بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين
The greatest tribulation that the Believers will face is that of the Dajjal - the false messiah. Like all tribulations, it is a test of our faith and dedication to the one and only Elah. The critical element for the success of any Muslim in the face of this momentous trial is true knowledge. It is possible that many otherwise pious and sincere people will be duped by the trickery of the Dajjal due to their ignorance and lack of understanding of his reality, as is the case with all false prophets and deceivers who appear in sheep’s clothing but underneath are ravenous wolves. The Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) informed us that the one who memorizes the first ten verses of the eighteenth chapter of the Quran will be safe from the danger posed by the Dajjal:
مَنْ حَفِظَ عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ مِنْ أَوَّلِ سُورَةِ الْكَهْفِ عُصِمَ مِنَ الدَّجَّالِ
’’Whoever memorizes the ten Ayat from the beginning of Surat al-Kahf is protected from the Dajjal.’’
Part and parcel of memorizing these ten special verses of the Quran is being acquainted with their meaning and message. Within these ten verses are several themes which is appropriately understood and taken to heart a Muslim believer will be able to discern the reality of the Dajjal’s danger. Firstly, these ten verses extoll the absolute truth that is contained in Scripture, the Quran. Those who base their understanding of Religion on the divinely revealed texts and keep away from un-Quranic superstitions and false metaphysical ideas will be able to clearly recognize the falsehood of the Dajjal. On the other hand, those who neglect reading, understanding and adjusting their thoughts to be in line with the Quran will easily fall prey to the Dajjal’s traps. Despite their prayers and other devotions, because they lack knowledge of the Scripture, they can be easily manipulated to accept actions and ideas that are not only false but blasphemous too. This is why we see many apparently sincere and devoted individuals following false sects like the Barelwi grave worshipers. They are often excessive in their love and devotion to Islam, but because of their ignorance and distance from the Quran they hold all sorts of idolatrous beliefs and practices, and ended up invoking the deceased, making them partners with Allah. Now it is quite understandable how the Dajjal will likewise be able to fool so many otherwise sincere and devoted Muslims because they lack knowledge and neglect study of the Quran.
Secondly, within this special passage of the Quran is a severe warning against the particular heresy that God has taken unto Himself a son. While this is essentially the doctrine that has defined the deviation of Christianity from the truth, it points to the fact that when the Dajjal emerges, he shall claim a demigod status, as though he is literally God’s son, and the deceived people who follow him will commit acts of worship dedicated to him without even realizing their idolatry or the fact that they have repudiated their faith in Tawhid. The Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam), like some of the ancient prophets and seers before him, informed us that the Dajjal or false messiah will be Jewish. His closest followers will be a party of seventy thousand Jews of Isbahan, wearing distinctive shawls. Generally speaking, Judaism rejects the Christian doctrine of the sonship of God. However, due to the corrupting influence of a ’’mystical’’ brand of Judaism known as Kabbalah, and particularly the Chassidic movement, there is a tendency among many Jews to idolize certain religious leaders, assigning to them mystical powers and elevating them to the status of demigods. Consider for example the Jewish worship of Metatron, and Jewish ideas about a ’’lesser YHWH’’. The Jewish concept of the Messiah has also been infected by this tendency, and it will be the one that prevails in the Jewish minds and attitude to the Dajjal when he does emerge.
Thirdly, within this passage of the Quran is the theme of the temporal nature of this world. Its riches and pleasures are not permanent, so it is a mistake to dedicate one’s life to their pursuit especially if that leads to deserting the way of Truth. This theme is highly relevant to the fitnah of the Dajjal, because the Dajjal shall emerge during a time of famine and want, especially for the Muslims. It will be a great temptation for the latter to follow him and possibly even worship him in return for bread and butter. The Dajjal shall preach his ’’health and wealth gospel’’ to deceive simple minded people into thinking that material prosperity is the ultimate blessing, and those ’’stubborn’’ Muslims who are in poverty and on the verge of starvation are in their unenvious predicament precisely because they have rejected him.
Fourthly, there is, in the last two verses of this passage, the theme of withdrawal from society for the sake of protecting one’s Faith. That is why mention has been made of the youths who retreated into a cave, seeking the mercy of their Lord. Again, this theme is highly relevant for the Believers faced with the tribulation of the Dajjal, because like the Ashab al-Kahf, they too will have to withdraw into remote areas to escape the immediate danger of the Dajjal and to safeguard their faith from the corruption that takes absolute hold over mainstream society.