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Science and Technology

The Prophet Muhammad (saas), as we all know, lived fourteen centuries ago. Historical records show that, when the Qur'an was revealed, Arab society did not have the technology to enable it to conduct investigations of the world or the universe. Therefore, there is a significant difference between the level of science and technology at the time, when the Prophet (saas) lived, and our own. Actually, the difference has persisted into the beginnings of the twentieth and the twentyfirst centuries. A clear proof of this is that a few technological innovations whose names were unpronounceable just a few decades ago have become indispensable elements of our lives today.

Despite these enormous differences, in the seventh century, the Prophet (saas) revealed a number of truths about the future. In the following pages, we will examine the hadiths describing the degree of scientific and technological knowledge of the End Times. We will see that what the Prophet (saas) predicted fourteen centuries ago is coming true in our time.


Medical Technology:

For ages, living a long life has been one of humanity's chief goals, one which it has spent much effort to achieve. In this regard, Muhammad (saas) revealed to us a development in the End Times:

At that time ... life spans will grow longer.(Ibn Hajar Haythami, Al Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar

Fourteen centuries have passed since the Prophet (saas) said these words. Records kept over the past few years have clearly shown that the average life expectancy in our time is greater than that in every preceding age. Even, there was already a great difference between the beginning and the end of the twentieth century. For example, a person born in 1995 can expect to live more than 35 years longer than a person born in 1900.22 Another striking example of this is that, in the past, people rarely lived to a 100 years; today many people survive to that age.

According to the United Nations Department of National Population, over the past few years, the world's population has continued on its remarkable transition from a high rate of birth and death to one of low birth and death rates. The substance of this transition has been the growth in the number and proportion of older persons. Such a rapid, large and pervasive increase has never been seen in the history of civilization.23

This increase in life expectancy must have a cause. The development of health services due to the advance of medical technology have made such a situation possible. In addition, developments in genetics and the rapidly advancing Human Genome Project are about to incept a totally new era in the field of health. These advances are of a proportion that people living in earlier times could never even have imagined. Based on all these developments, we can say that people living in our time have reached the long and healthy life described in the above hadith.

1400 years ago the Prophet (saas) predicted the scientific developments mentioned in these headlines.



A significant difference that distinguishes the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries from previous ages is the advance in literacy. In earlier times, the ability to read and write belonged to a particular group of people who were privileged in status, whereas, towards the end of the twentieth century, UNESCO and other government and private organizations, have organized campaigns throughout the world to counter this trend. This mobilization of educational resources, with its attendant technological innovations and humanitarian services, has born fruit in our time. According to a report by UNESCO, the average literacy rate in 1997 was 77.4%.24 This figure is certainly the highest it has been in 14 centuries. At the same time, the Prophet (saas) described society of the End Times in his hadiths:

Literacy will increase-as Judgment draws nigh.(Ahmad Diya'al-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith)

By means of projects made possible by new technology, the literacy rate today has reached the range of 80%.

Construction Technology:

A sign of the advanced technology of the age in which we live and which The Prophet (saas) has mentioned is the construction of tall buildings.

The time in which we live, with its tall buildings, and competition in the advancement of building technology, was described in the hadiths 14 centuries ago.

There will be no Judgment-until very tall buildings are constructed.(Reported by Abu Hurairah

The Hour will not be established-till the people compete with one another in constructing high buildings.(Bukhari)

If we look at the history of architecture and engineering, we see that multi-storied buildings began to be constructed only towards the end of the nineteenth century. Technological developments, the growing use of steel and the use of elevators accelerated the construction of structures called skyscrapers. Skyscrapers have become an important part of the architecture of the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries, and have today become a symbol of prestige. What the hadith says has come true: people do compete in the construction of tall buildings, and nations compete with one another in building the tallest skyscrapers.


Transportation Technology:

Throughout history there has been a direct correlation between a people's wealth and power and its transportation technology. Societies that were able to establish effective transportation systems enhanced their advancement.

