Summary of 4.9 "Resurrection"
First we addressed a common question as to how we can come back to life after we turn to dust. We indicated how the Quran responds to this question that after all it is He, God, who created us from virtually nothing to start with and it is He who has the ability to that is able to return us. It even emphasizes further that returning things is easier than creating it in the first place. The analogy is given in the Quran between giving life to barren earth and giving life to bones that has decomposed.
We addressed the issue of whether the punishment of the wicked and unbeliever is simply that he will not be resurrected. We said that according to the Quran and Muslim understanding of justice that this is not the case and that everybody good and bad, believer or unbeliever, righteous or wicked will all rise so that they all get their reward or punishment. This life is not long enough to get the full compensation for ones own deeds and attitudes.
Then we started addressing The Minor Signs that signals the approaching of The Day of Judgment. We discussed some of Prophet Muhammad’s prophesies from 1400 years ago which have already been fulfilled in terms of technological change, spread of new means of transportation, about objects speaking referring to the media that we know of today and we discussed about the spread of economic life. We discussed the discovery of resources in the earth and we talked about the spread of sky scrapers especially ones built by those who used to be sheep herders.
The last question that we raised was the question of health conditions. We said again that there was a prophecy of the spread of drinking and similar intoxicating items. Also we talked about the spread of mysterious diseases and sudden death which is a possible reference to heart attacks and strokes which are becoming more frequent and common.
4.10 Signs of The “Hour”
Host: To continue with The Minor Signs is there anything in the individual and collective moral situation that might give us a clue as to the approach of The Day of Judgment?
The sayings of the Prophet on this issue are very clear and quite numerous. In terms of individual morality one of the things that he professed is that there would be a spread of provocative clothing especially among females. In one of the sayings he says people would be clothed but unclothed. This means that the material and design would be so provocative that the body appears as if it is not covered at all. An example would be really tight fitted clothes and bikinis.
A second prophecy that he made is that women would imitate men and men would imitate women. This could mean imitation in terms of behavior, appearance or way of dressing. I won’t make a lengthy commentary on this because I think we see some of this in our day and age.
A third sign that the Prophet (PBUH) mentioned is that there would be a spread of homosexuality both among males and females. Actually in his own terms he said that every sex would feel more self sufficient in terms of sexual life. More specifically even he described a state where adultery and fornication would be so wide spread that it will no longer be a private issue as it almost becomes exposed. In one of the sayings for example it is almost like people are doing it in the street. When I think about that I think of X rated movies and how one can go to any drive in and watch things that used to be very private and only part of the domain of marital relationships. Actually in one of the sayings of the Prophet he said it would be almost like animals happening wherever, whenever and however a person pleases to do it.
In terms of social morality there were also a number of signs. One sign is the lack of care and attention to relatives like parents and close relatives. In another Hadith he even specified that sometimes people would be more obedient and listen to their wives and disregard their mothers and a person would be quite generous with his friends but doesn’t provide any help to his father especially if his father is old and unable to earn a living. I wonder in my mind about people who send their elderly to nursing homes because they don’t want to take the trouble of taking care of them and just wanting to get rid of them. The attitude of people not even asking about their parents or relatives is wide spread; as they move to far away lands and don’t contact one another. There are lots of programs on T.V. that show the type of cruelty that is being perpetrated on the elderly and the lack of concern for relatives. This was all predicted 1400 years ago.
Secondly an interesting thing that the Prophet mentioned is that people would hate to raise children. In one specific Hadith he says there will come a time where a person would prefer to bring up a dog in his house rather than a child.
A third sign is the wide spread of hypocrisy as expressed in one of his sayings that people would say good words but their deeds are quite evil. I wonder whether this has to do with the promises made by politicians as we hear lots of good words about human rights and other things but the actual practice sometimes don’t measure up.
Another sign that has been repeated in more than one collection of Hadith is the spread of killing. In one Hadith he says that there would be so much killing that a person would not know why he killed his brother. This again could be reference to despotic rulers who for their own selfish reasons desire to take someone else’s land or source of wealth or try to push their people into fights where they kill each other without realizing that this is not a just cause. The spread of the wars in our century have been phenomenal, many of which have no reason.
