The prophetic outline from the last segment in this series is the one that is held by Sunni Muslims. The majority of Muslims in the world are Sunnis. They trace their heritage back to Mohammad. About ten per cent, located mainly in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, are Shiites. Iran is the only nation with a Shiite majority. The split occurred in the 10th Century over the nature of the theocratic leadership of Islam. Shiites believe Islam's leader should be a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad. Sunnis say leaders should be chosen by consensus. Shiites believe in free will whereas Sunnis adhere to the concept of predestination. Shiites exalt their Imams (spiritual leaders) as inspired teachers who have the authority to interpret Islamic law. For Sunnis, the interpretation of Islamic law has been theoretically closed since the 10th Century.
With regard to eschatology, the major difference between the two groups centers around a Messianic individual called the Mahdi. This individual is the embodiment of the earnest longing and hope of the Shiites who have been oppressed and persecuted throughout the course of Islamic history. There is no direct reference to the Mahdi in the Qu'ran. However, Shiites argue that he is inferred. In the Shiite scheme of end time events, the Mahdi takes the place of Jesus as the one who will defeat the Antichrist and create a kingdom that will fill the earth with goodness and justice. He is the one who has been destined from eternity to save the world from the forces of wickedness. In Shiite eschatology, Jesus is limited to assisting the Mahdi. Jesus' specific mission is to propagate Islam among Christians and Jews.
Regarding the Hadith
The Hadith is a record of Mohammad's words and deeds according to his wives, relatives, and companions. Next to the Qu'ran, it is the most important part of Islamic law. Its teachings are considered as binding as those contained in the Qu'ran.
The most recognized compilation of these sayings is the one by Sahih Al Bukhari. Some examples of the bizarre sayings of Muhammad which are contained in Bukhari's nine volumes are reproduced below:
- Women are deficient in mind (2:541 and 3:826).
- The majority of people in Hell are women (1:28, 301; 2:161; 7:124).
- Women are a bad omen (7:30).
- Drinking camel urine will make you healthy (7:590).
- A fly in your drink can cure you of disease (4:537).
- Fever comes from the heat of Hell (7:619).
- "Though I am an apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me" (2:375).
- If you speak badly about a deceased person, that person will go to Hell (2:448).
1) Anonymous ("A Muslim Medical Doctor"), "Islam and Eschatology," www.templemount.org/ islameschat.html, 12/26/2005.
2) Anonymous, ("Guided Ones"), "The Islamic Paradise — What's in it and for whom?" www.guidedones.com/metapage/ frq/islamicpar.htm.
3) Anonymous, "Virgins? What Virgins?" The Guardian, January 12, 2002, www.guardian.co.uk/saturday_review/ story/0,3605,631332,00.html.
4) Caner, Dr. Ergun, "Islamic Eschatology," audio recording of an address delivered to the 14th annual Pre-Trib Study Group meeting in Dallas, Texas, December 2005.
5) Cook, Dr. David B., "Nearing the End?" The Dallas Morning News, April 17, 2005, page 4P.
6) Dolphin, Lambert, "A Short Summary of Islamic Beliefs," www.ldolphin.org/islam.shtml, 12/26/2005.
7) El-Ghamdy, Gharm-Allah, "Signs of the Last Hour," www.usc.edu/dept/msa/fundamentals/ pillars/signsofthelasthour.html, 12/26/2005.
8) Elias, Mufti A. H., "Jesus (Isa) in Islam, and His Second Coming," www.islam.tc/prophecies/jesus.html.
9) Hasan, Dr. Suhaib, "50 Signs of the Day of Judgment from the Words of Allah and His Messenger," www.islam.com/Print.aspx?id=450, 1/1/2006.
10) Larson, Warren F., "Islamic Eschatology: Implications for Christian Witness," www.ciu.edu/articles/islamic-eschatology, 12/26/2005.
11) Rast, Jennifer, "Muslim, Jewish, and Christian End-Times Prophecy Comparison," www.contenderministries.org/prophecy/ eschatologyPF.php, 12/26/2005.
12) Shahid, Dr. Samuel, The Last Trumpet: A Comparative Study in Christian-Islamic Eschatology, Xulon Press, 2005.
13) Wikipedia, "Islamic Eschatology," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ islamic-eschatology, 12/26/2005.