By Musing Along Forever
13 September, 2014
Most—if not all—religions talk of the end of the world, as we know it, one day. And not only that, but they also provide details of the ‘signs’ of the advent of the ‘End Times’. A striking indication of a fundamental commonness that underlies most religions is the considerable overlap in the ‘signs’ of the End Times that are mentioned in different religious scriptures: widespread licentiousness and immorality; Godlessness and crass materialism; natural calamities and bloody wars, and so on. All of these, the scriptures tell us, shall come to pass as the world hurtles towards its end—the Day of Judgment in Christianity or the Muslims’ Yaum-e Qayamat.
Now, I don’t mean to be unnecessarily alarmist but the fact is that if the religions say that one day the world is bound to end and that terrible things will precede this happening, I don’t suppose they are joking about it. Some people might dismiss these predictions as ‘old wives’ tales’ and ‘religious rubbish’. But these are folks who don’t take religions seriously. Most believers, on the other hand, are convinced that the things that their scriptures speak about, including about the ‘End Times’ and the signs that indicate it, are definitely not figments of someone’s fertile imagination.
This morning, I was browsing the Internet and chanced upon a website that talks about the signs of the ‘End Times’ from an Islamic perspective. It spoke of horrific war, strife, pervasive immorality and all sorts of other terrible happenings devastating the earth before the dawn of the Day of Judgment. As I read through it, it struck me how closely it seemed to reflect what the newspapers are reporting about what’s happening across the world these days.
Scanning another, similar sort of website—that hosts writings by the well-known Turkish Muslim scholar Harun Yahya (http://harunyahya.com)—I read statements from Muslim texts that purport to describe some portents of the coming of the ‘End Times’. As I read on, I was amazed at how many of these statements described, word for word, what’s happening today in many Muslim communities across the word.
In a section containing reports attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (Ahadith), accounts and statements about ‘ignorant’ Muslim religious ‘scholars’ (Ulema) in the time of ‘Hazrat Mahdi’ (the Guided One, who, many Muslims believe, will be sent by God before the Day of Judgment), Yahya relates that the Prophet stated :
“Such a time will befall my Community that rulers will be oppressive and scholars will be avaricious and without fear of Allah, those who worship will be hypocritical, traders will seek to earn interest and they will only hide their disgraces in business. Their women will be caught up in the baubles of this world. Evils will plague them at that time. The good will pray and they will not be heeded.”
Another report attributed to the Prophet relates:
“Almighty Allah will not take back knowledge (from your memories) after having bestowed it on you. However, He will take scholars, together with their knowledge, from within their communities and take their souls. All that remains will be an ignorant body of people. The people will ask them about their religious needs, and they will issue Fatwas (religious opinion on a matter) in the light of their own ideas and desires (ignoring the Qur’an and Hadith) and will both deviate themselves and lead other into deviation.”
Numerous predictions attributed to the Prophet that Yahya quotes speak of how many Muslim scholars or Ulema, who claim to have an expert knowledge of Islam and to be religious guides, will fall prey to evil as the End Times draw near. Ignorant so-called Ulema would, Yahya tells us, be the people most opposed to the Mahdi: ‘His declared enemies will be the scholars of canon law’ and ‘they will hate him in their hearts’, so much so that ‘If he had no sword (knowledge), they would issue a fatwa for his death.’
Yahya tells us that the Prophet stated that a time would one day arrive when only the name of Islam and the image of the Quran would remain. Mosques would be prosperous on the outside, but will have no salvation in them. Their scholars will be the most evil under the sky. According to another report, the Prophet is said to have stated: “My Community will be destroyed because of evil scholars and ignorant servants”. Yet another report says: "Such a time will come that scholars will be an element of mischief."
Reflecting on some Hadith reports that refer to evil Ulema among Muslims in the period heralding the End Times, Yahya says that they refer to hypocritical, insincere self-styled Islamic scholars, whose ‘belief will not go beyond their throats’. The Prophet, he says, predicted that in the End Times, some people with shaved heads and wearing turbans and who know the Quran very well will emerge. “Although they pretend to praise the religion with their explanations and statements”, Yahya relates, “they will be afar from Islam […] With this twisted mindset they will struggle against the Quran and sincere Muslims.” These people will, Yahya adds, “align themselves with the way of the Dajjal (Antichrist) against Hazrat Mahdi and will strive against him.” The Prophet, Yahya informs us, predicted: “Seventy thousand scholars wearing turbans from my community will follow the Antichrist.”
When you see pictures of people like evil-faced, black-turbaned Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (self-appointed ‘Caliph’ or religio-political head of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq) and his henchmen dressed in black and brandishing weapons and when you hear horrific reports of the deadly crimes that they, the Al-Qaeda and other such self-styled defenders of Islam are committing in the name of Islam in various parts of the world, you might be provoked to wonder: Are these hate-driven men among the allies of the Antichrist, enemies of God and the faith they claim to champion, whom the Prophet warned us against more than a thousand years ago?