This hadeeth speaks of two types of people whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had not seen, as they would appear after his time, and their destiny would be Hell because of their sins. The scholars regarded the appearance of these two types as one of the minor signs of the Hour. They are as follows:
1 – “Men with whips like the tails of cattle” – what is meant is that those who strike people for no legitimate reason, like the oppressive police or others, whether that is on the orders of the state or otherwise.
Al-Nawawi said: With regard to those who would have whips, they are those who work for the police. Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Saheeh Muslim, 17/191.
Al-Sakhaawi said: They are now the helpers of the oppressors, and usually it refers to the worst group around the ruler. It may also apply to unjust rulers. Al-Ishaa’ah li Ashraat il-Saa’ah, p. 119.
The evidence that their appearance will be one of the signs of the Hour is a report narrated by Imam Ahmad in which it says: At the end of time there will appear men from this ummah with whips like the tails of cattle. They will go out in the morning under the anger of Allaah and will come back in the evening under His wrath.” Al-Musnad, 5/315; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 4/483; and by Ibn Hajar in al-Qawl al-Musaddad fi’l-Dhabb ‘an al-Musnad, p. 53-54.
The second type is “women who are clothed yet naked, walking with an enticing gait, with something on their heads that looks like the humps of camels, leaning to one side.” Al-Nawawi said concerning the meaning of this passage: al-kaasiyaat al-‘aariyaat (translated here as “clothed yet naked”) means that they will uncover part of their bodies to show their beauty, so they will be clothed yet naked. And it was said that they will wear thin clothes which shows what is beneath them, so they will be clothed yet virtually naked. With regard to the phrase Maa’ilaat mumeelaat (translated here as “walking with an enticing gait”), it was said that it means: deviating from obedience to Allaah and from the commandment to guard their chastity, etc. Mumeelaat means, teaching others to do what they do. And it was said that Maa’ilaat means walking with an enticing gait and mumeelaat means moving their shoulders. And it was said that it means that they try to tempt men by means of showing their adornments.
With regard to the phrase Ru’oosahunna ka asnimat il-bukht (translated here as “with something on their heads that looks like the humps of camels”), this may mean that they make their heads look bigger with veils and turbans, which are wrapped around the head, so that they look like the humps of camels. This is the well-known interpretation. Al-Maaziri said: it may be that what is meant is that they will not lower their gaze in the presence of men, rather they will look directly at them.
Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Saheeh Muslim, 17/191.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: The phrase “clothed yet naked” has been interpreted to mean that they wear short clothes that do not cover the ‘awrah that must be covered. And it has been interpreted as meaning that they wear light, thin clothes that do not prevent others from seeing the woman’s skin underneath. And it has been interpreted as meaning that they wear tight clothes that conceal the skin from sight but still show off the woman’s charms.
Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhamamd ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 2/825.
This hadeeth contains a stern warning against committing these two sins:
1- Oppressing the people and striking them unlawfully
2- Women making a wanton display of themselves and showing their charms and not adhering to correct Islamic hijab and noble Islamic manners.
This hadeeth is one of the miracles of Prophethood, for these two types of people have appeared, and they exist now, as al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said.
See also the answer to question no. 14627.