If animals go around in circles, does that indicate that some event is about to happen, or is it a sign of the onset of the Hour?

Question : 433494

23/08/2023

If birds, animals and fish go around in circles, there is a debate on social media nowadays as to whether this is a warning of some event that is about to happen on earth, or it is one of the signs of the Hour. Is that true?

Answer

There is nothing in the Quran or the proven Sunnah of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to indicate that animals going around in circles is one of the portents of the Hour. If what is meant is that is an indication that the Hour is imminent, then that is even more clearly false, because the revelation has stated that the Hour will only come after its portents have occurred, and that after these portents appear, humans will live for a while during which faith will be taken away, so the Hour will only come upon the worst of people.

Some of that has been explained previously, for example in the answer to question no. 43840 .

As for the view that it is an indication that some event, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption, is about to occur, this is something for which there is nothing in the religious texts to support it.

As for the idea of zoologists discovering that and finding a connection between a specific movement of birds or other animals and the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, this is something which requires sound research by trustworthy scientists and scholars to confirm it. This is something of which we are not aware up till now. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are still happening, and the natural instinct of animals when they sense that something frightening is about to happen, such as earthquakes, is to flee and panic, not to go around in circles in a regular motion that is not indicative of fear or panic.

Moreover, this going around in circles is not something that is consistent in all animals; rather it occurs in isolated cases here and there. Logic would dictate that if it is a sign of some event that is going to happen in some area, then this behaviour would be seen in all animals in that area. The point is that it is not appropriate for the Muslim to try to interpret such animal behaviour without knowledge.

Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned} [Al-Isra’ 17:36].

Shaykh Muhammad al-Amin ash-Shinqiti (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

In this verse, Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, forbids pursuing that of which one has no knowledge. That includes saying ‘I saw’ when you have not seen, or ‘I heard’ when you have not heard, and ‘I know’ when you do not know.

That includes every type of speaking without knowledge and doing actions that are not based on knowledge. And Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, has said something similar in other verses."(Adwa’ al-Bayan  3/682).

The prohibition on trying to find an interpretation for such things becomes more emphatic if we do not know the reality of these video clips. People on social media compete to get likes by posting weird and strange things, and some of them readily resort to deceit or concealing the true nature of the clips that they are posting.

What the wise person must do is not hasten to believe everything that is posted by such people, who are not known to be honest.

What the Muslim should really be alarmed about is the spread of mischief and corruption, and how people readily commit sin without any feeling of guilt, for calamities only occur because of that.

It was narrated from Zaynab bint Jahsh (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered the house in a state of alarm, saying: “La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god worthy of worship except Allah; woe to the Arabs from an evil that has approached! Today a (hole) like this has been opened in the barrier of Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj,” and he made a circle with his thumb and forefinger. Zaynab bint Jahsh said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, will we be destroyed even though there are righteous people among us? He said: “Yes, if evil prevails.” Narrated by al-Bukhari (3346) and Muslim (2880).

What the Muslim must do is strive to reform himself and call others to reform themselves too, so that the numbers of righteous people will increase and the evildoers will be suppressed.

Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Our scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) said: Her words “Will we be destroyed even though there are righteous people among us?” and the Prophet’s response, “Yes, if evil prevails” indicate that calamity may be warded off from those who are not righteous, if righteous people prevail."(At-Tadhkirah  3/1062).

And Allah knows best.

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