Will there be two or three breaths in the horn, what will be the moments associated with the blowing in the horn?
Allah Ta’ala says:
The trumpet will be blown and everyone in the heavens and the earth will fall unconscious, except those who Allah Ta’ala chooses. Then it will be blown a second time and they will all be standing up, watching.
(Surah Zumar, Verse 68)
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
“The time between the two soundings of the horn on the Day of Qiyamah will be forty…” Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was asked whether Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) meant forty days or forty months or forty years but he declined to specify.
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2955)
Based on this, the popular opinion is that the horn will be blown twice. The first to neutralise all of creation and the second to bring them back to a state of wakefulness.
(At Tazkirah: vol. 1 pg. 311)
There are some Scholars who say that there will be three [or even four] soundings of the horn.
The first will merely cause people to fall unconscious. The second will bring all life to an end, and the third will be to resurrect the creation.
This view is also one that is held by senior Scholars and is based on verse 87 of Surah Naml as well as other narrations.
(An Nihayah: vol. 1 pg. 219, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah Naml, verse: 87 & Surah Zumar, verse: 68 & Ruhul Ma’ani, Surah Naml, verse: 87)
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) is of the opinion that there will only be two soundings of the horn and that they will be experienced in different ways, in accordance to the condition of the soul of the one who hears them. The first will cause some to die and some to merely fall unconscious, and the second will bring you back to life if you were previously dead and or bring you consciousness if you were previously unconscious.
(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 3408. Also see Tafsir ‘Uthmani, Surah Zumar, verse: 68)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar