ibn_al-nafis_pageWritten by: Ibn al-Nafis, 13th-C

Instrument of the Apocalypse: “Diminution and disappearance of the lateral deviation of the sun” subsequent to the death of the Last Prophet.

Summary: Visions of the end of the world are not unique to Christianity. The Arab physician Ala-al-din abu Al-Hassan Ali ibn Abi-Hazm al-Qarshi al-Dimashqi, known (thankfully) as Ibn al-Nafis, wrote his particular vision down in the final chapters of his Theologus Autodidactus, which is the story of one Kamil, who is not born of woman but is spontaneously generated in an isolated cave. Eventually, using his own powers of reason and deduction, Kamil reaches specific conclusions about the existence and nature of the philosophical and religious truths of the universe. He also predicts the end of the world in colorful and sometimes rather… unexpected detail (among other things, most of the men will die in war, so “female homosexuality” will run rampant). Although at heart it’s really more of a philosophical treatise, many also consider the Theologus to be one of the earliest science fiction novels, and it’s certainly worth checking out.

Fun Fact: Ibn al-Nafis was quite an impressive fellow. Not only did he produce several influential medical texts, but he was also an expert in theology and law. Today, he’s best remembered for his discovery and detailed description of pulmonary circulation.

On Screen? Yeah, no.


When the lateral deviation of the sun becomes nil, the heat in the regions near the equator will become very intense and there will be many fires, especially in those countries which are cavernous and sulphurous. Then a fire will start in Yemen and spread over all regions near the equator. There will be much smoke and this will produce unhealthy winds, thunderstorms, and terrific lightning, and there will be many frightening signs in the air…[G]reat parts of the surface of the earth will break down, the mountains will collapse and become flat, and water will become very scarce, as it will flow near to the equator on account of the subsidence there, and will evaporate by the power of the heat.

About the author


Kate Nagy is Editor at Large of Geek Speak Magazine, meaning that like the Maidenform Woman (80s reference WHOA), you never know where she'll turn up next. Likes: home repair, thunderstorms, 80s references, and the Lost finale. Dislikes: home repair, big crowds, bad music, and the Joker in any incarnation. Yeah, she's a little weird. How weird? Visit her blog, Kate Holds Court, to find out.