Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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There is no tribulation greater than that of the Dajjal from the creation of Adam to the Day of Resurrection.
All the books of Hadith are agreed on this point and this warning has been repeated in various forms. The question, therefore, arises, Is the Qur'an silent on an event which is described by the Prophet so emphatically as the greatest of all tribulations?
Before giving an answer to this question, we should look a little deeper into the nature of the two tribulations of which Muslims are warned as coming to pass in the later days. The tribulation of Gog and Magog is spoken of in the clearest words in both the Qur'an and the Hadith, but instead of Dajjal, the Holy Qur'an speaks of another great tribulation in the form of the Christian doctrine relating to Divinity of Christ. It denounces this doctrine in the strongest terms as the greatest of all tribulations for humanity.
The heavens may almost be rent thereat, and the earth cleave asunder, and the mountains fall down in pieces, that they ascribe a son to the Beneficent! (19:90-91.)
It further states that such a doctrine was never taught by Jesus Christ. In fact, it speaks of it as just the opposite of what Christ taught:
And when Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah? He will say: Glory be to Thee! it was not for me to say what I had no right to (say) ... I said to them naught save as Thou didst command me: serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. (5:116-117.)
Thus the doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus, according to the Qur'an, cannot be ascribed to Christ but to Antichrist; and though the Qur'an does not mention the name of Dajjal or Antichrist, it speaks of the Antichrist as being the manifestation of the erroneous Christian doctrine of the sonship of God.
If we consider the hadith concerned, these also testify to the truth of what has been said above. The first thing that strikes us in this connection is that almost all hadith speaking of the coming of Jesus allot to him only one task, viz., that "he will break the Cross" (Ar. yaksiru al-saliba). It is only rarely that he is spoken of as killing the Dajjal. This is rather strange, seeing that the menace of the Dajjal is, according to Hadith, the greatest of all afflictions that can befall the world. This menace was destined to be removed at the hands of the Promised Messiah. But when the advent of the Messiah is spoken of, his great achievement is mentioned as breaking of the Cross, which shows clearly that the breaking of the Cross and the killing of Dajjal carry one and the same significance. It is really very significant that when Hadith describes the trials and tribulations of the later days, it gives the greatest prominence to Dajjal, but when it comes to describe the remedy of this affliction it mentions the breaking of the Cross. The fact that the Promised Messiah's first and foremost task would be the breaking of the Cross, shows decisively that the menace of the Dajjal and the predominance of the religion of the Cross are but two different expressions for one and the same idea.
There are other companions as well who have reported hadith about Dajjal. All these numerous companions are agreed that the Holy Prophet repeatedly spoke of the Dajjal, and not the least doubt can be entertained as to the fact that the Prophet himself was the source from whom these prophecies emanated.
The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said: You will fight with them (i.e. the Arabs) and Allah will give you victory over them; then you will fight with Persia and Allah will give you victory over them; then you will fight with the Dajjal and Allah will give you victory over them. (Mishkat ch. al-Malahim.)
Here the war with Dajjal is mentioned in the same manner as the war with the Arabs, the Persians and the Romans. This shows that the last mentioned are a nation just as the others are nations. The reference in these wars may be to the crusades, or it may have a reference to the events of the world in our own day. One thing, however, is clear from this hadith that like Persians and Romans, Dajjal stands for a nation or a group of nations.
The fact, however, still remains to be explained that in the Hadith, Dajjal is spoken of as if he were a single person. As I have already shown, these prophecies are all based on visions seen by the Prophet, and a nation could be represented in a vision only as a single person. In fact, it is certain characteristics that mark out a nation, and in a vision these characteristics could only be shown as being met with in an individual. Even in ordinary language a nation is spoken of as if it were a single person. Thus the Qur'an speaks of the Israelites, addressing them as if it were a single person. Read for example words such as the following:
O Children of Israel! call to mind My favour which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations. (2:47.)