Speaking about the characteristics of the End Times, the Prophet (saas) said of the development of transportation:

The Last Day will not be established until …time will pass quickly.(Bukhari)

In the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries, technology has truly reached a high level. Especially in transportation technology, architecture and various fields of engineering, wonderful developments have been achieved.

Great distances will be traversed in short spans of time.(Ahmad, Musnad)

The message at the above hadith is quite clear. During the End Times, great distances will be traveled in a short time by means of new vehicles. In our time, supersonic aircraft, trains and other advanced vehicles can, in a few hours, travel the distance it used to take months to, and do it more easily, comfortably and safely. In this sense, the sign related in the hadith has come true.

The Qur'an mentions vehicles that are the product of modern advanced technology:

And horses, mules and donkeys both to ride and for adornment. And He creates other things you do not know. (Surat an-Nahl: 8)

Here we may consider the meaning of the expression "time will pass quickly" in the first hadith, in the light of what we have related. Clearly, as the Prophet (saas) said, during the End Times, tasks would be completed in a much shorter time compared to other periods. Indeed, the advancements in science have allowed the possibility for most things to be finished in a much shorter time and with much better results. A similar hadith confirms this view:

The Last Hour will not come before time contracts, a year being like a month, a month like a week, a week like a day, a day like an hour, and an hour like the kindling of a fire.(Tirmidhi)

For example, ages ago, international communication, that would span a period of weeks, can now be completed in a matter of seconds by the Internet and other modern communications technology. In the past, goods that reached their destinations after trips that took months by caravan can today be transported instantly. Today, millions of books can be published in the time it took to write merely a single book a few centuries ago. Daily things we now take for granted, such as hygiene, methods of food preparation, and child-care, no longer require as much time with the help of modern technological wonders.

We could easily provide numerous such examples. However, what we must stop to consider here is that the signs revealed by the Prophet (saas) in the seventh century are now coming true.

Some technical devices which allow various tasks to be completed in a much shorter time.

Another sign of the End Times revealed in the hadiths is the spreading of commerce (Reported by Ibn Masud (r.a.)) which has paralleled the advancements in transportation technology. Modern transportation has enabled every country in the world to establish close trade relations with others.


Communications Technology:

Some of the most interesting information the Prophet (saas) revealed is found in his hadiths that describe modern communications technology. One of the things he said is quite striking:

The Last Hour will not come before the end of a man's whip speak to him.(Tirmidhi)

When we look at this hadith closely, we can see the truth it contains. As we know, in ancient times, the whip was widely used to ride saddle beasts, especially camels and horses. When we examine the hadith we see that the Prophet (saas) is making a comparison.

Let us ask the people today this question: "What speaking object can we compare to the shape of a whip?"

The most likely answer to this question would be a cell phone or some other such communication devices.

Technology, which can transport sound and images thousands of kilometers at the touch of a key, exhibits a striking parallel to the point mentioned in the Hadiths.

If we recall that wireless communication devices, such as cell phones or satellite telephones, are very recent developments, we will understand how prescient the Prophet (saas)'s description was 1400 years ago.

So, this is one more revelation of the time before Judgment Day in which we are living.

In another of the Prophet's accounts, he highlights the development of communications technology:

There will be no Judgment ... until a person's own voice speaks to him.(Mukhtasar Tazkirah Qurtubi)

1400 years ago, sound recording was described in the Hadiths as "a person's own voice speaks to him", while the technology that makes it possible to listen to sound recordings was predicted. Above, we see a music system which is the product of modern technology.

The message in this hadith is quite clear: it states that a person's hearing his own voice is a characteristic of the End Times. Surely, for a person to hear his own voice, first it has to be recorded and then listened to. Voice recording and reproduction technology are products of the twentieth century. This development was a turning point in the advancement of science, one that has allowed the birth of the communications and media industries. Voice recording has now reached its apogee, with the latest developments in computer and laser technology.

