DR JAVED JAMIL
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE way the capture of Dabiq on 16th October by the Turkey-supported rebels has been reported by the international media makes it abundantly clear that the major players in the ongoing war for dominance in the region — Christians, Jews, Sunnis and Shias, are planning their moves keeping in mind the prophesies of the end times in Biblical and Islamic literature. The latest news that the Iraqi army has announced the beginning of the onslaught against ISIS in Mosul, the city where ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdai had declared his caliphate from, will further fuel the speculations. The way Turkey and Iraq, supported by Iran backed Shias, fought over who should enter the Mosul also indicates the apocalyptic importance of the battle.
The whole international media including BBC reported in detail about the importance of the capture of Dabiq from ISIS, which had been using this battle to arouse support for its “Jihad”. This further strengthens the already-strong belief that ISIS was created in consultation with West and both had planned to use Islamic signs of end times in their strategies. The fact that Western and Israeli think tank has been fully cognizant of the end time prophesies in Islam as well as Biblical literature also becomes clear from a large number of websites discussing Islamic prophesies in great details. The interest seems to have redoubled following the last speech as President in 2013 by Iran’s former President, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in the United Nations where he openly talked about the imminent arrival of Imam Mahdi on the scene to fill the world with justice.
While most of the prophesies in Sunni and Shia literature regarding the end times are similar, the basic difference between the two is on the method of the arrival of Imam Mahdi. While almost all the scholars of both sects with very few exceptions believe in the coming of Imam Mahdi, there is difference of opinion on who he is to be. Sunnis believe that he will be from the offspring of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) either through Imam Hasan or Imam Husain and will be born some time to be known publicly at the age of 40, Shias believe that he is already present in the world for around 1000 years (Imam Ghayab or Occult Imam) and is about to reappear. They believe that the 6 year old son of their 11th imam Hasan Askari who disappeared in the Cave of Samarrah is the Occult Imam whom God is keeping alive with a special mission. He along with Hadhrat Isa (Jesus) who is alive in some part of the universe for around 2000 years and will come back to the Earth after the advent of Mahdi will unite Muslims and establish the Islamic rule of justice throughout the world. Interestingly, the main Arab world including Saudi Arab, Qatar and UAE seems to be much less interested in these prophesies.
The Old and New Testament use the Armageddon to describe the final battle signalling the coming of the end times. Wikipedia says: “According to the Book of Revelation, Armageddon (/ˌɑːrməˈɡɛdən/, from Ancient Greek:Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn, Late Latin: Armagedōn) will be the prophesied location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or a symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any world scenario.”
Armageddon is described as an area between Egypt and Syria including Iraq.
According to Sunni beliefs, there are minor and major signs of Qiyamah. The minor signs refer to the general anarchy and chaos, dominance of evil including promiscuity and homosexuality, reluctance of women to have children and breastfeeding them and the dominance of un-Islamic forces, mainly Christians, in the world. A website sums up all these signs. But the interesting parts of these signs in the context of the on-going battle of supremacy in the Middle East are the following:
“IRAQ and SYRIA
Abu Nadhrah says: “We were sitting in the company of Jabir bin Abdullah (R.A.) when he said: ‘Soon the people of IRAQ will neither receive any food (grain) nor any money.’” We asked, “Why would such a thing happen?” He replied, “Because of the non-Arabs.” (i.e they will prevent food from going into Iraq, in the form of “sanctions” to this day.) He then said: “Soon the people of Shaam (SYRIA) will neither receive any money nor grain.” We asked as to why this would happen. He replied: “Because of the Romans (christians).”
Signs Before the Major Signs (i.e. before the emergence of Imaam Mahdi)
Christain Rule Will be dominant
A man from Abu Sufyaan’s progeny massacres descendents of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and rules over Syria and Egypt.
A major war between Muslims and Christians: Half the Christian army will sign a peace treaty with the Muslim army, while the second half of the Christian army remains the common enemy.
ISTANBUL CONQUERED BY CHRISTIANS
The enemy half of the Christian army conquers Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey.
ISTANBUL RECONQUERED JOINTLY BY MUSLIM AND CHRISTIANS
The Muslims and the good half of the Christian army conquer Constantinople together, against the enemy Christians. Thereafter, a Christian will say the victory was due to the cross, and the Muslim will say it was due to Islam. A battle between both sides will ensue, and the Muslim Ruler will be martyred.
SYRIA CONQUERED BY CHRISTIANS
The two Christian armies reunite, conquering Syria.
Christians dominate the world up to Khaiber (near Madinah), and they will pursue Muslims with 80 flags, with 12,000 men under each flag.
MUSLIMS AWAIT Imaam Mahdi
A total eclipse of the sun and moon will occur in Ramadhan, prior to Imaam Mahdi’s emergence.
The Major Signs:
IMAAM MAHDI EMERGES
At age 40, Imaam Mahdi appears in Makkah, then flees to Madinah.”
It should however be added here that all these signs have been compiled on the basis of narratives, which had numerous differences of opinion. I personally have no definitive or preferred opinion about the implications of these prophesies in the present context. While it is not difficult to understand that we are going through the End times but to link those signs with the current situation may be interesting but not definitive. I have narrated them only because of the interest they have been generating in many parts of the Islamic as well as Western world.