Why is Doomsday Kept Secret?
Both Quran and Hadith books contain extensive explanations about the Doomsday, one of the most important fundamentals of the revealed religions. Through these explanations, people are warned that it is not so far and that it is dreadful, and people are encouraged to get ready for the Doomsday.
In a hadith related by Anas bin Malik, our Prophet is said to have stated: The Doomsday and I have been created like this joining his forefinger with his middle finger. (1)
With those words, our Prophet implied that the Doomsday could occur soon. However, the fact that it has not occurred yet should not make people doubtful about the Doomsday despite of the statements in the Quran Doomsday is so close to come and the hadith of our Prophet Doomsday will come soon and though it has been 1400 years. Doomsday is a matter directly connected with the life of the world. Doomsday is the appointed hour of the world, and in relation to the life of the world one or two thousand years are like one or two minutes in relation to a year. The hour of Doomsday is not only the appointed hour of mankind that it should be related to it and seen as distant. (2)
Neither the Quran nor the Hadits revealed the exact time of the Doomsday and yet our Prophet constantly called the believers to be cautious about it and prepared them for the appointed time by mentioning the distinguishing signs, stated both in the Quran and the Hadith, which will happen at a time close to the hour of Doomsday.
As for the reasons and wisdoms why the Doomsday is kept secret:
There are plenty of reasons for it. If a person knew his last moment, he would spend half of his lifetime in an absolute heedlessness deprived of belief and Islamic consciousness, and in the other half, he would suffer excruciating torture and affliction just like a man waiting to step towards the gallows.
It is because of the same wisdom that calamities and disasters are kept secret because waiting for the definite catastrophe and tragedy is much more torturing than going through it.
Therefore, the Doomsday is kept secret because of many other similar wisdoms.
Just as what the appointed hour means for a man, so too does the Doomsday have the same meaning for the mankind. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explains the subject in his book entitled Rays (Şualar) as follows:
If the appointed hour had been specified, the Early and Middle Ages would have been virtually unaffected by the idea of the hereafter, and they would have been lived in needlessness. And the humans of the last age would have no pleasure or value of worldly life because of waiting the specified last hour.
If the Doomsday 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 mans accountability and the wisdom and purpose of belief, which are tied to mans choice and will, would have been disappeared. It is for numerous benefits that the time of the Doomsday remains secret. Everyone, therefore, continually bears in mind both his death and continues life, and he works for this world and the Hereafter. (3)
The time of the doomsday is not going to be revealed until Doomsday occurs. When the sun rises in the west instead of the east, the door of trial and testing arena and repentance will be closed; everybody will have to believe in Doomsday. However, being regretful and believing at that time will be of no use.
1. Muslim, Fitan:135
2. The 24th Word.
3. The Fifth Ray
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