With the recent move from one millenium to the next, the rise of nuclear weaponry, the quick pace of technological advancement, and with the formation of the modern-day state of Israel, there has been an increased interest in End Time prophecy. Books regarding this subject have increased exponentially. The works of Nostradamus have begun circulating again. And as people reflect on world events in and around the Middle East, they are beginning to re-ask the question, "Are we nearing End Times?"
It is certainly easy to feel that way if you watch the news on television. It is in their best interest to foster an environment of fear and chaos, as this is what will keep people watching and will sell the products on the commercials between news segments. Fear, confusion, terror, and chaos are cultivated by coverage of inner-city murders, threats (real or not) of terrorism, plane crashes, earthquakes, Y2K and other technological threats. In our culture of fear we are offered insurance for everything.
But the fact is, we are not insured of anything. We are not guaranteed our next minute. Deep down each of us knows this. We all know that one day we will all meet our Maker, the Almighty Allah. We all know it. What is strange, however, is that it seems as though many are actively trying to forget it. Talks of religion and the prophets (may peace and blessings be upon all of them) are regarded as personal. They are worthy of only personal attention. Instead, let's talk about football, or the latest episode of Friends. Better yet, let's regurgitate the latest news/gossip regarding major political figures. Everyone wants to talk about the specifics - the batting averages, the rushing statistics, who said what to who, and who wore what to the Emmy's. But no one wants to address the trends.
So, I will make a small attempt to address some of the trends, but would first like to remind all of us of the ultimate trend. That is, the trend toward death. We will all die. And as you read this article, please reflect on this fact. Studying the Signs of the Day of Judgment is of little benefit if we do not contemplate on the fact that we will one day be judged.
A Note on the Title
That I entitled this article Satanic Reverses is a little deceptive. The word "satanic" was used not to imply causation in all cases, but simply to catch the eye and to draw you in to read it. The word "reverses" however, is quite appropriate. As we explore some of the minor signs of the Day of Judgment as described by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a general trend begins to emerge. That trend is one of things becoming their opposites, thus the subtitle.
Some of the Minor Signs
Men will begin to look like women and women will begin to look like men. Short distances will be travelled in short periods of time. Books and writing will be widespread, but (religious) knowledge will be low. There will be so much killing, that the one doing the killing will not know why he is killing and the one being killed will not know why he is being killed. Rain, usually a source of nourishment and blessing, will be "burning" or acidic. Children will be filled with rage. People will be brothers in public, but enemies in secret. Men will disobey their mothers in preference to obeying their wives. They will treat their friends kindly, but shun their fathers. People will walk in the marketplaces with their thighs exposed. The leaders of the people will be the worst of them. There will be attempts to make the deserts green. Women will be naked in spite of being dressed, wearing clothes like a second skin. People will believe a liar and disbelieve one who is telling the truth. Men will lay with men and women will lay with women. Family ties will be cut. Fornication and adultery will be performed in the open.
Naked in Spite of Being Dressed
Above are but a few of the signs enumerated by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is clear, that many of these indicate values in society which are being reversed. We are moving further and further from the prophetic tradition. The first time I read that "people walking in the marketplace with their thighs exposed" was a sign, my jaw dropped. This is perceived as normal today. In fact, many feel it is abnormal to not wear shorts when it is hot. But this is clearly a major deviation from the way of the prophets (peace be upon them all). They were modest and they instructed their followers to observe modesty. There are only a few subcultures within the US that still observe modesty in their dress - some orthodox Jews, Mennonites, Amish, and Muslims.
The trend is toward less and less clothing - more often than not, less clothing on women. And this is occurring in nearly every walk of society. It is even to be found among Catholic nuns, many of whom no longer wear the habit (head covering, hijab). Some have even forsaken long skirts and began wearing shorts. The trend toward nakedness in and of itself is disturbing, but what is far worse is that modesty and obedience to Allah's commands are perceived and portrayed as oppression.
Self over Society
Perhaps third only to secularism and disbelief, one of the greatest factors pulling us away from the prophetic tradition is the emphasis on the self. Almost, a cult-like worship of the self, where the desires of the self take precedence over what is right and in many cases are redefining what is right.
And do not obey anyone whose heart We have made forgetful in remembering Us - who follows his own desires, and whose affair has exceeded all bounds. (Holy Qur'an 18:28)
The rights of society become second to the rights of the individual. For example, free speech. Many have taken this to an extreme. Foul language, pornography, and slander are all protected under the guise of free speech. But what irks me is the lack of discussion on responsibility. Yes, we have certain rights. But with those rights come responsibilities. And when those responsibilities are not met there should be consequences. Again, free speech... You say you have a right to spout out four letter words as you please, but what about my daughter's rights to not hear that filth? What about your responsibility to the youth which are in ears range? Do they not have rights? And aren't you contributing to the general destruction of the society to which you belong?
The same goes for adultery and fornication. Traditionally they were viewed as crimes against society. Not today, however. In the name of "falling in love" extramarital affairs are portrayed as the right thing to do if it is done out of love. No talk of responsibility. Soap operas, movies, and television series all portray "love" as the value we should all be focusing on, not the responsibilities of marriage or parenthood or obeying the laws of Allah. These crimes were viewed as attacks on society because they disrupt the very unit of society, namely, the family. And the laws of Allah have been replaced by manmade laws which are variably enforced. The crime of adultery, for example, brings a fine of ten dollars in the state of Maryland.