Here the people actually addressed are those who were living at the time of the Holy Prophet but events are referred to which took place at the time of Prophet Moses or during long centuries after him. The favours spoken of were bestowed upon generations long past but the words here are addressed to their distant descendants who were now a debased and humiliated people. But all these numerous generations are spoken of as if they were a single person. Even thus a whole nation of Dajjal was shown to the Prophet symbolically in the form of a single person, while its description as given in the Qur'an shows that Dajjal stood for certain nations which were to be known by certain distinguishing features.
1. And I saw a person with short curly hair, whose right eye was blind. I asked: Who is this? I was told that it was al-Masih al-Dajjal (Bukhari 77:68; 92.).
In the Musnad of Ahmad, we come across similar words. And almost in all hadith on this subject, Dajjal is described as one-eyed. In a report narrated by Ibn `Abbas we are told that he will be "one-eyed with sparkling white complexion" (Musnad Ahmad Vol. I, p. 240.). And in another, he is spoken of as "heavily built, white and shining, whose one eye is brilliant like a shining star." (Ibid., p. 374.)
Similarly, in most of the reports, he is stated to have kufr or kafir or Kaf, Fa, Ra written between his two eyes. Some of these reports add that every believer will be able to read this (inscription) whether he is illiterate or a man who knows writing (Musnad Ahmad Vol. II, p. 206.).
A believer will read it whether he can (read and) write or not (Ibid., p. 228.).
A believer will decipher (i.e., the description on Dajjal's forehead) whether or not he is able to read (Ibid., p. 250.).
In these descriptions we notice:
(1) That as to constitution, Dajjal is described as strongly built. (2) That his complexion will be white and sparkling. (3) And that the hair on his head will be short and curly.
And it is noteworthy that all these three are peculiar to the general appearance of the European nations. Generally speaking, these people are rather stoutly built; they are of good size and quite stout and strong. Their hair is short and curly, so much so that now-a-days even the women are cutting their hair short. Their colour is white and shining. Thus these particular points in the description of Dajjal quite fit in with the physical appearance of the nations of Europe.
As for the two remaining items in the description, viz., that his right eye is blind and that kufr or KFR is written large on his forehead, these are really descriptions of his spiritual condition. As has been shown, Dajjal is a figure representative of a people. Now it is evident that a whole people cannot be physically blind. Moreover, while he is described as blind in the right eye, it is written with regard to his left eye that it will be bright like a shining star. In other words, while the light of his right eye will be extinguished, his left eye will be unusually bright. The explanation which Imam Raghib gives for the blindness of Dajjal in the right eye is a truly scholarly exposition. While explaining the meaning of the word Masih, he says that mas-h also means the expunging of anything, and then adds:
And it has been reported that the right eye of the Dajjal will be devoid of sight and that the Messiah will have his left eye devoid of sight; and this means that Dajjal will be bereft of praiseworthy moral qualities, such as knowledge, intelligence and humility, whereas Jesus will be free of ignorance, avarice, greed and other despicable moral vices of the kind.
Imam Raghib thus interprets the prophecy of Dajjal being blind in the right eye, not literally but metaphorically, and takes it to mean that he will be lacking in good morals.
The interpretation put upon this prophecy by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is still more exquisite. The two eyes of man are those, with one of which he sees the spiritual or religious matters, and the other with which he sees the worldly or material things. And since religion and spirituality occupy a higher position than things physical and material, the lack of vision in the right eye means that Dajjal will have very little interest in matters religious and spiritual, and this is true of the European nations of today. Their whole interest lies in things physical and material and their progress along these lines is unparalleled. This is what is meant by the statement that his left eye will be like a bright star. That is to say, he will be able to see such things in the world of matter as will elude the understanding of other people. His spiritual eye, however, will be devoid of all lustre, because all his energy will be exhausted in the material world. His unique success in this world will result in his blindness of the other eye. It is indeed a wonderful exposition and exactly in accordance with what the Holy Qur'an says about the Christian nations:
Those whose effort goes astray in this world's life and they think that they are making good manufactures (18:104.).
