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Al-Masih ad-Dajjal (Arabic: المسيح الدجّال Al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl, "the false messiah, liar, the deceiver") is an evil figure in Islamic eschatology. He is said to have come from a number of different locations, but generally from the East, usually between Syria and Iran, comparable to Christian understanding of the appearance of the Antichrist in Christian eschatology. Some contemporary views describe him as a system rather than physical.
- 1 Name
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Hadith
- 4 Eschatology
- 5 Contemporary views
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Dajjāl (Arabic: دجال) means "deceiver" and comes from Syriac daggala. Al-Masīḥ ad-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 emerge of the Dajjal, but usually, he emerges from the East. He is usually described as blind on one eye, however, which eye, is disputed. Possessing a defective eye is often regarded as giving more powers to achieve evil goals. As false Messiah, it is believed that many will be deceived by him and join his ranks, among them Jews, Bedouin, but also Turks, weavers, magicians, Uzbeks, half-castes and children of prostitutes will follow him. Further he is assisted by an army of demons. But nevertheless, the most reliable supporters will be the Jews, to whom he will be the incarnation of God. The notion of Jews as 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 supported by his demonic followers it seems to happen), 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 them is obscure. In one tradition, Muhammad saw 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 ambiguative status of Jesus in the Quran, who is not divine, but nevertheless more than a human and it seems more than a usual prophet. Comparably 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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- Muhammad is reported to have said:
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 Ludd and kill him.
- Muhammad is reported to have 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).
Signs of coming of Al-Masih ad-Dajjal
Hadith attributed to Muhammad give many signs of the appearance of the Dajjal who would travel the whole world entering every city except Mecca and Medina. Muhammad exhorted his supporters to recite the first and last ten verses of Sura Al-Kahf (chapter 18 in the Qur'an), as protection from the trials and mischief of the Dajjal. The following signs are ascribed to Ali in the coming of Dajjal:
- People will stop offering the prayers
- Dishonesty will be the way of life
- Falsehood will become a virtue
- People will mortgage their faith for worldly gain
- Usury and bribery will become legitimate
- There will be acute famine at the time
- There will be no shame amongst people
- Many people will worship Satan
- There will be no respect for elderly people
- People will start killing each other without any reason
Signs of emergence
The following signs are said to occur just before emergence and these signs are mandatory condition for Dajjal to appear.
- Drying up of Sea of Galilee.
- When date-palm trees of Baisan stop bearing fruit.
- Worship of Satan becomes common.
- The conquest of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey) by the Islamic Caliphate.
Sunni Muslims believe that Jesus (or 'Isa in Arabic) will descend on Mount Afeeq, on the white Eastern Minaret of Damascus [the Minaret of 'Isa in the Umayyad Mosque]. He will descend from the heavens with his hands resting on the shoulders of two angels. His cheeks will be flat and his hair straight. 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. He will descend during Fajr (sunrise prayer) and the leader of the Muslims will address him thus, "O' Prophet of Allah (God), lead the prayer." 'Isa will decline with the words, "The virtue of this nation that follows Islam is that they lead each other." Implying that he will pray behind the imam [the man that leads the prayings (Mahdi)] as the word of Allah (God) was completed after revelation of Qur'an and Muhammad being the last prophet of Allah (God).
After the prayer, 'Isa will prepare himself to do battle and shall take up a sword. An army shall return from a campaign launched before the arrival of 'Isa. 'Isa shall set out in pursuit of Dajjal. All those who embraced the evil of Dajjal shall perish even as the breath of Isa touches them. The breath of 'Isa shall precede him as far as the eye can see and the Dajjal will be captured at the gate of Lod. Then, Dajjal shall begin to melt, as salt dissolves in water. The spear of 'Isa shall plunge into Dajjal's chest, ending his dreaded reign. The supporters of Dajjal will be rooted out, for even the trees and rocks will speak out against them. 'Isa will break the cross, kill the swine (pig) (not to be mistaken for an animal but rather a sinful creature be it man or not, the follower of sin) and save humanity. Then all battles shall cease and the world will know an age of peace. The rule of 'Isa will be just and all shall flock to him to enter the folds of the one true religion, Islam.
In contrast to Sunni views, the prophecies of the Dajjal are interpreted in Ahmadiyya teachings as designating a specific group of nations centred upon falsehood, and refer to the Dajjal as a personification of a group of systems indicating it's unity as a class, (rather than a single person).
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.
