The 107th edition of Al-Naba, the Islamic State’s newsletter, was released on 27 November 2017. On page 8 there was an article that cautioned against applying apocalyptic prophecies to the present day. A very rough translation is produced below.
Though the Islamic State has used propaganda related to Armageddon in its recruitment material, particularly to bring in the foreign fighters, notoriously referring to the Hadith that foretells of a confrontation at Dabiq between Christendom and Islam as a stop on the road to the end, the strategic use of eschatology within the Islamic State can be overstated. This is most clear when the comparison is made with Juhayman al-Utaybi’s movement, which took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca in November 1979 with only a week’s worth of food, so confident were they that the “Hour” had arrived. The Islamic State was always most immediately focused on its caliphate, and though it believed end-times was coming, it was vague about when, and that date appears now to have been pushed back even further.
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A Pause in the Chatter About the Hadiths of Tribulation and the Epic Battles
The spirit of the faithful came down from the Lord of the Worlds, and was communicated through our Holy Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. His followers and the scholars then established the religion around the most important foundations of the prophetic approach:
Faith in everything Within the Qur’an and Sunnah
There is no doubt that the origins of al-ahl al-sunna [the people of orthodoxy, i.e. Sunni Muslims] is the belief in everything that came from the Prophet, peace be upon him, and that faith in the words of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, including Kitab al-Fitan wal-Malahim [The (Hadith) Books of Tribulation and Epic Battles], which are related to a section of Allah’s Book, which is not falsehood … The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Say [O believers], ‘We believe in Allah and the revelation which has been sent down to us and to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Yaqub], and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and Iesa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted [in Islam]’” [Al-Baqarah (2): 136].
Therefore, we find that the imams of the salaf [ancestors] highlighted the strange matters which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prophesied would precede the end of time in the books of aqida [creed or faith] that they wrote to the people, through which they documented the beliefs of the Sunnis and the community that does not give up their faith, raising these issues only because they feared Muslims would be fascinated by the people of misguidance, who would push them to disbelieve some of the words of the Prophet—peace be upon him—and following the whims of those who do not know.
Ibn Qudamah said in Luma’t al-Itiqa’d [The Illuminating Creed]: “We are obligated to have Faith in everything that the Prophet informed us about and in what has been authentically attributed to him through reports, whether we witnessed it or it was hidden from us. We know that it is a reality and the truth. This is the same with regard to whether we comprehend it or we do not comprehend it. We do not go beyond the outer actuality [i.e. literalness] of its meaning, such as the hadith concerning al-Isra wal-Mi’raj [the two parts of the “night journey”]. It occurred while the Prophet was awake and not in a dream, for indeed the Quraysh denied it and considered it something incredible. And they were not a people who denied dreams. … Another example of that, are the Signs of the Hour [portents that the apocalypse is approaching], such as the emergence of al-Dajjal [lit. “the deceiver”; often referred to as the Anti-Christ], the decent of Isa ibn Maryam [Jesus son of Mary]—peace be upon him—who will then slay him, the appearance of Ya’juj and Ma’juj [Gog and Magog], the emergence of the Beast, and the rising of the sun from the west”.
It is not necessary to tally the frequency of a Hadith for it to be obligatory. Rather, if the Hadith is authentic among the scholars of Hadith, we believe and adhere to it, unlike the people of bid’a [innovation], who stipulate the frequency of a Hadith to prove matters of the faith. …
Caution From False Hadith and Corrupt Interpretations
Since the issue here is related to what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, it is necessary to confirm the proportion of the words directly ascribable to him, before believing in them or attributing them to him when he communicated them to other people, especially since the gate to al-Fitan wal-Malahim is a gate through which there are many lies in the people of misguidance, who will try to divert believers from this path, especially the ravenous dhimmis who have done more than lie to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his whole house, and have put into circulation many stories claiming the victory of their misguidance at the end of time.
And so, many Hadiths of al-Fitan wal-Malahim have come to us are weak and not based on religion. The weak Hadith does not benefit the believer. Rather, it is useful to know the truth. …
Believing in what is said from the unseen necessitates that we believe in the stories as they appear, unlike the people of innovation, who call themselves rationalists, and those like them, who claim to have faith and then devote much text to interpretation … deviating from the truth. We pass on the faith as it came from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, as his interpretation was clearly authorized at the time by God.
[Nonetheless] Muslims are obligated to refer to the scholars’ interpretation of the verses and the Hadiths that contain information about the Signs of the Hour and other matters of the future. As always, the Muslims don’t interpret the Qur’an, nor accept the opinion of the people of innovation and misguidance. Likewise, it is necessary for Muslims to avoid applying texts that contain provisions related to the signs of end-times without clear proof from the shari’a. There are many feet on [the brink of] the abyss, and many communities have been lost in this way. We will seek—God willing—to talk about This dangerous aspect of faith in the teachings of al-Fitan wal-Malahim, and God guided to the path.