The literal meaning of the Arabic word Qiyamah is something that happens all of a sudden. In the terminology of Quran, it is an important event that would occur at the end of the world and continue thereafter. All divine prophets and especially the Holy Prophet (S) have informed about this significant event.
The Holy Quran has mentioned it in various terms. For example: Judgment Day, the Last Day, a day in which there is no relationship and friendship, the day on which all the people would be gathered, the day on which the people would be raised, the day of separation of the doers of good and evil, the day which would occur all of a sudden and so on.
According to the Holy Quran the arrival of that day is absolutely imminent and it says: There is no doubt about it. But it has not mentioned the exact date of this event and has introduced it only as something, which would come all of a sudden. It can only be said that it would occur all of a sudden after the period of Barzakh is over.
But as mentioned before, the world of Barzakh is contemporary to the period of this world and it is not bound by time and space. Since time and space are worldly phenomena, and Judgment Day is also after Barzakh; but this ‘after-ness’ is not the ‘after-ness’ of time and space, since in Qiyamat, the concepts of time and space would be cancelled and a new concepts would come into being; that is why the folks of Barzakh do not have proper awareness of the passage of time.
The Holy Quran says:
وَيَوْمَ يَحشُرُهُمْ كَأَن لَّمْ يَلْبَثُواْ إِلَّا سَاعَةً مِّنَ النَّهَارِ
And on the day when He will gather them as though they had not stayed but an hour of the day… (10:45)
And it also says:
وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يُقْسِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ مَا لَبِثُواْ غَيْرَ سَاعَةٍ
And at the time when the hour shall come, the guilty shall swear (that) they did not tarry but an hour… (30:55)
Although the Holy Quran has not mentioned the exact date of the occurrence of Qiyamat, it has indicated its signs.
One of the signs of Qiyamat is the blowing of the trumpet. According to Quran, at the end of the world, before the occurrence of Qiyamat, the trumpet would be blown twice and this important event is a sign that Qiyamat is near.
The Holy Quran says:
وَنُفِخَ فِى الصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَن فِى السَّمَوَاتِ وَمَن فِى الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَن شَآءَ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخْرَى فَإِذَا هُمْ قِيَامٌ يَنظُرُونَ
And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except such as Allah please; then it shall be blown again, then lo! they shall stand up awaiting. (39:68)
The literal meaning of ‘صعق’ is to become unconscious due to a terrifying heavenly scream and sometimes it brings death to the one who hears it according to the commentators who have interpreted this verse.
According to this verse, before Qiyamat the trumpet would be blown twice; on the first time, all the people present in the world would die and enter the world of Barzakh. And the second time all those who are in Barzakh would be enlivened and raised for Qiyamat.
In another verse, it is mentioned:
وَيَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِى الصُّورِ فَفَزِعَ مَن فِى السَّمَوَتِ وَمَن فِى الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَن شَآءَ اللَّهُ وَكُلٌّ أَتَوْهُ دَخِرِينَ
And on the day when the trumpet shall be blown, then those who are in the heavens and those who are in the earth shall be terrified except such as Allah please, and all shall come to Him abased. (27:87)
According to this verse, before Qiyamat, the horn would be blown twice. The first time it would be to warn the people and prepare them for Qiyamat. During this first time all the inhabitants of the earth and the heavens would swoon due to its terror. But it is not mentioned that they would die. If the phrase ‘those who are in the earth’ implied those who are not dead yet, and who live in the earth, it should have mentioned: All would die at the first blowing and join those with the other folks of Barzakh, so that they may become ready for Qiyamat.
If it implies those who had died previously and who are present in Barzakh, but since they are still attached to worldly matters and are not able to forgo their attachment, and that is why it is possible to call them as ‘those who are in the earth’; and it is also unlikely. Therefore it is necessary to consider the first blowing to be aimed at warning the people and making them ready for Qiyamat.
In the second blowing, by the natural command of the all-powerful Allah the system of matter and materiality would be destroyed and dismantled and the real exigencies of the system of cause and effect would become obvious. The inner aspects of man would become apparent. The reward and punishment of the deeds of man would be clear before the Almighty Allah and all this will not take more than a moment. The Almighty Allah says:
يَوْمَ هُم بَارِزُونَ لَا يَخْفَى عَلَى اللَّهِ مِنْهُمْ شَىْءٌ لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ لِلَّهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ
(Of) the day when they shall come forth, nothing concerning them remains hidden to Allah. To whom belongs the kingdom this day? To Allah, the One, the Subduer (of all). (40:16)
Yet another verse says:
وَنُفِخَ فِى الصُّورِ فَجَمَعْنَاهُمْ جَمْعاً
…and the trumpet will be blown, so We will gather them all together. (18:99)
On the basis of the above mentioned verses and other traditions, it can be said that the blowing of trumpet is imminent and that it is a sign of Qiyamat.
Now it should be seen what kind of a trumpet it is and how it would be blown? The dictionary meaning of ‘trumpet’ is something blown usually to make a public announcement or to warn the public about an impending invasion. In the past, this instrument was fashioned from animal horn, but it has evolved through the ages. Blowing the trumpet means creating a loud sound from it. Does the trumpet mentioned in the verse is in the same meaning and whether blowing into it should be interpreted as killing? Or it means something else?
With a little consideration, it would become clear that trumpet neither signifies the same particular instrument nor blowing of it can be said to be putting to death, because God is not a body that He should use a physical mean to make the living dead or to make them alive again. The actions of the Almighty Allah are not like those of human beings that they should be in need of a tangible instrument.
The Almighty Allah is not in need of the blowing into a material tool in order to put to death the living or to enliven those who are dead. On the contrary, He does this through the angels appointed to capture the souls (Izrael) and angels appointed to enliven the dead.
