The Antichrist in Islam (ad-Dajjal)
The Antichrist in Islam (ad-Dajjal)
Muslims believe that before the last hour, there will arise a character known as Ad-Dajjal (Arabic for the deceiver, the liar), also known as the Antichrist (al-Masih Ad-Dajjal). Just as the title of “Christ” has the same meaning in Christianity and Islam, the descriptions of ad-Dajjal and descriptions of the Antichrist in the Bible are very different. As such, to avoid confusion, we refer to this character Islam as Ad-Dajjal, the Dajjal, the Antichrist, Islam, etc.
Descriptions of Ad-Dajjal
In this section, we consider that the hadiths, and Muslim teachers are saying about the character of ad-Dajjal.
A quick search online to fill the USC MSA Hadith reveals that the number of hadith (although many are repeated) on ad-Dajjal far outweigh the number of hadiths do with al-Mahdi to come, or Isa. Thus, ad-Dajjal is a very important person for Islam in the End Times.
Beware the Antichrist!
According to the hadith, Muhammad repeatedly warned his followers of the coming ad-Dajjal, and monitor the process of ad-Dajjal. Muhammad taught that all prophets because Noah had warned their followers of ad-Dajjal, but he gave most of the details:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Once Allah’s Apostle stood amongst the people, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and then mentioned the Dajjal saying, “the [sic] I warn you against him (ie the Dajjal) and there was no prophet , but warned his people against him. No doubt, Noah warned his people against him, but I tell you something about him which no prophet told his nation before me. You must know that he is one-eyed, and Allah is not only one eye. (Sahih Bukhari 4.553. Moreover, Sahih Bukhari 4.553, Sahih Muslim 41.7000, 37.4318 Sunan Abu Dawood, etc..)
The number of hadith concerning the Dajjal to-be so numerous that it is undeniable that Muhammad taught his followers. Many devout Muslims will be looking for the appearance of this character’s weird.
With regard to the reason-Dajjal is called al-Masih (the Messiah), Muslim scholars have given many different reasons. Thomas Hughes in his Dictionary of Islam says:
The compiler of Qanus says there were at least fifty reasons assigned for its being called al-Masih. Some say it is because the eyes have touched (Masahi) and blinded, others, that the word is originally masikh, a “monster” (see Hujaju ‘l-Kalimah, p. 401). Sale, in the preface to his translation of the Koran, says Muslim writers claim that the Jews will give the name of al-Masih, because the exchange for the true Messiah, who came to restore the kingdom of Israel to them. (Thomas Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, p. 318).
Ad-Dajjal is a scary character that Muhammad often prayed for the forgiveness of sins, and to also seek refuge from the trials of ad-Dajjal:
‘A’isha reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used to make this supplication: “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the trial of Hell-Fire, and the torment of Hell, and proof the grave and the torment of the grave;. and from the evil of the process of wealth and wickedness of the process of poverty and I seek refuge in You from the evil of the turmoil of the Dajjal O Allah, wash away my sins with snow and hail water, purify my heart from sin, as is purified the white garment from the dirt, and keep away the sins of distance from me as yawns the distance between the East and the West, O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from sloth, from senility , from sin and debt. ” (Sahih Muslim 35.6534)
Ad-Dajjal physical appearance
The first thing about Ad-Dajjal, and probably the most important feature in the hadith, is that he is blind in one eye.
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Once Allah’s Apostle stood amongst the people, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and then mentioned the Dajjal saying, “the [sic] I warn you against him (ie the Dajjal) and there was no prophet , but warned his people against him. No doubt, Noah warned his people against him, but I tell you something about him which no prophet told his nation before me. You must know that he is one-eyed, and Allah is not only one eye. (Sahih Bukhari 4.553. Moreover, Sahih Bukhari 4.554, Sahih Muslim 41.7000, etc.)
The hadith, however, are contradictory as to which eye is blind
The Prophet mentioned the Massiah Ad-Dajjal in front of people who say, Allah is not a Messsiah while the eyes [sic], Ad-Dajjal is blind in the right eye and his eye looks like a grape bulging out. (Sahih Bukhari 3.425, also Sahih Muslim 41.7005, etc.)
