Knowing the “Signs of the Hour,” i.e., signs indicating the imminence of the Day of Judgment, is a requirement of belief. The very first hadith in Sahih Muslim relates how the Angel Jibreel came to the Prophet (s) and asked him about Islam, Iman, Ihsan, and Signs of the Hour.
One of the signs the Prophet (s) mentioned 1400 years ago in this famous hadith was that “bare-footed, destitute, goat-herders” would be vying with each other in the construction of tall buildings. This is something we see just recently over the past decade, so much so that even non-Muslims who have never heard of this hadith of the Prophet (s) note that the “Gulf Arabs are racing to build the tallest building in the world.”
We, of course, know that the Prophet (s) spoke the truth because God gave him the knowledge of the future. And part of the Prophet’s responsibility to humanity was to warn us of the Last Day, not only in the general sense, but also in the specific sense of when the Final Hour would be imminent. As the hadith mentions, he does not know exactly when the Hour would come and neither does Jibreel. Only Allah knows.
As Muslims reflecting on this specific sign — regarding construction of tall building, which is clear and undeniable — has numerous benefits including:
1. Strengthening our iman and conviction in the truth of our Messenger and his Message.
2. Inculcating gratitude toward Allah who allowed us to witness these signs and to witness the miraculous foreknowledge granted to the Prophet (s). These are miracles before our very eyes, so who will disbelieve after that?
3. Waking us up to the reality of the Hour so that we can prepare for it in the sense of repentance, good deeds, and rectifying our affairs and also in the sense of being on the lookout for the Major Signs that the Prophet (s) informed and warned us about, e.g., Imam al-Mahdi, the Dajjal (anti-Christ), and the return of Jesus Christ (s) the true Messiah from Heaven, etc. If we are alive for the advent of these events, then there are fard `ayn obligations associated with them for which all Muslims will be held accountable by Allah.
May Allah protect us from fitan and allow us to recognize the truth as truth.