Signs of the Hour-Part 2 (Analysis of Imran Hosien’s book “Jerusalem and the Qur’an”)
Syed Iqbal Zaheer
For Imran Hosein verse 95-96 of Surah al-Anbiya’ is the key to understanding events of the Final Hour. His translation is as follows: “And there is a ban on (the people of) a town which We destroyed (and the inhabitants expelled) that they (the people of the town) shall not return (to reclaim the town); until Gog and Magog are released and they (eventually) descend from every height or spread in every direction.” He identifies the town as Jerusalem and says that Gog and Magog are located within European Civilization. He thinks that the establishment of the State of Israel is fulfillment of the promise in the verse above.
But classical commentators understood the verse differently. They interpreted the “laa” of the text in ayah 95 as “laa” of “silah” – that is, a conjunctive “laa” and not a negative “laa.” (Commentators cite other examples of such usage, e.g., ayah 12 of Surah al-A`raf and ayah 151 of Surah al-An`am, where “laa” does not mean “not”). Their understanding of this present verse is: “And there is a ban on (the people of) of a town which We destroyed, that they should return.” In other words: people of a destroyed town cannot return. Thus, the argument and interpretations that Imran Hosein constructs thereafter receive a question mark.
Imran Hosein identifies the “town” of the above ayah as Jerusalem. How? By co-relating ayah 95 with 96. Since ayah 96 speaks of Gog and Magog, and Gog and Magog will (according to him) appear in Jerusalem, the town of ayah 95 is Jerusalem. But there are the following problems: The word “qaryah” is in “nakirah” form, which means it should be understood as “a town,” or “any town” and not a particular town (such as Jerusalem). Secondly, Gog and Magog will not appear in Jerusalem. They will appear in upper Syria. There is no hadith which says that their first appearance will be in Jerusalem, though they may overrun it as well.
Imran quotes ayah 105 of Surah al-Anbiya’ to prove that Jerusalem was to be inherited by the Israelites, though on good behavior. The ayah says, “Indeed, We wrote in the Zabur that the earth will be inherited by My righteous slaves.” According to Imran the “earth” of this ayah refers to Jerusalem and “My righteous slaves” refers to Jews. And, hence, according to Imran, the Israelites have a right to Jerusalem, if they remained righteous. But the great majority of the earliest commentators have said that the allusion by “earth” is to Paradise. Allah said elsewhere (Zumar, 74): “And they will say (in Paradise), Allah made His promise true and gave us the earth in inheritance.” Here too “earth” is in the sense of Paradise. Imran’s belief that Jerusalem was for the Israelites, or remains the reward for righteous living, tells us something about the power of propaganda. The Jews say exactly the same thing: God has promised Jerusalem to the Children of Israel. But it did not occur to Imran that if there happens to be a religion which says that God will bestow a town to a people on condition that they lead a righteous life, then, that religion is false. Religions promises of Paradise, or some great spiritual abode in the Hereafter, on condition of good behavior is rejected by the people. A piece of land, here, on earth? Only a fanatic will stretch his hand to pledge.
He also suggests that Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj): “Have already been released, have already descended from every height, or have already spread in every direction, and therefore, have already taken control of the world. The World Order which prevails today is the World Order of Gog and Magog. Indeed, it is Gog and Magog who made the return of the Jews to the Holy Land possible.” (p. 29) He identifies Ya’juj and Ma’juj as Britain and USA. Imran also thinks that activities of Ya’juj and Ma’juj should be connected with the depletion of water resources.
Whatever the philosophical implications of reports about Ya’juj and Ma’juj, we should not forget that the Qur’an and Hadith give us to understand that they are humans who will appear as massive hordes of marauders after `Isa (asws) has killed Dajjal. According to the ahadith, Jesus Christ will be unable to face their assault and will retreat to the mountains. They will be destroyed – probably – by a viral disease. Says a report in the collection of Muslim:
” … ‘Isa b. Maryam will be told by Allah, ‘I am releasing a creation that no one can withstand. So take My slaves to MountTur.’ Then Allah will release Ya’juj and Ma’juj who will descend from every height. The first of them will pass by LakeTabariyyah (or Tiberius in Palestine, now known as Sea of Galilee) and will drink off its water. When the last of them arrives, one of them will say, ‘Once there used to be water here.’ `Isa (asws) will be besieged until a bull’s head will be worth a hundred Dinar.
(According to another version: Ya’juj and Ma’juj will shoot arrows toward the sky. They will fall back laced with blood. They will say, ‘We have subdued those on the earth and those in the heaven.’)
Then `Isa and his Companions will pray to Allah. He will send an insect (bacteria or virus) into their necks, which will kill them all. They will lie motionless in the fields.
