One of the major signs of the last day is the Anti-Christ, or Dajjal, as he is known in Islam. Also known as the False Messiah, he is the greatest challenge the Muslim world will ever face.
The word Dajjal comes from the Arabic verb dajala which means to mix. It generally refers to mixing what is true with what is false, or what is good with what is bad, thereby causing confusion. The Dajjal will cause confusion by making people think he is good when he is actually evil.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews are all awaiting a Messiah. The Messiah, or Anointed One, is to bring peace and justice to the earth.
Muslims and Christians both believe Jesus (peace be upon him) is the Messiah.
However, Christians believe Jesus is the son of Allah and when he comes back, he will take his believers up to heaven in a rapture.
Jews do not believe Jesus will be the Messiah.
Muslims do believe Jesus (Isa in Arabic) will return to earth to establish justice. However, we believe he is to do battle with his opposite, the False Messiah, or Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal, or simply The Dajjal.
Since both the real Messiah and the False Messiah will be on earth at the same time, how will Muslims know who to follow? It is quite simple. The False Messiah will encourage people to worship him, whereas the true Messiah is a servant of Allah and will encourage his followers to worship Allah. Unfortunately, many will follow the False Messiah and worship him, thinking he is God on earth in the form of Jesus.
What Did The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) Say About The Dajjal?
Fortunately, we have a lot of information from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that helps us know what to look for and how to recognize the Dajjal.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said:
“Whilst I was sleeping, I saw myself performing Tawaaf around the Ka’bah, when I saw a dark man with straight hair, standing between two other men, with water dripping from his head. I asked, “Who is this?” They said, “The son of Maryam.” Then I turned and saw a ruddy-complexioned man, well built, with curly hair, blind in his right eye, with his eye looking like a floating grape. I asked, “Who is this?” They said, “This is the Dajjaal.” The person who looks most like him is Ibnu Qatan.”
And in another hadith he (peace be upon him) stated:
“Allah is not one-eyed, but the False Messiah is one-eyed, blind or defective in his right eye, with his eye looking like a floating grape.”
And in yet another narration he (peace be upon him) said:
I have told you so much about the Dajjal that I fear you will not understand. The Dajjal will be a short man, pigeon-toed, with curly hair. He will be one-eyed, with his eye neither prominent nor sunken. If you become confused about him, then remember that your Lord is not one-eyed.
And he (peace be upon him) also said:
No Prophet was sent but he warned his people about the one-eyed liar. He is one-eyed, but your Lord is not one-eyed, and between his eyes will be written ‘kafir’.
The word kafir means “disbeliever” in Arabic, or one who is not Muslim.
With this information, we know the following about the Dajjal:
- He will be short.
- He will have curly hair.
- He will be well-built.
- And most importantly, he will be one-eyed.
What Will The Dajjal Do?
As mentioned earlier, The False Messiah will be the greatest trial mankind has ever faced. But his confusion will be even more troubling for Muslims. Why? Because unlike most others, Muslims will recognize his falsehood and will strive against him.
The Dajjal will come from the area of Central Asia known as Khorasan. This is an area that covers parts of Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan. He will rise to power with his miracles and magic. He will travel throughout the world spreading his corruption.
The Anti-Christ will first declare himself to be a prophet of God. Then he will claim that he is God himself. Most of the people in the world will believe in him and worship him. He will confuse people by showing them something that looks like a river of water, but is really a river of fire, and something that looks like fire but is really water.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has warned us that if we are presented with such a choice, we must choose the fire.
The False Messiah will also have the power to control the weather and the produce of the earth. For those that obey, follow, and worship him, he will reward them with abundant crops and wealth. And those that do not worship him (namely, Muslims) he will punish them with famine and poverty.
This is why the fitnah (trials) of the Dajjal will be so difficult. You can imagine how difficult it would be to resist a following him when one is faced with hunger and death.
The Dajjal will convince people that he is a god by performing miracles similar to those Jesus (peace be upon him) performed. For instance, he will make some believe that he has brought their parents back from the dead.
He will also try to convince the Muslims as well. Some Muslims will follow him and some will not. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has warned us to stay away from the Dajjal completely, since some people will go to him as a believer, and leave a disbeliever.
However, one of the best Muslims will recognize the Dajjal for who he is and go out to confront him. The Muslim will say “I bear witness you are the Dajjaal that our Prophet has warned us about.”
The Anti-Christ will then ask the other Muslims: “If I kill this man and bring him back to life, will you still doubt me?”
The people will say “No,” and the Anti-Christ will kill the Muslim and bring him back to life. Then the believer will say: “Now I know for certain that you are The Dajjaal!”
The Dajjal will try to kill him again, but will not be able.
This sort of confusion does not end here. He will travel to desolate lands and bring forth treasure and crops and wealth. Wealth will follow him everywhere he goes, and those that believe in him will benefit from this wealth.
According to one hadith, the Antichrist will be on earth for forty days. But these days are not like normal days. One day will be like a year, one day will be like a month, one will be like a week, and the remaining 37 days will be like normal days. If we take this literally, it would appear that he will be amongst us for about one year and two and a half months. But Allah knows best.
How The Dajjaal Will Die
The False Messiah will come near the end of the reign of the Mahdi. After several years of righteousness and peace, the Dajjal will appear and spread his fitnah and make things very difficult for those Muslims that still follow Al-Mahdi.
As the Dajjal increases in strength and wealth, the Muslims will appear to lose their power. The Dajjal will conquer most of the world except Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. As mentioned earlier, he will not be able to enter either Mecca and Medina. It may be that these remaining cities are the only strongholds left for the Mahdi and his followers.
Though he is unable to take Mecca and Medina, the False Messiah will not stop. He will lead his army to Jerusalem.
At this time, Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him) will descend and return to Earth. When Isa arrives, the Muslims will want him to lead them in prayer. However, Isa (peace be upon him) will defer to the Mahdi and follow him in the Salah.
Isa will then join the Mahdi’s army and lead the battle to intercept the Dajjal before he reaches Jerusalem.
When the two armies meet a great battle will ensue. The Muslims will eventually win and the forces of the Dajjal will break formation and flee the battle.
The Dajjal will also try to escape. But Isa (peace be upon him) will catch him and kill him. The Muslim army will also chase down the remains of the Dajjal’s army and destroy them all.
There have been many suggestions and suppositions as to who the False Messiah is. However, we must understand a few things.
- The Dajjal is a person. A human being. He is not a system or a cult or a belief or a nation.
- The Mahdi comes before the Dajjal. Not afterwards.
- The Dajjal will first claim to be a prophet and then a god.
- Those who do not follow the False Messiah will suffer a great deal. Many people, Muslims included, will be led astray by his lies.
- Isa Ibn Maryam (peace be upon them both) will destroy the Dajjaal.
Inshallah, I will continue this series on Signs of the Last Day with an article on the Mahdi.