Therefore, as Allamah Tabatabai has mentioned in the interpretation of the verse: Blowing of the trumpet is an allusion to a warning and the call for people to be present for Qiyamat.1
Other commentators have also interpreted this verse in the same way. A tradition of the Messenger of Allah (S) is used to support this contention. Sulaiman bin Arqam says: It has come down from the Holy Prophet (S) that when he was asked about the ‘trumpet’, he said that it was a horn (an instrument) of effulgence (Noor).2
In this tradition of the Messenger of Allah (S) the trumpet is a horn (an instrument) of effulgence (Noor). Therefore it does not have a material body like the horn or a metallic instrument; on the contrary it is a non-material medium for issuing a warning.
One of the signs of Qiyamat is the collapse and complete derangement of the Solar System as mentioned in a number of verses of the Holy Quran. Some of them are as follows:
The Quran say:
إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ * وَ إِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ * وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ
When the sun is covered, and when the stars darken, and when the mountains are made to pass away. (81:1-3)
إذَا السَّمَآءُ انفَطَرَتْ * وَإِذَا الْكَوَاكِبُ انتَثَرَتْ * وَ إِذَا الْبِحَارُ فُجِّرَتْ
When the heaven becomes cleft asunder, and when the stars become dispersed, and when the seas are made to flow forth. (82:1-3)
فَإِذَا النُّجُومُ طُمِسَتْ * وَإِذَا السَّمَآءُ فُرِجَتْ * وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ نُسِفَتْ
So when the stars are made to lose their light, and when the heaven is rent asunder, and when the mountains are carried away as dust. (77:8-10)
يَوْمَ تَمُورُ السَّمَآءُ مَوْراً * وَتَسِيرُ الْجِبَالُ سَيْراً
On the day when the heaven shall move from side to side, and the mountains shall pass away passing away (altogether). (52:9-10)
إذَا وَقَعَتِ الْوَاقِعَةُ * لَيْسَ لِوَقْعَتِهَا كَاذِبَةٌ * خَافِضَةٌ رَّافِعَةٌ * إِذَا رُجَّتِ الْأَرْضُ رَجّاً * وَبُسَّتِ الْجِبَالُ بَسّاً * فَكَانَتْ هَبَآءً مُّنبَثّاً
When the great event comes to pass, there is no belying its coming to pass - abasing (one party), exalting (the other), when the earth shall be shaken with a (severe) shaking, and the mountains shall be made to crumble with (an awful) crumbling, so that they shall be as scattered dust. (56:1-6)
يَوْمَ نَطْوِى السَّمَآءَ كَطَىِّ السِّجِلِّ لِلْكُتُبِ
On the day when We will roll up heaven like the rolling up of the scroll for writings… (21:104)
إِذَا السَّمَآءُ انشَقَّتْ * وَ أَذِنَتْ لِرَبِّهَا وَ حُقَّتْ * وَ إِذَا الْأَرْضُ مُدَّتْ * وَأَلْقَتْ مَا فِيهَا وَتَخَلَّتْ * وَأَذِنَتْ لِرَبِّهَا وَ حُقَّتْ
When the heaven bursts asunder, and obeys its Lord and it must. And when the earth is stretched, and casts forth what is in it and becomes empty, and obeys its Lord and it must. (84:1-5)
يَسْئَلُ أَيَّانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ * فَإِذَا بَرِقَ الْبَصَرُ * وَخَسَفَ الْقَمَرُ * وَ جُمِعَ الشَّمْسُ وَ الْقَمَرُ
He asks: When is the day of resurrection? So when the sight becomes dazed, and the moon becomes dark, and the sun and the moon are brought together. (75:6-9)
وَيَسْئَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْجِبَالِ فَقُلْ يَنسِفُهَا رَبِّى نَسْفاً* فَيَذَرُهَا قَاعاً صَفْصَفاً * لَّا تَرَى فِيهَا عِوَجاً وَلَا أَمْتاً
And they ask you about the mountains. Say: My Lord will carry them away from the roots. Then leave it a plain, smooth level; You shall not see therein any crookedness or unevenness. (20:105-107)
يَوْمَ تُبَدَّلُ الْأَرْضُ غيْرَ الْأَرضِ وَالسَّمَوَاتُ وَبَرَزُواْ لِلَّهِ الْوَحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ
On the day when the earth shall be changed into a different earth, and the heavens (as well), and they shall come forth before Allah, the One, the Supreme. (14:48)
كَلَّا إِذَا دُكَّتِ الْأَرْضُ دَكّاً دَكّاً
Nay! when the earth is made to crumble to pieces… (89:21)
إِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ الْأَرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا * وَأَخْرَجَتِ الْأَرْضُ أَثْقَالَهَا
When the earth is shaken with her (violent) shaking, and the earth brings forth her burdens… (99:1-2)
It can be concluded from such verses that very significant events would occur in this material world and there would be complete derangement in it. The heavens would split and merge into each other. The sun would lose its brilliance and heat and become dark. The moon would also darken.
Stars would loose their sheen and be scattered in the atmosphere. Mountains would be rocked with tremors and shatter into particles. A terrible earthquake would rock the earth and all that is inside it would be expelled. The earth would sink into itself completely and would be changed into a completely new earth.
An important point: As mentioned previously with regard to the world of Barzakh, Qiyamat and total gatherings is an existing world, which would occur after the world of Barzakh; it is not in the breadth of this world or Barzakh; on the contrary with regard to the position of its existence it is along the length of the world of Barzakh and above it and encompassing it. Therefore it cannot be asked: When and where would Qiyamat occur?