By Jamari Mohtar
This is an attempt on my part to paint various scenarios of what may transpire during the Last Hour based on the Quran and the Six Sunans or Sahah Sittah (the Six books of authentic Hadith by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tarmizi, an-Nasai and Ibn Majah or simply known as “The Six Authentic”).
My focus in this instalment is on the two out of the 10 major signs of the Last Hour as foretold by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him, s.a.w). These two signs are Gog & Magog, and the Fire of Yemen. Here’s the Hadith on the 10 major signs of the Last Hour:
Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w) came to us all of a sudden as we were talking. He said: “What are you discussing?” We said: “We are talking about the Hour (of Resurrection).” Thereupon, he (s.a.w.) said: “It will not come until you see ten signs before it. He made a mention of the Smoke, the Dajjal (Anti-Christ), the Daabba (the Beast), the Rising of the Sun from the West, the Descent of Jesus Son of Mary (a.s.) (from Heaven), the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog & MaGog), and Khusuf (Landslides) will occur in three places: one in the East, one in the West and one in Arabian Peninsula. At the end, a Fire would burn forth from Yemen (or from Aden according to Ahmad), which would drive people to the place of their final gathering place.” (Sahih Muslim, Ahmad).
A Brief Remark on Gog and Magog
Based on the above Hadith, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that Gog and Magog have not yet entered the world stage. However, based on the work of the great Muslim scholar, Ibn Khatir [b1300CE (701H), d1373CE (774H)] in his Al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah (The Beginning and the End), Gog and Magog are two groups of Turks, descended from Yafith (Japheth) the father of the Turks who is also one of the sons of Prophet Noah.
According to some historians, in addition to being the father (ancestor) of the Turks, Japheth is also the father of the Europeans. Some opine that the Scythians (a minor rival of the Greeks) were Gog and Magog descended from Japheth.
The area inhabited by Gog and Magog is said to be in Central Asia, covering an immense land area of over a million square miles extending from western Hungary/Austria eastward to the Aural Sea, north to the Upper Volga, and its southern region extending all the way to the Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian seas.
When the legendary Dhul-Qarnayn met some of the tribes living in that area in one of his three journeys mentioned in the Quran, they asked for his help against Gog and Magog. He built a huge iron fortress for them to prevent the incursion of Gog and Magog into their area. It wasn’t a prison but rather a demarcation of the southern boundary beyond which Gog and Magog cannot proceed further with their adventures. So this has the effect of limiting their playing and killing fields to the north and hence, Gog and Magog are sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of the North.
The Iron Wall of Dhul-Qarnayn was breached during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) based on a Hadith narrated by Zainab bint Jahsh (r.a): “… once the Prophet (pbuh) awoke from such a sleep that his face was red and he said: ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah. Woe to the Arabs, from the great evil that is approaching them. Today a gap as big as this has opened up in the wall of Yajuj and Majuj …’ and the Prophet (pbuh) indicated the size of the hole by forming a ring with his index finger and thumb.” (Sahih Bukhari)
All the above mean Gog and Magog had already entered the world stage in ancient time and the Iron Wall of Dhul-Qarnayn merely limited their freedom of movement to cause debauchery and mischief to the south, and by the Prophet’s time, they were able to breach even this Iron Wall with the existence of the Khazaria Kingdom at the place where the Iron Wall used to stand.
I have touched on this topic in greater details in my previous posts. It is my contention here that the bulk of people forming the army of the Dajjal (Anti Christ) in the Last Hour are going to be the modern descendants of Gog and Magog.
When Prophet Jesus (Isa a.s.) descends to Earth and killed the Dajjal, the bulk of this surviving Gog and Magog based army of the Dajjal will run helter-skelter to hide and join with their fellow Gog and Magog that have not taken part in the battle against Prophet Isa (a.s.). They bide their time and prepare themselves ruthlessly for the final battle and reappear as a new, formidable breed of Gog and Magog to confront Prophet Isa (a.s.) in what can be dubbed as the “Mother of All Battles”.
Islamic Eschatology – The Last Hour
FROM the viewpoint of Islamic Eschatology, the Last Hour will not come until all the minor signs pertaining to its coming have been detected and manifested. Based on the many authentic Ahadith, there are between 70 to 100 minor signs preceding the Last Hour.
Once all these minor signs are manifested, the 10 major signs foretold by an authentic Hadith of Imam Muslim will appear that will herald the beginning of The Last Hour. Note that this Hadith did not list the 10 major signs according to chronology.
