Bismillah. Now that we have discussed death and the journey through it, we will be moving towards the actual day of judgment. And before we discuss that, we will begin our discussion on the signs of the day of judgment.
As we have mentioned many times before, belief in the day of resurrection is one of the basic principles of faith, without which there is no true faith. Allah says: Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets… (2:177)
How Close is Close?
We know that the Hour is very close. One may say, however, that how can it be considered close if we were given news of it over 1,000 years ago? The answer to that question is that it is close in the knowledge and estimation of Allah, even if it may seem far off by human standards. “Verily, they see it [the torment] afar off. but We see it [quite] near.” (70:6-7)
Also to be noted is that what is left of the world is very little to what has already passed. For example, if someone owed another man money and they set a time limit of 50 years, after 45 years pass, the due date will seem quite soon. It’s all about perspective and relativity, I suppose 🙂
“The lifespan of this ummah, in comparison with the past nations, is like the time from ‘asr prayer until the sun sets.”
In another hadith, ‘Utbah ibn Ghazwaan said that the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
This world is nearly finished… and there is nothing left of it but a little, like the little bit of water at the bottom of a vessel which will soon be drunk. You are moving from this world to a world that has no end, so go it with the best that you can.” (Muslim)
As we mentioned in the hadith of Jibreel, when Jibreel asked the Prophet (S) about the time of hour, he replied that he did not know any more than the questioner. Allah subhaana wa ta’aala says in the Qur’an: “They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the Hour: when is its arrival? Say, “Its knowledge is only with my Lord. None will reveal its time except Him. It lays heavily upon the heavens and the earth. It will not come upon you except unexpectedly.” They ask you as if you are familiar with it. Say, “Its knowledge is only with Allah , but most of the people do not know.” (7:187)
And what is the wisdom behind keeping the time of the Hour concealed? Well, the fact that we know this monumentous event will occur, and we don’t know when, makes us constantly watchful of ourselves. Or, ahem, should.
It is incorrect to indulge in trying to figure out when exactly the Hour will be; putting a year and date on it is attributing words to Allah without knowledge. The Messenger of Allah (S) and Jibreel didn’t know when the Day of Judgment would be and that should be enough to keep us indulging in trying to “figure out” when it will be. Ibn Taymiyyah said of these people (who discuss the exact timing of the Hour excessively) that although they may be thought of highly by their followers, they are mostly liars and fabricators. It is quite clear that they are speaking without knowledge, even though they claim to know the unseen and mysteries of the universe. (And he uesd the word “mostly” because there are some notable scholars who made this mistake, but they did not mean to mislead people).
And besides….when we come to our death – and death can come to us at any moment – then we have come to our Hour.
We don’t know exactly when the Hour will come, but Allah has told us of many signs of the Hour. He subhaana wa ta’aala calls these indicators ashraat al-saa’ah in the Qur’an.
فَهَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا السَّاعَةَ أَن تَأْتِيَهُم بَغْتَةً ۖ فَقَدْ جَاءَ أَشْرَاطُهَا
“Then do they await except that the Hour should come upon them unexpectedly? But already there have come [some of] its indications…” (47:18)
Ashraat is the plural of sharat, which means a sign. And as-Saa’ah, of course, is the Hour, or the beginning of the Day of Judgment.
Types of Signs
There are loads and loads of hadith which talk about the signs of the Hour. I would imagine that it would be a painstaking job to sift through all of the collections and come up with a neat and tidy list. Lucky for us, there are scholars who have already done that 🙂 ‘Umar al Ashqar’s series of books on aqidah have already done that, and there are also lectures series that you can find on it.
So how do we divide up the many signs of the Hour? Well, this is how ‘Umar al Ashqar divides them:
- Minor signs which have come and gone.
- Minor signs which have happened and are still happening or may be repeated.
- Minor signs which have not yet happened.
- Major signs (there are eight)
alhamdulillah this was just a brief introduction to the Signs of the Hour. Next time we will begin discussing the actual signs of the Hour inshaAllah. (That list will go on for a very long time…there are about 50!)