Throughout history, human beings have understood the majesty of the mountains and the vastness of the heavens, even through the use of their primitive methods of observation. Though, they mistakenly thought these things would exist forever. This superstitious belief formed the backbone of polytheist and materialist Greek philosophies, and of the deviant religions of Sumer and Egypt.
The Qur'an tells us that those who believe this are in grave error. One of the things that Allah (God) reveals in the Qur'an is that the universe has been created and that it will come to an end. The universe will, as will human beings and all other living things, come to an end. This ordered world, which has functioned perfectly for billions of years, is the work of our Lord, Who created everything, though it will come to a grand end at His command, and at a time that He has determined.
The appointed time when the universe and every creature in it, from microorganisms to human beings, including stars and galaxies, will come to an end, is called the "Hour" in the Qur'an. This "Hour" refers to not just any hour; but is a word used specifically in the Qur'an to refer to that time when the world will come to an end.
Along with the announcement of the end of the world, the Qur'an contains detailed descriptions of the process of that event: "When the sky bursts open," "When the oceans surge into each other," "When the mountains are pulverized," "When the sun is compacted in blackness…" The horror and panic that people will experience at this dreadful calamity is related in detail in the Qur'an; the verses emphasize that there will be no escape and no place to hide. What we can conclude from this that the end of the world will be a catastrophe such as the world has never experienced before. Details of that even may also be found in other books of ours entitled, The Day of Resurrection, Death Resurrection Hell. This present book will treat the events that will happen as the Last Day approaches.
First, it must be stated that it is clear from a number of verses of the Qur'an, that the subject of the inevitable end of the world has excited interest in every period of history. In certain verses, it is related that people had asked the Prophet Muhammad (saas) about when the end of the world would come:
They will ask you about the Hour: when is it due? … (Surat al-A'raf: 187)
They ask you about the Hour: "When will it come?" (Surat an-Nazi'at: 42)
Allah commanded the Prophet (saas) to answer this question in the following way: "… Knowledge of it rests with my Lord alone..." (Surat al-A'raf: 187), meaning that only He knows the date of the Hour. Furthermore Allah has revealed in the Qur'an that He will grant this hidden knowledge to those Messengers whom He wills:
He is the Knower of the Unseen, and does not divulge His Unseen to anyone – except a Messenger with whom He is well pleased, and then He posts sentinels before him and behind him. (Surat al-Jinn: 26-27) Allah has revealed us that He had not kept that knowledge completely out of the reach of humans with the words "I almost keep it from the knowledge of others." (And Allah knows the truth.)
The Hour is coming, I almost keep it from the knowledge of others so that every self can be repaid for its efforts. (Surah Ta-Ha: 15)
Nobody can have knowledge of the Last Hour unless Allah wills otherwise. However, one can make an estimate as to its century based on the hadiths of the Prophet (saas) and signs in the Qur'an, and say, "the Last Hour will come when there are no believers left and disbelief reigns." As a matter of fact, the great ahl al-Sunnah scholars al-Barzanji and as-Suyuti state, based on the hadith of the Prophet (saas), that the life span of the Ummah will not exceed the Islamic year 1500, in other words it will end before Islamic 1600s. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi says, again according to the information given in the hadith, that Muslims will remain on Allah's true path and will be victorious until around Islamic year 1506 with the Last Hour probably taking place in 1545 (2120 according to the Gregorian calendar).
There are many verses that tell of the Hour, and when we examine them we encounter a great truth. The time of the Hour is not indicated in the Qur'an, but those events that will happen prior to it are described. In one verse Allah relates that there are several signs of the Hour:
What are they awaiting but for the Hour to come upon them suddenly? Its Signs have already come. What good will their Reminder be to them when it does arrive? (Surah Muhammad: 18)
From this verse we learn that in the Qur'an Allah describes signs that announce the coming of the Last Day. In order to understand the signs of this "great announcement" we must reflect upon these verses. Otherwise, as indicated in the verse, one's thinking will be of no use when the Last Day is suddenly upon one.
Some of that which was said by the Prophet (saas) which has reached to us deals with the signs of the Hour. In these hadiths of the Prophet (saas), there are both signs of the Hour and detailed information about the period just preceding it. This period, in which the signs of the Hour will occur, is called the "End Times." The matter of the End Times and of the signs of the Hour has attracted much interest throughout the history of Islam; it has been the subject of many works of Islamic scholars and researchers.
In the Qur'an, Almighty Allah has revealed that He will cause Islamic moral values to prevail on earth. In his hadiths our Prophet (saas), too, has stated that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be a means whereby this great and holy event duly takes place in the End Times. As a requirement of Qur'anic moral values, and as re ported by our Prophet (saas), the rule of Islamic moral values will be brought about with love. When Islamic moral values come to prevail, the world will attain peace and security, and all forms of disorder, conflict, anarchy and terror will come to an end. Distressed by the disorder and oppression of the End Times, people will be delighted with the justice, compassion, generosity, love and interest of Hazrat Mahdi (as), who will cause Islamic virtues to prevail on earth.