Hudhalfa reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Dajjal is blind of left eye with thick hair and there would be a garden and fire with him and his fire would be a garden and its garden would fire. (Sahih Muslim 41.70101)
The Prophet mentioned the Massiah Ad-Dajjal in front of people who say, Allah is not a Messsiah while the eyes [sic], Ad-Dajjal is blind in the right eye and his eye looks like a grape bulging out. (Sahih Bukhari 3.425, etc.)
Not only is his eye blind in one eye, but his eye (he did not say which one) is swollen like a grape. Obviously, it will be quite ugly in appearance. This physical defect has repeatedly stressed in the hadiths.
The physical defect in the ad-Dajjal has actually to do with another important area that Muslims believe in Muslim theologians teach that Allah is perfect, and all his prophets have no physical or moral defects.
According to Muslim theologians, there are six essential elements of Prophecy: truthfulness, trustworthiness, communication of God’s commands, intelligence, infallibility, and lack of physical and mental defects. History records that the Prophet Muhammad, upon him blessings and peace, these six attributes were essential in a perfect way. (Fethullah Gulen, “Essentials of the Islamic faith – and Prophecy Prophecy of Muhammad”, 2001).
It ‘worth remembering that all the prophets were without blemish and free from any kind of physical and moral defects. (Islamic Voice, “The stone ran away with the clothes”, November 1999)
In conclusion, all the prophets were perfect both mentally and physically, with nothing to suggest any flaws. (The Way of Truth “, the prophets were free from physical and mental defects”)
Because of this belief that Allah does not use any moral or physical defects, like a prophet, Muslims reject all records of the sins of the prophets in the Bible, claiming the record of being damaged. For example, the Bible recorded that Abraham lied about Sarah, Isaac told a lie on Rebecca, Moses became angry when the Israelites asked for water, David committed adultery and murder, Job argued with God, etc. Muslims also reject the record of Job Contracting physical wounds inflicted on him Satan because of the belief that the prophets have no physical defect.
On the other hand, Jews and Christians agree that prophets are human beings and can not sin, but God is so powerful that He is able to transcend above their sins and still be able to carry your message. In this regard, the extreme example is that of Christ that Christians believed to be God who has come to be as a humble, even though Jesus never sinned.
Again, this difference in beliefs contributes to the way each side sees the same problem. The lack of ad-Dajjal is therefore a clear indication that it is not a prophet in Islam. (A side note: Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s spiritual leader, is blind in one eye).
The hadith also say that ad-Dajjal will be a man cumbersome, with thick red hair and complexion:
‘Abdullah said on the authority of his father,’ Umar b. Khattab, who had heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: I was sleeping when I saw myself making circuit around the Ka’ba and I saw there a man of fair complexion with straight hair between two men. The water flowed from the head or the water fell from the head. I said: Who is it? They answered: It ‘the son of Mary. Then I moved forward and looked and there was a bulky man of red complexion, thick locks of hair on his head, blind in one eye because his eye was swollen grape. I asked: Who is it? They said: He is Dajjal. He had close resemblance with Ibn Qatan among men. (Sahih Muslim 1.327)
Ad-Dajjal par excellence Infidel
Ad-Dajjal, of course, is not a Muslim. It will be against Muslims, and will also be one of the leaders of the infidels (kafirs). Muhammad taught that the Antichrist will have on his forehead the letters or word “kfr”, ie, kafir, that every Muslim will be able to recognize.
That when people mentioned before Ibn ‘Abbas that the Dajjal would have the word Kafir, (ie unbeliever) or the letters Kafir (the root of the Arabic verb’ disbelieve ‘) written on his forehead, I heard Ibn’ Abbas said: “I have not heard this, but the Prophet said: ‘If you want to see Abraham, then look at your companion (the Prophet) but Moses was a curly-haired, brown man (who used to drive) a camel to red, the reins of which is was made of date palm fires. As if I were now looking a valley. “(Sahih Bukhari 4.574)
Ibn Shihab said: ‘Umar b. Thabit Al-Ansari informed me that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) informed him that the day when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) has warned people against the Dajjal, he also said: There would be written between his two eyes (the word) Kafir (infidel) and all those who resent his deeds would be able to read or every Muslim would be in the process of reading, and also said: Bear in mind that this thing none of you would be able to see Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, until his death. (Sahih Muslim 41.7000)
In other words, according to the hadith, will have the letters “kfr” (kafir, meaning infidel)
ك ف ر (separately) or
كافر (joined together).
