Belief in the Day of Judgment (also known as the Day of Resurrection and the Last Day and in Arabic Yom al-Qiyyamah) is one of the six pillars of the Islamic faith.  This means that it is a concept that a Muslim is required to believe and understand.  Basically Muslims believe that there will come a day when the universe as we know it will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected to face Allah, the Almighty to be judged according to their deeds in this life.  The ultimate goal is to be accepted into a never ending paradise.

And those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever.   (Quran 2:82)

Many people wait and look forward to this momentous Day with a mixture of fear and anticipation.  Others believe it is something  far off that does not concern them and still others look for the signs of the coming of this Day.  Surah 21 of the Quran acknowledges the thoughtlessness of many when it begins, “Draws near for humankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness.” (Quran 21:1)

 Countless books and articles have been written and videos made of the signs of the Day of Judgment without knowing exactly what to believe and what not to believe.  The aim of this and the following lesson is to set out the signs of the Day of Judgment in an informal and easily understood way.  Two important points to bear in mind whenever reading or researching about the Day of Judgment are as follows.  Firstly, the knowledge of the signs, trials and tribulations associated with the Day of Judgement must be derived from the Quran and the authentic Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.  And secondly, nobody knows when the hour[1]  will occur.   “Verily Allah, with Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour…” (Quran 31:34) Humankind is only able to look for the signs.

The Prophet said, “The Hour will come when leaders are oppressors, when people believe in the stars and reject al-Qadr (divine decree)[2], when a trust becomes a way of making a profit, when people give Sadaqah reluctantly, when adultery becomes widespread - when this happens, then your people will perish.“

Minor signs

Minor signs of the Day of Judgment are those signs that may occur a long time before the actual Day.  They happen in the course of daily world events, they are numerous and often go pass unnoticed, even occurring repeatedly.   Some commentators have estimated that there are more than 100 minor signs of the Day of Judgment.  Contemplating the minor signs of the Day of Judgement should serve to remind believers that Allah has foreknowledge of everything that is occurring or will occur in the future.  Allah’s knowledge is vast and superior and He is aware of all that we do, see or think.  We will list some of the more well-known minor signs and ask you to consider whether or not these signs are happening around you or have happened in the past.

·       Time will pass rapidly, good deeds will decrease, miserliness will be thrown (in the hearts of the people), afflictions will appear and there will be much ‘Al-Harj.” They said, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is “Al-Harj?” He said, “Killing! Killing!”

·       The common appearance of lewd acts, working to bring about lewd acts, the cutting off of the ties of relationship and the trusting of deceivers.

·       The disappearance of knowledge and the appearance of ignorance.

·       Wealth will be in abundance; so abundant that a wealthy person will worry lest nobody should accept his Zakah, and whenever he will present it to someone, that person (to whom it will be offered) will say, ‘I am not in need of it.’

·       The people compete with one another in constructing high buildings.

·       A man when passing by a grave of someone will say, ‘Would that I was in his place’.

·       Two parties of Muslims will confront each other and there is a large-scale massacre amongst them and the claim of both of them is the same. 

·       People will establish ties with strangers and sever relations with their near and dear ones. 

·       Earthquakes will increase.

·       Any gain is shared out only among the rich, with no benefit to the poor.

·       A trust becomes a means of making a profit. 

·       Paying Zakah becomes a burden.

·       Men obey their wives and disobey their mothers; and treat their friends kindly whilst shunning their fathers.

·       Voices are raised in the mosques.

·       The leader of a people is the worst of them. 

·       People treat a man with respect because they fear some evil he may do. 

·       The widespread use of alcohol and intoxicants.

·       Female singers and musical instruments become popular.[3]

When we look around at the state of the world today it is easy to associate minor signs with the current and past state of world events.  The use of alcohol and adultery come to mind easily and require no explanation or undue deliberation.  Some signs however do arouse curiosity and contemplation such as the competition to erect tall buildings.  You are encouraged to research further to both expand on the list and understand the signs more thoroughly.   

In the following lesson we will look at the major signs of the Day of Judgement.  These are signs that will occur when that Day is almost upon us and are generally thought to be unusual and of supernatural origin.

The major signs of the Day of Judgment are those events that will occur shortly before the Day begins.  They are extraordinary and supernatural events and do not occur repeatedly.  These events are the precursor to the actual blowing of the trumpet when life as we know it will cease to exist. 

