A Tribulation of Dust and Smoke


Before the Hour comes, there will be a dusty and smoky tribulation like patches of dark night... (Sunan Abu Dawud)


This hadith foretells a dusty, smoky, and dark wave of tribulation just before the Mahdi's advent. The word "tribulation" (fitna) implies anything that turns peoples' reason and hearts away from the true path, or war, incitement, chaos, disorder, and conflict.5 The tribulation mentioned in this hadith will leave behind smoke and dust.

Furthermore, as this tribulation is described as resembling "patches of dark night," its origins are unclear and it is unexpected. Thus, this hadith could refer to one of the world's worst terrorist attacks: 9/11, when New York City and Washington, DC, were attacked. As the whole world saw, a big, thick cloud of dust and smoke swallowed up the immediate surroundings.

A large cloud of smoke formed after the airplanes exploded after smashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The resulting smoke reached so high and spread so far that it could be seen throughout the city and even from neighboring cities. The ensuing collapse of the Twin Towers caused yet another huge cloud of smoke and dust, which completely enveloped people in the area.

This incident is very important for several reasons: It is one of the most serious acts of terror in world history, and it occurred along with other signs and bears characteristics similar to ones described in the hadith. Therefore, this act may well be the "tribulation like patches of dark night" foretold by the hadith as the sign of the Mahdi's emergence.


5. Ottoman-Turkish Dictionary, Istanbul: 2000, p. 274.

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