What is the meaning of the following Hadith:
Sayyiduna Anas reported that a person asked Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) as to when the Last Hour would come. He had in his presence a young boy of the Ansar called Muhammad, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: If this young boy lives, he may not grow very old till (he would see) the Last Hour coming to you.
This Hadith is better understood when read with the version mentioned in Sahih Bukhari:
Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reports that a group of barefooted Bedouin men came to Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhiwasallam) and asked, “When is Qiyamah?
Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhiwasallam) indicated to the youngest among them and said, “Qiyamah will dawn upon you before this boy will even be regarded to be old.”
Hisham [a narrator] says: [Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) was actually] referring to their death.
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 6511)
In this incident, Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) sought to draw their attention to the ‘minor’ qiyamah, i.e, death. (See more about this here.)
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was faced with a group of simple minded Bedouin men who were new to Islam and had only recently heard Quranic mention of the impending Day of Qiyamah. Telling them that Allah Ta’ala alone knows when Qiyamah will take place, and that he could not provide them with an answer would be of detriment to their new, and therefore, weak Iman. So he gave them an ambiguous time frame to distract from that particular line of questioning and so that they could focus on something that would be of greater effect – their own deaths.
(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 6511)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar