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Indications of the Hour

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Indications of the Hour or Ashrāṭ al-Sā'a (Arabic: أشْراط الساعَة) is a term in the Qur'an and hadiths referring to a host of events that take place before the Qiyama. In some sources of hadiths, Indications of the Qiyama are mixed with the Indications of Reappearance and Indications of the End Time.

Origin

The word, "ashrat", is a plural form of "shart" which means a sign or an indication. "Ashrat al-Sa'a" refers to events that are signs of the occurrence of the imminence of the Resurrection.

In the Qur'an

The term, "Ashrat al-Sa'a", was used once in the Qur'an in the verse 18 of Sura Muhammad: "Do they await anything except that the Hour should overtake them suddenly? Its portents have already come. When it overtakes them of what avail will the admonitions they were given?"

Some exegetes take the phrase, "ja'a ashratuha" (there have come its indications), to refer to the appearance of the Prophet (s), saying that the Split of the Moon (Shaqq al-Qamar) and the revelation of the Qur'an were among the indications that happened in that period.

In its characterizations of the Resurrection, the Qur'an points to relevant events and the signs of its occurrence as well, which usually accompany with the collapse of the order of this world. Characterizations of the Resurrection and the indications of its occurrence appear in Makki Suras, such as Sura al-Naba', Sura al-Nazi'at, Sura al-Takwir, Sura al-Infitar, Sura al-Inshiqaq, Sura al-Fajr, Sura al-Qari'a, and some Madani Suras such as Sura Zilzal. Examples of "Ashrat al-Sa'a" (Indications of the Hour) as appearing in these Suras include the following:

  • The split of the sky
  • The scattering and collapse of stars
  • The sun and the stars dying out
  • The Earth shattering and expanding, throwing out whatever it has inside
  • The Earth quaking in the strong way
  • The Earth recounting what God has revealed to it
  • The seas coming together and graves splitting
  • Mountains moving and becoming like wool, fluffed up.
  • People disappearing like moths.

Why are the Indications of the Hour Reported in the Qur'an?

According to some people, such indications are mentioned in the Qur'an in order to awaken the ignorant and encourage them to repent to God. Some scholars have appealed to a verse of the Qur'an to show that Indications of the Resurrection are recounted in response to frequent questions asked by Muslims in this regard.

In Hadiths

Some other Signs of the Resurrection are characterized in Shiite sources of hadiths, such as the sun rising from the west, lunar eclipses in the east, west, and the Arabian Peninsula, the uprising of Gog and Magog, the uprising of Dajjal, the uprising of the Beast of the Earth (Dabbat al-Ard), and a fire coming from Eden, leading people to the Resurrection. One of these signs is said to be the decent of Jesus (a) which is also cited in Sunni sources of hadiths.

In some sources of hadiths, the Signs of Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) are mixed with the Signs of the Resurrection. There is a hadith cited in Tafsir al-Qummi about "Ashrat al-Sa'a" according to which big corruptions in the world, such as the ignorance of prayer, following lustful desires, and the growth of bribery, usury, homosexuality, adultery, divorce, and the like, are mentioned as Signs of the Resurrection. However, the same events have also been introduced in other hadiths as Signs of the End Time or signs of the imminence of the Resurrection.

Also, the bi'that (rise) of the Prophet (s), the uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a), and the Blowing of the Trumpet have also been introduced as Signs of the Resurrection. Some people hold that the rise of the Prophet (s) is the first sign thereof.

In Other Religions

Indications of the Resurrection have been introduced in other religions as well. For example, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus was asked about the day and the hour of the end of the world, and he replied that he and angels are not aware of this, and it is only God who knows the exact day in which the world ends. In the two gospels, events and indications have been introduced as happening before the end of the world, including:

  • The sun going dark
  • The stars falling from the sky
  • The spheres losing their bond
  • Wars among nations
  • The roar of the seas
  • Starvations and chaos
  • Brothers killing each other and fathers killing their children
  • Children rioting against their parents
  • Rise of Dajjal

References