Allâh Azza wa Jall says:
يَوْمَ يَأْتِي بَعْضُ آيَاتِ رَبِّكَ لَا يَنفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا لَمْ تَكُنْ آمَنَتْ مِن قَبْلُ أَوْ كَسَبَتْ فِي إِيمَانِهَا خَيْرًا ۗ قُلِ انتَظِرُوا إِنَّا مُنتَظِرُونَ
The Day that some of the Signs of your Lord will come no soul will benefit from its faith as long as it had not believed before or had earned through its faith some good. Say, “Wait, indeed, we also are waiting.”
(Sûra 6: 158)
The Prophet ﷺ said:
لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا فَإِذَا طَلَعَتْ وَرَآهَا النَّاسُ آمَنُوا أَجْمَعُونَ، وَذَلِكَ حِينَ لاَ يَنْفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا
“The Hour will not be established till the sun rises from the West; and when it rises (from the West) and the people see it, they all will believe. And that is (the time) when no good will it do to a soul to believe then.”
مَنْ تَابَ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ
“He who seeks repentance (from the Lord) before the rising of the sun from the west (before the Day of Resurrection), Allah turns to him with Mercy.”
The rising of the sun from the west is a grand prophecy of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that when it actually occurs all of mankind will suddenly be forced to believe in the truthfulness of Islâm, but of course, adapting faith at that time will not avail anyone who wasn’t faithful before. It’s worth mentioning that this is a unique Islamic prediction as no other religion or religious figure has predicted that one day the sun will actually rise from the west. Many adversaries mock this prophecy, saying it is impossible and unscientific. It is particularly the atheist and secular minded people who will therefore be the most dumbfounded and speechless when this event actually occurs, but as mentioned before, it will be too late for them to repent at that time. Some Muslim apologists have attempted to interpret this prophecy figuratively. According to them, the rising of the sun from the West symbolises the ascendancy of ‘Western’ power of Europe and America. However, this interpretation is inconsistent with the implication of the Prophecy that when the sun rises from the West repentance will no longer be accepted, just as the repentance and faith of Pharaoh was rejected at the moment of his destruction (Sûra 10: 90 – 91). Although Pharaoh was forced to acknowledge his error and wanted to announce his faith in the Lord of the Israelites, he was prevented from verbalising the testimony of faith by the Angel Gabriel:
إِنَّ جِبْرِيلَ كَانَ يَدُسُّ فِي فَمِ فِرْعَوْنَ الطِّينَ ، مَخَافَةَ أَنْ يَقُولَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ
Verily Gabriel was shoving clay in the mouth of Pharaoh out of fear that he would say ‘there is none worthy of worship except Allâh’
However, this was only to illustrate the power and weight of the Kalima ‘Lâ Ilâha illa Allâh’ as it is the testimony that guarantees salvation from Hell. Otherwise, Pharaoh’s mere verbalisation of accepting faith at the moment of his destruction did not save him from damnation. Faith requires sincerity of heart in believing in the Ghâ’ib (unseen), and is not accepted when it’s too late, i.e., at the time when the Truth becomes visually obvious.
Coming back to the prediction of the sun’s rising from the West, another group of Muslim apologists claim this will literally happen when the planet rotates or spins on its axis in the opposite direction (retrograde motion) like the planet Venus, thus resulting in a sunrise from the West and sunset in the East. However, this theory of theirs has no scientific basis and they cannot point to any rational explanation or natural cause that would explain a sudden change in the direction of the Earth’s rotation upon its axis. On the other hand, a natural cause that will indeed occur in the future which will result in the sun rising from the West in our perspective is magnetic pole reversal:
“Scientists understand that Earth’s magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to ‘south.’ This is because a magnetic compass is calibrated based on Earth’s poles. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today's magnetic field were reversed…Reversals are the rule, not the exception. Earth has settled in the last 20 million years into a pattern of a pole reversal about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, although it has been more than twice that long since the last reversal. A reversal happens over hundreds or thousands of years, and it is not exactly a clean back flip. Magnetic fields morph and push and pull at one another, with multiple poles emerging at odd latitudes throughout the process. Scientists estimate reversals have happened at least hundreds of times over the past three billion years. And while reversals have happened more frequently in ‘recent’ years, when dinosaurs walked Earth a reversal was more likely to happen only about every one million years… The last time that Earth’s poles flipped in a major reversal was about 780,000 years ago, in what scientists call the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal…The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is – in terms of geologic time scales – a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia. While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable – the north pole’s movement could subtly change direction, for instance.”
In short, in the event of a magnetic pole reversal, north will literally become south, and therefore east will become west. The sun will continue to rise from the same direction, but the name of that direction will necessarily be changed and redefined.