This podcast is important, and it will address three things related to the signs of the hour. The first deals with the authenticity of a text, while the second deals with the principles needed to understand what scholars called transmission related to the signs of the Hour or the transmission of trials. That will formulate what we will talk in this podcast. Our second podcast will address the order of the signs in brevity, inshallah. General Principle for engaging hadith related to this subject. الاقتصار في التنزيل على نصوص الوحيين, والتأكد من صحتها لفظاً ومعنى “The signs of the hour are restricted to revelation while ensuring their soundness and correct understanding.” a) Their Soundness – Meaning the Hadith is authentic
فُسْطَاطُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ يَوْمَ الْمَلْحَمَةِ الْغُوطَةُ، إِلَى جَانِبِ مَدِينَةٍ يُقَالُ لَهَا: دِمَشْقُ There are four narrations of this hadith 1. Abu Darda – it is not strong because between the companion who narrated is not mentioned. There is a connected narration of it, but it is weak because of a weak narrator, Ibn Abi Maryam 2. The Hadith of Muadh – It has narrators well known for lying, and some of them were even considered abandoned. 3. The hadith of Abu Huraira – It is extremely weak for some reason 4. There is some confusion about this narration, some claiming it is sahih. However, this is a mistake in combining two narrations, one narrative that does not state anything about Ghuta is sahih, while the other narration that does, as noted above is weak.
An extension of an authentic hadith is the opinions of the companions on issues that are related to the unseen. This includes the companion’s explanations and thoughts on issues where personal opinion is impossible. Meaning, their opinion rested on revelation. Ibn Hajar wrote,
والحق أن ضابط ما يفسره الصحابي إن كان مما لا مجال للاجتهاد فيه, فحكمه الرفع وإلا فلا، كالإخبار عن الأمور الماضية من بدء الخلق وقصص الأنبياء, وعن الأمور الآتية كالملاحم والفتن والبعث وصفة الجنة والنار, والإخبار عن عمل يحصل به ثواب مخصوص أو عقاب مخصوص، فهذه الأشياء لا مجال للاجتهاد فيها فيحكم لها بالرفع
“The correct principle in this regard is that explanation of the companions, specifically regarding issues where personal opinion is impossible ….such as events from the past, like the beginning of creation, stories of previous prophets, prophecy related to fitna, resurrection, the description of paradise and hell, and actions that bring about specific rewards or punishments. Those type of things to not permit opinions, so they are considered something taught to them by the Prophets (sa).”
If a Hadith is acceptable, then it must be interpreted correctly, not in a sloppy way or in a way that makes its application impossible.
The First Principle
أن الأصل في تنزيل أحاديث الفتن على الأزمان والأشخاص الرد
“Its is not allowed to apply prophetic hadith about the end of times to specific times, places and people.”
That does not mean we reject the application of those hadith, nor should we be taxed in their application. What it means is that their application is guided by the scholars. During the Prophet’s time, there were a group of companions who thought it was a man named Ibn al-Sayyad, some even swearing so. During the time of Hajjaj, Asma said,
حَدَّثَنَا أَنَّ فِى ثَقِيفٍ كَذَّابًا وَمُبِيرًا, فَأَمَّا الْكَذَّابُ فَرَأَيْنَاهُ وَأَمَّا الْمُبِيرُ فَلاَ إِخَالُكَ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ أَمَا إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ
“The Prophet (sa) told us that from the tribe of Thaqif there would appear a liar and a ruined person. We have seen the liar. As for the ruined person, you are in no confusion regarding him.” Imam al-Nawwawi noted that scholars agree the liar was al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi, who claimed Gabriel came to him, while the ruined person was al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf for obvious reasons. A recent example is scholars interpreting the hadith, وَيَتَقَارَبَ الزَّمَانُ “From the signs of the hour, time will move quickly.” The Second Principle الأصل حمل النصِّ على ظاهره “The literal meaning of a text is the default of interpretation, while the figurative meaning is an exception.” Perhaps the greatest misapplication of this is the hadith, “The hour will not start until the sun rises from the West.” Scholars, old and new agree that this is a literal hadith. Recently, however, some people have claimed it is converted from the West. Another example was that the Dajjal was laptop computers. Both interpretations run contrary to the scholarly consensus, and even if someone tried to apply the principle of an explicit or implicit meaning, have no support.
The Third Principle أن يكون التنزيل بعيداً عن التكلُّف “The interpretation is not overly complicated or burdensome.” Meaning: it is not a stretch or places an unreasonable burden on people to understand. See the example above. There are some principles related to religious responsibilities: They are not beyond people’s scope, they are not overly difficult to understand, and they don’t cause harm.
The Fourth Principle التحقق من طبيعة الواقعة واستكمالها للأوصاف الواردة في النصّ “Verifying that a situation, time place or person completely agrees with they text.” There are three conditions for a text related to the end of times: 1. the text 2. the situation 3. the action that should take place during that period. For texts related to the end of time to be matched with a given period or person, all three must align completely. That implies that first, there must be a match tatabuq, and second, a person cannot be ignorant of the optics – jahil. فإذا لم يكن هناك تطابق بين الواقع الحاصل وبين جميع أوصاف النصّ لم يصح التنزيل حينئذٍ, فلا يصح جهل شيء من أجزاء الواقع “If there is no corroboration between the time and the text in regards to every description in the text, then it is not allowed to apply it to that situation, nor is it allowed to be ignorant of the situation.” An example of this is the sloppy application of the dajjal and the sun rising from the west, and is often applied to the coming of Imam Mehdi. Is there an example of its application? لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُقَاتِلَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ التُّرْكَ قَوْمًا كَأَنَّ وُجُوهَهُمْ الْمَجَانُّ الْمُطْرَقَةُ، يَلْبَسُونَ الشَّعْرَ، وَيَمْشُونَ فِي الشَّعْر “The Last Hour would not come until the Muslims fight with the Turks-a people whose faces would be like hammered shields wearing clothes of hair and walking (with shoes) of hair.” Imam al-Nawwawi wrote, وهذه كلها معجزات لرسول الله فقد وجِدَ قتال هؤلاء الترك بجميع صفاتهم التي ذكرها..... فوجدوا بهذه الصفات كلها في زماننا “All of those (narrations about this) are miracles of the Prophet (sa). The fighting with the Turks has occurred, and they had every description the Prophet (sa) mentioned….thus we find every one of those descriptions of them applicable and present.” Another recent example, “Tall buildings.” The Fifth Principle ومراجعة أهل العلم Extenuating this is a wonderful narration from Hafs ibn Ghayyath. He noticed that people were stating that the Mehid had come so he asked Sufyan al-Thawri (ra) who responded, يا أبا عَبْد الله إن الناس قد أكثروا في المهدي فما تقول فيه؟ قال: إن مرَّ على بابك فلا تكن منه في شيء حتى يجتمع الناس عليه Signs of Sloppiness 1. Misplacing the order of something. 2. Not collecting all the relevant hadith about a subject The Sixth Principle لا تعجل الأشراط لتسرع ما بعدها It is not allowed to try and rush the a sign of the Hereafter, hoping for another one that comes after it.”