Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
In many hadith about the end times, battles are mentioned that indicate the weapons used will be swords and bows, and arrows. Is this literal, and will society collapse, or will swords and weapons of antiquity become common? Or is it possible that these are the ways that the Prophet (Allah bless Him and grant Him peace) explained warfare to explain the matter to the companions? And if so, what gives us a reason to interpret it? Or is it possible that modern weaponry will be used along with weapons of antiquity? Jazak Allah Khair.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.
Indeed, many Prophetic hadiths discuss the battle of the end of times. The following is one that mentions the use of swords:
The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them). […] And as they would be busy in distributing the spoils of war (amongst themselves) after hanging their swords by the olive trees, Satan would cry: The Dajjal has taken your place among your family. They would then come out, but it would be of no avail. […]. [Muslim]
Obviously, in the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) time, there was no word for a tank, drone, machine gun, etc. So, it may be that the Prophet was using the language he and his companions would understand about weaponry and transportation.
So, the use of the word “sword” or “horses” may be symbolic and used in place of the weapons and means of transport that we know today or will know at the end of times.
The lesson we should be taking from these kinds of hadith is that we must be prepared and follow the messenger now while we still have a chance to earn good actions and seek forgiveness while we still have the opportunity.
Believers Prepare for Death with Good Actions
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man said, “O Messenger of Allah, (Allah bless him and give him peace) which of the believers is best?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Those with the best character.” The man said, “Which of the believers is the wisest?” The Prophet said, “Those who remember death often and have best prepared for it with good deeds; such are the wisest.”
And Allah knows best.
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[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.