The Major Signs of the End of Times

Islamic eschatology is the study of the end of the world from a Muslim perspective. Where all life and creation will be annihilated, and then everyone will be resurrected for judgement. The Qura’n and Sunnah discuss in depth major and minor signs before al-Sā’a, the Hour. They are known as ‘Alāmātus Sā’A Al-Kubra, The Major Signs of the Hour.

The major signs will be such that all people will recognise them and they will appear one after another like the beads on a string follow one another. 1

‘The last hour will not arrive till you have seen ten signs. He then mentioned the Smoke, Dajjāl, Beast, Rising of the Sun from the place of its setting, the Descent of ʿIsā عليه السلام, Ya’juj Ma’juj, Three Landslides, one in the East, one in the West and one in the Arabian Peninsula after that a Fire would spread from Yemen and drive the people to their place of gathering.’2

The scholars agree that the preceding hadith is not in chronological order, thus they have determined the most plausible order of events. The most popular opinion is as follows:

Final Minor Sign

The Arrival of Imām al-Mahdi

The final minor sign agreed by the scholars is the arrival of Imām al-Mahdi. He will become the leader of the Muslims, upholding justice and protecting the Muslim Ummah from the disbelievers.

‘One of my descendants created by Allāh ﷻ will come prior to the end of the world. His name will be the same as mine and his father’s name will be the same as my father’s name. The world will be full of oppression and tyranny before his visit, but in his time will be fairness. The angel from the cloud from the above his head will say ‘This is Mahdi, listen to what he says’.’3

The Major Signs

  1. Al-Masih ad-Dajjāl
  2. ʿIsā bin Maryam عليه السلام
  3. The Emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj
  4. The Smoke
  5. Sun rising from the West
  6. Emergence of the Beast
  7. Three Major Landslides
  8. Great fire
  9. Kābah destroyed
  10. Blowing of the trumpet

Al-Masih ad-Dajjāl

The first of the major signs is the appearance of Al-Masih ad-Dajjāl 4, the deceiver who will lead people away from Allāh ﷻ.

‘No Prophet was sent but that he warned his followers against the one-eyed liar. Beware! He is blind in one eye, and your Lord is not so, and there will be written between his eyes ‘Kāfir’.’5

There would be no creation creating more trouble than the Dajjāl, right from the creation of Adam to the Last Hour.6

The Dajjāl will be a man from among the sons of Adam عليه السلام. He will be a young man with a ruddy complexion, short, with thick curly hair, a wide forehead, and broad upper chest, blind or defective in the right eye. This eye will be neither prominent nor sunken, and will look like a floating grape. His left eye will be covered with a thick piece of flesh growing at the edge of his eye. Written between his eyes will be ك ف ر in separate Arabic letters or كافر with the letters joined. Some say all will be able to see this physical imprint on his forehead, others say only the believers will recognise it. Another of his characteristics will be that he will be sterile, with no children born to him. 7

It is said he is alive on an island and chained and will be released when Allāh ﷻ wills. The Dajjāl will emerge from the direction of the east, near Khorasan, from among the Jews of Isfahan. 70,000 Jews will accompany him. 8. He will stay on the earth for forty days, with the first feeling like a year, the next a month, then a week and the remaining days as normal days. 9He will travel through all the major towns except for four major mosques: Masjid al-Haram, Masjid Nabwi, the mosque of Mt Sinai and Masjid al-Aqsa. 10 When he arrives, he will manipulate people, Muslim and non-Muslim in to believing he is the almighty Lord. He will command the sky to send down rain, and it will rain, and he will command the earth to bring forth vegetation and it will do so. He will travel rapidly like clouds driven by the wind and bring people back to life. A sign of his limitation will be, that he won’t be able to do it twice. 11

During this time, the believers will be led by Imām Mahdi and they will gather in Damascus. When the majority of people fall under the spell of Dajjāl, then at the time of Fajr, ʿIsā bin Maryam عليه السلام will descend in the mosque of Damascus, the one with white minarets. He will be asked to lead the prayer, but he will insist Imām Mahdi does as the leader of the Muslims. ʿIsā عليه السلام will then lead the Muslims towards the Dajjāl, who at the time of the descent of ʿIsā عليه السلام will be heading for Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). ʿIsā عليه السلام will catch up with him at the gate of Ludd (Lod), a place in Palestine near Bayt al-Maqdis. When the Dajjāl sees him, he will start to melt like salt melting in water, but ʿIsā عليه السلام will say to him, ‘I have some business with you, you will not get away from me.’ Then he will catch up with him and will kill him with his spear. His followers will flee, pursued by the Muslims, who will kill them, and trees and rocks will say, ‘O Muslim, O slave of Allāh ﷻ, there is Jew behind me – come and kill him!’ – apart from the gharqad (box thorn), for it is one of the trees of the Jews. 12 

Prophetic guidelines on how to protect yourself from the fitnah of the Dajjāl

  1. Having a strong belief in Allāh ﷻ and knowing his attributes
  2. Seek refuge, for example the dua’ O Allāh ﷻ, I seek refuge with You from the torment of the grave, I seek refuge with You from the fitnah of the Dajjāl, and I seek refuge with You from the trials of life and death. O Allāh ﷻ, I seek refuge with You from sin and debt)13
  3. Reciting Surah Kahf or at least the first 10 verses on the day of Jumuah 14

‘Imran ibn Husayn رضي الله عنه‎ said that the Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Whoever hears of the Dajjāl, let him keep far away from him, for a man will come to him and think that he is telling the truth because of the wonders that are sent with him.’15

The return of ʿIsā bin Maryam عليه السلام

“I was shown in a dream in the night that near the Kābah there was a man, fair-complexed–fine among the white-complexed men that you ever saw. His locks of hair were falling on his shoulders. He was a man whose hair was neither too curly nor too straight, and water trickled down from his head. He was placing his hands on the shoulders of two persons and amidst them making a circuit around the Kābah. I said, ‘Who is he?’ They replied, ‘Al-Masih [the Messiah] son of Mary’.” 16

As mentioned above, the second major sign will be the decent of ʿIsā bin Maryam عليه السلام. Remember ʿIsā عليه السلام is a Prophet that was ‘crucified’ by the Jews and someone the Christians believe to be God, or part of the Trinity. He will come to clarify his status to all Abrahamic faiths. He will break the cross in other words dismantle Christian theology, kill the pigs, in other words make it known that Pork is harām, and thus, as the Christians will now have the same beliefs as the Muslims, he will abolish the jizya tax. Muslims and Christians will unite as one ummah (community) and wealth will be in abundance.17

Once he kills Dajjāl, he will become a just ruler, get married and have children. ʿIsā عليه السلام will still be alive and lead the Muslims through the next calamity for the Muslims, the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj.

When ʿIsā عليه السلام dies, he will be buried in Masjid Nabwi, next to the Prophet ﷺ.

The Emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj

The third major sign is the emergence of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj, In Surah Anbiya, Allāh ﷻ says, ‘Until when the peoples of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj are let loose and they swarm swiftly from every highland.’18They will be let loose from the Shackles of Dhul Qarnayn. In Surah Kahf, Allāh ﷻ says, ‘He travelled on; then, when he reached a place between two mountain barriers, he found besides them a people who could barely understand him. They said, ‘Dhū’l-Qarnain, Ya’juj and Ma’juj are ruining this land. Will you build a barrier between them and us if we pay you a tribute?’ He answered, ‘The power my Lord has given me is better than any tribute, but if you lend me your strength, I will put up a fortification between you and them: bring me great lumps of iron!’ and then, when he filled the gap between the two mountainsides, he said, ‘Work your bellows!’ and then, when he had made it glow like fire, he said, ‘Bring me molten metal to pour over it!’ [Their enemies] could not scale the barrier, nor could they pierce it. He said, ‘This is a mercy from my Lord. But when my Lord’s promise is fulfilled, He will raise this barrier. My Lord’s promise always comes true.’ On that Day, We shall let the surge against each other like waves. Then the Trumpet will be blown and We shall gather them all together.’19

