The Hour is Near
Most people know at least something about the Last Day. Almost everyone has heard one thing or another about the horror of the Hour. Nevertheless, most tend to have the same reaction to it as they do to other matters of vital importance, that is, they do not want to speak or even think about it. They try very hard not trying to think about the terror they will experience on the Last Day. They cannot bear the reminders of the Last Day found in a news report of a terrible accident or a film report about some disaster. They avoid thinking about the fact that that day will certainly come. They do not want to listen to others who talk about that great day, or to read author’s works about it. These are some of the ways that people have developed in order to escape the dread of thinking about the Last Day.
Many do not seriously believe that the Hour is coming. We are presented with an example of this in a verse of Surat al-Kahf, about the wealthy owner of a rich vineyard:
I do not think the Hour will ever come. But if I should be sent back to my Lord, I will definitely get something better in return. (Surat al-Kahf: 36)
The above verse reveals the true mentality of someone who professes to believe in Allah but avoids thinking about the reality of the Last Day and puts forward claims contradicting some verses of the Qur'an. Another verse relates the doubt and uncertainty that engulfs disbelievers in regards to the time of the end.
When you were told, “Allah’s promise is true and so is the Hour, of which there is no doubt,” you said, “We have no idea what the Hour is. We have only been conjecturing. We are by no means certain.” (Surat al-Jathiya: 32)
Some people entirely deny that the Last Day is coming. Those who have this opinion are mentioned in the Qur’an as follows:
But instead, they deny the Hour; and We have prepared a Searing Blaze for those who deny the Hour. (Surat al-Furqan: 11)
The source that can guide us on the way and show us the truth is the Qur’an. When we look at what it says, we learn an obvious fact. Those who deceive themselves about the Last Day commit a grave error, because Allah reveals in the Qur’an that there can be no doubt that the Last Day is near.
And the Hour is coming without any doubt ... (Surat al-Hajj: 7)
We did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them, except with truth. The Hour is certainly coming. (Surat al-Hijr: 85)
The Hour is coming—there is no doubt about it …(Surat al-Mu’min: 59)
There may be some who think that the message of the Qur’an concerning the Last Day was revealed more that 1400 years ago and that this is a long time compared to the length of a human life. But here, it is a question of the end of the world, the sun and the stars, in short, of the universe. When we consider that the universe is billions of years old, fourteen centuries is a very short period of time.
A great Islamic scholar of recent times, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, responded to a similar question in this way:
The Qur’an says, “The Hour has drawn nigh.” (Surat al-Qamar: 1) That is, Doomsday is near. It still not having come after a thousand or this many years does not injure its closeness. Because, Doomsday is the appointed hour of the world, and in relation to the life of the world one or two thousand years are like one or two minutes in relation to a year. The Hour of Doomsday is not only the appointed hour of mankind that it should be related to it and seen as distant.1
The Proclaiming of the Moral Teaching of
the Qur’an to the Whole World
In the Qur’an, we repeatedly find the phrase “Allah’s sunnah (pattern, practice).” This is an expression that means Allah's way, or Allah’s laws. According to the Qur’an, these laws are valid forever. A verse states,
This is Allah’s pattern with those who passed away before. You will not find any alteration in Allah’s pattern. (Surat al-Ahzab: 62)
One such unchanging divine law is that, before their annihilation, societies are warned by a reminder. This fact is revealed by these words:
We have never destroyed a city without giving it prior warning as a reminder... (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’: 208-209)
Throughout history, Allah has sent a reminder to every society that has become corrupted, inviting it to follow the true path. Yet, those who persisted in their wickedness perished after having fulfilled the time allotted to them, and became an example for succeeding generations. When we consider this law of Allah, a number of important mysteries are revealed to us.
The Last Day is the final calamity to fall upon the world. The Qur’an is the last divine book sent to advise humanity, whose guide it will remain until the end of the world. In one of its verses, it says, “… It is simply a reminder to all beings." (Surat al-An'am: 90) Those who think that the Qur’an speaks only to one particular time or place are seriously mistaken, because the Qur’an is a general invitation to all “worlds.”
Since the time of the Prophet (saas), the truth of the Qur’an has been communicated to the entire world. Because of the incomparable technological developments in our present age, the commands of the Qur’an can be proclaimed to the whole of humanity. Today, science, education, communication and transportation are about to reach the final point of their development. Thanks to computer and Internet technology in particular, people in distant parts of the world can instantly share information and establish communications. The revolution in science and technology has united all the nations of the world; expressions like “globalization” and “world citizenship” have been added to our stock of vocabulary. In short, all the obstacles preventing the unity of people throughout the whole world are being quickly removed.
