall give My verdict in what you have been differing in.” (3:55)

    (Javed Ahmed Ghamidi)

    (Translated by Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

    _______________________________________

    [1]. Al-Bukhari, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 91, (nos. 80-81); Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 75, 1162, 1260, (nos. 375, 6785, 7304).

    [2]. “the camp of God’s people” is a reference to Madinah, and “the city he loves” is a reference to Makkah. So evident are these allusions that anyone acquainted with the style of divine scriptures and with the history of these two cities cannot fail to decipher them.

    [3]. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 24-25, (no. 93).

    [4]. Ibid., 1256-1257, (no. 7286).

    [5]. Al-Bukhari, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 302-302, 579, 1228, (nos. 1882, 3439, 7131); Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 87-88, 1269, 1272-1273, (nos. 425, 7363, 7375).

    [6]. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 1261-1262, (no. 7318).

    Faisal Haroon replied 3 years, 3 months ago 2 Members · 7 Replies
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