The glad tidings of the inevitable appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as) in the End Times is revealed as follows in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas):
If just one day of the life of this world remains, Almighty Allah will prolong it and someone from my Ahl al-Bayt will come. His name will be like mine. His father's name will be like my father's name. HE WILL FILL THE WORLD THAT IS FULL OF OPPRESSION AND EVILS WITH JUSTICE AND MERCY. (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi, Great Hadith Collection, Rudani, Vol. 5, p. 365)
According to what is revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear in the End Times and cause Islamic moral values to prevail on earth. With the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as), all oppression and injustice in the world will come to an end and be replaced by justice, peace, love and security. These holy phenomena are revealed as follows in various hadiths:
... He [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] fills the earth with justice, which was previously filled with oppression and violence. Whoever of you lives to see him, let him crawl over snow to him and join him. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 14)
He [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will sustain Islam in the end just as our Prophet (saas) sustained Islam in the beginning… (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 27)
When we collect all this information together, we come to an important conclusion. The verses of the Qur'an and the hadiths of the Prophet (saas) indicate that the End Times is divided into two stages. The first period is one in which material and spiritual trials will afflict the world; the second period to come is called the Golden Age, a time when the moral teaching of the Qur'an will dominate, producing a deep sense of well-being in all humans. When this Golden Age comes to an end, and after the world will have entered a period of social decline, the coming of the Last Hour will be at hand.
The purpose of this present book is to examine the signs of the Hour through the verses of the Qur'an and hadiths of the Prophet (saas), and to show that these signs have begun to appear in our present time. The fact that the advent of these signs was revealed fourteen centuries ago should increase a believer's faith in Allah and his devotion to Him. The following pages have been written keeping in mind our Lord's promise: "Say: Praise be to Allah. He will show you His Signs and you will recognize them…" (Surat an-Naml: 93)
There is one particularly important point though that we would like to draw the reader's attention to: Allah knows the truth about everything. As with all things, what we know about the end of the world comes only from what He has revealed to us.
All the Signs Our Prophet (saas) Foretold in the Hadiths Have Come about in This Century
In the words of one hadith;
People will gather around Hazrat Mahdi (as) in the year 1400. (Risalat al-Khuruj al-Mahdi, p. 108)
The Prophet (saas) explicitly states that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear in Hijri 1400. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, the greatest Islamic scholar of the last 1000 years, reveals in his collected works that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear in Hijri 1400:
[They] suppose[d] A FACT THAT WOULD OCCUR IN THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED YEARS LATER to be close to their century. (Words, p. 318)
As of Hijri 1400, all the signs of the End Times revealed by our Prophet (saas) began taking place one after the other.
Many hadiths handed down from the Prophet (saas) appearing in the Letters of the great Islamic scholar Imam Rabbani and al-Kutub al-Sittah, the six most important works of Sunni hadith literature, explicitly state that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear in Hijri 1400, and this is reiterated many times over also in Said Nursi's Barla Addendum, Kastamonu Addendum and The Rays, as well as in the Damascus Sermon he preached to 10,000 people in the year Hijri 1327 in the Umayyad Mosque.
Hadiths transmitted from the Prophet (saas) appearing in the works of such great Islamic scholars as Imam Rabbani, As-Suyuti, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Bediuzzaman Said Nursi also explicitly say that the life of the Ummah of Islam will not exceed the year Hijri 1500:
THE LIFE OF MY COMMUNITY WILL NOT EXCEED 1500 YEARS. (As-Suyuti, Al-Kashf 'an Mujawazat Hazihi al-Ummah al-Alf; As-Suyuti, Al-Hawi Lil-Fatawi, 2/248; Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan. Burusawi 4/262; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Kitab al-`Ilal, p. 89)
Imam as-Suyuti says that the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) reveal that the life of the Ummah will not exceed 1500 years:
THE LIFE OF THIS COMMUNITY WILL EXCEED 1000 YEARS, YET BE LIMITED TO 1500 YEARS... (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 299)
Said Nursi says that the life of the Ummah will last until the year Hijri 1506:
The first sentence refers to the last period of a community striving on the path of Allah in the End Times in ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED - (1500) and the second sentence to the victory of the struggle (waged on the path of Allah) in ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND SIX (1506). (...) It suggests it will continue in a visible and manifest, and perhaps victorious form, until this date (1506). (The Ratifying Stamp of the Unseen, p. 46)
On page 33 of the Kastamonu Addendum, Bediuzzaman gives the year 1545 as the date of the Last Day. (And Allah knows the truth.)
"A group from my community will remain in truth until Allah's command."
The abjad calculation of the clause "A group from my community..." which is 1542 (2117) implies its (the community's) time of survival. The abjad calculation of the clause "will remain in truth" (when the gemination mark is counted) gives 1506 (2082). It indicates until that date (2082) it will continue its work of enlightenment evidently and obviously, and maybe victoriously until 1542 (2117) in secrecy and defeat. The abjad calculation of the clause "until Allah's command" (when the gemination mark is counted) suggests that THE DAY OF JUDGMENT WILL BEFALL the unbeliever in 1545 (2120). (Kastamonu Addendum, p. 33)
In the light of these completely trustworthy sources, it is quite clear that the return to Earth of the Prophet Jesus (as), the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the global dominion of Islamic morality will not happen in a century after Hijri 1400. It is in Hijri 1400s that the moral values of Islam will rule the world under the leadership of the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), after which there will again be terrible degeneration, at the end of which will come the Hour.
All Muslims must attach absolute credence to the trustworthy hadiths concerning the End Times handed down from our Prophet (saas) and to the accounts of greatest Islamic scholars. Otherwise, to ignore these portents we will be citing below and that have all come about one after the other is equivalent to maintaining that one should expect them to happen again, one after the other. The fact is that these portents have already happened once, and in a given order. And this is sufficient for Muslims to realize that they are living in the End Times foretold by our Prophet (saas). To say, in the face of the hundreds of portents in question that have taken place, "the same portents must happen all over again" is definitely irrational and illogical. It is enough for a genuine Muslim to see that these portents have taken place once in the manner foretold by our Prophet (saas) to believe that we are living in the End Times and that, by the will of Allah, Hazrat Mahdi (as) has come, that the Prophet Jesus (as) will be returning during this time and that the Last Day has drawn nigh.