Perhaps the questioner is referring to the hadeeth narrated
by al-Bukhaari (1036) from Abu Hurayrah who said: The Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Hour will not begin until
knowledge is taken away, earthquakes increase, time passes quickly,
tribulations appear, and there is a lot of haraj, which is killing,
killing, and until there will be a lot of wealth among you and it will
And Ahmad narrated (10560) that Abu Hurayrah said: The
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“The Hour will not begin until time passes quickly, so a year will be like a
month, and a month will be like a week, and a week will be like a day, and a
day will be like an hour, and an hour will be like the burning of a braid of
Ibn Katheer said: Its isnaad is (saheeh) according to the
conditions of Muslim. And it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7422.
These two ahaadeeth indicate that one of the signs of the
Hour is that time will pass more quickly.
The scholars differed concerning the meaning of the phrase
taqaarub al-zamaan (time passing more quickly). There are many views, the
strongest of which is:
That the phrase taqaarub al-zamaan (time passing quickly) may
be interpreted literally or metaphorically.
The metaphorical meaning is that barakah (blessing) will
disappear from time, which is something that started a long time ago.
This was the view favoured by al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad, al-Nawawi and
al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on them).
Al-Nawawi said: what is meant by its becoming short is that
there will be no barakah in it, and that the benefit that a person gets from
one day, for example, will be the equivalent of the benefit that he used to
get in a single hour.
Al-Haafiz said: The fact of the matter is that what it means
is that barakah will disappear from everything, even from time. That is one
of the signs that the Hour is at hand.
The metaphorical meaning
also includes ease and speed of travel between distant places, so that it
may be regarded as time passing more quickly. Distances that took months to
cross in the past do not take more than a number of hours nowadays.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said, in his commentary on Fath al-Baari,
2/522: the time passing quickly mentioned in the hadeeth may be interpreted
in the sense of what has happened nowadays, where the distances between
cities and regions have grown shorter and it takes less time to travel
between them, because of the invention of planes, cars, broadcasting, etc.
And Allaah knows best.
With regard to the literal meaning, that days will become
shorter in a real sense, so that the hours of night and day pass quickly,
this has not happened yet, but it is not something impossible. This is
supported by the fact that the days of the Dajjaal will become longer so
that a day will be like a year or a month or a week in length. Just as days
may become longer, they may also become shorter. That will be because of the
world system going out of control and the approach of the end of the world.
In al-Fath, al-Haafiz quoted Ibn Abi Jamrah as
It may be that what is
meant by time passing quickly is that time will literally become shorter,
based on what is said in the hadeeth: “The Hour will not begin until a year
is like a month.” Based on this, then the shortening of time may be
understood in a literal sense, or it may be metaphorical. In the real sense
it has not started yet, but it may be one of the things that will happen
when the Hour is at hand. With regard to the metaphorical sense, it appeared
some time ago. This is known to the religious scholars and also to those who
are smart and involved in worldly affairs, for they find that none of them
can do as much work as they used to do before, and they complain about that
and do not know the reason for it. Perhaps that is because of the weakness
of faith and the emergence of things that go against Islam in many ways. The
worst of that lack of barakah is mostly manifested in provision, because the
sources of provision are either completely haraam or are dubious, as is
obvious to everyone, to such an extent that many people do not care where
their provision comes from; wherever they can get they take it and they do
not care. In fact the barakah in time, provision and agriculture can only
be obtained by means of strength of faith, following Allaah’s commands and
heeding His prohibitions. The proof of that is the words of Allaah
(interpretation of the meaning):
“And if the people of the towns had believed and had the
Taqwa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the
heaven and the earth”
Al-Suyooti said something similar in al-Haawi li’l-Fataawi
(1/44), where he said concerning the meaning of this hadeeth:
It was said that this is in fact literal, and that the hours
of day and night will grow shorter when the onset of the Hour is at hand.
And it was said that it is metaphorical, and that what is meant is that days
will pass quickly and the barakah will be removed from all things, even from
time…. And there are other opinions as well. And Allaah knows best.
There is no contradiction between these three views, that it
means the removal of blessing, ease of transportation and time passing more
quickly in a literal sense. There is no reason why the hadeeth should not be
interpreted as meaning all of them. And Allaah knows best.
There are other opinions concerning the meaning of “time
passing quickly,” but they are not as strong as the opinions quoted above.
For example there is the view of al-Khattaabi, which is that life will
become enjoyable. Al-Haafiz said: It means – and Allaah knows best – that
this will happen at the time of the Mahdi, when security and justice prevail
throughout the earth, and life will become enjoyable at that time, and
people will feel that time is shorter; because people feel that times of
ease are short even when they are long, and they feel that times of hardship
last long, even if they are short. Then al-Haafiz said: Rather al-Khattaabi
interpreted it in this manner because that this shortness of time had not
yet happened in his era. But what the hadeeth refers to is happening in our
time, for we see that days are passing quickly in a way that did not happen
during previous times, even though there is no easy life. In fact the
meaning is metaphorical and refers to the removal of barakah.
Another opinion was that of Ibn Battaal, which is that what
is meant is that people will become similar to one another in their lack of
religious commitment, so that there will not be anyone among them who
enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil, because of the prevalence of
evil and its people.
This interpretation goes against the apparent meaning of the
hadeeth and is refuted by what the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said in another hadeeth: “The Hour will not begin until
time passes more quickly so that a year will be like a month…” It is obvious
that what is meant is that time itself will pass more quickly, not that
people will start to resemble one another in their lack of religious
And Allaah knows best.
See Fath al-Baari, 13/21, commentary on hadeeth no.
Ittihaaf al-Jamaa’ah by
Al-Sunan al-Waaridah fi’l-Fitan wa Ghawaa’iliha
wa’l-Saa’ah wa Ashraatiha by Abu ‘Amr ‘Uthmaan
al-Daani, ed. By Dr. Rida’-Allaah al-Mubaarakfoori
Ashraat al-Saa’ah by al-Waabil,