Skip to comments.Sound Familiar? Understanding Islamic End-Times Beliefs
Posted on 02/28/2003 10:11:09 AM PST by John H K
Many Evangelical Christians in America are watching events unfold in the Middle East with great interest, seeing in the preparations for war the possible unfolding of the End-Times scenario predicted in the Bible. A small segment of ultraorthodox Judaism shares an apocalyptic vision, centering around rebuilding the Temple on Mount Zion (where the Islamic Dome of the Rock Shrine and al-Aqsa mosque, now sit). What many Americans don't realize, though, is that Islam also has an eschatological endgame, and that like any Left Behind-reading American, many Muslims see current events as a run-up to their own version of Armageddon.
Islam derives its Last-Days scenario from the Koran, which appeared centuries after the Christian Bible a fact that for non-Muslims could account for elements of Christian and Jewish prophecy appearing in the Koranic text. Particularly since the mid-1980s, modern interpreters within Islam cast the Arab-Israeli conflict, and more broadly, the conflict between Islam and the West, as part of the cosmic conflict that will mean the end of history and the ultimate triumph of Islam. David Cook, a Rice University scholar of Muslim apocalypticism, sketches below the main themes of Islamic End-Times prophecy, and its ramifications:
Rod Dreher: What are the main beliefs of Islamic eschatology?
David Cook: Referring to Sunni Islam, the principal beliefs are:
1)There are a series of signs or portents previous to the end: moral and social decay, natural and cosmic disasters, and political events that will demonstrate in an incontrovertible manner that the end is about to happen.
2) A tempter, or Antichrist, called the Dajjal will appear and lead the world (with the exception of true Muslims) astray. Almost everyone will be subject to his tribulations, but just before he succeeds in annihilating the Muslims, Jesus will come down from the heavens and kill him.
3) There will be a messianic age, led by either Jesus or another messianic figure called the Mahdi. This latter figure will conquer the entire world and convert everyone to Islam.
4) After the time of the Mahdi, then Gog and Magog [cf. Ezekiel 38, 39; the Islamic version goes by the name Yajuj and Majuj] will invade the world and destroy it. 5) God will bring the world to an end.
Dreher: What sort of Muslim tends to make Islamic End-Times prophecy central to his piety?
Cook: Usually one without much hope in the likelihood that there will be positive changes that will benefit Islam in the immediate future. Such people can oftentimes be attracted by an apocalyptic, destroy-it-all framework or long for the messianic age.
Dreher: How popular is apocalypticism at the present moment among Middle Eastern Muslims?
Cook: In certain areas, quite popular. Radical Muslims (followers of or sympathizers with al Qaeda) have responded to their setbacks during the recent past by publishing large numbers of apocalypses, and mahdi scenarios. Among Palestinians, apocalyptic speculations are also quite prominent. I think that apocalypse as a genre has become less popular in Egypt than it was 3-4 years ago, however, and Algerian radicals no longer use apocalyptic motifs either.
Dreher: If one is reading current events through the lens of contemporary Islamic prophecy, what will one see?
Cook: Many of the apocalyptic wars before the appearance of the Dajjal speak of Christian powers invading Muslim lands. This is the interpretation of the [seemingly imminent] Iraq war. The Dajjal is said to be a Jew, and will blaspheme the area of Jerusalem. Ariel Sharon is usually made to fit that bill. Among radical Muslims, the Mahdi is oftentimes said to be either Mullah Omar or in some cases Osama bin Laden. One of the traditions says: "The Prophet of Allah promised us a raid on India" which is widely cited by Pakistani radicals.
Dreher: Given the central role the Temple Mount plays in the End-Times beliefs of certain fervent Jews, Christians, and Muslims, what kind of trouble might we see there in the event of Middle Eastern war?
