Dajjāl (Anti-Christ)، From the comprehensive virtual encyclopedia of Wiki Mahdism
Dajjāl is one of the related issues to Mahdism. Though the term "Dajjāl" is not mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, many commentators quoted, under some verses, a few narrations about the rebellion of the Dajjāl.  According to a variety of the narrations, some believe that Dajjāl is one of the signs of the advent of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) and even one of the definite sign of the Imam's appearance; and on the other hand, some deny the connection between Dajjāl and the advent of the Imam (p. b. u. h), and associate it with the Apocalyptic notions and the events of the End of Time.  Interestingly enough, the Dajjāl is a common subject that has been mentioned in both Shiite and Sunni narrative books; and unlike many Mahdic contents that are not found in Sunni sources, this is very noticeable among Sunni Hadiths. 
The literal meaning of Dajjāl
The word "Dajjāl" in Arabic is derived from the verb "Dajjala" meaning "to cover something"; that is because he will cover the world with sins by diffusion of pervasive corruption among his numerous followers.  Another point of view is that "Dajjala" means "to gild something" because he will show as opposed to what is in his heart artificially and will mislead the people by hiding the truth and adorning the falsity.  Also it has been said the word "Dajjāl" is derived from the verb "Dajala" meaning "to pollute something".  Some also consider the Arabic word "Dajjāl" from the Syriac word "Daggāl" meaning "a liar person". 
Dajjāl in pre-Islamic teachings
In Iranian mythological culture, and according to the book of "the history of Sīstān", “the Dajjāl who will emerge at the End of Time, is the one named Ḍaḥḥāk… and Jesus will descend from heaven and destroy him”. In this direction, also in Avesta, one of Ḍaḥḥāk's names is falsity (Demon of a lie).  Zoroaster says, “At the End of Time and in the time of Saoshyant i. e. sagacious Man, Patyārah -the Dajjāl- will appear and hinder the governance of Saoshyant, and his bad deeds will last twenty years”.
In Jewish teachings and in Hebrew, a combination of the two words "Daj" means enemy and "Āl" means God, means "enemy of God".  It is worthy of noting that nowhere in the Torah or other Jewish writings is there any specific indication to Dajjāl; But some characters in the Torah can be used as instances for believing in Dajjāl like "Armilus", whom the Jews call him "the son of Satan and stone" and "the evil king". 
In Christianity, Dajjāl is the false Messiah (Anti-Christ) the one who opposes Jesu Christ and claims to be Jesus. The title "Anti-Christ" as the perfect embodiment of an evil person, for the first time, appeared in the Epistles of John.  This title consists of two parts, "Anti" meaning the opposite, and "Christ" meaning Jesus. He is the enemy of Jesus Christ or the false Messiah.
Dajjāl in Islamic teachings
As stated at the beginning of this paper, Dajjāl as a common belief between all Islamic sects has been mentioned in both Shia and Sunni sources. Shia sources state that he is a sign of both, the Day of Judgment and the appearance of the Living Imam, Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h).  It also is mentioned in some Islamic narrations that the Dajjāl will appear on the threshold of the advent of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h).
In Sunni sources the advent of the Dajjāl has been under consideration in a very colorful way so that in many of their well-known Hadith books an independent chapter is mentioned on this subject either with the Hadiths of Jesus the son of Mary or the signs of the End of the Time, that shows their great attention to this subject. Mostly, Sunnis believe that the coming of Dajjāl is a sign of the Day of Judgment.  Also some unusual traits have been attributed to him in mostly Sunni traditions, such as: he falsely claims his lordship, is old, carries fire and water, and cures the blind and those suffering from leprosy. 
Some possibilities about Dajjāl's individuality
Some extraordinary liar and cunning figures
Some believe that Dajjāl is not exclusive to one person, but rather it is a title for a group of deceivers and cunning people who use any means to attract people to themselves. Paying attention that in the narrations various Dajjāls are mentioned, this reinforces the possibility. One of the reasons for this claim is what we read in a famous hadith, which is quoted from Ṣahih of al-Tirmidhī that the prophet Muhammad (p. b. u. h and his household) says,
«إنه لم يكن نبي بعد نوح إلا وقد أنذر الدجال قومه وإني أنذركموه. »
“There has been no prophet after Noah but forewarned his nation from the conspiracy of the Dajjāl and I also forewarn you about it!”
