Jul 18, 2011, 1:16 PM
Prediction of the above event has been a subject of discussion since time immemorial but has recently been revived by the dawn of the New Millennium when some people again predicted the end of this world because of some reasons best known to them. Once again it has resurfaced this year, although it might not have been formally publicized as it was during the Y2K. Some people have reportedly been disseminating literature purporting the emergence of the Hour on the 21st of May this year. This blasphemy, having the potentials of causing havoc , misleading and misinforming the public on a subject that everyone has a stake in, is what has prompted me to publish this article thereby shading some light on it based on the Islamic Faith and some contemporary thoughts outside the realm of Islam. In Islam, the end of this world consists of two phases namely;
1. Doomsday; this is a period of transition from this apparent world to the real world. It occurs when every life has ceased to exist and then this universe will be all destroyed i.e. the sun, the galaxies, the oceans, and the mountains will all be reduced to zero and only Allah will remain. Signs of the Hour by Al Shalabi, pg 15.
2. Resurrection: This is the period when Allah brings back to life everything that will stand trial before His court for their actions and words while in this temporal world. Everybody will be rewarded in accordance with their deeds and no one will be denied of their entitlements even if it were equivalent to the fragment of an atom. Tafsirul Kishaaf by Zamakhshari vol 4, pg 148.
The question on Doomsday is a question of time and nothing else, so we need some basic understanding of what time is before we can delve any further into trying to answer the question of; WHEN IS DOOMS DAY? In brief we will be looking at what is time, is it absolute or relative, how is it linked with the universe, what is the age of the universe, for how long has life existed on the surface of the earth, will life on this earth ever come to an end; if yes when and why, and if no, why and why not?
WHAT IS TIME? IF NOTHING HAPPENED, NOTHING CHANGED, TIME WOULD STOP. For time is nothing but change; it is change that we perceive occurring all around us, not time. Julian Barbour, The end of Time.
Similarly, the interval (time) between two events depends on how far apart they are (i.e. their occurrences). Fundamentals of Physics Extended, 5th Ed, pg963.In simpler terms, time is the measured gap that elapses between two events that occur independent of one another. Therefore, time can only be measured accurately if:
1. There are two events that have already occurred and their occurrence must be definite i.e. it should not be based on any assumption or conjecture.
2. There is an accurate time keeper that must be present before and after both events have occurred and the time keeper should start their measurement at the moment the first event began to the last second of the second event.
The time keeper could be the human mind or a time measuring device. A defect or flaw in any of the two mentioned conditions above will have a great impact on the accuracy of the measured time. This is why science and technology cannot still establish a concrete age for the universe, earth or life on earth. Improved scientific dating techniques have given increasing ages for the Earth. . Biological Science pg 879, third Ed, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Supposing that you woke up at exactly 6:00 am to go to the masjid for the dawn prayers and upon completing the rituals, you realized that the time was just 6:20 am. There and then you conclude that: from the moment you woke up (beginning of event of A) to the moment you completed the dawn prayers (end of event B) is definitely a time interval of exactly 20 minutes.
On the contrary, if you did not know or forgot either the beginning of event A or the end of event B, you will not be able to assign any time to the duration that elapsed between them. For example: at the moment you finished the dawn prayers, there were no natural means by which you could go back to see yourself again rising from the bed and preparing for prayers. Instead all you have as reference for the past is your memory. At that point, you have only the images of the past stored in your memory in soft copy. If you are able to retrieve these stored images very quickly, the past will be very recent to you and you will assign a short time to it but only after you have related it to your present situations. Similarly, if you are not able to retrieve this information quickly from your memory, you will assign a longer time to this duration. And if unfortunately you are completely unable to retrieve this information from the store – meaning the information is lost – it will appear to you as if nothing happened and therefore no time has elapsed .Therefore time is as relative as color i.e. it depends on the judgments of the each observer. Different people will give different judgments for a single color presented before them depending on their sensitivity or insensitivity to the rays of light emanating from the color. From the above scenario, we see the role played by memory, consciousness or awareness (frame of reference) in dating events as it is the basis of the relativity of time postulated by Dr. Einstein. We therefore conclude that TIME IS RELATIVE.
NATURE OF THE HUMAN INTELLECT
Is the human intellect absolute? And what I mean by that is, can the human intellect perceive and know every bit of a change that occurs across universe at any point in time? For example, how many droplets of water fell down as rain since it began raining, how many milliliters of water have evaporated from all water bodies into the atmosphere since evaporation started, the total number joules that has been emitted from the nuclear reactions taking place in the core of the sun from the first day, how many leaves have fallen from all trees since flowering started? And the list goes on up to infinity. There is only one and solitary answer to all the above questions i.e. NO. Ask me WHY? The mind being the sole driving force behind what we know about the environment, does not actually come into direct contact with the ecosystem and as a result it heavily relies on the reports sent by its correspondents namely: the eye, ear, skin, tongue and the nose and all these are limited in so many ways . For example you cannot see from behind or without light neither can you hear from a far distance. Therefore, the human faculty of reason and thought is limited on these bases, but whose IS NOT limited?
