The Unhealthy Obsession with End Times – Between the Two Extremes

By Maulana Sulayman al-Kindi

عن أَنسٍ رضي الله عنه: أَنَّ أَعرابيًّا قَالَ لرسول اللَّه ﷺ: مَتَى السَّاعَةُ؟ قَالَ رسولُ اللَّه ﷺ: مَا أَعْدَدْتَ لَهَا؟ قَالَ: حُبُّ اللّهِ ورسولِهِ، قَالَ: أَنْتَ مَعَ مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ. متفقٌ عَلَيهِ، وهذا لفظ مسلمٍ.

ʾAnas (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated:

A Bedouin asked Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ), “When will the Hour [end of the world] be?” Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) responded, “What have you prepared for it?” He said, “Love for Allāh and His Messenger.” Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) thereupon remarked, “You will be with whom you love.” [Muslim].
Amongst the miracles of Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) is that his concise words are diamonds of wisdom with myriad facets. Thus the above narration may enlighten some on seeking knowledge. Others may be struck on the importance of love and faith. Students of Arabic will see this narration as a perfect example of the rhetorical device ʾuslūb ʾal-ḥakīm. [Here I refer to competent students, unlike those students of mine who read both a tanwīn and lām ʾat-Taʿrīf on the same noun].
Strangely enough, few note the overarching message. The primary purpose of knowledge of the Hour is preparation for meeting Allāh. It is not to obsess over events beyond our control and knowledge, and in the case of most mankind, events which most of us will not even experience.

Ḥadīth Scholars

Are these narrations then of no consequence? Allāh forbid that such disrespect should ever be thought, let alone expressed to any utterance of Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ). Narrations on the end times are valuable. They prove the truth of the station of Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) when they do transpire. They alert us to the transitory nature of this ethereal realm and that we are travellers to a permanent abode. They remind us that much a life may be difficult, the people who will experience the end times will undergo the worst tribulations ever. A person who bears some of these facts in mind will lead a more productive life in those fields where it really counts.

The compilers of the sacred prophetic words certainly paid attention to these narrations and they certainly understood what I wrote above with far greater scholarly ability and spiritual insight. Yet show me which of these scholars made it a focus and obsession as so many do today. Did ʾal-ʾImām Muslim commence his compilation with this topic? Did it take precedence over the basics of faith, prayer, purity etc? How much did ʾAbū Dāwūd devote to the topic as a percentage of his work?

Are you aware that much of what circulates on this topic amongst the masses are from sources, such as ʾAbū Nuʾaym, whose works, to put it respectfully, is not of the same standard as senior ʾAʾimmah of Ḥadīth? What we authentically know is much less than that which will titillate the cyber generation who are in need of constant entertainment, and perhaps it is not exciting enough for them.

Moderation and Extremism

I do not tire of mentioning that Allāh says:

وكذلك جعلناكم أمة وسطا

“And thus have We made you a moderate nation…” [ʾal-Baqarah: 143]

For I believe that almost every problem we face as a community stems from diverging from the moderation of the Sunnah and leaning to one extreme (ghulūw) or the other.

Extremism includes obsession over the end times and placing it outside of its proper perspective. Incidentally the tafsīr of ẓulm, which is popularly translated as oppression, is in fact to place something out of its proper place. The end time extremists are thus ẓālimūn infected with a deadly disease.

I do not cite this extremism as a theoretic problem which irks me. History testifies to the practical insane and bloody consequences of this disease. The least harm of this disease is an obsession to examine every matter in the light of end times, even if it means bending scripture to fit your interpretation. The ultimate harm is that there are those who have actually left Islām because of this.

One of the lesser harms of this disease is the misunderstanding, even if innocently perpetuated, that anything prophesied in end times narrations is an evil. If this distortion of our religion were the only negative of this phenomenon it would be sufficient to regard it as a problem.

Moreover, this disease is such that it infects sincere learned Muslims, as well as people of perhaps every other faith. For example, there was the Turkish Jew, Sabbatai Tzvi, whose extremism on the topic made the rabbis expel him and his followers in 1651. Amongst the reasons King Charles I lost his head (literally) in 1649 was the belief amongst sectors of the English, that it was the end times, and that Jesus should now reign as King Jesus. The examples of end times obsession making people extreme in belief and violent in action are numerous and are to be found amongst Muslims and others. Use Google to find more examples. If I know how to use it, then I am sure that you can too.

