It was mind-boggling to realize that residents of Kaduna state spent 75 days in lockdown when Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 partially lifted and eased the restriction measure, which was imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
It is really now that, as the saying goes, “time flies”. When did the year begin that 2020 is half-way? When did we sit to anticipate the approach of Ramadan that the holy month is now behind us by more than 20 days? Subhana-llah! One only hopes that readers who have the health (or the strength) have found time to observe the six days of voluntary fast in this current lunar month of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar. Unless we are able to appreciate the truth that time is not on our side, we stand to be losers on Judgment Day; “Wa Iyazu Bi-llahi”.
When I recently heard from some of my family members about the trending, on social media, of a video clip showing “How Arewa women pampered their husbands while under lockdown”, I wondered if those involved realized how short is the time they have to live on earth. I’m saying “I heard” because I’m not (with apologies to many readers of this column) on almost all social media platforms for reasons that I still find easy to defend. From Facebook to Whatsapp, Instagram, BBchat, 2go, Telegram, Snapchat, and WeChat, I’m humbly missing from these ‘busy-bee’ platforms. Qur’an 103:1-2 wherein Allah (SWT) swears by “Time” and affirms that man is in a state of loss, needs to be on our mind as we rise from bed every morning and retire to it at night.
Some events in contemporary times point to the approach of the Hour. While some of the signs are classified as great signs, others are described as ordinary. The great signs of the Hour include the Dajjal (Antichrist); the second coming of Prophet Isa (A.S); the Gog and Magog; and rising of the sun from the west. Our present discussion will nonetheless focus on ordinary signs of the Hour to dissuade us from wasting or misusing the time available to us.
As an ordinary sign of the Hour, length of time has become very short such that a year now looks as if it were a month; a month as if it were a week; a week as if it were a day; and a day as if it were an hour. Nowadays, when you leave your house to your place of work, before you realize the time you have spent working, it is already noon or even end of office or business hours. Soon, noon is overtaken by dusk and before you remember that you need to take a long rest when you go to bed at night, it is daybreak. The emergence of modern information and communication gadgets such as mobile telephones and satellite cables is one of the ordinary signs of the approach of Time. These inventions are a fulfilment of the prophecy of the Hour that the world will be reduced to a small global village.
Among the ordinary signs of the Hour is that business transactions shall become borderless. A wife would choose to enter into an agreement with her husband over what is ordinarily part of her duties as defined by nature or Islam. At the approach of the Hour, the wealthy would be stingy about giving alms to the poor and the needy. Such would be seen donating millions of Naira at presidential events, at government-sponsored book-launch ceremonies, and at United Nations-coordinated programmes but would ‘deliberately’ shun mosque appeal funds as well as calls for Almajiri schools revitalization. Those who strive to attend make pledges that are hardly redeemed or take a long time to be redeemed.
Another ordinary sign of the Hour is that survival will become so hard that some people would wish they were dead. The Prophet (SAW) said, “The Hour will not pass until a man passes by the grave of another and says: If only I were in his place”. Some of the suicide cases reported in the media in Nigeria in 2019 were, according to victims’ suicide notes, linked to problems of survival under severe economic situations. Likewise, it is a confirmation of the approach of Judgment Day when irresponsible people occupy high public offices. At least, there are instances (however few) to show that this sign of the Hour is already obvious in Nigeria.
Telling lies has become a habit common to majority of people except the righteous. The social ‘climate’ of fake news in the country lends credence to the proclamation that towards the end of Time, people would not confirm stories before spreading them. It is related on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said: “There will be in the end (period) of my Ummah people who would tell you what you or your ancestors never heard about. So, beware of such people”. One wonders why the bizarreness of fake news extends even unto news about death.
Other ordinary signs of the Hour include widespread corruption, adultery, fornication, and enmity among family members. Today, you could find siblings, full or half (consanguine or uterine) picking on themselves as enemies over what should ordinarily be a non-issue. These situations under which we live in the contemporary world confirm that these signs of the Hour have been fulfilled. Insecurity, murder and manslaughter are other ordinary signs of the Hour. The spate of kidnapping, banditry, insurgency and other violent crimes in the country confirms the presence of this particular sign of the Hour. Bandits and insurgents kill as if men were fouls; most often for incredible reasons.
Today, ours is now a society that values money more than life. Ribah (usury) has become a ‘conjoined’ part of many forms of our financial transactions as if it were made lawful. Many people do not mind what kind of wealth comes their way. Modern man never minds getting rich even from sources known to be forbidden. Our deliberate refusal to divorce usury from our commercial activities is responsible, from a spiritual point of view, for some of our economic woes. May Allah (SWT) guide us to heed these ordinary signs before the Hour takes us by surprise, amin.