The appearance of the Mahdi

A man from the descendants of the Prophet Mohammad will appear and the religion of Allah will prevail.  The Mahdi will take control of the land (or the earth) and it will be filled with justice, wrongdoing and oppression will no longer exist.  It is said in an authentic hadith that the Mahdi’s name will be like the name of Prophet Muhammad and his father’s name will be like the Prophet’s father’s name.  He will be a descendant of Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad and he will appear in the East.

The Dajjaal (The Antichrist)

This is a man from the sons of Adam.  His features are mentioned in authentic ahadith; he will have a ruddy complexion and curly hair, and will be one-eyed, with his right eye looking like a floating grape.  Between his eyes will be written the letters “kaaf-fa-ra“ (in unjoined letters) or “kaafir” (disbeliever), which every Muslim, literate or illiterate, will be able to read.  He will also be the last of his line, sterile with no children.

The fitnah (trial, tribulation) of the Dajjaal will be the greatest fitnah ever because of the power Allah will permit him to have.   He will work great miracles both amazing and confusing.  He will have a paradise and a hell, but his paradise will in fact be a hell, and vice versa.  He will have rivers of water and mountains of bread.  He will command the sky to rain, and it will rain, and he will command the earth to bring forth its produce, and it will bring forth its produce.

The destruction of the Dajjaal will come at the hands of Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus), “The Dajjaal will emerge among my nation… and Allah will send Isa ibn Maryam… and he will pursue him and destroy him.”[1]

The descent of Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary)

After the Dajjaal has appeared and caused fitnah throughout the land, Allah will send Isa ibn Maryam, who will descend to the earth at a white minaret in the East of Damascus, Syria, resting his hands on the wings of two angels.  He will descend at the time when the iqamah for prayer is being given, and he will pray behind the leader of that group.  Quran commentator Ibn Kathir sums up several ahadith about the descent of Isa ibn Maryam when he says “Isa ibn Maryam will descend before the Day of Judgement as a just leader and fair ruler”.

Yajooj and Majooj (Gog and Magog)

Yajooj and Majooj are human beings, descended from Adam and Hawa (Eve).  According to the descriptions in the sunnah they appear to belong to the Turkic-Mongol race, with small eyes, small, flat noses and wide faces.  Their appearance at the end of time is one of the signs of the Hour, “Until, when Yajooj and Majooj are let loose (from their barrier), and they swiftly swarm from every mound.  And the true promise (Day of Resurrection) shall draw near (to fulfilment)…” (Quran 21: 96 & 97)

The swallowing up of the earth

This means that a place is swallowed up in the earth and disappears into it, as is described in the Quran, “So We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place…” (Quran 28:81)  Three of these events will occur.

It is said that three huge landslides or earthquakes (tsunami) will happen, one in the East, one in the West and one in the Arabian Peninsula.

The smoke

Another of the major signs of the Hour will be the appearance of “the smoke”.  “Then watch for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke. Covering the people; this is a painful torment.” (Quran 44:10 & 11)

The smoke will affect both the believers and the disbelievers.  The believers will be affected as if suffering from a cold while the disbelievers will be rendered unconscious.   

The rising of the sun from the West

“The Hour will not begin until the sun rises from the West, and when it rises and the people see it, they will all believe, but that will be when it will do a person no good to believe, if he believed not before, nor earned good (by performing deeds of righteousness) through his faith.”[2]

The rising of the sun from the West will create a great dilemma upon the earth.  It appears to be totally against the nature of the universe and thus demonstrates the great power of Allah.  At this time the door to repentance will be closed.  Belief and repentance before this phenomenon is essential.

The appearance of the Beast of the Earth

“There are three things which, once they happen, it will do a person no good to believe, if he believed not before, nor earned good (by performing deeds of righteousness) through his faith: the rising of the sun from the West, the Dajjaal, and the Beast of the Earth.”[3]

There are many opinions about where the beast will come from and what appearance it will take.  However all are agreed that the beast is a huge creature that will come out from the Earth, is not human.   It will distinguish the people and declare who is a believer and who is a disbeliever.   

The fire which will gather the people together

The last sign in our discussion is the great fire which will appear from the direction of Yemen.  It will be an enormous fire that will drive the people to the place of assembly.  The trumpet will be blown and the great Day from which there is no escape will begin.

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