It is clear that the previous prophets shouldn’t have warned their people about the conspiracy of the Dajjāl who will appear at the End of Days when it is thousands of years later.
Also it has been narrated from the Prophet to have said,
«لا تقوم الساعة حتی یخرج المهدی من ولدی و لا یخرج المهدی حتی یخرج ستون کذابا کلهم یقول انا نبی»
“The Day of Judgment will not take place until the Mahdi, from my offspring, rises; and the Mahdi will not rise until sixty liars emerge and each of them says: 'I am the prophet'”.
In regard to the narrations, the numbers of these Dajjāls are twelve, thirty, sixty or seventy ones.  Among these Dajjāls, the one who is the most capable than other ones in lying, cunning, and demagoguery has been mentioned as a sign of the advent of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) or the occurrence of the Resurrection.
An exact person
As mentioned previously, it is highly probable that there is one great Dajjāl who is above other Dajjāls all and supervises them. In reference to a set of narrations, some believe that he is a certain person is living since the time of the Prophet (May Allah send blessings and peace upon him and his household) and even the Prophet had met him.  He is called "Armilus" by Jewish community, and "Ṣā'id" (Ibn Ṣayyād) by Muslim masses.  In case of the acceptance by the Sunni scholars, that is enough to rectify their doubt about the longevity of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h).
Some say that it is probable to consider another negative figure, who will rise against Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) and is mostly mentioned in Shiite sources by the name of "Sufyānī", as the Dajjāl, rather in Sunni books all these characteristics of that negative individual are mainly gathered in a person called "Dajjāl".
The symbol of a misleading ideology and movement
Based on such a view, the Dajjāl is just a "symbolic word", which refers to an infidel and devious movement in all social, political, intellectual, and economic fields etc. From the viewpoint of Ayatullah Makārim Shirazi, Dajjāl is a general term for dangerous tyrants and deceivers like Umayyad caliphs and people who tried to deviate others from the way of the truth. They use any means to attract the populace. According to Ayatullah Makārim, based on etymology, this concept can be deduced from the lexical root of the word Dajjāl and some narrative sources as well. 
Based on Arabic literature, the word "Ṣā'id b. Ṣayyād" probably is a derivative of the word "Ṣayd", and refers to a movement whose satanic mission is to hunt and exploit people all over the world. Anyway, the fact is that in any society, there are some cunning people who try to mislead people, but, before the advent of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) activities of these Dajjāls, who come one after another, increase in order to delay the advancement and improvement of the divine religion.
Strengthening this idea, in Islamic narrations there are some signs which have been expressed about the Dajjāl that look like to be symbolic. For example, in a narration quoted by ˈAllamāh Majlisī in Bīhār al-Anwār, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (p. b. u. h) refers to some of these strange sings when a righteous individual by the name of Ṣaˈṣaˈah b. Ṣawḥān asks him about the Dajjāl.  Maybe what is mentioned in the narrations about the name and characteristics of the Dajjāl and his rising in the End of Time, it is only one of the examples of the Dajjāl and of course the most complete of them. 
Global infidelity and arrogance
Some thinkers have reinforced this possibility that Dajjāl is an allusion to "universal infidelity and the domination of global arrogance throughout the world based on teachings of materialistic world-view", and they reconcile all the characteristics described for Dajjāl with the characteristics of the global arrogant powers.  These characteristics, points to deceivers and oppressive materialist leaders in the mechanical world. It means that the Dajjāl may symbolize the highest levels of civilization, culture, and Western technology that are in conflict with Islam and its principles; a culture that tries to conquer and enslave all.
