Friday Sermon: The Hour

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By Babatunde Jose

All life as we know it must end one day; just as everything that has a beginning must have an end. That end, for us human beings is the surest thing: A certainty that is indisputable and immutable. When that end will come and how it will come are matters hidden from us. Jesus said: No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Matthew 24:36

Every day of a man’s life, the end draws near: As we add a new day, week, month and year to our earthly life, the end becomes shorter. It is therefore, incumbent on all of us, especially our leaders to use the beginning of a new year to reflect on the inevitability of the end. Many will sleep and never wake; many will go on a journey and never return home; some will go on a boat ride and never get to shore, while others will take to the skies and never land; there are those who will say their Maghrib prayer but will not be among the congregation for the Isha prayer; while many will stay up to say their Tahajud but will not see the Fajr prayer. Everything is as it pleases Allah: He gives life unto whom he pleases and takes it from whom he pleases. Our lives and our death are at his pleasure.

That to thy Lord is the final Goal:  That it is He Who granteth Laughter and Tears;  That it is He Who granteth Death and Life;(Quran 53:42-44) 

Why then are we so preoccupied with the Duniya of this life and forget the end that will surely come. As we go about our daily life, it is important that we always have at the back of our mind what epitaph will be written on our tombstone. Will we be vilified, condemned and cursed or will history be kind to us. The choice is ours. Those who have perfected the art of robbing others of their common patrimony had better ponder and turn a new leaf. This life as we know it must surely end. And history will judge us all. The scale on which we will be judged might differ: For some, judgment will be on a household level, while for others it could be at the street or neighborhood level and for others it could be at the universal level. The New Year offers each one of us the opportunity for a new beginning and a fresh start.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) prophesied that: “People would follow a way of life other than mine, and give guidance other than mine”…“I fear for my people, only the leaders, who lead men astray”…“Before the Last Hour there will be great liars, so beware of them”…“When the most wicked member of a tribe becomes its ruler, and the most worthless member of a community becomes its leader, and a man is respected through fear of the evil he may do, and leadership is given to people who are unworthy of it, expect the Last Hour”.

For those who have made our lives a living hell, we pray that they turn a new leaf and realize that this country belongs to us all. And that they will one day have to account for their stewardship to the God who created both the leader and the led, the rich and the poor, the ‘oga’,  the servant, the master and the slave; the Senator and the janitor.

“On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions.” (Quran 24:24).

In the Quran, the hour is mentioned in Chapters, 6:31,40; 12:107; 15:85; 19:75; 22:55; 33:63; 54:1,46 while in the Bible we see it in: Matthew 25:13; 26:45; Mark 14:35,41 Luke 22:14, John 4:21,23,52; 5:25,28; 12:23; 16:32; 17:1 Acts 3:1 and Revelation 3:10; 14:7

Death has been written into our DNA and it must come to pass. No escaping the Hour. When it is time, there is no postponement and no avoidance.

To every People is a term appointed: When their term is reached, not an hour can they cause delay, nor (an hour) can they advance (it in anticipation).  (Quran 7: 34),

The end time is a future time-period described variously in the eschatology’s of several world religions, which believe that world events will achieve a final climax. This is an important fact in that the idea of the Hour transcends all known religions and faith. It is a fact of human spiritual life. We are bound by the moral precepts of good and bad. What is good in Lagos is good in China. There is no other name for what is bad, but ‘bad’.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption. In Judaism, the term “end of days” makes reference to the Messianic Age and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish Diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous, and the world to come. Some sects of Christianity depict the end time as a period of tribulation that precedes the second coming of Christ, who will face the Antichrist along with his power structure and usher in the Kingdom of God. However, other Christians believe that the end time represents the personal tribulation experienced before they become enlightened with the Word of God: Here, we are under our very own Anti Christ’s or Dajjal. We are experiencing our own ‘Tribulations’ and waiting for the advent of the Mahdi and the ‘Second Coming’.  In Islam, the Day of Judgment is preceded by the appearance of the Mahdi. With the help of Isa (Jesus), the Mahdi will triumph over Masih ad-Dajjal (the false messiah).

Non-Abrahamic faiths tend to have more cyclical world-views; with end-time eschatology’s characterized by decay, redemption, and rebirth. Since the development of the concept of deep time in the 18th century and the calculation of the estimated age of the Earth, scientific discourse about end times has centered on the ultimate fate of the universe. Theories have included the Big Rip, Big Crunch, Big Bounce, and Big Freeze (heat death). But the bottom line is that the end will come. For sure the end will come. Those who have ears should listen now!

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

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