Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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Misunderstanding as to the significance of the prophecies referred to above exists not only among non-Muslims but among Muslims as well. In fact, these prophecies are the most misunderstood part of the Islamic religious literature, and some of the best intellects of Islam, being unable to discover the underlying significance, have gone to the extent of declaring all hadith relating to these prophecies as unreliable or fabrications of a later age. As a matter of fact, not only have many of these hadith been accepted by the most reliable collectors of hadith, such as Bukhari and Muslim, but similar prophecies are met with in the Qur'an itself. The reliability of such hadith is, therefore, beyond all doubt. But what is more, fulfilment of these prophecies shines out so clearly in the light of the events that are taking place before our eyes that what was considered to be the darkest spot of Islam forms now its brightest feature.
It is lamentable, nevertheless, that Muslims are so hopelessly entangled in their own internal differences on minor points of religious life that they have no thought to spare for the more vital aspects of their national life. If they could devote some attention to the great struggle that is now going on between the forces of materialism and spirituality, they could very clearly see that the feats of Dajjal and the astonishing adventures of Gog and Magog are no mere fanciful stories but are a portrayal of a faithful picture of the irresistible inroads of materialistic Europe and the Christianity of our own days, which the Hadith literature has drawn in prophetic language. That great seer, the greatest seer this world has produced, the Prophet Muhammad, has so vividly described events that were to happen 1300 years after him that one would think he was seeing them happening before his very eyes. In view of these clear prophetical warnings of the Holy Prophet it becomes the imperative duty of every Muslim to give thought to those hadith which speak of the latter-day struggle of Christianity and Islam, and forget their own differences on small and secondary points, because the very existence and success of Islam in the world depends on the sequel to the contest of the two religions that are before us and of which these hadith speak, and not on those small matters, variations in which do not constitute any very great benefit or loss to the Muslims.
Ya'juj (Gog) and Ma'juj (Magog) are derived from ajj or ajij in the forms of yaf'ul and maf`ul and ajij means the flaming of fire. But ajja also means asra`a i.e. he walked fast. This is the meaning given in the Lisan al-`Arab. Imam Raghib says that Ya'juj and Ma'juj have been compared to the flaming fire and surging water because of their intense agitation.
Whoever commits to memory the first ten verses of the chapter entitled the Cave will be immune from (the trials of) Dajjal (Al-Muslim 6:42; Abu Dawud; Tirmidhi; Musnad Ahmad.).
Maybe in mentioning the first and last ten verses, the object is to refer to the whole chapter which describes the trials of Christianity in its two aspects -- one religious and the other temporal. Read the first and the last ten verses, and it is clear as day-light that it is the Christian nations that are spoken of in both places. In the very beginning, the religious aspect is mentioned when the Prophet is first spoken of as giving a general warning to all mankind (18:2.), and then as warning the Christian nations in particular (18:4.), people who have taken a son of God. Thus:
Praise be to Allah! Who revealed the Book to His servant ... to give warning of severe punishment from Him ... And warn those who say Allah has taken a son (18:1-4.).
This is a clear reference to the Christian nations, the basic doctrine of whose religion is that God has a Son. In the concluding ten verses, there is as clear a reference to the temporal achievements of these very nations:
Do those who disbelieve think that they can take My servants to be friends besides Me? ... Say: Shall We inform you of the greatest losers in respect of deeds? Those whose effort goes astray in this world's life and they are making good manufactures (18:102-104.).
This is a prophetic portrait of the Western nations in the clearest words. Manufacture is the one speciality and pride of the Christian nations, and it is to this distinguishing characteristic that the above verses refer. They are so engrossed in the race of manufacturing goods that the higher values of life are entirely screened away from their eyes. Manufacture and more manufacture - this is the be-all and end-all of life with them. Thus both the first ten verses and the last ten verses of this chapter clearly speak of the tribulations of the Christian doctrine of sonship and the materialistic activities of the Christian nations, and this is what is meant by the trials of Dajjal.
