DUBAI // A prominent commentator on Islamic affairs has hit out at the Splash fashion chain for using a doomsday prophecy based on the ancient Mayan calendar to promote its products.
Dr Mohammed Al Kobaisi, who works with Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department and presents the Dubai One television programme Understanding Islam, was speaking after Splash launched a calendar inspired by the notion the world will end on December 21, 2012.
Called A New Beginning, the calendar covers the year's 12 months with 13 images - with the extra one for the period from December 22 to 31.
"The exact time of doomsday is something that only Allah Almighty knows, as clearly stated in the Holy Quran," Dr Al Kobaisi said. "Any claim of such knowledge by anyone else is similar to soothsaying and fortune-telling, which are baseless and forbidden in Islam.
"It is a grave mistake for any sensible person to believe in such nonsense," he added, "let alone trying to spread it or build upon it, especially in a Muslim country."
The end of the world - known as Youm Al Qiyamah, or the day of resurrection - is mentioned many times in the Quran and the hadiths of the Prophet Mohammed.
"The belief in the last day is the fifth pillar of faith in Islam," Dr Al Kobaisi said. "It is the belief in an end to life in this world, and the start of another life in another world."
The Splash chief executive, Raza Beig, noted that he did not really believe in the doomsday forecast. "I do believe that there's something to the prophecy of change, but I don't believe the world is going to come to an end."
Mr Beig said the calendar is not meant to cause offence.
"We have been very careful about that, hence the title A New Beginning. That says it all. I hope people will understand that our calendar doesn't come to an end on December 21, we reopen it on page 13 from December 22."