The Signs of the Last Day in the Qur'an
The Hour is Near
people know at least something about the Last Day. Almost everyone has
heard one thing or another about the horror of the Hour. Nevertheless,
most tend to have the same reaction to it as they do to other matters
of vital importance, that is, they do not want to speak or even think
about it. They try very hard not trying to think about the terror they
will experience on the Last Day. They cannot bear the reminders of the
Last Day found in a news report of a terrible accident or a film report
about some disaster. They avoid thinking about the fact that that day
will certainly come. They do not want to listen to others who talk about
that great day, or to read author's works about it. These are some of
the ways that people have developed in order to escape the dread of thinking
about the Last Day.
Many do not seriously believe that the Hour is coming. We are presented
with an example of this in a verse of Surat al-Kahf, about the wealthy
owner of a rich vineyard:
I do not think the Hour will ever come. But if I should
be sent back to my Lord, I will definitely get something better in return.
(Surat al-Kahf: 36)
The above verse reveals the true mentality of someone who professes to
believe in Allah but avoids thinking about the reality of the Last Day
and puts forward claims contradicting some verses of the Qur'an. Another
verse relates the doubt and uncertainty that engulfs disbelievers in regards
to the time of the end.
When you were told, "Allah's promise is true and
so is the Hour, of which there is no doubt," you said, "We have no idea
what the Hour is. We have only been conjecturing. We are by no means certain."
(Surat al-Jathiya: 32)
Some people entirely deny that the Last Day is coming. Those who have
this opinion are mentioned in the Qur'an as follows:
But instead, they deny the Hour; and We have prepared
a Searing Blaze for those who deny the Hour. (Surat al-Furqan: 11)
The source that can guide us on the way and show us the truth is the
Qur'an. When we look at what it says, we learn an obvious fact. Those
who deceive themselves about the Last Day commit a grave error, because
Allah reveals in the Qur'an that there can be no doubt that the Last Day
And the Hour is coming without any doubt ... (Surat al-Hajj:
We did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them, except
with truth. The Hour is certainly coming. (Surat al-Hijr: 85)
The Hour is coming-there is no doubt about it …(Surat al-Mu'min: 59)
There may be some who think that the message of the Qur'an concerning
the Last Day was revealed more that 1400 years ago and that this is a
long time compared to the length of a human life. But here, it is a question
of the end of the world, the sun and the stars, in short, of the universe.
When we consider that the universe is billions of years old, fourteen
centuries is a very short period of time.
A great Islamic scholar of recent times, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, responded
to a similar question in this way:
The Qur'an says, "The Hour
has drawn nigh." (Surat al-Qamar: 1) That is, Doomsday is
near. It still not having come after a thousand or this many years does
not injure its closeness. Because, Doomsday is the appointed hour of the
world, and in relation to the life of the world one or two thousand years
are like one or two minutes in relation to a year. The Hour of Doomsday
is not only the appointed hour of mankind that it should be related to
it and seen as distant..1
The Proclaiming of the Moral Teaching of the Qur'an
to the Whole World
In the Qur'an, we repeatedly find the phrase "Allah's sunnah (pattern,
practice)." This is an expression that means Allah's way, or Allah's
laws. According to the Qur'an, these laws are valid forever. A verse states,
This is Allah's pattern with those who passed away before.
You will not find any alteration in Allah's pattern. (Surat al-Ahzab:
One such unchanging divine law is that, before their annihilation, societies
are warned by a reminder. This fact is revealed by these words:
We have never destroyed a city without giving it prior
warning as a reminder... (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 208-209)
history, Allah has sent a reminder to every society that has become corrupted,
inviting it to follow the true path. Yet, those who persisted in their
wickedness perished after having fulfilled the time allotted to them,
and became an example for succeeding generations. When we consider this
law of Allah, a number of important mysteries are revealed to us.
The Last Day is the final calamity to fall upon the world. The Qur'an
is the last divine book sent to advise humanity, whose guide it will remain
until the end of the world. In one of its verses, it says, "…
It is simply a reminder to all beings." (Surat al-An'am: 90)
Those who think that the Qur'an speaks only to one particular time or
place are seriously mistaken, because the Qur'an is a general invitation
to all "worlds."
Since the time of the Prophet (saas), the truth of the Qur'an has been
communicated to the entire world. Because of the incomparable technological
developments in our present age, the commands of the Qur'an can be proclaimed
to the whole of humanity. Today, science, education, communication and
transportation are about to reach the final point of their development.
Thanks to computer and Internet technology in particular, people in distant
parts of the world can instantly share information and establish communications.
The revolution in science and technology has united all the nations of
the world; expressions like "globalization" and "world
citizenship" have been added to our stock of vocabulary. In short,
all the obstacles preventing the unity of people throughout the whole
world are being quickly removed.
In the light of these facts, it can be easily said that in our "information
age," Allah has put all kinds of technological developments at our
disposal. It is the responsibility of Muslims to make the best use of
these possibilities that Allah has offered, and to invite people from
all walks of life to accept the moral teaching of the Qur'an.
