Islamic History Podcast 1-12: Gog And Magog | The Cave

Islamic History Podcast 1-12: Gog And Magog | The Cave

  • What we know about Dhul Qaynayn: he was a great ruler, he had lots of wealth and power, and he built a wal
  • Dhul Qarnayn often translated as one of two horns. Could also mean the one of two generations
  • Some thought Dhul Qarnayn was Alexander the Great, but now most likely was Cyrus the Great.

– Name of Dhul Qarnayn could also relate to the two empires he united, Achaemenid and Babylonian.
– Related to early story about the Jews questions for Prohet Muhammad because the Jews revered him.
– The Jews had been warned by their Prophet Jeremiah to change or Allah would destroy their city
– The Jews imprisoned him.
– In 562 Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem, destroyed their temple, and expelled the Jews as slaves to Babylon.
– 18 years later, Cyrus conquered Babylon and freed the Jews allowing them to return home
– Unique things about Cyrus the Great:
— Had the largest empire in the world at the time
— Established a criteria for human rights, unique for the time
— Could not find any quotes where he considered himself divine
— Sources say he was Zoroastrian, but no clear proof of that, just an assumption.
— Very tolerant of minority religions in his land
– Empire stretched from modern-day Turkey to parts of India.
– Was actually more successful than Alexander the Great and ruled for much longer
– Alexander the Great’s victories were more spectacular and he named everything after himself
– Disagreement on if he was a prophet or not.
– Second question is who were Gog and Magog?
– Most Muslim sources say they were two groups of people, regular humans.
– Bible mentions them on two occassions, both in the future tense
– Old Testament, describes Gog as an individual king who ruled over the people or land of Magog.
– Book of Jubilee, indicates they are two regions and two peoples.
– Book of Jubilee not accepted as part of the Bible by Catholics and Protestants, but accepted by Ethiopian Christians
– Biblical Prophet Ezekiel has a vision where Gog and Magog and several allies invade Israel but God destroys them.
– Book of Revelations in New Testament gives another future scenario where Satan gathers allies from the four
corners of the earth, including Gog and Magog.
– Ancient Muslim sources and maps tend to locate Gog and Magog near central Asia where Asia becomes Europe and Caucasus Mountains
– I believe it was in the area just north of Turkey in modern day Georgia somewhere in the Caucusus mountains
– Mentioned twice in the Quran: once in Surah Al-Kahf and once in Surah Al-Anbiya 21:95-97
– Many Muslims say the city mentioned here is Jerusalem and the people restricted were the Jews
– Some Muslims today have said the European Jews were Gog and Magog
– Muslims of the past thought the Mongols and Tartars were Gog and Magog
– Classical Islamic thought states they are buried behind a wall and are constantly trying to come out.
– Always forget to say “inshallah” and wake up the next day with previous day’s work undone
– Most of the hadiths on Gog and Magog mention them in the future tense like the Bible
– Hadith reported from Zainab where the Prophet woke up from sleep and said “Woe, Arabs!”
– Other hadiths list the appearance of Gog and Magog as one of the signs of the Last Day
– Several mention an impending war between Muslims and Gog and Magog
– They are often described as an unbeatable and very large force, outnumbering Muslims 999 to 1
– Even Prophet Isa is described as being unable to beat them alone and must pray to Allah for divine assistance
– Allah sends a rain that destroys them and that signifies the coming of the hour
– One interpretation says they are generally evil people who target righteous people who are harming no one.
– Now we get into the story from the Quran
– I will be telling the story under the assumption that Dhul Qarnayn was Cyrus the Great
– 18:83 Allah states how people have asked Prophet Muhammad about Dhul-Qarnayn, and He instructs the prophet to say he will tell them a
report about him
– This coincides with that disputed report about the challenging questions from the Jews.
– 18:84 Allah states how He gave Dhul Qarnayn power and authority and gave him everything he would need to accomplish his goals.
– 18:85 He followed a way
– Allah mentions three different routes Dhul Qarnayn took in an overall journey. Some say he was exploring, but if he was Cyrus the Great
he was actually conquering these areas.
– 18:86 He went towards the setting sun and saw it setting over dark water and found a people there. Allah then asked him about how
he would treat them.
– Three things to discuss in this verse: the sun setting, the people, and Allah talking to him
– Many anti-Muslim pundits discuss this point saying Prophet Muhammad made it up because he thought the sun actually set in water.
– This is a poetical device from is pov showing the extent of Dhul Qarnayns domain with the sun setting over a body of water,
perhaps the Black Sea.
– According to this verse, Dhul Qarnayn now has authority over the people he found there. This is an indication that he conquered them.
– Allah asks Dhul Qarnayn a question. If Allah spoke to him directly, then he was definitely a Prophet.
– But if this was Ilham (inspiration) then he might not have been one, just a pious individual.
– 18:87 Dhul Qarnayn declares that he will punish those who did wrong and they’ll face an additional punishment from Allah.
– 18:88 He goes on to say that those who do good will be be rewarded by Allah and dealt with easily.
– 18:89 Then he went on another leg of the journey

Show Notes

Watch Mustaqiim Sahir’s Nasheed Video “This Is Islam.”

Read the original article about the Tafsir of Surah Al-Ikhlaas

Listen to an earlier episode on the Tafseer of Surah Al-Iklhaas

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