We can clearly see today how the West’s materialist culture and technology has taken over all societies today, even the Muslim one. materialist leaders have only one eye which is the eye of the economy and material life. They look only to one dimension and that is the dimension of financial benefits, and use thousands of deceptions for reaching this goal. They have lost the eye of spirituality and humanity. This only material eye is very dazzling and shining since they have achieved glorious victories in this field.
Dajjāl and the signs of Appearance
In Christianity and based on the issue of Apocalypse in the Bible, coming the Dajjāl (Anti-Christ) will be coincident with Parousia (the Second Coming of Jesus). For instance, we read in the epistle of John, “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour”.  This expression also confirms the multiplicity of the Dajjāl. Also in another verse, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son”. 
In Sunni sources the advent of the Dajjāl is considered to be a sign of the Day of Judgment; however, some Hadiths refer to the coincidence of the rebellion of Dajjāl with several other events in which some of them will occur on the threshold of Imam Mahdi's advent. For instance,
«عن حذيفة بن أسيد الغفاري قَالَ: اطَّلَعَ عَلَيْنَا النَّبِيُّ ص مِنْ غُرْفَةٍ وَ نَحْنُ نَتَذَاكَرُ السَّاعَةَ، فقال: إنها لن تَقومَ حتى ترَوا قبلَها عشْرَ آياتٍ فذَكَر الدُّخانَ و"الدجَّالَ" والدابَّةَ وطُلوعَ الشمسِ من مَغرِبِها ونُزولَ عيسى ابنِ مريمَ.»
Pertaining to the signs of the Day of judgment, Ḥudhayfah quoted from the Prophet (p. b. u. h) to have said, “…It will not take place unless before ten signs: the Smoke, and the "Dajjāl", and the Beast, and the sun rising from the west, and the descent of Jesus the son of Mary, and Gog and Magog…”
Also in another Hadith it is reported from the Prophet (p. b. u. h) to have said,
«عَنْ مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه: عُمْرانُ بيتِ القُدْسِ خرابُ يَثْرِبَ، وخرابُ يَثْرِبَ خروجُ المَلحَمَةِ، وخُروجُ المَلْحَمةِ فَتْحُ القُسْطَنْطينيَّةِ، وفَتْحُ القُسْطَنْطينيَّةِ خروجُ الدَّجَّالِ.»
“The flourishing state of Jerusalem will be when Yathrib (Medina) is in ruins, the ruined state of Yathrib will be when the great war comes, the outbreak of the great war will be at the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Constantinople when the Dajjāl comes forth”.
In Shiite narrative sources, the emerge of Dajjāl has been mentioned as one of the most important events while at the same time of the appearance of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h).  Of course, Paying attention to the content of the narrations about the appearance of Dajjāl, and then the descent of Jesus and also his prayer with an Imam from the progeny of the prophet Muhammad (p. b. u. h) it can be understood that the emergence of Dajjāl coincides with the appearance of two divine men i. e. Jesus and Mahdi (p. b. u. them).
«عَنْ أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ سَيَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ لَا يَعْرِفُونَ اللَّهَ مَا هُوَ وَ التَّوْحِيدَ حَتَّى يَكُونَ خُرُوجُ الدَّجَّالِ وَ حَتَّى يَنْزِلَ عِيسَى بْنُ مَرْيَمَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ. وَ يُصَلِّيَ بِهِمْ رَجُلٌ مِنَّا أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ»
Imam Bāqir (the fifth Imam of Shia) says, “A time will come upon people when they do not recognize Allah and Monotheism, up until the rebellion of Dajjāl, and up until the time Jesus the son of Mary will descend from the heaven . , and a man from my Household will prayer with them”.
The vast extent of Dajjāl's activity
The variety of related areas of Dajjāl's activities, and his expanded destructive power is to the extent that the Prophet (p. b. u. h) introduces it as one of the greatest calamities at the End of Time.
«قال رسول الله ص : ثلاثة من نجا منها نجا، و من نجا من فتنة الدجال فقد نجا»
“There are three categories who are truly saved if they are saved, … Whoever is saved from the sedition of the Dajjāl is truly saved”.
