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Signs of Jesus’ (pbuh) Second Coming

The Signs from the Islamic Resources 5

54. Poverty and Hunger

The poor will grow in number. (Amal al-Din al-Qazwini, Mufid al-`Uulum wa Mubid al-Humum)

Gains will be shared out only among the rich, with no benefit to the poor. (Tirmidhi)

Three years before the appearance of the Dajjal, 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 of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) mention the poverty and hunger that people will suffer before the Mahdi comes. Of course, poverty and hunger have existed throughout history, but the poverty of the End Times will increase enormously all over the world. This situation will herald Prophet Jesus’ (pbuh) second coming.

Today, many people live without sufficient amounts food and water, as well as in unhealthy conditions all over the world. While most of these people are located in Africa, Asia, and South America, they are also quite numerous in such rich counties as America and those of western Europe. As only a small portion of people live in great prosperity, nearly 2 billion live below the poverty line. This article, written at the start of the year 2000, explains the global situation, as follows:

As we enter the new millennium, we bring with us a world in which 35,000 children die each day from causes related to poverty. That is one child dying every 2.5 seconds. We face a world in which the total number of people below the poverty line is growing each year, and now stands at around 1.5 billion. This is greater than the population of China, four times the entire population of the European Union.The combined wealth of the world's richest three families… is more than the annual income of 600 million people in the least developed countries. Moreover, in more than 80 of the world's poorest countries per capita income is lower today than it was 10 years ago.32

In the world today, poverty has reached alarming proportions. A recent report by UNICEF stated that one in four people live in "unimaginable suffering and want."33 Moreover 3 billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day.34 Approximately 1.3 billion people lack safe water, and 2.6 billion people are without access to adequate sanitation.35

According to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), for the year 2000, 826 million people did not have enough to eat. In other words, one in six people are hungry.36

Over the last 10 years, the injustice of income distribution has increased more than one can imagine. Reports by the United Nations show that in 1960, the income of the 20% of the world's population living in the richest countries was 30 times greater than that of the 20% in the poorest countries. In 1995, it was 82 times greater.37 As an example of the collapse of social justice, the combined wealth of the world's 225 richest individuals is equal to the annual income of the poorest 47%.38 

Such current statistical data point to what the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) said about the increase of poverty. The hadiths reveal that poverty and hunger will be among the signs of the End Times’ first period. Obviously, this period describes conditions in our day. If we look at past centuries, we see that the difficulties and anxiety brought about by drought, war, and other calamities were temporary and limited to a particular region. However, today, poverty and the difficulty of earning a living are permanent and endemic.

Certainly our Lord, Who has endless compassion and mercy, does not wrong people. Indeed, this unjust state of affairs shows clearly that the world is stratified on the basis of selfishness and greed rather than on religion, moral values, and conscience.

Indeed, with the verse, “Corruption has appeared in both land and sea because of what people’s own hands have brought about, so that they may taste something of what they have done, so that hopefully they will turn back” (Surat ar-Rum, 30:41), God informs us that the reason for this corruption is humanity’s turning away from His religion.

With the dawning of the Golden Age, all of these problems will disappear. Hunger and poverty will give way to wealth and plenty. In that age, nobody will be poor or needy, for religion will be lived in the manner God describes in the Qur'an and people will share their goods with those in need, as revealed in the verse, "And beggars and the destitute received a due share of their wealth" (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 51:19). In any case, it is impossible for some people to be wealthy and others to be poor in a society that lives by Islamic values. If a person believes, then that person will be afraid of falling into the position of "nor did he urge the feeding of the poor. Therefore, here today he has no friend" (Surat al-Haqqa, 69:34-35). This is a means by which great social justice, well-being, and plenty can come about in society.

55. Drought

During the three years just before the Dajjal comes, there will be one year when the sky will withhold one third of its rain and the Earth one-third of its fruits. In the second year the sky will withhold two-thirds of its rain, and the Earth two-thirds of its fruits. In the third year all of its fruits, and all the animals will die. (Ibn Ahmad Hanbal)

As the hadith reveals, a global drought will occur before the Dajjal’s appearance. Indeed, the threat of drought, a consequence of global warming today, influences many parts of our world. A UN report issued in 2001 states the seriousness of the situation:

“The Century of Hunger Knocks at the Door”

In the 21st century, climate changes resulting from global warming will bring hunger.

The detrimental dimensions of global warming, which may be the greatest yet unrecognized threat to humanity, will escalate in the 21st century. According to the recent UN report, scientists predict global warming will make the 21st century also an “age of hunger” and warn that these changes will make the diminishment of crops in Asia unavoidable …

Again according to the report, global warming will result in diminished amounts of rain and crops, [and the growth of] desertification and flash floods. The scientists also warned that small islands and countries will suffer seriously from the consequences of global warming.39

Some of the newspaper headlines about drought in recent years are as follows:

Every year, 100 million hectares of fertile areas become extinct.