The Two-Stage Phase of The Last Hour
A) The End of History – the First Stage
The first stage is what I called the End of History. It is a nerve-wrecking event that will occur with the manifestation of one of the 10 major signs – the appearance of a new, powerful breed of Gog and Magog created by Allah. Prophet Isa (Jesus a.s.), together with the remnants of his Muslim army that had rallied behind him while he killed the Dajjal (Anti-Christ), is no match for this invincible breed of Gog and Magog.
Hence, Allah will command Prophet Isa (a.s.) to bring to safety the remnants of his army, along with the Muslim population that has survived the reign of terror of the Dajjal, by seeking refuge at the top of a mountain. Gog and Magog would besiege them on all sides at the foot of the mountain. They will then devise new weapons of war to be unleashed toward the top of the mountain, targeting Nabi Isa (a.s.) and the Muslims.
This prophecy is contained in a Hadith in Sahih Muslim when Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: “It will be under such conditions that Allah will reveal to Jesus these words: I have brought forth among My servants such people (i.e. the new breed of Gog and Magog) against whom none will be able to fight; you take these people (i.e. remnants of Jesus’ army and the Muslims that had survived the reign of terror of the Dajjal) safely to Tur (a mountain), and then Allah will send Gog and Magog and they will swarm down from every slope.”
In another Hadith of Imam Muslim, the location of Tur (mountain) is specified:
“Gog and Magog would walk until they reach the mountain of al-Khamr, and it is a mountain of Bait al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), and they would say: “We have killed those who are on the earth. Let us now kill those who are in the sky. They would shoot their arrows towards the sky and the arrows would return to them smeared with blood.”
For the believers (Jesus, his army and the Muslims), this will be the final, greatest trial – facing an enemy that Allah has assured them they cannot vanquish. Only Allah can annihilate this invincible enemy. The situation is rather akin to the earlier battles of Islam in which the fledgling Muslims under Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. faced an enemy many times superior in term of numbers and weaponries.
The psychological scenario of the Muslims under the leadership of Prophet Jesus (a.s.) at this climactic event during the first stage of The Last Hour is also analogous to the earlier Muslims under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. For instance, the Quran in describing the Battle of the Trench, which occurred in 624 CE (Christian Era), says:
“Behold! They came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah! In that situation were the Believers tried: they were shaken as by a tremendous shaking.” [Quran al-Ahzab (33): 10-11].
The essence and wisdom behind all trials and tribulations faced by humankind in the past, present and future are explained in the Quran when Allah says:
“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the Help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” [Quran al-Baqarah (2): 214].
Coming back to the first stage of The Last Hour, after a few days of being besieged and attacked from below by this new, powerful breed of Gog and Magog at Mount Tur, the believers (Jesus and his army along with the surviving Muslim population) are hard pressed and disconsolate and they begin to beseech Allah for His Help. In the words of a Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim:
“Jesus and his companions will then be besieged here (at Tur, and they will be so hard pressed) that the head of the ox will be dearer to them than one hundred dinars. Allah’s Prophet Jesus (a.s.) and his companions will supplicate to Allah, Who will then send to them (i.e. Gog and Magog) insects (which will attack their necks) and in the morning they would perish as one single person. Allah’s Prophet Jesus (a.s.) and his companions will descend from Mount Tur, and they will not find on earth as much space as a single span that is not filled with putrefaction and stench. Allah’s Prophet Jesus (a.s) and his companions will then beseech Allah Who will send birds whose necks would be like those of Bactrian camels and they will carry them (the putrefied and stench remains of Gog and Magog) away and throw them where Allah wills. Then Allah will send rain which no house of mud-bricks or (tent of) camelhair will keep out and it will wash the earth until it resembles the mirror.”
If one finds it incredulous the event surrounding the annihilation of the new, powerful breed of Gog and Magog by mere insects, in our own time, we can already see how vicious and fatal to humans, insects like mosquitoes are in decimating a significant proportion of the human species through their epidemic causing dreaded virus of malaria, dengue and zika.
Furthermore, there is a precedent on this in the Quran when some years before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), the powerful king of Yemen, Abraha and his army of the Elephant, were annihilated by Allah through pebbles thrown at them by the Ababil birds, when they marched to Mecca with the singular intention of destroying the Kaaba.
With the annihilation of Gog and Magog, Prophet Jesus (a.s.) will then rule the Earth as a just ruler for 40 years, heralding the period of everlasting peace and goodwill among mankind on Earth. This is stated in the following Ahadith:
“By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Maryam (a.s.), (i.e. ‘Isa), will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler.” (Sahih Bukhari)
“The Hour will not be established until the son of Maryam (a.s.) (i.e. ‘Isa) descends amongst you as a just ruler.” (Sahih Bukhari)
“At the time of his death, ‘Isa (a.s.) will have reappeared on this earth for forty years.” (Abu Dawood)
Why is this stage called End of History?
From the viewpoint of Islamic Eschatology, history is nothing more than a continuous struggle between Truth (Haq) and Falsehood (Bathil). Truth is represented by the way of life on Earth that is based on Divine Revelation, while Falsehood is way of life on Earth that is in contradistinction to the Divine Guidance.
This historical battle first began when Adam (a.s.) and his wife, Siti Hawwa (Eve) along with their adversary, Iblis (the Devil) were all dislodged from the Garden of Eden to Earth which became their and their descendants’ temporary abode until the End of Time.
At some points of the historical process Truth held sway over Falsehood, while at some other points, Falsehood held sway. But when in victory, none is able to completely vanquish the other side permanently. This victory is in the nature of the adage that it is all right to lose a battle or some battles, but you must win the war to seal the final victory.
The final victory will take place with the onset of the epic historical Mother of All Battles when Truth is able to vanquish Falsehood completely and permanently during the Last Hour when Prophet Isa (a.s.) i.e. Jesus becomes triumphant with the help of Allah in annihilating Gog and Magog.
This will usher in an era of peace and goodwill on Earth for 40 years with his just rule, thus signifying the start of the first phase of the Last Hour, the End of History. Henceforth, there will no longer be history in the sense that the war between Truth and Falsehood ends.
That period of the End of History will come to an end with the demise of Prophet Jesus (a.s.) where he will die a natural death and will be buried in Medina beside Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). His demise will set the second stage of the Last Hour known as The End of Time or simply The End Time.
“After his descension on earth, Prophet Isa (a.s.) will marry. He will have children, and he will remain on earth 19 years after marriage. He will pass away and Muslims will perform his Salaat Janaza (funeral prayer) and bury him next to Rasulullah (s.a.w).” (Tirmidhi)
B) The End of Time – the Second Stage
Before this second stage occurs, there are some events during the lifetime of Nabi Isa (a.s.) that will pave the way for this.
For the first seven years of his just rule on Earth, there will be no rancour between any two persons. After that, Allah will send a cold wind from the direction of Syria and this will slowly envelope and cause the good and pious people to die.
By the time of Nabi Isa’s death, this process of good and pious people dying through the cold wind speeds up and gains momentum so that there will come a time some years after the demise of Jesus when the Earth is populated by bad and evil people.
This prophecy is contained in the two ahadith in which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“At that time Allah will send a pleasant wind, which will soothe (people) even under their armpits. He will take the life of every Muslim and only the wicked will survive who will commit adultery like asses and the Last Hour would come to them.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Then people will live for seven years, during which time there will be no rancour between any two persons. After that Allah will send a cold wind from the direction of Syria. None will survive on Earth, having a speck of good in him or faith in him: he will die. Even if some among you were to enter the innermost part of the mountain, this wind would reach that place also and cause your death. I heard Allah’s Apostle (s.a.w.) as saying: Only the wicked people will survive and they will be as careless as birds with the characteristics of beasts. They will never appreciate good nor condemn evil. Then Satan will come to them, in human form, and would say: Don’t you respond? They will say: What do you order us to do? He will command them to worship the idols but, in spite of this, they will have an abundance of sustenance and lead comfortable lives.” (Sahih Muslim)
Notice that there is actually no battle here between Truth (Haq) and Falsehood (Bathil) as the stage of the End of History has long passed with the demise of Prophet Jesus (a.s.). What happens here is that Allah takes away the soul of the good and pious, and hence by default Falsehood prevails to face alone the fury of the End Time.
The Fire of Yemen – Start Time of the End of Time
Then the stage is set for the second stage of the Last Hour i.e. the End Time. This stage will begin with a fire that would burn forth in Yemen – another sign of the 10 major signs foretold by an authentic Hadith of Imam Muslim.
“Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) came to us all of a sudden as we were talking. He said: “What are you discussing?” We said: “We are talking about the Hour (of Resurrection).” Thereupon, he (s.a.w.) said: “It will not come until you see ten signs before it. He made a mention of the Smoke, the Dajjal (Anti-Christ), the Daabba, the Rising of the Sun from the West, the Descent of Jesus Son of Mary (a.s.) (from Heaven), the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog & MaGog), and Khusuf (Landslides) will occur in three places: one in the East, one in the West and one in Arabian Peninsula. At the end, a Fire would burn forth from Yemen (or from Aden according to Ahmad), which would drive people to the place of their final gathering place.” (Sahih Muslim, Ahmad)
“The people will be gathered in three methods:
- The first batch will be of those who wish or have a hope (for paradise) and have a fear (of punishment).
- The second batch will comprise those who will come to gather, riding: two on a camel, three on a camel, or ten on a camel.
- The third batch will be the rest of the people who will be urged to gather by the Fire which will accompany them at the time of their afternoon nap and stay with them where they will spend the night, and will be with them in the morning wherever they may be then, and will be with them in the afternoon wherever they may be then.” (Sahih Bukhari)
The Swooning Trumpet
This is then followed by the sound of a Trumpet in which all mankind and every living creation of Allah including those in the heavens will immediately faint (swoon) and die. After a lapse of some time, the second Trumpet will be blown indicating the Day of Resurrection followed by the Day of Judgement.
This is encapsulated in the following Quranic verse and Hadith:
“And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown a second time, and behold they will be standing, looking on (waiting)” [Quran, al-Zumar (39):68].
“Abu Hurairah said: The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: “Between the two blowings of the Trumpet there will be forty.” The people said, “O Abu Hurairah! Forty days?” I said: “I am not sure.” They said, “Forty years?” I said: “I am not sure.” They said, “Forty months?” I said: “I am not sure. Then Allah will send rain down from the sky and they will grow as herbs grow. There is no part of a man which will not decay except a single bone at the base of the coccyx, from which he will be re-created on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muttafaq Alaih)
Imam al-Nawawi said: “What is meant by the words of Abu Hurairah, “I am not sure” is that he could not be certain as to whether what was meant was forty days or years or months; all that he was certain of was that it was forty in general terms.
In Sahih Muslim, it is narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) said: “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: “… then the Trumpet will be blown and no one will hear it but he will bend his neck to one side and raise it from the other side. The first one who will hear it will be a man who is busy in setting right the cistern meant for supplying water to the camels. He will swoon and the other people will also swoon. Then Allah will send down rain, which will be like dew and there will grow out of it the bodies of people. Then the trumpet will be blown again, and they will stand up and begin to look around.”
A Third Trumpet?
There is a minority view among the scholars, which says that the Trumpet will be blown thrice – the first Trumpet where people will be terrified, the second, when people will faint (swoon) and die, and the third, when people will be resurrected. But this is based on a weak hadith.
The proponents of a third Trumpet said their view is also based on the difference they noted between the above az-Zumar verse which mentioned about swooning alone, and the an-Naml verse below which talked about being terrified alone, alluding to the existence of a third terrifying Trumpet.
“And (remember) the Day on which the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth, will be terrified except him whom Allah will (exempt). And all shall come to Him, humbled” [Quran al-Naml (27):87]
But the fact that swooning is mentioned in one verse and terror is mentioned in another does not mean, according to most scholars, that they will not happen at the same time when the Trumpet is blown for the first time. Rather they will happen at the same time, so when the Swooning Trumpet is blown the people will be terrified, and will swoon as a result and die.
Then they will remain in that situation for 40 periods of time (the narrator is not certain whether that time period is in days, months or years) as decreed by Allah. Their bodies will decay within this period until there is nothing left but the bone from the base of the coccyx, which is a round bone at the base of the spine.
Then Allah will send a cloud that will release rain, and when the water reaches this bone, the body will grow from it like a plant grows and they will be recreated from this bone, just as Allah created them the first time, for He is able to do all things.
Then a second Trumpet will be blown to signal the Resurrection, and the souls will return to their bodies and will come forth from their graves and hasten to the place of gathering.
If the one who most feared Allah, said, “How can I be at ease when the one who blows the Trumpet (Angel Israfil), has put it to his mouth, bent his forehead and inclined his ear, waiting to see when he will be ordered to blow it?” – as narrated by al-Tirmidhi and others – then what about us who are weak and fall short?
We ask Allah to make us among those who will not be grieved by the greatest terror when the angels will meet them (with the greeting), “This is your Day which you were promised.” [Quran al-Anbiya (21):103].