The hadith says that some of the miracles that ad-Dajjal will be able to run:
* The increase of the dead to life:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Allah’s Apostle told us a long narrative about Ad-Dajjal, and among the many things he said, was his saying: “Ad-Dajjal will come and it will be forbidden for him to pass through the gates of Medina. He ground in some of salty barren areas (outside) Medina, on that day the best man or one of the best men will come to him and say, ‘I testify that you are the same Dajjal whose description was given to us by the Apostle of Allah’. Ad-Dajjal will say to the people: ‘If I kill the man and bring him back, you doubt my claim?’ They will say, ‘No.’ Then Ad-Dajjal will kill the man and bring him back. This man will say: ‘Now I know your reality better than before’. Ad-Dajjal will say, ‘I want to kill him, but I can not’. “(Sahih Bukhari 3.106)
* Inverted visions of heaven and hell, fire and water:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not tell the Dajjal a story of which no prophet told his nation? The Dajjall has one eye and will bring with it what they look like heaven and hell, and what he will call Paradise will be actually Hell, so I warn you (against him) as Noah warned his people against him. “(Sahih Bukhari 4,554)
Hudhaifa reported the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: The Dajjal would have with him water and fire and its fire bays would have the effect of cold water and his water would have the effect of fire, so do not start to ruin. Abu Mas’ud reported: I also heard from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). (Muslim 41.7011) (41.7011 Sahih Muslim)
* Whirlwind trip around the world.
We said: The Messenger of Allah, how long would walk on the earth? Then he said: Like cloud driven by wind. He would come to people and invite them (to a wrong religion) and that they would affirm their faith in him and respond to him. (Sahih Muslim 41.7015)
* Commands drought:
He would then give the command to the sky and there would be rainfall upon the earth and it would grow crops. Then in the evening, their attitudes animals would come to them with their humps very high and their udders full of milk and their flanks stretched. He would then come to another people and invite them. But they rejected him and he would go to them and there would be a drought for them and nothing would be lef t [sic] with the form of wealth. (Sahih Muslim 41.7015)
Muhammad often prayed to be protected from the Dajjal (eg Sahih Muslim 4.1216, 4.1224 Sahih Muslim, etc.), and taught that Muslims who memorize the first ten verses of the Quran in Surah al-Kahf will be protected by him ( Sahih Muslim 4.1766).
Ad-Dajjal will seek to drive people away from Islam, and some people will accept his message.
He would come to people and invite them (to a wrong religion) and that they would affirm their faith in him and respond to him. (Sahih Muslim 41.7015)
It would have appeared on the road between Syria and Iraq would spread and hurt left and right. (Sahih Muslim 41.7015)
Ad-Dajjal The Divine?
Muslims argue that ad-Dajjal will claim to be a prophet, then claim to be divine (ie God). For example:
After that time no good will left in the world, the depravity is a way of life, drought and famine will return up to satan, the stoned and cursed, appears in the disguise of a man and pretend to be their lord. The non-believers accept him as their Lord and because of this their lives will be comfortable until the trumpet, announcing the coming of Judgement Day, was burned. (Shaykh Abdullah ben Sadek, late Grand Muhaddith of Morocco, “Al Mahdi, JESUS ’and Dajjal [Moshaikh – the Anti-Christ].”, Tr Shaykh Ahmad Darwish).
