Written by Br. “Mu’awiya”
Imam Al-Bukhari narrates in his sahih from Abdullah Ibn Umar that he heard the Prophet of Allah sallahu 3laye wasalam say : ” verily your stay in compared to the nations before you is like the time period between the prayers of ‘Asr ( mid-afternoon ) till sunset, The people of the Torah were given the Torah and they worked until noon and they couldn’t continue further, so they were given one Qirat, then the people of the Gospel were given the Gospel and they worked until the time of ‘Asr or mid-afternoon then they couldnt continue further, and were given a single Qirat, then we were given the Quran and we worked until the time of the sunset and were given two Qirats. (Seeing this) The people of the Book said :” Oh Allah you had given them ( the ummah of Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam ) two Qirats whereas you have given us only one and we are the most in terms of deeds.” He said,” Allah said (to them):” Have I oppressed in anything in your rewards?” and they said : “No.” (then) Allah said: “It is my bounty to whomsoever I wish I bestow”
In another variation Bukhari reports in his Sahih from Abu Musa (ra) from the Prophet sallahu 3laye wasalam : ”
These two narrations compare the time span of the people of Musa alihyesalam and Esa ibn Maryam alihyemusalam, with that of the age of the nation of Allah’s Final Apostle Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam. The age of the people of Musa alihesalam has been described with that of half a day and it began with the descend of the Torah till the time of the coming of the Messiah Esa ibn Maryam (as). In contrast to this, the age of the people of Esa ibn Maryam alihyemusalam has been described in span as the period between noon and mid afternoon and this is from the descend of the Gospel on Esa (as) till the advent of Allah’s Final Apostle Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam. Followed is the time of stay of the nation of Prophet Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam which has been compared to that of the time between the ‘Asr/mid-afternoon till sunset, whose beginning is marked by the first Quranic revelations on Sayidna Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam at Hira in Makkah, and its end will be at a time after the rising of the sun from the west, when a cool breeze from Yemen will move on earth taking away the souls of all those who believed. The Prophet of Allah sallahu 3laye wasalam is reported to have said : ” In between the hands of the hour(Qiyamah), there will come out a breeze/wind and it will take away the spirit of every believer.” (reported by Ahmad, Muslim, Thirmidhi and Ibn Majah), and in another narration he(saws) said ,”Verily Allah(swt) will send a wind from Yemen that will be more softer than silk, and it will not leave a person with even a single seed of eman, but will take his soul away.”( reported by al-Hakim)
Hafiz Ibn al-Hajr al-Asqalani says in his Fat-hul Bari , (in vol.4 , book of hire/ijara, page 448-449 )commenting on these two narrations : “and it is evident ( from these stated narrations) that the lasting of this Islamic nation is somewhat a thousand years, this is because the age of the Jewish nation is equivalent to that of the time periods of the Christian and Muslim ages combined, and the people of transmission (ahl an naql) have agreed that the period of the Jews till the advent of Allah’s final Apostle Muhammad Sallahu 3laye wasalam was more than 2000 years, and the span of the age of the Christians was 600 years from them..and also this narration points the fact about how little of the age of this world has remained.”
So from this saying of Ibn Hajr it is derived :
1) The time period of the Jews is equivalent to the age of the Christians and Muslims combined, so in other words
Age of the Jews = Age of the Christians + Age of the Muslims
2) The time span of the Christian age was 600 years and this has been stated in an authentic report from Bukhari who transmitted from Salman Farsi radiallaho 3anh that : “The length of time between Esa (as) and Muhammad (saws) is 600 years.”
3) So the age of the Muslims = Age of the Jews – the Age of Christians
Since the age of the Jews from the time of Musa(as)/Torah till the advent of Sayidina Muhammad sallahu 3laye wasalam is somewhat of a 2000 years or more, so putting the numbers in the equation we get
Age of the Muslims = 2000 years (approx.) – 600 years
= 1400 years (approx.)
So from these calculations the estimated age of the muslims is derived a little more than 1400 years.
Imam as Suyuti mentions in his book “Risalah Al-Kashf ‘an mujawazt hadehel ommah al alf”, or “treastie on revealing of the proceeding of this nation beyond the thousand, ” page 206 about the advent of the Mahdi that, “from what the narrations reveal is that the age of this ummah extends beyond a thousand but it doesnt exceed in increase another 500 in actuality beyond this thousand.”
However it should be pointed out that the Prophet sallahu 3laye wasalam wished an increase in the age of his ummah, In this regards there is another narration collected by Imam Ahmad, al-Hakim and Abu Dawud in their respective works, and Abu Nai’m in his hilyaa who report from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqas from the Prophet 3layesalat wasalam that he(saws) said, “It is my hope that for my ummah Allah swt will delay them another half a day.” Sa’d was asked, ” how much is half a day?” he replied, “it is 500 years”.
So even if the age of the Jews is a little more than 2000, and the resultant assumed age of the Muslims is 1400 from the mentioned calcuation, but now with the extra half a day added to the age span of the Muslims, the real time period of this ummah would be close to 1900 years or more,
So the age of Muslims = ( Age of the Jews – Age of the Christians) + extra half a day requested by the Prophet(saws)
= 1400 + 500
= 1900 years approximately,
and Allah knows best.