In short, today's electronic devices, like microphones and speakers, have made it possible to record and listen to a person's voice, showing that what the above hadith has told us has come true.

What is said in the hadiths that describe the End Times about communication technology is not limited to the above quoted hadith alone. There are other very interesting signs related in other hadiths:

All the communication devices discovered in the last few years allow us to confirm that we are likely living in the End Times.

By means of satellites, every kind of broadcast can be sent to its destination in an instant. The fact that the Prophet (saas) predicted this extraordinary capability 1400 years ago is another sign.

The sign of that day: A hand will be extended from the sky, and people will look and see it. (Ibn Hajar Haythami, Al Qawl a-Mukhtasar fi 'alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar)

The sign of that day is a hand extended in the sky and people stopping to look at it. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman)

It is clear that the word "hand" in the above hadith is intended figuratively. In earlier times, "a hand's being extended from the sky and people's looking and seeing it" as stated in the hadith might not have meant much for them. But when today's technology is considered, this statement may be interpreted in a number of ways. For instance, television, which has become an indispensable part of the world today, and it, together with cameras and computers, may explain very well what the hadith described. The "hand" mentioned in the hadith might have been used in the sense of power. It may be referring to the images coming from the sky in the form of waves, that is, television.

Some other relevant instances are very interesting:

A voice will call him by name … and even people in the east and west will hear it. (Ibn Hajar Haythami, Al Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar)

This voice will spread over the entire world, and every tribe will hear it in their own language. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman)

A voice from the sky that everyone will hear in his own language. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman)

This hadith mentions a voice that will be heard throughout the whole world and in everyone's own language. Evidently, this refers to radio, television and other such methods of communication. It is a miracle that, 1400 years ago, the Prophet (saas) referred to a development that was unimaginable even just a hundred years ago.

When Bediuzzaman Said Nursi interpreted these hadiths, he explained that they miraculously foretold the advent of radio, television and other such communication devices.25


The Return of 'Isa (as) After The Emergence of False Prophets

It is known that, throughout history, there have been many false prophets. For the purpose of their own gain, this kind of impostors have resorted to deceit, exploiting people's naiveté. Also in the hadiths, it is revealed that false prophets will appear before Judgment Day.

The Last Hour will not come before there come forth thirty Dajjals (imposters), each presenting himself as an apostle of Allah.(Abu Dawood)

The above hadith reminds us of developments in our own day. By taking advantage of the hopes of Muslims and Christians about the second coming of 'Isa (as), a number of deceivers have claimed prophethood and at times caused great suffering.

David Koresh, a false messiah, and his compound on fire. (right)

Experts have noted that there has been a proliferation of so-called messiahs that began to appear in the 1970's and which has since increased substantially. According to these experts, there are two basic reasons for this increase. First is the collapse of communism, and the other is the possibilities afforded by Internet technology.26

The following excerpts have been selected as examples to help us better understand this phenomenon:

The fiery demise of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, that claimed the lives of David Koresh and at least 74 of his followers…27

Last week at two sites in Switzerland and one in Canada where 53 of Jouret's followers and their children died. Police in two countries are trying to find out whether the deaths were mass suicide, mass murder or some bizarre combination of the two.28

Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, says he is the Messiah of the Second Coming and that his family is the first true family in all history! …The Unification Church was officially founded in 1954 by Moon, who claims that in 1936, when he was 16, 'Isa (as) appeared to him on a mountainside in Northwestern Korea and told him that God had chosen him for the mission of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.29

Grim evidence of the worst cult slaughter…Up to1000 followers feared dead as more graves found in Uganda…30

It was an event that sent shock waves worldwide-the worst mass suicide in modern history. More than 900 people, members of a cult, were found clustered together in a South American forest. The dead were followers of Rev. Jim Jones, the leader of the Peoples'Temple in San Francisco.31

Thousands of people go to their deaths in obedience to self-proclaimed messiahs. Above, we see a mass grave in Uganda, and on the right, the followers of Jim Jones who had committed mass suicide.In our day, a number of false prophets have appeared, one after another, each proclaiming himself to be the Messiah. The fact that the signs of the End Times are happening in succession is an extraordinary occurrence that certainly should make everyone think.

