The Syrian foreign minister says, "There is nothing going on in Syria." Assad's forces have begun oppressing the people.
Similarities Among Prophet Solomon (pbuh), Dhu’l – Qarnayn (pbuh), And The Mahdi (1)
Earlier, we considered various signs of the End Times in the Qur'an's account of Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) life. We said that, in the End Times, there would be a Golden Age in which Islamic morality would be foremost, and that this period would be ushered in by the Mahdi, who bears title al-Hadi (the one who guides).
The hadiths of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) reveal signs of these two periods. And, when we compare them with what is happening today, we see many indications that we are living in the End Times and that the Golden Age is about to come.
The hadiths characterize the End Times as a treacherous period in which the number of wars and conflicts will increase and the world will be in general chaos because of the moral degeneration arising from people's rebellion against religious morality. Natural disasters will be everywhere, poverty will reach a previously unknown level, crime rates will soar, and murder and massacre will follow each other in an apparently endless succession. But this is only the first stage of the End Times; in the second stage, God will use the Mahdi to rescue people from this chaos.
Indeed, such events have happened numerous times in human history, for wars, earthquakes, and other natural disasters have been common. The same is true of moral degeneration, poverty, and hunger. What distinguishes the signs of the End Times from these events is that all of these signs will happen in the same period one after the other, and in the way described in the hadiths. Here we must give the glad tidings that this chaos will be temporary, for the coming of the Golden Age will bring this distressing period to an end.
The Golden Age will be a time when wars and conflicts will end, all irreligious ideologies that caused so much misery will be buried in the dark recesses of history, and the world will enjoy a period of justice and abundant blessings. Islamic morality will spread throughout the world, and people will stream toward religion. As we stated earlier, some of the hadiths describe this dominance of Islamic morality, such as when our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) speaks of the similarities between this period and the reigns of Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh). Some of these are as follows:
The Mahdi will rule Earth, just like Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) and Prophet Solomon (pbuh). (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 29)
There have been four kings on Earth: two were believers and two were unbelievers. The believers were Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) and Prophet Solomon (pbuh), and the unbelievers were Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar II . There will be a fifth king, from the People of my House. (Ibn al-Jawzi)
In the following pages we will present some of the signs that we are in the End Times and that the blessed Golden Age is near. (For a detailed discussion of these signs, see Harun Yahya's The End Times and The Mahdi [USA, Khatoons. Inc., March 2004] and The Golden Age [Kuala Lumpur, A.S. NOORDEEN, 2003]
A man named Mahdi will come when the systems change…(Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi,Al-Burhan fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 14)
Mehmet Nuri (Besiktasli). An inscription in the thuluth style, 1364 AH. "God hears and knows everything."
In this hadith, our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) announced that the Mahdi will come during a period of changing systems. This probably refers to communism, which was widespread before collapsing in the late 1980s.
This atheistic philosophy, the product of materialist philosophy, was one of the main reasons for the bloody wars and massacres that marked the twentieth century. This ideology influenced large parts of Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Many countries were ruled by communist regimes for decades or were targeted by communist organizations. Communism was one of the reasons for the cold war, which continued from the late 1940s until the early 1990s, and for the cruelest massacres.
Besides fighting with other countries to extend their ideology, communists subjected their own people to great cruelty, mass executions, and massacre. Moreover, they put people to death in forced labor camps and killed them by starvation.
According to various historians' calculations, communist regimes were responsible for the deaths of 120 million people during the twentieth century. Most of these were not soldiers who died in battle, but were civilians murdered by communists. Tens of millions of men, women, old people, children, and babies lost their lives because of the communists' brutal savagery. Apart from this, millions of people were oppressed and forced to leave their homes and countries. Their lands and possessions were confiscated, and they were made to live every moment in fear of being killed, falsely arrested, or subjected to cruelty.
December 9, 1991
But toward the end of the twentieth century, these regimes, which seemed to be so strong and firm, began to lose their power and crumble one by one. The clearest symbol of this collapse was the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Two years later, the world's largest and most powerful communist state—the Soviet Union—collapsed and the Eastern Bloc completely fell apart. Communist regimes from Africa to Central Asia collapsed one after another, the bipolar world order that had been firmly in place since 1945 disappeared, and, according to political commentators, a new world order replaced it. With these very surprising developments, the change of system mentioned in the hadith came about.
