Throughout history, various cultures and religions have prophesied the end of the world or the arrival of a doomsday scenario. In Islamic tradition, there are references to 72 signs that would appear near the end of times, signaling the Day of Judgment. These signs, mentioned in various Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him), have been a topic of discussion and contemplation for centuries among Muslims and scholars alike.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore these 72 signs, shedding light on their significance and relevance in today’s world. It’s important to note that these signs are considered to be part of Islamic eschatology, and while they are taken seriously by believers, their interpretation can vary among different scholars and sects within Islam.
Understanding Islamic Eschatology
Before delving into the 72 signs, it’s essential to understand the broader context of Islamic eschatology. Islamic eschatology is the branch of Islamic theology that deals with the end of times, resurrection, judgment, and the ultimate destiny of the human soul. It is a fundamental aspect of Islamic belief and is discussed in both the Quran and the Hadith.
The Quran itself contains several references to the Day of Judgment, emphasizing its inevitability and significance. For example, in Surah Al-Zumar (Chapter 39), verse 68, it is stated: “And the Horn will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will fall dead except whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown again, and at once they will be standing, looking on.”
Signs of the Apocalypse: Understanding the 72 Signs Mentioned in Islamic Traditions
The 72 Signs:
- The Arrival of the Final Prophet: The advent of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is considered a significant sign of the approaching end times.
- The Quran as a Sign: The preservation of the Quran as the final revelation from Allah is seen as a sign of the impending Day of Judgment.
- Widespread Ignorance: A time when ignorance and lack of knowledge would prevail.
- The Spread of Immorality: A rise in immorality, promiscuity, and unethical behavior.
- False Prophets: The appearance of false prophets who would lead people astray.
- Abundance of Wealth: A time of material abundance, but moral decline.
- Oppression and Injustice: Widespread oppression and injustice in society.
- Breaking of Family Ties: A breakdown of family relationships and the severing of ties.
- Increase in Wars: An increase in conflicts and wars.
- Appearance of Dajjal: The emergence of Dajjal, the false messiah.
- The Descent of Jesus (Isa, peace be upon him): The return of Jesus (peace be upon him) to Earth.
- Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj): The release of Gog and Magog, leading to chaos.
- The Rising of the Sun from the West: A major cosmic sign of the end times.
- Three Landslides: Land movements in the East, West, and Arabian Peninsula.
- Smoke: The appearance of smoke that would cover the Earth.
- Beast of the Earth: The emergence of a unique creature from the Earth.
- Eclipse of the Moon: A lunar eclipse that would occur.
- Eclipse of the Sun: A solar eclipse that would occur.
- The Beast of the Earth: A creature that would mark the foreheads of believers and disbelievers.
- The Fire in Yemen: A fire that would gather the people in Yemen.
- The Rise of Sufyani: The appearance of a tyrannical figure named Sufyani.
- The Sinking of the Earth in the East: A major earthquake in the East.
- The Sinking of the Earth in the West: A major earthquake in the West.
- The Sinking of the Arabian Peninsula: A major earthquake in the Arabian Peninsula.
- The Killing of the Righteous: The killing of righteous individuals.
- The Collapse of Buildings: The collapse of buildings in various places.
- The Spreading of Diseases: The outbreak of diseases.
- The Eruption of a Volcano in Mount Sinai: A volcanic eruption in Mount Sinai.
- The Eruption of a Volcano in Aden: A volcanic eruption in Aden.
- The Eruption of a Volcano in Najaf: A volcanic eruption in Najaf.
- The Return of the Ark of the Covenant: The return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
- The Spread of Fear: The prevalence of fear among people.
- The Division of the Moon: The moon being split into two parts.
- The Appearance of a Green Carpet: The Earth appearing like a green carpet from Heaven.
- The Growth of Vegetation: The rapid growth of vegetation in barren lands.
- The Appearance of a Second Sun: The appearance of a second sun.
- The Appearance of a Third Sun: The appearance of a third sun.
- The Sudden Death of People: Sudden deaths becoming widespread.
- The Return of the Prophet Khidr: The return of the Prophet Khidr.
- The Rise of the Mahdi: The appearance of the Mahdi, a guided leader.
- The Rise of the Sufyani: The rise of Sufyani, a tyrannical figure.
- The Euphrates Revealing a Mountain of Gold: The Euphrates river revealing a mountain of gold.
- The Fall of Rain of Stones: Rain of stones falling from the sky.
- The Rising of the Star: The rising of a unique star.
- The Rising of the Sun from the West: The sun rising from the West as a clear sign.
- The Three Landslides: Land movements in the East, West, and Arabian Peninsula.
- The Rising of the Smoke: The appearance of a smoke cloud.
- The Appearance of a Unique Creature: The emergence of a unique creature from the Earth.
- The Spread of Gog and Magog: The spread and release of Gog and Magog.
- The Last Trumpet: The blowing of the last trumpet.
- The Resurrection of the Dead: The resurrection of all human beings.
- The Gathering of Humanity: The gathering of all people for judgment.
- The Presentation of Deeds: Every individual’s deeds being presented.
- The Accountability: Being held accountable for one’s actions.
- The Scale of Deeds: The weighing of deeds on a scale.
- The Crossing of the Sirat Bridge: Every soul crossing a bridge, with the righteous passing easily and the wicked falling.
- The Intercession of the Prophets: Prophets interceding on behalf of their followers.
- The Intercession of the Angels: Angels interceding for those who deserve it.
- The Intercession of Believers: Believers interceding for others.
- The Entry into Paradise: The righteous entering Paradise.
- The Entry into Hell: The wicked being cast into Hell.
- The Eternal Reward or Punishment: The eternal reward or punishment of the soul.
- The End of All Creation: The end of the entire universe.
- The Folding of the Heavens and Earth: The folding up of the heavens and the earth.
- The Annihilation of All Creation: The annihilation of all living beings.
- The Resurrection of All Beings: The resurrection of all beings for a new creation.
- The Reckoning of All Creation: The final reckoning of all creation.
- The Eternal Life in Paradise: The eternal life of bliss in Paradise for the righteous.
- The Eternal Punishment in Hell: The eternal punishment in Hell for the wicked.
- The Final Victory of Truth: The ultimate triumph of truth and justice.
- The Ultimate Defeat of Evil: The ultimate defeat of evil and falsehood.
- The Arrival of the Angel Israfil: The arrival of the Angel Israfil to blow the trumpet for the final time.
The 72 signs mentioned in Islamic tradition are a fascinating and complex aspect of Islamic eschatology. While they have been a subject of interpretation and discussion for centuries, their significance lies in reminding believers of the inevitability of the Day of Judgment and the importance of leading a righteous life.
It’s important to approach these signs with a sense of humility and an understanding that their interpretation can vary among scholars and sects within Islam. Ultimately, the focus should be on faith, good deeds, and living a life in accordance with the teachings of Islam, with the hope of attaining eternal bliss in the Hereafter.
As believers, it is our duty to be mindful of these signs, but not to obsess over them. Instead, we should strive to be the best versions of ourselves, seeking forgiveness and mercy from Allah, and working towards a better world for all of humanity. In the end, the exact timing of the Day of Judgment remains known only to Allah, and our task is to live our lives in accordance with His guidance and mercy.