Amongst Muslims

  • The impending arrival of the Islāmic year 1000 spiked unnatural obsession with end times ultimately leading many Muslims into heresy. The Ẓikrī sect of Baluchistān accepted Mullā Muḥammad as a new prophet in 977.
  • Bā Yazīd ʾAnṣārī of Afghānistān started the Roshanīyah sect in 971. He proclaimed himself the Mahdī and discarded Islāmic laws on purity and prayer.
  • The Mahdawī sect overran south India and Gujerat and famously martyred the great scholar, Muḥammad Ṭāhir of Pattan in 986 (author of Majmaʿ Bihār ʾal-ʾAnwār)
  • Ultimately the obsession with the year 1000 was sufficient for deviants to convince the Moghul Emperor that Islām had expired, and he made this official imperial policy. I shall not cede him the courtesy of mentioning his name, you may research it at your leisure. I however feel obligated to highlight that these deviants were not uneducated laymen, but agenda driven scholars of extreme proficiency.
  • In terms of the media and languages at my disposal, it appears that four centuries later there remains an above average end times “concern” in these regions. (Allāh knows best if end times hysteria more severely grips the Muslims in a village in Liechtenstein or perhaps South-West Mongolia). This “concern” manifests via perennial statements from regional scholars categorically linking specific narrations to current events. Thus the Ḥadīth on crawling over snow was positively associated to a specific commander of the Ṭālibān. I do not have a problem with offering educated opinions. I too offer opinions. I most certainly have a problem with using the sacred words of Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) as a tool for an agenda, instead of us being his willing tools. I have an even greater problem when the translation and interpretation are tweaked to service an agenda. Often, such acts are at the hands of scholars, not laymen, as was the case at the Moghul court.
  • The tragic bloodshed which occurred at the Kaʾbah a short four decades ago in 1400 was directly due to end times obsession, although additional factors cannot be denied. It should be noted that the proclaimed Mahdī in this case, Muḥammad ʾal-Qaḥtānī, was a legitimate scholar, not a heretic of the magnitude of the previous examples. Yet end times obsession led such a person, who died as a Muslim as far as we know, to actions leading to bloodshed at the Kaʿbah.
  • Two decades later, a scholar from Johannesburg, South Africa, became noted for his end times obsession. Although a Ḥanafī Sunnī, his actions and statements are indictive of the harms this infection can wreck on mind and soul.
  • He categorically declared that the Ḥajj of 2003 CE would be a bloodbath. Many were discouraged from performing their sacred duty because of him.
  • Similarly the Mahḍī was supposed to appear in 2004 CE. Scholars who adhere to authentic narrations and do not twist scripture to sort their interpretation do not utter such foolish proclamations.
  • Amongst his public statements announcing the Mahdī is, “Allāh has secrets? No the Vatican has secrets. If Islām has secrets then I do not want to be a Muslim.”
  • If you need further proof of how this disease can turn even the sincere, pious and learned into mentally unhinged blatherers, he said, “Let’s say the Mahdī comes and I invite him home. I offer him custard. The Mahdī like any normal human being will eat the custard with a spoon. There are those who will reject this as against the Sunnah, and I have seen such people insist on eating custard with their fingers. They will thus reject the Mahdī, and thus lose their faith.”

ʿImrān Naẓr Husayn

Literally, ʿImrān who was dedicated in a vow to Ḥusayn, a product of the University of Karāchī, is the ultimate example in our time of the harms which end times hysteria can inflict upon the Muslims, in faith and deed. Allāh knows best if he started off as a sincere specialist in the field, but the practical ramifications are that he now intentionally bends every possible narration and event to match an agenda which is no longer in the interests of Islām in general, let alone the ʿAhlus Sunnah.

