Bismillah, alhamdulillah, wa salat wa salam ala Rasulullah
I have tried to get a few scholars to explain this to me but not had much luck, so I’m posting what I could find out so far. If others can try and ask some scholars and share it here, I would appreciate it. Allah knows best.
There was once a time when the only Muslim on the face of the entire Earth was Ibrahim alayhi salam- an entire ummah in that one man. Now you may wonder at the title of this article. The hadith mention the lifetime or how long Muslims and Islam will remain on the Earth and from this you can gauge the distance we have to reach Qiyamah. We are now in the year 1431 A.H.
Most don’t know this and most need not really care about it since mawt (death) is like Qiyamah. But there are a few opinions I have come across- however the only opinion I have from living scholar is the first view of Shaykh Hamza but the source for that is an old video and so his opinion may have changed. But again no one can say for sure. Here we are only going to deal with the how long the Muslims will remain on Earth, which includes the period of Imam Mahdi and Eesa alayhi salam- so one can infer with certainty they will arrive before the Muslims vanish from the Earth. It should be noted there are also hadiths that mention how long Imam Mahdi will reign and how long Eesa alayhi salam will remain and I will try to include them as well.
WARNING: This can get a bit confusing…so don’t get too caught up with it, just remember it is known best by Allah SWT.
First view- Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (1500 years, i.e. around 70 years left)
Sh. Hamza Yusuf discusses on this hadith at the 2 hour and 6 minutes mark (2:07:00) in this video (a great video by the way): http://www.halaltube.com/hamza-yusuf-the-antichrist-dajjal-and-the-new-world-order
“Question: Imam Mahdi will appear during Ramadan where a sun and moon eclipse will occur in the same month. It’s research indicates this is in the year 2004?”
Answer: There are some hadiths that indicate…that, nobody can say for sure. You can’t give any dates. Anybody gives you any dates we just can’t take them. Imam as-Suyuti said the ajal of the ummah would end sometime in the 15th century. He based it on a hadith that indicates this ummah lasts half of the life of the Jewish ummah and they lasted 2,000 years and so the ummah would only last 1,000 years. Which is why we had our own millennial fever 400 years ago, because people really thought it was coming to an end. And Imam as-Suyuti was born in the 10th century and lived into the 11th century so he obviously passed the thousand year mark and wrote a fatwa called “Kishf an ummata”- insight into the fact the ummah will last more than 1,000 years because he actually said, “Look we’re all alive, and its been over a thousand years.” But he said it was only 1,000 years but there was a dua of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) in which he said, “Oh Allah, give my ummah an extra half-day.” And somebody asked him how long will that be? And he said, “500 years” because a day with Allah is a thousand years. And so he said it wouldn’t go past 1,500 years, which means we have about 70 years left. And Allah knows best. Thats not the sa’a, because the ummah is finished and the sa’a comes on the worst people.”
Second view -1,900 years, 469 years left
Taken from SeekingIlm.com
Written by Br. “Mu’awiya”
Imam Al-Bukhari narrates in his sahih from Abdullah Ibn Umar that he heard the Prophet of Allah sallahu 3laye wasalam say : ” verily your stay in compared to the nations before you is like the time period between the prayers of ‘Asr ( mid-afternoon ) till sunset, The people of the Torah were given the Torah and they worked until noon and they couldn’t continue further, so they were given one Qirat, then the people of the Gospel were given the Gospel and they worked until the time of ‘Asr or mid-afternoon then they couldnt continue further, and were given a single Qirat, then we were given the Quran and we worked until the time of the sunset and were given two Qirats. (Seeing this) The people of the Book said :” Oh Allah you had given them ( the ummah of Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam ) two Qirats whereas you have given us only one and we are the most in terms of deeds.” He said,” Allah said (to them):” Have I oppressed in anything in your rewards?” and they said : “No.” (then) Allah said: “It is my bounty to whomsoever I wish I bestow”
In another variation Bukhari reports in his Sahih from Abu Musa (ra) from the Prophet sallahu 3laye wasalam : ”
The example of the Muslims, Jews and Christians is like that of a person who hired a people who would work for him till evening, but worked till noon and said : “we have no need for your compensation”, then another people were hired and told : “Complete what has remained of the day’s work and you will have what has been promised”, and so they worked until when the time of Asr(mid-afternoon) prayers came and they said: “this is all what we could have worked”, and so another people were hired and they worked for the rest of the day until the sunset and thus they completed the reward of both (of the previous) groups.”
