It is made clear in works by great and reliable Sunni scholars, such as the Sunan Abu Dawud and the Letters of Imam Rabbani, that every 100 years Allah sends a person to cleanse the moral values of the religion and purge them of subsequent innovations. The timing of the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as), whose coming in the End Times is foretold in hadiths handed down from our Prophet (saas), is given as Hijri 1400. Within a certain time frame inside this 100-year period the moral values of Islam will rule the whole world and the system of the antichrist that opposes them will be entirely eliminated. However, following this rise, which will last for approximately 100 years, the world will enter a new phase of degeneration, coinciding with the Hijri 1500s. In one hadith narrated by many scholars, including Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, a hadith scholar, our Prophet (saas) says that 5600 years of the life span of the world had passed by his day:
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal transmitted in his 'Ilal: FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED YEARS HAVE PASSED FROM THIS WORLD. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 89)
(The caption below is the relevant section from p. 89 of Dr. Suat Arusan’s Turkish translation of Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi’s Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman.)
Many other hadiths contain clear references to the total life span of the world being 7000 years:
Anas Ibn Malik narrates that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: THE LIFE SPAN OF THE WORLD IS SEVEN DAYS IN THE DAYS OF THE HEREAFTER. Almighty Allah has said: ONE DAY IN THE SIGHT OF YOUR LORD IS LIKE A THOUSAND OF YOUR YEARS. ALLAH WILL ASCRIBE THE EQUIVALENT OF GOOD DEEDS OF THE SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS OF THE AGE OF THIS WORLD to the one who meets the need of any of his brothers in the faith on the path of Allah as if he spends his days in fasting and his nights in worship. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 88)
Narrated from Daqqaq Ibn Zaid Al-Juhani: I told the Messenger of Allah (saas) of a dream I had had. In that dream the Messenger of Allah (saas) was at the top step of a seven-stepped pulpit. He said: THE SEVEN-STEPPED PULPIT YOU SEE IS THE SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS OF AGE OF THIS WORLD. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 89)
According to these hadiths, which appear in the book Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman by Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, one of the greatest Sunni scholars, our Prophet (saas) put the life span of the world at 7000 years. Hadiths putting the life span of the world at 7000 years also appear in the works of many other Sunni scholars, including Al-Muttaqi’s Kanz al-Ummal, hadith no. 16459, Muhammad Tahir Ibn Ali al-Hindi‘s Tadhkirat al-Mawduat, I/223, Imam Sakhawi’s al-Maqasid al-Hasana (transmitted by Daylami), I/693, hadith no. 1243, Al-Munawi’s Fayz al-Qadir, III/547, hadith no. 4278 (transmitted by Daylami) and Bayazid Bistami’s Miftah al-Jifr. This is clear evidence that Sunni scholars are in complete agreement on the subject.
Said Nursi, the mujaddid of the Hijri 1300s and the greatest one of the last millennium, cited the Hijri 1500s as the period of dominion of Islamic moral values. He stated that Muslims would enjoy a time of clear and explicit victory up until then. He said that in the years after that, the rise of the moral values of Islam would come to an end and that the Last Day would break for the unbelievers in the Hijri year 1545. (Allah knows the truth.)
“A group from my community will remain in truth until Allah’s command [the Judgment Day].”
The abjad calculation of the clause “A group from my community...” which is 1542 (2117) implies its [the community’s] time of survival. The abjad calculation of the clause “will remain in truth” (when the gemination mark is counted) gives 1506 (2082); it indicates until that date it will continue its work of enlightenment evidently and obviously, and maybe victoriously; then until 1542 (2117) in secrecy and defeat. The abjad calculation of the clause “until Allah’s command” (when the gemination mark is counted) suggests that THE JUDGMENT DAY WILL BEFALL the unbeliever in 1545 (2120). (Kastamonu Addendum, p. 33)
In several trustworthy hadiths our Prophet (saas) has revealed that even if the world had only one day of life remaining, Allah would prolong that day and cause Hazrat Mahdi (as) to appear. This is an exceedingly important statement. That is because the people who reject the hadiths, saying that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not appear in Hijri 1400, despite our Prophet’s (saas) accounts, are obviously also ignoring these other hadiths. The fact is, through these hadiths, the Prophet (saas) is explicitly stating how important the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as), and the global dominion of Islamic moral values in which he will be instrumental, are for mankind.
