Syed Sharfuddin talks about an intriguing subject
In Islamic eschatology Dajjal is known as the false Messiah. Christians call him the anti-Christ. The Jews believe in the appearance of an evil king of the last generation preceding salvation. The followers of the three Abrahamic faiths also believe in the coming of the final hour and prior to that some form of tribulation and victory for their faith symbolised by the return of the ancient kingdom of Yehuda and rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon for the Jews, the second coming of Jesus for Christians and return of Mahdi and prophet Isa, son of Maryam for Muslims. It is not unrealistic to think that at the time of the appearance of Dajjal, the true followers of the three faiths will be both his target and his main opponents.
Islamic View of Dajjal
There is no mention of Dajjal in the holy Quran but there are verses which scholars believe refer to Dajjal and the rebellion of man, for instance Surah Al-Anaam Verse 158 and Surah Al-Alaq verse 6. In the former verse Allah SWT says that “when some of the signs of your Lord have appeared, no good will it do to a person to believe then if he had not believed before”. According to a Hidith of Tirmidhi, the Prophet (PBUH), said that when three signs have become apparent, it will not benefit someone who accepts Islam after the appearance of Dajjal, speaking of the beast of earth and sun rising from the place where it sets. The latter verse refers to the fact that “man exceeds all bounds”. Some scholars take this as the extreme which Dajjal will reach as a rebel human being.
There are over two hundred Ahadith about the coming of Dajjal toward the end of time. His powers and physical description are also mentioned in these Ahadith. According to these accounts, Dajjal will be the thirtieth false claimer of prophethood. His claim will gradually increase from being a ruler to a Messiah to a Prophet and then God himself. What a ludicrous claim that a human who is trapped by biological constraints, who is imperfect in eyesight, who is unable to enter Makkah and Madinah and who needs supporters and cheerers to establish his rule, claims to be taking the place of a perfect and ever supreme God. The irony couldn’t be greater that Allah will choose to let him taste his humiliating death at the hands of the true Messiah and his true prophet (Isa).
Different Takes on Dajjal
Within the Islamic eschatological thought there is a wide range of views about Dajjal, whether he is a human being with extra-ordinary abilities of mind and body, or he is the symbol of a decadent era at a particular stage of human advancement. The literalists believe that Dajjal is physical in body and soul as a person. The allegorists say that Dajjal is a metaphor for the highly individualised spiritual and post-materialistic society that has now dawned upon us as a sign of the end of time. Some scholars equate Dajjal to Communist and neo-secularist ideology that promotes denial of faith and disbelief in God. According to this view, rejecting Dajjal represents a close relationship between the followers of Muhammad (PBUH) and Isa who have joined hands in serving God to defeat such ideologies. A contrasting view is that Dajjal represents Western civilisation which has discarded religion in favour of materialism and greed, and which employs advance technology, artificial intelligence, and economic sanctions to enslave dissenting people and nations.
The Sufis take Dajjal as an embodiment of the evil Nafs which must be resisted by the ‘Mahdi’ of one’s goodness and killed by the ‘Isa’ of one’s Rüh. According to them, the light of the day would not be physically long as a year on day one, a month on day two or a week on day three but it will seem so due to the dark clouds of ignorance surrounding people. In the Sufi interpretation a blind eye stands for inner imperfection. A person can be blind to evil, deceit, desire, and anger despite having two eyes.
Some Muslims believe that Dajjal has an ontological existence and is waiting for permission from Allah to reveal himself. In the Hadith of Fatima Bint Qays Al-Fihriyya quoted by Imam Muslim, Tamim Dari informed the Prophet about his shipwreck and how he landed on an island with thirty other shipmates where they saw a man whose neck and hands were tied, and he had iron shackles on his feet and ankles. After asking Tamim Dari a few questions, this well-built curly haired man told Tamim Dari that he was Dajjal and that he would soon be permitted to leave the island and travel in the land far and wide. The Prophet (PBUH)reportedly said to Tamim Dari that he liked his account as it corroborated with his own description of Dajjal to the companions. Generally, Muslims believe that Dajjal will appear before the end of time but he is not yet born, because since he is human, he must go through the normal cycle of birth, physical development, and death in a time span of about hundred 100 years which is now the norm for human life.
