Does verse 158 of the chapter of al-Anam indicate the sun rising from the west, which is a sign of Doomsday?

Details of the Question
Does verse 158 of the chapter of al-Anam indicate the sun rising from the west, which is a sign of Doomsday? According to this verse, will it not be of any use for those who do not act in accordance with their belief even if they repent and do righteous deeds? "Are they waiting to see if the angels come to them, or thy Lord (Himself), or certain of the signs of thy Lord! The day that certain of the signs of thy Lord do come, no good will it do to a soul to believe in them then, if it believed not before nor earned righteousness through its Faith. Say: ‘Wait ye: we too are waiting’." - According to this verse, will it not be of any use for those who do not act in accordance with their belief even if they repent now and do righteous deeds? - For, what miracle was left to be seen?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A person can repent and start worshipping until he enters the grave or Doomsday strikes. What is meant in this verse is the sun rising in the west, which is the beginning of the end of the test and the last sign of Doomsday. That is, people will not undergo many extraordinary states during the test and even if they do, it will be veiled to some extent. However, when the sun rises in the west, it will clearly mean that it is the time for Doomsday and the end of the test.

The following is stated in the verse that is mentioned above:

"Are they waiting to see if the angels come to them, OR THY LORD (HIMSELF), OR CERTAIN OF THE SIGNS OF THY LORD! THE DAY THAT CERTAIN OF THE SIGNS OF THY LORD DO COME, no good will it do to a soul to believe in them then, if it believed not before nor earned righteousness through its Faith. Say: ’Wait ye: we too are waiting’" (al-Anam, 6/158)

Ahmed b. Hanbal, the great Islamic scholar, states that the Prophet (pbuh) said “the sun rising in the west” about the phrase “CERTAIN OF THE SIGNS OF THY LORD” mentioned in the verse. With this verse, all people are asked to believe before the signs of our Lord showing Doomsday is approaching. Some of the hadiths of the Prophet regarding this verse are as follows:

“DOOMSDAY WILL NOT STRIKE UNTIL THE SUN RISES IN THE WEST. WHEN THE SUN RISES IN THE WEST EVERYBODY WILL SEE IT AND BELIEVE ALL TOGETHER."

"This is ‘…the day that certain of the signs of thy Lord do come, no good will it do to a soul to believe in them then …’ (al-An’am, 6/158). Doomsday will definitely strike...." (Sahih-i Bukhari, XIV/6426)

"DOOMSDAY WILL NOT STRIKE UNLESS THE SUN RISES IN THE PLACE WHERE IT SETS. When the people in the world see it, they will believe." (Sunani Ibn Majah, IX/4362)

Great Islamic tafsir scholars interpret this verse unanimously as above and interpreted it as a sign of “the sun rising in the west”. The following verse in the chapter of al-Qiyamah,

“And the sun and moon are joined together….” (al-Qiyamah, 75/9)

is also interpreted as evidence for “the sun rising in the west”.

- How will this Great Sign occur?

When the sun rises in the west, everybody will believe. Since there is no will any longer,the door of repentance will be closed. Then, the belief and worshipping of the people who had not believed before and their charities and righteous deeds will not be accepted; they will be worthless. (1) For, it will be too late.

When the sun rises in the place where it sets, worshipping and testing will end; will of the people will be removed. The door of repentance (2), which will be open up to that time, will be closed; repentance will not be of any use after that time. Indicating this point, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states that when the sun rises in the west, there will be no will in man:

“If there were no will, there would be no accountability. It is because of this mystery and wisdom that miracles are displayed only rarely, and in this realm of accountability, like some allegorical verses of the Qur’an, the signs of the end of the world, which will be visible and seen, are obscure and open to interpretation. Since when the sun rises in the west it will be so clear everyone will be compelled to affirm it, the door of repentance will be closed and repentance and belief will no longer be accepted. For the Abu Bakr’s and the Abu Jahl’s will be equal in their affirmation of it.” (Şuâlar (Rays), p. 884)

In the hadiths, “the sun rising in the west” is regarded in the literal sense; the Prophet (pbuh) stated the following in a hadith reported by Abu Dharr:

“I entered the mosque when the sun was setting. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was sitting. He said,

‘O Abu Dharr! Do you know where the sun is going?’ I said,

‘Allah and His Messenger know.’ He said,

‘It is going in order to get permission for prostration and it is given the permission. One day, it will be addressed, ‘Rise here!’ and it will rise in the place where it sets.’After that, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) read the following verse:

‘And the Sun runs his course for a period determined for him.(Yasin, 36:38)” (3)

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states thatthe sun rising in the west should be thought in its literal sense, that is, rising in the west and that it does not need any interpretation. However, he also adds the following:

“Allah knows best, its apparent cause will be this: with the disappearance from the head of the earth of the Qur’an, which is like its intelligence, the earth will go mad. With Divine permission, on another planet colliding with it, its rotation will be reversed. Through Divine will, its journeying from west to east will be reversed to from east to west, and the sun will start to rise in the west. Yes, the Qur’an is ‘the firm cord of Allah’ which binds the earth to the sun, and the ground to the Divine Throne. If its gravity is broken, the string holding the earth would be undone, it would become dizzy and deranged, and with its reversed uncontrolled motion, the sun would rise in the west. There is another interpretation, which is that due to a collision, Doomsday would break forth at the Divine command...” (Şualar (Rays), p.496-497)

There will be very little time between the sun rising in the west and Doomsday striking. This issue is mentioned in hadiths andthe following is stated in a hadith: The Hour will be established while two men spreading a garment in front of them will not be able to sell it, nor fold it up when a man has milked his she-camel and has taken away the milk but he will not be able to drink it, before a man repairing a tank (for his livestock) is able to water (his animals) in it, and when a person has raised a morsel (of food) to his mouth but will not be able to eat it. (4) However, it should not be thought that they all will take place in a few hours. This is metaphorical like the other issues and aims to state that the time is short.

References:

(1) Muslim, Iman, 248; Ibn Majah, Fitan, 32.
(2) Ibn Majah, Fitan, 32.
(3) Tirmidhi, Fitan, 22.
(4) Bukhari, Fitan, 25; Musnad, II/313.

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