ISIS’ Millenarian Theory and its Refutation: Perspectives from Islam on Mahdaviat Doctrine and its Misinterpretations (Part 2)

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

30 May 2016

Note: A large part of the attraction of ISIS for Muslim youth is its millenarian thesis. It has convinced many that end of times is at hand, that they are engaged in the end-times battle, the Malhama. This has made the war they are engaged in imperative and urgent. Millenarianism or Islamic Eschatology, ilm-e-Aakhiruzzaman, was an inspiration behind some ideologues of al-Qaeda as well. But Osama bin Laden himself and most of his ideologues did not emphasize it much. As for ISIS, even in its previous avatar as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīdwa-al-Jihād (The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad) founded in 1999 by Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi which later pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, several ideologues strongly believed in the apocalyptic worldview, the theory of this war being the final great war, al-Malhama al-Kubra, in which Islam will conquer the world.

World domination has been a Muslim dream for ever. Books like Qeyamat ki Peshingoyian, or prophesies of the Prophet about the last days on earth have always been a bestseller in Muslim religious bookshops in every part of the world. No matter how irrational, Muslims of all denominations have for ever been waiting for a Mahdi or an Imam who will appear in the final days and set everything right. Indeed, this belief cuts across religious barriers. Believers in a number of religions are looking forward to the sudden appearance of a deliverer. This has made the task of ISIS easier. To help us understand this phenomenon better, New Age Islam is presenting a study by our regular columnist Mr. Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, a classical Islamic scholar who specialises in comparative religion. — Editor

Mahdaviat Doctrine in Islam

Muslims are awaiting the advent of Imam Mahdi and re-emergence of Hazrat Isa Alayhissalam (Jesus Christ, peace be upon him) to fight against Dajjal (anti-Christ) at Al-Malhama Al-Kubra (the Great Battle) so as to establish peace, justice, fairness, righteousness and security the world over. This is the Mahdaviat Doctrine in Islam. It is based on the foundational premises of the Islamic eschatology, which is divided into two categories: (1) al-Alaamat al-Sughra or the Minor Signs and (2) al-Alaamat al-Kubra or the Major Signs.

In Islam, the Mahdaviat doctrine is given paramount importance based on both the above categories. The first category implies the surest signs of the end-time when the awaited Messiah (al-Masih al-Mawud) will appear, and therefore it is termed as “The Major Signs of Qayamah (Al-alamat As-Saa’a Al-Kubra). The second category denotes the minor signs of the end-time that will precede the Major Signs. Some of the signs preceding the emergence of Hazrat Imam Mahdi as mentioned in various Islamic traditions are: (1) Disputes and differences among People, (2) A battle will take place in Mina (3) The Euphrates will disclose a mountain of gold etc.  I would like to reproduce below both the major and minor signs of the end-time, on which the Islamic Mahdaviat Doctrine is based, in the light of the Prophetic traditions.

The Minor Signs (Al-Alaamaat Al-Sughra) in the Prophetic Traditions (Hadith)

Ø Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

The Last Hour would not come before the Euphrates uncovers a mountain of gold, for which people would fight. Ninety-nine out of each one hundred would die but every man amongst them would say that perhaps he would be the one who would be saved (and thus possess this gold).

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا يَعْقُوبُ، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الْقَارِيَّ – عَنْ سُهَيْلٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يَحْسِرَ الْفُرَاتُ عَنْ جَبَلٍ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ يَقْتَتِلُ النَّاسُ عَلَيْهِ فَيُقْتَلُ مِنْ كُلِّ مِائَةٍ تِسْعَةٌ وَتِسْعُونَ وَيَقُولُ كُلُّ رَجُلٍ p[مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِّي أَكُونُ أَنَا الَّذِي أَنْجُو ‏”‏ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim 2894, Book 54, Hadith 38)

Ø This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Suhail with the same chain of transmitters but with this addition: “My father said: If you see that, do not even go near it.”

