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The Major Signs of the Day of Judgment (part 2 of 7): An Introduction to Major Signs

By on August 18,2008


Comprehensive Hadeeth about the Major Signs of the Day of Judgment

The major signs are those signs that will occur relatively close to the Day of Judgment and involve matters that can be considered, in general, “out of the ordinary” or which are sensational.

There are a number of hadeeth in which the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, mentioned the greater signs of the Day of Judgment together.  These hadeeth include the following:

Imam Muslim records in his Saheeh:

Hudhaifa b. Usaid Ghifari narrated, “God’s Messenger came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion).  He said, ‘What are you discussing?’  They (the Companions) said, ‘We are discussing the Last Hour.’  Thereupon he said, ‘It will not come until you see ten signs before it.’  And (in this connection) he made a mention of the smoke, Dajjaal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (may God praise them), Gog and Magog, and landslides in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia, at the end of which a fire would burn forth from the Yemen and drive people to the place of their assembly.’”

Muslim also writes in his Saheeh:

The Messenger of God said, “The Last Hour would not come until the ten signs appear: a landslide in the east, and a landslide in the west, and a landslide in the peninsula of Arabia, the smoke, the Dajjaal, the beast of the earth, Gog and Magog, the rising of the sun from the west and the fire which would emit from the lower part of Aden.”  Shu’ba said that ‘Abd al− ‘Aziz b. Rufai’ reported on the authority of Abu Tufail who reported on the authority of Abu Sariha a hadeeth like this that God’s Apostle did not make a mention of (the tenth sign) but he said that out of the ten one was the descent of Jesus Christ, son of Mary (peace be upon him), and in another version it is the blowing of the violent gale which would drive the people to the ocean.

There are a couple of other hadeeth in which the Prophet mentioned some of the same events as above.  In these hadeeth, he did not mention them as explicitly being signs of the Hour.  Instead, the Prophet gave a very strong admonition and warning that people must perform their good deeds before these events occur, as these events directly herald the ending of the time for deeds and the beginning of the time of reckoning.  Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of God said:

“Hasten to do good deeds before six things happen: the rising of the sun from the west, the smoke, the Dajjaal, the beast and (the death) of one of you or the general turmoil.” (Muslim)

Note that in this hadeeth the Prophet mentioned, “the death of one of you.”  This is also a type of “hour.”  Although it is interesting and important to learn and know the major signs of the Hour, for those who will not witness the events of the Last Days, it is their hour—their death—that they must prepare for and concerning which many are negligent.  Thus, when a Bedouin came to the Prophet and asked him, “When is the Hour?”  the Prophet pointed to a young boy and said, “If this boy lives, by the time he is old and decrepit, your hour would have already taken place.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

The Order of Appearance and the Nature of the Major Signs

Yoosuf al-Waabil notes that he has found no explicit texts that mention the order of appearance of the major signs of the Day of Judgment.  The hadeeth which mention the signs in a group, like those just quoted above, either use the conjunction “and” or “or.”  In neither case do these conjunctions give any positive indication as to the time ordering of the events.  In fact, as al-Waabil notes, some of the same hadeeth mention the events in different orderings.[1]

Ibn Hajar, however, has divided the major signs into two main categories, one definitely occurring before the other.[2]  The first set of signs is those that occur on this earth, without the nature of this earth changing completely.  These are signs that should clearly awaken the people and drive them to repent to God.  During those signs, there is no ultimate distinguishing between the believer and the disbeliever nor is there any unquestionable occurrence in this creation that makes it clear that the Resurrection is at hand.  The signs of this category include the coming of the Dajjaal, the return of Jesus, Gog and Magog and the landslides.

The second category of these major signs leaves no doubt as to the actual occurring of the Resurrection and the end of this Creation as humans know it now.  In addition, there will be a distinguishing of the believer from the disbeliever.  Hence, during and after these signs, there will be no question of repentance or returning to God.  At that time, it would be too late for any repentance to be accepted by God.  The signs in this category would include the appearance of the beast, the smoke and the rising of the sun from the West.

It also seems to be true that when these signs begin to occur, one will be following up the other at a relatively fast pace.[3]  The Prophet said:

“The signs shall appear one after the other like the beads on a string follow one another.”[4]  

Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that the Prophet said:

“The signs are like beads strung on a string.  If the string breaks, they [quickly] follow one after the other.”

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