Today, as the last ideological and political traces of communism, and the totalitarian fascist system based on the same ideas, disappear, the world is being totally cleansed of these bloody ideologies. With the spread of Islamic morality throughout the world, the oppression, suffering, darkness, and poverty that these systems imposed on millions of people will be truly ended, and people will have beauty, wealth, happiness and well-being. And after distress, darkness, war, massacre, and suffering, God, in His mercy and kindness, will give people His incomparable blessings.
At the end of time, their rulers will cause My people severe trouble in such a way that there will be no comfort for Muslims anywhere.(Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi,Al-Burhan fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 12)
This hadith indicates that before the Mahdi comes, rulers in some Muslim states will be far removed from religious morality, cruel and pitiless, or ineffective. Indeed, we can see this in such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Somalia, Tunisia, Libya, Ethiopia, and Syria. All of the Muslims in these countries are oppressed by their governments and subjected to difficulty and anxiety. They cannot live their religion freely and perform their prayers, and economic restrictions make their lives difficult. Below are some examples of what these people have experienced:
In Iraq, which lost about one million soldiers out of a total of three million during its war with Iran, the fascist Ba'thist dictator Saddam Hussein subjected the Iraqi people to incredible torture and oppression.
The destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989 symbolizes communism's collapse. One of the clearest proofs of the change in system revealed in the hadiths was when the people toppled and destroyed huge statues of Lenin, considered the most important communist ideologue.
Since the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the country has been unstable and chaotic. Those in power have not been true representatives of Islam; rather, they founded an oppressive, intolerant, and pitiless system.
Between 1977-91, the tiny African country of Djibouti was ruled by a brutal regime that killed about 2 million Muslims and falsely arrested and tortured 7,000 people.
Between 1969-91, Major General Siad Barre led an oppressive regime in Somalia that targeted Muslims.
1- During his 30 years in power, Hafez al-Assad carried out many massacres. In the city of Hama, 40,000 Muslims were brutally slaughtered in one day.
2- Turkey, February 15, 1982
3- The Soviet Union's 10-year occupation of Afghanistan left behind tens of thousands of dead and as many maimed.The bloody civil war that followed plunged Afghanistan into even greater chaos.
For 31 years, Tunisia was governed by the dictatorial regime of Habib Bourguiba. He declared himself president of the republic for life and, while in power, oppressed his subjects. For example, he tried to ban the fast of Ramadan on the grounds that it hurt national production figures.
During the 30 years of Hafez al-Assad's dictatorship, Syrian Muslims were subjected to various acts of cruelty. After some massacres, women were raped and men were tortured. The most atrocious example act of his rule was his decision to bomb and destroy Aleppo (city in northwestern Syria) when it revolted against his rule in early 1982. An untold number of people were killed.
1- Evrensel, March 13, 2001
2- For years, Saddam Hussein, implemented oppressive policies against the Iraqi people as well as against Muslims in neighboring countries.
Before the Hour comes, there will be a dusty and smoky tribulation like patches of dark night... (Sunan Abu Dawud)
The Arabic word translated here as tribulation is fitnah, which means something that completely alienates the human mind and heart from justice and right. It can also refer to war, savagery, confusion, conflict, and discord. This hadith says that dust and smoke will be left after this tribulation. This tribulation might be dark because why it occurs is not clear and it is unexpected.
When we look at it from this angle, this hadith probably refers to the 9/11 attack against New York and Washington, DC. As we saw on television and in newspapers, large clouds of dust followed these two acts of terrorism and wrapped the areas in smoke.
According to the official account, aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The ensuing explosions, caused by their fuel, caused a great cloud to form. Smoke rose so high and spread so far that it could be seen throughout New York City and even in surrounding towns. The collapse of the World Trade Center and the nearby Building Number 7 after the explosions caused an even larger cloud of dust to cover all people in the affected area from head to toe.
This event is extremely important, because it occurred within the same period as other signs and is similar to what is described in the hadiths. Therefore, this most deplorable terrorist act may be the tribulation like patches of dark night mentioned as a sign of the Mahdi's coming.
Milliyet, September 12, 2001
As we can see in these pictures, the tribulation like patches of dark night described in the hadith was one of the main features of the 9/11 attack.
The Mahdi will only appear at a time when people are experiencing great fear and are afflicted by disturbances, civil war, and other disasters.(Reported by Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali)
In the great majority of the hadiths in which our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) mentions the Mahdi's coming, he stresses that the world will be in a state of general chaos, insecurity, and anxiety before he comes. Along with wars and conflicts, another characteristic of this period will be mass murder. The hadith given above draws our attention to this last characteristic.
