(excerpt from The Beginning of The End)

Whilst the major signs exceed ten by many fold, the reason for the prevalence of citing them as ‘ten’ only, is not because no other major signs exist. Rather the concept of the ‘ten major signs’ holding a position of familiarity amongst Muslims is primarily because the most amount of major signs found in a single authentically transmitted narration amounts to ten. That most renowned narration with regards to the major signs is as follows:

عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ أَسِيدٍ الْغِفَارِيِّ، قَالَ اطَّلَعَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ نَتَذَاكَرُ فَقَالَ ‏ مَا تَذَاكَرُونَ.‏ قَالُوا نَذْكُرُ السَّاعَةَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّهَا لَنْ تَقُومَ حَتَّى تَرَوْنَ قَبْلَهَا عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ.‏ فَذَكَرَ الدُّخَانَ وَالدَّجَّالَ وَالدَّابَّةَ وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا وَنُزُولَ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَيَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ وَثَلاَثَةَ خُسُوفٍ خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ وَخَسْفٌ بِجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ وَآخِرُ ذَلِكَ نَارٌ تَخْرُجُ مِنَ الْيَمَنِ تَطْرُدُ النَّاسَ إِلَى مَحْشَرِهِمْ

Sayyidunā Huzhayfah bin Usayd Ghifārī رَضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنْہُ reported, Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ came to us all of a sudden whilst we were in a discussion. He asked, ‘What are you (all) discussing?’ They (the companions) said, ‘We are discussing the Last Hour.’ Thereupon he said: ‘It (the Final Hour) will not come to pass until you see before it ten signs’. He mentioned,

  1. The Smoke (Ad-Dukhān)
  2. Dajjāl
  3. The Beast of the land (Dābbatul Ardh)
  4. The Rising of the Sun from the West,
  5. The Return of Son of Mary,
  6. Gog & Magog, (Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj)
  7. Three earthquakes (or landslides), one in the East,
  8. One in the West,
  9. One in the Arab Peninsula
  10. The last of which (he mentioned) was a Fire which will burn from Yemen and would drive the people to their Mahshar (place of assembly).[1]

These are vastly regarded within the Islāmic tradition as the ten major signs of the end-time which must occur in order for the Final Hour to be established. Other signs, viz. Imām Al-Mahdi, the destruction of the Ka’bah etc. have been established through various other narrations in the Sunnah.

A few points of discussion emerge from this narration.

  1. The companions of the Prophet صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ , saw it necessary to gather and discuss the Final Hour. It follows that gathering to remember the Final Hour remains a Sunnah of the Companions. This is further strengthened by the fact that the Prophet صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ did not rebuke them for such a gathering. In fact, he صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ encouraged them by divulging information which must have further encapsulated their minds even further. Had such a gathering been an ‘innovation’ in the legal sense, the Blessed Prophet صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ would have been the first to rebuke them for it. His encouragement of the subject matter should suffice to the modern mind as motivation enough to pursue the subject today, and to arrange discussions about Islāmic eschatology
  2. By The Prophet’s صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ statement, “It (the Final Hour) will not come to pass until you see before it ten signs…” proves that the aforementioned signs will occur first, then as corollary of those signs, the Final Hour will be established. The general perception of numerous Muslims is that the emergence of Dajjāl would render the next day as the end of the world. These signs will emerge, and there will be a lengthy timespan between those signs and the destruction of the world as we know it.

Whilst we have numbered the ten major signs above, for the benefit of the reader, we must assert that this sequence is by no means a chronological order of events to unfold. This is a common mistake made by those who approach the subject devoid of a sound methodology. Whilst some of these signs are believed to have occurred centuries ago, others will be synchronous, and many more are still to occur. Thus whilst we will follow a certain order[2], we do not claim this order to be binding on anyone. Those signs which are incontrovertibly connected to each other will be discussed simultaneously. Hence the subject of Imām Al-Mahdī, Gog & Magog, Dajjāl and the Return of Jesus عَلَیْہِ السَّلَامُ the Son of Mary will be discussed consecutively as they share a connection to one another in some way, but nonetheless, we will strive to maintain the most logical order, based on the textual information. With these significant pointers in mind, we shall progress to analyze the remainder of the major signs, with view to assessing which of them have come to pass, and which remain hidden until such a time that Allāh Almighty decrees their emergence.

[1] Sahīh Muslim – The Book of Tribulations and Portents of the Last Hour, Chapter – The Signs Which Will Appear Before The Hour, Hadīth 2901

[2] Many of the scholars believe that the first major sign will either be the emergence of Dajjāl, or the emergence of Imām Al-Mahdī (Although our view is that Dajjāl’s plan will necessitate the sending of the Mahdī). Thereafter, will be the descent of Jesus u and these three will be synchronous. Thereafter, the emergence of Gog & Magog will take place. Long after the emergence of these events, then the Dābbatul Ardh (Beast of the Earth) would emerge. This will be followed by the Rising of the Sun from the west. Imām Al-Qurtubī has documented this order in his At-Tazhkirah, Volume 3, Page 279, Published by Dār Ibn Kathīr, Damascus , Beirut.