In the light of these facts, it can be easily said that in our “information age,” Allah has put all kinds of technological developments at our disposal. It is the responsibility of Muslims to make the best use of these possibilities that Allah has offered, and to invite people from all walks of life to accept the moral teaching of the Qur’an.
We have mentioned the unchanging laws that have been established by Allah since the foundation of the world. One such divine law is that Allah will not punish a society for which He has not sent a messenger. This promise is expressed in the following verses:
Your Lord would never destroy any cities without first sending to the chief of them a messenger to recite Our Signs to them. We would never destroy any cities unless their inhabitants were wrongdoers. (Surat al-Qasas: 59)
… We never punish until We have sent a messenger. (Surat al-Isra: 15)
We have never destroyed a city without giving it prior warning as a reminder. We were never unjust. (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 208-209)
These verses show that Allah sends messengers to major cities to warn the people. These messengers announce Allah’s commands, but the disbelievers from the societies of every age have mocked them, accused them of being liars, frauds or madmen, and subjected them to every kind of slander. Allah destroys societies that continue to live in wickedness and immorality through some great disaster, at a time when they least expect it. The destruction of the people of Nuh, Lut, Ad, Thamud and others mentioned in the Qur’an are examples of this form of annihilation.
In the Qur’an, Allah reveals why He has sent prophets: to announce the good news to societies, to provide an important opportunity for their people to abandon their false beliefs, and live their lives according to Allah’s religion and high morality, and to warn people so that they will have no excuse to offer on the Last Day for not having heeded the warnings made to them. In a verse, these goals are stated as such:
Messengers bringing good news and giving warning, so that people will have no argument against Allah after the coming of the messengers. (Surat an-Nisa’: 165)
As it says in verse 40 of Surat al-Azhab, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) is the last Prophet. Muhammad (saas) is “…the Messenger of Allah and the Final Seal of the Prophets…” (Surat al-Azhab: 40) In other words, through the mediation of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), the series of Allah’s revelations to humanity have been completed. In spite of this, the responsibility for communicating and reminding people of the Qur’an delivered by the Prophet (saas) lies with every Muslim until the end of the world.
The Supremacy of the Morality of Islam in the World
One of the constant themes of the Qur’an is that of the people that Allah has destroyed, because of their wickedness and rebellion, and the example to be taken from them. Certainly, there is a great similarity between those societies of the past and our present time. In our day, there are people whose attitude and way of life surpasses even the sexual perversion of the people of Lut, the deceitfulness of the people of Madyan, the arrogance and mocking of the people of Nuh, the rebelliousness and wickedness of the people of Thamud, the ungratefulness of the people of Iram, as with the comportment of various other societies that have been destroyed. The evident reason for all this moral degeneration is that people have forgotten Allah and the purpose of their creation.
The murder, social injustice, treachery, deceit and moral degeneration in the age we live in has even driven some people to despair. But, it must not be forgotten that the Qur’an commands us not to despair of the help of Allah. Despair and despondency are not acceptable modes of thought for believers. Allah announces that those who serve Him purely, without associating any of His creatures as divinities besides Him, and do good works to win His favor, will be endowed with power and authority.
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. “They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.” Any who are disbelievers after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur: 55)
In a number of verses, it also says that it is a divine law that those servants who are faithful and live the true religion in their hearts will be made the inheritors of the world:
We wrote down in the Psalms, after the Reminder came: “It is My righteous servants who will inherit the earth." (Surat al-Anbiya’: 105)
We will leave you the land to live in after them. That is the reward of those who fear My station and fear My threat. (Surah Ibrahim: 14)
We destroyed generations before you when they did wrong. Their messengers brought them the Clear Signs, but they were never going to believe. That is how We repay evildoers. Then We made you their successors on the earth so We might observe how you would act. (Surah Yunus: 13-14)
Musa said to his people, “Seek help in Allah and be steadfast. The earth belongs to Allah. He bequeathes it to any of His servants He wills. The successful outcome is for those who do their duty.” They said, “We suffered harm before you came to us and after you came to us.” He said, “It may well be that your Lord is going to destroy your enemy and make you the successors in the land so that He can see how you behave.” (Surat al-A‘raf: 128-129)
Allah has written, “I will be victorious, I and My messengers.” Allah is Most Strong, Almighty. (Surat al-Mujadala: 21)
Together with the good news announced in the verses above, Allah has made a very important promise to believers. He reveals in the Qur’an that the religion of Islam was sent to humanity to be superior to all religions.
