Signs of the Approaching Hour
The ahadith under this section are from ‘Ashrat al-Sa`ah’ by Yusuf Abdullah al-Wabil, pub., Dar ibn al-Jawziyyah, Saudi Arabia, 1996. Some notes are by the translator.
1. Abu Umamah reports the Prophet as having said, “During the last days of this world there will be among this Ummah, people holding the whip, as if they were cow’s tails. They will do their morning in Allah’s anger and their evening in Allah’s anger.” (Ahmad – Sahih according to M. Shakir). The words of Tabrani’s report are: “During the final days of this world there will be law-enforcing authorities who will do their morning in Allah’s anger and their evening in Allah’s anger. Beware then, that you should be their pals.” And, according to a narration brought to us by Tabrani, (“of good chain of narration”: Haythami) narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas, the Prophet said, “You will have rulers over you who will be worse than Zoroastrians.”
The allusion is to repressive regimes who will repress the religious men and give freedom to the irreliguous. These rulers will do their time in this world in Allah’s anger. A few other reports promise them Fire in the Hereafter.
2. Sahl b. Sa`d reports that the Prophet said (Ibn Majah), “During the final days landslides, hail of stones, and transformations.” It was asked, “When will that happen O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “When singing instruments and female singers will become common.” According to another report in Bukhari, “There will appear among my Ummah a people who will treat unlawful women as lawful for themselves. They will also treat silk, wine and musical instruments as lawful. And a people will take shelter by a mountain. Their shepherd driving along his cattle will report to them (by the evening). A poor man will go to them with a need of his. They will say, “Come back tomorrow.” Allah will let them sleep by the night and then bring down the mountain on them. As for others, He will disfigure them transforming them into apes and swine until the Day of Judgement.”
That is, although people will try to deceive Allah by changing names and thus treating the unlawful as lawful, Allah will still punish them in a variety of ways. One of them would be to bring down a mountain on them. Those left will be transformed into apes and swine, to last on the earth as apes and swine until the Judgement Day.
A similar punishment was inflicted upon the Jews in the past times. But the transformed ones did not survive. The present day apes and swine are not their progeny. But, in contrast, when some people of this Ummah will try to deceive Allah, He will transform them and allow them breed until the Day of Judgement. If they’d know, which is quite probable, that they are undergoing punishment, and that they too were once human beings, then of course, the torture for them will be both physical as well as psychological. This exemplary punishment is to impress on this Ummah the seriousness of the sins stated in the hadith. Should they still take them lightly.
3. Nasa’i has reported, “One of the signs of the Hour is that people will compete with each other in (constructing) mosques.” Anas (ra) said, as recorded in Bukhari, “They will compete with each other, but thereafter, will not visit them but occasionally. And, the words ‘will compete with each other’ mean that they will take lots of interest attention to their decoration.”
We may note that the Ummah paid no attention to these words of the Prophet and his Companions. Whenever its rich had the money (quite often of questionable kind), they did what they were forbidden forgetting that destruction of the Ummah has been promised if mosques are decorated and the Qur’an is embroidered with gold. Says Abu Darda’ in a report in Hakeem Tirmidhi’s collection “Al-Akyas wa al-Mughtarrin” and as declared Hasan by Albani in his Jami`, “When you begin to decorate the mosques, and add golden embroidery to the Qur’an, your destruction is assured.” Hence Munawi has said that according to the Shafe`iyyah decoration of the mosques, even if it is of Ka`bah, is forbidden altogether if it is done with gold or silver, but Makruh (undesirable) if it is with some other material.
4. A hadith of Musnad Ahmad reports Abu Musa’s narration, “My Ummah is an Ummah promised mercy. It shall not be punished in the Hereafter. Its punishment is in this world itself: through slaughter, tribulations and earthquakes.” And Abu Burdah reports: “While I stood in a market during the time of Ibn Ziyad’s governorship when I struck one hand upon another in amazement. At that one of the Ansar men, whose father had been the Prophet’s Companion, said, “What amazes you O Abu Burdah?” I replied, “I am amazed at a people whose religion is one, Prophet is one, what they invite to is one, pilgrimage is one, battles are one, yet some of them treat killing each other as lawful!” The Ansar man said, “Don’t be surprised, for I heard my father say that he heard the Prophet say, “My Ummah is an Ummah that has been shown mercy. It shall not undergo reckoning in the Hereafter. Its punishment is (in this world): in slaughter, earthquakes, and tribulations.” (Hakim in Mustadrak, declared by him Sahih).
Ibn Ziyad was the governor of Kufah during the time of Yezid.
5. Abu Hurayrah reports the Prophet said in a hadith of Ahmad, “The Hour will not be struck until… time gets closer.” According to another report coming through him, both in Ahmad as well as in Tirmidhi, the Prophet said, “The Hour will not be struck until time gets closer so that an year will be like a month, a month like a week, a week like a day, a day like an hour, and an hour like the burning of a palm leaf.”
The scholars have offered various explanations to the words, “time will get close.” Some have said, as Ibn Hajr, that it means there will be no barakah in time. Some others have said that this will actually happen at the time of Mahdi and ‘Isa when the good days that will follow long, tortuous days before them, will be felt short. Another explanation is that this has been achieved by the modern means of travel, that, with their speed, reduce the length of time and bring close the distant. It might be also noted that this does not contradict the reports that a time will come when a day will be felt like a year, or like a month, or like a week in length. That will happen at the time of Dajjal and because of the severe tribulations that men will go through. In our opinion the shortening of the time can happen physically also. That is the earth’s rotation around its axis becomes faster, so that time is reduced in length. And the earth’s rotation can be affected by a passing large comet, if it comes too close to earth.