It is said the Yaʾjūj and Maʾjūj tribes dig every day until they see the rays of the sun peeking through from the other side. They then rest by night, only to find the next day that the barrier has been restored to how it was previously. Then one day, at a time that Allāh ﷻ has decreed, after having dug, they will say, ‘Let us return tomorrow, in shā Allāh’ ﷻand the next morning they will find that the barrier has not been restored. They will break through and swarm through, swooping down from every highland, slaughtering everything in their path. These tribes will cause havoc in the lands, murder, rape and pillage. They will have wide faces, small eyes, with a redness or blondness in the hair, and faces like beaten iron or shields.20. They will drink lakes and ponds dry, and ruin everything they pass, coming from somewhere east of Medina. The first of them will pass by the lake of Tiberius, drinking from it, and it will be dry by the time the last of them passes by it who will observe, ‘Once there used to be water here.’21

People will flee in terror, barricading themselves and their livestock in cities and fortresses. Once all the people have fled, and Yaʾjūj and Maʾjūj reach Bayt al-Maqdis, they will say, ‘This is the people of earth sorted.’ They will then shoot arrows and spears into the sky which will fall back down covered in blood, and they will claim that they have killed the inhabitants of the heaven. ʿIsā عليه السلام and his companions will withdraw to Mount Ṭūr after Allāh ﷻ tells them that they have no hope of defeating Yaʾjūj and Maʾjūj and there, they will be besieged; food will become so scarce that the head of an ox would be dearer to them than one hundred dīnārs.22

Īsā عليه السلام and his companions will make duʿā to Allāh ﷻ and eventually Allāh ﷻ will send a type of worm to the back of their necks which will kill them, and they will die like locusts piled one on top of the other. The Muslims will awake the next day and hear no sound from them and so send one of their own to investigate what has happened. He will return and give them the glad tidings that the enemy has died. The Muslims will then leave and find that there is not even a hand span of land that is free of their corpses. They will let loose their animals to graze, but having nothing to eat, they will instead grow fat on their flesh, as if they were grazing on the best vegetation they ever found. The earth will fill with the stench of their rotting corpses, and ʿĪsā عليه السلام will again make duʿā for relief. Allāh ﷻ will send birds with necks like the necks of Bactrian camels, which will pick them up and throw them wherever He wills. Then Allāh ﷻ will send down rain that will wash them away into the sea, and clean house and earth until it is left like a smooth rock or mirror. Then it will be said to the earth, ‘Bring forth your fruits and bring back your blessings.’ On that day a group of people will eat from a (single) pomegranate and it will suffice them, and they will seek shelter beneath its skin. Allāh ﷻ will bless a milk-camel so that it will be sufficient for a large number of people, and a milk-cow will be sufficient for a whole tribe and a milk-ewe will be sufficient for a whole clan.23

The time of war will have come to an end, and the Muslims will use the shields, bows and arrows of the Yaʾjūj and Maʿjūj as firewood for seven years. They will once again make Ḥajj and ʿUmrah at the Kaabah.24

The aforementioned signs are closely linked so we can place them in an order, but the following five signs could happen in any order.

The Smoke Will Appear

The next sign to appear will be a smoke. We are unsure if this is a literal smoke or metaphorical. Smoke suffocates. This will be a suffocating time. In the Quran, Allāh ﷻ says, ‘So be on the watch for a day when heaven shall bring a manifest smoke covering the people; this is a painful chastisement.25

Imām Qurtubi  رحمه الله mentions that the smoke will cover the earth for a period of forty days, effecting both the believers and disbelievers. The former will be effected as if suffering from a common cold, whereas the latter will suffer harder.26

The Sun Will Rise from The West

The Hour will not come until the Sun has risen from the West, and when it rises and people see it, they will all believe, but it will do a person no good as the doors of repentance will be closed. He only earns good by performing deeds prior to this moment.27. This will be the clearest of signs, so anyone who has delayed, will no longer be able to ask for forgiveness.