They desire to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths. But Allah refuses to do other than perfect His Light, even though the disbelievers detest it. It is He Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the True Religion to exalt it over every other religion, even though the idolaters detest it. (Surat at-Tawba: 32-33)
They desire to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths but Allah will perfect His Light, though the disbelievers hate it. It is He Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the True Religion to exalt it over every other religion, though the idolaters hate it. (Surat as-Saff: 8-9)
There is no doubt that Allah will keep His promises. The high morality that will conquer perverse philosophies, distorted ideologies and false religious understanding is Islamic morality. The verses quoted above stress that the disbelievers and pagans cannot prevent this from happening.
This period, in which Islamic morality will be established, will be in every way a time of love, self-sacrifice, generosity, honesty, social justice, security and personal well-being. This period has been called the Golden Age because of its similarity to depictions of Paradise, but, so far, such an age has never yet existed. This blessed age will precede the Last Day; and is now awaiting that time in which Allah has determined it will come.
‘Isa (as)’s Return to Earth
Isa’ (Jesus)(as) is a prophet chosen by Allah. He is one of the most talked-about prophets in the history of the world. Thank Allah that there is a source in which we can verify what is true and false out of that which has been said of him. That source is the Qur’an, the only revelation of Allah that exists unaltered and undistorted.
When we refer to the Qur’an to discover the real truth about the Prophet ‘Isa (as), we see that:
Isa’ (as) is the Messenger of Allah and His Word. (Surat an-Nisa’: 171)
Allah gave his name as the Messiah, ‘Isa (as), son of Maryam (as). (Surah Al ‘Imran: 45)
He was made a sign for all the worlds. (Surat al-Anbiya’: 91)
‘Isa (as) spoke to people in the cradle (Surah Al ‘Imran: 46), and that he performed several miracles. Another miracle is that he will come back to earth at a later time and speak to people. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 46; Surat al-Ma’ida: 110)
‘Isa (as) was given the Gospel. (Surat al-Hadid: 27)
Those who divinized him have committed an error and fallen into blasphemy. (Surat al-Ma’ida: 72)
The disbelievers plotted against him in order to kill him, but Allah nullified their plot. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 54)
Allah did not allow the disbelievers to kill ‘Isa (as), but took him up into His own presence, and announced the good news to humanity that he will come back again one day. The Qur’an provides information about ‘Isa (as)’s return in several instances:
One verse says that the disbelievers who set a trap to kill ‘Isa (as) did not succeed;
(And We cursed them) for their saying, “We killed the Messiah, ‘Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. (Surat an-Nisa’: 157)
Another verse says that ‘Isa (as) did not die, but was taken from the human sphere into the presence of Allah.
Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat an-Nisa’: 158)
In the 55th verse of Surah Al ‘Imran, we learn that Allah will place the people who follow ‘Isa (as) above those who disbelieve until the Day of Rising. It is an historical fact that, 2000 years ago, ‘Isa (as)’s disciples had no political power. Christians who lived between that period and our own have believed a number of false doctrines, the chief of which is the doctrine of the Trinity. Therefore, as is evident, that they will not be able to be referred to as followers of ‘Isa (as), because, as it says in several places in the Qur’an, those who believe in the Trinity have slipped into denial. In such a case, in the time before the Hour, the true followers of ‘Isa (as) will overcome the deniers and become the manifestation of the divine promise contained in Surah Al ‘Imran. Surely, this blessed group will be made known when ‘Isa (as) returns again to earth.
Again, the Qur’an states that all the People of the Book will believe in ‘Isa (as) before he dies.
There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him ('Isa) before he dies; and on the Day of Rising he will be a witness against them. (Surat an-Nisa’: 159)
We learn clearly from this verse that there are still three unfilled promises concerning ‘Isa (as). First, like every other human being, the Prophet ‘Isa (as) will die. Second, all the People of the Book will see him in bodily form and will obey him while he is alive. There is no doubt that these two predictions will be fulfilled when ‘Isa (as) comes again before the Last Day. The third prediction about ‘Isa (as)'s bearing witness against the People of the Book will be fulfilled on the Last Day.
