Islamic eschatology

Islamic eschatology

Islamic eschatology is concerned with the al-Qiyāmah (Last Judgement). Like the other Abrahamic religions, Islam teaches the bodily resurrection of the dead, the fulfillment of a divine plan for creation, and the judgement of the soul; the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah (Heaven) while the unrighteous are punished in Jahannam (Hell). Eschatology relates to one of the six (seven according to Shī‘a traditions) articles of faith (aqīdah) of Islam according to the Sunni traditions.

A significant portion (about one third[citation needed]) of the Qur'an deals with these beliefs, with many hadith elaborating on the themes and details. It also emphasizes the inevitability of resurrection, judgment, and the eternal division of the righteous and the wicked.[1] Islamic apocalyptic literature describing Armageddon is often known as fitna ("a test") or malahim (or ghayba to the Shī‘a).



Hadith of Gabriel

Among many hadith related to signs of day of judgement, one of the most famous hadith is the Hadith of Gabriel.

Jesus and the Dajjal (AntiChrist)

According to Islamic view, Isa (Jesus) son of Mary, was a prophet and messenger of God. It is believed that Jesus was not crucified; instead he was raised bodily. According to many hadith, he will return to Earth. At the time appointed by God, Jesus will physically return to this world and aid the Mahdi. According to some sects of Shia Islam, the Mahdi also descends. He will break the cross, kill the swine, slaughter the Dajjal and end all wars, ushering in a messianic era of peace.

Ya'juj and Ma'juj

During the reign of Isa people will live an extremely peaceful life filled with prosperity and abundance. Then the wall which imprisons Ya'juj and Ma'juj will break and they will surge forth in large numbers. There is much debate about the time of release of Ya'juj and Ma'juj. Some Islamic scholars like Imran Nazar Hosein believe that the wall containing the Ya'juj and Ma'juj has been brought down during the lifetime of Muhammad. This is supported by evidence from the sayings of Muhammad where he mentions that "a hole has been made in the wall containing the Ya'juj and Ma'juj", indicating the size of the hole with his thumb and index finger.

"But when Ya'jooj and Ma'jooj are let loose and they rush headlong down every hill" (Quran 21:96)[2][3]

The beast

Qur'an tells about the beast of earth

" And when the Word is fulfilled against them (the unjust), We shall produce from the earth a Beast to (face) them: he will speak to them, for that
"mankind did not believe with assurance in our Signs."
(Quran 27:82)


A fundamental tenet of Islam is belief in the day of resurrection, Qiyamah. The trials and tribulations of Qiyamah are explained in both the Qur'an and the Hadith, as well as in the commentaries of Islamic scholars such as al-Ghazali, Ibn Kathir, and Muhammad al-Bukhari.

Muslims believe that God will hold every human, Muslim and non-Muslim, accountable for his or her deeds at a preordained time unknown to man.[4] The angel Israfil, is waiting for Allah to give him the command to sound the horn which will signal the beginning of day of judgment. Traditions say Muhammad will be the first to be brought back to life.[5]

Muslims also believe in "the punishment of the grave," which supposedly takes place between death and the resurrection.[6]

The punishments in hell includes adhab, "pain or torment inflicted by way of chastisement; punishment", a very painful punishment (see [Quran 29:55], [Quran 43:48]); khizy, "shame, disgrace, ignominy" ([Quran 16:27], [Quran 11:39]).[7] The descriptions in the Qur'an of hell are very descriptive (see [Quran 4:56], [Quran 47:15] etc.).

The punishments in the Qur'an are contrasted not with release but with mercy ([Quran 29:21], [Quran 2:284], [Quran 3:129], etc.).[7] Islam views paradise as a place of joy and bliss.[8]


According to all the traditional schools of jurisprudence, faith (iman) ensures salvation. There are however differing views concerning the formal constituents of the act of faith. "For the Asharis it is centred on internal taṣdīḳ[internal judgment of veracity], for the Māturīdī-Ḥanafīs on the expressed profession of faith and the adherence of the heart, for the Muʿtazilīs on the performance of the 'prescribed duties', for the Ḥanbalīs and the Wahhābīs on the profession of faith and the performance of the basic duties."[9] The common denominator of these various opinions is summed up in bearing witness that God is the Lord, L. Gardet states.[9]

There are traditions in which Muhammad stated that "No one shall enter hell who has an atom of faith in his heart" or that "Hell will not welcome anyone who has in his heart an atom of faith" however these passages are interpreted in different ways. Those who consider performance as an integral part of faith such as Ḵh̲ārid̲j̲īs, consider anyone who does a grave sin to be out of faith, while the majority of Sunnis who view works as merely the perfecting the faith, hold that a believing sinner will be punished with a temporary stay in hell. Still there is disagreement over the possibility of a believing sinner being forgiven immediately (e.g. As̲h̲ʿarīs) and in full rather than undergoing temporary punishment. (e.g. Māturīdīs)[9]


Ibn al-Nafis dealt with Islamic eschatology in some depth in his Theologus Autodidactus, where he rationalized the Islamic view of eschatology using reason, science, and philosophy to explain the events that would occur according to Islamic eschatology. He presented his rational and scientific arguments in the form of Arabic fiction, hence his Theologus Autodidactus may be considered amongst the earliest science fiction work.[10]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ [Quran 74:38]
  5. ^ Esposito, John (2003). The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512558-4, p.264
  6. ^ Leor Halevi,
  7. ^ a b "Reward and Punishment", Encyclopedia of the Qur'an (2005)
  8. ^ "Paradise", "Heaven", The New Encyclopedia Britannica (2005)
  9. ^ a b c "Imam", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
  10. ^ Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis, Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait (cf. Ibn al-Nafis As a Philosopher, Encyclopedia of Islamic World)

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