However, there is no explicit hadith that says that ad-Dajjal will actually claim to be God Muslims base this claim on hadith like this:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
You should know that he is one-eyed, and Allah is not only one eye. (Sahih Bukhari 4.553)
This allusion is the contrast that Allah is not an eye (in fact, Muslims do not know how many eyes Allah) and that ad-Dajjal has one eye. However, it is also possible that this prophetic hadith is denying ad-Dajjal, as the prophets should have no physical defect. However, the understanding is that a Muslim-Dajjal will claim to be God
Appearance of Ad-Dajjal Position
The hadiths tell us that appear between Syria and Iraq:
It would have appeared on the road between Syria and Iraq would spread and hurt left and right. (Sahih Muslim 41.7015)
The ad-Dajjal hadith portray to be a leader of the Jews:
Anas b. Malik has reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: The Dajjal would be followed by 70 000 Jews to wear shawls Isfahan Persian. (Sahih Muslim 41.7034)
Isfahan is an important city in ancient Persians by the Medes. Today is the third largest city in Iran. The hadith says that the followers of the main Ad-Dajjal will be 70,000 Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls, along with an unknown number of women. This seems to indicate that these are Persian Jews. However, today there are only 25,000 Jews left in Iran (see this BBC article), so that mean Jews outside of Iran needs to go to Iran to compensate for that number.
Ad-Dajjal and the cities of Mecca and Medina
Muhammad told his followers that ad-Dajjal will not be able to enter two cities, Mecca and Medina:
He would come, but it would not be allowed to ether the mountain passes to Medina. (Sahih Muslim 41.7017)
I’m going to tell you about me and I am Dajjal and would soon be allowed to leave and so I go out and travel the country, and not save a city where he would not stay for forty nights except Mecca and Medina as these two (places ) are prohibited (areas) for me and I would not make an attempt to get into any of these two. An angel with a sword in my hand I would meet and bar my way and there would be angels to guard every passage leading to it; (Sahih Muslim 41.7028)
Some say that Damascus (Sham) is also one of the city ad-Dajjal can not enter. Muslims are told to flee to these cities if they are under siege by the Antichrist.
Length trial of Ad-Dajjal
The hadith says that ad-Dajjal will be around for about forty “days”:
We said: The Messenger of Allah, how long they would remain on earth? He said .. For forty days, one day a year and a day like a month and a day like a week and a day would be like the rest of your days. (Sahih Muslim 41.7015)
The forty days are unusual, with one of the day like a year, another day a month, another day like a week and the rest (ie, 37 days) days as usual. That works out to be (or are perceived to be) about 14 months.
Death of Ad-Dajjal
The hadith says that ad-Dajjal will be killed by Allah through Isa
When the enemy of Allah would see him, it would (disappear) just as salt dissolves in water and if he (Jesus) were not to confront them at all, even then it dissolves completely, but Allah will kill them with the his hand and he would show them their blood on his lance (the lance of Jesus Christ). (Sahih Muslim 41.6924)
This killing is supposed to be held at the gate of Ludd:
He [Jesus] would then look for him (Dajjal) until he would grab him at the gate of Ludd and would kill him. (Sahih Muslim 41.7015)
Ludd should be near Tel Aviv in northern Israel.
Summary of Features of Ad-Dajjal
Now that we have seen in detail the characteristics of ad-Dajjal, we now give a brief summary.
* Epitome of those who oppose Islam and Isa.
* Blind in one eye (not sure right or left), red complexion, thick hair, etc.
* It will have the letters “kfr” or the word “kafir” on the forehead.
* Appears between Syria and Iraq.
* Runs great miracles.
* Turns people away from Islam.
* Will claim to be a prophet, will claim to be divine (?).
* Leader of 70,000 Jews of Isfahan and the number of women with no name.
* Terrorizing people for “40 days”.
* You can not enter Mecca, Medina and possibly Syria.
* You will be killed by Allah through Isa.
Why Ad-Dajjal is not the same as the Biblical Antichrist
Muslims sometimes think that ad-Dajjal, the Antichrist is that Islam is the same as the Antichrist of the Bible. However, just as Christ does not have the same meaning in Islam and Christianity, the meaning of antichrist is also not the same in both religions. Now to explain why the Antichrist-Dajjal does not match the Bible.
