Signs of the Last Day (Ashrāṭ al-Sāʿah)
The Beginning of Judgement Day
وَأُزْلِفَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ وَبُرِّزَتِ الْجَحِيمُ لِلْغَاوِينَ
Paradise is brought forward for the pious, and Hell is displayed and brought near for the sinners.
Paradise will be displayed, exuding a beautiful fragrance but its scent and joy will be veiled from the disbeliever.
Hellfire will be dragged forward on seventy thousand chains, with each chain dragged by seventy thousand angels, and it will be stoked to a blaze,
وَإِذَا الْجَحِيمُ سُعِّرَتْ
When Hellfire is stoked to a blaze.
نَارُ اللَّـهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ
It is the fire of Allāh, kindled to a blaze.
Its heat will become so intense that it will release clouds of black smoke. The heat of the Hellfire will be seventy times more intense than the fire of this world. When it sees the disbeliever from afar, they will hear it raging and roaring, shooting out sparks as large as tree-trunks and as bright as copper.
When man sees Hell, he will be overcome with abject terror.
Follow what you worshipped
Mankind will be standing there and a voice will announce, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship’ or ‘Whoever worshipped something should follow it.’ Those who worshipped the sun will follow the sun, those who worshipped the moon will follow the moon, and those who worshipped idols will follow the idols.
The Jews will be asked, ‘What did you worship?’ They will reply, ‘Ezra, son of Allāh.’ They will be told, ‘You are liars, for Allāh has neither a wife nor a son! What do you want (now)?’ They will reply, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ They will be told to drink but will fall down into Hell (instead).
The Christians will be asked, ‘What did you worship?’ They will reply, ‘The Messiah, son of Allāh.’ They will be told, ‘You are liars! Allāh has neither a wife nor a son! What do you want (now)?’ They will reply, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ They will be told to drink but will fall into Hell instead.
Finally, only the Muslims will remain – the believers and the hypocrites, the righteous and the sinners. They will be asked, ‘What keeps you here when everyone else has gone?’ They will reply, ‘We parted with them (in the world) when we were in greater need of them than we are today, we heard someone say, “Let every nation follow what they used to worship,” and now we are waiting for our Lord.’ Then Allāh will come to them in a form other than His own and say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord,’ ‘when our Lord comes we will recognise Him.’ None will speak to Him then but the Prophets. They will then be asked, ‘Do you know of any sign by which you will recognise Him?’ They will reply, ‘The Shin,’ and so Allāh will then uncover His shin and every believer will prostrate before Him except for those who would prostrate just to show off and to gain a good reputation. These people will try to prostrate but their backs will become rigid like one piece of a wood, and hence unable to bow down.
The Pond (Ḥawḍ)
The believers are then taken to the Pond. Each Prophet (ʿalayhim al-Salām) has his own Pond and each will be hoping that he has the most followers drinking at it. Each nation has its mark by which their respective Prophet will recognise them and they will summon them to their pond, standing by it with their walking stick. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) told us that the mark of this ummah was unique to it and when asked about it, he replied, “If a man has a horse with a white blaze and white feet among horses that are black, do you not think he will recognise it? In the same way (my ummah) will come with white foreheads and white hands because of their wuḍūʾ.”
The Pond of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) will be exceptional. So huge that a person standing at one end will not be able to see a person standing at the other. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) described its size in different ways when speaking to different people in order for them to better appreciate its size. He said that its length and breadth was the same and the distance of one month’s journey, or the distance between Mount Bayḍāʾ and Buṣra, or Jarbāʾ and Adhruḥ in Syria, or Madīnah and Amman or Madīnah and Sanaʿāʾ or Aylāʾ and Sanaʿāʾ or Aylāʾ and ʿAdn or the Kaʿbah and Bayt al-Maqdis.
The water in that pond is whiter than milk or silver, cooler than ice and sweeter than honey, exuding a fragrance more exquisite than musk. Water pours into it via two sprouts from Paradise, one made of gold and the other made of silver, and that water in turn comes from a river in Paradise, the Kawthar. Whoever takes a single sip of water from it will never be thirsty again, and his face will never turn black.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) himself will be there waiting and receiving the believers. He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was asked by Mālik b. Anas (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) where he should look for him on that Day and he replied, “Look for me at the Ṣirāṭ, if you do not see me there, at the Mīzān, if you do not see me there, at the Ḥawḍ. These are the three places I will be.” He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) also said, “I will be waiting for you at the Pond, and I would hope to have the largest following, so do not kill each other after me.”
Now some people will come to it but be turned away by the Prophet himself or by the Angels like stray camels are driven away from someone’s private pond. Some will be followers of other Prophets who came there by mistake, and the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) will not recognise them by the marks of their wuḍūʾ. Some, however, he will recognise and will cry out, “My Lord! My companions! My companions!” or “My people! My people!” “They are from me and my nation!” He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) will be told by Angels, “You do not know what they innovated after you,” and then he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) will say, “Away with these people who changed (the religion) after me!”
Qurṭubī said, ‘Our scholars have stated that everyone who apostatises from Allāh’s religion or introduces innovations with which Allāh is not pleased and did not give permission for is one of those who will be driven away from the Pond. Those most forcibly driven away will be those who differed from the jamāʿah of Muslims and split from them, such as the Khārijites, Rāfiḍīs and the Muʿtazilites. These are all sects that changed (the religion of Islām). The same applies to the evildoers and oppressors who tried to extinguish the truth, kill its followers and humiliate them, and those who openly committed major sins and took the matter of sin lightly, and all those who followed deviant whims, desires and innovation.
The first to drink from it will be the destitute amongst the Muhājirūn. In this life they had dishevelled hair, faces thin and parched, wearing tattered garments. People would close their doors to them, and they would not be considered for marriage. People who would fulfil their obligations, but waive their rights.