According to many narrations, Dajjāl enters everywhere except the land of Mecca and Medina. Of course, he cannot enter these two blessed lands due to their blessing and also due to being protected by divine angels.
«حدثني أنس بن مالك قال قال رسول الله ص: ليس من بلد إلا سيطؤه الدجال إلا مكة والمدينة وليس نقب من أنقابها إلا عليه الملائكة صافين تحرسها.»
“There will be no land which will not be trampled by Dajjāl but Mecca and Medina; and there will be no passage leading to them which will not be guarded by the angels, arranged in rows”.
Regarding the land where is the starting point of Dajjāl's rebellion, some Sunni narrations mention a land between the Shām (present-day Syria) and Iraq.
«. إِنَّهُ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خَلَّةٍ بَيْنَ الشَّامِ وَالْعِرَاقِ فَعَاثَ يَمِينًا وَعَاثَ شِمَالاً يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ اثْبُتُوا»
“He (Dajjāl) will emerge from Khallah, between Shām and Iraq, and will wreak havoc right and left. O slaves of Allah, remain steadfast”.
Also in some other narrations, the place of his rise is known as "the Orient" and "Khurāsān".
«حَدَّثَنَا رَسُولُ اللهِ ص أَنَّ الدَّجَّالَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ أَرْضٍ بِالْمَشْرِقِ، يُقَالُ لَهَا خُرَاسَانُ»
“The Dajjāl will emerge from a land in the East called Khurāsān”.
Identical features of Dajjāl
In a narration quoted by ˈAllāmah Majlisī in Bīhār al-Anwār, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (p. b. u. h) refers to some of these strange sings when a righteous individual by the name of Ṣaˈṣaˈah b. Ṣawḥān asks him about the Dajjāl:
“His right eye is shut, bearing no eyeball. His other eye is in his forehead, shining so brightly that it resembles the morning star in brightness. In his eye, there is a piece of meat that seems to have mixed with some blood and on his forehead, in between the two eyes, it has been written "Kāfir" (the disbeliever) in a way that every literate and illiterate person can read. He travels over the oceans and the sun accompanies him. In front of him, there is a mountain of smoke and behind him there is a white one that people perceive to be food. He will appear during a very hard drought. He will be riding a dark or green donkey. Every step this donkey takes is equal to one mile. He will travel and go here and there on earth. Every water source or spring that he crosses will turn and remain dry. He will shout with a voice heard by all in the East and the West saying: “Come to me, Oh friends and followers of mine!” I (am a god) who has created and who has created the faces …and in the end he will eventually be killed by Jesus, who prays behind Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h)”.
Surely, you ask that how is it possible to interpret these!?
We answer that it is likely that the Dajjāl, with those characteristics, points to deceivers and oppressive materialist leaders in the mechanical world. It means that the he may “symbolize the highest levels of civilization, culture and Western technology that are in conflict with Islam and its principles; a culture that tries to conquer and enslave all. We can clearly see today how the West’s materialist culture and technology have taken over all societies today, even Muslim ones…” We say so because:
Firstly, materialist leaders have only one eye which is the eye of the economy and material life. They look only to one dimension and that is the dimension of financial benefits, and use thousands of deceptions for reaching this goal. They are deceiving Dajjāls who have lost the eye of spirituality and humanity. This only material eye is very dazzling and shining since they have achieved glorious victories in this field.
Secondly, their plots and thoughts move extremely fast in the earth by public media and other available facilities.
Thirdly, they practically claim to be God and consider the destiny of the people of the world in their hands. They by all their weakness and incapability, consider landing on the moon as conquering space! And consider using some of the powers of nature as the sign of conquering nature, while a small earthquake, a weak storm, one cancerous cell, destroys their entire system; they claim of being God like Pharaoh while being weak.
Fourthly, they possess some great factories that there is a mountain of smoke in front of them and behind them, there is a mountain of industrial products and food that people think are healthy foods, while they do not have much nutritious value and mostly all unhealthy foods and especially these factories are built to be used for the benefit of some imperialistic powers.
