A prophet is not just somebody who prophesies or performs miracles. He is more of a guide who conveys God’s Message to men so as to lead them on the straight path.
In Arabic Nabi, which is loosely translated in English as ‘prophet’ actually means ‘He who informs or brings good tidings’. The word comes from naba ‘good tidings’ as seen for instance in a passage of the Qur’an where God says of the days of Mary: “This is part of the tidings of the things unseen” (Family Imraan:44) where anba ‘tidings’ used here occurs as the plural of naba, or where Jesus says: “I shall declare (nabbi) what you eat and what you store in your houses” (Family Imraan:49) where the verbal form nabbi conveys the sense of ‘passing on the tidings’. The Arabic word is related to Hebrew navi which more or less means the same thing, one who speaks on behalf of the Almighty as we see for instance in Deuteronomy 18:18, where God declares: “And I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” Thus in the Semitic tongues prophets are basically the intermediaries through which God makes known His Will to men.
However it is true that the prophets also prophesied or foretold future events, not as a necessary, but rather as an incidental part of the prophetic mission. They warned us of the times to come and of the Signs of the Last Day. So did our Prophet, perhaps more than any other before him, because He was also the Final Messenger sent to all humanity. Even in your English language Muhammad is called The Prophet, meaning The Prophet Par Excellence. There is much our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said which has come to pass and much that remains to come. There are also indications that some of what he said is taking place in this very age of ours.
Generally speaking the prophecies of our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) could be classed into two broad categories – Those that have come to pass, shortly after his demise until this day and those telling of the Signs before the End of Days. To the first category belong the prophecies that have already taken place. And these mind you, are crystal clear predictions, unlike the vague prophecies found in the Bible that could be interpreted in different ways.
Among the first of the remarkable prophecies he made was that the Muslims would be victorious against the great superpowers of the day, and all this in the face of overwhelming adversity when the Muslims were on the verge of being defeated by the Pagan Meccans and their allies in the Battle of the Confederates in 626 AC. The Prophet made the prophecy, revealed to him by the Angel Gabriel, in the course of the digging of a trench which the Muslims had just undertaken to protect themselves from their enemies. In fact some thought that the prophecy was outrageous given the circumstances of the time and here we have the prophet declaring that they will conquer the Persians and the Byzantines, the two greatest empires on earth at the time!
A companion of the Prophet named Amr tells of this prophecy: “I Salman, Hudhayfa, Numan and six of the Ansar were working on the trench. We dug on until we reached al-Nada, where we came across a huge, white rock. It broke our metal tools and gave us great difficulty. So Salman went to the Messenger of God (Peace Be Upon Him) who was then in a Turkish pavilion, and told him of it. He came and took the pickaxe from Salman and struck the rock so hard it split. From it there came a flash of light so strong as to illuminate all the way between the two lava fields- (at both ends) of Medina, that is. It was like a great lantern on a very dark night.
The Messenger of God (Peace Be Upon Him) invoked God’s greatness, saying Allahu Akbar (God is Great), as at a victory, and the Muslims did so as well. He then struck it again and the same thing happened, a third time with same result. Salman and the Muslims asked the Messenger of God (Peace Be Upon Him) what the light meant. He replied: “From the first, the castles of al-Hira and cities of Chosroe were lit up to be seen like the fangs of dogs. Gabriel announced to me that my nation would be victorious over them. From the second, the red castles of Byzantium were illuminated, as though they were the fangs of dogs; Gabriel announced to me that my nation would be victorious over them. From the third, the castles of Sana were lit up like the fangs of dogs; Gabriel announced to me that my nation would be victorious over them. So be joyful at this news!’ the Muslims were delighted, and said “Praise be to God!”.
When the enemy clans appeared for battle, the believers assured one another that what God and his messenger had promised them was true,. And yet all this came at a time when the Muslims of Medina were struggling against the Quraysh and their allies with great odds against them. And so it came to pass that a few years after the demise of our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), Persia, which was then ruled by the Sassanids, fell before the Islamic army in the reign of Caliph Umar. The Battle of Qadisiyyah fought in 636/637 AC dealt a major blow to the Persians and this was followed by the sack of the Sassanian winter capital at Ctesiphon on the Tigris. The Battle of Nahavand in fought in 642 sealed the fate of the Persian Empire. Chosroes, the Persian Emperor had in a fit of arrogance many years ago torn the letter the Prophet sent him, inviting him to Islam.
Now God tore his empire to piece, replacing it with the Peace of Islamdom. This was an empire, mind you, that was one of the two major superpowers of the day, the other being the Byzantine Empire which would also eventually fall to Islam. Indeed even in the many centuries before Christ, in the first millennium BC, this great Aryan nation had consistently been a thorn on the side of Western civilization which was then dominated by the Greeks.