وَحَدَّثَنِي أُمَيَّةُ بْنُ بِسْطَامَ، حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ زُرَيْعٍ، حَدَّثَنَا رَوْحٌ، عَنْ سُهَيْلٍ، بِهَذَا الإِسْنَادِ نَحْوَهُ وَزَادَ فَقَالَ أَبِي إِنْ رَأَيْتَهُ فَلاَ تَقْرَبَنَّهُ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim 2894, Book 54, Hadith 39)

Ø Ibn ‘Umar reported that he heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying (in a state) that he had turned his face towards the east: Behold, turmoil would appear from this side, from where the horns of Satan would appear.

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا لَيْثٌ، ح وَحَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ رُمْحٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ مُسْتَقْبِلُ الْمَشْرِقِ يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ أَلاَ إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ هَا هُنَا أَلاَ إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ هَا هُنَا مِنْ حَيْثُ يَطْلُعُ قَرْنُ الشَّيْطَانِ ‏”‏‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 58)

Ø Ibn `Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) stood by the door (of the apartment of) Hafsa and, pointing towards the east, he said:

The turmoil would appear from this side, viz. where the horns of Satan would appear, and he uttered these words twice or thrice and `Ubaidullah b. Sa`id in his narration said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had been standing by the door of `A’isha.

حَدَّثَنِي عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ الْقَوَارِيرِيُّ، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، وَحَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ، سَعِيدٍ كُلُّهُمْ عَنْ يَحْيَى الْقَطَّانِ، قَالَ الْقَوَارِيرِيُّ حَدَّثَنِي يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ، عُمَرَ حَدَّثَنِي نَافِعٌ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَامَ عِنْدَ بَابِ حَفْصَةَ فَقَالَ بِيَدِهِ نَحْوَ الْمَشْرِقِ ‏ “‏ الْفِتْنَةُ هَا هُنَا مِنْ حَيْثُ يَطْلُعُ قَرْنُ الشَّيْطَانِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَهَا مَرَّتَيْنِ أَوْ ثَلاَثًا ‏.‏ وَقَالَ عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ فِي رِوَايَتِهِ قَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عِنْدَ بَابِ عَائِشَةَ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 59)

Ø Salim b. Abdullah reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), while turning his face towards the east, said:

The turmoil would appear from this side; verily, the turmoil would appear from this side; verily, the turmoil would appear from this side – the side where appear the horns of Satan.

وَحَدَّثَنِي حَرْمَلَةُ بْنُ يَحْيَى، أَخْبَرَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي يُونُسُ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ سَالِمِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ وَهُوَ مُسْتَقْبِلُ الْمَشْرِقِ ‏ “‏ هَا إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ هَا هُنَا هَا إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ هَا هُنَا هَا إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ هَا هُنَا مِنْ حَيْثُ يَطْلُعُ قَرْنُ الشَّيْطَانِ ‏”‏‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 60)

Ø Ibn Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came out from the house of ‘Aisha and said: “It would be from this side that there would appear the height of unbelief, viz. where appear the horns of Satan, i.e. the east”.

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ بْنِ عَمَّارٍ، عَنْ سَالِمٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ خَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنْ بَيْتِ عَائِشَةَ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ رَأْسُ الْكُفْرِ مِنْ هَا هُنَا مِنْ حَيْثُ يَطْلُعُ قَرْنُ الشَّيْطَانِ ‏”‏‏.‏ يَعْنِي الْمَشْرِقَ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 61)

Ø Ibn Umar reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying while pointing his hands towards the east: “The turmoil would appear from this side; verily, the turmoil would appear from this side (he repeated it thrice) where appear the horns of Satan”.

وَحَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ نُمَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ سُلَيْمَانَ – أَخْبَرَنَا حَنْظَلَةُ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ سَالِمًا، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ ابْنَ عُمَرَ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُشِيرُ بِيَدِهِ نَحْوَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَيَقُولُ ‏”‏ هَا إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ هَا هُنَا هَا إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ هَا هُنَا ‏”‏‏.‏ ثَلاَثًا ‏”‏ حَيْثُ يَطْلُعُ قَرْنَا الشَّيْطَانِ ‏”‏‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 54, Hadith 62)

Ø Ibn Fudail reported on the authority of his father that he heard Salim b. `Abdullah b. `Umar as saying: O people of Iraq, how strange it is that you ask about the minor sins but commit major sins? I heard from my father `Abdullah b. `Umar, narrating that he heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying while pointing his hand towards the east: Verily, the turmoil would come from this side, from where appear the horns of Satan and you would strike the necks of one another; and Moses killed a person from among the people of Pharaoh unintentionally and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: “You killed a person but We relieved you from the grief and tried you with (many a) trial” (xx. 40). Ahmad b. `Umar reported this Hadith from Salim, but he did not make a mention of the words: “I heard”.

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ بْنِ أَبَانَ، وَوَاصِلُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الأَعْلَى، وَأَحْمَدُ بْنُ عُمَرَ الْوَكِيعِيُّ، – وَاللَّفْظُ لاِبْنِ أَبَانَ – قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ فُضَيْلٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ سَالِمَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، بْنِ عُمَرَ يَقُولُ يَا أَهْلَ الْعِرَاقِ مَا أَسْأَلَكُمْ عَنِ الصَّغِيرَةِ وَأَرْكَبَكُمْ لِلْكَبِيرَةِ سَمِعْتُ أَبِي عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏”‏ إِنَّ الْفِتْنَةَ تَجِيءُ مِنْ هَا هُنَا ‏”‏‏.‏ وَأَوْمَأَ بِيَدِهِ نَحْوَ الْمَشْرِقِ ‏”‏ مِنْ حَيْثُ يَطْلُعُ قَرْنَا الشَّيْطَانِ ‏”‏‏.‏ وَأَنْتُمْ يَضْرِبُ بَعْضُكُمْ رِقَابَ بَعْضٍ وَإِنَّمَا قَتَلَ مُوسَى الَّذِي قَتَلَ مِنْ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ خَطَأً فَقَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَهُ ‏{‏ وَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا فَنَجَّيْنَاكَ مِنَ الْغَمِّ وَفَتَنَّاكَ فُتُونًا‏}‏ قَالَ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ عُمَرَ فِي رِوَايَتِهِ عَنْ سَالِمٍ لَمْ يَقُلْ سَمِعْتُ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 54, Hadith 63)

Ø Hudhaifa b. Usaid al-Ghifari reported: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion). He said: What do you discuss about? They (the Companions) said. We are discussing about the Last Hour. Thereupon he said: It will not come until you see ten signs before and (in this connection) he made a mention of the smoke, Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (Allah be pleased with him), the Gog and Magog, and land-slides in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia at the end of which fire would burn forth from the Yemen, and would drive people to the place of their assembly.

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو خَيْثَمَةَ، زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ وَإِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ الْمَكِّيُّ – وَاللَّفْظُ لِزُهَيْرٍ – قَالَ إِسْحَاقُ أَخْبَرَنَا وَقَالَ الآخَرَانِ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ بْنُ عُيَيْنَةَ، عَنْ فُرَاتٍ، الْقَزَّازِ عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ أَسِيدٍ الْغِفَارِيِّ، قَالَ اطَّلَعَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ نَتَذَاكَرُ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مَا تَذَاكَرُونَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا نَذْكُرُ السَّاعَةَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّهَا لَنْ تَقُومَ حَتَّى تَرَوْنَ قَبْلَهَا عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَذَكَرَ الدُّخَانَ وَالدَّجَّالَ وَالدَّابَّةَ وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا وَنُزُولَ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَيَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ وَثَلاَثَةَ خُسُوفٍ خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ وَخَسْفٌ بِجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَآخِرُ ذَلِكَ نَارٌ تَخْرُجُ مِنَ الْيَمَنِ تَطْرُدُ النَّاسَ إِلَى مَحْشَرِهِمْ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 54, Hadith 51)