They will be followed by the people of Yemen who, at the time of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), believed in him and came forward to support him. The Anṣār of Madīnah are regarded as being from Yemen as well, and it was to the Anṣār that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “Be patient until you meet me at the Pond.” The Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) himself will summon them, clearing a path for them with his stick.
Everyone will then be given their Book, a record of all that they said and did in this world, omitting nothing whatsoever, whether significant or insignificant.
وَكُلَّ إِنسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَآئِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ وَنُخْرِجُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كِتَابًا يَلْقَاهُ مَنشُورًا
We have bound each person’s destiny around his neck, and on the Day of Rising We shall bring out a record for each of them, which they will find spread wide open.
فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ ﴿٧﴾ وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ
So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of bad will see it.
When resurrected, people will have forgotten some or all of what they did, but their records will remind them in detail.
يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا أَحْصَاهُ اللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
On the Day when Allāh will raise them all up and make them aware of what they have done, Allāh has taken account of it all though they may have forgotten. Allāh is witness to everything.
Some will be given the record in their right hands, others in their left or with their left behind their backs. Some said the righteous believers would be given it with their right, the sinful with their left, and the non-Muslims from behind their backs.
فَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَيَقُولُ هَاؤُمُ اقْرَؤُوا كِتَابِيهْ إِنِّي ظَنَنتُ أَنِّي مُلَاقٍ حِسَابِيهْ
فَهُوَ فِي عِيشَةٍ رَّاضِيَةٍ فِي جَنَّةٍ عَالِيَةٍ قُطُوفُهَا دَانِيَةٌ كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا أَسْلَفْتُمْ فِي الْأَيَّامِ الْخَالِيَةِ
وَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِشِمَالِهِ فَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُوتَ كِتَابِيهْ وَلَمْ أَدْرِ مَا حِسَابِيهْ يَا لَيْتَهَا كَانَتِ الْقَاضِيَةَ مَا أَغْنَى عَنِّي مَالِيهْ
هَلَكَ عَنِّي سُلْطَانِيهْ
Anyone who is given his Record in his right hand will say, ‘Here is my Record, read it. I knew I would meet my Reckoning,’ and so he will have a pleasant life in a lofty Garden, with clustered fruit in his reach. ‘Eat and drink to your heart’s content as a reward for what you have done in days gone by.’ But anyone who is given his Record in his left hand will say, ‘If only I had never been given any Record and knew nothing of my Reckoning. How I wish death had been the end of me. My wealth hasn’t helped me, and my power and authority has vanished.’
وَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ وَرَاء ظَهْرِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَدْعُو ثُبُورًا وَيَصْلَى سَعِيرًا
Whoever is given his record behind his back will cry out for destruction, he will burn in the blazing Fire.
This is the second time the whole of mankind will be in terror and not ask after one another, waiting in trepidation to see which hand they are given their record in. After this follows nothing but the Reckoning (Ḥisāb) that all Prophets and Messengers warned about, which will be the subject of the next article, God willing.
 al-Shuʿarāʾ (26):90-91
 Muslim #842
 al-Takwīr 81:12
 al-Ḥumaza 104:6
 cf. al-Wāqiʿah 56:43
 Bukhārī #
 al-Furqān 25:12
 al-Mursalāt 77:32-33
 Aḥmad #24793
 Bukhārī #, Muslim #299
 The ḥadīths concerning this are mutawātir. Ibn Ḥajr stated that they are reported by 50 Companions and some scholars said 80
 Tirmidhī #2433
 Ṭabarānī #6881-7053
 Muslim #247
 Muslim #247-249-367
 Ibn Ḥibbān #6450
 Qurṭubī, al-Tadhkirah 1:706, Saffārīnī
 Muslim #2300
 Bukhārī #6208, Muslim #2292
 Ibn Ḥibbān #6450
 Bukhārī #6206, Muslim #2299
 Ibn Mājah #4304
 Bukhārī #, ibn Mājah #4304
 Bukhārī #6209, Muslim #2303
 Muslim #247-248
 Ibn Mājah #4301
 Bukhārī #6579, Muslim #2292-2298
 Muslim #2303
 Bukhārī #6579, Muslim #2292-2301
 Bukhārī #6208, Muslim #2292
 Aḥmad #6162
 Muslim #2301, Aḥmad #22210
 Bukhārī #6579, Muslim #2292
 Muslim #2301, Aḥmad #22210
 Muslim #400
 Bukhārī #6579, Muslim #2292, Tirmidhī #2444
 Aḥmad #22210
 Bukhārī #6215-6220, Muslim #2293, ibn Mājah #3944, Aḥmad #14719
 Tirmidhī #2433
 Ibn Mājah #3944
 Bukhārī #6211-6213-6215, Muslim #247-400-2304
 Bukhārī #2194-2238-2367, Muslim #247-249-2302
 Muslim #247, Saffārīnī
 Bukhārī #6211, Muslim #2304
 Muslim #400
 Bukhārī #6220, Muslim #2293
 Muslim #247-400
 Qurṭubī, al-Tadhkirah 1:710-711
 Tirmidhī #2444, Aḥmad #6162
 Muslim #2301
 Qurṭubī, al-Mufhim 6:96
 Bukhārī #3794, Muslim #1059
 Muslim #2301
 al-Isrāʾ 17:13
 al-Zalzalah 99:7-8
 Qurṭubī, al-Tadhkirah 1:619
 al-Mujādilah 58:6
 Saffārīnī 1:659
 al-Ḥāqqah 69:19-29
 al-Inshiqāq 84:10-12
 Aḥmad #24696-24793, Abū Dāwūd #4755