Throughout history, human beings have understood the majesty of the mountains and the vastness of the heavens, even through the use of their primitive methods of observation. Though, they mistakenly thought these things would exist forever. This belief formed the backbone of polytheist and materialist Greek philosophies, and of the religions of Sumeria and Egypt.
The Qur'an tells us that those who believe this are in grave error. One of the things that Allah reveals in the Qur'an is that the universe has been created and that it will come to an end. The universe will, as will human beings and all other living things, come to an end. This ordered world, which has functioned perfectly for billions of years, is the work of the Lord, Who created everything, though it will come to a grand end at His command, and at a time that He has determined.
The appointed time when the universe and every creature in it, from microorganisms to human beings, including stars and galaxies, will come to an end, is called the "Hour" in the Qur'an. This "Hour" refers to not just any hour; but is a word used specifically in the Qur'an to refer to that time when the world will come to an end.
Along with the announcement of the end of the world, the Qur'an contains detailed descriptions of the process of that event: "When the sky bursts open," "When the oceans surge into each other," "When the mountains are pulverized," "When the sun is compacted in blackness…" The horror and panic that people will experience at this dreadful calamity is related in detail in the Qur'an; the verses emphasize that there will be no escape and no place to hide. What we can conclude from this that the end of the world will be a catastrophe such as the world has never experienced before. Details of that even may also be found in other Harun Yahya's books of ours entitled, The Day of Resurrection, Death Resurrection Hell . This present text will treat the events that will happen as the Last Day approaches.
First, it must be stated that it is clear from a number of verses of the Qur'an, that the subject of the inevitable end of the world has excited interest in every period of history. In certain verses, it is related that people had asked the Prophet Muhammad (saas) about when the end of the world would come:
They will ask you about the Hour: when is it due? …( Surat al-A'raf: 187)
They ask you about the Hour: "When will it come?" (Surat an-Nazi'at: 42)
Allah commanded the Prophet (saas) to answer this question in the following way: "… Knowledge of it rests with my Lord alone..." (Surat al-A'raf: 187), meaning that only He knows the date of the Hour. From this verse we understand that knowledge about when the Hour will come is hidden from human beings.
There must be a divine reason why our Lord keeps the time of the Hour a secret. For example, it is good for all people, whatever century they live in, to be "… apprehensive about the Hour" (Surat al-Anbiya': 49), and to consider the greatness and unbounded power of Allah. Before that day of horrible anguish overtakes them all of a sudden, they should understand that, apart from Allah, there is no place of refuge. If the time of the Hour were known, people living before the present era would not have felt compelled to think seriously about the end of the world; they would have been unmindful of the final events described in the Qur'an.
But, it must be pointed out that there are many verses that tell of the Hour, and when we examine them we encounter a great truth. The Qur'an does not indicate the time of the Hour, but it describes those events that will happen prior to it. One verse related that there are several signs of the Hour:
What are they awaiting but for the Hour to come upon them suddenly? Its Signs have already come. What good will their Reminder be to them when it does arrive? (Surah Muhammad: 18)
From this verse we learn that the Qur'an describes signs that announce the coming of the Last Day. In order to understand the signs of this "great announcement" we must reflect upon these verses. Otherwise, as the verse indicates, our thinking will be of no use when the Last Day is suddenly upon us.
Some of that which was said by the Prophet (saas) which has reached to us deals with the signs of the Hour. In these hadiths of the Prophet (saas), there are both signs of the Hour and detailed information about the period just preceding it. This period, in which the signs of the Hour will occur, is called the "End Times." The matter of the End Times and of the signs of the Hour have attracted much interest throughout the history of Islam; it has been the subject of many works of Islamic scholars and researchers.
When we collect all this information together, we come to an important conclusion. The verses of the Qur'an and the hadiths of the Prophet (saas) indicate that the End Times is divided into two stages. The first period is one in which material and spiritual trials will afflict the world; the second period to come is called the Golden Age, a time when the moral teaching of the Qur'an will dominate, producing a deep sense of well-being in all humans. When this Golden Age comes to an end, and after the world will have entered a period of social decline, the coming of the Last Hour will be at hand.
The purpose of this present text is to examine the signs of the Hour through the verses of the Qur'an and hadiths of the Prophet (saas), and to show that these signs have begun to appear in our present time. The fact that the advent of these signs was revealed fourteen centuries ago should increase a believer's faith in Allah and his devotion to Him. The following pages have been written keeping in mind our Lord's promise: "Say: Praise be to Allah. He will show you His Signs and you will recognize them…" (Surat an-Naml: 93)
There is one particularly important point though that we would like to draw the reader's attention to: Allah knows the truth about everything. As with all things, what we know about the end of the world comes only from what He has revealed to us.