Over the last few days, we've had earthquakes, and wars, and many freakish natural phenomena. But that's nothing, really. When you hear a trumpet sound, better say goodbye. Allah is about to wrap up the Universe he created.
Oh, that good old Koran story about the end of days! The end of times as outlined in Muslim writings is one of the very finest religious apocalyptic scenario's around: rich in detail, vivid, and far reaching in religious implications. No wonder so many Muslims are deeply convinced judgment day (`Qiyamah', in Koran terminology) will come about one day.
So here's what will happen. The Koran discernes `minor' and `major' omens predicting the end of days. Many of the `minor' omens (there are 72 signs in total) are already here for everybody to be seen. Men will behave more like women and women will imitate men. Men will dress in silk. Children will be disobeyant, and youngsters will be role-models. People who used to be shepherds will build tall buildings.
And there's more. Many will engage in dangerous sports, divorces will be a daily occurrence and people will favour their friends over their families. Liquor will be consumed in the streets, and dancing and wild music will be everywhere. Religious leaders will make worldly profits, while intellectuals rather engage in science than in the study of religion. Also, there will be the usual apocalyptic rumble-a-bumble: earthquakes, devastating wars, storms and floods. If you add things up, it looks like the end of days is quite near, don't you think?
Well, don't worry -- yet. When time's up, you can't miss it. For the signs will become more and more grotesque. One after another, they roll in like `a string of beads falling one after the other', as the prophet Muhammad put it.
As a first sign the countdown to doomsday is ending, nature displays some very odd phenomena. You'll notice red winds sweeping across the country. Some people find their face gets malformed -- hey, isn't that a pig's face? Others are even less fortunate: everywhere, people are suddenly swallowed into the ground.
Then a cataclysmic religious war breaks out. It's Muslims versus Christians, and soon after the outbreak of war, half of the Christian armies sign a peace treaty with the Muslims. The Muslim-Christian coalition conquers Istanbul, while the `bad' Christians conquer Syria. But that all changes when the Christian army starts heading for Mecca. Suddenly, the ground cracks open and gone are the Christians.
Well, that doesn't mean war is over. The Muslims raid the Middle East, lose two thirds of their army but in the end win back Syria and Palestine. Immediately, they declare Holy War (Jihad) on India -- and win.
You find all this warfare a bit boring? Just wait, more miraculous things are about to happen. As peace settles down in the Muslim empire (that by now stretches from the Middle East deeply into Asia), the world is plagued by a severe drought that lasts three years.
After that, suddenly a very creepy character shows up. Al-Dajjal is his name. And he actually is the Muslim anti-Christ. Well-educated Muslims will instantly recognise the guy: he is short, red-faced, has hair that sticks up and is blind at the right eye. The false prophet inspires vast amounts of followers anyhow: 70,000 heavily armed believers join the bad guy.
Gladly, in the meantime another chap comes to power: Al-Mahdi. Now Al-Mahdi is there to keep the balance between good and bad. He is a military leader, is named after the prophet and of course calls everyone to the true Islam as often as he can.
It takes a third miracle man to break down the stalemate between Al-Dajjal and Al-Mahdi: Jesus. Yes, you read that right: when the world is about to end, Muslims too expect Jesus -- `Isa' in the Koran -- to return from heaven. It is a miraculous thing to see, since Isa returns with much dramatic display: he descends from the sky in Damascus while a mass prayer is going on. If you're a Christian, you're in for a big surprise: without an eye's blink, Jesus denounces Christianity and calls upon everybody to convert to Islam.
And Jesus is in a fighting mood. He turns out an excellent military leader, as he goes out to pick a fight with Al-Dajjal. While more and more people convert to Islam, Isa defeats the false prophet. Jesus kills Al-Dajjal himself. It happens in the valley of `Ifiq', near an Israeli airport.
After that, a brief period of peace sets in. Jihad stops, Islam rules, there's peace and prosperity everywhere and Isa himself retires, marries, has many children, dies after nineteen years and is buried next to Muhammad.
But wait, it was still merely the beginning, a kind of warming-up for Allah. For the next moment, the real stuff begins. Prepare for the end of days!
In four countries, the ground suddenly caves in, leaving four enormous, gaping pits in the Earth's crust. Next, there's fog. For forty days, thick layers of smoke blanket the sky. If you were still a non-Muslim, you pass out. Muslims develop terrible colds.
Finally, the fog lifts up. You might expect to finally see the sun again. But to your amazement, it is completely dark. For three days and three nights, the Sun simply is not there. No wonder people all over the world start feeling a bit `restless' by now, as the Koran puts it.
Then, the Sun finally rises again. But wait, what's that? The Sun rises in the West, crossing the sky the wrong way around. By now, if you are still a non-believer, you might want to convert to Islam. But isn't that a pity: after the Sun-rising-in-the-West-incident, Allah won't listen to any more repentence.
It's one day later, and here comes the next miracle already. Near Mecca, the ground starts to rumble, and the next moment, a giant beast lifts itself up out of the ground. Astonishingly, the beast can talk. It raises its claws, and look: the faces of the faithful begin to glitter, while the faces of the non-believers darken.
Not that a glowing face really helps you that much. The next moment, a breeze from the south comes in. It causes sores in the armpits of all Muslims. They suffer terribly and die. Only the non-believers remain. If you're one of them, you'll probably feel a bit nervous. It is perfectly clear that you have to witness the end of the world.
Allah indeed seems to have abandoned the world. Back in Mecca, the Kashba is destroyed by a troop of African invaders. The Koran is suddenly completely forgotten. In Yemen, a huge fire breaks out. If you are by chance a Yemenite and still surviving, you run for your life. But the fire follows you, all way to Syria. There the fire suddenly stops.
You wait for more to come. But nothing really happens. The silence lasts hours, then days, then months. Though you're bewildered and scared, you try to settle down, attempting to start a new life on your damned planet. You've had wars, monsters, fires and darkness, so how much worse can it really get?, you ask yourself retorically.
Well, it can. After several years of tranquility, a eery and ominous sound echoes over the world. Although there are no Muslims left, some people might recognize it for what it is: the sound of the angel Israfil, blowing the doomsday trumpet of Allah. It's the last thing you'll ever hear. For the next moment, the entire universe with everyone in it simply ceases to exist. Zzzip, gone.
Before you know what's happening, you find you're facing the big man himself. Allah is there, right in front of you. He is surrounded by angels and clouds.
Suddenly, you have a tremendous flashback on your life. You understand the consequences of everything you ever did. `Whoever has done an atom's weight of good will see it, and whoever has done an atom's weight of evil will also see it,' the Koran explains.
It's judgment time. If there's too many grains of evil, off you go to hell. Or was there more good in your life? Then lucky you, you get to spend the rest of all eternity in the heavens of Allah, where everything looks about the same as on Earth -- but much, much better.
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