Is the hadith "I was sent to you at a time when the Last Day is very close like these two fingers" sound? How should we understand this hadith?
Submitted by on Fri, 27/10/2017 - 14:53
Dear Brother / Sister,
Hz. Jabir narrates:
"When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) delivered a sermon, his eyes would become red, his voice would rise and his anger would increase. He would sound as if he would give his army a warning against the enemy and say, "The enemy will attack you in the evening or morning." He would also say:
"I was sent to you at a time when the Last Day is very close like these two fingers." And he would join his forefinger and middle finger and would further say:
"After that, you should know that the best of the speech is embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best of the guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. And the most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is error." He would further say,
"I am closer to a Muslim even than his self; and he who left behind property that is for his family; and he who dies under debt or leaves children (in helplessness), the responsibility (of paying his debt and bringing up his children) lies on me." [Muslim, Jumua 43, (867); Nasai, Iydayn 22, (3, 188, 189).]
1. This narration shows that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had an attitude based on the issue of the sermon while delivering a sermon. If the issue contained serious things and if he reminded certain things, he would mention destroying everythingin the evening or morning and assume the seriousness of a commander that would inform about the attack of the enemy that wanted to kill them, his face would become red and his voice would rise, etc.
Doubtlessly, assuming an attitude that is in compliance with the issue is not a forced and factitious state but a natural state that is a result of experiencing the importance of the issue with the spirit and approving it with absolute belief. Thus, the Prophet (pbuh) imposed the principles of oratory.
2. It is definite that the state of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) described in the hadith above is not peculiar to all of his sermons. It is peculiar to the sermons related to giving warning.
3. The reason why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) brought hisforefinger and middle finger together may aim to show that the Day of Judgment is near due to their closeness or may aim to indicate that there will be no prophet between him and the Day of Judgment since there is no other finger between those two fingers.
That a long time passed after the death of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) does not refute the closeness of the Day of Judgment because it is really a very short time compared to the life of the world. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) mentioned this closeness in other hadiths too. One of them is as follows:
"The life of the world is seven steps; I was sent in the seventh step."
Another one is as follows:
"I saw Israfil; he was holding the Trumpet and waiting for the permission to blow it."
The following is stated in the Quran:
اِقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ "The Hour (of Judgment) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder." (al-Qamar, 54/1)
4. It is an order of the Quran for the Prophet (pbuh) to be closer to believers from their own selves. Every believer has to love the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) more than his own self, wealth, relatives, business, etc; it is a divine order and a necessity of being a believer and a Muslim. The following is stated in a verse:
"Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious." (at-Tawba, 9/24)
5. The debt of a believer who dies to be paid by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is a controversial issue. For, some hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prohibited going into debt once and refused to perform the janazah prayers of those who died in debt. The hadith above states that he undertakes the debt of the debtor. Scholars state that the prohibition was peculiar to the period before the conquests when there was a financial problem and that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) started to pay the debts of the poor Muslims after the conquests.
Another controversial issue is whether paying the debts of the people who die in debt related to the personality of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), that is, something private, or related to being the president. If it is something private, it will not be the duty of the state to pay the debts of the debtors after the death of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). On the contrary, if it is the duty of the president, it will be a responsibility that is impossible to evade for the Islamic state to pay the debts of the debtors.
Before entering into the details of the debate, we want to state that the verse listing the items of expenditure of the Treasury of the Islamic states mentions وَالْغَارمِينَ gharimin, that is, "those who are in debt". (at-Tawba, 9/60)
Thus, the hadith makes it necessary for the state to pay the debts of the debtors when the state has enough money if the “paying” in the hadith is not regarded as something peculiar to the Prophet (pbuh). If it is regarded as something peculiar to the Prophet (pbuh), the state will not be responsible to pay the debts of the debtors even if it is rich.
Mustawrid Ibn Saddad al-Fihri narrates: The Messenger of Allah said,
"I was sent in the same era as the day of Judgment. However, I came a little before the Hour as this one passes this one."He showed his middle finger and forefinger." [Tirmidhi, Fitan 39, (2214).]
1. Qadi Iyad says,"What is meant by this hadith is to state that the Day of Judgment is very close."
2. The Prophet bringing his forefinger and middle finger together and saying "like these two" caused different interpretations:
* The comparison is based on the length; the middle finger is a bit longer.
* There is no finger between them; therefore, there is no prophet between him and the Day of Judgment.
* It is stated that the Day of Judgment is very close.
* The advent of his prophethood is a bit before the Day of Judgment like the length of the middle finger.
* The call of the Messenger of Allah will continue up to the Day of Judgment like those two fingers not being separated from each other.
3. Qurtubi states the following in at-Tadhkira: "The meaning of the hadith expresses the closeness of Day of Judgment. There is no contrariness between the hadith above and the following one:مَا المَسْئُولُ عَنْهَا بِأعْلَمَ مِنَ السَّائِلِ "The one who is asked does not know better than the one who asks when Doomsday will strike." For, wat is meant by the hadith we are analyzing is the fact that there is no prophet between the Messenger of Allah and the Day of Judgment just like being no finger between the forefinger and middle finger. Knowing the time of the Day of Judgment cannot be deduced from that statement. However, it is understood from the context of the hadith that Day of Judgment is near. Its signs come one after another as it is stated in the verse below:
فقد جاء اشراطُها.. .. "Do they then only wait for the Hour,- that it should come on them of a sudden? But already have come some tokens thereof, and when it (actually) is on them, how can they benefit then by their admonition?" (Muhammad, 47/18).
Dahhak says that the first one of the signs that are mentioned to have started to come in the verse is the prophethood of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh).
As it is understood from the verse, the advent of the signs earlier is for warning and guiding people; it aims to warn people against heedlessness, to encourage them to repent and to prepare for the hereafter. The frequent warnings of the Prophet that the Day of Judgment is near have the same aim.
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