The first main difference between the Bible and the Antichrist-Dajjal is that we realize that the biblical Antichrist is a world leader, politically, militarily and religiously. However, Ad-Dajjal is a leader whose followers are mainly the 70,000 Jews and women. Secondly, we note that ad-Dajjal seeks to turn people away from Allah of Islam, while the Antichrist turns people by the God of the Bible. Of course, while we know that Allah and God of the Bible are both supposed to be the Creator, their descriptions in the respective religions are very different. Third, we read that ad-Dajjal can perform many miracles, while the Bible does not attribute miracles to the Biblical Antichrist. Finally, and similar ad-Dajjal will be killed by Isa, and Antichrist will be killed by Jesus in the Bible, but since we know that Isa arrival is very different from Jesus in the Bible, which leaves us with the conclusion that ad-Dajjal is not is the Antichrist in the Bible.
And if it is not the Antichrist Bible, then who?
Comparison Table of Ad-Dajjal and The Two Witnesses
We now give the major characteristics of ad-Dajjal and the Two Witnesses in a table form for comparison.
|Physical characteristics||blind in one eye||No explicit description|
|Special characteristics||Has the letters “kfr” (kafir, meaning infidel) on forehead||Wears sackcloth signifying repentance (Heb: “kpr“. In Hebrew, the letter “p” is the same as “f”)||Rev. 11:3|
|Location||Appears between Iraq and Syria||Not stated, but likely in Israel and other places|
|Followers||Leader of 70,000 Isfahan Jews and women.||Not stated, likely a Jew and a Christian witness. No mention of followers|
|Vocation||Will claim to be a prophet||Prophecy, hence designated as prophets.||Rev 11:3|
|Ministry||Oppose al-Mahdi, Muslims and lead people away from Islam||Oppose Antichrist, the world and lead people away from the world religion. Lead people into repentance to the God of the Bible.||Rev 11:3,7|
|Ministry||Preach and torment Muslims for “40 days”. Due to unusual length of certain days, it is actually (or perceivably) about 14 months long.||Preach and torment Antichrist’s followers for 1260 days (about 42 months, 3.5 years)||Rev 11:5,6|
|Miracles||Performs great miracles, esp. sends and withholds rain.||Perform great miracles, esp. withhold rain.||Rev 11:5,6|
|Death||Killed by Isa||Killed by Antichrist||Rev 11:7|
|Death||Killed in Ludd (near Tel Aviv, Israel)||Bodies lie in Jerusalem (inside Israel)||Rev 11:8|
|Reactions to Death||No doubt there will be rejoicing by Muslims. Giving of sweets/gifts is a M.E. custom||Rejoicing by the world. Giving of gifts.||Rev 10|
|Burial||Not buried. Simply disappear.||Bodies lay unburied for 3.5 days, then resurrected to heaven.||Rev. 11:11-12|
Notice that the correspondence is not as good a fit as the correspondence between al-Mahdi and Antichrist, and between Isa and False Prophet. In particular, there is one ad-Dajjal in Islam (although the hadiths say there will be thirty lesser dajjals), but there are Two Witnesses. However, the Islamic hadiths might actually be dealing only with the Jewish Witness (and did not mention the Christian Witness).
However, the general pattern is still very similar. In some characteristics, there is some leeway for both, so it isn’t necessarily a mismatch. For example, ad-Dajjal is supposed to be killed in Ludd near Tel Aviv in Israel (Northern Israel), while the bodies of the Two Witnesses will lie in Jerusalem. So, there is some room for these two to actualy be both fulfilled (eg. ad-Dajjal gets killed and then bodies moved to Jerusalem for all to see). The main anti-parallels are their miracles, their ministry, their death and the world’s reaction to their death.
This can be attributed to the fact that at most one religion is true (it can’t be both true). Hence, only one set of prophecies will be fulfilled, while the other will be very close, but not perfect. We shall have to wait and see as the future unfolds before our eyes.
We have examined in detail the hadiths and Muslim teachings about the Islamic apocalyptic character known as ad-Dajjal. Muslims understand this character to be the Antichrist. When compared against the Bible, however, ad-Dajjal is different from the Antichrist described in the Bible. Instead, we find that ad-Dajjal corresponds in description to the Two Witnesses.