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This book is an authoritative source on a matter of central importance to everyone: the events of Akhir al-zaman, the final period of this world's history. The work is by Ibn Kathir, an eminent Muslim scholar, and is based entirely upon authentic texts. In many Ahadith, or Traditions, the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (S) described the condition in which people would live in those times. Some of the developments foretold by the Prophet (S) have already come to pass, such as the construction of high-rise buildings in the Middle East, also the frequent break-up of family ties and the almost universal presence of usury. Numerous Ahadith of the Prophet (S) describe such matters as the Dajjal or Antichrist and other temptations and disasters to which mankind will be subjected to as the disintegration of the natural order of things accelerates. The Last Days are also marked by supernatural apparitions which will manifest on an awesome scale the power of Allah Almighty. For Muslims there can be no more urgent or momentous questions to confront than these. For non-Muslims seeking knowledge about the Islamic perspective, this book presents material of vital importance in a clear English translation.
The author of this book was one of the leading scholars of the 8th century of Islam (the 14th of the Christian era). Born in Busra, Syria, around the turn of that century, Isma'il Abu'I-Fadl `'Umar Ibn Kathir was educated chiefly in Damascus, initially specializing in the study of Hadith. He was strongly influenced by the famous theologian Ibn Taymiyyah. In middle age, Ibn Kathir himself achieved prominence as a highly versatile scholar. He produced a commentary on the Holy Qur'an, as well as several noteworthy volumes in the field of Hadith and jurisprudence. But Ibn Kathir, who died at Damascus in 774/1373, was also a historian. His treatise on the history of Islam, from which this book in your hands is an excerpt, extends to fourteen volumes in the printed edition. He also wrote al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah meaning "The Beginning and the End", indicating that the author chronicles not only the events of the past but also - on the authority of the Prophet (S) - those of the Last Days as well.
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