Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Blindness and Deafness of Dajjal (Sura 18:101; 40:58)


نحمده ونصلى ونسلم على رسوله الكريم

Continuing from my previous post, the Verse of the Holy Qur’an

وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَىٰ وَالْبَصِيرُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَلَا الْمُسِيءُ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ

And not equal are the blind and the seeing, nor are those who believe and do righteous deeds and the evildoer. Little do you remember

(40:58)

Is another implicit reference to the Dajjal in Sura Ghafir (we have already examined Verses 56-57 in the previous post). For this reason, Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuti has cited the following Hadith in his Tafsir of this Verse:

وأخرَج أحمد, والحاكمُ وصحَّحه, عن جابرٍ قال: قال رسولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: ما كانت من فتنةِ ولا تكونُ حتى تقومَ الساعةُ, أعظمَ من فتنةِ الدجالِ, وما من نبيٍّ إلا وقد حَذَّرَ قومَه, ولأُخْبِرَنَّكم منه بشىءٍ ما أخْبَرَه نبىٍّ قبلى. فوضَع يدَه على عينه ثم قال: أشهَدُ أنَّ اللهَ ليس بأعورَ

Imam Ahmad and al-Hakim narrates, and it is authenticated with al-Hakim, from Jabir, that he said: the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: “There is no tribulation until the establishment of the hour greater than the tribulation of the Dajjal. And there is no Prophet except that he warned his people, and informed them about him (Dajjal) with something that was not told about him by the previous Prophet.” Then he placed his hand upon his eye and said: “I bear witness that Allah is not one-eyed.”

Reference: Durr al-Manthur; v.13, p.51

Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates:

قَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي النَّاسِ فَأَثْنَى عَلَى اللَّهِ بِمَا هُوَ أَهْلُهُ ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الدَّجَّالَ ، فَقَالَ : إِنِّي لَأُنْذِرُكُمُوهُ وَمَا مِنْ نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا أَنْذَرَهُ قَوْمَهُ لَقَدْ أَنْذَرَ نُوحٌ قَوْمَهُ وَلَكِنِّي أَقُولُ لَكُمْ فِيهِ ، قَوْلًا : لَمْ يَقُلْهُ نَبِيٌّ لِقَوْمِهِ تَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ أَعْوَرُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِأَعْوَرَ

Once Allah’s Messenger () stood amongst the people, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and then mentioned the Dajjal saying, “I warn you against him (i.e. the Dajjal) and there was no prophet but warned his nation against him. No doubt, Noah warned his nation against him but I tell you about him something of which no prophet told his nation before me. You should know that he is one-eyed, and Allah is not one-eyed.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

 

Hence, Dajjal being blind in one eye, from which his name A’war is derived, is something that was first revealed to mankind through the Prophet Muhammad .

Let us therefore examine Jewish and Christian literature to see what it has to say about the reality of Dajjal (Antichrist):

“Then I wanted to ascertain the true meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from them all, very fearsome, with teeth of iron, claws of bronze, that devoured and crushed, and stamped the remains; and of the ten horns on its head; and of the new one that sprouted, to make room for which three fell – the horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke arrogantly, and which was more conspicuous that its fellows. (I looked on as that horn made war with the holy ones and overcame them, until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was rendered in favor of the holy ones of the Most High, for the time had come, and the holy ones took possession of the kingdom.) This is what he said: “the fourth beast [means] – there will be a fourth kingdom upon the earth which will be different from all the kingdoms; it will devour the whole earth, tread it down, and crush it. And the ten horns [mean] – from that kingdom, ten kings will arise, and after them another will arise. He will be different from the former ones, and will bring low three kings. He will speak words against the Most High, and will harass the holy ones of the Most High. He will think of changing times and laws, and they will be delivered into his power for a time, times, and half a time.” (Book of Daniel; 7:19-25)

The Book of Daniel makes a prophecy of a king whose kingdom will be unlike any other kingdom before it. It will brutally crush all opposition and extend over the whole world. The last king of this kingdom is apparently the Dajjal who will blasphemy against God, and alter the divine laws. What is very striking, however, is the phrase

עִדָּ֥ן וְעִדָּנִ֖ין וּפְלַ֥ג עִדָּֽן

 “a time, times, and half a time”, which mirrors the Hadith of the Prophet which describes the duration of the Dajjal as consisting of a “day like a year, a day like a month, and a day like a week”:

