For the past two years, I have been designated the Islamic Studies teacher for seven of my nieces and nephews, ages 9 to 11 years. We come together on Google Meet every Sunday to learn from each other about our faith. At a recent meeting, my nephew eagerly declared that the Euphrates River has dried and is about to reveal a mountain of gold, and that a prophecy for End Times is coming true. Surprised at my own reaction to worry, I managed to entertain the class briefly on this topic with an age-appropriate discussion.
But I was still concerned about where he was getting this information. It surely wasn’t Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s detailed lectures on the topic of end-time prophecies, which were way above the intellectual capacity of this age group. I already suspected that the culprit was one of the YouTube channels. And it was confirmed. YouTube is full of all types of misinformation on Islam that may corrupt their understanding of this important subject. Even more dangerously, they may end up impressed with any ill-intentioned individual looking for impressionable followers. I decided to capitalize on their curiosity and design a curriculum of my own.
Foretold and Unrealized Events of the Future
Belief in the Last Day is the fifth pillar of faith in Islam. It is unseen and unrealized information of our faith passed on to us through the Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. This is the tenet of faith that makes an accounting of personal and communal actions consequential and solidifies the truth of Heaven and Hell. My next step was to reach out to my siblings and ask their permission to discuss the topic in detail with my nieces and nephews
. And then I needed a detailed lesson plan.
In my research, I opened Pandora’s box on End Times prophecies. All types of information flowed in all languages and faiths. Some of it included propaganda and misinformation about Islam. I even found several individuals claiming to be Imam Mehdi or that Jesus will descend from the sky after Ramadan 2023, racking up thousands of views on the videos on Youtube and Facebook. I think I may have experienced something like being sucked into a black hole. The force was strong.
The lessons that followed included sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, on End Times. Equally important was teaching about what makes information authentic. Rather than describing the lesson itself, I would like to expand on what to keep in mind when engaging the tweens and teens when it comes to this essential tenet of our faith - believing in the Last Day and events related to it that are foretold by our beloved Prophet.
Caution about Online Resources
Our children have access to information from all types of sources. However, they spend a good chunk of their life on a screen.
Children are very impressionable and can be manipulated into following individuals with malicious intent. There is a lot of hopelessness in the Muslim world, and any intentional propaganda can provide a false anchor to our youth affirming their religious identity and looking for hope. It is very important for parents of children of all ages to pay attention to the following:
- Monitor online viewing about religious issues, specifically about end-times prophecies.
- Establish authentic sources for Islamic information.
- Share age-appropriate information about end-time prophecies
- Provide tools to lessen the anxiety about the end-time events.
With information only a click away, it is essential that our children are well-trained in using tools for authenticating information. As parents and guides, we must discuss with them the primary sources of Quran and Hadith as absolute on the Last Day events. But also, include the secondary sources which are the interpretations by our eminent scholars, emphasizing the connection to advancements in the sciences and understanding of our world. Fortunately, quite a few books of our eminent scholars have been translated into English, such as Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya and Book of the End: Great Trials & Tribulations by Ibn Kathir, Antichrist and Descending of Jesus by Nassir Ud Deen Al Albani, and Signs of the Last Hour by Abu Abdullah Al-Qurtubi. They are readily available for purchase from authentic Islamic online bookstores. In addition, several credible and popular Western scholars have composed a series of educational videos on this matter, when viewed as a family activity can be an enjoyable experience.
The tertiary sources are the parents and close and like-minded family members. Topics of this nature should be discussed in homes freely and comfortably. Many people are quick to chide the discussion of Last Day as something too far off in the future or the person discussing it as a “doomsayer.” This only makes the children keep their curiosity to themselves and then eventually retrieve information from unsavory sources.
The prophecies of Last Day can be scary for children of young ages and may make them anxious. The prophecies foretell the demise of humanity, immoral behaviors, waywardness, wars, and bloodshed. Did I mention Dajjal (Antichrist) and Yajooj Majooj (Gog and Magog)? It is very important that the signs of the Last Day are explained to children in a way that empowers them to strive to be good Muslims and is balanced with the good news (bashara) that God gives to the faithful in the Quran. You may help them by sharing age-appropriate end-time signs with children that they are able to fathom and gradually discuss signs of lurid nature as they get older. It was narrated by Anas:
“A man asked the Prophet about the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, ‘When will the Hour be?’ The Prophet said, ‘What have you prepared for it?’ The man said, ‘Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle.’ The Prophet said, ‘You will be with those whom you love.’”
Definitely encourage children to memorize the first ten verses of the Surah Al-Kahf as a protection from the difficulties of End Times. (Some scholars suggest memorizing the last 10 verses, best to do both). In addition, help them remember to recite the dua of protection from Dajjal in their prayers. But foremost, advise them to focus on being good Muslims in daily life.
Lastly, the prophecies serve an important purpose, which is to engage in self-improvement and save oneself from strife in difficult times. Our children may or may never experience any of the prophecies in their lifetime, but it is necessary for them to have a deep understanding of the events leading to the Day of Judgement. And of course, we want our children to carry on the tradition of passing the prophecies to their future generations, in order to fulfill the mission of sharing as intended by our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
In conclusion, the faith of Muslims is held up on the six pillars of iman, including the faith in the unseen and unrealized events. The prophecies of End Times serve as a promise from Allah of rewards of unfathomable treasures and pleasures for the faithful and a relief from the restraints of this material world. Teaching our children this basic understanding and purpose of the prophecies of the Last Day will only help strengthen their faith and will provide comfort as they pass through the difficulties of our material World. It is important that this essential knowledge is transmitted to children with open communication so that the children may ask important questions, with sharp focus on self-improvement, in addition to including the good news imparted in the Quran to the believers.
Further Reading Recommendations
- Book of the End, Al Bidaya wan Nihaya
- Book of the End: Great Trials & Tribulations.pdf
- Signs of The Last Hour (Imam Shams Ed-deen Al-Qurtubi)
- Quranic Evidence for Resurrection in the Hereafter | IslamiCity
- Sahih al-Bukhari - Sunnah.com - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad
- The Signs of the End of Times | Sh. Yasir Qadhi
Tayaabah Qazi has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, an AdminI/II Certification from the State of Maryland Education Department, and a Secondary Teaching Certification in Chemistry as well as a CPP certificate. She has served in the education field as a teacher and an administrator of schools. Recently, she served at Community College of Baltimore County as a Coordinator of Adult Basic Education program. Currently, Tayaabah is the Program Manager at the Office of Workforce Development at Maryland Department of Labor. She has been a long-time resident of Maryland for 17 years, with her family, but hails from Southern California. She is also a staunch believer of the 4 Cs: Compassion. Commitment. Conversation. Cultivation.