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Shi'a Beliefs
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Theology
Tawhid (Monotheism) Tawhid of EssenceTawhid in AttributesTawhid in ActionsTawhid in Worship
Other Beliefs TawassulShafa'aTabarruk
Divine Justice
Bada'Amr Bayn al-Amrayn
Prophethood
Infallibility'Ilm al-ghaybMu'jizaIntegrity of the Holy Qur'an
Imamate
InfallibilityWilaya'Ilm al-ghaybOccultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a) (Minor Occultation,Major Occultation) • Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)Raj'a
Resurrection
End TimeHereafterBarzakhEmbodiment of ActionsBodily ResurrectionAl-SiratTatayur al-KutubMizanHashr
Other Outstanding Beliefs
Ahl al-Bayt (a)The Fourteen InfalliblesTaqiyyaMarja'iyyaTawalliTabarri

End Time or Akhir al-Zamān (Arabic:آخر الزمان) is a religious title referring to the final period of the world which has been mentioned in all divine religions. In Islam, it has been mentioned either referring to a period of time related with the mission of the Prophet (s), or referring to the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi.

In common beliefs, End Time is known with extraordinary happenings. The most important characteristics of this period is the decline in religious practice of people and then coming of a savior. The exact date of coming of the savior of the End Time is unknown and can only be determined with the ending period of time which continues up to the Apocalypse and the end of the world.

Contents

In the Qur'an

The title "Akhir al-Zaman" (آخر الزّمان; End Time) is not mentioned in the Qur'an, but there are verses which are about the future of human society and suggest the government of monotheism and justice in the future of human life, inheriting the earth by righteous people and victory of the truth over falsehood.[1]

In Hadiths

The expression of Akhir al-Zaman has been used in hadiths in two meanings:

The Time of the Prophet (s)

The time beginning with the mission of the Prophet (s) until the Resurrection. In some hadiths, the Prophet (s) has been referred to as the Prophet (s) of the End Time.

Such a description is related with fact that the Prophet (s) was the Last of the Prophets (s) and his religion is valid until the end of the time due to its perfection and he (s) is the Prophet (s) of the last part of time on earth.[2]

The Time of the Coming of Imam al-Mahdi (a)

In many hadiths,[3] End Time refers to the time when the Savior (the Promised Mahdi) comes[4] and the certain occurrences happening in three different times:

  1. Difficult trials of the End Time including the Battle of Kirkisia[5]
  2. Coming of the Savior and the battle between the truth and the falsehood[6]
  3. Victory of the truth over falsehood and the golden age of the world[7]

Determining its Time

The exact time for these signs have not been mentioned in hadiths and even determining the exact time for them have been rejected.[8] No one knows the exact time of coming of the Savior other than God and it is one of the issues of the Unseen. Imam al-Rida (a) quoted from the Prophet (s) that the time of the uprising of the Promised Mahdi (a) is like the Day of Judgment which no one knows of its time other than God and will happen all of a sudden.[9]

Signs

The signs mentioned for this age in Islamic hadiths are known as the signs of the End Time and thus the coming of the Promised Mahdi (a) has been likened to the Resurrection because the same way the Resurrection has signs (Ashrat al-Sa'a), the coming of the Promised Mahdi (a) has signs which happen before it.[10]

In some books, these signs have been called as Signs of the Reappearance ('Ala'im al-Zuhur) as one of the most significant happenings of this age is the coming of the Savior.[11]

Some of these signs are:

  • Emergence of Sufyani[12]
  • Emergence of Sayyid al-Hasani, dispute among descendants of Abbasids over kingdom[13]
  • Eclipse of the sun in the middle of the month of Ramadan and eclipse of the moon at the end of it[14]
  • Rising the Sun from the west[15]
  • Murdering al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (the Purified Soul)[16]
  • Destruction of Kufa mosque, Emergence of Yamani, permissibility of shedding the blood of people and taking their property[17]
  • Emergence of Anti-Christ (Dajjal)[18] about which it is mentioned in hadiths that he will stay for forty days after emergence[19] and many people having weak faith will turn to him and this is because of extraordinary thing he will do.[20]
  • Emergence of wars, massacres and obliteration of the proofs of the truth[21]
  • Emergence of great corruptions in the world[22]
  • Escalation of chaos and weakening of people's faith[23]
  • Taking the positions of the management of the society by incompetent people, obedience of men from their wives, overvaluation of the world, lack of security[24]
  • Emergence of different mischief and trials among Arabs[25]
  • Disappearance of modesty among women and children[26]
  • Prevalence of usury[27]
  • Occurrence of great massacres in the world and emergence of trials[28]
  • Men's needlessness of women and women's needlessness of men[29]
  • Drinking alcoholic drinks and wearing silk[30]