THE PRESENT, PAST AND FUTURE
Because time is relative and the human is mind limited as to the amount of data that it can obtain from the environment, process and store it, time is divided into the above three categories. Whosoever is confined to space and time has their time divided into three folds. This is why you cannot listen to or watches more than one thing at a time, but who can listen to the whole creation at the same time in their multitudes of different tones, voices, languages and so on?
Supposing that the memory of a computer is analogous in function to the human brain i.e. in receiving ,processing and storing data, then the speed at which data is uploaded or downloaded, processed and stored will be directly proportional to the volume of data available for as long as the memory limit is not exceeded. In that regard, more data will need more time to process and store; and less data will need less and the computer will stop working or explode if the memory limit is exceeded.
Similarly, your brain will crash if it were exposed to such a huge amount data that exceeds its limit as in the case of the computer i.e. all the three times (present, past and future) presented you at a go. To avoid this instead, the right amount of data is presented by nature to you in due proportions in the form of the past, present or future. Imagine if all these times were shown to you at the same time, you will need more than a 6-D Technology to view and comprehend all the images. Then light will not travel in a straight line, sound will pass through vacuums and then nothing absolutely will be hidden from your vision and hearing. There will be no time, direction or space. And no day , no night, no east ,no west ,no up, no down ,no in ,no out and with no doubt you will be able to see every atom and hear even their whispers. If all this MYSTERY is not possible with you, then to who IS IT?
HOW OLD IS TIME
Do not be baffled by the question, the answer is relatively simple and logical. As far as I know, Professor Stephen Hawking is the most outstanding advocate of the idea of the nonexistence of time prior to the Big Bang.”Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang are simply not defined. Hawking, Stephen (1996). “The Beginning of Time”. University of Cambridge
This is relatively easy to refute using Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
In Biology, it is a superficial fact that a child is only born after its parents have lived up to maturation and then there is the possibility of mating between them i.e. a child cannot be older than its parents but in this case, the Professor assumes the contrary in respect to the formation of the universe.
According to chemical kinetics in Chemistry, products will only form after the reactants have undergone all the series of steps involved in the reaction mechanism which really takes time. Therefore there was time before, during and after the formation of the earth from the Big Bang reaction.
In Physics, Newton’s First Law of motion states; every object must remain in its initial state for as long as no external force acts upon it. And we all know that the force that brought about the Big Bang was so huge that it must have taken at least a nanosecond do that. In short, time definitely existed well before the Big Bang.
Newton believed that God set up (created) the universe at sometime in the past by placing objects in absolute space with definite motions; after that the laws of motion took over. Julian Barbour, The end of Time, pg 22. Consequently no one knows how old time is, except the one who created it, according to Newton. Therefore, if you do not know the age of time, how could you date the universe? It is the same paradox that Darwinianism crumbled into when they failed to substantially explain how the first molecule of matter became a living entity. According to the German physician Rudolf Virchow; where a cell exists, there must have been a preexisting cell, just as the animal comes only from an animal and the plant only from a plant i.e. life comes only from life. N A Campbell, Biology 3rd Ed pg 221. This is the basic principle of the cell theory.
HOW OLD IS THE EARTH
On the assumption that Adam was the first civilized being on earth, Archbishop Ussher of Armagh calculated in 1650 AD that God created the world in October 4004 BC, beginning on October 1st and finishing with Man at 9:00 am on the morning of October 23rd .He achieved this figure by adding up the ages of all people in the Biblical genealogies from Adam to Christ (the begats).Whilst the arithmetic is sound , it places Adam as having lived at a time when archeological evidence suggests there was already a well-established civilizations in the Middle East. The traditional judaeo-christianity account of creation in Genesis 1:1-26 has attracted, and continuous to attract, controversy. Biological Science pg 879, third Ed, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
It is generally agreed by astronauts, geologists and biologists that the Earth is 4.5-5.0 thousand million years old. Estimates of the age the Earth have varied greatly since the 4004 BC of Archbishop Ussher to the present-day values of 5000 million years based on radioactive carbon decay dates. Ibid, pg 880. Improved scientific dating techniques have given increased ages for the earth. See previous quotes.
From the above, we can substantially argue with confidence that the exact age of the earth will never be known for as long as science does not stop developing improved dating techniques. Ironically that will only happen at the end of time and therefore the exact age of the earth will never be known.