Ø Hudhaifa b. Usaid reported:

Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) was in an apartment and we were beneath that, that he peeped in and said to us: What are you discussing about? We said: (We are discussing about the Last) Hour. Thereupon he said: The Last Hour would not come until the ten signs appear: land-sliding in the east, and land-sliding in the west, and land-sliding in the peninsula of Arabia, the smoke, the Dajjal, the beast of the earth, Gog and Magog, the rising of the sun from the west and the fire which would emit from the lower part of ‘Adan. Shu’ba said that ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Rufai’ reported on the authority of Abu Tufail who reported on the authority of Abu Sariha a Hadith like this that Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) did not make a mention of (the tenth sign) but he said that out of the ten one was the descent of Jesus Christ, son of Mary (peace be upon him), and in another version it is the blowing of the violent gale which would drive the people to the ocean.

حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ الْعَنْبَرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ فُرَاتٍ الْقَزَّازِ، عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ، عَنْ أَبِي سَرِيحَةَ، حُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ أَسِيدٍ قَالَ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي غُرْفَةٍ وَنَحْنُ أَسْفَلَ مِنْهُ فَاطَّلَعَ إِلَيْنَا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مَا تَذْكُرُونَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْنَا السَّاعَةَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ لاَ تَكُونُ حَتَّى تَكُونَ عَشْرُ آيَاتٍ خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ وَخَسْفٌ فِي جَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَالدُّخَانُ وَالدَّجَّالُ وَدَابَّةُ الأَرْضِ وَيَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ وَطُلُوعُ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا وَنَارٌ تَخْرُجُ مِنْ قُعْرَةِ عَدَنٍ تَرْحَلُ النَّاسَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ شُعْبَةُ وَحَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ رُفَيْعٍ عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ عَنْ أَبِي سَرِيحَةَ ‏.‏ مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ لاَ يَذْكُرُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقَالَ أَحَدُهُمَا فِي الْعَاشِرَةِ نُزُولُ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ وَقَالَ الآخَرُ وَرِيحٌ تُلْقِي النَّاسَ فِي الْبَحْرِ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 54, Hadith 52)

Ø Abu Sariha reported:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was in an (upper) apartment and we were standing lower to him and discussing (about the Last Hour). The rest of the hadith is the same, and Shu’ba said: I think he also said these words: The fire would descend along with them where they would land and where they would take rest (during midday (it would also cool down for a while). Shu’ba said: This Hadith has been transmitted to me through Abu Tufail and Abu Sariha and none could trace it back directly to Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ). However, there is a mention of the descent of Jesus Christ son of Mary in one version and in the other there is a mention of the blowing of a violent gale which would drive them to the ocean.

وَحَدَّثَنَاهُ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ جَعْفَرٍ – حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ فُرَاتٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا الطُّفَيْلِ، يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ أَبِي سَرِيحَةَ، قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي غُرْفَةٍ وَنَحْنُ تَحْتَهَا نَتَحَدَّثُ ‏.‏ وَسَاقَ الْحَدِيثَ بِمِثْلِهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ شُعْبَةُ وَأَحْسِبُهُ قَالَ تَنْزِلُ مَعَهُمْ إِذَا نَزَلُوا وَتَقِيلُ مَعَهُمْ حَيْثُ قَالُوا ‏.‏ قَالَ شُعْبَةُ وَحَدَّثَنِي رَجُلٌ هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ عَنْ أَبِي سَرِيحَةَ وَلَمْ يَرْفَعْهُ قَالَ أَحَدُ هَذَيْنِ الرَّجُلَيْنِ نُزُولُ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَقَالَ الآخَرُ رِيحٌ تُلْقِيهِمْ فِي الْبَحْرِ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 54, Hadith 53)

Ø Abu Sariha reported: We were discussing (the Last Hour) that Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) looked towards us. The rest of the hadith is the same and the tenth (sign) was the descent of Jesus Christ son of Mary, and Shu’ba said: ‘Abd al-‘Aziz did not trace it directly to Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ).

