CONCLUSION: THE BRIGHT FUTURE AWAITING THE WORLD
Recent developments clearly show that the Islamic world is ripe for great and fundamental change. The Qur'an and the hadith literature suggest that the approaching period will be a bright one for the world's Muslims, God willing. Setting up the Islamic Union will speed up the process and begin a new era of plenty and prosperity for humanity in general.
The current situation may seem to be very negative at first look, whereas in reality each negative development signals the approach of a blessed period. War, destitution, famine, oppression, and tyranny against Muslims across the world are signs of the End Times foretold by our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace). That all of these events are taking place is also a clear sign that the global rule of Islamic morality is approaching, as prophesized by our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) (God knows best). Therefore, the current situation must not cause Muslims to feel despair and hopelessness; on the contrary, it should motivate them and increase their zeal and excitement. In addition, they must act with the awareness that despairing of solace from God is not an option, for
Do not despair of solace from God. No one despairs of solace from God except for people who disbelieve. (Qur'an, 12:87)
The great scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi explained, in his famous the Damascus Sermon (Hutbe-i Samiye), the conditions in which Muslims live, warned of the dangers of falling into despair, and spoke of the bright future awaiting them, as follows:
Despair is the most detrimental sickness. It has permeated into the heart of the Islamic world... Such a despair that it has stifled our sublime morality, swerving our attention from the interests of the general to our personal interests. It is the very same despair that has broken our spiritual might... Despair is the most dreadful sickness of our people... It is the pretext of the coward, the inferior and the helpless... It is only Islam which will truly and spiritually pervade the continents of the future and lead humanity to bliss both in this world and the next.58
The End Times
The hadith literature is the foremost source that reveals the Islamic world's bright future. This literature, which describes in great detail the nature of the End Times (the period before the Last Day), reveals that these signs bear a great resemblance to events taking place right now. The most prominent signs are that people seek to distance themselves from the purpose of their creation and, consequently, participate in society's spiritual break-down by altering God's law, openly denying God's existence, spreading chaos and disorder around the world, and increasing decadence. Other signs include frequent natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes and floods, droughts and famines); increasing warfare, conflict, and bloodshed; emergence of bid'ats (innovation, changing the original teaching of the Prophet); widespread poverty; astonishing and shocking events; and the almost complete disappearance of contentment and stability. In the End Times, murder, killing, and fighting will intensify, and the oppression of Muslims will worsen. In addition, Muslims living during this time will be subjected to such violence and tyranny that most of them will not be able to find a way out of the cruel environment in which they live.
Following this difficult and chaotic period, God will send a holy savior, the Mahdi (one who guides to the righteous path), who will deliver people from the darkness of ignorance into the light of true knowledge. This holy person will first enlighten the Islamic world and then bring peace, love, and morality to the entire world. With his arrival, all anti-religious ideologies that deny God's existence will be completely refuted, religious morality will be returned to its original pure state, as revealed by the Qur'an and the hadiths, and the Islamic world will gain economic, political, and social power.
As some Islamic scholars point out, the Mahdi will probably be a spiritual entity (God knows best). We believe that the Mahdi will be a spiritual being of superior character, embodying the faith and spirit of devoted and heroic people.
The hadiths also reveal that Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth during the End Times. His second coming is one of the greatest events of the End Times, and is revealed by a number of hadiths and many Qur'anic verses. God reveals in the Qur'an that Jesus was not killed or crucified, but that He caused the people to see it that way, and then raised him to His presence. (For further information, please see Harun Yahya, Jesus Will Return [London: Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 2001]). This fact is revealed in Surat an-Nisa':
And [on account of] their saying: "We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Messenger of God." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. God raised him up to Himself. God is Almighty, All-Wise. (Qur'an, 4:157-58)
When Jesus (peace be upon him) returns, he will be recognized by his respectability, honor, and superiority, just like all of the other prophets were. Those who see him will recognize him instantaneously and have no doubt in their hearts. One factor that will make him known is his lack of relatives, family, and anyone who knows him from before. No one will know him by his voice, physical appearance, or face on his return. No one will be able to say: "I know him from before," because everyone who knew him will have lived and died 2,000 years ago.
When Jesus returns, he will rule by the Qur'an. He will free Christians from their myths and invite them to live by the Qur'an's values. This way, Islam and Christianity will unite into one faith, and the world will enter a new golden era in which peace, happiness, security, contentment, and prosperity rule. The Golden Age, like the time of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), will be a blessed period characterized by justice instead of cruelty. There will be so much prosperity that people who want to give alms to the poor will not be able to find anyone to accept them. Developments in science and technology will raise the quality of life, and goodness and comfort will increase. Wherever they turn, people will see prosperity and beauty.
Some of the Prophet's (may God bless him and grant him peace) hadiths on the End Times are listed below.