Does the final Testament (Holy Quran) have any share in this debate? Of course it must, to assume the role and dignity of a Final Testament. Let’s analyze the content of Chapter 2, Verse 30 of this Holy Book regarding the age of the earth and life on earth . “Behold, thy Lord said to the angles: I will create a vicegerent on earth. They said: wilt Thou place therein one who will make MISCHIEF therein and SHED BLOOD? Yusuf Ali, pg 24.The angels do not have knowledge of the unseen unless when they are told by Allah, therefore their only source of knowledge of what they said was from past experience i.e. some other beings had before inhabited the earth and therein caused the mischief and bloodshed mentioned above. It is also a consensus among the Ahlu Sunna that there is no crime without a prior constitution that commands and prohibits one thing or the other. And the word MISCHIEF which translates in Arabic as “FASAAD” is used to denote that there existed a code of conduct in place that everyone had to abide by. This also shows that these beings were intelligent enough to live in organized societies and even manufacture their own weapons with which they caused bloodshed. Tafsirul Qurtubi vol 1, pg 409. So the Quran totally agrees with the existence of well established civilizations well before Man stepped on earth but when and how is not mentioned.
Secondly, how many years is it since human life started on earth is also not known.’ And many generations between these (have passed). Quran 25; 38.Meaning that, the number of nations, generations or civilizations that passed in between the mentioned people ( Aad, Samud and Folks of the Well) are so much that only Allah Alone knows them. Tafsirul Qurtubi vol 15, pg 414.From the above two verses we can conclude that: life has long existed on earth well before the coming of the first Man: and for how long has Man lived on earth is not also exactly known.
WILL THIS WORLD COME TO AN END?
Most definitely yes, this world will one day or the other come to an absolute END. According to Newton’s first Law of motion, an object in existence will remain existing for as long as no external force does not put out of existence. Corollary, an object not in existence will remain so for as long as no external force brings it into existence. And the universe is an object so undoubtedly it is subject to the laws and principles that govern anything other God. The only difference between the Quran and Darwinianism in this subject is the source of the force that brought about the change. According to the Quran(21;30), Allah initially created this universe as a single massed up entity and then expounded it into what we see as the earth, galaxies and so on. While they suggest that probably, dust from nowhere started accumulating, forming compounds reacting with one another for millions of years and eventually becoming the universe and whatsoever …………….. a long fairytale! Therefore the force that initially brought this universe out of nowhere and is controlling it in every respect is capable of ending this universe at time it so wills. Unequivocally this world will definitely come to an end.
We finally draw the curtain on this subject by saying: for as long as we do not know the exact ages of Time, the Universe, and life on earth then we cannot know when exactly will this world come to an end because if you do not know where you are coming from, then you will never know your destination.
In the Religion of Islam, believing in the emergence of the Hour (end of this world) is one of the six fundamental pillars of FAITH, but believing that no one but Allah Alone knows it is as important as the pillar itself. It is not only the end of this world but also the day when the whole creation will stand before the divine court of justice. On that day, everybody will be rewarded according to their deeds and actions while in this earthly life. Those who thought to have beaten manmade judiciary systems either through bribery or etc, and walked free from heinous crimes they atrociously committed to weak and voiceless innocent souls under any pretext will be brought to book on that day. By default, it is the most talked about event in the Quran as it is referred to in more than 360 places. The Prophet was only commanded by Allah to swear in His name in the whole Quran in only three places (64; 7, 34; 3 and 10; 52).In the first two places he was asked to swear vehemently that the Hour must come and in the other that the Quran is definitely the Word of Allah just to convince the questioners. In these places and others ( 7;187, 33;64, 75;6 and 79;42-44),the questions were also directed to the Prophet as to when exactly will be the Hour and the response came from Allah that He Alone knows about it and it will hover over the whole creation unexpectedly. According to Ibn Kathir, it has up to 80 different names all in the Quran. Waabil, Signs of the Hour, pg 37. All these show the concern and importance that Allah has attached to this great Event. Because if it fails to happen, religion will just tantamount to fairytales and that would be an insult to God. This is amply outlined in the Holy Bible in Mark 13; 32-33 as ‘No one knows about that day or Hour, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. NIV Quotations.
Although nobody knows exactly when the Hour is due, it occurs in three sequences namely; individual (one single soul departing at a time), particular (extinction of a whole generation e.g. 1850-2000) and general (total discontinuance of any life).Furthermore, there are some signs that have been stated as indicators to the approach of the Hour and are also divided into major and minor sings. According to Dr Al Ouraifi in his book Nihaayatul Arlam or The End of the World, there are a total of 137 major and minor signs of the approach of the Hour mentioned from both The Book and the Sunna. And of these, 84 minor signs have already appeared but none of the major ones has yet come to pass. Although authorities differ in the exact interpretations of these signs, we summarize few of those signs that we are already living with in our daily lives.