A small body of Muslims believes that the Ahadith about Dajjal are weak and are not confirmed by the Quran. While believing in the other signs of end of time mentioned in the holy Quran and Ahadith about Yajuj Majuj (Gog and Magog) and the appearance of the creature of the earth, they do not take Dajjal either literally or allegorically. They believe that the fable of Dajjal has entered Islam from Christianity and is now a part of Islamic eschatology.
Belief of Majority Muslims
The authoritative sources of the Islamic tradition state that belief in the physical appearance of Dajjal as a person in body and flesh is an integral part of the Islamic faith. Imam Abu Hanifa belongs to this group of scholars. According to him the emergence of Dajjal is true and a reality. This is also the belief of other scholars in the Ahl Sunnah and Shia Athna Ashari schools of Islamic theology. Even the Kharijites and Motazilites accepted the emergence of Dajjal as a reality. There are, however, small differences among these schools of thought about the description of Dajjal and whether it is the Mahdi or Isa who will kill Dajjal.
Dajjal will come from a generation of deviant Jews who would have forsaken their faith for political power and wealth. He will come from the East, somewhere between Khorasan, Damascus and Iraq. He will be a young man of medium built strong body, with a wide forehead, a large round head, and broad upper cheeks. He will have lots of hair on his corpus. His skin will be fair or reddish. The hair on his head will be thick and twisted like that of an Abyssinian. He will have a sharp nose like the beak of a bird. He will be pigeon toed in both feet and blinded in the right eye. This eye will be green like glass. The other eye will be neither bulging not sunken from its socket but will move like a floating grape. He will be without an offspring.
It is interesting that in the medieval Christian literature the anti-Christ is also described in similar terms to depict his evil nature. “His knees will be unbending, he will be crippled in his eyes, with wide eyebrows, crooked fingered, with a pointed head, gracious, boastful, wise, sweet in laughter, visionary, clever, sober, gentle, mild, worker of signs, bringing close to him the souls of the corrupt, bringing forth bread from stones, making the blind to see, the lame to walk, and he will make mountains move from place to place”. [Daniel Apocalypses]. When Dajjal will sleep his eye will be closed like other creatures but his heart will remain awake. His reach will be so great that the distance between his two steps will be forty yards. He will walk the earth with a speed like a cloud driven by wind. He will appear at distant places in a very short time. He will be without an offspring.
Followers of Dajjal
In the beginning Dajjal will rise with the claim of reviving the faith and bringing reformation, but as soon he will recruit his followers, which will include several thousand Jews, as well as Turks, Bedouins, and people from the marginal groups, including a large number of women, he will claim that he is a prophet. He wouldn’t stop at this but eventually he will claim to be God. In the Christian literature, he is named anti-Christ because by claiming to be Jesus, he will automatically claim to be God. Dajjal’s appearance will be the supreme test of the Muslims. They will be confused and divided.
Time of Dajjal’s Appearance
Dajjal will appear at a time when people will be secular and materialistic and would have forsaken religion from their lives. The weather will be hostile and there will be uncertainty and anxiety everywhere. Three years prior to the appearance of Dajjal, there will be severe drought, famine, and poverty. The hot sun will dry up rivers and will evaporate lakes resulting in shortage of fresh water and disturbance in the growth of vegetation and harvesting of crops. People will be prepared to do anything to get fresh water, greenery and vegetation they need to survive. Dajjal will exploit these conditions to his advantage.
Prosperity will return to the earth for Dajjal’s followers after his appearance. Flocks of cattle grazing in fields will come back in the evening with their humps taller, their udders fuller and flanks fatter than they have ever been. We are all too familiar with genetically modified crops of wheat, barley, maze and rice. There are bumper harvests of bigger and better fruits and industrially patented lab grown meats that have revolutionised human food chain. The portions of our poultry and meat purchases are getting bigger and better and we have no shortage of fruits, honey, eggs, milk and dairy products despite the earth’s population increasing every day. Dajjal’s followers will have access to these foods in abundance.