Cook: Right now the Temple Mount is effectively closed. It will probably always be the center of scary predictions and fears for Muslims as long as Israel has any power or influence in the region, but I don't foresee any necessary reason why the Temple Mount should be a focus. Most of the material published now speaks of wars and apocalypses on a grand scale; the materials on the Temple Mount were all because of the fear that Israel would rebuild the Temple in the year 2000 (perhaps contributing to the explosion of the second Intifada during Sept. 2000).
Dreher: In the secular West, we tend to discount the role religious visions play in driving or at least shaping world affairs. If you were advising the president on what he could do to avoid provoking unnecessarily Muslims who believe strongly in Islamic prophecy, what would you tell him?
Cook: I would tell him to convert to Islam if I were trying to get him to avoid provoking Muslims who believe strongly in Islamic prophecy. There is probably no other way to avoid provoking them. For them, Bush is easily cast into the role of Pharaoh, the Dajjal (for those who aren't satisfied with Sharon as the one). He is usually referred to as the Hubal (the name of a pre-Islamic idol) of this age, which signifies that there is no chance to mollify this type of people.
Dreher: It doesn't matter whether or not a particular prophetic vision is true; what matters is how it affects the actions of those who do believe it's true. With that in mind, what kind of problems could Islamic apocalypticism pose for the United States as it attempts to foment governmental and society change on Middle Eastern populations through force?
Cook: The basic problem is that our actions could, in the perception of large numbers of the population, coincide with apocalyptic interpretations. If this is the case then it will serve to radicalize people, and raise the stakes that much higher for the apocalyptic groups. If they view the situation (or perhaps I should say if enough of them, or enough of those placed in the right place) as an apocalyptic one, then they will respond accordingly.
Dreher: I guess what I'm getting at with this last question is this: How cooperative will Islamic populations be with the forces of a man, George W. Bush, whom they may see as their version of the Antichrist?
Cook: It depends upon the issue of perceived victory, I think. No one challenges the victory of the U.S. in Afghanistan because it was complete (more or less) and legitimate (or perhaps legitimized by the new Afghan government). If that is perceived to be the case in Iraq, then the result could be exactly the opposite. What should not happen is for something to drag out; in hindsight that was the problem with both the Oslo negotiations and the blockade of Iraq. They were lengthy and people forgot the original reasons why they were the way they were, and then allowed themselves to be swayed by radical and apocalyptic interpretations of events.
A major journalist has finally interviewed David Cook, the academic expert on Islamicist millennialism!
There will be a messianic age, led by either Jesus or another messianic figure called the Mahdi. This latter figure will conquer the entire world and convert everyone to Islam.
That is what they believe is happening right now, folks! We are in the early stages of the war through which every infidel is killed, and every pious Westerner / Asian / African, etc. converts to fundamental Islam.
This is also a good introduction to Islamic messianism. One thing Cook does not say here, but does say elsewhere is that modern imams teach that the Dajjal does not have to be one individual (as classical Islamic teaching holds, which Cook repeats here) but that Dajjal may refer to a nation (or alliance of nations), or to an entire culture. Guess who.
Another cheery factoid he leaves out is that the popular timetable for Islamicist apocalyptics is that the Day of Judgment will happen in the Muslim year 1500 AH. Thats 2076 our time, folks. Which means that as bad as things are now we are on the outer edge of the maelstrom. Fanatic Islamicist millenarianism will get worse as we get closer and closer to that date.
Actually, the more literate the person is, the easier it would be to convince him -- so long as it's literacy in the Qur'an and Hadith. And the black flag is the least of the prophecies. There are hundreds of "Signs of Qiyamah," and it isn't hard for the mullahs to make the case, Hal-Lindsey-like, that they are coming to pass. And these prophecies guarantee them victory over an Infidel Superpower, so don't expect a few stealth bombers and daisy cutters to make them change their minds.
Eclipses during Ramadan
by David L. McNaughton
In "Hamdard Islamicus" (Karachi, Pakistan), vol. XIX no. 1 (Spring 1996): pp. 81-86.
