Book of the End: Great Trials and Tribulations
By Ibn Katheer
The Prophet Informed Us About The Rotation Of Good And Evil
Abu Idrees Al-Khoolaanee related that he heard Hudhaifah ibn Al-Yamaan say, “The people would ask the Messenger of Allah,about good and I used to ask him about evil, fearing that it would reach me.” So I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, indeed we used to be in ignorance and evil, and then Allah gave us this good. And after this good will there be evil?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ ‘And after that evil will there be good?’ I asked. ‘Yes, but that (good) will have shortcomings and defects’ I asked, ‘And what are its shortcomings and defects?’ He said, ‘A people who will be guided by other than my way; some of their deeds you will find laudable and others you will repudiate.’ I asked, ‘And after that good will there be evil?’
He said, ‘Yes, callers upon the doors of the Hellfire; whoever answers them their call, will be thrown by them in it.’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, describe them for us.’ He A said, ‘They are from our people and they speak our tongue.’ I asked, ‘And what do you order me to do if that reaches me?’ He said, ‘Adhere to the Jamaa’ah of the Muslims and to their Imam.’ I said, ‘And if they have neither Imam nor Jamaa’ah?’ He said, ‘Withdraw yourself from all of those groups, even if that means for you to bite on to the root of a tree until death overcomes you while you are upon that state. (Bukhaaree)
Islam Will Return Strange And New As It Had Begun
‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Indeed Islam began new and strange and it shall return as it began – new and strange. So glad tidings to the strangers.” (Muslim)
It was asked, “And who are the strangers?” H se,aid, “Those who are far away from the tribes.” (Ibn Maajah)
Division Within The Nations
Abu Hurairah related that the Messenger of Allah said, “The Jews divided into 71 sects and my Nation will divide into 73 sects.” (Ibn Maajah)
The Prophet Informed Us That Trials Will Divide The Nation And Safety Will Be In Adhering To The Jamaa’ah (Those Who Are Upon The Way Of The Prophet And His Companions)
‘Aouf ibn Maalik related that the Messenger of Allah said, “The Jews divided into 71 sects: one is in Paradise and 70 are in the Hellfire. The Christians divided into 72 sects: one is in Paradise and 71 are in the Hellfire. And by the One Who has my soul in His Hand, this nation of mine will be divided into 73 sects: one is in Paradise and 72 are in the Hellfire.” It was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who do you see they (i.e., the members of the saved group) are?” He said, “Al-Jamaa’ah (those who are upon the way of the Prophet and his Companions).” (Ibn Maajah)
Anas ibn Maalik related that the Messenger of Allah said, “Indeed the children of Israel divided into 71 sects, and my nation will be divided into 72 sects. All of them are in the Hellfire save for one: they are the jamaa’ah.” (Ibn Maajah)
Ahmad ibn Abee ‘Aamir Al-Hoozanee related that Mu’aawiyah ibn Abee Sufyaan stood and said, “Indeed the Messenger of Allah stood among us and said, ‘Lo! Indeed those before you from the People of the Book divided into 72 sects, and indeed this religious community (i.e., this nation) will be divided into 73 (sects) – 72 in the Hellfire and one in Paradise, and they are the jamaa’ah.” (Abu Daawood) Abu Daawood alone related it and its chain is Hasan. In another narration, when they asked the Prophet, about the saved group, he said, “That which I and my Companions are upon today.” (Mustadrak At-Haakim) And we have already seen from the Hadeeth of Hudhaifah that the one who is saved from trials when they come is he who follows the Jamaa’ah and adheres to obedience (to Allah, his Messenger a], and those in authority).
This Nation Will Not Gather Upon Misguidance
Anas ibn Maalik related that the Messenger of Allah said, “Indeed my nation will not gather upon misguidance; so if you see differences, then adhere to the vast majority.” (Abu Daawood)
However, this Hadeeth is Da’eef (weak) because more than one Imam ruled that one of its narrators, Mu’aadh ibn Rifaa’ah As-Sulaamee, is weak. And this is mentioned in some narrations: “Upon you is to adhere to the vast majority – the truth and its people.” So the people of the truth constitute the majority of this nation, especially in the first generations: you would hardly find anyone that was upon an innovation. As for later generations, there will continue to remain a group that is upon the truth.
Permission To Withdraw From People When Trials Become Severe And When Desires Become Deeply Ingrained
In the Hadeeth of Huthaifah when he asked what to do when there is neither Imam nor Jamaa’ah, the Prophet said, “Withdraw yourself from all of those groups, even if that means for you to bite on to the root of a tree until death overcomes you while you are upon that state.” We have also previously mentioned this authentic Hadeeth: “Islam began strange and new, and it will return strange and new.” And it is related in another authentic Hadeeth, “The Hour will not arrive upon anyone who says, ‘Allah, Allah.”‘
What some of these narrations indicate is that it is permissible to withdraw from people when trials begin to appear. And the following is established in a Hadeeth: “Then if you see miserliness with avarice being obeyed, desires being followed, the opinion of each person being admired by its holder, then upon you is to adhere to your own self, leaving the affairs of the general public.”
Abu Sa’eed related that the Messenger of Allah said, “The time is near when the best wealth of a Muslim will be sheep, which he will follow through the peaks of mountains and places of rainfall, in order to save his religion from the trials.” (Bukhaaree) At that time, when the said trials arrive, it becomes permissible to ask for death, even though doing so is otherwise forbidden, a ruling that is related in an authentic Hadeeth.
