Portents of the Mahdi's Coming
Many of the prophetic hadiths that have been handed down to us in the works of great Islamic scholars are devoted to portents of the Mahdi’s coming. This section examines the links between these hadiths and the present day. We shall see that they describe the contemporary climate and conditions and certain critical events that took place in the recent past accurately and miraculously.
As stated earlier, both the Mahdi’s coming and the fulfillment of the hadiths regarding the portents of Doomsday started coming to pass, one after the other, at the beginning of the 1400s ah (1979-80), clearly reveals that these are the years of the Mahdi’s presence on Earth. (Allah knows the truth, of course.) Let’s now examine these portents.
1)Portents of Mahdis Coming Taking Place One After the Other
Those hadiths that reveal the portents of the Mahdi’s coming describe them as occurring one after the other “like the dots on a prayer-beads.” We can see that this is the case, for as stated in the hadiths, chaos and anarchy are on the rise all over the world, sedition is growing, slaughter and terrible catastrophes are taking place in many lands, poverty and hunger are increasing, and people are suffering terribly. The fact that these portents are coming to pass at one particular time shows that the Mahdi, the blessed person for whom Muslims have awaited for centuries, will come soon. (Allah knows the best!)
Some of the reports related to this subject are as follows:
I asked Abu Abdullah Husain ibn Ali: “Are there portents of this?” – in reference to the Mahdi’s appearance. He said: “Yes.” I asked: “What are they?” He said: “The destruction of the [tribe of the] Bani Abbas, the emergence of the Sufyani (Abu Sufyan), and sinking in Bayda.” I said: “I am afraid this will all take a long time,” to which he replied: “These things will happen one after the other, like the dots on a tasbih (prayer beads).” (Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Portents of the Mahdi of the End Times, Kahraman Publishings, p. 3)
2) The Proliferation of Sedition (Fitnas)
The wordfitna (sedition) describes events, environments, and conditions in which all people, especially believers, face intensified tests of their faith. Such tests, in which living conditions are difficult and efforts are made to weaken or destroy people’s faith, are all described as fitna in Islamic sources.
The following hadith describes how believers’ faith will weaken prior to the Mahdi’s coming and the causes thereof:
The Mahdi, one of my children, comes into being, by the blessing of Allah, when the Day of Judgment approaches and the believers’ hearts weaken because of death, hunger, the disappearance of the Sunnah, the emergence of innovations, and the loss of the means by which to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. His justice and prosperity will ease the believers’ hearts, and friendship and love will settle between the non-Arab and the Arab nations. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 66)
To summarize, the following events will take place before the Mahdi appears:
Sedition enables strong believers to enhance their faith and fortitude, as well as their degree in the Hereafter, whereas they lead those with weak faith to become further removed from faith, and those whose faith is artificial to lose it altogether. The Mahdi will appear at a time when such a climate of corruption is being experienced in its fullest and most violent form.
Another hadith imparts the tidings that there will be confusion, sedition, and fear in the “west”: Disorder, sedition, and fear will emerge in the west... Sedition will proliferate. (Mukhtasar Tazkirah Qurtubi)
Another hadith reveals that the Mahdi will come when sedition is everywhere:
A kind of sedition will surface from which no party will be able to protect itself, and spread immediately in every direction. This situation will persist until one comes and says: “O people, from now on your leader is the Mahdi.” (Ibn Hajar al-Haytahami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 23)
In other words, a sedition that opposes religion and Allah will target people’s faith. Today, this sedition is materialist philosophy, the supposed scientific basis of which is Darwin’s theory of evolution. Although it is completely irrational, unscientific, and devoid of any scientific or logical proof, materialist circles are seeking to impose this theory on every society through intensive propaganda, deception, and misrepresentation.
This theory enters our homes through the press and television, whether we live in the West or in the Muslim world. Forming a part of most science and other textbooks, it is imposed upon children from the early grades through constant repetition, such as its most famous claim: that people are descended from a common ancestor with apes. Young people are fed these evolutionist lies from primary school to the university.
In addition, the sedition referred to in the prophetic hadiths can only become so widespread through modern-day technological means (e.g., the press, publishing, the Internet, and satellite communications). Indeed, such widespread sedition has never been seen before today. All of these are important signs that the Mahdi’s coming coincides with our own time. The hadiths also state that this sedition will end when the Mahdi comes.
3) Widespread Slaughter Before the Mahdi Comes
The hadiths reveal that violence and chaos will affect the great majority of people before the Mahdi comes and that much blood will be shed:
Doomsday will not take place until these things come to pass…Death and slaughter will be widespread… (al-Suyuti, Jamius Sagir, 3:211; Musnad, 2:492, 4:391, 392)
Modern communications technology will make everyone aware of this corruption and disasters. Even though there may only be few people present at the scene, the whole world will learn what is happening instantaneously. Radio, television, newspapers, and the Internet will broadcast bloodshed, injustice, and oppression to the whole world.
4) The Global Pervasiveniss of Chaos and Conflict
At a time when the world will be in utter confusion and disorder (harj), fitna will appear, people will be attacked, the old will not have mercy on the young, and the young will not show respect to the old, Allah will send someone (the Mahdi) to eradicate hostility, conquer the castles of perversion, uphold faith in the End Times just as I upheld it formerly; someone who will fill this Earth with justice where violence prevailed before. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi, p. 12)
Rather than describing one particular place, the hadith refers to chaos (e.g., conflict, war, slaughter, and terror) spreading all over the world. Indeed, this is the case today, a time when every day hundreds of people are killed or exiled for no fair reason.
