The Signs Before the Day of Judgement – By Ibn Kathir

Âyat and Ahadîth about the Hour

Allah – subhânahu wa Ta’âla – said:

“They ask thee about the Hour, ‘When will be its appointed time?’ Wherein art thou (concerned) with the declaration thereof? With thy Lord is the Limit fixed thereof. Thou art but a Warner for such as fear it. The Day they will see it, (it will be) as if they had tarried but a single evening, or (at most till) the following morn!” (an-Nâzi’at 79:42-46)

“They ask thee about the (final) Hour – when will be its appointed time? Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone): none but He can reveal as to when it will occur. Heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth. Only, all of a sudden will it come to you.’ They ask thee as if thou were eager in search thereof: say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone), but most men know not.’ ” (al-A‘râf 7:187)

There are many Âyat and Ahadîth concerning this subject: Allah said:

“The Hour (of Judgement) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder.” (al-Qamar 54:1)

The Prophet – sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam – said, whilst pointing with his index and middle fingers, “The time of my advent and the Hour are like these two fingers.” In another report he said, “The Hour almost came before me.” This indicates how close we are, relatively speaking, to the Hour.

Allah said: “Closer and closer to mankind comes their Reckoning: yet they heed not and they turn away.” (al-Anbiyâ’ 21:1)

“(Inevitable) cometh (to pass) the Command of Allah: seek, ye not then to hasten it.” (an-Nahl 16:1)

“Only those wish to hasten it who believe not in it: those who believe hold it in awe, and know that it is the Truth.” (ash-Shûra 42:18)

In Sahîh al-Bukhârî, there is a Hadîth which states that a Bedouin asked the Prophet about the Hour. He said, “It will surely come to pass. What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have not prepared much in the way of prayer and good works, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those you love.” The Muslims had never rejoiced as much they did when they heard this Hadîth.

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Some Ahadîth report that the Prophet was asked about the Hour. He looked towards a young boy and said, “If he lives, he will not grow very old before he sees your Last Hour coming to you.” By this he meant their death and entering the Hereafter, because everyone who dies enters the Hereafter; some people say that when a person has died, his Judgement has begun. This Hadîth with this meaning is “correct” (Sahîh). Some heretics comment on this Hadîth and give it an incorrect meaning. The exact timing of the Great Hour (as-Sâ’at al-’Uzma) is something which Allah alone knows and which He has not revealed to anyone, as is clear from the Hadîth in which the Prophet said: “There are five things which nobody knows except Allah;” then he recited, “Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He Who sends down rain, and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things).” (Luqmân 31:34)

When Gabriel (Jibrîl) – ’alayhis salâm – came to the Prophet in the guise of a Bedouin, he asked him about Islam, Îmân (faith) and Ihsân (excellence of faith); and the Prophet answered his questions. But when he asked him about the Hour, he said, “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.” Jibrîl said, “Tell me about its signs.” Then the Prophet described them, as we shall see later when we quote this Hadîth and others in full.

Hudhayfah said: “The Prophet stood up one day to speak to us, and told us everything that was going to happen until the Hour, and left nothing unsaid. Some of the listeners learnt it by heart, and some forgot it; these friends of mine learnt it. I do not remember it completely, but sometimes it springs to mind, just as one might remember and recognise the face of a man whom one had forgotten, when one sees him.” (Abû Dâwûd, Muslim)

Imâm Ahmad reported via Abû Nudrah that Abû Sa‘îd said: “One day the Prophet led us in praying the afternoon prayer (Salâtul-’Asr). Then he stood and addressed us until sunset. He mentioned everything that was to happen until the Day of Resurrection, and left nothing unsaid. Some of us remembered it, and some of us forgot it. One of the things he said was:‘O people, this world is full of attractive temptations. Allah has appointed you as vicegerents (Khalîfah) in this world, and He will see how you will act. So guard yourselves against the temptations of this world and of women.’ Towards the end of this speech, he said, ‘The sun is about to set, and what remains of this world, compared to what has passed, is like what remains of this day compared to what has passed.’ 

‘Alî ibn Zayd ibn Jad’an al-Timi narrated some Gharîb and Munkar Ahadîth – which could bring into question the validity of this Hadîth. But there are some

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reports which are similar to this Hadîth, and which were transmitted with different isnâds. Part of this Hadîth is in Sahîh Muslim, through Abû Nudrah on the authority of Abû Sa’îd. This Hadîth refers to something which is beyond any doubt: what remains of this world, compared to what has passed, is very little. In spite of that, no-one can know exactly how much time is left except Allah, and no-one can know exactly how much time has passed, except Allah.

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