Differences with the Signs of the Apocalypse

In the Qur'an[31] and hadiths, there is another similar term called "Ashrat al-Sa'a" (signs of the moment) which refers to events happening of which is a sign of approaching the Apocalypse.[32]

In many Sunni sources and some Shia hadith collections, the signs of the coming Imam al-Mahdi (a) are mixed with the signs of approaching the Apocalypse and even sometimes the coming of Imam al-Mahdi (a) itself is mentioned as a sign of the Apocalypse.

Generally, authors of Sunni hadith collections have assigned a section called Ashtrat al-Sa'a[33] and even with the content of these hadiths is so much common with the hadiths about the End Time and many of the signs have been mentioned in both groups of hadiths, but the issue of the End Time has always been clearly distinguished from the Apocalypse, because the End Time refers to the last age in this world but Ashrat al-Sa'a are the signs before the Resurrection.</ref>Aṣgharī, "Ākhar al-zamān", vol. 1, p. 27.</ref>

After the Coming of the Savior

After the emergence of these signs, the coming of the Savior will happen which is among the most important events of the End Time.[34] From the most important events after coming Imam al-Mahdi (a) some facts can be mentioned:

  • Fighting oppression and corruption and eradicating them[35]
  • Saving humanity from dilemmas of sins, oppression and corruption is among the Savior's goals which will be fulfilled at his time as Imam Ali (a) says, "at the time of the al-Mahdi's (a) rule, the issues of adultery, drinking [alcoholic drinks] and usury will be eradicated."[36]
  • Establishment of true Islam and worshiping God and monotheism in the whole world[37]
  • Prevalence of religion[38]
  • Acting upon religious values and merits and precise observation of religious orders and rulings[39]
  • Establishment of security, so that the life, property and honor of people in the society will be safe from others' violation[40] and through the Savior, routes will gain security.[41]
  • Establishment of welfare for all people[42] so that all edible things will be accessible by human beings and people would easily use properties.[43]
  • Development of cities in all the world[44]
  • Development of friendship, kindness and friendliness among all people, so that people would take as much as they need from their religious brothers' reserves without any problem.[45]
  • Perfection of intellects and human's readiness for benefiting from divine teachings.[46]
  • Perfection and developments in science and knowledge in all aspects and benefiting from the most perfect scientific fruits by all people in the society[47]
  • Acting upon the Book of God and the conduct of the Prophet (s)[48]

These are among the events happening at the time of the Savior and are considered among the characteristics of this age.

Coming of Jesus (a)

According to hadiths, one of the important happenings of the time of the coming of the Savior is the coming of Prophet Jesus (a) from skies.[49] From these hadiths it can be learned that the Prophet Jesus (a) will participate in the world uprising of the End Time and comes from the skies to establish justice but under the flag of Imam al-Mahdi (a) and would not be independent.

Jesus (a) will come down on the land of Palestine and will greet Imam al-Mahdi (a) and will pray behind him and help him in killing Anti-Christ (Dajjal).[50]

Raj'a

Main article: Raj'a

Raj'a (the return) is among other important events in the golden age of the world after the coming of the Savior and his actions. Rej'a refers to coming some people back to life who are some righteous and some bad people.[51]

In Other Religions

The concept of the End Time has been mentioned in other religions in other forms as well.

