Does the Qur'an prophetize this current time period as an end of an era or the end of life altogether?

Details of the Question
Does the Qur'an, or any other Islamic religous text, prophetize this current time period as a period of spiritual awakening, or an end of a way of life, or the end of an era, or the end of life altogether?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Just as the birth of the child is the end of the life in the mother’s uterus and the beginning of the world life so too is the death the end of the world life and the beginning of the life in the hereafter.

What are the logical and scientific proofs of the doomsday and the destruction of the universe? 

In the chapters of al-Inshiqaq, al-Infitar, at-Takwir, Al-Zalzala and in many verses in the Quran, the strike of the doomsday, and the astonishing and terrifying magnificent events that will take place then like the scattering of the stars, the darkening and fading of the sun, the sun colliding and uniting with the moon, the breakdown of the sky, the sky becoming red and like the glowing fire are narrated vividly and described for us. In those verses, along with the events that will take place with the strike of the doomsday, the events like the scattering of the stars, the fading of the light of the sun and great earthquakes are pointed out.
The verse "And it is He Who made the Night and the Day to follow each other: for such as have the will to celebrate His praises or to show their gratitude." (al-Furqan, 62) indicates that just as the seconds show that a minute passes and the minutes show that an hour passes, so too does the passing of the day and night show that the great hour will act and the doomsday will strike. That is, man understands that his life and the universe are getting older and that one day he will die and the doomsday will strike as he sees that time passes when seconds, minutes, hours and days follow one another. If the night and the day continued constantly, if we lived in the night and the day constantly, we would not understand the passing of the time; thus we would not understand that our life and the life of the universe were decreasing. Therefore, such and advice can be included in the scope of the taking advice in the verse.   (1)
It is possible to perceive a meaning like that from the word yawm (day) that is often used in the Quran in the phrases like yawm ad-din, yawm al-qiyama, yawm al-akhir. The word al-yawm (the day) indicates an intuitional proof of raising from the dead due to the appropriateness among the day, year, human life and the rotating of the world. It is like the state of the spindles of a clock that count seconds, minutes, hours and days. When a person sees a spindle that completes its cycle, he thinks through his intuition that – even if after a while – the other will complete its cycle too. Similarly, a person who sees the special doomsdays like days and years that are continuously repeated understands through his intuition that the endless bliss will emerge for the mankind in the morning of the Gathering. (2)
We can understand from the following reality that it is possible for the universe to collapse and the doomsday to strike: science has proved that the universe is created without leaving any doubt and it has managed to show what happened in the first seconds of the creation. The calculations have shown that the universe was created about 13-15 billion years ago. (3) Thus, rational and experimental evidence shows that the universe was created later. The fact that it was created later proves that it will end and that it is not irrational that it will end. (4) What has a beginning will definitely have an end. This universe is not pre-eternal; it is not post-eternal, either.(5)
The fact that we see the beings like men, animals, plants and other beings are born, grow and die, which can be regarded as doomsday for them, implies that there will be a doomsday in the universe.
As a matter of fact, there is growth and development in everything that is subject to the law of growth. Therefore, that thing has a natural lifespan. Everything that has a natural lifespan has a time of death; it is impossible to avoid death. It is impossible for man, who is a small universe, to avoid death; similarly, the universe, which is like a big man, is bound to die. A tree is subject to destruction and decay; similarly, the universe, which originates from the tree of creation, cannot avoid destruction that takes place to be repaired... The day when truth mentioned in the following verses will definitely come: "When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up; When the stars fall, losing their luster; When the mountains vanish (like a mirage)... (at-Takwir, 1-13), "When the Sky is rent asunder..." (al-Inshiqaq, 1-5. Thus, the death sound of the universe, which is like a big man, in the space will be heard with a strange growl and a terrifying noise. (6)
As it is indicated above, it is certain scientifically that a universal doomsday will strike. All of the evidences indicate that the universe has a limited lifespan. (7) What is wondered now is not whether the doomsday will strike or not but when and how it will strike because there are a lot of causes for the death of the universe. The question is which one will take place first. (8)
Under the light of the determinations of today, we can list the causes that can make it possible for the universe to collapse and the doomsday to strike as follows: 1. The scattering of the universe as a result of its continuous expansion (open universe model) or by the slowing down of that expansion one day, the becoming smaller of the universe and as a result going back to its first state, ending the universe (closed universe model) is in question.(9)
In the open universe model, the stars will die one by one as they use up their fuels and the universe will become a big expanding graveyard.(10)
In the closed universe model, an overall doomsday will finish everything without waiting for the death of the stars one by one. (11) Accordingly, the fact that the mass tends to increase will increase the force of gravity; the universe will stop expanding and it will inevitably collapse by being influenced by its own force of gravity. (12)
The universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. The expansion has continued because the force of expansion has not been able to overcome the force of gravity based on mass up to now. If the force of gravity dominates the expansion, the expansion will stop. When the force of gravity becomes dominant in a universe that is too dense and closed, everything will collapse spontaneously. The sky will split like a pressed orange. The space will start to close with a reverse action from the endless horizons. The stars and planets will turn to a cosmic soup consisting of radiation, electrons and nuclei. The sky will have a red color all over due to excessive heat. The universe will turn to a slender and elegance rose bud that is closing not to a flower that is blossoming. (13)
2. The continuous increase of entropy (14)': There has been a continuous flow of heat from hot substances to cold substances since the creation of the universe. However, when the difference of heat among the substances is balanced and becomes equal in time, the action in the universe will stop and a heat death, a thermodynamic doomsday will be inevitable. (15)
Sir James Jeans, an astronomy scientist says the following relating the issue: "...To argue that the total energy  of the universe cannot diminish, and therefore the universe must go on for ever is like arguing that as a clock weight cannot diminish, the clock-hand must go round and round for ever. Energy cannot run downhill forever, and, like the clock-weight, it must touch bottom at last. And so the universe cannot go on forever; sooner or later, the time must come when its last erg of energy has reached the lowest of the ladder of descending availability, and at this moment, the active life of the universe must cease. The energy is still there, but it has lost all capacity for change; it is as little able to work the universe as the water in a flat pond is able to turn a water wheel. We are left with a dead, although possibly a warm, universe - a heat death. Such is the teaching of modern thermodynamics. There is no reason for doubting or challenging it and indeed it is so fully confirmed by the whole of our terrestrial experience that it would be difficult to find any point at which it could be open to attack".(16)
3. Black Holes: Although it has not been proved definitely, black holes, which are definitely accepted by many scientists, are things that are regarded as the causes of the doomsday.
If a star that dies is three or more times bigger than our son, it does not remain in the level of a neutron star; it becomes a black hole. It means its exit from the realm of matter. That black hole neither breaks down nor gets smaller. It gets bigger and bigger. The black hole that swallows everything that it meets gets bigger continuously. As it gets bigger, the limit of its gravity force increases, and that getting bigger goes on with an increasing speed. Thus, in time, it may get so big as to swallow the whole galaxy it is in. It is even possible that the whole universe can become a black hole. (17)
4. The strike of the doomsday is possible if one of the causes that the life of the world depends upon disappears. For instance, if the sun, which is our source of heat and light, uses up its energy and burns out; the life in the world will end. The fact that is expressed by the verse "When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up" (at-Takwir, 1) is also stated by the science.
Each star loses its brightness and fades away. One day, the sun will fade a way too. (18) Yes, the sun will have an end too. The sun, which is one of the billions of stars in the universe, will turn the hydrogen in its store to helium and finish its fuel; then it will presumably lose its life as a white dwarf about five billion years later.(19)
Apart from those causes, many other serious incidences that can take place in the universe are enough for the doomsday to strike. Even if we consider the world alone, we will see that many disasters that can take place will be enough for the destruction of the world. For instance, the earthquake that almost everybody in the world has witnessed reminds us about the doomsday of the world. The fact that big cities are overturned as a result of an 8-magnitude earthquake and that millions of people die shows that an earthquake with a magnitude of a few times bigger that can affect the whole world is enough to end the world.
The center of the earth contains substances with very high temperatures. G. Gamow, a geographer says the following: "There exists a natural blazing hell under the blue seas. In other words, we stand on a big sewage of dynamites. One day, it may explode and overturn the system of the earth completely. "(20)
Moreover, the meteorites that fall down on the earth can bring the world to an end if they fall down in great numbers and quantities. Asteroids and comets can be the cause of the doomsday just like the meteorites. Comets can cause great damage although not as heavy as asteroids. When the comet Halley approached the world in 1910, some people preferred to commit suicide. Many other causes like that can be listed. (21)
The causes in the universe can be included among the signs of the doomsday stated in the following verse: "Do they then only wait for the Hour― that it should come on them of a sudden? But already have come some tokens thereof..." (Muhammad, 18). Yes, the signs of the doomsday are certain but Allah knows their characterisitics.
It can be calculated that long years need to pass for one or some of those causes to take place. However, it should not be forgotten that what is unknown is more than what is known in the universe. Allah’s will is enough to do away with the calculations. Some large strong buildings that seem to be able to stand for long years are razed to the ground by a sudden earthquake; similarly, the universe can be destroyed like that. Therefore, the doomsday is certain but no one knows when it will break:
"They ask thee about the (final) Hour― when will be its appointed time? Say: "The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone): none but He can reveal as to when it will occur. Heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth. Only, all of a sudden will it come to you. They ask thee as if thou wert eager in search thereof: Say: "The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone), but most men know not."" (al-Araf, 187).
Footnotes

