Major and Minor Signs of the Day of Judgment 1-4
The Major Signs of the Day of Judgment (part 1 of 7): The Minor Signs
Description: The following series of articles mention the Major Signs that will occur shortly before the end of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment. The author begins with mention of the Minor Signs that precede the Major Signs.
No one can know when the Day of Judgment will occur. However, God has mercifully taught His messengers some of the signs that alert one to the fact that the Hour is approaching. These signs play a very important role, especially for those who live at a time distant from the Prophet and who did not experience first hand his teaching and example. These signs reinforce one’s belief in the Prophet. More importantly, these signs, if one takes the time to reflect upon them, are a reminder of the Day of Judgment. They should revive the heart of the person and make him recall what he is doing on this earth and to where all this is heading.
The signs of the Hour can be divided into two types. First are those that occur as part of the changes in everyday life. These are known as the “minor signs.” The second are the extraordinary or supernatural events that will occur just before the actual Hour. These are known as the “major signs.” Although the focus of this article will be the major signs, it is worthwhile to make a few points concerning the minor signs.
“The Minor Signs”
Although the intent of this article is to cover the major signs, the author would like to include a few points about the “minor signs,” since they are often neglected as people concentrate on the more “sensational” major signs. Minor signs are those signs that may occur long before the actual Last Day and, in general, they are related to day-to-day changes that occur in worldly events. The number of minor signs is numerous. Many have already occurred and many others continue to occur. Thus, minor signs can occur repeatedly around an individual yet many remain oblivious to them and to their importance. In fact, in the famous hadeeth of the Angel Gabriel, when the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, offered to tell Gabriel – in front of his Companions – some of the signs of the Hour (after the Prophet was informed about them previously), he mentioned only some “minor signs.” Perhaps, God knows best, this is because these are the signs that have much more of an effect on one’s everyday life and worship, although the recognition of these signs are sometimes more difficult or subtle.
When one witnesses these signs around him, they should be clear reminders of God and one’s future meeting with God. They should also fortify one’s belief in God and, in particular, in the truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad. These signs that the Prophet spoke about years—even centuries—before they ever occurred should, in addition to all of the facts concerning the Prophet Muhammad, work to strengthen an individual’s belief about the truth of Islam. Thus, they have a great role to play if the individual makes himself alert and awake to what is going on around him.
In addition, these signs should be a reminder that God has foreknowledge of everything that is occurring in this world— this is how He could convey those signs to His messenger. Therefore, God also has knowledge of everything the person is doing. God is watching and aware of every act of His creatures. At the very least, this consciousness, which comes about through witnessing the Signs of the Hour, should make the person worship and fear God knowing full well that He is seeing him. This is the superior level of faith known as ihsaan.
Only a couple of minor signs will be mentioned here, while the reader is greatly encouraged to research this topic further.
The Prophet stated:
“From among the signs of the Hour is 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.” (At-Tabarani)
The manifestation of this hadeeth can be seen daily in a person’s life, especially the first two or three aspects mentioned. One needs only leave one’s house, turn on a television or surf the Internet to see how prominent lewd acts—those acts which are considered lewd by Islamic Law—are today. Indeed, great effort and expense is exhausted in producing and presenting them to as many people as possible.
The Prophet also said:
“From among the signs of the Hour is the abundance of wealth, increasing of ignorance, numerous tribulations and widespread trading and business.” (Al-Hakim)
Capitalist economists boast about the amount of wealth there is in the world today. Indeed, it seems as if business and trade are the most important agendas in the world today, outstripping any moral values or even the sanctity of human lives. When this is accompanied by ignorance—especially ignorance of the religion of God—and an increase in trials, tribulations, fighting and wars, the result for humankind is nothing short of disastrous. Yet this is what can be seen throughout the world today.
A number of works in Arabic cover the minor signs as well as the major signs. This author is not aware of any book in English as of yet that has a detailed discussion of the minor signs of the Day of Judgment.
Another way of categorizing the signs of the Hour is the following: (1) Those signs that have already occurred and are completed; (2) those signs that have already appeared, continue to appear and are growing greater in intensity; and (3) those signs that are yet to appear. Each category deserves its own portion of reflection and relevant response.
The Major Signs of the Day of Judgment (part 2 of 7): An Introduction to Major Signs
Description: Some of the many sayings of Prophet Muhammad about the Major Signs as well as information on the nature and order of occurrence of the Major Signs.
Comprehensive Hadeeth about the Major Signs of the Day of Judgment
The major signs are those signs that will occur relatively close to the Day of Judgment and involve matters that can be considered, in general, “out of the ordinary” or which are sensational.