وَحَدَّثَنَاهُ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النُّعْمَانِ الْحَكَمُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْعِجْلِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ فُرَاتٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا الطُّفَيْلِ، يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ أَبِي سَرِيحَةَ، قَالَ كُنَّا نَتَحَدَّثُ فَأَشْرَفَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ بِنَحْوِ حَدِيثِ مُعَاذٍ وَابْنِ جَعْفَرٍ ‏.‏ وَقَالَ ابْنُ الْمُثَنَّى حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النُّعْمَانِ الْحَكَمُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ عَبْدِ، الْعَزِيزِ بْنِ رُفَيْعٍ عَنْ أَبِي الطُّفَيْلِ، عَنْ أَبِي سَرِيحَةَ، بِنَحْوِهِ قَالَ وَالْعَاشِرَةُ نُزُولُ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ‏.‏ قَالَ شُعْبَةُ وَلَمْ يَرْفَعْهُ عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ ‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 54, Hadith 54)

Ma’qil b. Yasar reported Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) as saying:

Worshiping during the period of widespread turmoil is like emigration towards me.

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى، أَخْبَرَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ، عَنْ مُعَلَّى بْنِ زِيَادٍ، عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ، قُرَّةَ عَنْ مَعْقِلِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ح وَحَدَّثَنَاهُ قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادٌ، عَنِ الْمُعَلَّى بْنِ زِيَادٍ، رَدَّهُ إِلَى مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ قُرَّةَ رَدَّهُ إِلَى مَعْقِلِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ رَدَّهُ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ الْعِبَادَةُ فِي الْهَرْجِ كَهِجْرَةٍ إِلَىَّ ‏”‏‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 54, Hadith 163, Chapter: The Virtue of Worship At Times of Turmoil)

Ø It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed:

Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. During (that stormy period) a man would be a Muslim in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening or he would be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning, and would sell his faith for worldly goods.

حَدَّثَنِي يَحْيَى بْنُ أَيُّوبَ، وَقُتَيْبَةُ، وَابْنُ، حُجْرٍ جَمِيعًا عَنْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ، – قَالَ ابْنُ أَيُّوبَ حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، – قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي الْعَلاَءُ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ بَادِرُوا بِالأَعْمَالِ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا أَوْ يُمْسِي مُؤْمِنًا وَيُصْبِحُ كَافِرًا يَبِيعُ دِينَهُ بِعَرَضٍ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا ‏”‏‏.‏

(Sahih Muslim, book 1, Hadith 220, Chapter: Encouragement to hasten to do good deeds before the emergence of the Fitnah).

The Major Signs (Al-Alaamaat Al-Kubra) in the Prophetic Traditions

Having mentioned above the prophetic sayings and Hadith reports about the Minor Signs, I am now reproducing below the Hadith traditions about the emergence of Imam Mahdi and the awaited Messiah in Islam or al-Masih al-Mawud (Hazrat Isa, peace be upon him). Some of such Ahadith that clearly talk about the Major Signs of the end-time are mentioned below:

•        Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin: The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The Mahdi will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatimah”. … (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 36, Number 4271).

•        Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib (r.a): The Prophet (pbuh) said: “If only one day of this time (world) remained, Allah would raise up a man from my family who would fill this earth with justice as it has been filled with oppression. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 36, Number 4270).

•        “Hear the glad tidings of the Mahdi. He will be one of the Quraish and one of my line. (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 13).

