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Is this the beginning of the end?

Publishing Date : 18 February, 2020

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM


Despite many Quranic and Biblical verses pointing to the end times, the world seems to be in a ‘relaxed’ or shall we say in a nonchalant and indifferent mode. These verses do not say that the world will end today or tomorrow; but give an indication of the precursors and signs of the end times of this worldly life as we know it.  The mere fact is that the clock’s ticking. 



There is no avoiding this unpleasant fact, we are born into this world, live our appointed time and thereafter will die and will be raised on the Day of Reckoning  for that Grand Assembly at which we will be rewarded or answer for our actions or lack of in this worldly life. We know that every living thing in this world be it, human, animal, plant or micro-organism that has a life will at one time or another die.


Every main stream religion teaches about the Last Hour and the Last Day but we tend to avoid thinking about it. There are some who deny that day, but Allah reveals in the Qur’an; ‘and the hour is coming without any doubt’ (22:7). And, ‘We did not create the Heavens and earth and everything between them, except with truth. The hour is certainly coming’. (15: 85).


The Qur’an contains verses that describe the end of the world: When the sky bursts open’…, ‘When the oceans surge into each other’……., ‘When Mountains are pulverized’….., ‘when the sun is compacted into darkness…’. It is inevitable that the world will end, but when? ‘They ask you about the Hour; when will it come?.....’Knowledge of it rests with my Lord’.


Many religious texts and preaching have predicted what some have termed Doomsday will be the end of the world. Some even believe that we are now entering the countdown to the ‘end times’ and are looking forward to and preparing for the ‘second coming’ of Isa / Jesus (PBUH), who will lead us into the Dawn of the Golden Age.


When will this happen? When will the ‘Second Coming’ take place? In Islam the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his Hadith (sayings and preaching), over 1400 years ago made several predictions of the signs of the end times. These Hadiths describe in detail those signs and their occurrences, more often than not those predictions paint a portrait that describes and almost mirrors the events and the times that we live in today – is this the beginning of the end? Read and ponder…..


The Islamic belief is that there are two stages; the first is one in which spiritual and moral decay will take root and material trials will afflict the world; and the second will be the Golden age when the supremacy of moral teachings and behaviour will overtake the period of social decline. This is when the Last Hour will be at hand.


Looking at the times of today and we have to think seriously about it. Did we ever expect HIV – Aids to hit the world? Fast track to today we have the outbreak of Corona virus hitting the world. Are these precursors to the beginning of the end?
I will quote some of those Hadiths that talk about the end times;


War and Anarchy: ‘The hour will come when violence, bloodshed and anarchy will become common’ and ‘The world will not come to an end until a day would come to people on which there will be general massacre and bloodshed’. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) described chaos, conflicts, murder, war and anarchy will involve the whole earth and these are signs of the Last days. Look around you……


The Destruction of Cities: ‘Great cities will be ruined and it will be as if they had not existed the day before’. Hiroshima was destroyed by the atom bomb, look at the cities in the Middle East that have and are being bombed and almost raised to the ground. We regularly hear of natural disasters such hurricanes, storms, typhoons, heavy rains, floods that cause mudslides and other such calamities that have such a destructive effect in many parts of the world. Just look around you……. 


He further said: ‘The Hour will not be established until…earthquakes will be frequent’. We hear regularly of earthquakes that shake the world, remember sometime ago Kobe in Japan, the tsunami that struck the south east Asian nations; the ones that struck Japan a few years ago causing a deluge that wiped out cities and levelled many areas. Almost monthly there are reports of earthquakes and other natural disasters. Just look around and observe…..


Poverty: ‘The poor will grow in number’ and ‘Gains will be shared out only among the rich with no benefit to the poor’. Despite the great advances and possibilities afforded in technology, poverty has reached grave proportions in this world of ours where there is lack of food, shelter, and the access to clean drinking water, clothing, health and sanitation services and other basic needs. There are vast areas of the world where famine is a constant companion of those less fortunate. Just look  around you…….


Globalisation and the insatiable greed of many of the developed countries are widening the divide between the worlds rich and poor.  ‘There will come a time when man will not care about how he gets things, whether lawful or unlawful’. Financial greed and corruption has led to a serious imbalance in income distribution throughout the world, be they first world, developed, developing or under developed countries. Even in the world’s richest countries will you still find homeless people who sleep in the street and scratching in dustbins looking for food yet the ‘rich’ live a life of luxury. Just look around you……


Rejection of Religious and Moral Values: ‘There will come a time upon the Ummah (believers) when people will recite the Qur’an, but it will not go further than their throats, (into their hearts)’.  Today in many areas of the world many people have moved away from their religion so much so that many people are proud to openly reject religion and call themselves atheists and agnostics. People nowadays have very little faith in their hearts and perform worship for show, but follow their own lusts and desires that are against their inner most values.


Social conflict: There is so much meanness, greed and dishonesty in this modern world of ours, coupled with that is the loss of respect and love between the young and the old that has reached an all-time low; ‘When the old have no compassions for the young, when the young show no respect to the old….when children grow angry…..Judgement is at hand’.
 

And, ‘meanness and greed will multiply’. And ‘There will be an abundance of critics, tale carriers, back biters and those who taunt in society’. Are these just signs of modernity or the new world? Whatever you think it to be, but these Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made 1400 years ago, and they are happening around us today. Just look around and observe…… 
(To be continued)

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