There are a number of hadeeth in which the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, mentioned the greater signs of the Day of Judgment together. These hadeeth include the following:
Imam Muslim records in his Saheeh:
Hudhaifa b. Usaid Ghifari narrated, “God’s Messenger came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion). He said, ‘What are you discussing?’ They (the Companions) said, ‘We are discussing the Last Hour.’ Thereupon he said, ‘It will not come until you see ten signs before it.’ And (in this connection) he made a mention of the smoke, Dajjaal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (may God praise them), Gog and Magog, and landslides in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia, at the end of which a fire would burn forth from the Yemen and drive people to the place of their assembly.’”
Muslim also writes in his Saheeh:
The Messenger of God said, “The Last Hour would not come until the ten signs appear: a landslide in the east, and a landslide in the west, and a landslide in the peninsula of Arabia, the smoke, the Dajjaal, the beast of the earth, Gog and Magog, the rising of the sun from the west and the fire which would emit from the lower part of Aden.” Shu’ba said that ‘Abd al− ‘Aziz b. Rufai’ reported on the authority of Abu Tufail who reported on the authority of Abu Sariha a hadeeth like this that God’s Apostle did not make a mention of (the tenth sign) but he said that out of the ten one was the descent of Jesus Christ, son of Mary (peace be upon him), and in another version it is the blowing of the violent gale which would drive the people to the ocean.
There are a couple of other hadeeth in which the Prophet mentioned some of the same events as above. In these hadeeth, he did not mention them as explicitly being signs of the Hour. Instead, the Prophet gave a very strong admonition and warning that people must perform their good deeds before these events occur, as these events directly herald the ending of the time for deeds and the beginning of the time of reckoning. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of God said:
“Hasten to do good deeds before six things happen: the rising of the sun from the west, the smoke, the Dajjaal, the beast and (the death) of one of you or the general turmoil.” (Muslim)
Note that in this hadeeth the Prophet mentioned, “the death of one of you.” This is also a type of “hour.” Although it is interesting and important to learn and know the major signs of the Hour, for those who will not witness the events of the Last Days, it is their hour—their death—that they must prepare for and concerning which many are negligent. Thus, when a Bedouin came to the Prophet and asked him, “When is the Hour?” the Prophet pointed to a young boy and said, “If this boy lives, by the time he is old and decrepit, your hour would have already taken place.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
The Order of Appearance and the Nature of the Major Signs
Yoosuf al-Waabil notes that he has found no explicit texts that mention the order of appearance of the major signs of the Day of Judgment. The hadeeth which mention the signs in a group, like those just quoted above, either use the conjunction “and” or “or.” In neither case do these conjunctions give any positive indication as to the time ordering of the events. In fact, as al-Waabil notes, some of the same hadeeth mention the events in different orderings.
Ibn Hajar, however, has divided the major signs into two main categories, one definitely occurring before the other. The first set of signs is those that occur on this earth, without the nature of this earth changing completely. These are signs that should clearly awaken the people and drive them to repent to God. During those signs, there is no ultimate distinguishing between the believer and the disbeliever nor is there any unquestionable occurrence in this creation that makes it clear that the Resurrection is at hand. The signs of this category include the coming of the Dajjaal, the return of Jesus, Gog and Magog and the landslides.
The second category of these major signs leaves no doubt as to the actual occurring of the Resurrection and the end of this Creation as humans know it now. In addition, there will be a distinguishing of the believer from the disbeliever. Hence, during and after these signs, there will be no question of repentance or returning to God. At that time, it would be too late for any repentance to be accepted by God. The signs in this category would include the appearance of the beast, the smoke and the rising of the sun from the West.
It also seems to be true that when these signs begin to occur, one will be following up the other at a relatively fast pace. The Prophet said:
“The signs shall appear one after the other like the beads on a string follow one another.”
Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that the Prophet said:
“The signs are like beads strung on a string. If the string breaks, they [quickly] follow one after the other.”
Yoosuf al-Waabil, Ashraat al-Saa’ah (Al-Damam, Saudi Arabia: Maktabah ibn al-Jauzi, 1989), pp. 183-186.
Ahmad ibn Hajar, Fath al-Baari bi-Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhaari (Riyadh: Idaarah al-Buhooth al-Ilmiyyah, n.d.), vol.11, pp. 352-353.
Cf., ibn Hajar, vol. 13, p. 77; al-Waabil, pp. 188-189.
Recorded by al-Tabaraani in al-Ausat. .
Recorded by Ahmad.
The Major Signs of the Day of Judgment (part 3 of 7): The False Messiah I
Description: The following series of articles mention the Major Signs that will occur shortly before the end of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment. This part includes the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad on the coming of the false Messiah, how to recognize him by certain physical features and other special signs.
