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Dajjal (Arabic: المسيح الدجّال, romanized: al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl, lit. 'the false messiah, liar, the deceiver, the deceiving messiah'; Syriac: ܡܫܝܚܐ ܕܓܠܐ, romanized: Mšiha Daggala) is an evil figure in Islamic eschatology. He is said to have come from several different locations, but generally from the East, usually between Syria and Iraq comparable to Christian understanding of the appearance of the Antichrist in Christian eschatology.
Dajjāl (Arabic: دجال) is the superlative form of the root word dajl meaning "lie" or "deception". It means "deceiver" and also appears in Classical Syriac: daggala (ܕܓܠܐ). The compound Al-Masīḥ al-Dajjāl, with the definite article al- ("the"), refers to "the deceiving Messiah", a specific end times deceiver. The Dajjāl is an evil being who will seek to impersonate the true Messiah.
A number of locations are associated with the emergence of the Dajjal, but usually, he emerges from the East. He is usually described as blind in one eye, however, which eye is disputed. Possessing a defective eye is often regarded as giving more powers to achieve evil goals. He would travel the whole world entering every city except Mecca and Medina. As a false Messiah, it is believed that many will be deceived by him and join his ranks, among them Jews, Bedouins, weavers, magicians. Further he is assisted by an army of demons. Nevertheless, the most reliable supporters will be the Jews, to whom he will be the incarnation of God. The notion of Jews comprising the majority of Dajjals' followers is probably a remnant from Christian Antichrist legends. The Dajjal will be able to perform miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead (although only when supported by his demonic followers it seems), causing the earth to grow vegetation, causing livestock to prosper and to die and stopping the sun's movement. His miracles resemble those performed by Jesus. The relation between the two is obscure. In one tradition, it is known that Jesus circumambulating the Kaaba, the Dajjal following him, depicting the Dajjal as an evil shadowy Doppelganger of the real Jesus. At the end, the Dajjal will be killed by Jesus. In many versions by Jesus' simply looking at him, indicating, he is indeed merely a shadow of Jesus without any independent existence. Similar to the ambiguous status of Jesus in the Quran, who is not divine, but nevertheless more than a human and, it seems, more than a usual prophet, the nature of the Dajjal is ambiguous as well. Although the nature of his birth indicates that the first generations of apocalyptists regarded him as human, he is also identified rather as a demon (shaytan) in human form in Islamic traditions.
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- Al-nawwas b. Sim’an al-Kilabi said:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) mentioned the Dajjal (Antichrist) saying: If he comes forth while I am among you I shall be the one who will dispute with him on your behalf, but if he comes forth when I am not among you, a man must dispute on his own behalf, and Allah will take my place in looking after every Muslim. Those of you who live up to his time should recite over him the opening verses of Surat al–Kahf, for they are your protection from his trial. We asked: How long will he remain on the earth? He replied: Forty days, one like a year, one like a month, one like a week, and rest of his days like yours. We asked: Messenger of Allah, will one day's prayer suffice us in this day which will be like a year? He replied: No, you must make an estimate of its extent. Then prophet Isa son of Maryam will descend at the white minaret to the east of Damascus. He will then catch him up at the gate of Lod and kill him.
- Narrated Mu'adh ibn Jabal:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The flourishing state of Jerusalem will be when Yathrib is in ruins, the ruined state of Yathrib will be when the great war comes, the outbreak of the great war will be at the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Constantinople when the Dajjal (Antichrist) comes forth. He (the Prophet) struck his thigh or his shoulder with his hand and said: This is as true as you are here or as you are sitting (meaning Mu'adh ibn Jabal).
- Narrated Abu Huraira:
Prophet Muhammad used to invoke (Allah): "Allahumma ini a'udhu bika min 'adhabi-l-Qabr, wa min 'adhabin-nar, wa min fitnati-l-mahya wa mamata, wa min fitnati-l-masih ad-dajjal. (O Allah! I seek refuge with you from the punishment in the grave and from the punishment in the Hell fire and from the afflictions of life and death, and the afflictions of Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal."— Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Funerals, no. 130
Sunni Muslims believe that 'Isa (Jesus) will descend on the white Eastern Minaret of Damascus - Umayyad Mosque. He will descend from the heavens wearing two garments lightly dyed with saffron and his hands resting on the shoulders of two angels. When he lowers his head it will seem as if water is flowing from his hair, when he raises his head, it will appear as though his hair is beaded with silvery pearls. Every non-believer who would smell the odor of his self would die and his breath would reach as far as he would be able to see.
