Q: What are the lesser and greater signs of the Day of Resurrection?.
A: Praise be to Allaah.
The signs and portents of the Day of Resurrection are the things that will happen before the Resurrection takes place and will indicate that it is close at hand. They have been divided into lesser and greater signs. The lesser signs, for the most part, will occur a long time before the Resurrection begins. Some of them have happened and ended – although they may be repeated – and some of them have appeared and are ongoing, and some have not yet happened, but they will happen as the truthful one (the Prophet) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has told us.
The major signs are serious matters, the appearance of which will indicate that the Day of Resurrection is at hand and that there is only a short time until that great Day comes.
The lesser signs of the Hour are many, and are mentioned in many saheeh ahaadeeth. We will list them together without quoting the ahaadeeth, because there is not enough room to do so here. We will provide references to trustworthy books on the topic for those who wish to know more about this matter and the evidence for these signs. These include al-Qiyaamah al-Sughra by Shaykh ‘Umar Sulaymaan al-Ashqar [this book is available in English translation under the title The Minor Resurrection, published by International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia] and Ashraat al-Saa’ah by Shaykh Yoosuf al-Waabil.
The lesser signs of the Hour include the following:
1. The sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
2. The death of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
3. The conquest of Jerusalem.
4. The plague of Amwaas (Emmaus), which is a city in Palestine.
5. Widespread wealth and lack of need for charity.
6. The appearance of fitan (tribulations). Among the tribulations that occurred in the early years of Islam were: the killing of ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him), the battle of the camel and the battle of Siffeen, the emergence of the Khawaarij, the battle of al-Harrah, and the opinion that the Qur’aan is a creation.
7. The emergence of claimants to Prophethood, such as the liar Musaylimah and al-Aswad al-‘Anasi.
8. The appearance of fire in the Hijaaz, which appeared in the middle of the 7th century AH, in 654 AH. This was a great fire, which the scholars who were alive at the time of its appearance and those who came after them described in great detail. Al-Nawawi said: "There appeared in our time a fire in Madeenah, in the year six hundred and fifty-four. It was a very great fire on the eastern side of Madeenah, beyond the Harrah, and knowledge of it was widespread throughout Syria and all lands. Those of the people of Madeenah who were present told me about it".
9. Loss of trust. One of the manifestations of loss of trust is people’s affairs being entrusted to those who are not qualified or able for that.
10. The taking away of knowledge and the prevalence of ignorance; the taking away of knowledge will occur with the disappearance of the scholars, as it says in al-Saheehayn.
11. The spread of zina (adultery, fornication)
12. The spread of riba (usury, interest).
13. The prevalence of musical instruments.
14. Widespread drinking of alcohol.
15. Shepherds competing in the construction of tall buildings.
16. A slave woman giving birth to her mistress, as is stated in al-Saheehayn. There are several views among the scholars as to what this means. The view favoured by Ibn Hajar is that there will be widespread disobedience among children, so that a child will treat his mother as a master treats his slave woman, with negligence and insults.
17. Widespread killing.
18. Widespread earthquakes.
19. Appearance of landslides, transformations and stones from heaven.
20. Appearance of women who are clothed yet naked.
21. Believer’s dreams coming true.
22. Widespread giving of false testimony and concealment of true testimony.
23. Large numbers of women.
24. The land of the Arabs becoming once again meadows and rivers.
25. The Euphrates will uncover a mountain of gold.
26. Wild animals and inanimate objects will speak to people.
27. The “Romans” will increase in number and fight the Muslims.
28. The conquest of Constantinople.
The major portents of the Hour are those which were mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the hadeeth of Hudhayfah ibn Aseed, and there are ten signs: The Dajjaal; the descent of ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary); Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog); three landslides, one in the east, one in the west and one in the Arabian Peninsula; the smoke; the rising of the sun from its place of setting; the Beast; and the fire which will drive the people to their place of gathering. These signs will appear one after another, and when the first of these signs appear, the others will come soon after.
Muslim narrated that Hudhayfah ibn Aseed al-Ghifaari (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out to us when we were discussing. He said: «What are you discussing?», They said: “We are talking about the Hour.” He said: «It will never begin until you see ten signs before it». He mentioned the smoke, the Dajjaal, the Beast, the rising of the sun from its place of setting, the descent of ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj, and three landslides, one in the east, one in the west and one in the Arabian Peninsula, and the last of that is a fire which will emerge from Yemen and drive the people to their place of gathering.
There is no saheeh text which states the order in which these signs will occur, rather the order of some of them is to be understood from the context of the texts.
Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked:
Will the major portents of the Hour occur in a certain order?
"The order of some of the major portents is known, and in the case of others the order is not known. Among those whose order is known are the descent of ‘Eesa ibn Maryam, the emergence of Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj, and the Dajjaal, for the Dajjaal will be sent, then ‘Eesa ibn Maryam will come down and kill him, then Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj will emerge.
Al-Safareeni (may Allaah have mercy on him) listed the order of these portents in his ‘Aqeedah, but some of the order is acceptable whilst some of it is not. But what matters is that there are major signs of the Hour and when they happen, the Hour has drawn nigh. Allaah has decreed portents of the Hour, because it is a serious event and people need to know when it is about to happen". End quote.