Signs of Jesus’ (pbuh) Second Coming -
The Signs from the Islamic Resources 011-020
The Signs from the Islamic Resources 2/12
11. A Solar Eclipse
The Mahdi will not emerge unless the Sun rises as a sign. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 33)
As well as the solar explosion mentioned above, the sign that will appear on the Sun may well be the great solar eclipse that happened on August 11, 1999, the last total solar eclipse of the twentieth century. It was the first time that so many people had been able to watch and study an eclipse for so long.
It is of course no coincidence that so many signs have occurred one after the other in such a short space of time. These signs are each glad tidings from God to His faithful servants.
12. A Change of Systems
A man called the Mahdi will come at a time when time is interrupted… (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 14)
In this hadith, our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) foretold that the Mahdi would come when "time is interrupted." Many scholars interpret this expression as a "differentiation of time" when a "change of systems" takes place. What is meant by this "change of systems" may be the collapse of communism, the governing ideology of many nations, toward the end of the twentieth century.
One of the major reasons for the bloody wars and massacres that characterized the twentieth century was the rule of communist ideology, which was a product of materialist philosophy. This ideology was influential on a global scale, and many countries were either ruled by the communist regimes for decades or were the target of communist rings. Communism was the reason for the cold war, which continued until the 1990s, as well as the most ruthless assassinations.
Apart from attempting to spread their ideology by fighting other countries, communist regimes oppressed their subjects and killed large numbers of people through executions, mass massacres, harsh conditions in prison camps, and food and other scarcities.
According to historians' estimates, communist regimes caused the deaths of 120 million people during the twentieth century. Most of them were civilians, not soldiers. Tens of millions of people died because of the rigid and savage characteristics of communist regimes. Apart from this, millions of people who were subjected to atrocities fled their native lands. As a result, they lost all of their possessions and lands, and lived in constant fear of being arrested for various political or ideological "crimes" or of being subject to further atrocities.
However, these supposedly powerful and invincible regimes began collapsing one after the other in the late 1980s. The pulling down of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was the most distinctive symbol of this collapse. Two years later, the Soviet Union, the largest and most powerful communist state, collapsed, and the Eastern Bloc soon followed suit. Other communist regimes collapsed one after the other. This sudden end of the bi-polar world order that had existed since the end of the Second World War was totally unexpected. Now, a new world order is in the process of coming into being. The "change of system" mentioned in the hadith thus is materializing in our own time.
Today, the last ideological and political remnants of communism are disappearing and the world is being cleansed of this bloody ideology. With the spread of Islamic ethics, the atrocities, pain, ignorance, and poverty finally will be eradicated, and humanity will attain beauty, wealth, prosperity, and peace. As a manifestation of His forgiveness and grace, God will offer humanity an end to darkness, war, massacre, and sorrow.
13. A Tribulation of Dust and Smoke
Before the Hour comes, there will be a dusty and smoky tribulation like patches of dark night... (Sunan Abu Dawud)
This hadith foretells a dusty, smoky, and dark wave of tribulation just before the Mahdi's advent. The word "tribulation" (fitna) implies anything that turns peoples' reason and hearts away from the true path, or war, incitement, chaos, disorder, and conflict.25 The tribulation mentioned in this hadith will leave behind smoke and dust.
Furthermore, as this tribulation is described as resembling "patches of dark night," its origins are unclear and it is unexpected. Thus, this hadith could refer to one of the world's worst terrorist attacks: 9/11, when New York City and Washington, DC, were attacked. As the whole world saw, a big, thick cloud of dust and smoke swallowed up the immediate surroundings.
A large cloud of smoke formed after the airplanes exploded after smashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The resulting smoke reached so high and spread so far that it could be seen throughout the city and even from neighboring cities. The ensuing collapse of the Twin Towers caused yet another huge cloud of smoke and dust, which completely enveloped people in the area.
This incident is very important for several reasons: It is one of the most serious acts of terror in world history, and it occurred along with other signs and bears characteristics similar to ones described in the hadith. Therefore, this act may well be the "tribulation like patches of dark night" foretold by the hadith as the sign of the Mahdi's emergence.