A brief discussion shall be given of each of the major signs mentioned by the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, in the above hadeeth.[Obviously, since this is a discussion related to matters of the “unseen,” that is, matters that humans have yet to witness and experience, much of the discussion will be restricted to exactly what has been mentioned in the texts of the Quran or the Sunnah.
Al-Dajjaal (The False Messiah)
Numerous are the hadeeth of the Prophet concerning the coming of the Dajjaal or the false Messiah. These hadeeth demonstrate what a great trial and temptation this person is going to be for all humans, believers and disbelievers alike. For example, the Prophet mentioned that all of the previous prophets also warned their people about the coming of the Dajjaal. The Prophet said:
“There has never been a prophet who has not warned the Nation of that one-eyed liar (the Dajjaal).” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari
Furthermore, the Prophet, as recorded in authentic hadeeth, used to seek refuge in God during his prayers from the trials of the false messiah.
The various hadeeth of the Prophet provide a great deal of information about the Dajjaal. The Prophet, for example, made it clear that he is a human being. In general, the true believer should not be deceived by the Dajjaal because the Prophet has given such a clear description of him that there is very little room for him to deceive a believer. However, this emphasizes the importance of knowledge in Islam. If someone is completely unaware of how the Prophet described the Dajjaal, then it would not be surprising that he may fall for some of the tricks and deception of this evil being.
The numerous hadeeth about the Dajjaal include a description of the Dajjaal’s physical features. These hadeeth include the following:
Muslim recorded that Ibn Umar narrated that God’s Messenger, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, made a mention of Dajjaal in the presence of the people and said: “God is not one-eyed and behold that Dajjaal is blind in the right eye and his eye would be like a floating grape.”
In another hadeeth recorded by Imam Muslim and others, the Prophet said:“There would be written three (Arabic) letters: Kaaf Faa and Raa These three letters in this order form the basis for Arabic word “Kaafir” which means disbeliever, between the eyes of the Dajjaal.” In another hadeeth, the Prophet stated that every Muslim would be able to read those letters.
The Prophet also described some of what the Dajjaal would come with. For example, Imam Muslim recorded that the Prophet said:
“The Dajjaal would have with him water and fire and his fire would have the effect of cold water and his water would have the effect of fire, so don’t put yourself to ruin.”
The Companion of the Prophet Hudhaifah similarly stated, “I know more than you as to what there would be along with the Dajjaal. There would be along with him two canals (one flowing with water) and the other one (having) fire (within it), and what you would see as fire would be water and what you would see as water would be fire. So he who among you is able to see that and is desirous of water should drink out of that which he sees as fire.” (Muslim)
Like all religious deceivers, those who are cognizant of the truth will be able to see behind his amazing schemes and tricks. The following hadeeth makes this point very clear. Abu Saeed al-Khudri reported that God’s Messenger one day gave a detailed account of the Dajjaal, and in that he mentioned the following:
“He would come but would not be allowed to enter the mountain passes to Medina. So he will come to stop at some tracts of land (which contain high concentrations of salt and wherein seepage occurs causing them to be barren) adjacent to the city of Medina, and a person who would come out (to where the Dajjaal is) and say to him, ‘I bear testimony to the fact that you are the Dajjaal about whom God’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had informed us.’ The Dajjaal would then say (to his followers), ‘What would be your opinion if I were to kill this (person) and then bring him back to life, even then would you harbor some doubt in this matter?’ They would respond, ‘No.’ He would then kill (the man) and then bring him back to life. When he would bring that person back to life, he would say, ‘By God, I had no better proof of the fact (that you are a Dajjaal) than at the present time.’ The Dajjaal would then make an attempt to kill him (again) but he would not be able to do so.”
In this short article, the Mahdi will not be discussed for the following reason: Although the coming of the Mahdi is affirmed via numerous hadeeth of the Prophet, the Prophet did not mention his coming in the hadeeth that list major signs of the Day of Judgment.
Actually, the Prophet spoke about many great liars and deceivers, which is what the word dajjaal implies, who will appear before the Day of Judgment. For example, al-Bukhari and Muslim record that the Prophet said, “The Last Hour would not come until there would arise about thirty impostors, liars, and each one of them would claim that he is a messenger of God.” Those can be considered “minor dajjaals” and from the minor signs of the Day of Judgment. The “major dajjaal” is the greater sign of the Day of Judgment and concerning whom the Prophet, may God praise him, reserved his greatest warnings.
There are some who have interpreted the Dajjaal to be, for example, certain un-Islamic ideologies, nations, or worldviews, and so forth. Although one should learn from the trials that will appear at the hands of the Dajjaal and avoid such trials no matter where they may come from, it is incorrect, though, to distort the clear meaning of the hadeeth and claim that the Dajjaal is any other than a human being who will appear shortly becoming the descending of Jesus.
