seventy years old, and has gone to Hell,” showing the meaning of the Prophet’s eloquent words.
NOTE: Minor future events not included among the truths of belief were considered unimportant by the Prophet (PBUH).
The Third Point consists of two ‘Points’:
The First: Because in the course of time ordinary people attached literal meanings to some Hadiths which had been narrated in the form of comparisons and allegories, such Hadiths are apparently not conformable with reality. Although they are pure truth, they appear not to be so. For example, two angels called Thawr and Hut,1 who are among the bearers of the earth and as though the bearers of the Throne, were conceived of as a huge ox and a gigantic fish.
The Second: Some Hadiths refer to the majority of Muslims, or to the Islamic State, or to the centre of the Caliphate, but they were understood to refer to all the people in the world. Although being particular in some respect, they were supposed to be universal and general. For instance, it says in a narration: “A time will come when no one remains who says: Allah! Allah!”2 That is, “The places where God’s name is mentioned will be closed, and the call to prayer and iqama will be recited in Turkish.”
Fourth Point: Just as for numerous reasons and instances of wisdom hidden matters of ‘the Unseen’ like death and the appointed hour remain secret, so the end of the world, which is its death and the appointed hour of mankind and that of the animal kingdom, has been left secret for many good reasons.
Yes, if the appointed hour of death were specified, the first half of life would be passed in absolute heedlessness, and the second half in absolute terror, as every day a further step was taken towards the gallows. This would destroy the wise and beneficial balance of hope and fear. Similarly, if the end of the world, its death and appointed hour, had been specified, the Early and Middle Ages would have been virtually unaffected by the idea of the hereafter, and the later ages would have been passed in terror. No pleasure or value would have remained in worldly life, nor, as an act of will, would the worship of God, between hope and fear, have held any importance or purpose. Also, if the death of the world had been specified, some of the truths of belief would have been clearly obvious and everyone would have affirmed them willy-nilly. The mystery of man’s
See, Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, 403; Zahabi, Mizan al-I’tidal, iv, 352; Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, i, 329.
Tirmidhi, Fitan, 35; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iv, 494; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahih, viii, 299.