In Christianity

Meaning

Christians speak of a time when the return of Jesus (a) will happen. Coming of Messiah (a) has been mentioned in the Bible more than three hundred times and some complete chapters are about that.[52]

Jesus (a) will come again in the End Time and will complete the program for rescuing people.[53] They believe that the world will meet happiness in his coming and will be in complete peace after his coming.[54] War and bloodshed will be gone and no group will then fight another.[55]

The belief about victory of the truth over falsehood is evident in Christian culture[56] and the Bible and in their views, the Savior is Messiah(a).[57]

Signs

For the coming of Messiah who is Jesus (a), some signs have been mentioned as following:

  • Messiah will come when people are sinful and oppression has taken over the world.[58]
  • "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places." [59]
  • "Shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light." [60]

According to the Bible, emergence of Anti-Christ (Dajjal) is among the events before coming the Messiah.[61]

In Judaism

Meaning

In Judaism, "the last days" or "the Day of Yahweh (the Lord)" have been mentioned in many cases, referring to the time when the glory of Jews will reach its peak and sinners will perish[62] and a king of Jesse's (David's father) descent upon whom the spirit of God is and is wise and God-wary will come and will fill the world with justice, goodness and blessings, as then "the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat."[63]

The Day of the Lord is the day when the course of the history will reach its peak and perfection.[64]

Events before the Coming of Mashiach:

There will be bloody wars at the time of the coming of Messiah due to political unrest. As it has been said that, "whenever you see that governments engage in war with each other, expect the steps of Mashiach, because at the time of Prophet Abraham (a) it happened so and when the states engaged in war with each other, Abraham (a) came to save."[65]

Coming of Mashiach will be together with great difficulties and before his coming chaos and corruption in the world will reach their peak and the difficulties of life will be almost unbearable.[66] These conflicts and wars among states of the world are called wars of Gog and Magog.[67]

Events after Coming of Mashiach

The happenings of the time of Mashiach are:

  • Cure of the sick[68]
  • Trees bearing abundant fruits[69]
  • Reconstruction of the ruins[70]
  • Reconstruction of Jerusalem al-Quds[71]
  • Establishment of peace throughout the nature[72]
  • Disappearing crying in the world[73]
  • Disappearing death in the world[74]

In Zoroastrianism

In Zoroastrianism, the coming of a savior at the End Time has been mentioned as well. In Zoroastrianism, this issue has been mentioned in a certain way according to their beliefs. They believe that a cosmological power or "spirit of good" called Ahura Mazda and an opposite cosmological power or great spirit of evil called Ahriman exist. During history, these two powers fight each other until the End Time when the good defeat the evil and a period of peace, purity and promotion of Ahura Mazda will come and with the coming Saoshyant, the End Time comes.[75]

In one of the clauses of Gathas which are the compositions of Zarathusthra (Zoroaster), there is a mention of a man who will come in the future and find the way of saving.[76] Also in Gatha, in some places, the name Saoshyant has been mentioned who is the savior in Zoroastrianism.[77] The term Frashokereti (final renovation of the universe) is another term mentioned in Gatha[78] and refers to the End Time, when after weakness and then destruction of Ahriman and its forces, the universe returns to its original perfection (Gatha Yasna Vahat).

Thus, Saoshyant is the person who will come at the end of the world and is called the victor Saoshyant and also astvat-әrәta (from whose life, all humans become immortal).[79] In Avesta, the word Saoshyant has been mentioned at least eight times and astvat-әrәta at least twice.[80]

Events after the Coming of Saoshyant

One of the actions of this promised savior after his coming is renovation of the universe and eradication of evil and darkness.[81]

The companions of this promised savior have been described as thinking good, speaking good, doing good and having good religion and never tell lies.

