The benefits of the life of this world are of enormous importance to people who do not live by Qur’anic moral values. Since they never reflect that this world is a temporary abode, that with death they will have to leave behind all their possessions, and that they will be held to account in the Hereafter, they attach great importance to acquiring ever more goods and fortune. They are prepared to undertake a great deal, even if it is wrong, if they think that it will increase their possessions and bestow an improved station upon them. They may not care in the slightest whether they are causing any unfairness or injustice. Some people’s passionate attachment to property and the life of this world is revealed as follows in the Qur’an:
To mankind the love of worldly appetites is painted in glowing colors: women and children, and heaped-up mounds of gold and silver, and horses with fine markings, and livestock and fertile farmland. All that is merely the enjoyment of the life of this world. The best homecoming is in the Presence of Allah. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 14)
Like their own desires, the position and material assets of others in society are also of great importance to people who do not adhere to Qur’anic moral values. People with such a mindset feel enormous awe and respect for people with material riches, power and prestige. When they think that these people may help them achieve the condition they themselves desire, they have no hesitation about adopting their values and acting in the manner they desire. They may form a friendship with someone simply because he is rich, an unconditional friendship based solely on material belongings. Out of a belief that their strength will be of benefit to them, they always back them up, even if they are in the wrong. Such people’s undesirable character traits, moral deficiencies, degenerate lifestyles, corrupt relationships, ruthlessness and cruelties are generally ignored. That is the reality underlying the fact that despite being at the forefront of degeneration in many countries wealthy people are widely regarded by society.
This distorted perspective causes some of the wealthy people to occupy a prime place in society, solely on account of that attribute. So much so, in fact, that even if their words do not actually reflect the truth or even if their advice is wrong, they are still able to direct a large part of society through their suggestions. Indeed, in many communities such people do make suggestions that turn people away from religious moral values, and when they blacken the names of people with good and proper moral values by uttering slanders some people are influenced by this. What is wrong here, of course, is not following advice given by somebody who is well-off. The important thing is the content of his inculcation, the direction to which he or she intends to lead society. If someone makes suggestions that are incompatible with religious moral values and turns people towards a degenerate lifestyle and if this is regarded as perfectly natural solely on account of the respect felt for the material advantages possessed by that person that is wrong.
According to the indications in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), the antichrist will also make use of this distorted perspective that dominates a great many societies in order to achieve his own objectives. One of the features of the antichrist revealed in the hadiths is the way that he seeks to deceive by addressing people’s material interests. Some of the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) that draw attention to this characteristic of the antichrist read as follows:
… the antichrist will have a mountain of bread and meat, and rivers of water... (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 214)
With him there will be a mountain of broth, hot meat that never grows cold, a flowing river, a forest made of bright green gardens, a mountain of fire and smoke … He will tell people this is my paradise, and that is my hell… He will say this is food and that is drink… (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 214)
The antichrist will employ all these means revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) to gather support and thus to keep people away from the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as). Many people will regard the benefits of this world offered by the antichrist as more attractive and will become receptive to his indoctrination. They will be unable to see the disaster to which the antichrist is actually leading them, and will imagine that he possesses an indestructible power. Since their lower selves will be more suited to the antichrist, they will be unable to appreciate the superior nature of the honorable struggle engaged in by the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), and will be unable or pretend not to recognize them. (Allah knows the truth.)
The fact is, however, that it is actually Almighty Allah to Whom all forms of wealth belong. People need to act in the light of that knowledge and not to depart from the path they know to be that of goodness and truth for the sake of earthly gain.
One example in the Qur’an of the awe that people who fail to live by the moral values commanded by Allah feel in the face of wealth and material power is provided in the story of Qarun. Allah blessed Qarun with great assets and wealth. Yet Qarun was ungrateful in the face of this blessing from our Lord. Allah describes in the following verse how Qarun became proud because of all these means he enjoyed:
Qarun was one of the people of Moses but he lorded it over them. We gave him treasures, the keys alone to which were a heavy weight for a party of strong men. When his people said to him, “Do not gloat. Allah does not love people who gloat.” (Surat al-Qasas, 76)
The fact is that all the means given to people in the life of this world are only to test them. True believers make use of all the opportunities bestowed on them in a manner of which Allah will approve, on His path, and are grateful for and seek to be worthy of all of our Lord’s blessings. They know that assets belong to Allah, and that He can increase or take back His blessings whenever He so wills. Qarun’s wealth and property deceived not just him, but other people taken in by this temporary power. The devilish awe that people living far removed from Qur’anic moral values felt for Qarun’s wealth is described in a verse thus:
He went out among his people in his finery. Those who desired the life of this world said, “Oh! If only we had the same as Qarun has been given! What immense good fortune he possesses.” (Surat al-Qasas, 79)
These people realized their mistake when Allah destroyed Qarun’s wealth and property. As revealed in other verses:
We caused the earth to swallow up both him and his house. There was no group to come to his aid, besides Allah, and he was not someone who is helped. Those who had longed to take his place the day before woke up saying, “Allah expands the provision of any of His servants He wills or restricts it. If Allah had not shown great kindness to us, we would have been swallowed up as well. Ah! Truly the unbelievers are not successful.” (Surat al-Qasas, 81-82)
People who fall under the satanic influence of the material opportunities and means possessed by the antichrist may find themselves in the same situation when Allah destroys the antichrist’s power. Those who make the mistake of imagining that the antichrist is powerful enough to do anything and that his wealth will never come to any harm, instead of supporting sincere believers, may then suffer the most terrible disappointment.