We know that the sun does not in fact rise or set, but the rotation of the earth makes it appear that way. The Quran and Hadith however always speak from the human experience perspective. We can understand this hadith as the earth will start rotating clockwise.

Allāh ﷻ says, ‘Do they then wait for anything other than that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord should come, or that some Signs of your Lord should come! The day that some of the Signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good (by performing deeds of righteousness) through his Faith. Say (to the disbelievers), ‘Wait you! We (too) are waiting’.’28

The Emergence of the Beast

Another sign is that a beast will appear. Allāh ﷻ says in the Quran, ‘And when the Word of torment is fulfilled against them, We shall bring out from the earth a beast to them, which will speak to them because mankind believed not with certainty in Our Signs. 29

The Arabs usually refer to their animals as beast, like a camel referred to as a riding beast. So, some scholars, such as Imām Qurtubi, held that the beast is the she-camel of the Prophet Salih عليه السلام. Others stated that it was an animal that is a hybrid of many different animals. 30

In terms of emerging, some stated that the Beast will emerge from Makka, basing it on a narration of Hudhayfa. Others stated that it will emerge from a desert, then disappear, then emerge from a village, then disappear, then finally from the Masjid al-Haram in Makka. There is another opinion that states it will emerge from Ta’if. 31

The Beast will address the people with the words of Allāh ﷻ, ‘“Mankind did not believe in our signs.’ Others stated, quoting ibn `Abbas, that ‘speaking’ refers to the action of the Beast in differentiating the believers and disbelievers.

The Beast will be tasked to differentiate the believers from the disbelievers. Abu Hurayra narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The Beast of the earth will emerge and have with it the staff of Moses and the ring of Solomon.’32 It will use these to mark off the believers from the disbelievers.33

The Landslides

After sometime, people will turn to disobedience and thus, there will be three major landslides; one in the East, one in the West and one in Arabia. Some believe they will be earthquakes and not landslides. The most common belief that a natural disaster will cause these regions to sink, resulting in killing people. These will also happen simultaneously.

The Fire Will Begin

Then there will be an eruption of fire from the direction of Yemen, from the bottom of ‘Aden, from the Sea of Hadramawt’. This will drive the people to the place of their gathering.34. Another opinion is that, at this point, all believers will die and only the disbelievers remain.

The Kaabah Will Be Destroyed

‘An Abyssinian with very thin legs will destroy the Ka‘bah.’35. Dhu’l-Suwayqatayn from Abyssinia will destroy the Ka’ba and steal its treasure and Kiswah. It is as if I could see him now; he is bald-headed and has a distortion in his wrists. He will strike the Ka’ba with his spade and pich-axe’.

It is also said, Dhul-Suwayqatayn will be around at the time of ʿIsā عليه السلام. If this is the case, the time between Dajjāl appearing and the Kabbah being destroyed will indeed be very short.

Blowing of the Trumpet

The final event of the end of times is the blowing of the trumpet by the Angel Israfeel. This will literally end all space and time. This is what is referred to as the Hour in the Quran.

‘The gaze of the one who will blow the Trumpet has been fixed since he was entrusted with it, looking towards the throne, ready (to blow it), in case he will be commanded to do so before he blinks, as if his eyes are two shining stars.’36

“And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allaah wills. Then it will be blown a second time, and behold they will be standing, looking on (waiting).”37

The Prophet ﷺ has informed us that Israfeel is ever prepared to blow the Trumpet.38He said, ‘How could I relax when the bearer of the Trumpet has put the Trumpet to his lips and tilted his forehead, is listening out, waiting for the command to blow the Trumpet?’ The Muslims asked, ‘What should we say, O Messenger of Allāh ﷺ?’ He said, ‘Say, 

Hasbunallah wa ni’am al-wakeel, tawakkalnaa alallahi Rabbinaa

 (Allah is Sufficient for us and He is the best Disposer of affairs, we put our trust in Allāh ﷻ, our Lord)