The sayings of the Holy Prophet describe this very thing in the metaphorical expression that the left eye of Dajjal, i.e. his worldly eye, will be sharp like a bright star. As for the spiritual condition of these nations, the Book says: "Those are they who disbelieve in the messages of their Lord and meeting with Him" (18:105.). Hadith expresses this very idea in its own way when it says that the right eye of Dajjal will be without any power of vision in it.
Similarly, the other sign of Dajjal, viz., that he will have kufr or kafir written on his forehead, appertains to his spiritual condition. To speak of anything as if it is written on one's forehead is equivalent to saying that it is a patent fact about him. So the statement about the inscription on Dajjal's forehead only means that his unbelief will be quite a patent fact about him. The words of the hadith itself show that this is the significance. In the first place, it is said that every believer will be able to read it; not that every person will be able to do so. Then there is an additional remark about the believer. It is said that it is immaterial whether the believer be an illiterate person or one able to read and write. That is to say, that every believer will be able to decipher this inscription, whether or not he is a literate person. Evidently a writing which can be read by every believer irrespective of his literacy, cannot be in words and letters. Had it been in words and letters, the question of the reader's belief or unbelief would not have arisen at all, nor could it be stated that a believer would be able to read it even if he were illiterate. The ability to read words or letters has nothing to do with faith or belief. Every one who is literate can read such words; whereas an illiterate person, however great a believer he may be, cannot read them. It must, therefore, be a writing which manifests itself through the works of the being concerned. And the significance of the statement that it will be the believers alone who will be able to read it, is that the unbeliever is never conscious of his unbelief and that it needs a believer's eye to see the ugliness of the unbelief.
He set out on a voyage in the company of some people of the tribes of Lakhm and Juzam. After a month's journey their boat anchored on an island, where they first met a strange creature, which calls itself Jassasah (lit., arch-spy). This Jassasah gives them the whereabouts of a person who lives in a church. They visit the man in the church, whom they find to be a huge figure, whose hands are tied to his neck and whose legs are chained in iron fetters from the knees to the ankles. They start talking to this man, who, incidentally, asks them the news about the Holy Prophet, and concludes by saying "I am Masih al-Dajjal (Antichrist) and expect to be released before long, when I shall sally forth in the whole world, excepting Makkah and Madinah.
The one thing which is very clear in this whole story is that it is not an event of normal experience but a vision. The report has missed the mention of the fact of its being a vision. The proof for this is provided by the fact that Dajjal here is reported to have asked, "Tell me about the Prophet of the illiterates, i.e., the Arabs, as to what he is doing". To which they replied: "He has left Makkah and reached Madinah".
In another report he is stated to have asked:
This man who has appeared among you, what has he done? (Al-Shaikh `Ala al-Din al-Muttaqi ibn Hisan al Din of India, Kanz al`ummal, Da'irah al-Mu`arif al-Nizamiyyah Press, Hyderabad (1308 A.H.) Vol. 7, Hadith No. 2024.)
After all, how did this person come to know that the Arabian Prophet had already appeared? Should we think that he was also a recipient of revelation? Evidently this could not be. Nor could this be a case of guess work.
Other incidents narrated in this story all support this view. Who tied the hands of Dajjal to his neck? Who fettered his legs with chains? Are we to think that he came out of his mother's womb in this state? However it might have happened, could not Jassasah unloose his chains? All these difficulties can be solved only if we regard the story having originated in the vision of Tamim Dari. All that came to the knowledge of the Prophet in this connection also came through vision. It never happened that Allah took him actually to this island and made him see Dajjal with his physical eyes. On the contrary, it was through various visions that the traits of Dajjal were revealed to him. He presented this vision of Tamim Dari only as a corroboration of what came to his knowledge through his own visions in this matter, in the same manner as he treated the dreams and visions of some other Companions. This hadith, in the first place, gives us a clue as to where the Dajjal resides:
Still another thing which one learns from this report is that Dajjal existed even at the time of the narration but that he was not allowed to make his appearance. I will dilate on this point later on.