Another verse in Surah Maryam discusses the death of ‘Isa (as).
Peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die and the day I am raised up again alive. (Surah Maryam: 33)
When we compare this verse with the 55th verse of Surah Al ‘Imran, we can recognize a very important fact. The verse in Surah Al ‘Imran speaks about ‘Isa (as)’s being raised to the presence of Allah. In this verse, no information is given as to whether ‘Isa (as) died or not. But in the 33rd verse of Surah Maryam, ‘Isa (as)’s death is referred to. This second death is possible only if ‘Isa (as) came to earth again and died after living here for some time. (Allah surely knows best)
Another verse that alludes to ‘Isa (as)’s return to earth reads:
He will teach him ('Isa) the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 48)
To understand the reference to the “Book” mentioned in this verse, we must look at other verses in the Qur’an that are relevant to this subject: if the Book is stated in one verse together with the Torah and the Gospel, then it must mean the Qur’an. The third verse of Surah Al ‘Imran serves as such an example:
Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what has there before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel, previously, as guidance for mankind, and He has sent down the Furqan (the Criterion of judgement between right and wrong). (Surah Al ‘Imran: 2-4)
In that case, the book referred to in verse 48, that ‘Isa (as) is to learn, can only be the Qur’an. We know that ‘Isa (as) knew the Torah and the Gospel during his lifetime, that is, approximately 2000 years ago. Clearly, it will be the Qur’an that he will learn when he comes to earth again.
What verse 59 of Surah Al ‘Imran offers is very interesting: “The likeness of ‘Isa in Allah’s sight is the same as Adam…” In this verse we can see there must be a number of similarities between the two prophets. As we know, both Adam and ‘Isa (as) had no father, but we may draw a further similarity from the above verse, between Adam’s descending to earth from Paradise and ‘Isa (as)’s descent from Allah’s presence in the End Times.
The Qur’an says this about ‘Isa (as):
He (‘Isa) is a Sign of the Hour. Have no doubt about it. But follow me. This is a straight path. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 61)
We know that ‘Isa (as) lived six centuries before the Qur’an was revealed. Therefore, this verse must refer, not to his first life, but to his coming again during the End Times. Both the Christian and the Islamic world are eagerly awaiting ‘Isa (as)’s second coming. This blessed guest’s honored presence on the earth will be the important sign of the Last Day.
Further evidence of the second coming of ‘Isa (as) can be found in the use of the word wakahlan in Surah Maida, 110 and Surah Al ‘Imran 46. In these verses, we are revealed these commands:
Remember when Allah said, “‘Isa, son of Maryam, remember My blessing to you and to your mother when I reinforced you with the Purest Spirit so that you could speak to people in the cradle and when you were fully grown (wakahlan) …” (Surat al-Ma’ida: 110)
He will speak to people in the cradle, and also when fully grown (wakahlan), and will be one of the righteous. (Surah Al 'Imran: 46)
This word occurs only in these two verses and only in reference to ‘Isa (as). The word is used to describe ‘Isa (as)’s more mature age. The word refers to the age between 30 and 50, that is, to the end of youth and the beginning of old age. Islamic scholars are agreed in translating this word to refer to a period after the age of 35.
Islamic scholars rely on a tradition related by Ibn Abbas to the effect that ‘Isa (as) was raised to the presence of Allah when he was young, that is, at the beginning of his 30’s, and that when he comes to earth again, he will have 40 years left to live. ‘Isa (as) will progress into his old age after he has returned to earth, so this verse may be said to be a proof of ‘Isa (as)’s second coming to earth.2
As mentioned, when we closely examine the Qur’an, we see that this word is used only in reference to ‘Isa (as). All prophets have spoken to people and invited them to accept religion. All of them communicated their message when they were of mature age. But, the Qur’an says nothing similar about any other prophet. This word is used only for ‘Isa (as), and is a miracle. The phrases “in the cradle” and “having grown older” refer to two great miracles.