Dajjal will then be chased to the gate of Lod where he'll be captured and killed by Isa ibn Maryam. He will then break the cross, kill the pig, abolish the jizya and establish peace among all nations. The rule of 'Isa will be just and all shall flock to him to enter the folds of the one true religion. The breaking of the Cross is said to symbolize the declaration of Christianity as a false religion and end the veneration of Cross, which Christians believe he died on. The meaning behind the killing of the pig is disputed by scholars. Some take it literally, reasoning that swine goes against the teachings of the three Abrahamic faiths and that Christians, unlike the Jews and Muslims, deviated against the biblical rulings which forbade consuming pork. Other scholars claim the saying symbolizes corrupt practices which the Christian and Jewish followers didn't adhere after the message of Islam was revealed e.g. Usury, consumption of alcohol etc.
Identification of the Dajjal
Prophecies concerning the emergence of the Dajjal are interpreted in Ahmadiyya teachings as designating a specific group of nations centered upon a false theology (or Christology) instead of an individual, with reference to the Dajjal in the singular indicating its unity as a system rather than its personal individuality. In particular, Ahmadis identify the Dajjal collectively with the missionary expansion and colonial dominance of European Christianity throughout the world, a development which had begun soon after the Muslim conquest of Constantinople, with the Age of Discovery in the 15th century and accelerated by the Industrial Revolution. As with other eschatological themes, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, wrote extensively on this topic.
The identification of the Dajjal, principally with colonial missionaries was drawn by Ghulam Ahmad through linking the hadith traditions about him with certain Quranic passages such as, inter alia, the description in the hadith of the emergence of the Dajjal as the greatest tribulation since the creation of Adam, taken in conjunction with the Quran's description of the deification of Jesus as the greatest abomination; the warning only against the putative lapses of the Jews and Christians in Al-Fatiha—the principal Islamic prayer—and the absence therein of any warning specifically against the Dajjal; a prophetic hadith which prescribed the recitation of the opening and closing ten verses of chapter eighteen of the Quran, (Al-Kahf) as a safeguard against the mischief of the Dajjal, the former of which speak of a people “who assign a son to God” and the latter, of those whose lives are entirely given to the pursuit and manufacture of material goods; and descriptions of the period of the Dajjal's reign as coinciding with the dominance of Christianity. The attributes of the Dajjal as described in the hadith literature are thus taken as symbolic representations and interpreted in a way which would make them compatible with Quranic readings and not compromise the inimitable attributes of God in Islam. The Dajjal being blind in his right eye while being sharp and oversized in his left, for example, is indicative of being devoid of religious insight and spiritual understanding, but excellent in material and scientific attainment. Similarly, the Dajjal not entering Mecca and Medina is interpreted with reference to the failure of colonial missionaries in reaching these two places.
Defeat of the Dajjal
The defeat of the Dajjal in Ahmadi eschatology is to occur by force of argument and by the warding off of its mischief through the very advent of the Messiah rather than through physical warfare, with the Dajjal's power and influence gradually disintegrating and ultimately allowing for the recognition and worship of God along Islamic ideals to prevail throughout the world in a period similar to the period of time it took for nascent Christianity to rise through the Roman Empire (see Seven Sleepers). In particular, the teaching that Jesus was a mortal man who survived crucifixion and died a natural death, as propounded by Ghulam Ahmad, has been seen by some scholars as a move to neutralise Christian soteriologies of Jesus and to project the superior rationality of Islam. The 'gate of Lud' (Bāb al-Ludd) spoken of in the hadith literature as the site where the Dajjal is to be slain (or captured) is understood in this context as indicating the confutation of Christian proclaimants by way of disputative engagement in light of the Quran ( ). The hadith has also been exteriorly linked with Ludgate in London, the westernmost point where Paul of Tarsus—widely believed by Muslims to be the principal corrupter of Jesus' original teachings—is thought to have preached according to the Sonnini Manuscript of the Acts of the Apostles and other ecclesiastical works predating its discovery. Upon his arrival in London in 1924, Ghulam Ahmad's son and second Successor, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud proceeded directly to this site and led a lengthy prayer outside the entrance of St Paul's Cathedral before laying the foundation for a mosque in London.
Twelver Shia Eschatology
"Whoever denies al-Mahdi has denied God, and whoever accepts al-Dajjal has denied God (turned an infidel)." This Shi'ite hadith attributed to the Prophet strongly emphasizes the return of Dajjal and the event of the reappearance of Mahdi.
Ali, when asked about Dajjal, explained:
The name of Dajjal is Saeed bin Saeed. Thus one who supports him is unfortunate. And are fortunate who deny him. He shall emerge from Yahoodiya village of Isfahan. On his forehead would be inscribed: ‘Kafir’ (disbeliever) which would readable to the literate as well as the illiterate.
He shall jump into the seas. The Sun will follow him. A mountain of smoke will precede him and a white mountain will follow him, which in times of famine will be mistaken to be a mountain of food (bread). He shall be mounted on a white ass. One step of that ass will be of one mile. Whichever spring or well he reaches, will dry up forever. He will call out aloud which shall be audible to all in the east and the west from the Jinns, humans, and satans.