According to Amnesty International, Saddam Hussein brutally murdered 5,000 civilians in Halabja by bombing them with poison gas. Thousands of others were killed in similar attacks.
Historians estimate that both world wars killed about 65 million people. They also estimate that during the twentieth century, more than 180 million people were killed for political reasons. This is an extraordinary figure when compared with similar figures for previous centuries. Until the twentieth century, most of the wars were largely local conflicts fought by opposing armies along a particular line or front. However, twentieth-century developments in weapons technology and military strategy, as well as the prevalence of ideologies that favored violence and bloodshed, made both the idea and the actual implementation of total war feasible. Now governments target not only the opposing army on the front, but also civilians behind the front. Sometimes, there is not even a front to separate the two sides. The twentieth century saw cities bombed (e.g., carpet bombing); chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons used; genocide campaigns implemented with impunity; and concentration and forced labor camps built to hold various unwanted groups of people.
If we look at recent history, we see many instances of massacres. For example, the Serbs targeted mainly Bosnian civilians. Thousands of people were killed, including women, children, and the elderly. The mass graves discovered after the war show the dimensions of the massacres in horrible detail.
The ethnic cleansing campaign directed against the Palestinians since the 1940s is a more long-term policy of mass murder. Instances of this policy, like the slaughters at Sabra and Shatila in 1982, overseen by now-prime minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, show the dimensions of this policy.
Africa has experienced frequent violent ethnic conflict in which thousands of people have lost their lives. In the spring of 1994, a conflict occurred between two large tribes—the Hutu and the Tutsi (slightly less than 15 percent of the nation's population)—that involved five countries—Zaire, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania. Nearly 800,000 people died in this ethnic conflict. Tens of thousands of refugees had to contend with destitution and epidemics in the forests; many of them died. Small children and babies were savagely slaughtered just because they belonged to another tribe.
1- A major act of genocide was perpetrated in Bosnia in front of everyone. Mass graves discovered later on show the real dimensions of this slaughter.
2- Left: The ongoing conflict in Chechnya has cost the lives of thousands of innocent people. Many people became refugees, some of whom died on the road.
3- Left: The ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis left 800,000 people dead and seriously affected Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania.
4- Above: During the second half of the twentieth century, some radical Zionists in the Israeli government conducted a merciless genocide against defenseless Palestinian people. The 1982 massacres at Sabra and Shatila, in which thousands of people died, is only one instance of this. This oppression is still going on today.
A scene from the massacre at Halabja, ordered by Saddam Hussein
The Mahdi will not emerge unless innocent people are massacred, and he will appear when those on Earth and up in the sky can no longer put up with such massacres. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami,Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar,p. 37)
The hadiths concerning the Mahdi's coming speak of widespread slaughter in which innocent people are especially targeted. As we know, in almost every conflict today the basic target is innocent civilians, mainly women, children, and the elderly. Since civilians do not have the means to defend themselves, vast numbers of people are killed.
Besides these massacres, recent terrorist activities have focused on the mass eradication of unwanted people. Terrorism, which is designed to spread fear and dread among the general population, is an assault directed mainly against such public places as shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, and schools where people congregate.
Innocent people are always the targets of terrorist attacks, bombings, and acts of sabotage.
Corruption that no one can escape will occur and spread immediately to another place from where it stays.(Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar,pp. 21-22)
The above hadith speaks of a continuous long-term corruption that is global in extent. This Arabic word translated here as corruption, fitnah, means war, retribution, fighting, conflict. When we consider these meanings, we realize that this is an accurate description of the twentieth century, a time when war quickly spread to many nations, and when conflict, civil war, and chaos began and still continues today. Unfortunately, such violence still continues in the twenty-first century.
Year-by-Year Death Toll:
When we analyze the outbreaks of violence since the 1970s, we can see that when corruption ends in one place, it begins in another. During this period, conflict and civil strife occurred in many countries and regions: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine, Israel, North Korea, Cambodia, Eastern Turkistan (Xinjiang [northwestern China]), Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, Uganda, Algeria, Rwanda, Mozambique, Angola, Congo, Liberia, Burundi, Sudan, Lebanon, Argentina, Northern Ireland, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
1- over 10.000
These graphs show the number of deaths that occurred as a result of war and other conflicts during the twentieth century. The top graph shows how many people died in various parts of the world between 1950 and 1975. The lower graph depicts a regional representation of how many people died throughout the world between 1975 and 2000.