1. Parents becoming servants to their children instead of the other way round
2. Emergence of women who walk the street apparently with no cover on them.
3. People who were originally destitute vaingloriously complete in constructing lofty buildings amongst themselves.
4. Market monopoly by a select-few.
5. Widespread of false witnesses and conspiracies.
6. Severing of family ties for materialistic reasons.
7. Stinginess in giving out Zakat and negligence in the sources of income i.e. whether from halal or haram sources.
8. Exploitation of the poor masses by the wealthy minority for their selfish interests.
9. Expensive dowries: If one can afford a friend that bows to their dictates at no cost how long will it take before they realize their mistakes. This can partly be used to explain why the widespread marital insincerities, unnecessary divorces and the absence of tranquility in the homes.
10. Increase in the female populations and decrease in the male populations. How many compounds do you walk into and you only find mummy and or grandma?
11. Widespread of moral decadence and immorality of all fashions.
12. Rise in alcohol consumption, gambling and drug abuse.
Let’s just list some of the major signs that are physically tangible and then try to dilate on some of them below.
1. The appearance of Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog).
2. The emergence of Dajjal (The Impostor) and the Mahdi (The Reformer).
3. Appearance of a beast narrating to the folks of the severe nature of the sins they have been committing.
4. The rising of the sun from the west indicating the closure of the door to repentance.
5. Descend of Prophet Isa (Jesus) Peace be upon him. You might be tempted to ask, what does Jesus have to do with Islam or the emergence of the Hour? Well, according to the Holy Quran-(33:7) - he is one of the five mightiest Prophets. No Muslim’s faith is viable without respecting and adoring him like any other prophet-including Prophet Muhammad- with no distinction, Quran (2: 284).He is mentioned in the Quran by name and title in no less than 25 times. This is highly attested to by number of Muslims called Isa i.e. Jesus or Mariam i.e. Mary. This is why when our brothers defame and slander our Prophet for political reasons by ways of caricatures and verbal abuses, we only retaliate by burning their national flags and severing diplomatic ties with their nations and not the other way round.
Then what is the point in Jesus being a sign of the Hour in Islam? The greatest source of differences between the three ecclesial religions of the world-Islam, Judaism and Christianity- is the on the issue of Prophet Isa. Some people not only disregard his prophetic status and miraculous birth, but they go as far as accusing him of being born out of wedlock, ‘Subhanallah’! See Kanzul Marrsoud pg 89. The Quran refutes this unworthy allegations and reduces them to scattered dust as being unfounded.” Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger; many were The Messengers that passed before him. His mother was a woman of truth (chaste, godly, righteous and a saint of the highest grades). They both had to eat (their daily) food”. Quran 5; 75 see Translation by A Y Ali pg 272.And for some others, out of reverence because of the inexplicable, extraordinary circumstance surrounding his birth, he was pronounced the Son of God, Begotten Son of God (John 3;16 NIV) or God. The Quran again clarifies this statement and declares him only a prophet and a servant of God like any other being. Quran 5; 72.So the Quran came as a referee between the two differing parties but they did not heed to it. Now by the grace Of Allah, he (Prophet Jesus) is physically descending onto to earth and arbitrate between them and this will suffice for the debate.
All the aforementioned signs are only indicators of the approach of the Hour but they are not the acid test. According to the author of Adawaa ul Bayaan in his combined interpretations of 25; 77 and 51; 57 supported by a hadith reported Imam Muslim saying: “The Hour will never come until such a time that no one earth proclaims the word Allah, Allah; the respite of this world depends on the purpose for which it was created-servitude based on pure monotheism. Human beings are wise and for that reason they do not things without any purpose. For example someone that rents a state-of-the-earth mansion to a tenant expects rental fees at the end of any agreed period but if the tenant fails to honor the agreement, the landlord will have no choice than sending him out of the flat. Inevitably, Allah created this magnificent universe for purposes and one of them is worship. “Did ye think that We had created you in jest (vain), and that ye will would not be brought back to us (for judgment, account or reckoning)”, Quran 23:115. Therefore, anytime the world is devoid of this solemn purpose it will be sent packing as no situation outlives its purpose.
Accordingly, the knowledge of the Hour is not rested with any being whatsoever, not even the angles or the prophets much more the lesser scientists and any ignoramuses. It is most unfortunate that – because of spiritual emptiness- people are terrorized by this propaganda. So relax and observe your rituals; five daily prayers, fast, give out your zakat and so on. Prepare a worthy provision for your final journey to the land of eternity and reward and then you are never bothered about when this world ends.