Notes

  1. Qurʾān, 7:128, 137; 21:105-106; 17:81; 28:5-6; 24:55; 14:13-15; 4:105; 37:171-173; 8:71; 9:33; 48:28; 58:21; 22:41.
  2. See: Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 9, p. 286.
  3. Ḥākim al-Nayshābūrī, al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 491; Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 3, p. 265; ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Muqaddasī, ʿIqd al-durar, p. 91.
  4. Tirmidhī, Saḥīh al-Tirmidhī, vol. 2, p. 46.
  5. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 307.
  6. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 3, p. 265.
  7. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 3, p. 265.
  8. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 11.
  9. Mūsawī al-Iṣfahānī, Mikyāl al-makārim, vol. 2, p. 160.
  10. Ṣadūq, Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, p. 588.
  11. Ṭūsī, al-Ghayba, p. 340.
  12. Ṭūsī, al-Ghayba, p. 340.
  13. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 3, p. 247, 251.
  14. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 6, p. 303.
  15. Shubbar, Ḥaq al-yaqīn, p. 126.
  16. Ṣadūq, Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, p. 649.
  17. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 3, p. 247.
  18. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 52, p. 181; Nayshābūrī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 4, p. 2221.
  19. Bayhaqī, Shuʿab al-Īmān, vol. 1, p. 308.
  20. Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs, al-Malāḥim wa l-fitan, p. 97.
  21. Ḥāʾirī al-Yazd, Ilzām al-nāṣib, p. 102.
  22. Rajab al-Bursī, Mashāriq anwār al-yaqīn, p. 72.
  23. Khuzāʿī al-Marwazī, al-Fitan, p. 36.
  24. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 307.
  25. Khuzāʿī al-Marwazī, al-Fitan, p. 36.
  26. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 307.
  27. Rajab al-Bursī, Mashāriq anwār al-yaqīn, p. 72.
  28. Ghaznawī al-Ḥanafī, Uṣūl al-dīn, p. 206.
  29. Ḥākim al-Nayshābūrī, al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 484.
  30. Khuzāʿī al-Marwazī, al-Fitan, p. 63.
  31. Qurʾān, 47:81
  32. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 8, p. 236.
  33. Nayshābūrī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 4, p. 2248.
  34. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 7, p. 391; Khuzāʿī al-Marwazī, al-Fitan, p. 36.
  35. Qundūzī al-Ḥanafī, Yanābīʿ al-mawadda, vol. 2, p. 528.
  36. Ṣāfī Gulpāyigānī, Muntakhab al-athar, p. 474.
  37. Ahdalī, al-Burhān, vol. 2, p. 121.
  38. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 3, p. 25.
  39. Ṣāfī Gulpāyigānī, Muntakhab al-athar, p. 474.
  40. Nahj al-balāgha, sermon 131.
  41. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 381; Ṭūsī, al-Ghayba, p. 468.
  42. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Muqaddasī, ʿIqd al-durar, p. 91.
  43. Ḥākim al-Nayshābūrī, al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 558.
  44. Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, p. 231.
  45. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 52, p. 372.
  46. Ṣāfī Gulpāyigānī, Muntakhab al-athar, p. 474.
  47. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāwandī, al-Kharāʾij wa l-jarāʾiḥ, vol. 2, p. 841.
  48. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 11.
  49. Rajab al-Bursī, Mashāriq anwār al-yaqīn, p. 72.
  50. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, p. 485.
  51. Aṣgharī, "Ākhar al-zamān", vol. 1, p. 28.
  52. Matthew, 24, 25; Mark, 13; Luke, 21.
  53. John, 4:42; Hebrew, 9:28.
  54. Isaiah, 2:7.
  55. Isaiah, 2:4.
  56. John, 4:42
  57. Isaiah, 2:7; Mark, 9:11-13
  58. Isaiah, 11:48
  59. Mathew, 24:7.
  60. Mathew, 24:29; Luke, 21:23-25.
  61. John, 2:18.
  62. Amos, 5:18-20; 2:12-17.
  63. Amos, 11:18; Hosea, 2:20-25; Micah: 5:26; Jeremiah, 23:56.
  64. Isaiah, 52:13; 53:12.
  65. Genesis, 14.
  66. Isaiah, 21:60.
  67. Isaiah, 21:60.
  68. Ezekiel, 9:47.
  69. Ezekiel, 9:47.
  70. Ezekiel, 16:55.
  71. Isaiah, 54:11-12.
  72. Isaiah, 11:6-8.
  73. Isaiah, 65:19.
  74. Isaiah, 25:8.
  75. Nash, Tārīkh-i jāmiʿ-i adyān, p. 318.
  76. Gatha, 43:3.
  77. Gatha, 45:11.
  78. Gatha, 30:9.
  79. Pūrdāwūd, Furūhir, p. 15.
  80. Avesta, vol. 1, p. 405-430.
  81. Avesta, vol. 1, p. 487.

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