Book Review: Ashratu's Sa'ah - Signs of Judgement Day by Al-Barzanjiِ

Discussion in 'Bibliophile's Corner' started by abu Hasan, Dec 30, 2007.

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  1. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Bismillāhi’r Raĥmāni’r Raĥīm

    Name of the book: Al-Ishāáh li Ashrāţ as-Sāáh

    Name (English): The Proclamation of the Signs of the [Final] Hour

    Author: Imām Sayyid Muĥammad ibn Ábd ar-Rasūl al-Barzanjī [d. 1103 AH]

    Pages: 425

    Subject: Tribulations, Eschatalogy.

    The best explanation and review of the book is the foreword by the author himself, which I translate below. See here for a biography of the author.

    He writes an endnote in Ashrāť as-Sāáh, thus:
    “The author, a supplicant of Allâh, Muhammad ibn Ábd ar-Rasūl ibn Ábd as-Sayyid al-Álawi al-Husayni, al-Mūsawī, ash-Shaharzūrī, al-Barzanjī; and thence, al-Madanī – may Allâh forgive him.

    I have finished this book, on Wednesday, 11th Dhu’l Qaádah, 1076 AH, in the city of the Prophet (śallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam) in my place of az-Zaqqâq also known as Suwayqah. I praise Allâh, send Salawāt on RasūlAllāh śallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam along with many prayers; and beseech forgiveness for all Muslim men and women; may Allâh make this a means for my salvation on the day of judgement, for the sake of the Prince of the pious. Amen.”
    Foreword of Al-Ishāáh

    Praise be to Him who has made the way of Truth manifest; and every thing bears evidence for this Truth. He made a true promise of reward for those who made Him as their Trustee and were pleased with Him as their Benefactor. Praise to Him, who made Ibrāhīm as his viceregent; verily, he was the leader of the nation and devout bondsman. So He granted him the highest ranks of friendship and commanded him to build a house that would be visited by all able from every corner of the world. He who made knowledge the means of guidance; and that He may test those who bear faith and leave them go astray whomsoever He Will. [1]

    Praise be to Allāh who accepted the prayer of Ibrāhīm for his progeny and therefore sent forth Muĥammad şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam, His Bondsman and the Master [of creation]; a Prophet and the Messenger. Verily, he is the prayer of Ibrāhīm and verily the prayer of Ibrāhīm is sanctioned.

    We praise Allāh who gave us a trustworthy Messenger with a Noble Book; one who is forgiving, forbearing, and eager for our salvation; merciful to the faithful and kind to them. He is of lofty character, as Allāh the Exalted and the Greatest has informed us and commanded the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam to follow the path of his father, Ibrāhīm.

    Allāh táālā sent him before the [appointed] Hour arrives and close to it, just as the index finger is next to the middle; he who foretold us of the tribulations and the horror that shall occur before the appointed Hour – so, seek those prophecies from him. He warned us of the turmoil and chaos in general, and in specific, of Dajjāl, the evil.[2]

    Salutations and peace upon our Master and his progeny, his companions, his heirs, his brothers and those who love him and are loved by him.

    Ĥāfiž Jalāluddīn Ábd ar-Raĥmān as-Suyūţī has written a book about death and the hereafter named Sharĥ as-Şudūr bi Sharĥi Ĥāl al-Mawtā wa’l Qubūr. In its preface, he writes:
    ‘If I live longer, I hope to write sequels to this book that will describe the signs and portents of the Hour; the Resurrection and Judgement day; the life in Paradise and Hell. May Allāh help me by His Grace to realize this wish.’
    The Imām did indeed follow up with a book on Resurrection and named it Al-Budūr as-Sāfirah fī Umūr al-Ākhirah. However, I could not find a book by him on the Signs of the Hour; either because he did not write one; or if he did, it was lost.

    So, I wished to write a book which describes the signs and portents of Apocalypse extensively as Ĥāfiž Suyuti originally intended. This book will therefore become a bridge between the two books mentioned above or serve as a companion to either of them. I put my trust in Allāh táālā to aid me in this task.

    Allāh táālā has said:
    The day of Reckoning is close, but men turn away [from guidance] in their heedlessness’ [3]

    And what do you know? Haply, the Hour is nigh.’ [4]

    What do they wait for, except the Hour, and that it should come upon them abruptly, whilst they are unaware.’ [5]

    So what do they wait for except the Hour to come upon them suddenly; verily, its signs have already come.’ [6]
    There are numerous traditions [sayings of the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam] describing these signs which we shall see presently.

    This world was not created for eternity, nor is it a place for dwelling forever. It is a sojourn on the way to the Hereafter. A place to prepare for the Grand Audience and to meet Allāh, the Exalted. When this world totters towards its termination, and its days wane it is necessary for every scholar to publish its signs and educate the people by broadcasting the traditions that have been narrated in this regard. Mayhap, this will cause them to hold back from sinning and soften their hearts; mayhap, this might awaken them from their slumber of neglect and cause them to salvage that which remains in their lives and attain salvation.

    Therefore, you might find some parts of this book repetitive because I attempt to explain it as much as possible, not merely mention a Sign and proceed; as an effort to rouse the heedless and deluded; as a reminder to the aware and watchful; and as a means of attaining the Pleasure of the Powerful, and a sustenance for the Ever After.

