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Al-Masih ad-Dajjal (Arabic: المسيح الدجّال Al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl, "the false messiah", or "the deceiver") also referred to as "the anti-christ" is an evil figure in Islamic eschatology. He is to appear, pretending to be al-Masih (i.e. the Messiah), before Yawm al-Qiyamah (the Day of Resurrection). He is to be an anti-messianic figure, comparable to the Antichrist in Christian eschatology and to Armilus in medieval Jewish eschatology.
Dajjāl is an adjective of Syriac origin. It is also a common Arabic word (دجال) whose root is dajl meaning "lie" or "deception". Al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl, with the definite article al- ("the"), refers to "the deceiving Messiah", a specific end-of times deceiver. The Dajjāl is an evil being who will seek to impersonate the true Messiah.
The name Dajjal also is rooted in an Arabic word dajel, which means to gold plate or coat in gold.
- Muhammad is reported to have said:
Ali was reported to have said:
His right eye will be punctured, and his left eye would be raised to his forehead and will be sparkling like a star. Only the believers will be able to read the word "Kafir" [disbeliever], inscribed in bold letters, on his forehead. There will be big mountains of smoke at both front and backsides of his caravan. People will anticipate food within those mountains, during the severe famine. All rivers, falling in his way, will become dry and he will call upon people in a loud voice, "O my friends come to me! I am your lord who has made your limbs and given you sustenance."
- 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 Jesus son of Mary 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, and exhorted his followers 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 would worship Satan
- There would be no respect for elderly people
Signs of emergence
The following signs will 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.
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Sunni Muslims believe that Isa will descend on Mount Afeeq, on the white Eastern Minaret of Damascus. 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) and the leader of the Muslims will address him thus, "O' Prophet of 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 God was completed after revelation of Qur'an and Muhammad being the last prophet of 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. Dajjal will be captured at the gate of Lod. 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 followers of Dajjal will be rooted out, for even the trees and rocks will speak out against them. Isa will break the cross and kill the pig (the animal). 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.
The Ahmadiyya take the prophecies about the Dajjal as pertaining to a collectivity of people centred upon deception instead of one individual. Ahmadiyya teachings interpret the prophecies regarding the appearance of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and Gog and Magog in Islamic eschatology as foretelling, in essence, the emergence of two branches or aspects of the same turmoil and trial that was to be faced by Islam in the latter days and that both emerged from Christianity or Christian nations. Hence the reason why Muhammad specifically exhorted the recitation of the first and last ten verses of Sura Al-Kahf (chapter 18 of the Quran) as protection from the Dajjal. Its Dajjal aspect relates to deception and perversion of religious belief while its aspect to do with deception and disturbance in the realm of politics and the shattering of world peace has been called Gog and Magog. the Dajjal being blind in his right eye while being sharp and oversized in his left is seen as indicative of being devoid of religious insight and spiritual light but excelling in worldly and material attainment, with the right eye representing godliness and spirituality, and the left eye representing worldliness .
Ahmadis consider the widespread Christian missionary activity that was aggressively active in the 18th and 19th centuries and whose spread was propelled by the Industrial Revolution as being part of the prophesied Dajjal (Antichrist) and view Gog and Magog as emerging in modern times out of predominantly Christian nations. Accordingly, the emergence of Russia and the United States as superpowers and the conflict between the two nations (i.e., the rivalry between communism and capitalism and their influence over the nations of the world) are seen as having occurred in accordance with certain prophecies regarding Gog and Magog. Thus, Ahmadis believe that prophecies and sayings about the Antichrist are not to be understood literally, they have deeper meanings. Masih ad-Dajjal is then a name given to latter day Christianity and the west.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement whom Ahmadis believe to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, writes extensively about dajjal in his books, in Shahādat-ul-Qurān, which is briefly mentioned in a topic-based, five-volume collection of his writings titled "Essence of Islam", he states:
The Holy Qur’an then specifies that in the latter days the Christians will dominate the earth, and they shall be the cause of all kinds of mischief running rampant. Waves of calamities will rise on all sides and will race down from every height ... They will possess great material strength and dominion, against which all other powers and states will seem powerless. They will also enjoy supremacy in all kinds of knowledge and sciences and establish new and wonderful industries. They will also be dominant in their policies, projects, and good administration, and will show great resolve in their worldly enterprises and will also excel in their endeavour to spread their faith. They will leave behind all other nations in their social, agricultural and commercial policies, as indeed in everything else.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad gives a more direct definition of the meaning of Dajjal:
As to the Antichrist, now listen, I will explain to you the reality on the basis of the clear and pure revelation that I have received. 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 Dajjal itself and in this name there are many Signs for those who reflect. The meaning of the word Dajjal 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.
Thus essentially the Dajjal is not believed to be a physical person or an individual but as representing a collectivity of people who would pose a great challenge to Islam; it is, essentially, a name given to the European nations of the latter days. In contrast to the Christians and mainstream Muslims who believe Jesus to be still alive and one who would return himself towards the end of time, Ahmadis believe that Jesus is not alive but survived crucifixion and died a natural death. The prophecies concerning the second coming of Jesus are thus interpreted as the coming of one from within Islam in the likeness of Jesus, who will correct the doctrines of Christianity which from the perspective of Islam are deemed erroneous and establish the truth of Islam to the world especially as against western scientific and philosophical ideals. Ahmadis believe their founder Ghulam Ahmad to have fulfilled in his person the prophecies of the second advent of Jesus by representing Islam in its pristine form and having revived the high morals it inculcates. Moreover, Ahmadi Muslims also believe the "Promised Messiah" and the "Mahdi" are the same person, and that it is through his teachings, influence and prayers – and those of his successors and followers – that Islam will eventually overcome the Anti-Christ or Dajjal in a period similar to the period of time it took for nascent Christianity to rise (see also: Ahmadiyya relationship with Christianity); and that the Dajjal's power will slowly fade away, heralding the prophecised final victory of Islam and the age of peace. They also believe that the 'Gate of Lud' mentioned in certain Hadith refers to Ludgate where St Paul is thought to have preached the message of Christianity according to the Sonnini Manuscript of the Acts of the Apostles.
- Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Al-Dajjāl, p. 43.
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- Sunan Abi Dawud 4321, In-book reference: Book 39, Hadith 31, English translation: Book 38, Hadith 4307
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- Collected by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri Sahih Muslim Sahih Muslim, 41:7007
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- Ahmad, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir - Khalifatul Masih IV Friday Sermon 17 January 2003
- Seeing with Both Eyes, transcript of a lecture on the Dajjal by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (born Timothy Winter).
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- Dajjal and Symbolism in Akhir al-Zaman, lecture by Shaykh Imran N. Hosein.