`Isa and his Companions will come down and will not find a hand-span of space but filled with their corpses. `Isa and his Companions will pray to Allah and He will send huge birds whose necks will be similar to camel’s neck. They will pick up the corpses and dump them away. Then Allah will send heavy rains that will not spare any house in the cities or deserts. It will render the earth clean. Allah will then command the earth to throw out its products. It will, and in those times a single pomegranate will be enough for a group of people…”
Thus, although there is room for saying that today’s World Order is a forerunner of the World Order that will be created by Ya’ju and Ma’juj (that of political anarchy), Ya’juj and Ma’juj themselves have not yet appeared. They will, after `Isa b. Maryam would have slaughtered the false Messiah (Anti-Christ). As for the expected future war over water resources, it cannot be connected to events related with Ya’juj and Ma’juj. Their drinking off of LakeTabariyyah, is to indicate their numbers, although a probable water crisis at that time is implied in the hadith of Tameem Daari, who was informed by the chained Dajjal, that its water will be depleted – almost to dryness – at the time he is released. But, even if the Lake’s water is completely dried at the time Dajjal is released, there is no reason to believe that from the time he is released, until he is killed by `Isa (asws), the Lake should not be refilled. After all, dried lakes can be filled to their full capacity by a single year’s rain.
Imran Hosein also contends that “daabbatu al-ard” (Beast of the Earth) promised in the Qur’an in ayah 82 of Surah al-Naml will appear in Jerusalem. He suggests that “Israel” itself is the “Beast of the Earth.” For many people, including several prominent non-Muslim scholars, who believe that Israel is the primary cause of modern-day terrorism, it might be satisfactory to hear that they are “Beasts of the Earth.” But, our Prophet’s statements tell us that the “Beast of the Earth” will be a Sign, with the appearance of which, people’s repentance will not be accepted. That is, it will be such a major Sign that unbelievers will be forced to believe in God’s existence, but a faith forced on them will not avail them, nor the repentance of a sinner Muslim would be accepted. As for its appearance in Jerusalem, there is no clear hadith to this effect. Most commentators have avoided identifying the place of its appearance although an odd suggestion is that it will appear in Makkah.
Similarly, Imran identifies the place where Dajjal will appear as Jerusalem. This is not stated in Hadith literature. On the contrary, a Prophetic prediction recorded in Tirmidhi’s collections says that Dajjal will not be able to enter three places: Bayt al-Maqdis (the Holy Land), Makkah and Madinah. He will arise from a place between Syria and Iraq. (Perhaps at the time `Isa ibn Maryam descends). Actually, as other Prophetic reports state, he will originate from Khorasan in the company of 50,000 robe-clad Jews of Isfahan.
Imran argues that the Prophet’s prophesy concerning a fire from the Hejaz will be fulfilled as a result of nuclear attack launched by Israel. This does not sound good science. A nuclear attack by Israel cannot be ruled out. But nuclear bombing does not start a fire. It puts off all fires. It annihilates everything within the designed range. Imran interprets the sign of “Smoke” as pollution of modern times. This doesn’t sound reasonable either. Modern-day pollution is not visible as smoke. It is haze which is visible as smoke. At best one can see palls of smog hanging over some towns. But, if you went out of town, the sky is clear. A Sign is no sign if it remains invisible to the great majority.
In an article on “Ten Major Signs of the Last Hour,” posted on the Net, Imran Hosein refers to the Prophetic prediction of the sun’s rise from the West, and rules out a literary interpretation of the event. According to him, that would be reversing the order of nature, which contradicts the Qur’an. He writes, “Our view is that the rising of the sun from the West symbolizes an upside–down world in which mankind is led by their noses to a way of life which would be the very opposite of that natural way ordained by Allah. That upside-down unnatural way of life has already embraced most of mankind. In this sense, therefore, the sun is already rising from the West. And Allah Knows best!” (Ref.: firstname.lastname@example.org),
On our part we do not see any scientific reason why a literal meaning is not possible. According to traditional scholars, a general rule to be observed while seeking meaning to religious texts is that the literal meaning has preference over metaphysical or allegorical interpretations. That is, there is no need to a allegorical meaning if a literal meaning is possible. A heavenly body, say a comet, flying by the earth at close range, exerting a massive gravitational pull in the opposite direction, and changing the earth’s direction of rotation, cannot be scientifically ruled out. Today’s science predicts greater phenomenon. A couple of years ago the “Scientific American” magazine ran an article where a scientists demonstrated how there was every chance the earth could break away from the sun’s orbit and fly off into empty space away from the Solar System. Scientifically, there is nothing to prevent it. (Supercomputers are not lying idle in space research labs). It is also known that there could be Universes other than ours, that will remain invisible to us because of “dimensional problem,” and that they could pass through our Universe, with us not even knowing it. Could one of its bodies change the earth’s rotation? Many other scenarios are possible.
(to be concluded).