The Characteristics of the Era
in which the Mahdi Will Appear
The Mahdi, one of my children, comes into being revitalizing the Sunnah of God, by the blessing of God, upon the approach of the Day of Judgment and the weakening of the faithful ones' hearts because of death, hunger, the disappearance of the sunnah and the emergence of innovations, and the loss of means by which to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. His justice and prosperity will ease the hearts of the faithful, and friendship and love will settle between the non-Arab and Arab nations.59
At a time when the world will be in harj (utter confusion and disorder), fitna (turbulence) will appear, roads will be cut, some people will attack others, the old will not have mercy on the young and the young will not show respect to the old, God will send someone (the Mahdi). This person will eradicate hostility and conquer the castles of perversion, uphold the faith in the End Times just as how I upheld it formerly, and will fill this Earth with justice where violence prevailed before.60
Disorder, corruption, and fear will emerge in the West ... Corruption will proliferate.61
A kind of corruption will surface, from which no party will be able to protect itself, and spread immediately to every direction...62
Before the Mahdi appears, trade and roads between nations will be cut and strife among people will grow.63
The Mahdi will not emerge unless innocent people are massacred, and will appear when those on Earth and up in the sky can no longer put up with such massacres.64
The Way of Life during the Mahdi's Time
Just as our Prophet upheld Islam at the beginning, the Mahdi will uphold Islam at the end.65
Grudge and mutual hatred will be lifted (removed)... Earth will be filled with peace, just as a vessel is filled with water;the word (kalima) will become one (i.e., only Islam will prevail) and only God will be worshipped;the battle will put down its weapons (i.e., come to an end).66
During this time, wolves and sheep will play together, and snakes will not harm children. People will sow only a handful of seeds, yet reap 700 handfuls of them. Hypocrisy, interest, adultery, and drinking habits will end, and there will be no breach of trust. Evil will be destroyed, and there will no longer be anyone who will not like our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace).67
In the Last Times, a khalifa (successor) will distribute wealth without even counting it.68
No enmity will remain between anyone, and all enmity, fighting, and envy will definitely disappear.69
At that time, those in the heavens and on Earth, and all wild animals, birds, and even fish in the oceans, will rejoice at his caliphate. In his time, even the rivers will run abundantly. The Mahdi will bring out the treasures.70
During this (period), my ummah (people) will lead a comfortable and carefree life that they have never known before.71
During the time of the Mahdi, justice will prevail to such an extent that every possession taken by force will be returned to its owner; furthermore, some other person's possession, even if it rests within one's teeth, will be given back to its owner. … Security will prevail over Earth, and a few ladies on their own will be able to perform hajj without a group of men accompanying them.72
As the hadiths quoted here reveal, the Islamic world is due for great and important change. As with everything else, God has written a destiny for the Islamic world, for: "God refuses to do other than perfect His Light" (Qur'an, 9:32). This verse reveals that God will cause the Qur'anic values to spread around the globe, that irreligious philosophies will collapse, and that evil will be destroyed so that peace and security can be brought to all people. God willing, these numbered days will be followed by the global establishment of Islamic morality, which will enable peace and security to descend upon humanity. It must not be forgotten that God stated:
God has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land, just as He made those before them successors; will firmly establish for them their religion, with which He is pleased; and give them, in place of their fear, security. "They worship Me, not associating anything with Me." Any who do not believe after that, such people are deviators. (Qur'an, 24:55)
Every Muslim must improve his or her character and increase the good deeds done for the benefit of Islam and the Muslims to prepare for this celebrated era. In order for the time to come quickly in which people will enter the religion of God en masse, one of the most important preparations is to create the Islamic Union.
Calling on the World of Islam
At present, irreligious systems of thought are collapsing around the world and people are turning to faith and religious morality. Furthermore, Islam has become the most important subject on the world's agenda, and people's attention has turned toward the true religion. Our time's technological development has made intra-Muslim cooperation easier, and have created the opportunity to convey the beauty of Islamic morality to the masses.
However, parts of the Islamic world still suffer from poverty and ignorance. People who take advantage of this situation act in the name of Islam, but contrary to Islam, and thereby make Muslims accused in the eyes of the world. Circles who oppose Islamic morality use the Muslims' present weakness and disorder to oppress them and plan even worse tyranny. The solution to the Islamic world's ongoing tension and conflict, both internal and external, lies in forming an Islamic Union that will unite all Muslims and guide them to the right path. Therefore, every Muslim must work for its creation.
All Muslim governments should prepare for the Islamic Union by developing their relations with other Muslim countries and organizing cultural activities that will help establish Islamic morality in their countries. All Muslim NGOs, associations, charities, members of the media, and intellectual leaders should make genuine efforts to resolve the differences between Muslims and to achieve unity and solidarity. All Muslims should work to create this Islamic unity, regardless of the mosque or school they attend, the Internet sites that they visit, and the charities or associations to which they belong. Moreover, they must encourage other Muslims to follow their example.
It is the prayer of all Muslims that the great Islamic civilization, one that will bring goodness, justice, and peace to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, will flourish once more. God willing, the formation of the Islamic Union will bring all of this about. All Muslims who wish to play a role in this holy duty should make the following prayer and then act upon it:
Come, let's heal the rifts between Muslims. Let's bridge the gaps between Muslims who do not pray in one another's mosques, who do not read each others books, and who are hostile to one another because of small ideological differences. Let's do away with such artificial segregations. Let the house of God, the mosque, be the place of worship of not this group or that sect but of all Muslims. Let every Muslim greet and talk with every other Muslim. Let's end the disputes between communities or individuals, and let all Muslims work hand in hand in humility and tolerance to serve God's religion. Let's not forget God's command:
Hold fast to the rope of God all together, and do not separate. Remember God's blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing. You were on the very brink of a pit of the Fire and He rescued you from it. In this way, God makes His Signs clear to you so that, hopefully, you will be guided. (Qur'an, 3:103)
58. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Hutbe-i Samiye (Damascus Sermon).
59. Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, 66.
60. Ibid., 12.
61. Mukhtasar Tazkirah Qurtubi, 440.
62. Ibn Hajar Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, 23.
63. Ibid., 39.
64. Ibid., 37.
66. Sunan Ibn Majah.
67. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, 43.
68. Sahih Muslim.
70. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, 36.
71. Sunan Ibn Majah.
72. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, 23.