More than 1 billion people in 110 countries are vulnerable to desertification. Before it is too late, an efficient program has to be launched to cope with the problem. (02.09.2003 www.ntvmsnbc.com)

The Theme of the World Environment Day of this Year Is “Water”

The UN has called attention to the problem of water on the Day of Environment, stressing the importance of the issue with the headline: “Water: Two billion people are dying for it.” (05.06.2003 www.ntvmsnbc.com)

The American West Is Vulnerable to Drought

Due to global warming, some sectors of the population in the American West are becoming increasingly vulnerable to drought.
(22.11.2002 www.ntvmsnbc.com)

Safe Water Problem May Last until 2025

Authorities warned that humanity may suffer from a safe water problem until the year 2025. (17.10.2002 www.ntvmsnbc.com)

Drought Alarm around the World

Until the year 2025, a lack of safe water will threaten one-third of the world’s population. (15.08.2001 www.ntvmsnbc.com)

56. A Weakening Economy in Specific Years

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 contains detailed information about the economic situation during the Golden Age.

It is highly probable that “ninety-fifth year” refers to the year 1995, a period when people had a relatively better life and its conditions had not become so difficult. Indeed, as described in the hadith, during that year people had enough income to earn a living and had some possessions. However, during 1997-99 the economy deteriorated, poverty spread, and possessions lost their value. Such an event can happen very quickly, as exemplified by Argentina's recent economic crisis.

57. The Cutting of Trade and Roads

When trade and roads are cut and strife multiplies ... (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p.52)

Before the Mahdi appears, trade and roads between nations will be cut and strife among people will grow. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 39)

Despite the commercial and economic cooperation between countries in our day, security concerns hinder many commercial activities. We can see this in the difficulties faced by those who want to transport the Caspian region’s underground riches to other regions. Disputes and tensions elsewhere hinder similar economic cooperation opportunities and thereby limit commercial activities.

58. Decreased Earnings

Everyone complaining about decreased earnings... the rich respected for their money... (Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 146)

Stagnation in the markets, a reduction in earnings… (Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 148)

A man will proceed with his money to the various parts of the Earth [for a business trip] and will comment after his return: “I didn’t earn any profit.” (Hakim)

Economic distress is one of the most important problems of many countries today. People fail to earn their living and, in some cases, cannot find any buyer for their goods. In some countries where governments have to fight against poverty and unequal distributions of income, this situation shakes the social order and becomes a major source of chaos. Argentina is one of the most recent examples of such economic collapse.

59. The Division of National Wealth among the Rich

The Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) said: “If my ummah bears fifteen traits, tribulation will befall it.” Someone asked, “What are they, O Messenger of God?” He said: "... when the booty [i.e., national wealth] is taken in ruin and property given in trust as spoil...” (Tirmidhi)

This portent of Doomsday is seen all over the world today. As the world’s wealthiest people control a large part of the world's wealth, billions of people are condemned to live in poverty and hunger. This is most clear in Africa, where millions of people live in poverty and hunger.

In its 2003 reports, the International Work Organization declared that 2 billion people survive on $1 a day and that approximately 1 billion people struggle to survive on $2 a day. In a press release, the organization declared that the gap between the poorest 20% of the world’s population and the richest 20% of the world’s population doubled during the last 40 years.40

Basing itself on Forbes magazine, the Turkish daily Radikal reported that “the top 400 richest Americans” had a combined wealth of $1.2 trillion, which is six times the total of Turkey’s national revenue. The wealth of Bill Gates, who for a long time was the wealthiest man in America, is estimated to surpass the total national revenue of Peru, a country with 25 million people. Meanwhile, it is one-third of Turkey’s national revenue, which is around $200 billion. The same report mentioned that the personal income of Warren Buffet, more than $28 billion, is more than the national revenue of Kuwait, an oil-rich country with a population of more than 2 million. Ted Turner, who ranks twenty-first on the list, is worth $9.1 billion, an amount that equals the national revenue of Panama, which has a population of 2.7 million people. This picture reveals that on the national and international levels, the poor become even poorer and more numerous, whereas the wealthy have become even richer. The total amount of wealth held by the 400 people on the list increased by 20% in one year.41

On 2 February 2003, the Turkish daily newspaper Aksam illustrated the inequality of income around the world in the following terms:

The most important problem of the world: According to the World Development Report of 2003, the inequality of income among countries is growing even deeper. The report indicates that the most important problem of development on the world agenda is to find jobs for the three million people whose daily income is less than 2 dollars a day, in order to make them individuals who can contribute to production and to provide them better a quality of life. One of the foremost factors threatening world peace today is global poverty.

