Question: It is said that there is such a hadith, "The lifespan of this Ummah will not exceed 1,500 years." For this reason, some claim that the Mahdi will appear after 10 years, that 'Isa will descend after 20 years, and that Doomsday will come in 1545 A.H. and 2120 A.D. Is it true?
We have not come across such a hadith-i sharif. Even if it is authentic, it cannot be inferred from it when Doomsday will strike. As a matter of fact, there are similar hadith-i sharifs as well, some of which are as follows:
1. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif quoted on the authority of Abdullah ibn Masud, The Islamic mill will run for 35 years. Thereafter, there will be people who will perish. And those who will come afterwards will promote Islam for 70 years.
Hadrat Shah Waliyyullah Dahlawi states:
The beginning of the 35-year period is the second year of the Hegira, which is at the same time the beginning of the earliest movement of jihad. In the 35th year Hadrat Uthman was martyred and disunion among Muslims broke out. Jihad and the spreading of Islam came to a standstill. Allahu taala reorganized the caliphate and thereupon jihad was resumed. It was maintained till the collapse of the Umayyad dynasty. Turmoil prevailed again as the Abbasid state was being established, and many Muslims lost their lives during the commotions. Then Allahu taala reorganized the caliphate once again. The newly established order lasted until Hulagu burned and destroyed Baghdad. (Kurrat-ul 'aynayn)
It is wrong to add 70 and 35 and to say that Islam will disappear after 105 years. The truth is that these dates refer to the times when Muslims are strong.
2. A hadith-i sharif quoted on the authority of Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas reads as follows, "I pray to my Allah to maintain my Ummat's power till the end of half a day." When asked what was meant by "half a day," Sa'd replied that it was 500 years. Shah Waliyullah-i Dahlawi states, "This hadith-i sharif covers the lifespan of Abbasid state [i.e., 524 years]." (Kurrat-ul 'aynayn)
Nobody deduced from this hadith-i sharif that Doomsday would strike 500 years after the death of our Prophet.
3. A hadith-i sharif declares, "If my Ummah stands firm on the true path, it will live for a day [1,000 years]. If it does not stand firm on it, it will live half a day [500 years]."
Nobody inferred from this hadith-i sharif that Doomsday will come in 1000 A.H. or 500 A.H.
4. "The ornament of the world will be taken away in the year 150" [Al-Khairat al-hisan].
The great fiqh scholar Abd al-Ghaffar al-Kardari said, "This hadith-i sharif refers to Imam-i A'zam Abu Hanifa because he passed away in 150 A.H. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
It is not correct to deduce from it that Islam will disappear in 150 A.H.
5. "My Ummah is grouped in five generations of 40 years each. My generation and My Companions' generation are people of knowledge and faith. Those who come after them up to 80 years are people of good conduct and piety. Those who come after them up to 120 years are people who are compassionate and keep the ties of kinship. Those who come after them up to 160 years are people who cut off ties of kinship and turn their backs on one another. Those who come after them up to 200 years are people of wars and turmoil" [Ramuz].
This hadith-i sharif states clearly, "My Ummah is grouped in five generations of 40 years each." However, from it nobody inferred that Doomsday would come 200 years after the demise of our Prophet.
As is seen, the hadith-i sharifs about the lifespan of this Ummah have nothing whatsoever to do with the exact time of Doomsday.
As it was narrated in the well-known hadith of Jibril, when Jabrail 'alaihis-salam asked our master the Prophet when Doomsday would come, our master the Prophet answered, "The one asked about it knows no more than the one asking" (Bukhari, Muslim).
It is declared in the following Qur'anic verses:
(They ask you [O My Messenger] when Doomsday will come to pass. Say: "Only My Lord knows it; none but He can reveal its time. That Hour, whose weight the heavens and the earth cannot bear, will come to you all of a sudden." They ask you persistently as if you knew it. Say: "Its knowledge is with Allah alone, but most people do not know this fact.") [Al-A'raf 187]
(People ask you about the time of Doomsday. Say: "The knowledge of it is only with Allah. What do you know? It may be that it is near.") [Al-Ahzab 63]
(The knowledge of the time of Doomsday is with Allah alone. Without His knowledge, no fruit sprouts forth from its sheath, nor does a female conceive or give birth. On the day when He calls out to them, "Where are the partners you attributed to Me?" they will say, "We inform You of that there are not any witnesses among us regarding them.") [Al-Fussilat 47]
(They ask you when Doomsday will come to pass. How can you know it [unless Allah informs you about it]? Only Allah knows it.) [An-Nazi'at 42-44]
Even the following three hadith-i sharifs clearly indicate that there is much time to pass for Hadrat Mahdi to emerge and for Doomsday to strike:
(Until the earth is covered by disbelief, so that disbelief is prevalent and is practiced everywhere, the Mahdi will not come.) [Maktubat-i Rabbani]
(A hundred years before Doomsday comes, there will be no one on earth who worships Allah.) [Hakim]
(Doomsday will not come as long as there is a Muslim on earth who says "Allah.") [Muslim, Tirmidhi]
Since there are Muslims who say Allah, then how can Doomsday strike today or tomorrow?
What a grave insolence and a mean act it is to give an exact date regarding a matter about which our master the Prophet told Jabrail 'alaihis-salam that he had no knowledge.