Fifthly, people are in hunger because of some reasons like famine or the existence of powerful imperialists, and different forms of discrimination. On the other hand, huge capitalization for armaments and tremendous wars are the result of one-dimensional materialistic life that makes a group of people die because of hunger. The Dajjāl, who is the main cause of these disorders, abuses these conditions and tries to strengthen the bases of his imperialism under the title of helping hungry people and deprived societies.
It is also mentioned in some narratives that any hair of the Dajjāl’s animal has a new and special attractive tone. It may point to this unhealthy entertainment of the one-dimensional mechanical world which is available in all homes and cities.
Albeit, what has been said above is a possible interpretation for the Dajjāl. However, to accept this explanation or not, does not harm the main subject that is the issue of the Dajjāl. The Dajjāl is a fact, but some other forms of explanation may come to mind as well. For instance, some people say that the one-eyed Dajjāl may point to the television that mostly broadcasts unhealthy materials. Some also believe that it refers to the Freemasonry organization that uses the Masonic one eye symbol.
Anyway, it is important for those who wait for the appearance of the Imam (p. b. u. h), not to be deceived by the Dajjāls and be careful not to be like simple and foolish people. They should not miss any opportunity for executing their revolutionary plan and also should warn others.
The Dajjāl’s destiny
There is a difference of opinion in whether the killer of the Dajjāl will be Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) or Jesus Christ. Most Sunni Hadiths describe Jesus Christ as the killer of the Dajjāl;
«. قَالَ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ افْتَحُوا الْبَابَ . فَيُفْتَحُ وَوَرَاءَهُ الدَّجَّالُ مَعَهُ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفِ يَهُودِيٍّ كُلُّهُمْ ذُو سَيْفٍ مُحَلًّى وَسَاجٍ فَإِذَا نَظَرَ إِلَيْهِ الدَّجَّالُ ذَابَ كَمَا يَذُوبُ الْمِلْحُ فِي الْمَاءِ وَيَنْطَلِقُ هَارِبًا وَيَقُولُ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ إِنَّ لِي فِيكَ ضَرْبَةً لَنْ تَسْبِقَنِي بِهَا. فَيُدْرِكُهُ عِنْدَ بَابِ اللُّدِّ الشَّرْقِيِّ فَيَقْتُلُهُ.»
“Jesus will say, 'Open the gate'. So they will open it and behind it will be Dajjāl with seventy thousand Jews, each of them carrying an adorned sword and wearing a greenish cloak. When Dajjāl looks at him, he will start to melt as salt melts in water. He will run away, and Jesus will say, 'I have only one blow for you, which you will not be able to escape!' He will catch up with him at the eastern gate of Ludd, and will kill him”.
Mostly, in Shiite narrations, this matter (killing the Dajjāl) has been attributed to Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h).  To integrate the information of these narrations can be said that Jesus by the order of Imam Mahdi (p. b. u. h) will do this, and therefore, both of them could be considered as the killer of the Dajjāl.
- See: The Holy Quran, 3:55; 4:159; 6:158; 21:96.
- Tafsīr Muqātil b. Sulaymān, vol. 1, p. 279; Jāmiˈ al-Bayān fī Tafsīr al-Quran, vol. 17, p. 69.
- Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 52, p. 193.
- Ibid, p. 209.
- On this matter, there are more than 258 Hadiths excerpted from 11 Sunni narrative books, and also about 50 Hadith from Shiite sources, in a way that Taftāzānī in Sharh al-Maqāṣid, vol. 5, p. 312 says, “we receive the news of Mahdi's rising and the descent of Jesus through authentic narrations, but the narrations of Dajjāl's rebellion, approximately, are meaningfully recurrent Hadiths”.
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- See: Al-Ahkām al-Shrˈīyyah al-Kūbrā, by Abū Muhammad Ishbīlī, vol. 4, p. 571.
- See: Al-Mustadrak ‘Ala al-Sahīhayn, vol. 4, p. 575.
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- Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 52, p. 192.
- Al-Tashrīf bi al-Minan, vol. 1, p. 298.
- See: Tafsīr Furāt Kūfī, p. 139.
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