 

The Situation of the World: The average income of the 20 wealthiest countries is 37 times greater than the average income of the 20 poorest countries of the world. The developed countries, where 20 percent of the wealthiest people live, hold 86 percent of the world’s national revenue, 82 percent of the world’s export markets, 68 percent of all foreign investments, and 74 percent of all telephone lines. Meanwhile, the share of the 20 percent of the poorest in these areas does not exceed 1.5 percent.

Figures related to the gap between the 20% of the wealthiest and the 30% of the poorest are striking:
Year       Ratio of Gap
1960       1:20
1990       1:60
1997       1:74
2000       1:79

The number of people living in extreme poverty, who survive on less than $1 a day, is over 200 million.

Today, the total wealth of the 3 richest people of the world is more than the total gross national product of the poorest countries, where 600 million people live...

Eighty percent of the total natural resources of the world is consumed by 16 percent of the world population. Meanwhile, 5 percent of the entire world population is deprived of safe water resources. The number of people dying of diarrhea alone is over 50 million. As the great part of the population in underdeveloped countries lives in rural areas, these people become even poorer as the natural resources on these lands diminish. Indeed, the women and children living in poor countries spend 4-5 hours looking for wood to burn. These same people spend 4-6 hours looking for safe water and then carrying it home.42

This situation is a sign of the End Times, as related in our Prophet’s (may God bless him and grant him peace) hadiths. By our Lord’s Will, this situation heralds the closeness of the coming of the Mahdi, Prophet Jesus (pbuh), and the Golden Age, a time when people will not suffer from such misery. In the Golden Age, the world’s situation will be just the reverse, for people will fully abide by the Qur’an’s morality.

As God orders in the Qur’an:

… so that it [booty] does not become something that merely revolves between the rich among you. Whatever the Messenger gives you you should accept, and whatever he forbids you you should forgo. Have fear of God – God is severe in retribution. (Surat al-Hashr, 59:7)

60. An Increase in the Number of Earthquakes

No other natural event affects people as strongly as earthquakes, for they can happen anywhere and at any moment. Throughout history, they have caused many deaths and great material loss. For this reason, they are greatly feared. Even modern technology has been able to prevent earthquake-related damage only to a certain extent.

The 1995 earthquake in Kobe serves as an example to those who mistakenly think that technology will one day harness nature. This earthquake caused massive and unexpected damage to Japan's largest industrial and transportation center. Although it only lasted 20 seconds, as Time reported, it caused about $100 billion worth of damage.43

The Hour [Last Day] will not be established until ... earthquakes will be very frequent. (Sahih Bukhari)

There are two great events before the Day of Judgment ... and then years of earthquakes. (Ramuz al-Ahadith, p.187, no.2)

The days when you can find no homes to shelter you, or animals to carry you, have come close. Earthquakes will demolish your houses. (Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 146)

There will be disagreements and frequent earthquakes. (Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-Ashrat al-Sa'ah, p. 166)

In the last few years, major earthquakes have occurred repeatedly and are among the foremost fears of people. According to the data collected by the American National Earthquake Information Center for 1999, we find that 20,832 earthquakes took place and killed an estimated 22,711 people.44

When past figures are examined, we see that the number of earthquakes was quite low. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports, the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater on the Richter scale that took place during the 400 years between 1556-1975 was only 110; between 1980-2003, the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.5 or greater on the Richter scale was 1,685.45 These figures reveal that the number of earthquakes had increased by the beginning of the year Hijri 1400.

The Qur'an contains certain verses that point out the relation between earthquakes and the End Times. Surat al-Zilzal, the Chapter of the Great Shaking (earthquake), is composed of eight verses that describe the ground’s violent shaking. It further states that this seismic activity will be followed by the Day of Judgment, the Resurrection, and everyone being called to account for their deeds by God, Who then will reward or punish them according to His absolute justice:

When Earth is convulsed with its quaking, and then disgorges its charges, and man asks:
"What is wrong with it?"
On that Day, it will impart all of its news, because your Lord has inspired it.
On that Day, people will emerge segregated to see the results of their actions.
On that Day, people will emerge segregated to see the results of their actions.
On that Day, people will emerge segregated to see the results of their actions. (Surat al-Zilzal, 99:1-8)

61. Earth’s Collapse

The first sign of the Hour is Earth’s collapse. (Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 518)

When the latter generations of these people insult the former ones, expect red winds, Earth’s collapse, or the raining of stones from the heavens. (Tirmidhi)

At the End Times, when entertainment and dancers pervade and drinking is considered permissible, Earth will collapse, stones will pour [from the sky], and people will strip off their humane qualities. (Ahmad Diya'al-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, vol. 2, p. 302, no. 8)

