Al-Masih ad-Dajjal (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 several different locations, but generally from the East, usually between Syria and Iran, comparable to the Christian understanding of the appearance of the Antichrist in Christian eschatology.
See also: What Is Antichrist?
Dajjāl (دجال) means “deceiver” and also appears in Classical 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. See: 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. As a false Messiah, it is believed that many will be deceived by him and join his ranks, among them Jews, Bedouins, weavers, magicians, and children of prostitutes. 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.
According to the hadith, Muhammad prophesied that the Masih ad-Dajjal would be the last of a series of thirty Dajjal or “deceivers”.
- 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 God 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 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 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.
Some 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 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.
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Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia