Islam

Friday Sermon: Is It the End?

By Babatunde Jose

When Mother Nature gets angry there is usually astonishing damage and a tragic number of lives lost. No, Mother Nature is not angry. This is the march of nature. All talks of ‘green house effects’, depletion of ozone layer are all in line with the march of nature. They cannot be reversed. Civilization has its corollary and part of them is what we are seeing. 80% of world population still burn wood and coal. Except we want to put modern civilization on hold, there is little we can do to arrest or reverse these phenomena. As for the natural disasters, there are worst happening out there in the universe. We are therefore coming to terms with the reality of the Earth we occupy and its position in the scheme of nature.

According to Okey Ikechukwu writing in ThisDay on the ‘Signs in the Sky’, he said: “the sky ‘speaks’ only to those who understand its language. . . . .It is to them that it tells about the cosmic ‘weather’, about crop harvests and crop failures, about the future of the earth and its inhabitants, etc. Thus, not everyone has the ability to understand and interpret these things. Today science is talking about new and unfamiliar magnetic fields and heavenly bodies approaching us. Science has also recorded the gravitational pull of a distant, extremely powerful and still unknown cosmic body approaching us. We are speaking here of science knowing that there are such ‘heavenly bodies;’ even when it has not seen them. Science is discovering many new things it did not know before. Some of these new discoveries are frightening, because they expose our ignorance about a world and universe we claimed to have mastered and conquered long before now”.

It was Jesus Christ Himself who declared that before His return to Earth, “there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places” (Matthew 24:7).

The facts are that statistics prove natural disasters have risen startlingly since 1990. In a law-abiding universe, there has to be a reason for this.

“‘Earthquakes are the deadliest natural hazard of the past 10 years and remain a serious threat for millions of people worldwide as eight out of the ten most populous cities in the world are on earthquake fault lines,’ said Margareta Wahlström, UN special representative of the secretary general for disaster risk reduction. …

“According to the figures released by CRED [the Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters] in Geneva, 3,852 disasters killed more than 780,000 people over the past 10 years, affected more than 2 billion others and cost a minimum of US$960 billion. …

“After earthquakes, storms (22 percent) and extreme temperatures (11 percent) were the most deadly disasters between 2000 and 2009. … ‘The number of catastrophic events has more than doubled since the 1980-1989 decade,’ [said] Professor Guha-Sapir, director of  CRED” (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction).

The last decade continued the trend. Devastating earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Turkey, along with record-breaking winter storms in Europe and North America, that left many dead and homeless, and greatly damaged town and city infrastructures.

Last year, at least 88 people died when wildfires obliterated the mountain town of Paradise, California, in November. An estimated 13,000 buildings were damaged as the fire scorched 150,000 acres (607km²) of land. The fires were described as the deadliest in the history of California. The high death toll was partly due to the speed with which the flames spread, driven by strong winds and fuelled by drought-desiccated scrubs and trees.

The now perennial Australian wild fire has become another totem of natural disaster.

God has said in Bible prophecy that natural disasters would grow in frequency and intensity as the end of the age approaches—to shake people out of their complacency and lead them to seek Him (Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:25-26; Revelation 6:12; Revelation 11:13; Revelation 16:18).  In His design for the world, God allows many events to run their course according to “time and chance” (Ecclesiastes 9:11), so that many tragedies are, for those affected, accidenta l and unforeseeable. Those who die in accidents or natural disasters are not necessarily greater sinners than those who survive (Luke 13:1-5). Personal tragedies or calamities are not necessarily the result of one’s sins (John 9:2-3). To this extent therefore, the Australians have not sinned and the fire cannot be attributed to the wrath of God. They are all signs of the ‘End Time’

Several Islamic scholars who conducted research on the subject of the End Times and of the signs of the Last Day have used this criterion. An expert on the subject, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, said that the fact that the hadîths concerning the End Times correspond to events observed in our day shows the truth of the hadîths.

Some of the signs related in the hadîths were observable in some part of the world in any period during the 1400 year history of Islam, but that would not have proven that that period was the End Times. For a certain period to be called the End Times, all the signs of the Last Day must be observed to be occurrence in that same period.

Signs following one another like the pieces of a necklace falling one after the other when its string is cut.(Tirmidhi)

Every disaster causes loss of wealth and properties, forcing people to seek refuge outside of their dwellings. The aftermath of such disasters leave victims without basic necessities as poor hygienic conditions and illnesses become rampant.

The latest of such disasters, the Australian Fire, have turned security into fear, richness into poverty, torn families apart, and turned life into death. No doubt this is a great loss, yet in it is a lesson for those who take lessons and a reminder for those who choose to remember.

The Prophet, in his many sayings, informed us that a multitude of earthquakes and natural disasters would serve as a sign of the proximity of the Hour. He informed us that there would be many such calamities by the end of time.

Ahmad relates in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Hour will not happen until knowledge is taken out, time passes quickly, earthquakes increase in number, tribulations (fitan) appear, and Al Harj increases in number.” It was said, “What is Al Harj, O Prophet?” He said, “Al Qatl, Al Qatl (Killings)”. (Ahmad). Again, on this topic, the following words of the Prophet have come down to us: The Hour will come when violence, bloodshed, and anarchy become common.  (Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Muntakhab Kanzul Ummaal)

The world will not come to an end until a day would come to the people on which there will be general massacre and bloodshed. (Muslim)

There are a number of verses of the Qur’an relevant to this subject. In Surat ar-Rum, it is stated that confusion has come upon the earth because of what human beings have wrought: Corruption has appeared in both land and sea because of what people’s own hands have brought about so that they may taste something of what they have done so that hopefully they will turn back. (Quran 30:41)

We must add that this verse is to remind us of a very important truth. The pain and misery that arises from the mistakes human beings make are a kind of opportunity to assist them in turning away from these errors.

In short, we are now living in that age of confusion and disorder in which yet another sign of the End Times is manifested. This sign is a stern warning that people should begin immediately to live their lives according to the moral teachings of the Qur’an.

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

Lastline: Death of the Last Father.

Last Sunday we lost our last Father, They were three jolly fathers, consummate tennis lovers. They were Alhaji Raheem Adejumo, Alhaji Babatunde Jose and Alhaji AOG Otiti. The first two are already in Aljanna and last Sunday Alhaji AOG Otiti, OON FCIB, Past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Pioneer President Body of Past Presidents of the Institute, Former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, former President Institute of Directors and a great Islamic personality, joined his friends. He was a father to the end. May Allah count his good deeds and obliterate his shortcomings and admit him to Jannatul Firdaus. Inna Lillah wa ina Ilehi rajiun.

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