The Qur'an also points to the advent of false prophets. One verse pertaining to this topic is the following:

Who could do greater wrong than someone who invents lies against Allah or denies His Signs, or who says, "It has been revealed to me," when nothing has been revealed to him, or someone who says, "I will send down the same as Allah has sent down"? If you could only see the wrongdoers in the throes of death when the angels are stretching out their hands, saying, "Disgorge your own selves! Today you will be repaid with the punishment of humiliation for saying something other than the truth about Allah, and being arrogant about His Signs." (Surat al-Anam: 93)

Sun Myung, the founder of the worldwide Moonie organization, in a ceremony. (above)

As it is stated in that which follows this verse, these people will surely receive their recompense for the lies they have fabricated.

There is no doubt that there will be a time when all the lies of all these false prophets will be eradicated. The Prophet (saas) announced that, after the liars have gone, 'Isa (as) would return.

We have mentioned earlier that the Qur'an tells of 'Isa (as)'s return to earth, and that Muslims and Christians alike eagerly await this event. There are a few hadiths from the Prophet (saas) that refer to the second coming of 'Isa (as). The Islamic scholar Shawkani stated that there are 29 hadiths about 'Isa (as)'s return, and that the information contained in these hadiths could not have been falsified. (Ibn Majah)

There is another important item of information that comes to us through these hadiths. The return of 'Isa (as) will occur during the second phase of the End Times, and will be an important sign of the Judgment. In this regard, the following hadiths are pertinent:

The Last Hour will not come until you see the descent of 'Isa (as) son of Maryam (as).(Muslim)

"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Maryam (as), 'Isa (as), will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler. (Bukhari

The Hour will not be established until the son of Maryam (as) (i.e. 'Isa (as)) descends amongst you as a just ruler. (Bukhari)

The Prophet (saas) tells what 'Isa (as) will do when he returns:

At the time of his death, 'Isa (as) will have reappeared on this earth for forty years.(Abu Dawood)

'Isa (as), son of Maryam (as), will descend, rule for 40 years with the book of Allah and my sunnah, and die.(Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman)

'isa (as), son of Maryam (as), will be a just judge and just ruler (in my community), break and crush the cross and kill the pig ... The earth will be so filled of peace as a vessel is filled with water. The entire world shall recite and follow one and the same Word and none shall be worshipped except Allah.(Ibn Majah)

The Hour will not be established until the son of Maryam (as) (i.e. 'Isa) (as) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs…(Bukhari)

Therefore, when 'Isa (as) returns, errant doctrines such as those of the Trinity, the cross and the priesthood, and illicit acts such as eating pork, will be swept away, the Christian world will be saved from its heretical state, and all people will be called to live according to the true religion and moral values contained in the Qur'an.

At this point, there is an important issue we must stop and consider. In the Qur'an and in the hadiths, there is no doubt that 'Isa (as) will return to earth during the End Times. Today, on the other hand, some Muslims disregard the evident proofs regarding this return, and suggest that it is possible that 'Isa (as) will return after the Prophet Muhammad (saas) comes. However, Muslims who think such a thing should attempt to interpret the relevant verses and hadiths objectively and without prejudice. And, secondly, there is no contradiction between the fact that Muhammad (saas) is the last Prophet and that 'Isa (as) will return to earth. When 'Isa (as) comes for the second time, he will not bring a new religion but will be subject to the true religion communicated by the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad (saas).

