Salam, If it's not too much of a bother to you, would you mind talking about the end of times and it's various signs? What are your interpretations of them and possible thoughts on its implications that are manifesting in our world already? Not all hadith is as authentic as it initially seems which is why I'm a little skeptical of descriptions made by some imams and scholars. I was curious to know what you have to say on this topic, being someone I respect intellectually and religiously.
Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,
I have always been skeptical of end days narratives that are not mentioned in the Quran. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi says that since the Mahdi is not mentioned in the Quran nor explicitly in the Sahihs of al-Bukhari and Muslim, the concept should not be taken seriously. He says that since this is a very big addition to Islam, and since the support for it does not come from Islam’s main sources, the addition should be rejected. There are many respected scholars who believe in it. But it is not a matter of consensus despite the claims of some. If a single highly respected and qualified scholar disagrees with the rest on something, this automatically breaks the consensus.
I have not done a detailed study of these matters since what the Quran says about Day of Judgment has always been sufficient for me. I see no benefit in concerning ourselves with epic narratives when the Quran constantly stresses the Day of Judgment itself rather than what takes place in the days and years before it. I do not say the whole literature is false, I will have to do a detailed study to find out what can be trusted and what cannot. If there are authentic narrations coming from multiple Companions (rather than a single Companion) and multiple chains that speak of something, then that is strong support for it. But if it comes to us from a single Companion then skepticism is required (there is much disagreement on this, but scholars of legal theory accept this, while scholars of hadith are often less skeptical).
Source for al-Qaradawi’s opinion (Arabic PDF)
Discussion of multiply-and-singularly transmitted narrations (Arabic PDF)