قُلْنَا وَمَا لُبْثُهُ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالَ ‏"‏ أَرْبَعُونَ يَوْمًا يَوْمٌ كَسَنَةٍ وَيَوْمٌ كَشَهْرٍ وَيَوْمٌ كَجُمُعَةٍ وَسَائِرُ أَيَّامِهِ كَأَيَّامِكُمْ

We (the Sahaba) said: “How long will he (Dajjal) 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 your days.” (Sahih Muslim)

According to Jewish literature, this antichrist figure is identified with Armilus (a possible play on the name “Romulus” the founder of Rome). According to Jewish apocalypticism, Rome represents Christendom and is also identified with Edom, the nation of the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother:

“Armilos will emerge from it, [whose name in Greek means] “he will destroy a nation.” He will rule over all (peoples), and his dominion will extend from one end of the earth to the other, and ten letters will be in his hand. He will engage in the worship of foreign gods and speak lies. No one will be able to withstand him, and anyone who does not believe in him he will kill with the sword: many among them will he kill. He will come against the holy people of the Most High, and with him there will be ten kings wielding great power and force, and he will do battle with the holy ones.” (Sefer Zerubbabel)

This quote from the Sefer Zerubbabel mirrors what has already been quoted from the Book of Daniel, particularly mention of the “ten kings” and his war with the “holy ones”, and the great extent of his kingdom over the whole of the Earth. This book also states: “This is the mark of Armilos: the color of the hair of his head is similar to gold” (ibid). Interestingly, in Islamic tradition and prophecy, Dajjal is described as having thick, very curly hair, like small headed snakes coiled together.

Jewish apocalyptic writings also confirm that Armilus will lay claim to divinity: “He will come to Edom and announce to them, ‘I am your messiah; I am your god!’ Although he is misleading them, they will instantly believe him and they will install him as king, and all the descendants of Esau will join together and come to him. He will travel about and announce in all the cities and say to the descendants of Esau, ‘Bring me my scripture which I have given to you,’ and again the nations of the world will come and bring a book … and he will say to them, ‘This is (indeed) what I have given to you,’ and he will reiterate to them ‘I am your god’ and ‘I am your messiah and your god!’” (Tefillat of R. Shimon b. Yohai)

According to Jewish apocalyptic literature, a man named Nehemiah b. Hushiel, considered to be the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph, will resist Armilus: “Nehemiah will say to him: ‘You are no deity, only Satan!’ He will quickly flee, but he (Armilos) will command his servants, (saying), ‘Seize him and hang him!’ (Nevertheless he will effect his escape)” (Ten Signs)

This incident is remnicient of an authentic Hadith:

يَأْتِي الدَّجَّالُ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ نِقَابَ الْمَدِينَةِ، فَيَنْزِلُ بَعْضَ السِّبَاخِ الَّتِي تَلِي الْمَدِينَةَ، فَيَخْرُجُ إِلَيْهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ رَجُلٌ وَهْوَ خَيْرُ النَّاسِ أَوْ مِنْ خِيَارِ النَّاسِ، فَيَقُولُ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ الدَّجَّالُ الَّذِي حَدَّثَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَدِيثَهُ، فَيَقُولُ الدَّجَّالُ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ قَتَلْتُ هَذَا ثُمَّ أَحْيَيْتُهُ، هَلْ تَشُكُّونَ فِي الأَمْرِ فَيَقُولُونَ لاَ‏.‏ فَيَقْتُلُهُ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيهِ فَيَقُولُ وَاللَّهِ مَا كُنْتُ فِيكَ أَشَدَّ بَصِيرَةً مِنِّي الْيَوْمَ‏.‏ فَيُرِيدُ الدَّجَّالُ أَنْ يَقْتُلَهُ فَلاَ يُسَلَّطُ عَلَيْهِ

“Ad-Dajjal will come, and he will be forbidden to enter the mountain passes of Medina. He will encamp in one of the salt areas neighboring Medina and there will appear to him a man who will be the best or one of the best of the people. He will say 'I testify that you are Ad-Dajjal whose story Allah's Messenger () has told us.' Ad-Dajjal will say (to his audience), 'Look, if I kill this man and then give him life, will you have any doubt about my claim?' They will reply, 'No,' Then Ad- Dajjal will kill that man and then will make him alive. The man will say, 'By Allah, now I recognize you more than ever!' Ad-Dajjal will then try to kill him (again) but he will not be given the power to do so.” (Bukhari)