The great Islamic scholar Imam Rabbani said: "'Isa (as) will descend from heaven, yet he will follow Muhammad (saas)'s Way" (Imam-i Rabbani, Letters of Rabbani, Volume II, Letter 67); Imam Nawawi said: "… He ('Isa (as)) will come and apply Muhammad (saas)'s way." (Al Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar) On this topic; Qadi Iyad said: "'Isa (as) will rule with the rules of Islam and will revive the practices that his people have abandoned." (Ibn Majah)

The greatest Islamic scholar of the past century, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi have provided some interesting expositions of this matter in his Risale-i Nur Collection. According to Bediuzzaman's analyses, 'Isa (as) will return to earth in bodily form in the End Times and will contend and repudiate anti-religious ideologies that represent materialist and naturalist philosophy. Under his leadership, Christians and Muslims will unite and the powerful anti-religious forces will be eradicated. Christianity will be cleansed of its vain beliefs, heresy and its myths and become subject to the Qur'an. Bediuzzaman said that, in making this announcement, the Prophet (saas) relied on the words of Almighty Allah and that, therefore, it would certainly come to pass.32

At this point an important question comes to our attention. How will 'Isa (as) be recognized? Surely, the clearest indication that it is him who will be in possession of all the features common to a prophet as mentioned in the Qur'an. In addition, he will bring an important sign to indicate that he is 'Isa (as). When he comes, there will be no one that would have seen 'Isa (as) before in person and therefore there will be no one to recognize him. None will be able to recognize him by his physical appearance or by the sound of his voice. No one will be able to say that he knew 'Isa (as) personally, or saw him at such and such a time; no one will have known his family or his relatives. All those who would have known him would have died 2000 years ago. Maryam (as), Zakariyya (as), his disciples, who spent years with him, as well as all those to whom 'Isa (as) communicated the message of Allah, will have already died. Therefore, there will be none who would have experienced his birth, childhood, youth or adulthood when he comes for the second time. No one will know anything about him.

As we explained in the earlier section of this book, by the command of Allah, "Be," 'Isa (as) came into the world without a father. Clearly, after so many centuries, he would have not any surviving relatives. In this regard, Allah compares 'Isa (as)'s situation with the creation of Adam:

The likeness of 'Isa in Allah's sight is the same as Adam. He created him from earth and then He said to him, "Be!" and he was. (Surah Al 'Imran: 59)

This verse reveals that Allah said "Be!" and Adam was created. 'Isa (as) too was created by this same command. Adam did not have a mother or a father while 'Isa (as) had only a mother when he came into the world. But, when he comes to the world again for the second time, his mother will not be alive.

Therefore, the confusion caused by the false messiahs who will appear from time to time is rendered ineffective. When 'Isa (as) comes back to the world again, there will be no opportunity to cast any doubt on the fact that it is him. No one will be able to find any viable reason to say that he cannot be 'Isa (as). 'Isa (as) will be recognized by that one characteristic that will separate him from every other person: not a single person in the world will know him.

In conclusion, the information presented here should lead us to recognize that the time of the promises with regard to the coming of 'Isa (as), and the things he will do, is near. Surely, it is our duty to be best prepared as possible to meet that blessed person who we have been so long waiting for.

22. M. Encarta Encyclopedia 2000, "Aging"
23. United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, The Ageing of the World's Population, 2000, http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/ageing/ agewpop.htm
24. UNESCO Statistical Yearbook, 1997-ek-le- http://www.education.nic.in/htmlweb/ arhrne.htm
25. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection the Rays, The Second Station of the Fifth Ray, Seventeenth Matter (http://www.sozler.com.tr/risnur/rays/white/r5c.htm)
26. Time, April 7, 1997, "The lure of the cult"
27. Britannica CD 2000, "From Year in Review 1993: Chronology"
28. Time, October 17, 1994, "In The Reign Of Fire"
29. http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/moon/general.htm
30. The Guardian, March 29, 2000, "Grim evidence of worst cult slaughter"
31. CNN, "Jonestown, 1978", http://cnn.com/SPECIALS/1999/century/episodes/08/timelines/headlines/infoboxes/jonestown.html
32. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection, Letters