There is a narration: “The dissension of the end of time will be so terrible that no one will be able to restrain themselves.”1 It is because of this that for one thousand three hundred years, on the command of the Prophet (PBUH), all the Umma has sought refuge with God from that dissension —“from the dissension of the Antichrist and from the dissension of the end of time”— after seeking refuge from the torments of the grave.2
God knows what is best, it may be interpreted like this: the dissension of the end of time will draw souls to itself, captivating them. People will join it voluntarily, indeed, eagerly. For example, in Russia, men and women bathe naked together in the public baths. And because by nature women have a strong propensity to show off their beauty, they willingly throw themselves into that dissension and are led astray. The men too, being naturally enamoured of beauty, are defeated by their instinctual souls, and with drunken joy, fall into the fire and are burnt. Holding a fascination, the amusements, grievous sins, and innovations of the times such as dancing and the theatre, draw the pleasure-seekers around them like moths, intoxicating them. But if this occurs through absolute compulsion, the will is negated and it is not even a sin.
There is a narration: “The Sufyan will be an eminent scholar; he will fall into misguidance through his learning. Numerous other scholars will follow him.”
The knowledge is with God, an interpretation is this: although he has no means of sovereignty such as strength and power, tribes and peoples, courage and riches, like a king, he will win that position through his cleverness, science, and political acumen, and through his intelligence he will bewitch the minds of many other scholars, making them dictate his wishes. He will attract numerous teachers to support him, and pointing out to them the way to an education system stripped of religious instruction, will work for its widespread enforcement.
Suyuti, al-Fath al-Kabir, i, 315; ii, 185; iii, 9; al-Hawi li’l-Fatawa, ii, 217; Abu ‘Abdullah Daylami, Musnad al-Firdaws, i, 266.
Bukhari, Da’wat, 37, 39, 44, 45, 46; Adhan, 149; Jana’iz, 88; Fitan, 26; Muslim, Masajid, 127-8, 130-4; Musnad, vi, 139.