Double Eclipses during Ramadan
Sometimes a Ramadan will contain a solar and a lunar eclipse. That inevitably provokes comment, because of traditions that such a "double-eclipse" is a portent for some unusual event. Ithna'asheri Shi'ites, for example, believe that their Twelfth Imam will reappear after a Ramadan double-eclipse (although those two phenomena will supposedly take place in reverse order, with the solar one occurring in mid-month (5); that will require the moon to suddenly double its speed of movement after the onset of the Holy Month!)
In March/April 1894 (Ramadan 1311), Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (founder of the Ahmadiyya or Qadiani movement in Pakistan) interpreted a double-eclipse as a sign that he was a genuine modern-day prophet (6). The lunar eclipse during that particular month was only partial, although the solar one two weeks later was total in a few places in eastern Asia (7). However, there was nothing at all extraordinary about those two eclipses: every 22 or 23 Islamic years there is at least one Ramadan featuring a pair of eclipses two weeks apart (8) - one of which is usually partial; see Table 1.
Very much rarer is a Ramadan containing two total eclipses.
Table 2 lists all such occasions since AH 1, as well as during the next 200 years (9); (its solar eclipses are all central, with annular ones also included).
It will be interesting to see whether the two total eclipses scheduled to occur during Ramadan 1424 (AD November 2003) - are cited to support a claim similar to that made by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, or as proof of thesignificance of some extraordinary event.
< -snip- >
Ramadans with two central eclipses
LUNAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLAR
AH . . AD . . . . . . . . . . Date . . . Where visible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Date . . .Where visible
.283 . .896 . . . . . . . ..29 Oct . . .Pacific & adjacent . . . . . . . . . . 12 Nov . Canada; Alaska;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(25 Oct) . . landmasses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(8 Nov) . NE Pacific
.305 . .918 . . . . . . . . .5 Mar . . Eurasia; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Mar . .Antarctic; south
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (28 Feb) .NE Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15 Mar) . .Indian Ocean
.462 . 1070 . . . . . . . . .2 Jul . . .Pacific & adjacent . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Jul . . .Arctic; Siberia
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(26 Jun) . .landmasses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(10 Jul)
.529 . 1135 . . . . . . . . . 4 Jul . . .America; Pacific; . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Jul . . .Antarctic; far
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (27 Jun) . New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(12 Jul) . . .south Pacific
.596 . 1200 . . . . . . . . . 5 Jul . . . Pacific & adjacent . . . . . . . . . . *19 Jul . Siberia; Arctic;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (28 Jun) . .landmasses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (12 Jul) . . NW Atlantic
1200 . 1786 . . . . . . . . .11 Jul . . . Pacific & adjacent . . . . . . . . . . 25 Jul . . South Africa &
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . landmasses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . adjacent oceans
1424 .2003. . . . . . . . .9 Nov. . .Europe; SW Asia; . . . . . . . . . .23 Nov . Antarctic; south
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Africa; America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Indian Ocean
1580 . 2155 . . . . . . . . .9 Mar . . Europe; Africa; . . . . . . . . . . . . .*2 Apr . .China; Russia;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kashmir; Mongolia;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .Afghanistan
Notes for Table 2
Central lunar eclipses are always total.
*The central solar eclipses listed above are total unless asterisked - in which case they are annular.
Dates apply to the instant of maximum eclipse.
Extrapolated Gregorian dates are given even on occasions when the old Julian calendar was in operation;
the corresponding Julian date is then shown below in brackets.
A Google search on ramadan mahdi eclipse yielded 133 results.
A Google search on ramadan mehdi eclipse (alternate "mahdi" spelling) yielded 58 results.
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The Lord is my
peace Paxil. I shall not live in anxiety...
You're just one big ole friggin' ray of sunshine aren't you?
Rod Dreher: What are the main beliefs of Islamic eschatology?
He started it. LOL
Null and void: "You're just one big ole friggin' ray of sunshine aren't you?"