Gog and Magog (Ya'juj and Ma'juj) are mentioned twice in the Qur'an. Once they are mentioned in the eighteenth chapter in association with the description of Dajjal. Towards the end of this chapter, a great potentate, Dhu-l-Qarnain1, is spoken of as undertaking journeys in different directions to fortify the frontiers of his empire. This potentate is historically proved to be Darius I, the emperor of Persia. His first journey is spoken of as terminating on the Black Sea:
Until when he reached the setting place of the sun (or the westernmost point), he found it going down into a black sea (18:86.).
Then there is a reference to his eastern journey:
Until when he reached the (land of) the rising sun, he found it rising on a people to whom We had given no shelter from it (18:90.).
Still further there is a reference to his northern journey:
Until when he reached (a place) between the two mountains (18:93.).
The reference here is to the mountains of Armenia and Azarbaijan. In this last northern journey, Dhu-l-Qarnain comes across a people who speak a different language; in other words they do not understand the Persian language. These people appeal to Dhu-l-Qarnain in these words:
O Dhu-l-Qarnain! Gog and Magog do mischief in the land. May we then pay thee tribute on condition that thou raise a barrier between us and them? (18:94.)
Bring me blocks of iron. At length when he had filled up the space between the two mountain sides, he said, Blow. Till when he had made it (as) fire, he said, Bring me molten brass to pour over it (18:96.).
In verse 97, we are told that when the wall was completed "they (i.e. Gog and Magog) were not able to scale it, nor could they make a hole in it". In verse 98, Dhu-l-Qarnain is reported as saying that even this wall will be of use only up to a certain time and it will at last collapse. And then we are presented with another scene:
And on that day We shall let some of them (i.e., Gog and Magog) surge against others (18:99.).
Do those who believe think that they can take My servants to be friends besides Me?
This shows that the Qur'an identifies Dajjal with Gog and Magog. They are given two different names because of their two functions. As for the identity of Gog and Magog, the commentators differ. Ibn Kathir says that they are descendants of Adam, and this view is supported by the hadith in Muslim and Bukhari. According to Ruh al-Ma`ani, they are two tribes from among the descendants of Noah's son Japheth, of whom the Turks form a part, being so called because they were left (turiku) on the other side of the wall. Moreover, the Qur'an's own description shows clearly that they are human beings, to ward off whose invasions the wall was constructed.
The second reference to Gog and Magog occurs in 21:96:
Even when Gog and Magog are let loose and they sally forth from every elevated place (21:96.).
Sallying forth from every elevated place evidently means that they will establish their supremacy all over the world. The way the Qur'an speaks of them in both the places shows that a time will come when these people will overpower all the nations of the world. It also appears that they already existed at the time of the revelation of the Book, but that their movements were to remain checked until a certain time, after which they would wield uncontrolled authority in the whole world.
Besides, the word Dajjal, indicates only one aspect of the question, viz., the lies and deceptions of these people, whether it be in matters religious or in matters worldly. But apart from this dark side of their character, there are bright sides of it as well. From the worldly point of view, their material prosperity must be regarded as one of their good points. It is in view of this that in hadith, one eye, the worldly eye, of Dajjal has been described as a shining star. The Qur'an also speaks of their skill in manufacture. Thus the epithet Dajjal is only a partial description. In the Holy Qur'an, the Christian nations are spoken of as People of the Cave and Inscription (18:9.). This description covers both the aspects of the history of Christianity. "The people of the Cave" is an appropriate description of the followers of Christianity in its early history, since monasticism was the predominating feature of Christianity at this stage. They had completely renounced the affairs of the world for their devotional practices. In other words, they had discarded the world for the sake of their religion. The last stage, however, is well described by the expression "People of the Inscription (raqim)." Raqam in Arabic means a thing written. This word is particularly used in respect of prices written on articles of trade, like cloth etc. This description indicates their deep absorption in matters of the world, a fact referred to further in the Qur'an by the words, "those whose effort goes astray in this world's life" (18:104.). Thus, if in the first stage of their history the Christian peoples renounced the world for the sake of their religion, in the final stage they have totally discarded religion in the interests of the world, and hence they are spoken of as "of Our wonderful signs." (18:9.) The Qur'anic words quoted above are an appropriate description of their materialistic tendencies. And since they are far in advance of all other nations in matters worldly, the nations of the world, tempted by the worldly advantages secured by these people, have been following them blindly. Thus the Christian nations are misleading the people of the world not only by their false religious ideas of sonship and atonement but also by their blind pursuit of materialistic ideals to the total neglect of the higher values of life. They are therefore given the name Dajjal, or arch-deceiver, in the Hadith.
