تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ وَالرُّومُ أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ
“The establishment of the Hour (is when) the Romans are the majority of mankind”
In my estimation (and Allah knows best), the term al-Rûm does not simply refer to the city of Rome in modern-day Italy, but to Roman/Western civilization. This is certainly true in light of the Qur’anic usage of the word “Rome”:
“Rome has been defeated”
As referring to the Byzantine or Eastern Roman empire based in Constantinople. In a broader sense, “Rome” in Islamic terminology refers to Western and European Christendom. As a religious community, it is certainly true that the Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination in the world, with some 1.2 billion adherents. Keep in mind that the Protestant churches, whose adherents are estimated at some 800 million, are also included within Western Christianity as they came out of the Roman Church. And in light of the Qur’anic usage of “Rome” it must be admitted that the Eastern Orthodox churches, with some 300 million adherents worldwide, are also included within Roman Christendom. (It should be remembered that the Catholic-Orthodox schism occurred in the year 1054 C.E., a few centuries after the advent of Islam) Hence, the only major Christian denomination which can be said to be outside of Roman Christendom is the Nestorian Church of the East, which was based in Sassanid Persia and not Rome during the advent of Islam. So it is clear that while Rome is not exactly synonymous with Christianity as a whole in the Islamic terminology, nevertheless, Rome is a code word in Islam for Western Christendom and particularly the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Our beloved Prophet’s (peace be upon him) prophecy that “Rome” shall comprise the majority of mankind before the establishment of the Hour (Judgment Day) is therefore certainly true and fulfilled judging by the demographics today’s world.
Another prophecy concerning Rome is that the Muslims shall fight and defeat Rome, and only thereafter will the Dajjal (Antichrist) emerge:
سَتُقَاتِلُونَ جَزِيرَةَ الْعَرَبِ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ تُقَاتِلُونَ الرُّومَ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ تُقَاتِلُونَ الدَّجَّالَ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ
“You will fight the Arabian Peninsula and victory will be granted by Allah. Then you will fight the Romans and victory will be granted by Allah. Then you will fight Dajjal and victory will be granted by Allah.” (Sunan Ibn Maja)
Soon after the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, i.e., the Ridda Wars faught by the first Caliph Abi Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) against the apostate tribes and false prophets, the Muslims turned their attention toward fighting the Romans (Byzantines). These wars with Western Christians continued and intensified during the Crusades, until the Western Christians became dominant through colonialism and remain so in the post-colonial age. However, it is no secret that Western/European power is somewhat declining and other powers like China and Israel (Zionists) are slowly but surely rising. We know that once Rome has been totally defeated the Dajjal will arise and pose the next great existential threat to the Muslims. The rise of Dajjal is connected to the continuing build up of the State of Israel’s military might. Then there is the rise of Gog and Magog and there invasion of the Holy Land after the decisive defeat of the Dajjal.