Over the last three decades, scholars have mined medieval apocalyptic literature for information about historical events. Although this has also been done for the Islamic apocalyptic literature, this article argues that the latter is better used to gain insight into pcople's responses to events rather than to chart the events themselves. This, in turn, allows us to better understand certain religious and political developments. For instance, the widespread fear and anxiety experienced by the early Muslim community, as evinced in the apocalyptic literature, appears to have led to the acceptance of the obligation, expressed in many Sunni creeds, to obey those in authority no matter how unjust they may be. The widespread acceptance of this quietist tenet is best understood as a response to the strife and discord that vexed the umma in the first centuries of Islamic history.