According to the signs in the hadiths, the antichrist will make use of the weaknesses of such people for his own ends. He will also encourage people towards all forms of degeneration, such as alcohol, prostitution and perversion, and will offer them advantages in these areas. He will attract mass support by gathering around him people with an inclination towards these perversions to which he invites them. As a result of the gathering of people with an inclination towards these perversions to which he calls, a compulsory alliance, one whose members will look after and protect one another and who will constitute an earthly body that opposes all those who are not of them, will form. The antichrist may use this wide body founded on worldly interests as he wishes for his own purposes. By offering a wealthy and impressive lifestyle, he will attempt to turn them away from religious moral values and from people who might be a means whereby they adhere to those values. Although they realize that he is actually calling them to evil, many people will still be taken in by this corruption of the antichrist’s on account of the awe they feel in the face of his wealth, means and assets, and will turn their backs on the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as). It is again revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) how a great many people will willingly support the antichrist, knowing that he is evil, in order to make use of the benefits he offers them:
Ubayd ibn Omar relates: "Some people will converse with the antichrist. And they will say: ‘We know that he is unbeliever, we are befriending him in order to eat his food and enjoy his tree.’ When Allah’s retribution comes, it will of course come on all of them together with the antichrist." (Nuaim Ibn Hammad [Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah], 9th edition, p. 231)
However, it must not be forgotten that under the law of our Lord it is those with a sincere faith and who fully adhere to the moral values commanded by Allah who will enjoy the most agreeable and auspicious outcome:
That abode of the Hereafter – We grant it to those who do not seek to exalt themselves on the earth or to cause corruption in it. The successful outcome is for those who guard against evil. (Surat al-Qasas, 83)
The Antichrist Will Threaten Those Who Follow the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) with Material Losses, and This Will Prevent Their Being Recognized
According to the indications in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), on the one hand the antichrist will offer people a life full of adornment by promising worldly advantages, while on the other he suggests that those who align themselves alongside believers will have troubled lives. To that end, he will do all in his power to ensure that believers do experience difficulties, by using the resources at his disposal. This is how the hadiths indicate that the antichrist will inflict trouble and difficulty on those who do not go along with him:
He would come to a people and invite them. But they would reject him and he would go away from them and there would be drought for them and nothing would be left with them in the form of wealth. (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, 7015)
This method employed by the antichrist bears close similarities to the methods used by unbelievers in the past as revealed in the Qur’an. In the past, too, unbelievers used the lie that those who heeded the prophets would suffer serious losses in order to prevent them following the prophets’ path. This is revealed as follows in the Qur’an:
The ruling circle of those of his people who disbelieved said, “If you follow Jethro, you will definitely be lost.” (Surat al-A‘raf, 90)
The hadiths of our Prophet (saas) also contain signs that people whose faith is weak or who do not adhere to religious moral values will be influenced by such threats on the part of the antichrist. A great many people will ignorantly act out of hesitation over pressure from the antichrist and a concern solely to protect their material interests, rather than following the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as). Although they realize that the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) are holy individuals with elevated moral values who will lead them to the truth, they will be reluctant to support them out a fear that this might result in their own interests suffering. Yet this is a most mistaken approach. Goods and property belong in fact to Allah. Allah bestows wealth on whosoever He wills. In one verse we are told that:
There is nothing that does not have its stores with Us and We only send it down in a known measure. (Surat al-Hijr, 21)
In addition, alarming people with threats of poverty and their material interests being damaged, and thus seeking to keep them from religious moral values, is one of the attributes of satan. This is also revealed in the Qur’an, in the verse, “satan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice…” (Surat al-Baqara, 268). Under the influence of satan’s indoctrination, people with a hypocritical character also constantly avoid supporting believers and combining their resources on the path of Allah. The way that the hypocrites in the time of our Prophet (saas) were reluctant to act together with the Prophet (saas) and the companions and told a number of lies to that end is one striking example on this subject. The attitude of these hypocrites is described as follows in the Qur’an:
At that point the believers were tested and severely shaken. When the hypocrites and people with sickness in their hearts said, “What Allah and His Messenger promised us was mere delusion.” And a group of them said, “People of Yathrib, your position is untenable so return!” some of them asked the Prophet to excuse them, saying, “Our houses are exposed,” when they were not exposed; it was merely that they wanted to run away. (Surat al-Ahzab, 11-13)
As we are told in these verses, the believers with the Prophet (saas) were subjected to a test; the devout remained loyal to the Prophet Muhammad (saas), while those with sickness in their hearts revealed their insincerity. Their great fear that their interests would be damaged revealed their true faces. Not content with holding back themselves, they also endeavored to turn true believers away from the true path. During this testing by our Lord, however, the companions displayed exemplary moral values, revealed in the verse, “…‘This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us. Allah and His Messenger told us the truth.’...” (Surat al-Ahzab, 22)
Devout believers need to exhibit just such an attitude in the face of the corruption and deceptions of the antichrist. It must not be forgotten that, as stated in a verse, “We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast.” (Surat al-Baqara, 155), Allah may test the faithful in various areas. Our Lord has also imparted the glad tidings that those who display patience in the face of such a test are exhibiting the attitude that finds favor in the Sight of Allah.
According to the indications of the hadiths, the antichrist will seek to inflict difficulties on Muslims by taking away their resources they possess. This state of affairs must increase the enthusiasm, faith and determination of all faithful believers today, in the same way as with the companions in the past, and those with faith must place their trust in our Lord alone. There is no doubt that Allah assists those who place their trust in Him, and provides an easing in every difficulty. When the people of the Prophet Abraham (as) wanted to cast him into the fire, Allah cooled the fire, and when the Prophet Moses (as) was trapped between Pharaoh’s armies and the sea, our Lord assisted the believers by parting the sea in two. The faithful must not forget our Lord’s compassion and support for devout believers, and must behave in the same spirit of trust in the face of the fitnah of the antichrist in the End Times.