Persia was no easy foe. It had risen to prominence under the Achaemenid dynasty founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC, eventually taking over the old Babylonian Empire and expanding within a short period to stretch from the Indus Valley in the East to as far West as Thrace and Macedon near Greece and to Egypt and beyond so that it covered three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. Its historic enmity with Greece was demonstrated in the many Greco-Persian such as in the Battle of Marathon when they sought to subdue all of Greece but were soundly defeated. Alexander the Great’s invasion a couple of centuries later put its dreams of expansion into Europe to an end but it was soon to rise again like a Phoenix under the Sassanids who took on the might of the Byzantine Empire which had taken on the mantle of European leadership from the Greeks. Such was the power of Persia. And to think it would be overwhelmed by the Arabs of some oasis towns in the desert to its west.
These Persians who had been following a degenerate version of Zoroastrianism that had lost much of its original monotheism flocked to embrace Islam on a mass scale as soon as the conquest was over. They added much to Islamic civilization. The very name of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphs, an Arabian dynasty that ruled Islamdom from 750 until 1258, is of Persian origin and means ‘Given by God’. The compilers of all the six great canonical works that recorded our Prophet’s sayings and doings, the Sihah As-Sittah or the Six Correct Books including Bukhari, Muslim, Aboo Dawood, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi and Nasai were all Persians. Even mundane literature like the Alf Layla Wa Layla or The Thousand and One Nights also known as the Arabian Nights was originally based on a lost Persian archetype of unknown antiquity known as Hazar Afsanah (Thousand Stories) to which an Islamic touch was given with the likes of the illustrious Caliph Harun Al Rashid being brought into the narrative.
And then came the turn of the Byzantine Empire, the other major superpower of the day, to fall to the armies of Islam, as foretold by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). The Byzantines were then a powerful empire that had as its seat the city of Constantinople. Sitting on the Bosporus it straddled the continents of both Europe and Asia, in what is now Istanbul in Turkey. It was founded by Constantine the Great in 327 AC on the site of the ancient Greek city of Byzantium as the new capital of the Eastern Part of the Roman Empire and was called Nova Roma – New Rome. However it soon became a separate empire when the two sons of Theodosius, the last ruler of a United Rome divided the empire among themselves, Honorarius taking the Western Part based in Rome and Arcadius the Eastern part based in Constantinople.
It did not take it long to emerge as a superpower, especially after the fall of the Western Empire based in Rome in 476 to a coalition of Germanic tribes professing the Arian creed, a form of Unitarian Christianity that the older empire still tinted with its pagan ways had spurned. That event was so momentous that it ushered in the Middle Ages of Europe, known to some as ‘The Dark Ages’. It was in the east that the older Roman Empire still lived, protected it is said by “the impregnable walls” of Contantinople. It carried on the traditions of Roman civilization and its rulers came to be regarded as the true heirs of the ancient Caesars, especially after its Emperor Justinian invaded Italy and took over Rome by defeating the Arian Goths in 554. This was why the Arabs of the time called them Al-Room ‘The Romans’, an appellation that even went on to form the name of a chapter of a Qur’an revealed a few decades later.
And so we now had the Prophet declaring “The red castles of Byzantium were illuminated, as though they were the fangs of dogs; Gabriel announced to me that my nation would be victorious over them”. He would later also prophesy: “You will conquer Constantinople. Its commander is the best and its army (that will conquer it) is the best“. The Prophet was referring to none other than Sultan Mehmed, also known as Muhammad Al Fatih (Muhammad the Conqueror) and his Army of Ottoman Turks who took Constantinople in 1453, an event so momentous that it would close the Middle Ages and usher in the Modern Era.
On that fateful day of the First of April 1453, Mehmed and his army of over 100,000 soldiers arrived at the walls of Constantinople. The sight that greeted them must have been awesome for it seemed so impregnable. These walls had never been conquered in history, but they would soon fall, its defenders taken by surprise seeing the soldiers flooding into the city and the flags waving on their walls. Before long the conquest had been complete and soon the victorious Sultan marched into the Church of Hagia Sophia where the people of the city had gathered. Dismounting from his horse he prayed to God, thanking him for the conquest and turning to the people of the city who were bowing and prostrating in tears, said: “Stand up! I am Sultan Muhammad and I would like to tell you, your brothers, and all the people present that your lives and freedoms are protected“. A strict follower of Islam, he did not touch a single inhabitant despite the fact that they had only a few days earlier spurned his offer to surrender the city and live in peace. In fact he encouraged them to stay in the city by absolving them of taxes and also insisted that the Greek Orthodox Church rule its Christians on his behalf. And so Constantinople, now renamed Islambul ‘City of Islam’ became the capital of his vast empire. The Sultan was only twenty three years old at the time and went on to conquer Serbia, Greece, Romania, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina for the faith.
And mind you, it was this singular event in history, the fall of Constantinople, that signaled the end of the Mediaeval Period and ushered in the Modern Era. Such was the significance of 1453. And to think that all of this was prophesied by our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
Our Prophet also prophesied other conquests for the faith, among them Egypt which was then under the rule of the Byzantines. He told his close friend and father in law Umar: “God will open Egypt to you after my death. So take good care of the Copts in that country for they are your kinsmen and under your protection”(Khutba of Amr Ibn Al Aas). On another occasion he advised his followers: “Fear God regarding the Copts of Egypt, you shall take them over, but they shall be your instrument and supporter in the Way of God” (Tabarani).