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1. Razi gives the meaning of that verse as, "so that a thinking person will know that there is a being that transform them from one state to another and that changes them by observing them following one another". (See Razi, XXIV, 93). As it is seen, Razi points out that the existence of Allah is proved through that verse. However, since a verse may indicate various issues, it is possible that the verse contains the meaning above too.
2. Nursî, İşaratu'l-İ'caz, p. 37.
3. Taşkın Tuna, Uzay ve Dünya, İstanbul, 1982, p. 21, 23.
4. Sharqawi, p. 296.
5. Şadi Eren, Kur'ân'da Gayb Bilgisi, Işık yay., İzmir, 1995, p. 217.
6. Nursî, İşarâtu'l-İ'caz, p. 242-243; Abdülmecid Ünlükul, İmân Dili, Konya, 1961, p. 58-59.
7. Paul Davies, Son Üç Dakika (The Last Three Minutes), trns. Sinem Gül, Varlık Yayınları, İstanbul, 1994, p.30.
8. Hüseyin Demirkan. Yıldızların Esrarı, İstanbul, 1978, 14. imp., p. 31.
9. Davies, p. 126; Steven Weinberg, İlk Üç Dakika (The First Three Minutes), Tübitak Yayınları, 6.imp. Ankara, 1996, p. 139; Sadettin Merdin, Tanrıya Koşan Fizik, Timaş, İstanbul 1995, p. 376 et al.
10. Ümit Şimşek. Big Bang Kâinatın Doğuşu, İstanbul, 1980, p.74.
11. ibid, p. 74
12. Tuna, Uzayın Sırları, Boğaziçi yay. İstanbul, 1992, p. 368.
13. Davies, p.86, 126; Weinberg, p. 139-141; Tuna, Uzayın Sırları, p.144, 369-370; Merdin, 379
14. Entropy is used to express the insignificance of energy. With the mathematical expression, the rate of the amount of heat of a system to its absolute heat is called the entropy of that system.
15. Lincoln Barnett, Evren ve Einstein, Varlık Yayınları, İstanbul, 1969, p. 114 vd; Davies, p.21, 24;
16. Senih, p. 6-7 (Sir James Jeans, quoted from ‘Etrafımızdaki Kâinat’ (The Universe Around Us)).
Since the universe is exhausted irrevocably with a finite speed, it is not possible for it to exist pre-eternally. Something that is exhausted with a finite speed cannot be pre-eternal; it will have died up to now. Thus, all of the evidences indicating that the universe will eventually end also indicate as absolutely that it has a certain beginning in the past (Barnett, p. 119; Davies, p. 25)
17. Davies, p.66, also see ibid, p. 63-74, Demirkan, p. 44, 46; Tuna, Uzayın Sırları, p. 268-271.
18. Davies, p. 24; Tuna, Hayat Kaynağımız Güneş, Yeni Asya yay. İstanbul, 1983, p. 22.
19. Davies, p. 58; Tuna, Güneş Sistemi, Yeni Asya yay. İstanbul, 1983, p. 53; Uzayın Sırları, p. 87; Hayat Kaynağımız Güneş, p. 22; Demirkan, p.18.
20. Han, al-Isaâmu Yatahadda, p. 82 (Biography of The Earth, quoted from p 62).
21. Davies, p. 15-17, Senih, p.11-15; see also Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Paşa. Yaratılış ve Ötesi (Sarairu'l-Quran), Edited by: Ali Turgut, Kültür Basın Yayın Birliği, İstanbul, nd., p. 230, 267. 

Veysel Güllüce (Ass Prof.)

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