14. The Emergence of Widespread Slaughter
The Mahdi will only appear at a time when people are experiencing great fear and are afflicted by disturbances, civil war, and other disasters.(Narrated by Abu Ja`'far Muhammad ibn `Ali)
Most painful situations and grievous sights will be seen. Strife will go on and on… It will kill mothers, fathers, daughters, men, and everyone… Among these will be strife, violence, destruction, and looting. People will ask when it will end, but it will still go on. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 36)
Most hadiths about the Mahdi's advent focus on the prophecy that turmoil, insecurity, and disorder will rule the world before his coming. Massacre, war, and conflict are some of the major features of such a period. In addition, the hadith draws attention to the fact that massacres will occur all over the world.
During the two world wars of the twentieth century, an estimated 65 million people were killed. The number of civilians slaughtered for political reasons during the same century is estimated to be well over 180 million. This is an extraordinarily high figure when compared with those of previous centuries.
In fact, wars used to be fought at various fronts by soldiers until the twentieth century. However, the advancement of weapons technology and "improved" military strategies in the twentieth century introduced the concept of all-out war, one in which no distinctions were made between soldiers and civilians. Such concepts as bombing cities; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; genocide; and concentration camps emerged in the twentieth century.
Such atrocities still continue, for bloody wars and battles are in full swing all over the world. Their common feature, as indicated in the hadith above, is massacre. The use of weapons of mass destruction on the one hand, and the ideological domination of views that encourage conflict and bloodshed on the other hand, have caused modern massacres to be very comprehensive in scope.
A look at recent history reveals many large-scale massacres. For instance, the Bosnian war went down in history as one that targeted the civilian population and thus resulted in the murder of thousands of civilians regardless of gender and age. The mass graves uncovered laterofferred striking evidence about just how large such massacres were.
Another "ethnic cleansing" campaign has been carried out against the Palestinian people since the 1940s. This is no more than a long-term policy of massacre. The exemplary massacres of Sabra and Shatilla, overseen by Ariel Sharon in 1982, as part of this policy fully expose the exact dimensions of the drama.
There are also frequent violent conflicts between Africans, in which thousands of people die. For example, in the spring of 1997, a large-scale ethnic war broke out between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes, which finally involved five countries: Zaire, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania. Nearly one million people lost their lives in this war, and tens of thousands of people had to fight poverty, misery, and contagious diseases in the jungles. Many of them died. Even children and babies were savagely murdered just because they were from the "wrong" tribe.
15. The Killing of the Rulers of Damascus and Egypt
Before he comes, the inhabitants of Egypt and Sham will kill their rulers and their commanders... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 49)
This hadith draws attention to the fact that the rulers of Damascus and Egypt will be killed before the Mahdi comes.
In 1981, Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat (1970-81) was assassinated during a military review. Other Egyptian leaders who have been killed include the prime ministers Boutros Ghali (1910) and Mahmoud Nukrashy Pasha (1948).
The word "Sham" is not only used for Damascus, for it also means "left" and has long been used to refer to those countries to the left of the Hijaz (where the cities of Makka and Madina stand).26 Many leaders have been killed in the region, among them former Syrian prime ministers Salah al-Din Bitar (1920), Droubi Pasha (1921), and Muhsin al-Barazi (1949); King Abdullah of Jordan (1951); and the Lebanese Phalange leader Bashir Gemayel (1982).27
16. The Killing of Abdullah, the Former King of Jordan
Another portent of the Mahdi's coming is the killing of a senior member of the Hashemites. (Risalat al-Khuruj al-Mahdi, p. 12)
Jordan, known as the Hashemite kingdom, was detached from the Ottoman Empire and came under British control for a period of time. Great Britain recognized Jordanian independence in 1946, as part of the Treaty of London. The monarchy was given to Abdullah, head of the principality of Jordan. King Abdullah was later killed by the British in 1951. Thus the incident indicated in the hadith came to pass.
17. The Enslavement of the Egyptians
The people of Sham will take prisoner the tribes of Egypt ... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar f' `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 49)
As stated earlier, Sham is the region located on the left part of Hijaz (where Mecca and Medina are located). Today, Israel is one of the countries located in this region. Consequently, this hadith may well hint at Israel's war with Egypt and its occupation of Egyptian lands.