Another sign is that people would not be as charitable. There would always be people who are charitable but he says that for some people charity would be a burden on them. Actually he made a prophecy in one Hadith about rulers and how there would be many rulers or people with political power but very few would be honest.
Finally one of the signs is that there would be a time where a person (this could be an individual or an entity like a nation) would be respected only because of its sheer brutal power not because of justice.
Host: Are there any other Minor Signs that we should touch on before looking at The Major Signs?
There are a few interesting and revealing signs that do not fall under any of the previous categories. This includes the fact that there would be too many false teachers and false prophets teaching and misleading people. As we know that to a Muslim all prophets were prophets of God prior to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and that Muhammad was the last of those prophets. In fact in one of the sayings of the Prophet he indicated that there would be close to thirty people each of whom will come and claim to be a new prophet and try to mislead people.
It also indicates that people who used to be believers will no longer believe. People would leave faith and in one specific Hadith he says that they would trade their faith for material benefits. He also indicated that the social values would undergo certain changes and that a person who is pious and tries to follow the path of God would be belittled and slighted by others. In other words instead of people praising goodness the opposite would be true. In fact in one of his sayings Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says that a person at one time would be belittled because of his prayer the same way that one could belittle or tease a prostitute. There is a total reversal of the values of goodness and purity. Like now people tease others for not having boy friends or for being virgins.
There is indication also that in the same family there would be people following different faiths. This shows that there would be lots of people moving around trying to discover the truth or untruth. Also, people would not take positive steps to stop evil in Quranic terminology it is “ordaining all that is good and forbid all that is evil.” It is interesting how we hear stories about people being killed in the street and others watching from their bedroom windows not even caring to call the police. Thus apathy would become a part of society which would give more room for the spread of evil.
There was a prophecy about the spread of ignorance and literacy side by side. There would be literacy in terms of technical and scientific knowledge but a lack of knowledge that is more important and is relates to faith and the relationship between mankind and the creator and between mankind and other human beings. In fact in one saying he said that even religious leaders and scholars will be unscrupulous and that despite their knowledge they are crooked in their behavior. This may point to people who use religion as a means of obtaining funds or wealth for themselves or for obtaining position. We find people all over the world who use their authority to get people to obey and support despotic rulers. There was a prophecy that some Muslims will imitate those who were before them and instead of following heritage, scripture and revelation they try to imitate this and that. At the same time the prophet also indicated that among Muslims there would be people who will keep steadfast on the true path regardless of whomever differs with them or condemns them for their steadfastness. On the whole one could say that there will be lots of commotion and temptation for people to deviate from the path of truth and not to follow the divine guidance. People will follow all kinds of life and philosophies and materialism will be quite rampant.
Host: Can you give us some indication of what the major signs are?
Some of the major signs are mentioned in the Quran and some are mentioned in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). There are a total of ten signs. These are rather difficult to interpret and understand because we don’t know whether the words are literal or if they might be allegorical.
First of all, three of the signs relate to three major eclipses one eclipse in Arabia one to the east and one to the west of Arabia. Another sign would be the appearance of a lot of smoke in the sky. Whether that literally means smoke or if it is a reference to smog or pollution. This appears in a chapter in the Quran that is called Al Dukhan or Smoke or (44:10-11) “Then watch thou for the Day that the sky will bring forth a kind of smoke (or mist) plainly visible, enveloping the people: this will be a Penalty Grievous.” One of the meanings could be that it will be close to The Day of Judgment and it could also be reference to pollution and the suffering that results from it.
A fifth sign is that fire will come out of the bottom of the earth in the Arabian Peninsula in the area of Aden. I read one time that Aden is actually located on top of a volcano but again this may or may not be a reference to that. A sixth sign would be that the sun will rise from the west instead of the east. This could signify and disturbance in the cosmic order or the axis of the earth.