It is a miracle that ‘Isa (as) spoke while he was in the cradle. This was something that had never been seen before, and the Qur’an speaks several times of this miraculous event. Immediately after these words comes the phrase “and speaking to people when fully grown.” These words also refer to a miracle. If the words “when fully grown” referred to his former life before he was taken up into the presence of Allah, ‘Isa (as)’s speaking would not have been a miracle. And since it was not a miracle, it would not have been used after the speaking in the cradle or in the same way as this miraculous situation. In that case, an expression such as “from the cradle to when fully grown” would have been used and would have expressed communication lasting from the time ‘Isa (as) began to speak in the cradle to time he was raised up to Allah. But, the verse draws our attention to two great miraculous events. The first is the speaking in the cradle; the other, ‘Isa (as)’s speaking in his mature years. Therefore, the expression “when fully grown” refers to a time that would be a miracle. It is the time when ‘Isa (as) will speak to people in his mature age after he has returned again to earth. (Allah surely knows best)
In the hadiths of the Prophet (saas) there is information about ‘Isa (as)’s second coming. In a few hadiths, this information is given along with other information about what ‘Isa (as) will do while he is in the world. You may read the hadiths relevant to this subject in the chapter of this book entitled, “The Return of ‘Isa (as) After the Emergence of False Prophets.” (For more detailed information, please see Harun Yahya, Jesus Will Return, Ta-Ha Publishers, February 2001.)
It will be beneficial to remind the reader here of a very important matter: Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad (saas) to humanity as the last prophet. Allah revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (saas), and holds all people responsible for obeying the Qur’an until the Day of Judgment. ‘Isa (as) will miraculously return to the world in the End Times but, as the Prophet (saas) has said, he will not bring a new religion. The true religion that the Prophet (saas) taught to humanity is Islam, to which ‘Isa (as) will be subject when he comes to the earth again.
The Splitting of the Moon
The 54th Surah of the Qur’an is called “Surat al-Qamar.” In English qamar means moon. In several instances, this Surah tells about the destruction that befell the people of Nuh, Ad, Thamud, Lut and Pharaoh, because they rejected the warnings of the prophets. At the same time, there is a very important message stated in the first verse, concerning the Last Day.
The Hour has drawn near and the moon has split. (Surat al-Qamar: 1)
The word “split” used in this verse is the Arabic shaqqa, which in Arabic it has various meanings. In some commentaries on the Qur’an, the meaning “split” is preferred. But shaqqa in Arabic can also mean “ploughing” or “digging” the earth.
As an example of the first usage, we can refer to the 26th verse of Surat al-Abasa:
We pour down plentiful water, then split the earth into furrows. Then We make grain grow in it, and grapes and herbs and olives and dates. (Surah ‘Abasa: 25-29)
It can be clearly seen that the meaning of shaqqa here is not to “split.” It means to plough the earth in order to grow various plants.
If we went back to the year 1969, we would see one of the great wonders of the Qur’an. The experiments carried out on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, may be hinting at the fulfilment of news given 1,400 years ago in Surat al-Qamar. On that date, American astronauts set foot on the moon. Digging at the lunar soil they carried out scientific experiments and collected samples of stones and soil. It is surely very interesting that these developments are in complete agreement with the statements in the verse.
The exploration of the moon is identified with the words Neil Armstrong said upon setting foot on the moon: "One small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind."3 This was an historic moment in space research; it was an event documented by cameras, and everyone from that time to this has witnessed it. As it is stated in the first verse of Surat al-Qamar, this great event may also be a sign of the Last Day. It may be a sign that the world is in the End Times before the Judgment. (Allah surely knows best)
Finally, let us point out that there is a very important warning following these verses. There is a reminder that these signs are an important opportunity for people to turn from error, and that those who do not heed these warnings will be disappointed when they will be brought back to life on that Day of Judgment which is described in the Qur'an as “something unspeakably terrible”:
The Hour has drawn near and the moon has split. If they see a Sign they turn away, saying “There is no end to this witchcraft!” They have denied the truth and followed their whims and desires, but everything has its time. News has come to them which contains a threat: consummate wisdom – but warnings are profitless. Turn away from them then. On the Day the Summoner summons them to something unspeakably terrible, they will emerge from their graves with downcast eyes, like swarming locusts, necks outstretched, eyes transfixed, rushing headlong to the Summoner. The disbelievers will say, “This is a pitiless day!” (Surat al-Qamar: 1-8)
We must make this clear, however: The phenomenon of the splitting of the moon is, of course, one of the miracles vouchsafed by Allah to our Prophet (saas). This miracle is revealed as follows in one hadith:
The people of Mecca asked Allah's Apostle to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hiram' mountain. (Bukhari)
The miracle described above is the phenomenon of splitting of the moon revealed in the verse. However, since the Qur'an is a book which addresses all times it is also possible that it is referring to the landing on the moon in our own age. (Allah surely knows best)