On October 26, 1956, Israel, with British and French support, attacked Egypt and began to occupy the Sinai Peninsula. The fighting ended shortly afterwards, following intervention by the United States and the United Nations, and a UN peacekeeping force was stationed on the Israeli border.
During the 1967 Six-Day War, the Israel air force attacked some Egyptian air bases and inflicted severe damage upon the Egyptian air force. Due to this defeat, the Egyptian air force performed poorly during the battles that took place after June 5. The Egyptian forces in Sinai withdrew. On June 5, Israel attacked and occupied the Golan Heights and, by the end of the war, Israel had captured the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Following a later agreement, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula. However, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and Jerusalem remain under Israel occupation.
During these wars, many Egyptians were taken as prisoners of war and many others were killed.
18. The Destruction of Great Cities
Great cities will be ruined, and it will be as if they had not existed the day before. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 38)
When developed places are ruined, then Doomsday is no further away than the distance between your two fingers. (Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 143)
There will be ruins all around the world. Ultimately, Egypt will also be ruined. But until Basra is destroyed, Egypt will remain secure. The ruin of Basra will be because of Iraq's destruction. Meanwhile, the downfall of Egypt will come with the drying up of the Nile ... (Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 530)
The ruin of great cities spoken of in this hadith brings to mind the destruction that now arises from war and natural disasters. In addition to these, recently developed nuclear weapons, aircraft, bombs, missiles, and other weapons have caused untold destruction. These weapons have brought about a level of destruction heretofore unknown. Indeed, the great cities targeted are most affected by this destruction.
The incomparable destruction of the Second World War is an example of this. The atom bomb completely destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. As a result of heavy bombing, European capitals and other important cities were devastated. The Encyclopedia Britannica states that:
The resulting devastation had turned much of Europe into a Moonscape: cities laid waste or consumed by firestorms, the countryside charred and blackened, roads pitted with shell holes or bomb craters, railways out of action, bridges destroyed or truncated, harbors filled with sunken, listing ships. "Berlin," said General Lucius D. Clay, the deputy military governor in the U.S. zone of postwar Germany, "was like a city of the dead."28
In short, this unprecedented level of destruction conforms entirely to that described in the hadith of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace).
19. The Rebuilding of Ruined Places
The rebuilding of the ruined places in the world, and the ruination of constructed places, are signs and portents of Doomsday. (Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha‘ah li Ashrat as-Sa‘ah, p. 138)
The reconstruction of these ruins is a further sign of the End Times. As we stated in the previous section, during the twentieth century, many cities were reduced to rubble and thus had to be rebuilt, among them Berlin, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and Dresden.
A similar example is the Kobe, a Japanese city devastated by a powerful earthquake in January 1995. For 30 years, the Japanese government and universities have invested 1 billion dollars in developing early warning systems for earthquakes. However, no model can distinguish all types of tremors. The region of Kobe and Osaka is one of Japan's most prominent industrial and commercial centers. Thus, the total economic impact of the Kobe earthquake was immense, amounting to billions of dollars.29 Yet, despite this loss, Japan reconstructed Kobe.
20. The Fourth Peace and Arab-Israel Peace Agreement
Abu Na`im narrated from Abu Umama': "Our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) said: There will be four [periods of] peace with you and people [in one copy, this is said to be the Greeks]. The fourth peace, which lasts for seven years, will be through a person from the people of Heraclius. They said: "O Prophet, who will be the imam [leader] of the people on that day?" He (may God bless him and grant him peace) said: "The Mahdi, a man aged forty from my lineage." (Osman Catakli, Kiyamet Alametleri [Signs of the Doomsday], 299/8)
This hadith mentions one of the signs of the Mahdi who will ally with Prophet Jesus (pbuh) during his tenure on Earth. According to this sign, a fourth peace agreement will be signed between the Muslims and the non-Muslims, and this agreement will last for seven years. At the end of this period, the Mahdi will appear. According to the general conviction, this "fourth peace-agreement" is the Camp David agreement signed by the U.S., Israel, and Egypt in 1979. (God knows best.)