62. Conversion of Homes into Graves

He asked: “What becomes of you when death meets people and homes become graves?” (Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 392, no. 726)

63. Winds and Tornadoes

Doomsday will not happen until 10 portents are seen. The tenth is a tornado that will hurl people into the sea ... (Muhammad ibn `Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 288)

The tenth is a wind that will hurl people into the sea ... (Muhammad ibn `Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 288)

Natural disasters also destroy major cities. Statistics reveal that our time has seen an increase in both the number and the seriousness of natural disasters. In the last 10 years, disasters caused by climactic changes have become a novel phenomenon. A dangerous and unwanted byproduct of the Industrial Age is global warming. Industry is gradually disturbing the balance in the world's atmosphere, giving rise to climactic changes. According to the American National Climatic Data Center, many disasters occurred in 1998.46 For example, several observers called Hurricane Mitch one of Central America’s worst natural disasters.47 This hurricane hit Honduras and Nicaragua on 26th October 1998, and killed more than 10,000 people.48

The following are the most important disasters arising from climactic changes that have occurred in recent years:

On October 1987, the largest storm since 1703 hit southeast England. Around 15 million trees were felled, a great part of the forests disappeared, 16 people died, buildings were damaged, and ships were driven on to shore.49 
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused around $0.5 billion worth of damage in the Gulf of Mexico alone. Damage in the Bahamas was estimated at $0.25 billion, and around 2 million people living along the eastern coast of America evacuated their homes.50

Approximately 500 to 1,000 people were killed by the storms that hit western Bangladesh on 13 May 1996. A further 30,000 people were injured and 100,000 people lost their homes.

On 27 March 1997, 27 people died in a tornado that hit Texas.

On 20 May 1998, 12 people died in a tornado that hit Georgia, USA.

The floods that affected middle and eastern Europe on August 2002 caused 114 casualties. During the severest hurricane of the last 40 years in South Korea on September 21, 2003, around 200 people died only in 2 days.51

In the last few years, hurricanes, storms, typhoons, and other such disasters have devastated quite a few areas. In addition, floods have caused mudslides that then engulfed entire villages or parts of cities. Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tidal waves also have caused great devastation. All of this destruction is an important sign.

 

NOTES

32. John Sayer, “Millennium Article (for South China Morning Post).” Online at www.oxfam.org.hk/english/resource/document/millennium.shtml.

33. "Children and Poverty: Key Facts" (UNICEF: 2000). Online at: www.unicef.org/copenhagen5/factsheets.htm.

34.www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp#1

35. "Children and Poverty.”

36. "The state of food insecurity in the world" (FAO: 2000). Online at: www.fao.org/FOCUS/E/SOFI00/sofi001-e.htm.

37. “Human Development Report 1998” (New York: United Nations Development Program, September 1998). Online at www.oneworld.org/ni/issue310/facts.htm.

38. "World Statistics.”

39. “Aclik Yüzyili Kapimizda (The Century of Hunger Knocks at the Door,)” Nethaber, February 19, 2001. Online at www.gezegenimiz.com/NewsTopic.asp?KategoriAdi=Açlık&idKategori=2.

40. “2 billion people survive on $1 a day,” NTVMSNBC, July 7, 2003. Online at:
www.gezegenimiz.com/NewsTopic.asp?KategoriAdi=A%C3%A7l%E2%80%BAk&idKategori=2

41. “Turkiye=5 zengin ABD'li, (Turkey=5 wealthy American)” Radikal Gazetesi, September 23, 2003. Online at: www.radikal.com.tr/2000/09/23/ekonomi/01tur.shtml.

42. “Global Danger,” Aksam (A Turkish Daily), February 2, 2003. Online at: www.aksam.com.tr/arsiv/aksam/2003/02/02/ozgurplatform/ozgurplatformprn4.html.

43. “Economic Aftershock,” Time, February 6, 1995.

44. "Earthquake Facts and Statistics," US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center, 2000. Online at:
www.neic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/eqstats.html and www.neic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/bulletin/1999_stats.html.

45. U.S. Geological Survey. Online at: http://neic.cr.usgs.gov:1711/neis/eqlists/.

46. "Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters," National Climatic Data Center, October 2000. Online at: www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/reports/billionz.html.

47. M. Encarta Encyclopedia 2000, “Central America.”

48. “Severe Weather,” St. Vincent College, January 1999. Online at: www.stvincent.ac.uk/Resources/Weather/Severe/index.html.

49. “The Great Storm in South East England - October 1987,” St. Vincent College. Online at: www.stvincent.ac.uk/Resources/Weather/Severe/oct87.html.

50. Ibid.

51. 2003 World Almanac (Dunya Publishings), 395.

 

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