The seventh would be that an animal will come out and speak to people. Again we don’t know if this is literal or allegorical in that people will be so ignorant in terms of wisdom that even animals can show them that they are not prudent enough in their actions. This appears in the Quran in (27:82) “And when the Word is fulfilled against them (the unjust), we shall produce from the earth a beast to (face) them: He will speak to them, for that mankind did not believe with assurance in Our Signs.”
Another sign that might be familiar to many of our viewers appears in the Quran in (21:96-97) and it talks about the coming of Gog and Megog and how they will destroy everything that they can lay their hands on. Again there are lots of discussions and interpretations as to what that refers to but there will be destruction or people who engage in great commotion.
Another sign is that the Mahdi a Muslim reformer whose name will either be Muhammad or Ahmad will come towards the end of time and he will establish justice and peace on earth. He will come only as a follower of Islam who will carry the message and try to enforce it.
Another sign is that during the lifetime of the Mahdi or the promised one the false Messiah will come to earth. The description is very difficult to interpret as to whether it is literal or allegorical. The false Messiah will be one eyed and that he will impress people and even invite them to worship him, whether he will impress them with miracles or with technological powers and whether the false Messiah is one person or a group of people we do not know. A lot of people will be misled and will follow him almost to the point of blind worship. Most importantly it says that at this time Jesus (PBUH) who is highly regarded and respected by Muslims as one of the great prophets will come down to earth and join the Muslim ranks and join the Mahdi in fighting the false Messiah and killing him. After this the Mahdi will die and then after that there would be a number of years on earth where there would be perfect peace. In one of the sayings of the Prophet it says that then Prophet Jesus (PBUH) would die and the Muslims would make the funeral prayer on him. Then after that a cool wind will blow and it will not leave any person with the slightest faith in his heart but it will take his soul and only evil people would remain on earth. These are the people will be left at the time when The Day of Judgment actually starts. Something interesting in one of the sayings of the prophet is that the war will take place where the Muslims will be to the east of the bank of the Jordan River and the false Messiah and his legion would be to the west of the Jordan River. The interesting thing is that this Hadith was quoted from the Prophet 1400 years ago and the narrator of that saying says that he even doesn’t know where the location of the Jordan River is.
In one chapter in the Quran in (43:61) it says about Jesus being the sign of the hour. “And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.” This has two meanings. One is that the virgin birth of Jesus is a sign that the hour is true. The second interpretation is that the second coming of Prophet Jesus to join hands with the Muslims would be in itself also a sign that the hour is imminent.
Another controversial verse in the Quran that has been interpreted in a variety of ways appears in (4:158) it says that none of the people of The Book will die until they believe in Jesus. This was interpreted to me in one of two ways. One is that that every Christian before Jesus dies will realize the nature of Jesus and that he was a great messenger and prophet of God and all the things they attributed to him are not true. The second interpretation is that the people of The Book or the Christians who would be living at the time of the second coming of Jesus will at that time believe in Jesus as a prophet and human being.
Host: What actually happens on The Day of Judgment?
The Quran gives us a sketch of what would happen after only evil people are left on earth. First of all the trumpet will be blown and the remaining people on earth will die. Secondly there would be a great change in the cosmic order, a cosmic catalyst, which is something that is terrible and absolutely terrifying. There are lots of chapters that deal with this in the Quran. 75,78, 81, 82, 84, 89 and 99 are only some of the chapters that have lots of vivid description of these cosmic changes that take place on the day of judgment. Just to give a brief notion of what kind of things happen first that the sky would be unveiled and the stars will be dispersed and might crash into each other. The whole order of the universe will totally change. The oceans will burst forth and in one verse in the Quran it gives the impression that it might even ignite. The mountains will become like flakes of teased wool. This shows the balance of the earth will change all together. In one verse in the Quran it actually talks about Mountains vanishing from existence and becoming like a mirage and that the earth would shake to the utmost convulsions. Another verse talks about the earth being pounded and the sun and the moon would combine or come to one place. But above all is the vivid description of people coming out of the earth as it opens. All of the people since the time of Adam will come to face the accountability a day as described in the Quran where every person would only be concerned with his own salvation.