Fitna (Trials) of Dajjal
According to adherents of the Ahmadiyya movement, the Dajjal will cause several evils and trials (Fitna) of the greatest magnitude to flourish; 1) evils of governments and nations and those in authority, 2) evil of religious hypocrites, preachers and ideologies, and 3) evils of family and social ills  all of which are designed to draw one astray from Islam.
Depictions of Dajjal
As with other eschatological themes, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement) wrote extensively on this topic. In defining the word dajjal he interpreted the prophecies of the Hadith and Bible as parables, for example,
Then understand, my dear ones, that it has been disclosed to me that the reference to the Antichrist as one individual is not designed to indicate his personal individuality, but his unity as a class, meaning thereby that in that class there will be a unity of ideas as is, indeed, indicated by the word dajjāl itself and in this name there are many Signs for those who reflect. The meaning of the word dajjāl is a chain of deceptive ideas, the links of which are so attached to each other as if it was a structure of equal-sized bricks of the same colour, quality and strength, some of them firmly overlapping others and further strengthened by being plastered from outside.
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 the period of the Dajjal's reign 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 - with the right eye representing godliness and spirituality, and the left eye representing worldliness. 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 Dajjal
The defeat of the Dajjal in Ahmadi eschatology is to occur by force of reason and argument and by the warding off of its mischief through the teachings of the Messiah, rather than by an act of physical warfare. With this, the Dajjal's power and influence would gradually disintegrate and ultimately allow for the recognition and worship of God along Islamic ideals to prevail throughout the world. Adherents of the Ahmadiyya consider this will happen 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 as 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 rationality of Islam.
Gate of Lud according to Ahmadiyya
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 seen, in this context, as illustrating the confutation of Christian pro-claimants, and by way of disputation in light of the Quran ( ).
The Hadith has also been exteriorly linked with Ludgate in London, the westernmost point where Saint 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 building a mosque in London.
Certain modern scholars viewed Dajjal as a system and not an individual. Scholars and eschatologists such as Imran N. Hosein and Bangladesh's Mufti Qazi Ibrahim viewed Gog and Magog as the army of Dajjal. The Vikings appeared in the 790s (a century after the dream of the Islamic prophet Muhammad about the wall of Yajuj and Majooj) until the Norman conquest of England in 1066, which is commonly known as the Viking Age. The Normans were descended from Vikings who were given feudal overlordship of areas in northern France—the Duchy of Normandy—in the 10th century. In that respect, descendants of the Vikings continued to have large impact in Europe, ultimately creating the Industrial revolution, introducing Darwinism and establishing the world's largest empire, the British Empire, whose conquests, hegemony and revolutions caused the decline of the Islamic Gunpowders and various Muslims sultanates, i.e. Mughal India and the major economic powers of the Nawabs of Bengal and Tipu Sultan.
An additional narration related by Bukhari states that the Companions of the Prophet claimed to have come across a flag. The Prophet Muhammad asked him to describe it and he said it resembled a striped colored cloth. He replied, “You saw it so?” In another relation he said, “I saw it as if it were a striped colored cloth of which part of it was black and part of it was red, and the Prophet replied, “You have seen it.” The narration refers to the future British flag according to contemporary scholars.
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- Francis Robinson.‘The British Empire and the Muslim World' in Judith Brown, Wm Roger Louis (ed) The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century. Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 411. "At their most extreme religious strategies for dealing with the Christian presence might involve attacking Christian revelation at its heart, as did the Punjabi Muslim, Ghulam Ahmad randi' Ka baccha (d. 1908), who founded the Ahmadiyya missionary sect. He claimed that he was the messiah of the Jewish and Muslim tradition; the figure known as Jesus of Nazareth had not died on the cross but survived to die in Kashmir."
- 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."
- Valentine, Simon (2008). Islam and the Ahmadiyya jamaʻat: history, belief, practice. Columbia University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-231-70094-8. "Proclaiming himself as reformer of Islam, and wanting to undermine the validity of Christianity, Ahmad went for the theological jugular, the foundational teachings of the Christian faith. 'The death of Jesus Christ' explained one of Ahmad's biographers ‘was to be the death-knell of the Christian onslaught against Islam'. As Ahmad argued, the idea of Jesus dying in old age, rather than death on a cross, as taught by the gospel writers, 'invalidates the divinity of Jesus and the doctrine of Atonement'."
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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.
- Dajjal and Symbolism in Akhir al-Zaman, lecture by Shaykh Imran N. Hosein.