He would tell his followers that he is their Lord, whereas he would be a one-eyed man with human needs and God does not have any needs nor he has an eye. Muhammed strongly warned his companions and believers about this deceiving claim. According to a tradition "Al-Dajjal will verily be given birth by his mother in Qous in Egypt, and there will be thirty years separating between his birth and appearance. The reports regarding him state that he will descend at the Damascus east gate then he will appear in the East where he will be granted caliphate." A narration by Muslim and also according to the hadith of Jassasah, "it is reported that he is confined in an abbey or a palace at an island in the Sham or the Sea of Yemen. Some hadith reports that he will emerge from Khurasan whereas some say that he will appear in a place between the Sham and Iraq." People will be deceived by his magic and sorcery for which he will be falsely claimed as Messiah. On the first day of his appearance, seventy thousand jews will follow him. They will be wearing green caps. They will consider him as their promised savior; the one who is described in their holy books. The actual cause of their faith would be their animosity with the Muslims. Ja'far al-Sadiq narrates from the Prophet Mohammed that, most of Dajjal's followers would be people from illegitimate relationships, habitual drinkers, singers, musicians, bedouins, and women. He will travel all around the world except Mecca, Madina, and Bayt al Muqaddas (Jerusalem). The earth would be under his control to such an extent that even the ruins will turn into treasures and the earth will sprout vegetation on his command. As soon as he descends, he will order a river to flow and then return and then dry up. The river will follow his command. Even the mountains, clouds and wind will be controlled by him. Due to this, his followers will gradually increase which will eventually make him proclaim himself as God. A hadith from the Prophet indicates the condition of the world. He said, "Five years prior to the advent of Dajjal there shall be drought and nothing shall be cultivated. Such that all the hoofed animals shall perish”. After his emergence, the world would be facing acute famine. He will have food and water with him. Many people will accept his claim just for some food and water. He will spread oppression and tyranny all over the world. The main aim of the Dajjal will be mischief and test of the people. The one who follows him will be exited from Islam and the one who denies him will be the believer.
The Dajjal is also known as 'Antichrist'; the one who is the enemy of the Christ. The Bible also explains Dajjal as a deceiver and liar. The first letter of John 2:22 says; "Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son." In the Second Letter of John, verse 7, it is written: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist." A few more references from the Bible clearly indicate that Jesus had warned people about the emergence and deception of the Antichrist.
Signs of the appearance of the Dajjal:
- People will stop offering prayers
- Dishonesty will be the way of life
- Falsehood will prevail
- Blood of innocents would be shed
- The oppressed will be proud of their actions
- The rulers will be corrupt and fools
- Women will dress like men and men like women
- Women will compete with men in doing business
- Widespread of Adultery.
- Sins will be committed openly
- False testimony will be accepted.
When the Mahdi reappears, he will appoint Isa (Jesus) as his representative. Isa would attack him and catch him at the gate of Ludd(present days' 'Lod' near Tel Aviv) According to the narrations of Ali, when the Mahdi returns, he will lead the prayers and Isa will follow him. As soon as Dajjal sees Isa, Dajjal would melt like Lead. Ali mentions Dajjal's defeat in one of his sermons, saying that Dajjal will set out toward the Hijaz and Isa (Jesus) will intercept him at the passage of Harsha. ‘Isa will direct a horrible shout at him and strike him a decisive blow. He will melt in a blazing fire like lead melting in fire. Muhammad al-Baqir narrated that at the time when Dajjal will arise, the people would not know about God, hence making it easy for the Dajjal to claim himself as God. During that time, Isa will descend from the heavens. He will pray in the leadership of the Mahdi and will kill Dajjal thus assisting Mahdi in spreading peace and tranquility all over the earth.
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- Yohanan Friedmann. Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and its Medieval Background Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 114. "He [Ghulam Ahmad] realized the centrality of the crucifixion and of the doctrine of vicarious atonement in the Christian dogma, and understood that his attack on these two was an attack on the innermost core of Christianity "
- Kambiz GhaneaBassiri. A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 208. "Ghulam Ahmad denied the historicity of Jesus' crucifixion and claimed that Jesus had fled to India where he died a natural death in Kashmir. In this way, he sought to neutralize Christian soteriologies of Christ and to demonstrate the superior rationality of Islam."
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- Seeing with Both Eyes, transcript of a lecture on the Dajjal by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (born Timothy Winter)
- Dajjal - Who? When? Where?, translation of the Urdu book DAJJAL by Mufti Abu Lubaba Shah Mansoor
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- Who is the Dajjaal?, article on Islamqa.info which speak in details about the Dajjal