Here we find the Prophet directing that the Muslims who would take Egypt after his death take good care of the Copts, a Christian people descended from the ancient Egyptians. The community enjoyed a special relationship with the Arabs, being the race to which Hagar, the mother of their ancestor Ishmael belonged to. And so it came to pass, not very long afterwards that the Muslim General Amr Ibn Al Aas took Egypt in 642, routing the Byzantine forces that had for long oppressed the Copts due to sectarian differences.
The Prophet also foretold the first maritime battle to be undertaken by Muslims against Cyprus which he said would be witnessed by Umm Haram, the first woman to participate in a naval expedition. It so happened that one day when the Prophet woke up in the house of Umm Haram and he smilingly said: I dreamt that my community would be waging war in the sea sitting on thrones like kings. Umm Haram pleaded: “Pray that I too may be with them”. And he replied: “You shall be” (Tirmidhi). This came true forty years later when Umm Haram accompanied her husband ‘Ubada ibn Samit, on the conquest of Cyprus.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) even went on to declare: “God, the Exalted, unfolded for me the Earth, to the extent that I saw its Eastern and Western sides (i.e. the extremities). The Kingdom of my Ummah (nation) will reach as far as what has been unfolded to me” (Saheeh Muslim).
Thus the Prophet foresaw that his followers would one day grow to such numbers that they would reach the furthest corners of the earth and this was pronounced when the young Muslim community had barely if at all spread outside of the Arabian Peninsula, perhaps not even beyond the city of Medina. Today however we see a totally different picture. Muslims who are Arab form only about 15 percent, a mere one seventh of the total Muslim population. The rest are all Non-Arabs belonging to different races. Muslims are found in all corners of the world with their greatest concentrations being from Morocco in the West to India in the East; Bosnia Herzegovina in the North to Indonesia in the South. The followers of Islam come a close second after Christianity. In Europe they form the second largest religious group after the Christians and their numbers are only increasing. There are already three Muslim states in Europe, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina and if we add Turkey, a part of which also extends to Europe it’ll be four. As fascinating is the fast growing Muslim population of Western Europe, especially countries like Germany and France.
“The rise of Islam” as A.L.M. Stoddard noted “is perhaps the most amazing event in human history. Springing from a land and a people previously negligible, Islam spread within a century over half the earth, shattering great empires, overthrowing long establisged religions, remoulding the souls of races, and building up a whole new world – the world of Islam. The closer we examine this development, the more extraordinary does it appear. The other great religions won their way slowly, by painful struggle, and finally triumphed with the aid of powerful monarchs converted to the new faith. Christianity had its Constantine, Buddhism its Asoka and Zoroastrianism its Cyrus, each lending to his chosen cult the mighty force of secular authority. Not so Islam. Arising in a desert land sparsely inhabited by a nomad race previously undistinguished in human annals, Islam sallied forth on its great adventure with the slenderest human backing and against the heaviest material odds. Yet Islam triumphed with seemingly miraculous ease, and a couple of generations saw the fiery crescent borne victorious from the Pyrenees to the Himalayas”.
However, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) also predicted the many great dangers that awaited the Islamic nation. One such was the Mongol invasion in the 13th century when he declared:
The Hour will not come before you fight against a people with red faces, small, slant eyes and flat noses. They wear hairy leather boots
This is a fitting description of how the Mongols who wreaked such havoc on the Islamic world eight hundred years ago looked like. They were a wild and ferocious people from Mongolia that overran much of the Middle East and Eastern Europe in the 13th century and there is ample evidence from historical accounts and miniature paintings to show exactly how they looked like – a Mongoloid people with flat noses and slanted eyes, just as the Prophet had predicted centuries earlier.
The Muslims of the day had unfortunately got used to a life of indulgence and decadence and could not stave off the invasion of these barbaric hordes sweeping from the east. These barbarians who brought nothing but terror in their wake overran much of Persia, Arabia and Eastern Europe, killing millions of innocents in the process. One might as well describe the areas they subdued as being nothing but mounds of skulls and rivers of blood. Genghis Khan who spearheaded the Mongol onslaught was followed by Hulagu who sacked Baghdad in 1258 putting an end to the Abbasid Caliphate. In fact it was their constant oppression that spelled the end of the Arabian hold on the Muslim world. The Arab Muslims had fought them – true to the Prophet’s prophesy – and lost. The loss was however only temporary, for the Mongols would eventually be won over to Islam and arise as the new champions of the faith. For instance they would go on to conquer India and rule it for nearly four centuries under such great emperors like Babur, Humayun, Jahangir and Aurangzeb. These were the Moghuls who brought India much of its culture and civilization.
If you’re wondering what they have go to do with the Mongols, all I can say is everything except their Pagan faith. These Moghuls were nothing but the Islamized descendants of the Mongols of old. In fact, the very name of Moghul is a corruption of the word Mongol. This was perhaps the first time in history that a conquering people had accepted the faith of their conquered subjects.