1- One hadith says that when the End Times begin, there will be endless tribulation. The twentieth century was full of wars, conflicts, and massacres that smothered the whole world.
World history is full of war and conflict, but those that occurred in the twentieth century are unique. First, the numbers of dead far surpassed the total of deaths in all other centuries. Second, until then war had always regional and restricted to a certain region. But in the twentieth century, it spread over the entire world. It seems that, in the last century, no country or region was immune from conflict or terrorism.
Third, the power of weapons is almost beyond human comprehension. The use of nuclear and chemical weapons inflicted unbelievable slaughter on the generation that lived through these conflicts, and succeeding generations continue to be affected by the long-term negative side effects. The first event that comes to mind in this regard is the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Today, one of the most threatening kinds of warfare is biological warfare. An example of this happened after the 9/11 terrorist attack, when letters containing the anthrax bacteria were sent to important addresses; to date, several people have died because of such letters.
In conclusion, it is likely that the corruption mentioned in this hadith consists of the wars, conflicts, chaos, and terrorism that began in the last century and continue into this one. All of these things may be signs that we are living in the End Times and that the Golden Age may be near.
God Almighty will send the Mahdi after despair has reached the point that people will say: "There is no Mahdi."(Narrated by Nu'aym ibn Hammad)
In the End Times, people will be full of pessimism, for seeing war, poverty, need, injustice, moral depravity, and epidemics all around them will cause them to lose their belief in the Mahdi's coming. Many Muslims will begin to believe that such problems will continue to be unsolvable, and so will lose their expectation of the coming Golden Age and the global prevalence of Islamic morality.
We see many examples of this spiritual state. For example, despite the many hadiths about the Mahdi's coming and the Golden Age's beauty, many people do not believe that such an age will come. But at a time when this pessimism is widespread, by God's grace the Golden Age will begin.
The poor will grow in number.(Amal ad-Din al-Qazwini,Mufid al-'Ulum wa Mubid al-Humum)
Three years before the Antichrist appears, there will be exceedingly stressful days and hunger will rule …(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah, p. 220)
Many hadiths speak of the hunger and poverty that will foretell the Mahdi's coming. Although hunger and destitution have existed throughout history, they will increase markedly around the world in the End Times.
Today, many people have nothing to eat or drink, live in unhealthy conditions, and have nowhere to stay. This situation is widespread in the Third World and, to a lesser extent, in America and Europe. While a small minority of people lives in luxury, billions of others live on the brink of starvation. In an article, an Oxfam official described the world situation in the following words:
One of the most frequently mentioned subjects concerning the End Times is the global spread of hunger, poverty, and destitution. But this dark period will end with the Golden Age, and God will keep His promise.
The frequent media accounts of hunger and destitution is a sign of the End Times. Even in the twenty-first century, many people still struggle with hunger and poverty. God willing, this situation will end with the beginning of the Golden Age.
When the Golden Age begins, all of these problems will disappear. Hunger, poverty, and destitution will be replaced by wealth and abundance. No one will be in need, because religion will be lived as God describes in the Qur'an and everyone will share what they have, for "beggars and the destitute received a due share of their wealth"> (Qur'an, 51:19). In a society that lives according to Islamic morality, there can be no destitute people, for believers will strive to avoid the state that God describes in the following terms:"He used not to believe in God the Magnificent, nor did he urge the feeding of the poor. Therefore, here today he has no friend"(Qur'an, 69:33-35). This will be the means whereby social justice, happiness, and abundance will be established in society.
One of the first signs of the End Times will be the terrible hunger and famine that will happen before the plenty and abundance of the Golden Age. In this period, people will not even have a loaf of bread to eat and many will die of starvation. But when the Golden Age begins, by God's mercy, human beings will have a wealth and abundance never before seen in the world.
People will prosper until the ninety-fifth year, that is, their business will prosper. In the ninety-seventh and the ninety-ninth year, their possessions will go to waste.(Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 54)
This hadith gives us some details about the state of the economy before the Golden Age dawns.
The ninety-fifth year probably refers to 1995, a year in which people were comparatively well-off and living conditions were fairly easy. The assertion that business will prosper means that people will have enough income to have a good living standard and have enough money to buy property. But during 1997-99, the economy worsened and poverty and need increased. In these years, property lost its value. We can see that this actually happened in Argentina, where the situation is still serious and continuing.
