the land and the sea and are represented as an ox and fish, were imagined to be huge ox and a physical fish, and the Hadith was wrongly interpreted. And for example, one time in the presence of the Prophet a deep rumbling was heard. God’s Messenger (PBUH) decreed: “That is the sound of a rock that has been rolling downhill for seventy years and only now has hit the bottom of Hell.”1 Thus, someone hearing this Hadith who does not know the truth may deviate into denial. But then, twenty minutes after the Hadith was spoken it was definitely established, for someone came and told God’s Messenger (PBUH): “The famous dissembler died twenty minutes ago.” God’s Messenger (PBUH) had described most eloquently how the dissembler’s seventy year lifetime of unbelief had been a continuous descent to the lowest of the low as a stone of Hell. Almighty God had made that rumbling heard at the moment of his death and given him a sign.
EIGHTH PRINCIPLE: In this arena of trial and realm of examination, Almighty God, the Absolutely Wise One, conceals most important things in the midst of numerous others, and this is tied to many purposes, benefits, and instances of wisdom. For example, He has hidden the Night of Power in the whole of Ramadan, and the hour when prayers are answered in the whole of Friday, and well-accepted saints among the people generally, and the appointed hour in a person’s life-time, and the time of Doomsday in the life of the world.2 For if the time of man’s death had been specified, the first half of his life would be passed in absolute heedlessness and the second, in terror, like going step by step to the gallows. Whereas for the balance between this world and the next to be preserved, and to remain perpetually between hope and fear, living and dying have to be possible every moment. In which case, twenty years of uncertain life are preferable to a thousand years of life that are specified.
Thus, the Last Day is the appointed hour of the world, the macroanthropos. If the time had been specified, all the early and middle ages would have been plunged into absolute heedlessness, and the latter centuries, into terror. Just as in his personal life man is concerned with the continued existence of his home and village, so in his social life and as a member of mankind he is concerned with the continued existence of the earth and the world. The Qur’an says,
The Hour has drawn nigh.3
That is, Doomsday is near. It still not having come after a thousand or this many years does not negate its closeness. Because Doomsday is the appointed hour of the world, and in relation to the life of the world one or
Muslim, iv, 3184, No: 2844; 2145, No: 2782; Musnad, ii, 271; iii, 341, 346, 360.
Ibn Hajar, Munabihhat, 25.