Dajjal: between Myth and Reality
Proofread by Sonia Nisa
Source: Maturidi College Journal (http://www.maturidi.co.uk/l/dajjal-between-myth-and-reality/)
Dajjal is a figure that will often crop up in many conversations amongst the average and scholarly Muslims today. Not only is he spoken about in Islamic tradition but we can also find similarities between the description of this figure in the Christian faith as, “The Anti-Christ” or in Greek Mythology as, “The one eyed Cyclopes”.
Without going into intricate detail, we know the narratives of the Dajjal, “the one-eyed creature” have always been transmitted by many nations and religions, but just under different names. In my opinion, the most common names addressed to the one-eyed are; Cyclopes, The Anti-Christ, and The Dajjal.
I, personally, do not doubt that the actual description of this one-eyed creature was initiated by the Prophets (May peace be upon them all) and highly educated scholars of different centuries. They were all warning their followers from the tribulation, which is to come forth. Based on my research journey, of over 17 years, I can confidently say, that the original authentic description of this mystical creature was severely distorted or misunderstood, by the followers of the Prophets (Peace be upon them all) and Scholars. Therefore, this proves that the actual predicament lays in the understanding and transmission of the individuals who narrated these statements and descriptions onto the next generation. Unfortunately, the people of each generation understood the statements of the Prophets (May peace be upon them all) according to their social and scientific level of their own time. This means the local legends and myths were involved within their translation and in their understanding of the Dajjal. Consequently, that is why it has become quite difficult to collate and extract the authentic Prophetic description of the Dajjal. Some of these narrations are completely distorted, to the extent, that it has become impossible for one to distinguish between the initial statement of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and the additional information (which was added by the transmitters).
Paramount importance is given to the narrations, which describe the Dajjal being, the one-eyed creature. It is one of the most frequently repeated signs regarding the Dajjal, to the point, that if you just mention the name Dajjal to a Muslim, he mechanically thinks of the narrations that describe him being the one-eyed creature. However, if one reads the original authentic narrations, to research the specific signs of Dajjal then without a doubt he will fail to conclude with a clear picture of him being one-eyed. This is because; most of the authentic narrations contradict each other and fail to specify what exactly the Prophet (peace be upon him) described regarding the eye of the Dajjal. In total, there are three signs describing the eye of the Dajjal. In the hadith books such as; Bukhari and Muslim we have one from the many narrations, describing the Dajjals eye as, “His right eye is blind”. In another narration it mentions, “His left eye is blind” and in a third narration, “One of his eyes is bulging out like a piece of stick, out of water. This eye is covered with a tough piece of flesh” (Bukhari and Muslim). In the hadith book Ahmad and Tabrani we have the descriptions of Dajjal’s eye as, “His eye looks like a bright star/planet” and second as, “His eye looks like green grass”.
Some scholars endeavoured to terminate this predicament through linguistic analysis and using root word interpretation. Washing Aid in his book “Anwar al-Mashiq” endeavoured to clarify using the root word “A’war” and claiming that it means a defect because it derives from the root of “Iwar” (which actually means a defect). However, from my knowledge and research, “Iwar” also means a defect, but as soon as you say “A’war al-Ain”, it can only be interpreted as blind. (Book, Al-Mu’jal Al-Wasit, p634 to 635). Furthermore, some other scholars suggested that Dajjal will have a piece flesh covering both of his eyes and the third eye which is bulging out, is the only one eye which will have vision (Fath al-Bari, V10, P586).
Moreover, the question arises is, what is the color of the bulging eye of Dajjal? If we agree with the narration, which says, “Dhafarah ghaleeghah”, which refers to a small flesh in each nostril, then the color of the bulging eye, will be light pink. On the other hand, if we agree with the narration, which says, “Zujajah Khadra”, which literally means green grass, then the color of the eye will be green. However, the third narration (mentioned in Al-Mu’jal Al-Wasit (p793), as “Kawkab durri” which means a bright planet (the term used generally refers to planet Venus). So does that mean the bulging eye of the Dajjal will be of yellow color?
I believe we are in an unsolvable predicament, as all these narrators who transmitted the narrations according to their own understanding are protected and raised to the level of infallible beings. Therefore, questioning the authenticity of any of their narrations will deviate to aggressive and emotional behaviour of masses of religious academics and even deeming those questioning these ahadith as heretics or even kuffaar (non-believers)
Furthermore, another very crucial question is regarding the time of Dajjals arrival. Majority of the scholars have said that he is yet to come forth before the Day Of Judgement and Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) will destroy him (The Dajjal). This opinion is one of the most popular opinions of our time and of the narrators in the past.
Because of the above opinion contemporary Muslims are divided among themselves. Some of them are expecting the Dajjal to come in the future, but some are trying to find him in our century. The second group of Muslims have given many names such as;
1. TV, because it has one eye and it is demonstrating a magics.
2. David Copperfield a magician from USA, because he was able to penetrate the Great Chinese Wall.
3. Many of them are naming some top political or even religious personalities.
On the other hand some of the Hanafi jurists, Abu Bakr Al-Razi d980 AD presented a potential interpretation of the arrival of the Dajjal. He denied the arrival of Dajjal after the death of the Prophet PBUH and the rest of the magical and mythical details of the story. Instead he stated that this incident had already taken place during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as he states this was the army of the Pagans (approximately 100,000 in number) that tried entering Madinah. He further references this incident of Dajjal to the battle of the trench that took place in 5AH and that the incident lasted a month approximately (Book Fusul, V3, P326). Therefore, based on his position, Dajjal has already come and gone. So, according to Abu Bakr Al-Razi Dajjal has already arrived in the time of the Prophet PBUH and his case is already closed by the Prophet PBUH himself!
Know that we have touched on many issues and we all have many questions but it is impossible for me to highlight every issue and question regarding the Dajjal in a short article. Therefore, I will leave the remainder discussions and points to be highlighted in my upcoming lecture on Dajjal.
My polite request for all the students of knowledge is to start your own research from today and be prepared to participate in my upcoming lecture and open discussion of “The Dajjal”.