Asalamulaykum wr wb,

May my salams reach everyone. I was wondering if there’s any truth behind the Mayan prophecy, in which their calendar ends on December 21, 2012, which in fact is a Friday. Is their calendar right and will it be doomsday on that day? Does it have anything to do with the coming of Imam Mahdi? I’m sorry for my lack of adab, I’m sorry for not knowing, I’m weak. Its just that this Mayan thing has been circulating for some time and I wanted some clarification from my respected sheikhs. jazakallahkhayr.


Wa `alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

There is no reason to dismiss any Mayan cosmological knowledge out of hand, since nothing true is alien to Islam. However, the calendar that is the cause of so much speculation is really only a simple count of days, without any apparent regard for astrological cycles. Comparisons with the understanding of traditional Islam would therefore seem to be unnecessary, although it may be noted in passing that the Mayans also have a record of the Flood. More importantly, the paranoia about this calendar betrays that despite their faith in anti-traditional science, many modern people know that this world has an end as well as a beginning.

Of course, much more sophisticated reckonings of time based on astrological cycles were part of the inheritance of Islamic civilization. The precession of the equinoxes shows that no cycle of time is ever exactly the same, and this phenomenon was familiar to traditional science, despite the erroneous modern claim that precession discredits traditional understanding. However, when it is affirmed in traditional Islam that this world will end in the age relating to the sign of the Balance, this is a calculation apparently separate from equinoctial precession. Be that as it may, your question concerning future events belongs to a special branch of the Islamic sciences known as Jafr.

Shaykh `Abdul-Wahid Yahya has time and again explained the traditional understanding of temporal cycles, and in considering Jafr and related sciences, he affirms that these “find their application in the realm of the ‘microcosm’ as well as in that of the ‘macrocosm,’ for the initiatic process reproduces in all its phases the cosmological process itself. To have a full awareness of all these correlations, it is necessary to have reached a very high degree in the initiatic hierarchy, a degree which is called that of ‘red sulfur’ (al-Kebrit al-Ahmar)…”

Now, in this very forum Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani revealed that “Mawlana Shaykh Nazim is the Kibrit al-Ahmar in our time.” Among the lessons of this Kibrit al-Ahmar is that all events in this world now have to do, as you put it, with the coming of Imam Mahdi, `alayhi Salam. If his appearance seems overdue in relation to certain past statements of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani that apparently relate to the macrocosm – and may Allah sanctify his secret! – it would no doubt be instructive to consider also the microcosmic application of the Red Sulfur’s “sciences.”

Mahmoud Shelton

About Ustadh Mahmoud Shelton

Mahmoud Shelton studied at the University of Edinburgh before taking a degree in Medieval Studies at Stanford University. Shelton is the author of Alchemy in Middle Earth: The Significance of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, The Balance of George Lucas' Star Wars, and numerous articles. He is also a contributor to The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry and The Sufi Science of Self-Realization. Contributions by Mahmoud Shelton * Chivalry of the Night and Day * Alchemy in Middle Earth * contributor, The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry
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