Yet another danger the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) warned us about was the appearance of venereal diseases whenever promiscuity becomes rife. That was when he addressed his followers warning them that they may be afflicted by certain things, that God forbid they should live to see. He said: “Sexual immorality never appears among people to such an extent that they commit it openly except that they will be afflicted by plagues and diseases unknown to their forefathers” (Ibn Majah). So here we have it, a very interesting pronouncement by an unlettered Arab well over a thousand years ago, that sexually transmitted diseases never before seen would emerge when people become promiscuous. How true indeed. We do not know what kind of diseases existed in those days, but we certainly know that during Victorian times there was Syphilis and Gonorrhoea and no sooner they were treated, a new disease emerged as if from nowhere, a disease we call AIDS for which there is still no cure. Even the best scientists cannot tell us how these diseases come into being in the first place, but we know from what our Prophet has taught us, that they emerge when we lose our moral values, when we scorn marriage and the stability it brings the family and opt for free sex with all its attendant evils that threaten the very fabric of society.
The other class of prophesies are those that speak of the Apocalypse, of the Signs that portend the End of Days. They tell us of many things – of an increase in wealth and of earthquakes and of shepherds competing with one another in putting up high rise building; of great wars and the appearance of false prophets; of Jesus’ coming and of his fighting the Antichrist and of Muslims joining him and waging war against the Jews. Although much of it is yet to come, there are some that already seem to be taking place already – in this very day and age.
It happened one day that the angel Gabriel came to the prophet in the guise of a man while he was in the company of his companions. He asked the prophet when Judgment day will come. “Tell me about the Hour” he asked. The Prophet responded: “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner” Here the Prophet told the angel that he himself did not know the time of the Last Day. This is very similar to what Jesus taught when he said in the Gospel of Mark: “But of that day and hour no man knoweth, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only”. He (Angel Gabriel) asked: “Then tell me about its signs.” The Prophet said: “That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and when the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of high rise buildings” .The Archangel then left and the Prophet inquired from his close friend: “O Umar, do you know who the questioner was?” He replied: “God and His messenger know best”. The Prophet said: “That was Gabriel who came to you to teach you your religion”(Saheeh Muslim).
So here we are told that one of the signs will be when “The slave-girl will give birth to her mistress”. This is a rather strange portent and it is difficult to comprehend what it means. Perhaps it may refer to surrogate motherhood where rich couples hire poor women to bear their children because the wife is sterile or thinks it is not worth the trouble to carry a child in her womb for nine months. This is however mere conjecture and we still in no position to say what it actually means. Among the other Sign is: “When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings”. So here the Prophet is telling us is that one of the Signs of the Last Day is that the shepherds of black camels will not just take part in constructing tall buildings, but will also compete against one another in this matter. What did he mean by shepherds of black camels you may ask? The Arabs of the Gulf of course, for who else are shepherds of camels but the Arabs. One may look at it another way and argue that it refers to cars which are run on black gold, in other words petrol. In this case black camels would mean cars and its shepherds the Arabs who drive in it. This is exactly what is taking place in the Gulf countries today with kingdoms and emirates competing with one another in putting up some of the tallest standing skyscrapers on the face of the earth. Take for instance the Burj Arab Tower in the United Arab Emirates which enjoys the enviable reputation of being the tallest structure on earth at 2,087 feet and rising higher year after year.
Many were the other portents of the Hour which the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us about: “The Hour will not be established (1) till two big groups fight each other whereupon there will be a great number of casualties on both sides and they will be following one and the same religious doctrine, (2) till about thirty false prophets appear, and each one of them will claim that he is God’s Prophet (3) till the religious knowledge is taken away (by the death of Religious scholars) (4) earthquakes will increase in number (5) time will pass quickly, (6) afflictions will appear, (7) killing will increase, (8) wealth will be in abundance, so abundant that a wealthy person will worry lest nobody should accept his Alms Tax, and whenever he will present it to someone, that person will say, ‘I am not in need of it, (9) till the people compete with one another in constructing high buildings, (10) till a man when passing by a grave of someone will say, ‘Would that I were in his place (11) and till the sun rises from the West. So when the sun will rise and the people will see it (rising from the West) they will all believe (embrace Islam) but that will be the time when: (As God said) ‘No good will it do to a soul to believe then, if it believed not before” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari).
So here we are told that the Hour will not come unless, firstly, two large groups of people fight each other so that there will be a great number of casualties on both sides. We are told that they will be following the same religion. This may well refer to the First World War or the Second World War which the Christian nations of Europe waged against each other which took with it millions of lives or who knows it may refer to another war to come, a still greater war, a Third World War; Secondly that about thirty false prophets will appear. We have already had many such impostors and charlatans claiming to be prophets in spite of Muhammad’s being the Seal of the Prophets. There was the American Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormons and the Frenchmen Michel Potay who claimed to receive a revelation, The Revelation of Arès, dictated by God in 1977 and who is considered a prophet by his followers, the Pilgrims of Arès; thirdly, that religious knowledge will be taken away, perhaps by the death of pious scholars. We see this to some extent today where even the bastions of traditional Islamic learning have succumbed to the wishes of worldly-minded despots who try to twist the faith to give legitimacy to evil acts such as lending on interest which God has totally prohibited us; fourthly that earthquakes will increase in number.