We have mentioned the unchanging laws that have been established by Allah
since the foundation of the world. One such divine law is that Allah will
not punish a society for which He has not sent a messenger. This promise
is expressed in the following verses:
Lord would never destroy any cities without first sending to the chief
of them a messenger to recite Our Signs to them. We would never destroy
any cities unless their inhabitants were wrongdoers. (Surat al-Qasas:
… We never punish until We have sent a messenger. (Surat al-Isra: 15)
We have never destroyed a city without giving it prior warning as a reminder.
We were never unjust. (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 208-209)
These verses show that Allah sends messengers to major cities to warn
the people. These messengers announce Allah's commands, but the disbelievers
from the societies of every age have mocked them, accused them of being
liars, frauds or madmen, and subjected them to every kind of slander.
Allah destroys societies that continue to live in wickedness and immorality
through some great disaster, at a time when they least expect it. The
destruction of the people of Nuh, Lut, Ad, Thamud and others mentioned
in the Qur'an are examples of this form of annihilation.
In the Qur'an, Allah reveals why He has sent prophets: to announce the
good news to societies, to provide an important opportunity for their
people to abandon their false beliefs, and live their lives according
to Allah's religion and high morality, and to warn people so that they
will have no excuse to offer on the Last Day for not having heeded the
warnings made to them. In a verse, these goals are stated as such:
Messengers bringing good news and giving warning, so
that people will have no argument against Allah after the coming of the
messengers. (Surat an-Nisa': 165)
As it says in verse 40 of Surat al-Azhab, the Prophet Muhammad (saas)
is the last Prophet. Muhammad (saas) is "…the
Messenger of Allah and the Final Seal of the Prophets…"
(Surat al-Azhab: 40) In other words, through the mediation of the Prophet
Muhammad (saas), the series of Allah's revelations to humanity have been
completed. In spite of this, the responsibility for communicating and
reminding people of the Qur'an delivered by the Prophet (saas) lies with
every Muslim until the end of the world.
The Supremacy of the Morality of Islam in the World
One of the constant themes of the Qur'an is that of the people that Allah
has destroyed, because of their wickedness and rebellion, and the example
to be taken from them. Certainly, there is a great similarity between
those societies of the past and our present time. In our day, there are
people whose attitude and way of life surpasses even the sexual perversion
of the people of Lut, the deceitfulness of the people of Madyan, the arrogance
and mocking of the people of Nuh, the rebelliousness and wickedness of
the people of Thamud, the ungratefulness of the people of Iram, as with
the comportment of various other societies that have been destroyed. The
evident reason for all this moral degeneration is that people have forgotten
Allah and the purpose of their creation.
The murder, social injustice, treachery, deceit and moral degeneration
in the age we live in has even driven some people to despair. But, it
must not be forgotten that the Qur'an commands us not to despair of the
help of Allah. Despair and despondency are not acceptable modes of thought
for believers. Allah announces that those who serve Him purely, without
associating any of His creatures as divinities besides Him, and do good
works to win His favor, will be endowed with power and authority.
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right
actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those
before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion
with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security.
"They worship Me, not associating anything with Me." Any who are disbelievers
after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur: 55)
In a number of verses, it also says that it is a divine law that those
servants who are faithful and live the true religion in their hearts will
be made the inheritors of the world:
We wrote down in the Psalms, after the Reminder came:
"It is My righteous servants who will inherit the earth." (Surat al-Anbiya':
We will leave you the land to live in after them. That is the reward of
those who fear My station and fear My threat. (Surah Ibrahim: 14)
We destroyed generations before you when they did wrong. Their messengers
brought them the Clear Signs, but they were never going to believe. That
is how We repay evildoers. Then We made you their successors on the earth
so We might observe how you would act. (Surah Yunus: 13-14)
Musa said to his people, "Seek help in Allah and be steadfast. The earth
belongs to Allah. He bequeathes it to any of His servants He wills. The
successful outcome is for those who do their duty." They said, "We suffered
harm before you came to us and after you came to us." He said, "It may
well be that your Lord is going to destroy your enemy and make you the
successors in the land so that He can see how you behave." (Surat al-A'raf:
Allah has written, "I will be victorious, I and My messengers." Allah
is Most Strong, Almighty. (Surat al-Mujadala: 21)
Together with the good news announced in the verses above, Allah has
made a very important promise to believers. He reveals in the Qur'an that
the religion of Islam was sent to humanity to be superior to all religions.
They desire to extinguish Allah's Light with their mouths.
But Allah refuses to do other than perfect His Light, even though the
disbelievers detest it. It is He Who sent His Messenger with guidance
and the True Religion to exalt it over every other religion, even though
the idolators detest it. (Surat at-Tawba: 32-33)
They desire to extinguish Allah's Light with their mouths
but Allah will perfect His Light, though the disbelievers hate it. It
is He Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the True Religion to exalt
it over every other religion, though the idolaters hate it. (Surat as-Saff:
There is no doubt that Allah will keep His promises. The high morality
that will conquer perverse philosophies, distorted ideologies and false
religious understanding is Islamic morality. The verses quoted above stress
that the disbelievers and pagans cannot prevent this from happening.
This period, in which Islamic morality will be established, will be in
every way a time of love, self-sacrifice, generosity, honesty, social
justice, security and personal well-being. This period has been called
the Golden Age because of its similarity to depictions of Paradise, but,
so far, such an age has never yet existed. This blessed age will precede
the Last Day; and is now awaiting that time in which Allah has determined
it will come.