These two narrations compare the time span of the people of Musa alihyesalam and Esa ibn Maryam alihyemusalam, with that of the age of the nation of Allah’s Final Apostle Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam. The age of the people of Musa alihesalam has been described with that of half a day and it began with the descend of the Torah till the time of the coming of the Messiah Esa ibn Maryam (as). In contrast to this, the age of the people of Esa ibn Maryam alihyemusalam has been described in span as the period between noon and mid afternoon and this is from the descend of the Gospel on Esa (as) till the advent of Allah’s Final Apostle Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam. Followed is the time of stay of the nation of Prophet Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam which has been compared to that of the time between the ‘Asr/mid-afternoon till sunset, whose beginning is marked by the first Quranic revelations on Sayidna Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam at Hira in Makkah, and its end will be at a time after the rising of the sun from the west, when a cool breeze from Yemen will move on earth taking away the souls of all those who believed. The Prophet of Allah sallahu 3laye wasalam is reported to have said : ” In between the hands of the hour(Qiyamah), there will come out a breeze/wind and it will take away the spirit of every believer.” (reported by Ahmad, Muslim, Thirmidhi and Ibn Majah), and in another narration he(saws) said ,”Verily Allah(swt) will send a wind from Yemen that will be more softer than silk, and it will not leave a person with even a single seed of eman, but will take his soul away.”( reported by al-Hakim)
Hafiz Ibn al-Hajr al-Asqalani says in his Fat-hul Bari , (in vol.4 , book of hire/ijara, page 448-449 )commenting on these two narrations : “and it is evident ( from these stated narrations) that the lasting of this Islamic nation is somewhat a thousand years, this is because the age of the Jewish nation is equivalent to that of the time periods of the Christian and Muslim ages combined, and the people of transmission (ahl an naql) have agreed that the period of the Jews till the advent of Allah’s final Apostle Muhammad Sallahu 3laye wasalam was more than 2000 years, and the span of the age of the Christians was 600 years from them..and also this narration points the fact about how little of the age of this world has remained.”
So from this saying of Ibn Hajr it is derived :
1) The time period of the Jews is equivalent to the age of the Christians and Muslims combined, so in other words
Age of the Jews = Age of the Christians + Age of the Muslims
2) The time span of the Christian age was 600 years and this has been stated in an authentic report from Bukhari who transmitted from Salman Farsi radiallaho 3anh that : “The length of time between Esa (as) and Muhammad (saws) is 600 years.”
3) So the age of the Muslims = Age of the Jews – the Age of Christians
Since the age of the Jews from the time of Musa(as)/Torah till the advent of Sayidina Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam is somewhat of a 2000 years or more, so putting the numbers in the equation we get
Age of the Muslims = 2000 years (approx.) – 600 years
= 1400 years (approx.)
So from these calculations the estimated age of the muslims is derived a little more than 1400 years.
Imam as Suyuti mentions in his book “Risalah Al-Kashf ‘an mujawazt hadehel ommah al alf”, or “treastie on revealing of the proceeding of this nation beyond the thousand, ” page 206 about the advent of the Mahdi that, “from what the narrations reveal is that the age of this ummah extends beyond a thousand but it doesnt exceed in increase another 500 in actuality beyond this thousand.”
However it should be pointed out that the Prophet sallahu 3laye wasalam wished an increase in the age of his ummah, In this regards there is another narration collected by Imam Ahmad, al-Hakim and Abu Dawud in their respective works, and Abu Nai’m in his hilyaa who report from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqas from the Prophet 3layesalat wasalam that he(saws) said, “It is my hope that for my ummah Allah swt will delay them another half a day.” Sa’d was asked, ” how much is half a day?” he replied, “it is 500 years”.
So even if the age of the Jews is a little more than 2000, and the resultant assumed age of the Muslims is 1400 from the mentioned calcuation, but now with the extra half a day added to the age span of the Muslims, the real time period of this ummah would be close to 1900 years or more,
So the age of Muslims = ( Age of the Jews – Age of the Christians) + extra half a day requested by the Prophet(saws)
= 1400 + 500
= 1900 years approximately,
and Allah knows best.
It would be useful to note Ibn Hajar lived from 773-852 A.H. so from his perspective he estimated about another 600 years we left that is: 1,400 years in total. This would indicate, according to Ibn Hajar, we are over due or just about to experience the End. I’m not quite sure where Ibn Hajar gets his initial formula from. But combined with the 500 year accepted dua it comes to 1900 according to the author of the article above (Br. Muawiya).
This above estimate is a bit confusing and wobbly because of the lifetime of the Jewish ummah seems to be uncertain and this is the base number that everything is built off of. We know for certain their era would’ve ended with Eesa alayhi salam and the culmination of the Christians, but where would it have begun? Musa alayhi salam’s time or Ibrahim’s time? Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian (but a Haneef) according to the Quran. So would it begin with Ishaq alayhi salam? Or considering the Jews are named after Yaqub alayhi salam (Israel) that is Bani Israel, the children of Israel, does the estimate begin with Yaqub alayhi salam? This is where things get fuzzy to me at least.
-Imam as-Suyuti’s estimate (and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf): 1,500 years, i.e. around 70 years left
-Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani’s estimate: 1,400 years or a little more, but from this comes 2 possibilities: Br. Muawiya’s estimate below, or that we are near the very End and this coincides with Imam as-Suyuti (and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s estimate)
– Br. Muawiya’s estimate, from this we need to add 500 more to 1,400 (due to the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam’s dua) and reach 1,900 years
In conclusion, it seems definitely likely we are nearing the end. One may wonder however, how it can be so much will take place in this short period of time? But we must remember how in some 27 years the foundations of Islam were built and how in 100 years Muslims spread from China to the Southern tip of France. Allahu alaam.
Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.