One of the pronouncements given to us by the
Prophet (saas) about the End Times is the following:
The ruin of great cities spoken of in this hadith
brings to mind the destruction that now arises from war and
various natural disasters. Recently developed nuclear weapons,
aircraft, bombs, missiles, and other modern weapons, have
caused untold destruction. These terrible weapons have brought
about a degree of destruction never before seen. Indeed, the
great cities targeted are most affected by this destruction.
The incomparable destruction of the Second World War is an
example of this. With the use of the atom bomb in world’s
greatest war, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were completely destroyed.
As a result of heavy bombing, European capitals and other
important cities suffered a great amount of damage. The
Encyclopedia Britannica describes the damage caused to
European cities by World War II:
The resulting devastation had turned much of
Europe into a moonscape: cities laid waste or consumed by
fire storms, the countryside charred and blackened, roads
pitted with shell holes or bomb craters, railways out of
action, bridges destroyed or truncated, harbors filled with
sunken, listing ships. “Berlin,” said General
Lucius D. Clay, the deputy military governor in the U.S.
zone of postwar Germany, “was like a city of the dead.”6
In short, the unprecedented destruction caused
by the Second World War conforms entirely to that described
in the hadith of the Prophet (saas).
Another cause of the destruction of major cities
is natural disasters. It is a statistical fact that the age
in which we live has seen an increase in both the number and
the seriousness of natural disasters. In the last ten years,
disasters caused by climactic changes are a novel phenomenon.
A dangerous and unwanted by-product of industry is global
warming. Industry is gradually disturbing the balance in the
world’s atmosphere, giving rise to climactic changes.
The year of 1998 was the hottest on earth since records have
been kept.7 According to the information
of the American National Climate Data Center, the greatest
number of weather-related disasters occurred in 1998.8
For example, Hurricane Mitch has been referred to by a number
of observers as the world’s worst natural disaster ever
to strike Central America.9
In the hadiths, it is revealed that, in the End Times,
big cities will be destroyed as if they had never existed.
In the past century, many cities were destroyed in such
a manner. Only two examples here suffice, Hiroshima after
the atom bomb (above), and several cities in Chechnya.
In the last few years, hurricanes, storms, typhoons
and other such disasters have had a destructive effect on
the American continent as well as in several other places
in the world. In addition, floods have caused mudslides, which
have engulfed certain centers of population. Furthermore,
earthquakes, volcanoes and tidal waves have also caused great
devastation. Therefore, all this destruction brought on upon
the great cities by these calamities is an important sign
in each case.
In the last century, a great number of disasters have
occurred. In numerous countries, destruction has taken
place as a result of which millions have lost their
lives. These events are a striking parallel to that
mentioned in the hadiths as signs of the End Times.
People should now take lessons from these occurrences
and adopt the moral teachings of the Qur’an.
6. Britannica Encyclopedia 2000,
“The blast of World War II”
7. BBC News Online, "The first horseman: Environmental
disaster", December 1999, http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/scie/tech/newsid_563000/563127.stm
8. National Climatic Data Center, "Billion Dollar U.S.
Weather Disasters", October 2000, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/reports/billionz.html
9. Encarta Encyclopedia 2000, "Central America"