Signs of the last day

Peace be with you all, Assalamu alaikum,

The news continues to be bad. Not just bad in one sphere, but in many ways and at the same time it seems. The conflicts and political disturbances seem to be growing and the number/scale of natural disaster increasing. I don’t want to seem to be ‘scandal mongering’ or trying to make this post sensational in anyway, but I do wonder what you feel about how all this works in terms of the signs of the last day?

I grew up in a country in conflict (but relatively sheltered from the worst of it masha’Allah) and am not a stranger to hardship, both physical and emotional. Now masha’Allah living in this protected western country sometimes I wonder if I am becoming immune to the suffering of others. Whether the ‘unfamiliarity’ of the suffering keeps me away from a real empathy. Sometimes I wonder if I am really living here. For in the east, it seemed life was more real and consequently death was more real. Suffering and joy was real and empathy was real. And knowing how fragile life really is, our awareness of our place in the universe more real… and somehow, in some strange way, instead of depression by all this, what was the outcome was peace in the heart. Like we didn’t have to wonder, only to live. Only to live. I miss those days and hope I am not too accustomed to the ‘luxury’ of life in the west (e.g., hot water showers, affordable food and a variety of it). On another note, perhaps the east is now full of these luxuries too :), and like here, the people are being rocked in to a false somnambulant state.

I feel that the need to distribute the wealth of the world evenly is becoming urgent and extreme. Having experienced first hand the incredible rift between ‘haves’ (typified by the West) and the ‘have-nots’ (typified by the East) and now with this knowledge so widely spread (that is more people becoming aware of this, or one hopes that is what is happening) that more is not done is a sign of the depravity of the times? Allah protect us. I do however also feel that the good are getting ‘gooder’ and the bad, left to their devices often becoming ‘worse’. The former is a source of strength, hope and joy and should not be underestimated in any way.

It really does seem that things don’t make sense anymore and can’t be made sense of in any comprehensive manner. And that, more than anything else, is why I wonder if the signs of the last day are coming one after the other with increasing frequency. I would love to know anyone’s thoughts on this.

For your reference here is a site that has the signs of the last days with references at least for many of them. Not all the ahadith quoted are sahih, and they don’t confirm if they are hasan. But most seem to be from the ‘sihah sittha’ (the six most rigourous/well regarded books of hadith).

To end, a few lines below, hoping it makes some sense :), but only really wanting to say that prayer is refuge at these times.

Peace through the night in prayer,
My heart feels yet I am unable to utter,
Struck dumb by terror
A glimpse of the immensity of Thy power
Of what could be of us all.
Yet the prayer, unjolted
continues, somehow in my heart, it continues
and soon swells to words on the lips
O Lord, only because of the hope
that knowing You are ar-Rahman brings.
Peace through the night in prayer.

Allah (God) protect and forgive and teach us all.

Copyright 2011. JoyManifest’s blog. F R Zahir

On Leaders

How quickly the world is changing. It seems there is hardly time to take in one reality and then another unfolds, or breaks down, whichever way you want to look at it. First, the fall of one dictator in Tunisia in four short days. Hardly reported by the International media until it was over. Perhaps the pace of it all was too much to catch the attention of the air-wave controllers. Then the long protracted battle in Egypt. Seemingly long when it was going on as we all watched the news endlessly and felt the length of the days in empathy with those camped out in Tahrir square. Only then when the ‘Pharoah’ fell, to realize it was only 18 days. 18 days to end 30 years. Subhahana wa ta’ala. Perhaps Mubarak too celebrated the advent of 2011 without an inkling as to where he would be scarcely two months in to the new year. And now the situation in Libya.

Libya is shocking. One felt one could identify with the people on the streets of Egypt. Not only because I too come from a country with complex power politics and a long (too long) history of corruption, but because I think the world could identify with the ordinary people on Cairo’s streets. But then again we also had a better idea of what was going on in Egypt. And so it was an immense victory and a lesson, a deep lesson to a watching world. But Libya, Libya is so painful it almost numbs the mind. This type of killing of the innocent, that it takes place is numbing, that no one does anything to stop it (myself included)…is this forgivable? God forgive us all. If all we can do is pray, let us raise our hands and pray.

Pray for tyranny to end. For old men to be able to see past their own crusty and old perspective, that has rotted in to a putrid mess long past the time it was cast out. For the bloodshed to stop. For people to stop giving themselves the right to kill other people. What a great sin, are they not afraid? Allah protect us all. I do not know much of the politics of Libya, so I am afraid to comment further. But I do know that what is happening there is a great wake-up call. Not just that it seems these type things can take place. But as to the state of the people of the world.

When the revolution was ongoing, a dear Egyptian friend posted this on facebook, ‘if we are good, we will get good leaders’. A sweet sentiment that holds a very very deep truth. As Allah says to us in His immense communication, in His Holy book
“Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)

So this then what my friend was saying. And how beautifully the people of Egypt upheld that.

Today in the news, we hear of many Libyan top brass, ambassadors, emissaries, army colonels, ministers… all resigning. God bless these people of conscience. It takes great courage to stand up to tyranny anywhere, but more so in a country as autocratic as that, knowing there is not much hope of a way of escape from retribution should it come (God forbid!). May we all be of those people of conscience and join our voice to the voice of reason.

Many great people have said, that the only reason evil triumphs is because good is silent. 2011 seems a year, when Allah azza wa’jal is sending us wake-up call after wake-up call, in the natural world and the working of the human sphere. Sending us opportunity after opportunity to stop being silent and to join our voices to those who need us. One way of doing that is to join your voice to AVAAZ, the global online community. But more so than the outer manifestation of doing our part. I think what we really need to do is to examine our inner beings at this time. After all Allah won’t ask us about why we didn’t solve the global financial crisis or some such, we will only be asked as to our own self. Therefore all that is going on seems to be a great and urgent reminder that we (especially us Muslims, in whose lands all the present tumult seems to concentrate) revisit all we believe in and really make sure we are living in tune with our beliefs. This then a reminder first to myself, for I need to ‘clean up a lot in my cupboard’. Allah help me and help me keep my intention pure.

On another note, but related (to me at least), is a great lesson in how ignorant I am. Today I’ve learned how deeply the tribal system is still rooted in some parts of the world. And I wonder at it. Today I understand once more what a marvel it was that one man, could unite all these tribes under one banner in such a short time. Allah bless and elevate our beloved Muhammed.

May Allah help and guide us all.