“The End of the World – Signs of the Hour” written by renowned Muslim scholar Dr Muhammad Al-Areefi discusses in detail the many signs that will signal the end of the world. It begins by listing and discussing 131 minor signs, divided into two groups: those which have already occurred and those which have yet to appear. Thereafter, the second part of the book is dedicated to elaborating on the eight major signs that will signal the end of the world.
The topic’s modern connotations, often a pull factor for conspiracy theorists and doomsday predictors, are further elucidated in the book by Dr Al-Areefi, a professor of Aqeedah and Contemporary Religions and Madhahabs at the King Sa’ood University. For instance, with regards to the proliferation of satellite channels, resulting in the mass influence of Western values in Muslim homes, he quotes a hadeeth where the Prophet s.a.w. said, “Hasten to perform good deeds before the emergence of turmoil like pieces of black night.”
The book is a treasure trove of hadeeths unique to this epoch of history we find ourselves in and not often mentioned in other literature. Reading the book from cover to cover, one will be able to pick out several hadeeths which mention many of the contemporary issues facing society today, from rising obesity to the election of false leaders to the spread of indecency.
The book also answers questions many would have with regards to several issues related to the Hour, such as the emergence of Dajjaal, the rise of the Mahdi and the descent of the Prophet Isa. It provides clear guidelines to the would-be reader to deal with these issues; reciting the first ten verses of Surah Al-Kahf to protect oneself from the turmoil of the Dajjaal for instance.
However, I found reading the book to be a rather tedious, perhaps because it tries too hard in covering all the signs related to the end of the world. This also results in a less-than-satisfactory description for some of the signs. For example, when discussing many women and few men as a sign of the Hour, the author simply mentions that a person “who looks at the global birth rate of males compared to females and studies statistics of the number of men in relation to the number of women will realise that this sign has appeared in our times” without providing the reader with facts and figures which would have emboldened his claim.
Nevertheless, given the amount of confusion surrounding the topic, “The End of the World – Signs of the Hour” should prove to be a worthy read. The Muslim reader who approaches the book with the right intention should gain a sense of tranquility from knowing how the common narrative of Islam will pan out, amidst the panic and mayhem prevalent in the world today.
Written by Shahnawaz Abdul Hamid
Email: [email protected]