•        “The peoples of the Earth and sky, and even the birds in the air, will be delighted at his (the Mahdi’s) caliphate. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 29).

•        “The Mahdi will appear with the flag of the Messenger of Allah (saas), when people have lost hope that they will be freed from the woes afflicting them”…. (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 55)

•        “The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus peace be upon him) descends amongst you as a just ruler… (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 656)

•        “I swear by Him in Whose hand is my soul: the son of Mary shall descend among you as a just ruler….” (Sahih Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)

•        “There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace be upon him). He will descend (to the earth). (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 37, Number 4310; Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and Tirmidhi)

•        “I swear by Allah that the son of Maryam will certainly descend as a just judge and will definitely break the cross and kill swine and abolish the Jizya and will leave the young she-camel and no one will endeavour to (collect Zakat) on it. Spite, mutual hatred and jealousy against one another will certainly disappear and when he summons people to accept riches, not even one will do so” (Narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira Radi Allahu Anhu, Sahih Muslim, The Book of faith, Hadith 298)

•        “What would you do when the son of Mary would descend amongst you and would lead you as one amongst you? Ibn Abi Dhi’b on the authority of Abu Huraira narrated: Your leader amongst you. Ibn Abi Dhi’b said: Do you know what the words:” He would lead as one amongst you” mean? I said: Explain these to me. He said: He would lead you according to the Book of your: Lord (hallowed be He and most exalted) and the Sunnah of your Apostle (SallaAllahualaihiwaSallam). (Narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira Radi Allahu Anhu, Sahih Muslim: The Book of faith, Hadith 301)

•        “… Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their (Muslims’) commander would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: No, some amongst you are commanders over some (amongst you). This is the honour from Allah for this Ummah. (Sahih Muslim, The Book of faith, Number 0293)

•        “How can a community be eliminated, when there is first me [the Prophet Muhammad (SallaAllahualaihiwaSallam)], Isa’ (peace be upon him) son of Maryam at the end, and the Mahdi, one of my line, between us? (Jalaladdin as-Suyuti, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, p. 78)

•        “The Mahdi will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatimah”. … (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 36, Number 4271)

•        “If only one day of this time (world) remained, Allah would raise up a man from my family who would fill this earth with justice as it has been filled with oppression. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 36, Number 4270)

•        “The peoples of the Earth and sky, and even the birds in the air, will be delighted at his (the Mahdi’s) caliphate”. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 29)

•        Hazrat Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SallaAllahualaihiwaSallam) said, “الآيات بعد المائتين” i.e. “The signs will be after two hundred years” (Sunan Ibn Majah, The book on Tribulations (Kitabul Fitan), chapter of signs (the day of Judgment), Hadith 4057)

•        Hazrat Abu Qatada narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said “The signs will continue to occur after two centuries” (Mishqat Shareef, Kitab ul Fitan, Baab Ashrat us  Saa’a, Hadith 5460)

•        “The signs will appear in the start of a 2nd century Hijri” (Mustadrak by Imam Hakim, Hadith 8319)

•        Imam Nuaim bin Hammad said, “the year of Imam Mahdi will be 204″ (Al Havi Al Fatawa..vol 2..page 139) (Kitab ul Fitan, Volume 1, page 334, Hadith 962)

Current Islamic Scholarship on the Mahdaviat Doctrine or Eschatology

The Mahdism doctrine in Islam revolves around an eschatological figure who will rise and establish a system built on the foundations of peace, justice and social order. In major part of the Islamic world particularly in Iran, the Mahdism doctrine is inherent in the socio-religious and political discourses.

It is noteworthy that a number of Islamic scholars such as the early Islamic philosopher and historiographer, Ibn Khaldun and the Indian Islamic philosopher and renowned Urdu poet, Allama Muhammad Iqbal have questioned the belief in the advent of Imam Mahdi.