How true indeed, for today we see earthquakes rattling the planet with increasing ferocity and taking hundreds of thousands of lives, the likes of which we never see in the annals of history. From 1900 to the 1930s there were 50 major quakes, from 1940 to the 1970s 70 such quakes and from the 1980s to 2015 it had risen to a staggering 150 or so. By 2015 the number of earthquakes striking the earth more than doubled from the number in 1980. What all this shows is that the earth is not being too kind to us and is rumbling and grumbling and becoming more unstable, surely another sign of the end times. fifthly that time will pass quickly, which seems to be happening even today due to modern lifestyles where people do not seem to have time even to devote to God or their families; sixthly that afflictions will appear, and there needs no gainsaying that since the days of our Prophet afflictions have emerged that did not exist earlier, in the middle ages, the great bubonic plague known as the ‘Black Death’ which took millions of lives and in our modern age diseases such as AIDS and SARS which were unknown in earlier times; seventhly that killings will increase, which is what we see today when the one who kills does not know why he killed, and the one killed does not know why he was killed. In the US alone guns kill 30,000 people a year on average with gangsters and street gangs playing a big role in the carnage; eighthly that wealth will increase, which is what we see even today where the world is much better off materially than it ever was; ninthly, that the people will compete with one another in putting up high-rise structures, which is what is happening today with wealthy emirs and tycoons and even the newly rich going all out to put up tall buildings that are beginning to scrape the sky; tenthly when people will start wishing for death as if to escape from the travails of this world. This too is happening to some extent with suicide wishes being openly expressed by many people especially in the west; and finally that the sun should rise in the West, which needless to say has yet to take place. Maybe that’s a long way from today but of that Hour only God Knows.
But before that day there will also come a time when there will be a great war between the Muslims and their enemies in the Middle East, especially that area near Jerusalem. The Muslims will wage war against the Antichrist who will be backed by the Jews. Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him) who will descend from the heavens will kill the Antichrist while his followers among the Muslims will wipe out the Jews. Jesus will then usher in a ‘Kingdom of God’ on earth, a reign of forty years that will bring peace and goodwill to the world. The Jews would have by then be wiped out and the Christians, seeing that Jesus is the promised Messiah would accept the truth of Islam, believing in him only as a Messenger of God and not the Son of God. His death will signal the beginning of the last days.
But Christ will come only after the coming of the Antichrist. We Muslims call him the Dajjal or Great Liar. He will claim divinity and lure men into worshipping him before Jesus descends from the heavens. The Prophet said, “No prophet was sent but that he warned his followers against the one-eyed liar. Beware! He is blind in one eye, and your Lord is not so, and there will be written between his eyes (the word) Kafir (Disbeliever). He also described seeing the Anti-Christ in a dream as a “man with a huge body, of a red complexion and curly-haired and blind in one eye. His eye looked like a floating grape” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
He warned us that he will use worldly inducements to mislead us: “The Anti-Christ would have with him water and fire and his fire would have the effect of cold water and his water would have the effect of fire, so don’t put yourself to ruin”. He also warned us of his magical powers: “He will come to the people and call them to his obedience and they will affirm their faith in him and respond to him. He will then give command to the sky and it will send its rain upon the earth and he will then send his command to the earth and it will grow vegetation. Then in the evening their pasturing animals will come to them with their humps very high and their udders full of milk and their flanks stretched. He will then come to another people and invite them, but they will reject him and he will leave them, in barren lands and without any goods and chattels! He would then walk through the waste land and say to it: `Bring forth your treasures’, and the treasures will come out and follow him like swarms of bees. He will then call a person brimming with youth and strike him with the sword and cut him into two pieces and make these pieces lie at a distance, which is generally between the archer and his target. He will then call that young man and he will come forward, laughing, with his face gleaming out of joy” (Saheeh Muslim).
The Antichrist will enjoy immense power since he will be supported by the misled peoples of the world and especially the Jews who will be his most ardent supporters. As our Prophet warned “The Anti-Christ would be followed by seventy thousand Jews”. That he should be supported by the Jews comes as no surprise as they still continue to reject Jesus as the promised Messiah which both Muslims and Christians believe him to be. Thus the Antichrist will arise as the Messiah of the Jews. This false Messiah will very likely pander to the tribal yearnings of the Jews to be the dominant people on earth, and work towards their cherished goal of subverting man and the rest of nature to Jewish thralldom such as one sees today in the expansionist designs of the Zionist state of Israel.
The descent of Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) will spell victory for the Muslims and the destruction of their enemies who will be led by the Antichrist. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said of Jesus: “There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him). He will descend (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish hair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish the Poll Tax on Non-Muslims. God will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him” (Aboo Dawood).