Kaaf which is like the letter “k” in English in phonetically speaking [and not in terms of how it is written].
Faa which is like the letter “f” in English phonetically speaking [and not in terms of how it is written].
Raa which is closest to the Spanish “r” phonetically speaking [and not in terms of how is written].
The Major Signs of the Day of Judgment (part 4 of 7): The False Messiah II
Description: The following series of articles mention the Major Signs that will occur shortly before the end of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment. This part is the continuation of the coming of false Messiah, and it includes additional information about his followers and his stay on earth.
One of the many aspects that one learns about via the story of the Dajjaal is that worldly wealth and achievements are not what determine a person’s worth and true value. Indeed, a person could possess all that the world contains yet if he is devoid of faith in his heart, he is truly worth nothing. Thus, another hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim reads:
Mugheerah ibn Shu’ba stated: No one asked God’s Messenger, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, more about the Dajjaal than I. He said (to me), “He should not be a source of worry to you for he would not be able to do any harm to you.” I said, “God’s Messenger, it is alleged that he would have along with him (abundance of) food and water.” Thereupon he said, “He (the Dajjaal) and his ability to misguide the believers with what God has allowed to be created by his (the Dajjaal’s) hands (i.e., the large quantities of food and water with him) would be insignificant in comparison to God’s ability to make these events a source for increasing the faith of the believers.”
Also mentioned in Saheeh Muslim are some hadeeths in which the Prophet Muhammad stated:
“There will be no land which the Dajjaal would not pass through or traverse except for Mecca and Medina, and there would no passage out of the passages leading to them which would not be guarded by angels arranged in rows. Then he (the Dajjaal) would appear in some tracts of land (which contain high concentrations of salt and wherein seepage occurs causing them to be barren) adjacent to the city of Medina and it (Medina) would sake violently such that every unbeliever and hypocrite would exit from it and move towards him (the Dajjaal).”
The Prophet also described the followers of the Dajjaal when he said:
“The Dajjaal would be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls.”
The following longer hadeeth from Saheeh Muslim gives a more detailed account of the exploits of the Dajjaal and it will lead directly into the next occurring major sign of the Day of Judgment, the return of Jesus:
An-Nawwas ibn Sam’aan reported that God’s Messenger made a mention of the Dajjaal one day in the morning. He sometimes described him to be insignificant and sometimes described (his turmoil) as very significant and we felt as if he were in the cluster of the date-palm trees. When we went to him (to the Prophet) in the evening and he read (the signs of fear) in our faces, he said, “‘What is the matter with you?’ We said, ‘God’s Messenger, you made a mention of the Dajjaal in the morning (sometimes describing him) to be insignificant and sometimes very important, until we began to think as if he were present in some (near) part of the cluster of the date-palm trees.’ Thereupon he said, ‘I harbor fear in regard to you in so many other things besides the Dajjaal. If he comes forth while I am among you, I shall contend with him on your behalf, but if he comes forth while I am not among you, a man must contend on his own behalf and God would take care of every Muslim on my behalf (and safeguard him against his evil). He (the Dajjaal) would be a young man with twisted, contracted hair, and a blind eye. I compare him to Abd−ul−’Uzza b. Qatan. He who among you would survive to see him should recite over him the opening verses of Surah al-Kahf. He would appear on the way between Syria and Iraq and would spread mischief right and left. O servant of God! Adhere (to the path of Truth).’ We said, ‘God’s Messenger, how long would he stay on the earth?’ He said, ‘For forty days, one day like a year and one day like a month and one day like a week and the rest of the days would be like your (normal) days.’ We said, ‘God’s Messenger, would one day’s prayer suffice for the prayers of day equal to one year?’ Thereupon he said, ‘No, but you must make an estimate of time (and then observe prayer).’ We said, ‘God’s Messenger, how quickly would he walk upon the earth?’ Thereupon he said, ‘Like a cloud driven by the wind. He would come to the people and invite them (to a wrong religion) and they would affirm their faith in him and respond to him. He would then give a command to the sky and there would be rainfall upon the earth and it would grow crops. Then in the evening, their posturing animals would come to them with their humps very high and their udders full of milk and their flanks stretched. He would then come to another people and invite them. But they would reject him and he would go away from them and there would be drought for them and nothing would be left with them in the form of wealth. He would then walk through the waste land and say to it, ‘Bring forth your treasures,’ and the treasures would come out and collect (themselves) before him like the swarm of bees. He would then call a person brimming with youth and strike him with the sword and cut him into two pieces and (make these pieces lie at a distance which is generally) between the archer and his target. He would then call (that young man) and he will come forward laughing with his face gleaming (with happiness) and it would at this very time that God would send Christ, son of Mary…’”