Some of the contemporary Islamic thinkers like the founder-ideologue of al-Mawrid organization, Jawed Ahmad Ghamidi of Pakistan and the Founder-Director of New Age Islam Foundation, Sultan Shahin of India even go on to dismiss Muslims’ obsession with the entire millenarian thesis with contempt and disapproval. But majority of the Islamic clerics of all Muslim sects and hues not only declare it a mistaken assertion but also akin to a ‘grave sin in Islam’.

While Muslims in general prefer to get content waiting to see and join the Imam Mahdi, a growing number of contemporary Islamic scholars are thoroughly studying the subject to strive for a deeper understanding of the Mahdaviat doctrine. For instance, a Sunni Islamic scholar specializing in Islamic Eschatology Sheikh Imran Nazar Hosein has conceptualized the Institute of Islamic Eschatology (Ilmaakhir Al-Zamaan). He has authored various books on this subject like Ilmuaakhir Al-Zamaan (Islamic eschatology), An Islamic View of Gog and Magog in the Modern Age, Jerusalem in the Qur’an, Methodology for the Study of Dajjāl in the Qur’ān and others. In fact, he wrote his thesis on ‘Post-Caliphate Islam and the Search for a New Islamic Public Order’ for a PhD in International Relations at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva in 1976. He felt that his research on this subject would remain incomplete without a proper study and understanding of Islamic eschatology. He concluded in his research on Islamic eschatology, that the Islamic Caliphate will be restored with the advent of Imam Mandi and the return of Isa (‘Alaihis Salam) in perhaps another 25-30 years. But he also averred that it is not possible for the Islamic state to be restored so long as the Gog and Magog world-order persists. Notably, it took him 36 years to grasp Islamic eschatology and even then, he confessed that there were parts of the subject which still eluded his understanding. Therefore, he decided to establish an Institute of Islamic Eschatology, where the subject can be taught.

The modernist Turkish scholar and Islamic creationist, Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar) has also written on this subject in the light of the Hadiths. In his detailed exegetic answer to the question whether what will happen in the Middle East in the end times, he writes:

“The Middle East is the most important of the regions referred to by our Prophet (s.a.a.s) in the context of events that will take place in the end times. Indeed, the majority of the portents described in the Hadiths have happened in the Middle East. In addition, there are a great many other accounts from our Prophet (s.a.a.s) regarding the region. Looked at in general, the common feature of these accounts is that the chaos, strife, and major events in the lands of the Middle East will continue until the appearance of the Mahdi. Throughout history, the Middle East, which includes such cities as Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, Baghdad, and Istanbul, has been a region in which the holy prophets of Allah have lived, one which witnessed the birth of the three monotheistic religions, and a holy region in which the sacred sites of all three religions were built. It is reported in Hadiths that a region that has always played a leading role on the stage of history will also come to the fore in the end times, when glorious events will take place”.

More and more scholars and Islamic institutions are now engaging in the study of the apocalyptic theories and millenarian thesis in different parts of the Muslim world. For instance, there is a Bright Future Institute in Iran, which is a non-profit research centre based in the city of Qum. It focuses on research works on the Messianism in world religions in general and Islamic doctrine of Mahdaviat in particular. It has independently delivered various educational and research works on the Mahdaviat doctrine, considering saviour-based interaction and dialogue between religions a source of inspiration for interfaith harmony, religious commonality and mutual understanding among all world religions and faith traditions. It organizes yearly international conference on Mahdaviat Doctrine in Iran. It was held in Qom last year with the presence of intelligentsia, researchers, and religious scholars from across the world along with hundreds of Iranian thinkers and scholars.

A Regular Columnist with New Age Islam, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is Comparative Religion & Classical Islamic Scholar, and Doctoral Research Scholar at Centre for Culture, Media & Governance (JMI Central University).

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/ghulam-rasool-dehlvi,-new-age-islam/isis’-millenarian-theory-and-its-refutation–perspectives-from-islam-on-mahdaviat-doctrine-and-its-misinterpretations-(part-2)/d/107461

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