(The following passage comes from page 299 of the Turkish expanded 9th edition of Muhammad Ibn Rasul al-Hussain al-Barzanji’s (Hijri 1040-1103) Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah translated into Turkish by Naim Erdogan.)
It is narrated from Abdullah (ra) that: the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: A person from the Ahl al-Bayt whose name is compatible with mine will assume the leadership ... IF THERE WERE ONLY ONE DAY LEFT FOR THIS WORLD, ALLAH WOULD LENGTHEN IT UNTIL HE [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)] TOOK POWER. (Tirmidhi, 4/92)
According to Hazrat Ali, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: IF THERE WERE ONLY ONE DAY LEFT FOR THE WORLD, THAT DAY WOULD BE LENGTHENED UNTIL A MAN FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE OF MY HOUSEHOLD WAS SENT. (Sunan Abu Dawud, 5/92)
Ibn Majah and Abu Naim relate an account from Abu Huraira, saying that the Prophet (saas) said: IF ONLY ONE DAY REMAINS TO THE WORLD ALLAH WILL PROLONG THAT DAY AND MAKE ONE FROM MY AHL AL-BAYT LORD. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, 10; Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadharr, 27; Ash-Sharani, Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 437)
For that reason, these people who make illogical and fantastical statements, not based on the hadiths, that the first quarter of Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) appearance has gone by, for which reason he will be coming in some other century, should reflect on and consider the hadiths once again.
The words of our Prophet (saas), who says that Allah "will prolong that day if only one day remains to the world and cause Hazrat Mahdi (as) to appear," suggest that if necessary, time will be extended for Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) coming. That means that the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not be moved from this century and deferred to some other – as these people maintain – and that, on the contrary, Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) coming is still to be anticipated in the Hijri 1400s. This is very important, as it covers the period right up to the last day of Hijri 1499.
If Allah does extend the time frame for the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) that will be up until the Hijri 1500s, and Hazrat Mahdi (as) will continue his work of spreading the moral values and virtues of Islam and the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas) in a variety of ways. But our Prophet (saas) says that after the extension in question, which will not exceed the 7000-year life span of the world, the influence of Islamic moral values over the world will begin to decline, not suddenly, but gradually and in such a way as not to eliminate all possibility of doubt. As Bediuzzaman Said Nursi says, the Day of Judgment that will take place at the end of the 7000-year life span of the world will, by Allah’s leave, may be expected as of the Hijri 1500s. (Allah knows the truth).
The great Sunni scholar Al-Barzanji states that the life span of the world will not exceed Hijri 1600, in other words, that by Allah’s leave The Judgment Day will take place some time in the 1500s. (Allah knows the truth.)
THE LIFE OF THIS COMMUNITY WILL EXCEED 1000 YEARS, YET BE LIMITED TO 1500 YEARS... (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 299)
As-Suyuti’s statement made on the basis of the hadith handed down from our Prophet (saas) is as follows:
THE LIFE OF MY COMMUNITY WILL NOT EXCEED 1500 YEARS. (As-Suyuti, Al-Kashf 'an Mujawazat Hazihi al-Ummah al-Alf; As-Suyuti, Al-Hawi Lil-Fatawi, 2/248; Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan. Burusawi 4/262; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Kitab al-`Ilal, p. 89)
In that case, if the people we have been addressing throughout this discussion say that they have no doubts concerning Sunni belief and are totally loyal to the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah, and that even the teachers who taught them have issued explicit declarations on the subject, then they must also agree with the views that these two great and lofty Sunni scholars have expressed in their own works. They must not distract Muslims with statements that totally contradict the common opinion of these great scholars and are based on no reliable hadiths at all. They should evaluate and then notify their opinions on the age we are living in by agreeing with the profound views, research and scholarship of As-Suyuti and Al-Barzanji, who occupy such an important place among Sunni scholars, and in the light of trustworthy hadiths transmitted from the Prophet (saas).
What must not be forgotten that on such issues Muslims must attach absolute credence to hadiths from our Prophet (saas) that Sunni scholars unanimously regard as completely trustworthy. Muslims would attach no credence to the words of someone who produces an irrational logic, based on no verses or hadiths, to defer the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) to some other century and explicitly reject all the hadiths that speak of “the appearance of an individual from among the Muslims at the beginning of every century who will rid the religion of subsequent innovations” that scholars such as Imam Rabbani, Abu Dawud, As-Suyuti, Al-Barzanji and Said Nursi unanimously accept.