So here we find the Prophet describing Jesus as a man with reddish hair. It closely matches a contemporary account of Jesus given by Lentulus who wrote to the Roman Emperor Tiberius: “A man of stature somewhat tall, and comely, with very reverent countenance, such as the beholders may both love and fear, his hair of (the colour of) the chestnut, full ripe, plain to his ears, whence downwards it is more orient and curling and wavering about his shoulders. In the midst of his head is a seam or partition in his hair, after the manner of the Nazarenes. His forehead plain and very delicate; His face without spot or wrinkle, beautified with a lovely red; His nose and mouth so formed as nothing can be reprehended; His beard thick, in colour like his hair, not very long, but forked; His look innocent and mature; His eyes grey, clear, and quick. In reproving hypocrisy he is terrible; in admonishing, courteous and fair spoken; pleasant in conversation, mixed with gravity. It cannot be remembered that any have seen him laugh, but many have seen him weep. In proportion of body, most excellent; His hands and arms delicate to behold. In speaking, very temperate, modest, and wise. A man, for his singular beauty, surpassing the children of men”.
The Prophet also went on to state that while the Antichrist would be occupied with his nefarious designs “God will send down the Messiah son of Mary, and he will descend in the eastern part of Damascus, near the white minaret dressed in the two yellow garments, with his hands resting on the arms of two angels. When he will bend down his head, water drops will appear trickling down, and when he will raise it, it will appear as though pearl-like drops are rolling down. Any disbeliever whom the air of his breath reaches-and it will reach up to the last limit of his sight will fall dead. Then, the son of Mary will go in pursuit of the Anti-Christ, and will overtake him at the gate of Lud, and will kill him.” (Saheeh Muslim).
So here we are told by the Prophet that Jesus will descend in the Eastern part of Damascus near the white minaret of its mosque. As another saying of the Prophet tells us this shall take place at the time of the Subah or the morning prayer: “Exactly at the time when the Leader of the Muslims will have stepped forward to lead them in the Morning Prayer, Jesus son of Mary (Peace Be Upon Him) shall descend upon them. The Imam will step back so that Jesus may step forward (to lead the Prayer), but Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) placing his hand between his two shoulders, will say “No, you should lead, for the congregation has assembled to follow you. So, the Imam will lead the Prayer. After the salutation, Jesus will say, “Open the gate;” so the gate will be opened. Outside, there will be the Antichrist, along with 70,000 armed Jews. As soon as the Anti-Christ sees Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him), he will start dissolving like salt in water, and will flee. Jesus will say, “I shall strike you a blow which will not allow you to survive.” And he will overtake him at the eastern gate of Lud, and Allah will cause the Jews to be defeated. And the Earth will be so filled with the Muslims as a vessel is filled with water. The entire world shall recite and follow one and the same Word and none shall be worshipped except God” (Ibn Majah).
The extermination of the unrepentant Jewry will be accomplished both by Jesus and his Muslim followers. God will send Jesus as an instrument of His Vengeance against the Jews who had constantly laid thorns in the way of His Messengers. They had even tried to kill Jesus and indeed had gotten away with the idea that they had. So God will send him before the end of time to prove that they did not kill him and that He had saved him from the fate they had planned for him. But not just that, God will also smite the Jews through Jesus. As a tradition of the Prophet has it: “Jesus son of Mary shall appear among the Muslims. Then, the people will stand up for the Prayer, and he will be asked, ‘Step forward, Oh Spirit of God (and lead us in the Prayer); but he will say, ‘No, your own leader should step forward and lead the Prayer.’ Then, after offering the Morning Prayer, the Muslims shall go forth to fight the Anti-Christ. ‘When the Liar (Anti-Christ) sees Jesus, Peace Be Upon Him, he will start dissolving like salt in water. Then, Jesus will advance towards him and will slay him; and it will so happen that the trees and the stones will cry out: ‘Oh Spirit of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me.’ None will be left from among the followers of the Dajjal, whom he (Jesus) will not kill.” (Musnad Ahmad). So we find that Jesus, whom the Jews sought to nail on to the cross will himself kill the Jews. Another tradition of the Prophet has it that the Muslims will join him: “The last hour will not come until the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a rock or a tree and the rock or tree will say: O Muslim, the servant of God, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad (a thorny tree known as Boxthorn) would not say so, because it is the tree of the Jews” (Saheeh Muslim).
The events so related of the Antichrist and of his Jewish followers seem to take place in the Middle East, in the desert land where the Gharqad tree grows. This terrain we may presume to mean the land of Palestine, present-day Israel or Syria to which the Jews would have advanced in their quest for Eretz Israel or Greater Israel. Although one tradition speaks of Jesus descending to Damascus at the time of the morning prayer, another tradition tells us that the Arabs will be in the Baytul Maqdis or ‘Holy House’, which is generally taken to mean the mosque of Jerusalem, when Jesus descends and is asked to lead the prayer. Thus it may be that Jesus will descend in Damascus and make a second descent to Jerusalem. So when the prophet said that the Antichrist and the Jews will be found outside the gates, we cannot say exactly whether he was referring to the gates of Damascus or Jerusalem. What we can be sure of is that Jesus would chase them back to a spot called Lud where he will kill the enemy. This Lud we can only surmise is Lod or Lydda, 13 miles away from the capital of present-day Israel Tel Aviv where the most important airport of the Zionist state now stands.