5) Strife in Which Even Women and Children Are Slaughtered
Even women, children, the elderly, and the innocent will be massacred before the Mahdi comes:
In this case, killing a woman will be as easy as wielding a whip. This event will spread twenty-four miles from Madinah. Then the oath of allegiance will be taken to the Mahdi. (al-Suyuti, Portents of the Mahdi, p. 34)
6) The Mahdi Will Appear When the Roads Are Cut
The hadiths reveal that the Mahdi will come when the means of transport are severed due to conflict, anarchy, and terror, and when people are unable to travel in safety and security:
When trade and roads are cut and strife multiplies ... (al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, pp. 39-40)
7) The Increased Oppression of Muslims
During the end times, the hadiths state that Muslim societies will suffer from the conflict, war, and injustice aimed at them. The conflicts and climate of chaos experienced in parts of the Islamic world, both now and in the recent past, as well as the oppression that has led to dictatorial regimes in certain Muslim countries, are some of the proofs that this time has begun.
Everyone bowing (ruqu`) and prostrating (sajda) themselves in prayer will be punished . Cruelty, malice, and vice will be produced; scholars and ascetics murdered; and many cities conquered. There will be hostility to Prophet Muhammad (saas), bloodshed and destruction will be legitimate.
8) The Destruction of Mosoues
The Sufyani will emerge from a dry valley and form an army from the Kalb tribe consisting of grim-faced and hard-hearted men who will oppress all people. He will destroy mosques and madrassas, and punish everyone bowing (ruqu`) and prostrating (sajda) themselves in prayer. (al-Suyuti, Portents of the Mahdi, p. 35)
9)Religious Prohibitions Gain Acceptance
Today, although such harmful activities as prostitution, alcohol consumption, usury, and bribery are unlawful or religiously forbidden in many lands, more and more people are indulging in them. Even more, some those who engage in them are praised and encouraged, whereas those who do not are disparaged and belittled. Lifestyles that know no bounds, that care nothing for what the scriptures allow and forbid, and that regard all forms of excess as permissible have spread far and wide during the last few decades. The hadiths describe this dark age, a herald of the Mahdi’s coming, as follows:
Strife will be seen, and more will follow. Such a level of strife will come that the first will spur the last to clashes of swords, and after this there will be such strife that what is forbidden is regarded as lawful. Then the caliphate will come to the Mahdi, the most auspicious individual on Earth, while he is sitting at home. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi, p. 26)
10) The Open Denial of Allah (Surely Allah is beyond that!)
The Mahdi will not come until Allah is openly and flagrantly denied.
This hadith indicates that many people will either be atheists or agnostics, and that they will relay their denial to everyone through the press and declare it openly. This state of affairs clearly exists today, since those who deny Allah are highly esteemed for their supposed “modern and contemporary” attitude. Moreover, the public is encouraged to emulate them.
11) The Iran-Iraq War
The hadith reports that a major war will take place in the End Times:
There will be tumult in Shawwal, talk of war in Dhu al-Qa`dah, and the outbreak of war in Dhu al-Hijjah. (Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 166)
These three months match the dates of the developmental stages of the Iran-Iraq war:
The first uprising against the shah took place on 5 Shawwal 1398 (8 September 1976), as indicated by the hadith.
A full-blown war broke out between Iran and Iraq in Dhu al-Hijjah 1400 (October 1980).
Another hadith describes the details of this war as follows:
A tribe will come from the Farsi direction, saying: "You Arabs! You have been too zealous! If you don't give them their due rights, nobody will have an alliance with you... It must be given to them one day and to you the following day, and mutual promises must be kept..." They will be going up Mutekh; Muslims will be coming down to the plain ... Mushrikun [idolaters] will be standing over there on the bank of a black river [Rakabeh] on the other side. There will be a war between them. Allah will deprive both armies of a victory ... (Ibid., p. 179)
This hadith may draw attention to the outbreak of a racial dispute that will cause both sides to come down to the (Iraqi) plain and wage war.
The Iran-Iraq war lasted for 8 syear and, despite the enormous number of casualties, neither side could claim victory.
12) The Occupation of Afghanistan
Pity poor Taliqan [a region in Afghanistan]. At that place are treasures of Allah. These are not of gold and silver, but consist of people who have recognized Allah as they should have. They are the Mahdi’s servants. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi, p. 59)
The hadith may refer to the invasion of Afghanistan during the Mahdi’s time. Indeed, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 (1400 ah – according to the Islamic calendar), the beginning of a new Islamic century. The hadiths state that the Mahdi will appear at the beginning of a new Islamic century. The fact that many portents coincided with this particular date shows that these dates are an important sign of the Mahdi’s coming.
This hadith also draws attention to Afghanistan's material riches. Today, large oil deposits, iron basins, and coal mines that have not yet been commercially exploited have been detected there.
13) The Army That Sank in the Desert
But when this army enters the desert, it will so be buried in the ground at the place called Dhu al-Hulaifah that those on top will not see those underneath, nor will those underneath see those on top, until Doomsday. (al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, p. 21)