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: ‘Between the two blowings of the Trumpet there will be forty.’ The people said, ‘O Abu Hurayrah! Forty days?’ I said: ‘I am not sure.’ They said, ‘Forty years?’ I said: ‘I am not sure.’ They said, ‘Forty months?’ I said: ‘I am not sure. Then Allāh ﷻ will send rain down from the sky and they will grow as herbs grow. There is no part of a man which will not decay except a single bone at the base of the coccyx, from which he will be re-created on the Day of Resurrection.’39

Alas! we will all be resurrected and taken to account. May Allāh ﷻ preserve our Imaan for us and give us guidance, and the divine strength to fight alongside the armies of Mahdi and ʿIsā bin Maryam عليه السلام.


  1. Musnad Ahmad
  2. Muslim: 6931
  3. Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4284
  4. lit. means false Messiah
  5. Bukhari Book 92, Hadith 78
  6. Muslim: 7037
  7. See al-Bukhari, no. 6508; al-Bukhari, no. 3184, Muslim, no. 5228, Abu Dawud, no. 3763, Sahih al-Jami’ al-Saghir, no. 2455, Ahmad, no. 7564, Muslim, no. 5222, al-Bukhari, no. 6598, Muslim, no. 5219, Muslim, no. 5223, Muslim, no. 5235, Muslim, 5239, Muslim, no. 5209
  8. Muslim, no. 5228, al-Tirmidhi, no. 2163, Ahmad, no. 12865
  9. Muslim, 5228
  10. Ahmad, no. 22572, Bukhari, Book 92, no 81
  11. Muslim, no. 5222, Muslim, 5228
  12. Muslim, no. 5233, Ahmad, no. 14920 and al-Tirmidhi, no. 2170, Muslim, no. 5228, Ahmad, no. 14426
  13. al-Bukhari, no. 789
  14. Muslim, No. 5228, Muslim, no. 1342
  15. Ahmad, No. 19118, Abu Dawud, No. 3762 and al-Hakim (4/31)
  16. al-Bukhārī, No. 3256, Muslim, No. 169
  17. It is interesting that the two major religions are Islam and Christianity, we combined make up 4 billion people
  18. Quran 21:96
  19. Quran 18:83-88
  20. Aḥmad, No. 22331, Nasāʾī al-Kubrā No. 11271
  21. Ibn Mājah, No. 4081, Aḥmad, no. 3556, Tirmidhī, no. 3153, Ibn Mājah, no. 4079-4080, Aḥmad no. 11731, Muslim no. 2937, Ibn Mājah no. 4075
  22. Tirmidhī, no. 2240, Tirmidhī, no. 3153, Ibn Mājah, no.4079-4080, Ibn Mājah, no.4075
  23. Ibn Mājah, no. 4081, Muslim, no. 2937, Ibn Mājah, no. 4075, Ibn Mājah, no. 4079-4080, Tirmidhī, no. 3153, Aḥmad, no. 11731, Muslim, no. 2937, Ibn Mājah, no. 4075-4081, Muslim, no. 2937, Ibn Mājah, no. 4075
  24. Nasāʾī al-Kubrā, no. 8659, Aḥmad, no. 9323, Ibn Mājah, no. 4076, Tirmidhī, no. 2240
  25. Surah Dukhaan: 10-11
  26. Jami` al-Ahkam al-Qur’an
  27. Bukhari: 352 and Muslim: 194
  28. Qur’an, 6:158
  29. Al-Naml: 82
  30. Qurtubi, Tadkhira
  31. Qurtubi, Tadkhira; Alusi, Ruh al-Ma`ani
  32. Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad
  33. Qurtubi, Jami` al-Ahkam al-Qur’an
  34. Muslim: 6931
  35. Al-Bukhari and Muslim
  36. Silsilah Ahadeeth as-Saheeh, no. 1076
  37. [al-Zumar 39:68]
  38. Silsilah Ahadeeth as-Saheeh (3/66, no. 1079)
  39. Al-Bukhāri (4651) and Muslim (2955)

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