    I beseech Allāh táālā to grant me sincerety in my intention and to complete my effort in the best fashion. Verily, actions are dependent on their intentions; and every man gets what he intends for. I ask Allāh táālā to make all Muslims to benefit from this work and [on its account] forgive me, my ancestors, my bretheren, my progeny. Amen.

    I have named this book: The Promulgation of the Signs of the Hour and I hope for the intercession of the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam in spite of my poverty of deeds. So here I begin with the introduction, as I ride in the Fields of His Bounty [7]:

    Dire is the Hour; terror shall be widespread. And prolonged will be its dread. Allāh táālā will Judge the first and the last; among the believers and the infidels; and distinguish between the sincere and the hypocrites as He has said:
    That shall be the day when mankind shall be gathered; and that shall be the day of the great audience.” [8]

    Dour is the Hour, and bitter.” [9]

    We shall soon consider you [for judgement], the two groups [of Jinn and Men]” [10]
    And it shall be sudden, as said by Allāh táālā. He has not given this knowledge to anyone in His creation and kept it for Himself. Or He has given it to His Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam but forbade him to divulge the appointed hour; because of the importance and its gravity. [11]

    One should prepare for it more than anything else; for, great is its horror. It is therefore that the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam amply foretold its signs and its portents. He told us about the tribulations and the events of near and far[12] so that people in every age are warned and wary. So that they indulge themselves in amassing good deeds and abstaining from desires and worldly pleasures. These signs are of three kinds:
    1. Those signs which have already occurred and are now past; these are distant signs. [13]

    2. Those which have appeared and are still not over; rather, they shall continue until the final signs appear. [14]

    3. The third kind which includes the major signs close to the Hour, and penultimate to it. [15]
    These signs follow one after the other in the manner of beads that roll over, when a string of beads is broken. We shall discuss each kind [of signs] in its own chapter. I have not seen anyone compile the signs in this order until now. And I hope this book to be more objective and easier for people to understand.

    First Note:
    The major portion of this book will be ĥadīth narrations which are extracted from the following books:

    - Fat’ĥ al-Bārī [Sharĥ al-Bukhārī], Ĥāfiž Ibn Ĥajar al-Ásqalānī:
    - Ad-Durr al-Manthūr, Ĥāfiž Jalāluddīn as-Suyūţī
    - Al-Khaşāyiş al-Kubrā, Ĥāfiž Jalāluddīn as-Suyūţī
    - Jamú’l Jawāmiý, Ĥāfiž Jalāluddīn as-Suyūţī
    - Al-Árf al-Wardī [fī Akhbār al-Mahdī], Ĥāfiž Jalāluddīn as-Suyūţī
    - Al-Kashf [án Mujāwazati hādhi’hi al-Ummati al-Alf], Ĥāfiž Jalāluddīn as-Suyūţī
    - Tārīkh al-Madīnah, Imām Nūruddīn Álī as-Samhūdī
    - Jawāhir al-Íqdayn [fī Fađl ash-Sharafayn], Imām Nūruddīn Álī as-Samhūdī
    - Books of the scholar Álī al-Muttaqī [al-Hindī]
    - Some parts from Takhrīj al-Masābīĥ, Ĥāfiž al-Munāwī
    - Al-Qanāáh, Ĥāfiž as-Sakhāwī

    These are the major sources; any other book that is quoted is noted accordingly. I have acknowledged these sources by name, to exonerate myself from being accused of plagiarism and to guide the reader for further research.

    Second Note:
    The original purpose of this book was to collect the ĥadīth of the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam as an easy reference to Muslims; and by this deed, I hope for the intercession of the Master şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam. The reader may find repetition of some narrations, which is inevitable and indicated likewise; so, let not the reader be piqued with the author’s style.


    1. The original Arabic phrases are a bit complex and quite stylish; the translator has taken the liberty to trim some of them for the sake of brevity and for the fear of losing some meaning in translation.

    2. Dajjāl, means the greatest liar. He is a man foretold in the prophecies and is known in the Judeo-Christian literature as the Antichrist.

    3. iqtaraba li’n nāsi ĥisābuhum wa hum fī ghaflatin múriđūn. [Sūrah Al-Anbiyā’a, 21:1]

    4. wa mā yudrīka la’álla’s sā’áta takūnu qarībā. [Sūrah Al-Aĥzāb, 33:63]

    5. hal yanžurūna illa’s sā’áta an ta’tiyahum baghtatan wa hum lā yash’úrūn. [Sūrah Az-Zukhruf, 43:66]

    6. fa hal yanžurūna illa’s sā’áta an ta’tiyahum baghtatan fa qad jā’a ashrātuhā; [Sūrah Muĥammad, 47:18]

    7. a metaphor to mean: with the Grace of the Lord.

    8. dhālika yawmun majmūún lahu’n nāsu wa dhālika yawmun mash’hūd. [Sūrah Hūd, 11:103]

    9. wa’s sā’átu ad-hā wa amarr. [Sūrah Al-Qamar, 54:46]

    10. sa-nafrughu lakum ayyuha’th thaqalān. [Sūrah Ar-Raĥmān, 55:31]

    11. That is one of five unseen; Shaykh al-Barzanjī is talking about the knowledge of unseen given to RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam. AlaHazrat mentioned this in his treatise Ad-Dawlatu'l Makkiyah.

    12. near to the hour or far from it – in terms of time. We can also take it to mean near and far places.

    13. al-amārāt al-baýīdah

    14. al-amārāt al-mutawassiţah

    15. al-ashrāţ al-ížām al-latī táqubuhā as-sā’áh
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2007

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