Isn’t it remarkable that the Jews’ return to ‘the promised land’ was foretold by our Prophet at a time when they were not dominant, nor even resident there anymore. That was in the seventh century when Christians were ruling Jerusalem and all that land we today call Palestine. Not a single Jew was to be found here, for the simple reason that they had been driven out when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 AC. The event marked the great Jewish Exodus to the rest of the world, finding their way to Europe, Africa and even India where they lived in a city called Cochin. But none were to be found in Palestine. It was only with the Zionist movement begun by Theodor Herzl in the late 1800s that the Jews settled elsewhere began to trickle down to Palestine, a land their ancestors had not seen for nearly 2000 years. So just as the Prophet prophesied that the Jews would return to Palestine, his prophesy that they will be wiped out at the hands of the Muslims should also be fulfilled at some time in future.
Once the Jews who are the enemies of the rest of mankind and of nature – remember even the trees would betray them to the Muslims – would have been done away with, the greatest impediment to people embracing the true faith of Islam would have been removed and they would flock to embrace Islam in great numbers. The Christians having witnessed Jesus breaking the cross will no longer come to look at it as a sacred symbol worthy of worship and will merge into the community of Islam like the rest of humanity.
However before the peace could settle, the hordes of Gog and Magog will be let loose. These are some barbaric tribes known in Arabic as Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj and are described in the Qur’an in the story of Zul Qarnayn ‘the two-horned one’, a great ruler or prophet known for his conquests, though who he exactly was has been lost in the mists of time. Some say he was Alexander the Great and others have different views.
The story goes that the great conqueror came across a people who beseeched him to protect them from these oppressive people:
They said: “O Zul-qarnain. The Gog and Magog do great mischief on earth: Shall we then render thee tribute in order that thou mightest erect a barrier between us and them? He said: “(The power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than tribute): Help me therefore with strength: I will. erect a strong barrier between you and them: “Bring me blocks of iron.” At length, when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain-sides, he said, “Blow (with your bellows)” Then, when he had made it (red) as fire, he said: “Bring me, that I may pour over it, molten lead.” Thus were they made powerless to scale it or to dig through it. He said: “This is a mercy from my Lord: But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass He will make it into dust; and the promise of my Lord is true.” On that day We shall leave them to surge like waves on one another: The trumpet will be blown and We shall collect them all together. And We shall present Hell that day for Unbelievers to see, all spread out,-(Unbelievers) whose eyes had been under a veil from remembrance of Me, and who had been unable even to hear? (The Cave:94- 101).
The Holy Book also says of this people: “Until the Gog and Magog are let through (their barrier), And they swiftly swarm From every hill. Then will the True Promise Draw nigh: Then behold! the eyes Of the Unbelievers will Fixedly stare in horror: ‘Ah! Woe to us! we were indeed Heedless of this; nay; we truly did wrong!” (The Prophets:96-97).
This is the same Gog whom God addresses in the Bible: “After many days you will be mustered against a nation which has survived the sword, which has been assembled from many peoples, which has been brought forth from among the peoples and all of whom now dwell in security. You shall come up like a sudden storm, advancing like a cloud to cover the earth, you and your troops” (Ezekiel 38:8-9). Although the Jews might conclude that Gog rises up against Israel, it is evident from the Bible itself that they would rise against a nation “which has been assembled from many peoples” which cannot refer to the Jews, who are a racial group, but rather the Muslims who are in fact “assembled from many peoples”.
Thus both Islamic and Judeo-Christian scripture is very explicit about the coming cataclysm, of Gog and Magog surging like waves and attacking the Believers from every hill, meaning from everywhere on earth. When they will be let loose as a beast of prey would when set free from its cage, they would swoop down bringing death and destruction wherever they go like the Mongols did in the times of yore.
The Prophet has told us that once the war with the Jews has been won, the Muslims will have to contend with the Gog and Magog, but here too Jesus will come to their assistance and beseech the Almighty to deliver them from the scourge. God will reveal to Jesus: “‘I have brought forth from among My servants such people against whom none will be able to fight; Take these people safely to the Tur mountain”.
Then, God will send Gog and Magog and they will swarm down from every slope. The first of them will pass the lake of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) and drink out of it. And when the last of them passes, he will say: ‘There was once water here’. When they reach the Mount of Khamr in Jerusalem, they will arrogantly proclaim: “We have conquered the people of the earth, now we will annihilate those in the sky” So saying they will fire their arrows towards the sky. When the arrows return to the ground they will be blood stained. Jesus and his companions will then be besieged here to the extent that an ox will be more valuable to them than one hundred Dinars.