Yup, that's me!
Let me clarify my own POV: I personally don't believe that End-Time prophecies are being fulfilled, whether from the Hadith or from Bible (I follow St. Augustine on the issue).
But I am concerned that because some Muslims believe there is "no future," they are willing to "volunteer" for "the Mahdi's army" and fly planes into the World Trade Center or strap on a dynamite belt and walk into a restaurant. And I'll guess what they'll do with biological, chemical, or radioactive weapons.
So far, public policy assumptions are that this is over political or economic goals (land for Palestinians, remove US airstrips from Saudi land, end the UN sanctions on Iraq, medicine for babies) or even mere societal goals (make women wear burqas, no musical instruments).
The contest may even be about those things for some. But for the most dangerous segment it is about these Islamic prophecies predicting the end of the world.
For them, the invention of the airplanes is a Sign of Qiyamah, the building of skyscrapers is a Sign of Qiyamah, the development of cardiology is a Sign of Qiyamah, the creation of e-mail is a Sign of Qiyamah. This is all in the Hadith, they say.
Right now, Americans have no clue about all this. But if our foreign policy in our democratic republic is to be guided by the opinions of the voting public, we are going to have to get up to speed fast.
The words "Mahdi," "Dajjal," and "Qiyamah" have to become part of our vocabulary.
For example, I would suggest that as our State Department goes around trying to buy influence amongst Islamic leaders, that before we hand one a check, we ask him some version of "Do you now, or have you ever, believed that the United States is the Dajjal?"
And even the "bad" Moslems I know refuse to discuss or debate. They simply quote verses from the Quran, while telling me we have nothing to fear because American Christians and Jews are "People of the Book".
and our place is to provide the leather for the covers...
Jesus was conceived on December 25 because the bible lays out that Mary went to Elizabeth on the day of the Immaculate Conception and Elizabeth was 6 months with John and John was conceived on June 25.
Jesus was born on Sept. 29. September is the birth month of kings. I'm not exactly sure how it goes but it has to do with the Course of Abaya(sp?) (I have no idea how to spell it, I've only heard it orally). In the priesthood, there were time periods called "courses", and Jesus was born during this certain course and at a certain time of the course, which would have been on Sept. 29.
I'm mentioning these because I'm sure there is someone here who knows what I'm talking about. If not, I guess I could spend the day researching this to back it up. :^)
Nice thing about FR is that there's always someone who has the data at their fingertips, while us mere mortals often don't even know the questions to ask...
Yes. They can pick someone who thinks there's no tomorrow, and give him a vial of ebola or a dirty nuke.
Darn! I though he was a Pisces...
I laid out a couple of clues that someone could follow if they're really interested in proving to themselves that December 25 is the exact date of conception and September 29 is the exact date of birth.
Or God Himself has selected you to be His agent in destroying eeeeeevil on earth...
Me? I'm just lazy...
Or if you're an atheist, you can rationalize the murder of 60 million as in the Soviet Union by Stalin. Why not, we're all just temporary biological systems. Once a person is dead, it doesn't matter that he ever lived according to atheist philosophy.
The fish god that was all over the place back then? The Dogon referred to it as the Nommo. The Ninevehns worshipped the same "being". He got around.
I am today.
Personally, when I hear "Black Flag" I think of that brand of bug spray (which if you lived in south Florida you would know what I'm talking about), and I would like to use some bug spray on these al-Qaedic bugs.
An interesting factoid is that people who wear black turbans are entitled to do so because they are "descendants of the Prophet Mohammed". Now, considering that
the false-prophet Mohammed had 11 wives at any given time (and I have seen a list of 23 women he was married to in toto) inluding the little 6-year-old girl Alyesha;
AND that he owned 28 slaves, 17 of whom were women;
AND that he also probably had a number of concubines;
AND that he was not above raping other women and was well-known for his energy;
..... I am surprised that we don't see all 1,000,000,000 Muslims wearing black turbans.
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