His hysteria on end times (or “eschatology” as he loves saying, to apparently show his western academic credentials), has led him to setting up Russia as an idol and to support for those who curse and abuse ʿAbū Bakr and ʿĀʿishah (may Allāh be pleased with them). These two articles of his faith dictate his every view and decision even, or perhaps especially, when it contradicts the entire community of Muslims. Thus he gleefully approved the Srebrenica massacre of the Muslims in Bosnia, simply because the Serbs are allies of his idol, Russia.

His interpretive methodology (or hermeneutics to use his western lingo) is akin to the heresies of the Bāṭinīyah or ʾIsmāʿilīyah rather than the ʾAhlus Sunnah. A simple example happens to be from one of my first articles. I had written to alert the Muslims against the deception of some Shīʿah boys who presented him as a “Sunnī scholar” and quoted him in their deceptive “documentary”, “The Arrivals”. He may present himself as Sunnī, but his beliefs are closer to those boys than to ours. I reproduce the relevant part below:

Brazen distortion of Qurān and Ḥadīth

Our interpretation of Qurān and Ḥadīth is what Allāh and His Rasūl taught us, via the chain of the Ṣaḥābah, Mufassirūn and Muḥaddithūn. Aḥādīth warning against personal interpretations are well known. Perhaps the most detailed Ḥadīth describing ad-Dajjāl is narrated by an-Nawwās bin Sam‘ān in al-Imām Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ, Chapter on the Mention of ad-Dajjāl. It is quite lengthy, but based on the print version where it covers 16 lines; the producers conveniently only quote a half-a-line to suit their purpose. Due to the length I only mention the relevant parts below:

عن النواس ابن سمعان ……انه خارج خلة بین الشام و العراق….قلنا یا رسول اﷲ و لبثه فى الأرض قال أربعون یوما یوم كسنة و یوم كشهر و یوم كجمعة و سائر أیامه كأیامكمقلنا یا رسول اﷲ فذلك الذى كسنة أ تكفینا فیه صلاة یوم قال لا اقدروا له قدره

An-Nawwās bin Sam‘ān narrated…. [Rasūlullāh said that ad-Dajjāl] will emerge on the road between ‘Irāq and Syria….We asked, “O Rasūlullāh,” How long will he stay on earth?” He replied, “Forty days. A day like a year, and a day like a month, and a day like a week, and the rest of his days will be like your days.”“O Rasūlullāh,” we asked, “That which is like a year, will the Ṣalāh of a day suffice us in it? ’“No,” he replied, “Calculate for it according to its extent.”

The producers make the following claims:

ØAd-Dajjāl has already emerged.

ØThe first day represents his rule in England, starting in 900 of the Christian era.

ØThe English monarchy started in 900.

ØThe second day represents his rule in America, starting in 1917.

ØThe third day represents his rule in Palestine, starting in 2001.

The unbiased will realise:

ØEngland and “between Iraq and Syria” cannot be the same.

ØThe continuous monarchy of England is dated from the reign of Egbert in 829. Is Arrivals deliberately lying to get their date of 900?

ØThe question of Ṣalāh, clearly shows that the Ṣaḥābah understood the prophecy to mean that a normal 24 hour day will be extended to a year.

ØThis is in line with the clear, uncomplicated Dīn which Rasūlullāh ﷺbrought us.

ØThe esoteric UK-US theory seems more in line with Masonic thinking. Let the unbiased ask, “Has there been a single day since 900, when the day had to be shortened to 24 hours and divided into 5 for Ṣalāh purposes?” Obviously this has never happened in the general world, except for the poles, which is a permanent feature.

If we accept the producers’ theory, we must accept one of two possibilities: Rasūlullāh did not know the real meaning of his prophecy, but the producer did! The stupidity of such a belief is self-evident.

Rasūlullāh knew the real “sophisticated” meaning but chose to toy with the Ṣaḥābah when they made their “simple” interpretation. Allāh save us from having either of these filthy thoughts against Rasūlullāh ﷺ. We must however ask, “The producers omitted the question of Ṣalāh which tears down their argument. Was this an oversight, coincidence or something more sinister?”

Mr Hosein made a slight response to me on his website. He initially mentioned me by name, but later edited me to “Br XYZ”

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