Jesus, and his companions will pray to God, who will send to them (Gog and Magog) insects (which will attack their necks) and in the morning, they would perish as one single person. Jesus, and his companions will then come down (from the Tur mountain) and they will not find as much space as a single span that is not filled with decomposed remains of Gog and Magog’s corpses. Jesus, and his companions will then supplicate to God who will send birds whose necks would be like those (the necks) of Bactrian camels and they will carry them (Gog and Magog) away and throw them where God wills. Then God will send a rain which no house of mud-bricks or (tent of) camel-hair will keep out and it will wash the Earth until it resembles a mirror. Then, the Earth will be ordered to bring forth its fruit and restore its blessing and, as a result thereof, pomegranate will grow that will be enough for a group of people to eat and seek shelter under its skin. A dairy cow will give so much milk that (will be enough for) a group of people to drink. The milking camel will give so such milk that a whole tribe will be able to drink from it.
Jesus’ reign will be one of peace, for our Prophet said of those blessed days to come: “Peace will prevail and people will use their swords as sickles. Every harmful beast will be made harmless, the sky will send down rain in abundance, and the earth will bring forth its blessings. A child will play with a fox and not come to any harm; a wolf will graze with sheep and a lion with cattle, without harming them. The Earth will be filled with peace as a container is filled with water. People will be in complete agreement, and only God will be worshipped” (Ahmad, Aboo Dawood & Ibn Majah).
It is little doubt of this same era of peace and justice under Jesus that God spoke of through his prophet Isaiah: “As the years of a tree, so the years of my people, any my chosen one shall long enjoy the produce of their hand. They shall not toil in vain nor beget children for sudden destruction, for a race blessed by God are they and their offspring. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hearken to them. The wolf and the lamb shall graze alike and the lion shall eat hay like the ox” (Isaiah 65:24-25).
Jesus, having accomplished his task, the task he could not complete in his first mission on earth due to the evil schemes of the Jews to whom he was sent, would live in this world for 40 years before he passes away into the Mercy of the Almighty. Remember we Muslims hold that Jesus did not die on the cross, but was taken up to God. So there will have to come a time when he will have to depart from this worldly life in keeping with the Words of God: “Every soul shall taste of death”.
And so shall Jesus die a natural death on earth. The Prophet told us: “He will stay in the World for forty years. Then, he will die and the Muslims will perform the funeral prayer for him“(Aboo Dawood & Musnad).
Before long, God will take the lives of all good Muslims, so that only the wicked among them shall remain to face the approach of the Last Hour. As the Prophet said: “Then, God will send a cool wind from the direction of Greater Syria, which will take the soul of everyone who has the slightest speck of good or faith in his heart. Even if one of you were to enter the heart of a mountain, the wind would reach him there and take his soul. Only the most wicked people will be left; they will be as careless as birds, with the characteristics of beasts, and will have no concern for right and wrong. Then, Satan will come to them in human form and say: ‘Don’t you respond?’ And they will say: ‘What do you order us to do?’ And he (Satan) will order them to worship the idols but, in spite of this, they will have abundance of sustenance and lead comfortable lives. Then, the trumpet will be blown and no one will hear that but he will bend his neck and raise it. The Prophet continued: “The first one to hear that trumpet will be the person who will be busy repairing the water reservoir for his camels (to drink). He will be struck and the other people will also struck, then God will send down rain which will be like men’s semen, out of which the bodies of the (dead) people will grow. Then the trumpet will be blown another time and they (dead people) will be resurrected and be looking around” (Saheeh Muslim).
The Resurrection will not come before three signs which will leave no doubt as to the Resurrection and the end of Creation as we know it. When these signs come, there will be no question of repentance to God. Why, because the nature of these signs are such that none could doubt the Ultimate Reality behind it all when it happens. When one sees a sign of this nature unfolding before one’s eyes, the reality becomes manifest to him or her, so that there is no longer a test of faith. That is when the veil of belief is cast aside and our faith in the Unseen, our faith in God and his angels and the afterlife becomes obvious, when we realize that the the things we have seen in this worldly life are ephemeral and those we haven’t seen are eternal.
The Signs are Three. The Rising of the Sun from the West, The Beast of the earth and the Great Fire that will gather the people. The Prophet said: “The hour will not be established till the sun rises from the West; and when it rises (from the West) and the people see it, they all will believe. And that is (the time) when no good will it do to a soul to believe then.” Then he recited from the Qur’an: : “Do they then wait for anything other than that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord should come, or that some Signs of your Lord should come! The day that some of the Signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good through his Faith. Say (to the disbelievers), ‘Wait you! We (too) are waiting’.
The Second Sign would be the appearance of the Beast:
And when the Word is fulfilled against them, We shall bring out from the earth a beast to them, which will speak to them because mankind believed not with certainty in Our Signs
And the Third would be the Fire that Will Gather the People. This fire, the Prophet said:
Would burn forth from the Yemen, and would drive people to the place of their assembly
The great fire will be terrible, striking fear into the hearts of the last humans on earth and driving hordes of humanity to their gathering place. They will soon be joined by the rest of a now resurrected humanity to face Divine Justice. When these Signs appear it will follow one another in rapid succession, for the Prophet said:
The signs are like beads strung on a string. If the string breaks, they (quickly) follow one after the other
Then will come the day God describes:
When the earth will be changed to a different earth and so will be the heavens also and (men) will be marshaled forth before God, the One, the irresistible