Dajjal will invite people to his false religion and reward them with luxuries if they follow him. He will bring misery and penury to those who reject him. It will be nearly impossible to survive by rejecting his call and remaining steadfast on the teachings of the holy Quran and the tradition of prophet Muhammad, (PBUH). People will join Dajjal’s forces with such speed that a man will be a Muslim in the morning but by sunset, he would have fallen prey to the material and physical temptations of Dajjal.
Dajjal’s powers will be such that have never been wielded by man, Shaitan or a Jinn before. Dajjal will also use the help of devils to advance his influence. But these powers will be based on deception. His goods will be unreal, and his promises will be false. He won’t perform prophetic miracles; instead, he will present his deceitful tricks as miracles. He will carry two rivers, one of blazing fire and the other of white water with him. His fire will be water and his water will be fire.
Dajjal will exhibit heaven and hell to people and invite them to choose between the two. Those who will be overcome by his awe and majesty will obviously choose to enter his heaven but upon entering there, they will find themselves in an inferno contrary to what was told to them. Those who reject Dajjal will be sent by him to his hell but upon entering there, they will discover that they are in a cool place just like the experience of prophet Ibrahim when he was thrown in the fire pit by Nimrud for rejecting idol worship. It is not difficult to imagine that Dajjal will have the power to carry hell and heaven with him. Today, with the help of hologram technology and artificial intelligence (AI), an IT expert can virtually display a lush green garden on a barren mountain and if a person is asked to walk through it virtually without any moving pad under his feet, he may end up banging his head against a rock.
Dajjal will have power to gather actual rain clouds and cause the earth to be watered and produce vegetation in places where he would want the rain to fall. He will take control of agricultural stocks and streams of drinking water. He will accumulate rivers of water and mountains of bread. He will have full control on where they are expended. Any tribe or nation that challenges his claim of being God will be subjected to sanctions.
Allah will give Dajjal the extraordinary power to raise the dead parents of a person from their graves and make them appear and talk to him. Dajjal will address those people who resist him and say: “If I resurrect your dead parents, will you confess in my deity?” They will answer in the affirmative. Then the devils serving Dajjal will appear in the form of their parents who will talk to them in their language. As a result, many people will abandon their faith and believe that Dajjal is God.
Dajjal will be a liar and a high-class magician, armed by modern technology of holograms, voice and face recognition technology, 5G plus videography, optical recognition language and translation software and live animation. Employing these technologies, it would not be impossible for him to do things we have never imagined. Dajjal will use this knowhow to convince people into accepting that he is God, but he will be a false god because Allah is perfect and Dajjal is imperfect having only one functional eye. Dajjal will carry this blemish with him as a sign to those who know his reality that he is so helpless that he cannot give himself two functional eyes. The believers know that in this life, no one can see Allah. They will therefore reject his false claim that he is God. The true believers will also be able to clearly read the inscription K F R standing for Kafir on his forehead. Non-believers will be unable to see this inscription on his forehead.
Dajjal will be given the knowledge by Allah to know where the treasures of the earth are hidden. During his reign, these minerals and treasures will burst open like bees coming out from their hives. Besides food security, much of the international politics centres around the ownership and possession of strategic minerals which are the key drivers of economic growth and domination of power in the world. These treasures comprise rare and precious materials and minerals which are essential for the supply chains of industrialised countries. The earth consists of one-third land and two-third oceans. Humans have still not mapped the entire breadth and width of land for strategic minerals and metals. They have only begun to scratch the surface of oceans to reach under-sea wealth and resources. Dajjal will be given the knowledge to identify the hidden resources buried under hostile oceans. He will have the ability to excavate and exploit these resources. How many believers will be able to resist the temptation of benefiting from Dajjal’s call and tribulation, is hard to tell. For this reason, Dajjals’ appearance will be the greatest test this Ummah will ever face in the existence of this world.
Dajjal will not have the knowledge of the unknown, but he will use reason backed by his tricks and coercive means to influence people. He will be able to travel far and wide, but he will not be able to enter Makkah and Madinah. Those who will live in Makkah and Madinah will be safe from his influence. It is also said that Dajjal will not be able to enter the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The Weekender