The Sea of Galilee also known as Lake Tiberias and in Arabic Buhera Tibria is an important historical geographical feature that lies at the border of present day Israel. It is situated in the North of Israel at the junction of four countries namely Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.
It is one of the largest fresh water lakes, and also is one of lowest (beneath the sea level) fresh water lake on earth. Its maximum depth is approximately 43 m. It is about 13 miles (21 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) wide.
The lake is important to Judaism because some of the oldest synagogues found were situated on the towns that surround the lake. It is important to Christianity because this was where most of Jesus’s ministry occurred including some of his miracles. The lake is also inscribed in the bible.
However, it is the topic of utmost relevance today because it has a special significance in Islamic Eschatology. According to Islamic traditions, the lake itself is a sign that holds the clues to the end of history. There are two traditions in this regards.
- In the first tradition it is said that when the forces of Gog and Magog (who are children of Adam i.e. homosapiens), will arrive at the lake, their front members will start consuming the lake water and by the time their latter members will arrive, the lake would be dry (original hadeeth copied below)
- In the second tradition which is an extraordinary Hadeeth by Tameem ad Dari, it has been narrated that the drying up of the lake of Galilee will herald the release of the anti-Christ (known as Dajjal among Muslims) in the public sphere. (Hadeeth of Tamim Al Dari can be referenced from various sources)
As these traditions have been narrated over 1400 years ago, it is remarkable that some of the events that are unfolding before our eyes precisely follow the chain of events exactly as described in those hadeeth.
Moving on to present day, water from the Sea of Galilee is being used as a freshwater supply resorvoir for Israel. The water level in recent years is the lowest it has ever been. As per news reports in April 2010, the water level had receded to dangerously unsustainable levels and it is predicted that moving forward in time will see the further depletion of the lake. The consumption levels have superseded the natural replenishment of water. Four years of drought in the region due to climate change has also compounded the problem.
Many famous celebrities from a purely environmental point of view, have tried to highlight this issue. This includes Leonardo Di Caprio’s former partner and supermodel Bar Rafaeli.
The fisheries that used to be a thriving industry has nearly collapsed. Water has receded more than 3 meters across the lake. The lake is supplied its water by river Jordan and underground springs. The contribution by the hot water springs is of water with high salinity. Due to the density difference, freshwater remains at the top and is siphoned off. With lesser amount of freshwater pressing down on saline water, there is a chance for the lake to be homogenously salinized sooner than later, thus rendering freshwater fish extinct.
Several scholars in the Muslim world are observing the lake’s water levels closely. The drying up of the lake is predicted to be followed by a chain of events that include a grand war ( The Malhama) and the return of the Christ (or Mesiah). These scholars want to be the first to welcome Jesus (P.B.U.H) and join his forces to fight against the anti Christ.
It has to be remembered that according to Islamic Eschatology, the end of times and end of history are two separate events. The former refers to the doomsday, while the latter marks the era when good will eventually triumph evil.
The Nabi Muhammad (PBUH) gave us several prophecies to recognize this era and it is therefore important to look at the current events and the march of humanity in light of these recorded traditions.
The Gog and Magog, as explained by the renowned scholar Imran Hosein refers to the Zionist movement and establishment of illegal settlements in the present era. This falls in line with the fact that in 1909, Jewish pioneers established the first cooperative farming village Kvutzat Kinneret in the immediate vicinity of the lake. Interestingly Kvutzat Kinneret is also considered the cradle of Kibbutz culture of early Zionism.
Imran Hosein further mentions that the Islamic traditions, particularly regarding to the end of history, have to be understood in the light of Quran. And subjects like International relations, modern history, modern financial systems and modern civilization all have to be studied in conjunction with the Quran for valid analysis.
For now, the lake is a few years away from drying up. However with the present level of unrest in the region, circumstances can be triggered that accelerate depletion of this freshwater resource that nestles at the borders of four countries.
The unleashing of forces of darkness is the stuff of entertainment in the popular culture. If the Malhama breaks out as predicted, than how prepared are we? Would we be on the right side of history? The Sea of Galilee is the water clock for Muslims and water is running out.
Hadith narrated by Hadhrat Nawwas ibn Sam’aan (R.A.) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said:
Then Ya’jooj and Majooj (Gog and Magog) will emerge and surge forth in all their fury. When those from among them who constitute the first part of their army pass the lake of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) which is in northern Palestine, they will drink up all the water of that lake and by the time those that constitute the latter part of that same army pass the lake, they will say, “There used to be water here (long ago)
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