According to another narration:

وَإِنَّ مِنْ فِتْنَتِهِ أَنْ يُسَلَّطَ عَلَى نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ فَيَقْتُلَهَا وَيَنْشُرَهَا بِالْمِنْشَارِ حَتَّى يُلْقَى شِقَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ انْظُرُوا إِلَى عَبْدِي هَذَا فَإِنِّي أَبْعَثُهُ الآنَ ثُمَّ يَزْعُمُ أَنَّ لَهُ رَبًّا غَيْرِي ‏.‏ فَيَبْعَثُهُ اللَّهُ وَيَقُولُ لَهُ الْخَبِيثُ مَنْ رَبُّكَ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّيَ اللَّهُ وَأَنْتَ عَدُوُّ اللَّهِ أَنْتَ الدَّجَّالُ وَاللَّهِ مَا كُنْتُ بَعْدُ أَشَدَّ بَصِيرَةً بِكَ مِنِّي الْيَوْمَ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو الْحَسَنِ الطَّنَافِسِيُّ فَحَدَّثَنَا الْمُحَارِبِيُّ حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْوَلِيدِ الْوَصَّافِيُّ عَنْ عَطِيَّةَ عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏"‏ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلُ أَرْفَعُ أُمَّتِي دَرَجَةً فِي الْجَنَّةِ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ وَاللَّهِ مَا كُنَّا نُرَى ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلَ إِلاَّ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ حَتَّى مَضَى لِسَبِيلِهِ

And part of his Fitnah will be that he will overpower a single soul and kill him, then he will cut him with a saw until he falls in two pieces. Then he will say: "Look at this slave of mine; I will resurrect him now, then he will claim that he has a Lord other than me." Then Allah will resurrect him and the evil one will say to him: "Who is your Lord?" and he will say: "Allah is my Lord, and you are the enemy of Allah, you are Dajjal. By Allah, I have never had more insight about you than I have today." (An addition) Abul-Hasan Tanafisi said: "Muharibi told us: 'Ubaidullah bin al-Walid Al-Wassafi told us, from 'Atiyyah, that Abu Sa'eed said: "The Messenger of Allah () said: 'That man will be the highest in status in my nation in Paradise'" -  He said: "Abu Sa'eed said: 'By Allah, we did not think that man would be anyone other than 'Umar bin Khattab, until he passed away. (Ibn Maja)

Interestingly, it is also mentioned in Jewish literature that the Messiah of the lineage of David will resurrect the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph: “Most of those who were slain will lie dead in the Land for forty days, for when the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph is killed, his corpse will be cast aside for forty days. Nevertheless no impure thing will afflict it until the Messiah of the lineage of David comes and resurrects him at the command of the Lord. This will be the first of the signs which he will perform; namely, the resurrection of the dead, for he will regain life.” (Responsum of Hai Gaon on Redemption)

This helps us realize why Islamic prophecy identifies the Dajjal as the false Jewish Messiah whom the Jews will follow.

There is another description of Armilus: “A wicked king will arise whose name is Armilos: bald, with small eyes and a leprous forehead; his right ear closed up and his left ear open. If a good person should speak to him, he will turn his closed ear toward him, and if a wicked person should speak to him, he will turn his open ear to him.” (Nistarot of R. Shimon b. Yohai)

“His name is Armilos, and these are his signs: he will be bald, with one of his eyes small and the other large. His right arm is short, and his left arm is two and a half cubits long. His forehead will be leprous, and his right ear will be closed up and the (other) one open. Whenever a person comes to tell him good things, he turns his closed up ear toward him, but if a person wants to speak wickedly, he turns his open ear toward him.” (Midrash Wa-Yosha’)

 

This mirrors the Qur’anic description of Dajjal:

وَكَانُوا لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَمْعًا

And they were not able to hear

(Sura 18:101)

1 comment:

  1. *Note: The quotes from these Jewish apocalyptic books as translated in English are taken from Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse by John C. Reeves

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