In this chapter, we will examine the religious condition of the people prior to the advent of the Imam of the Time (‘atfs). It can be understood from the hadiths that during those days, Islam and the Qur’an will remain in name only while the Muslims will be Muslims only superficially. The mosques will no longer be centers for guiding and admonishing the people. The jurists (fuqaha) at that time will be the worst jurists on the face of the earth while religion will be bartered for a trivial price and paltry sum.
Islam means submission to the will and orders of God. Islam is the most superior and the best religion which ensures the felicity of mankind in this world and in the hereafter. However, that which is valuable is the implementation of the precepts of Islam and the Qur’an. At the end of time, everything will be the contrary. In other words, nothing will be left of Islam but its name.
The Qur’an will be present in society, but nothing of it will remain except the script written on its pages. The Muslims will be Muslims only in name and no semblance of Islam will be found in them. The Noble Prophet of Islam (S) said: “A period will come to pass for my ummah in which nothing will be left of Islam but its name, and there will be no trace of the Qur’an but its form and outline. The Muslims will be called Muslims in name but of all the people they will be the most alien to Islam.”1
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “A time will soon come to pass when the people will not recognize God and will not know the meaning of monotheism at such a time the Dajjal (the Anti-Christ) will appear.”2
The mosque is the place for the worship of God, religious preaching, and guiding and enlightening the people. During the early period of Islam, even important administrative work would be carried out in the mosques. Jihad would be planned there, and man would realize spiritual ascension (mi‘raj) from the mosque.
But during the end of time, mosques will lose their importance, and instead of being centers for religious teaching, propagation and enlightenment, only their number and splendor will increase, even when they will be cut off from the believers. The Prophet of God (S) said: “During that time the mosques will be beautiful and flourishing but they will be devoid of guidance and enlightenment.”3
The scholars and the ‘ulama’ of Islam are the protectors of God’s religion on earth, and the guidance and enlightenment of the people lies upon their shoulders. By enduring great difficulties, they deduce religious matters from the fundamental sources of the religion and present them to the people. At the end of time, however, the situation will change, and the ‘ulama’ of those days will be the worst ‘ulama’.
In this regard, the Messenger of God (S) said: “The jurists (fuqaha) of those days will be the worst jurists under heaven. Sedition and chaos will start from them and will also return to them.”4 Perhaps, it alludes to court-affiliated scholars who justify the crimes of tyrant kings and self-centered rulers, giving them an Islamic twist.
It also includes those who are ready to compromise with every offender and criminal such as Wahhabi5 preachers on the payroll of kings who regard it as unlawful to struggle against America and Israel, and those who did not speak out against the crimes of Israel and justified the crimes of the Wahhabis in killing pilgrims to the House of God by citing Qur’anic verses and hadiths.6 Yes, it must be said that they are the worst fuqaha from whom seditions have started and to whom they will also return.
Another sign of the end of time is the people’s desertion of religion. One day, Imam Husayn (‘a) came to the Commander of the Faithful (Imam ‘Ali) (‘a) while a group of people were sitting around him. ‘Ali (‘a) said to them: “Husayn is your chief. The Messenger of Allah has called him sayyid (master) and chief.
From among his progeny a man will rise up who resembles me in appearance and character. He will fill the world with justice and equity just as it had been full of injustice and oppression.” It was asked: “When will this uprising occur?” He said: “Alas! It will be at the time when you would abandon religion in the same manner that a wife would take off her clothes for her husband.”7
If a person’s life is in danger, he becomes obliged to sacrifice his property in order to save his life. If his religion is in danger, however, he must sacrifice his life in order to save his religion. At the end of time, however, religion will be sold for a miserable price, and those who were believers in the morning will become infidels by the afternoon.
In this regard, the Messenger of God (S) has said: “Woe to the Arabs for the evil that is approaching them. Seditions, like nighttime, are dark and gloomy. A man would be a believer in the morning and an infidel at sunset. A group will sell their religion for a trivial profit and a miserable amount. Anyone at that time who will cling steadfastly to his religion would be like one who will take an ember from the fire or squeeze a thorn in his hands.”8