Originally Posted in January 2009
The life and death of planet Earth byastrophysicist Donald Brownlee and paleontologist Peter Ward. Now these two men are saying that the world will end in 2012. Allah says in the Qur’an that only he knows when the world will end but these men are saying that there calculations are based on the Maya calendar, the calendar has been used to predict the future before and so far, it has only been 43 seconds off. Is there anything in the Qur’an that agrees with this matter?
In the name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful
You have made a very wise decision in asking this question on two counts. First, because many young people nowadays have several questions and/or misgivings about their religion but keep them inside. As time goes by, these ideas pile up and then might trigger some day and lead to numerous doubts about their religion without anyone understanding what happened. Therefore, it is beneficial to express what you feel and to ask questions.
Second, you have asked the right people who grew up in an environment similar to yours and have knowledge of Islam. Many people end up asking the wrong people who either can’t relate to them or have no knowledge. This would only end up causing more problems.
The stance of the Qur’an on this issue is clear from the following verse: “They ask you [Prophet] about the end of the world, saying, ‘When will it be?’ How can you tell them that? Its time is known only to your Lord. You are only sent to warn those who fear it.” (Qur’an, 79:42-45)
The point is that when Allah says that something is “known only to your Lord,” it means that it is something that cannot be discovered by man, such as a person’s lifespan. Many people try to predict a number of things and we assume that, because of the advances in science and technology, we can also have knowledge similar to what Allah has. However, think about how many times the weather report has been wrong despite all the satellites and advanced equipment, how many people were supposed to die but lived, and how many people were supposed to have lived but died. All of these things remind us of how far we really are from Allah’s knowledge. As for using the Maya calendar, we need to stop and think about a number of things. First, how many predictions did they make? Second, what were their predictions about? Third, what was the rate of accuracy in all of their predictions and why they aren’t being used as mainstream evidence? Fourth, where did they get this knowledge from?
We must be very critical of people who claim to know the future. Most people who make such a claim are frauds while the others are merely guessing. It’s like horoscopes which are written in such a general way that people think they can actually tell the future when, in reality, they don’t. We shouldn’t be fooled by such things,even if they are packaged and presented in the name of science. Science is a very useful tool, but it is often misused and twisted to fit a certain agenda or just to sell a book. When all is said and done, remember that just because the sun has risen from the east for millions of years doesn’t mean that Allah can’t change it tomorrow and make it rise from the west. We must remember that just as our own lives are in the hands of Allah, so is the life of the world, and He can end it whenever He likes. May Allah allow us to utilize our limited lives with what pleases Him before our time is up.