'Abdullah (radhyAllahu ‘anhu) related that the Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, "Just before the Hour there will be days when knowledge will be raised, when ignorance will descend, and when there will be much killing." (Reported by Ibn Maajah)
Hudhaifah ibn Al-Yamaan (radhyAllahu ‘anhu) related that the Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, "Islam will perish (i.e., knowledge will perish and its traces will be effaced) like the embroideries of a garment perish, until (the time) when fasting, prayer, worship, and charity will not be known; when in one night forgetfulness will pass over the Book (the Qur'an) and not a single Verse from it will remain on the earth. A group of people will remain — the aged man and woman — who will say, 'We were around when our father was upon this word: Laailaha illallaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), but they will not know what is prayer, fasting, worship, or charity."
Silah asked Hudhaifah (radhyAllahu ‘anhu), "What will 'Laailaha illallaah' benefit them when they do not know what is prayer, worship, and charity?" Hudhaifah (radhyAllahu ‘anhu) turned away from him, but he repeated the question three times, and all the while Hudhaifah (radhyAllahu ‘anhu)turned away from him. When Silah asked for the third time, Hudhaifah (radhyAllahu ‘anhu) approached him and said, "O Silah, it will save them from the Hellfire." And he repeated that statement three times.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah)
This proves that knowledge will be taken from the people near the end of this world, a time when the forgetfulness of the Qur'an will pervade the earth — in the Masaahif and in the breasts of men. And people will remain without knowledge. The aged man and woman will say that they were around when people would say: 'Laailaha illallaah,' and they will say it seeking closeness to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) by it. It will benefit them even though they do not otherwise have good deeds or beneficial knowledge. Perhaps the meaning of "it will save them from the Hellfire" is that their saying the phrase of Tawheed will save them from entering the Hellfire altogether; in that case, the only obligation upon them is to say it, since they are not required to do deeds. And Allah knows best.
But perhaps Hudhaifah's statement means that they are saved from the Fire after first having to enter it; so the implications of this Hadeeth may be the intended meaning of the following Qudsee Hadeeth: "By My Greatness and Exaltedness, I will remove from the Hellfire whoever says on any day from time: Laailaha illallaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah).”
But still, this last Hadeeth might be referring to another group of people. We will study this in more detail when discussing the levels of intercession. What is important to note here is that knowledge will be raised at the end of time and ignorance will become rampant. In the aforesaid Hadeeth we are told that ignorance will descend, which means that people will be inspired by it, and that is from forsakenness, which we seek refuge from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). The said state of affairs will continue as people increase in ignorance and misguidance, until life on this world ends. This we are informed of in the Hadeeth of the Prophet at, "The Hour will not arrive upon anyone who says, 'Allah, Allah,' and it will not arrive except upon the most evil of people."
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