As we are encouraged to eat, consume, buy goods, and entertain ourselves, we are slowly being inculcated with a cult of the self. We are repeatedly told to "go for yours." "You gotta do what's right for you." No. That's pathetic. If we do what's right for us, then we subjugate ourselves to our desires and whims, rather than the teachings of the prophets (peace be upon them all). We reduce ourselves to our animal instincts and in so doing, become less than animals - because we should know better. We should not do what's right for us. We should do what's right.
Diarrhea of the Mouth
Once upon a time, people were cautious about what they said. This is particularly true among the early Muslim scholars and the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In Bayhaqi, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab is reported to have said, "The one who talks a lot, makes a lot of mistakes." And how true this is. Throughout the Qur'an, itself, their are messages of warning instructing us never to speak without knowledge. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"What causes most people to be sent to the Fire are the two openings: the mouth and the private parts." (Sahih hadith, at-Tirmidhi and Ahmad; also al-Hakum and ath-Thahabi)
He (peace be upon him) also said:
"The servant (of Allah) speaks words, the consequences of which he does not realize, and for which he is sent down into the depths of the Fire further than the distance between the east and the west." (Al-Bukhari in Kitab ar-Riqaq, and Muslim in Kitab az-Zuhud)
And Abu Huraira reported that Ibn al-Abbas said: "A person will not feel greater fury or anger for any part of his body on the Day of Judgement more than what he will feel for his tongue, unless he only used it for saying or enjoining good."
But what of today? Actually, everyone, knowledgeable or not, speaks and speaks often. The subject? ... doesn't matter. We all have an opinion. In fact, we are a society of opinions. And we, for some odd reason, seem to feel obliged to have an opinion. Just listen to people at work, or on the bus, or in the store. Everyone has an opinion about every subject. And when asked about any given topic, there is rarely a pause for thought prior to answering. Essentially, we have a problem of diarrhea of the mouth which is made worse by a constipation of thought.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the Hour would not come until books become widespread and (religious) knowledge becomes low. When asked how knowledge would diminish, he (peace be upon him) said that many of the learned people would pass away. This is certainly the case today. Books, magazines, internet articles, commentary on books, television programs, books about television programs, and even commentary on books about television programs. We are inundated with a glut of information - most of it useless. Indeed, most of it will be against us on the Day of Judgment.
Image over Wisdom
Another disturbing trend is that of who actually has a say in daily events and world affairs. It used to be that the knowledgeable ones and those with great leadership abilities were the ones chosen to be leaders. They were the ones to whom people listened. They were the ones whose opinions were valued.
This is not the case today. We live in a world in which image takes precedence over wisdom. The way someone looks affects how and even whether we accept information from them. Many letters received by TV news agencies are complaints or praises regarding how specific newscasters looked that evening. One poet/musician once put it, "Straight teeth in your mouth are more important than what comes out of it."
In many Western "democratic" nations, people who are elected must actively seek election. Despite the fact that I just stated the obvious, many of us have not reflected on this. Candidates actively seek their position of leadership. That being the case, they must campaign. Photo ops, deliberate camera angles, make-up, and insincere, cardboard smiles all to get a vote.
Although this may not seem problematic to some, it appears more so when we hear that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed us to choose our leaders from among those who do not seek leadership. Indeed, the very fact that they are actively seeking it should raise the question as to "why." Is it power? Is it money? Is it fame? If it is that they truly feeel that they are the best person for the job, then we might see political debates in which an opponent says, "You know what? You're right. I never thought of it that way." But these are words you will never hear from the lips of a politician in such a system. The goal is to win, not to bring about the best person for the job. So, as we choose our news sources and our politicians based on image, it ceases to be a mystery as to how "the leaders of the people will be the worst of them," or how "books and writing will be widespread, but knowledge will be low."
Even words are becoming their opposites - at least in the emotions and thoughts that they evoke. A child throwing rocks at a tank in Palestine is called a militant, but the military that he is resisting is not. Men shooting at soldiers who are invading their refugee camps are deemed terrorists, but Ariel Sharon, with his record of war crimes and ongoing ethnic cleansing is called by Bush "a man of peace". Allah Ta'aala says regarding the hypocrites:
And when it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "We are only peacemakers."
Surely! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive it not." (Holy Qur'an 2:11-12)
Apocalypse is a word which is derived from the Greek which means "unveiling that which is hidden." Indeed, on the Last Day we will all know the Truth. It is for this reason that we should reflect on the current state of things. Whether or not they indicate the imminent approach of the Hour, none of us knows. But, we should certainly be reminded of it each and every time we see these things.
The Prophet's companions were deeply concerned with the Signs of the Day of Judgment and they asked him (peace be upon him) about the Signs often. When one man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the Signs of the Hour, he put his hand on the top of the head of a young child and said, "If this child reaches old age, your Hour will have already come." Quite clearly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was indicating that each of us has an individual Hour, per se, and that is the hour of our death. As we read about various indications that the Hour is approaching, let us remember death. An let us act on this remembrance and prepare for our hour. It is then that all will be unveiled.
Web Author: Abu Aasiya