It Is Forbidden To Hope For Death
Abu Hurairah related that the Messenger of Allah said, “Let none among you wish for death or supplicate for it to occur before it actually arrives; when one dies, his deeds come to an end. And age does not add to a believer except in goodness.” (Ahmad) That it is allowed to ask for death when the trials come to pass is proven by a long Hadeeth related by Mu’aadh: “O Allah, I ask You (to guide me to) the doing of good deeds; (I ask You to) forgive me and have mercy on me. And if You wish a trial for a people, then take me to You with death, without me being put to trial. O Allah, I ask You (to grant me) Your love, the love of those who love You, and the love of every deed that brings me closer to Your love.” (Ahmad)
These narrations indicate that there will come a very severe and difficult time upon the people, when the Muslims will not have Jamaa’ah established upon the truth — this is either for the entire earth or some parts of it.
Knowledge Will Be Raised With The Death Of The Scholars
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr related that the Messenger of Allah said, “Verily, Allah ig does not seize knowledge by force, taking it forcefully from the people; instead, Het takes away knowledge by the death of the scholars, until their remains no scholar. The people will take ignorant leaders, who will be asked, and who will rule without knowledge. They are misguided and they will misguide others.” (Bukhaaree)
The Prophet Intimated To Us That A Group From This Nation Will Remain Upon The Truth Until The Day Of Judgment
In another Hadeeth, the Prophet said, “From my Nation there shall continue to remain a group that is victorious upon the truth; they will not be harmed by those who forsake them or by those who oppose them. (This will continue) until Allah’s Matter arrives (this is referring to when the Hour is near at hand, when Allah will take the life of every male and female believer), when they will still be upon that state.”
A Narration Which Indicates That Every 100 Years, Allah Will Send For This Nation He (Or Those) Who Will Revive The Affairs Of The Religion
Abu Hurairah related that the Messenger of Allah said, “Indeed, at the beginning of every 100 years, Allah will send for this nation he (or those) who will revive for it the matter of its religion.” (Abu Daawood)
Abu Daawood was the only one to relate this narration. Every group says that their Imam is being referred to in this Hadeeth. Yet it appears, and Allah knows best, that it is comprehensive of a group of scholars from every group and from every branch of knowledge — such as Tafseer, Hadeeth, Figh, Arabic Grammar, the Arabic language in general, and other branches as well. And Allah knows best. As for the Hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, “Verily, Allah does not seize knowledge by force, taking it forcefully from the people; rather, He takes away knowledge by the death of the scholars,” its manifest meaning is that knowledge is not taken from the breasts of men after Allah ie has endowed them with it.
Some Of The Signs Of The Hour That A Mentioned
Qataadah reported that Anas ibn Maalik said, “Shall I not relate to you a Hadeeth I heard from the Messenger of Allah which none will relate to you after me? I heard him say that, ‘from the signs of the Hour is the raising (or taking) of knowledge; ignorance will spread, fornication will become rampant, alcohol will be imbibed, men will perish, and women will remain, until there remains one male guardian for every 50 women.— (Ibn Maajah)
Knowledge Will Be Raised (Or Taken Away) From People At The End Of Time
‘Abdullah, related that the Messenger of Allah said, “Just before the Hour there will be days when knowledge will be raised, when ignorance will descend, and when there will be much killing.” (Ibn Maajah)
Hudhaifah ibn Al-Yamaan related that the Messenger of Allah said, “Islam will perish (i.e., knowledge will perish and its traces will be effaced) like the embroideries of a garment perish, until (the time) when fasting, prayer, worship, and charity will not be known when in one night forgetfulness will pass over the Book (the Qur’an) and not a single Verse from it will remain on the earth. A group of people will remain — the aged man and woman — who will say, ‘We were around when our father was upon this word: Laailaha illallaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), but they will not know what is prayer, fasting, worship, or charity.” Silah asked Hudhaifah “What will ‘Laailaha illallaah’ benefit them when they do not know what is prayer, worship, and charity?”
Hudhaifah turned away from him, but he repeated the question three times, and all the while Hudhaifah turned away from him. When Silah asked for the third time, Hudhaifah approached him and said, “O Silah, it will save them from the Hellfire.” And he repeated that statement three times. (Ibn Maajah)
This proves that knowledge will be taken from the people near the end of this world, a time when the forgetfulness of the Qur’an will pervade the earth — in the Masaahif and in the breasts of men. And people will remain without knowledge. The aged man and woman will say that they were around when people would say: ‘Laailaha illallaah,’ and they will say it seeking closeness to Allah by it. It will benefit them even though they do not otherwise have good deeds or beneficial knowledge. Perhaps the meaning of “it will save them from the Hellfire” is that their saying the phrase of Tawheed will save them from entering the Hellfire altogether; in that case, the only obligation upon them is to say it, since they are not required to do deeds. And Allah knows best. But perhaps Hudhaifah’s statement means that they are saved from the Fire after first having to enter it; so the implications of this Hadeeth may be the intended meaning of the following Qudsee Hadeeth: “By My Greatness and Exaltedness, I will remove from the Hellfire whoever says on any day from time: Laailaha illallaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah’ But still, this last Hadeeth might be referring to another group of people. We will study this in more detail when discussing the levels of intercession. What is important to note here is that knowledge will be raised at the end of time and ignorance will become rampant. In the aforesaid Hadeeth we are told that ignorance will descend, which means that people will be inspired by it, and that is from forsakenness, which we seek refuge from Allah . The said state of affairs will continue as people increase in ignorance and misguidance, until life on this world ends. This we are informed of in the Hadeeth of the Prophet “The Hour will not arrive upon anyone who says, ‘Allah, Allah,’ and it will not arrive except upon the most evil of people.”