The two points noted above give us a clear indication as to the homeland of Dajjal. Europe, no doubt, has other nations living in it, but the British people have attained a power and glory which has not fallen to the lot of any other nation of that continent. That is why the western island has been particularly spoken of as being the homeland of Dajjal.
Seventy thousand people from among my followers will follow the Dajjal (Mishkat Ch. al-Dajjal.).
As a matter of fact, the very title al-Masih al-Dajjal as I have said, shows that these people will claim to follow the Messiah Jesus. The hadith of Tamim Dari, which has already been discussed, is also very clear on this subject. The direction to go to the man in the Church occurring in this hadith is very significant. It is quite obvious that the Church is a symbol of Christianity, and the people whose representative has to be found in a Church can be no other than Christians. Jassasah or the spies of Dajjal have only one function, viz., inducing people to go to the Church, i.e., to become Christian.
Here are the actual words put in the mouth of this Jassasah:
The Church which you see, go into it.
Nay, he will appear in the East; nay, he will appear in the East; nay, he will appear in the East (Kanz al`Ummal Vol. 7, No. 2988.).
Leaving aside the details, if we consider what the various reports agree upon, we learn that Dajjal will manifest itself in the East.
One report says:
The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, pointed nearly twenty times towards the East (Ibid., No. 2991.).
In a report recorded by Muslim, the words "Nay, he will be in the East", are followed by the words: "He also pointed with his hand towards the East". Thus while we are told that the homeland of Dajjal is an island in the West, we are also informed that his manifestation or rather the manifestation of his mischiefs will be in the East. This shows that the predominance of Dajjal will harm the people of the East. And it is a patent fact that the mischiefs of Dajjal do not at all affect the people of his own country, who really get the benefit of his pillaging the East. The Dajjal's appearance in the East thus signifies the manifestation of his mischief in the Eastern countries, whose people he will try to enslave, physically as well as morally, temporally as well as spiritually.
As for his existence, it is evident from what the hadith say that he existed even at the time of the Holy Prophet, but that at that time his hands and feet were shackled. This is exactly what we find in the case of European nations. Upto a certain time they were confined to their own native lands, and then they sallied forth to subjugate the rest of the world, so that they are now in actual possession of all other countries or wield such an influence over them that their movements are guided and controlled by Europe. It is for this reason that Dajjal is spoken of as claiming Divinity, because it is at his bidding that everything is done throughout the world, and Europe, as it were, controls the destinies of other nations. This is again the significance of what is said in another hadith that Dajjal will give life to people and cause them to die. This is only another way of saying that these people will exalt and abase nations as it suits their purpose.
There is no trial greater than that of the Dajjal since the creation of man up to the coming of the Hour (Mishkat Ch. al-Dajjal.).
Similar words are met with in other Hadith collections. For example, in one hadith the Holy Prophet is reported as saying:
O people! There has been no trial greater than that of Dajjal on the face of the earth since Allah created the progeny of Adam (Kanz al-`Ummal Vol. 7, No. 2028.).
Such hadith are by themselves an evidence that the trial of Dajjal is no other than the present predominance of the European powers and the exaltation of the religion of the Cross. It is a fact that the history of man does not present another trial of such magnitude. There have been conquerors who reduced other nations to subjugation and dominated them in certain aspects of their life, but there is not a single example of such universal predominance as we witness in the predominance of Europe and European civilisation over the whole world. Both land and sea are under the invincible sway of Europe. Neither do we find any other instance of the manner in which the nations of the world have been enslaved by these adventurers of the West. What is more, they are equipped with every kind of weapon wherewith people can be lead astray from the path of rectitude and purity. Here they mislead people through material education, there they achieve their object through religious propaganda; sometimes they attain their objective by providing physical comfort and luxury at the expense of the soul; at others it is through some other attraction for the world that the spiritual side of life is thrown into the background. Even their science is heading for the destruction not only of the spirit but of humanity itself. In short, there is no parallel to this trial in the whole history of humanity, and the words of the Prophet that there is no trial greater than that of Dajjal find a clear fulfilment in the dominance of Europe, a dominance which afflicts not only the physical side of life but also its spiritual and moral aspects.