In Islam, the solitary certainty is death. Even the birth is not certain, neither is anything else. Although this concept is unanimously accepted to a great extent globally, the events of the afterlife have always been a subject of debate. Some believe in the Day of Judgement, while others do not. Many are incoherently cynical in believing in life after death. However, Islam teaches us that our life does not simply end in this world, rather, it begins in a new one. After the end of the world, all the souls that ever existed in this world will be judged by Allah, and in accordance with their deeds, be sent to heaven or hell to perpetual and permanent lives.
The end of the world is unquestionably inevitable. Everything on this earth, and outside of it, including the planets that revolve around the sun or the barycentre will one day cease to exist. The whole universe will be destroyed by the will of the One who created it in a matter of days. Allah says in the Quran: “The originator of the heavens and the earth. When Allah decrees a matter, Allah only says to it; ‘Be!’ – and it is.” (2:117, Al-Baqarah, Quran)
Before the end of the world, there are several signs and events that will take place or have previously taken place. These signs are alluded to in the Quran and the Hadith in order to educate the people so that their minds are broadened, their hearts are strengthened, and their faith in Allah surges.
There are many minor and major signs of the last hour. Although the first sign of the end of the world was the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is not considered to be a major sign, as the major signs will be those that appear adjacent to the end. The following are 9 major signs of the Day of Judgement as recounted in the Quran and Hadith.
1. The appearance of the Mahdi
In a word of trouble and tragedy, depression and oppression, a great leader, known as Imam Mahdi, will emerge from within the Muslims. His name and his father’s name will be the same as that of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his father, respectively. He will be a descendant of Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her), the daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He will realise his potential and strive for change in the world. During his reign, Muslims will be tremendously successful and be able to spread peace and knowledge through the world. The Mahdi and his people will rule justly and there will be no famine or poverty. No man will be superior to the other nor will one be inferior. It is safe to say that in this peaceful time, justice will profusely prevail.
Although the arrival of the Mahdi will be analogous to the light at the end of the tunnel, it will take much patience to endure the hardship of those times. Many armies, indisputably of evil intent, will stand against the Mahdi as they witness the success he will have along with his people. Envious of the peace he will establish, they will look to create mayhem and cause conspiracy to somehow remove him from power. However, the promise of the Lord, Allah, is ever true.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) gained knowledge revealed to him by the command of Allah, thus he could educate his people and explain the difference between right and wrong. He once said: “The world will not come to an end until a man from among my family, whose name agrees with mine, will rule over the Muslims.” (Tirmidhi) The Hadith in quotation confirms that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was referring to the arrival of the Mahdi.
2. Landslide in the East, West, and the Arabian Peninsula
Three significantly destructive landslides will take place and will cause great devastation. One will take place in the East, one in the West, and one in the Arabian Peninsula. These landslides will cause immense damage and will be a clear sign of the hour.
3. The Smoke
Another sign of the Day of Judgement will be layers of smoke spreading downwards from the sky. The smoke has been mentioned in Arabic in the Quran as ‘Al-Dukh’ or ‘Al-Dukhaan’. It has also been spoken of by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a Hadith narrated by Masruq that states: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘Then watch you for the day that the sky will bring forth a kind of smoke plainly visible… but truly you will return to disbelief!’” (Bukhari)
4. The Dajjal
It is most likely that Dajjal, also known as the Anti-Christ, will be the most challenging trial for the people. Although he will be of short stature, he will be strong, sturdy and will possess the powers to perform miracles. Although Dajjal is chained on an unknown island, he will be released by Allah’s will and upon his arrival, he will enter every city apart from Makkah and Madinah. This creature will cause mass destruction and chaos. Those who reject him will be struck by famine and a great deal of poverty. He will have the abilities of a superhuman and will claim to be the Prophet Esa (Jesus) (peace be upon him).
5. The Arrival of the Prophet Esa (Jesus)
Prophet Esa Ibn Maryam, known as Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), the son of Mary (peace be upon her) in English, is one of the prophets of Allah.
He will re-emerge near the end of times, credibly, after Dajjal. He will arrive in the east of Damascus, with his hands placed on the shoulders of two angels. Jaabir Bin Abdullah said: “I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say: ‘A group of my nation will continue to fight for the truth and prevail until the Day of Resurrection. Then, Esa Ibn Maryam (peace be upon him) will come down and their leader will ask Esa (peace be upon him) to lead them in prayer. However, Esa (peace be upon him) will decline and inform them that they are leaders of one another, as an honor to this nation.’”
After this, Esa (Jesus) (peace be upon him) will look to eliminate Dajjal. He will chase him, but Dajjal will continue his run. However, Esa (Jesus) (may Allah be pleased with him) will catch up to him and reprimand him by killing him for the evil he has condoned and the damage he has inflicted upon those innocents who rejected his diabolical practices.
6. Gog and Magog
Gog and Magog, ’Yajuj wa Majuj’ in Arabic, will be one of the most problematic trials for the people of the earth. They will break down the barriers built by Dhul-Qarnayn, the righteous king, to keep them at bay from the people of a neighbouring civilization who claimed to be attacked and plundered by this ruthless nation. They will spread very quickly, as they make their way from their current location, where the barrier is present, to Syria. Here, they will not only consume, but steal from the sea as well until there is no water left. They are going to be countless in number and will cause great harm to the people by way of violence. Esa (Jesus) (may Allah be pleased with him) will pray along with his companions from a mountain, and Allah will hear the prayer, causing Gog and Magog to die of insects eating at their necks.
7. The Beast of the Earth
One of the final signs of the hour will be the coming forth of the beast. This beast will rise from the earth to tell people that the hour is upon them and that their faith and belief are now overdue. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When three things appear, faith will not benefit him who has not previously believed or has derived no good from his faith; the rising of the sun from its place of setting, the Dajjal and the beast of the earth.” (Muslim)
Although, no physical description of the beast has been mentioned in the Hadith, it has only been mentioned as ‘the beast’ and may best be described as ‘creature’.
8. The Rising of the Sun from the West
Amongst these signs is the rising of the sun from its place of setting. The last day will be distinguishable from the rest as the sun will rise from the place it sets. This will be one of the very last signs and after this has happened, no clemency will be granted, and no excuses will be accepted.
9. The Fire
In a Hadith narrated by Hudhaifa Bin Usaid, the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) refers to the fire saying: “And a fire that comes out of a place within ‘Adan, driving the people, or gathering the people, camping where they camp, and resting where they rest.” (Tirmidhi)
Although there is not one Hadith that mentions all of these signs collectively, some of them have been mentioned in separate Hadiths, while others have been mentioned concurrently. They have been referred to as the signs of the last hour and can be seen as such. While there is no particular order revealed in which they would take place, they can be approximately organised in order by research and knowledge from the Quran and Hadith.
There are many trials and hardships of the world that the prophets of Allah (peace be upon them) confronted in their lives. May Allah give us the strength to face them with utmost courage and always remain prepared for the end of times.
Allah knows best.