The inhabitants of Egypt and Sham [Damascus] will kill their ruler and his commands...(Ibn Hajar al-Haythami,Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 49)
1 - The Black Sea 2 - The Mediterranean Sea 3 - The Red Sea 4 - Syria 5 - Lebanon 6 - Jordan 7 - Hijaz 8 - Saudi Arabia 9 - Egypt
When we look at Egypt's recent history, we see that its ruler was killed: Anwar al-Sadat, who ruled the country from 1970-1981.
Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by his opponents while presiding over an official parade. Other Egyptian leaders who have been assassinated are Prime Minister Boutros Ghali (1910),
Prime Minister Ahmed Maher Pasha (1945), and Prime Minister Mahmoud Nokrashi Pasha (1948).
The word sham does not refer just to Damascus. In Arabic, sham means left and refers to the cities located to the left of Hijaz (where Makkah and Madinah are located).
14 Many leaders in this region have been assassinated, among them Syrian prime minister Salah al-Din Bitar (1920),
Syrian prime minister Droubi Pasha (1921), Syrian premier Muhsin al-Barazi (1949), King Abdullah of Jordan (1951), and Lebanese Phalangist leader Bashir Jemayel, after a bomb attack in 1982.15
Having discussed some of the signs foretelling the Mahdi's coming, we now turn our attention to various minor signs that will occur when the End Times begin. As they will happen before the Golden Age, they also can be regarded as signs of the Mahdi's coming.
When we examine the events mentioned in the hadiths containing this information, we see that each of them is being experienced in today's societies. While these events may appear negative at first sight, in reality they are forerunners of an age of abundance, plenty, happiness, peace, and security. After these events, God will inaugurate an age of light for all humanity. This is God's promise, which He has announced to His believers:
We wrote down in the Zabur, after the Reminder came: "It is My servants who are righteous who will inherit the earth." (Qur'an, 21:105)
And [He will give you] other things you love: support from God and imminent victory. Give good news to the believers! (Qur'an, 61:13)
1- King Abdullah of Jordan, assassinated in 1951 while praying in the al- Aqsa Mosque.
2- Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat, assassinated in 1981.
A time when booty is in the hands of certain people, trust is seen as booty, giving alms is seen as a heavy burden…(Muhammad ibn ‘Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah, p. 114)
Goods entrusted to one being regarded as booty, and the giving of alms being regarded as a loan (which is hard to repay)...(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah,, p. 139)
The Hour will come when adultery becomes widespread.(Al-Haythami, Kitab al-Fitan)
The Last Hour will not be established until they [wicked people] commit adultery on the roads [public ways].(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah,, p. 140)
The rebuilding of the ruined places in the world, and the ruination of constructed places are signs and portents of Doomsday. (Ismail Mutlu, Signs of the Last Day[Istanbul: Mutlu Publications,1999], p. 138)
When developed places are ruined, then Doomsday is no further away than the distance between your two fingers.(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah, p. 143)
1- Left: A section of Miami ruined by Hurricane Andrew in 1991. Above: A view of Miami today.
People will compete with one another in constructing high buildings.(Sahih Bukhari)
Most modern cities are composed of skyscrapers. The prediction in the hadith has come true.
Doomsday will not come until a person kills his brother.(Muhammad ibn ‘Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah, p. 141)
The conflict in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) between the Hutus and the Tutsis fleeing the violence in neighboring Rwanda, has been going on for years. This conflict has caused the death of countless children.
The community of the faithful will be on a favorable path until they encounter three things: goodness disappears, immoral children grow in number, and essekkarun appears amongst them… They asked: "What is essekkarun"? They answered: "A generation that will emerge in the End Times, among whom greetings will be regarded as vile oaths.(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah,, pp. 141-42)
… everyone complaining about decreased earnings ... the rich respected for their money ...(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah,, p. 146)
… stagnation in the markets, a reduction in earnings…(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah,, p. 148)
… business being slack. Everyone will complain: "I cannot sell, buy or earn money."(Muhammad ibn 'Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji,Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa'ah,, p. 152)
Today, unemployment, low wages, and earnings below the poverty line are problems found in many countries.
Doomsday will not come until your leaders kill and the wicked inherit your world.(Ibid., p. 141)
1- 20th Chronicle, s.127