Why doing good would be difficult near the end of time
Fatwa No: 300763

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. It is known from hadiths that before the end of time, good deeds will become too difficult to perform for the Muslims. Please explain this to me. Will the muslims not feel like doing good deeds or will there be too many obstacles on their way?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It would have been more appropriate if you had mentioned the ahaadeeth that you speak of so that we could elaborate on them. But perhaps you mean the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “There will come upon the people a time when a person holding onto his religion will be like the one holding onto hot coal.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmithi and others]

Also, Al-Haakim reported in Al-Mustadrak that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “There are days of patience behind you, where being patient during those days is like holding onto hot coal, the doer in those days will get the reward of fifty people who does like his work (deeds).” [Ath-Thahabi classified it as authentic in his book At-Talkhees]

Also, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “Worship at the time of affliction is like migration to me.” [Muslim]

The meaning of this is that people would be so busy and will have no time to perform acts of worship; Imaam An-Nawawi said, “What is meant here is affliction, and people will be negligent and so busy that they would not dedicate themselves to doing acts of worship, and it is only some individuals who would be devoted to performing acts of worship.

However, this does not apply to all kinds of acts of worship, but it is only the acts that would be difficult to perform at times of tribulation.

Fat-h al-Wadood reads, “This is in regard to acts that would be difficult to perform in those days, but this does not apply to all acts. And it was reported that, 'If any of you were to spend gold equal to (the mountain of) Uhud in charity, it would not equal a handful of one of them [the Companions] or even half of that.' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Also, the Companion is absolutely better than all the rest (of the people).

Also, ‘Awn Al-Ma’bood reads: 

Shaykh 'Ezz Ad-Deen ibn Abdus-Salaam said: 'This is not general; rather, this is based on two rules: Firstly, acts are honored by their fruits, and secondly, the stranger at the end of Islam is like the stranger at the beginning of Islam, and vice-versa; as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, 'Islam started strange and it will become strange as it started, so give glad tidings to the strangers from my nation.' What he meant here are those who separated themselves from the people of their time.

Based on this (the two aforementioned rules), we say that spending at the beginning of Islam is better, as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to Khaalid ibn al-Waleed  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him 'If any of you were to spend gold equal to (the mountain of) Uhud [which is a huge mountain] in charity, it would not equal a Mudd (i.e. a handful of wheat) of one of them (the Companions) or even half of that.' The reason is that that charity gave its fruits at the beginning of Islam and in making Allaah’s Word the highest, and other acts of charity would not have yielded the same fruits.

Similarly, making jihaad with one’s soul, the late comers will not reach the position of the former as the number of the former was little and their supporters were but a few, so their jihaad was greater. Also, providing one’s soul and providing support while hoping to stay alive is not as great as providing one’s soul without hoping to remain alive. It is for this reason that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, 'The best jihaad is a word of Truth to an unjust ruler.' The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) considered this as the best jihaad as the person who does that risks losing his life.

As regards forbidding evil among the Muslims and showing the rituals of Islam, then this is something that is hard to do for the latecomers due to the lack of what would help them in doing so and due to the evil being widespread amongst them as in the case of objecting to the unjust ruler. It is for this reason that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, 'There will come upon the people a time when a person holding onto his religion will be like the one holding onto hot coal.', i.e. he cannot bear this for a long time due to the hardship; this applies to the latecomer in preserving his religion.

As regards the former, they are not so because there were many things that helped them in doing good while there was no evil; this is how the hadeeth should be understood.' [Excerpted from  from Mirqaat As-Su’ood.]'" [End of quote]

Allaah knows best.

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