And the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief Prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him: And say, thus saith The Lord God, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thine jaws ... (Ezek. 38:1-4.)
Here Gog is mentioned clearly and this Gog is the same as Ya'juj of the Qur'an. He is spoken of as being the chief of Russia, Moscow and Tubal. And as for Magog (Ma'juj), only the land of Magog is spoken of.
The three names mentioned in the Bible are Rosh or Russia (Rus), Meshech or Moscow, and Tubal or Tobalsk. While Russia is the name of the country, Omask and Tubal are the names of two rivers to the north of mount Caucasus. On the former is situated Moscow, and on the latter Tobalsk, both these being the most famous cities of Russia. In view of the clearness of the description, no doubt whatsoever is left as to the identity of Gog.
Gog is thus clearly Russia, the habitat of the Slavonic people. And as for Magog, it is of the same land. So, while on the one hand, Gog is spoken of as the chief or master of Russia, on the other he is described as living in the land of Magog. Now the population of the land in which Russia is situated, i.e., Europe, consists of two main races, Slavs and Teutons. The latter includes the British and the Germans. This clearly shows not only that Gog is the name of the Eastern nations of Europe, but also that Magog is the name of the Western nations of that continent, i.e., the nations known as Teutons. It is also clear that in the beginning both these races lived in the same land. Maybe, Gog and Magog were the names or titles of the first ancestors of these two races. Evidence of this is found in the fact that from very ancient times the statues of Gog and Magog are found installed in front of the famous Guildhall of London. If these names had nothing to do with the ancestors of these people, why should their statues be installed in this manner before the chief assembly house of the nation?
The reference to these as given in the Bible, together with the historical evidence as furnished by these statues in London, establishes it with utmost certainty that Gog and Magog are no fictitious names but are the names of two races which inhabit the Continent of Europe and which together cover the whole of its land surface. In view of these clear indications as to the identity of these people, only one meaning can be attached to the Quranic description of them, that they would sally forth from every place of advantage; and this means that Europe will wield supreme authority over the whole surface of the globe. Nay, the expression kulli hadab-in, (21:96.) i.e. every place of advantage, shows that their supremacy will not only be in the physical but also in the intellectual sphere, and the other people of the world will be their slaves not only in body but also mentally. The Qur'an thus gives us a true picture of the political and cultural dominance of Europe over the nations of the world, and the very fact which has brought about the downfall of Muslims in these later days, is strangely enough also a clear proof of the truth of Islam.
As if I would liken him (Dajjal) to `Abd al-`Uzza.
This expression "as if" clearly shows that the Holy Prophet was describing a scene seen in a vision, and makes us feel sure that his prophecies in this regard have their origin in visions (kashf or ru'ya'). But, generally speaking no mention was made of the phenomenon of vision when such prophecies came to be narrated.
Now, the experiences of vision are generally subject to interpretation. The Holy Qur'an itself narrates some true dreams, the real significance of which is different from what the words of the narration mean. For example, Joseph saw in a dream that the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to him. The real significance of the dream was, however, that God was to exalt him in rank and position (12:4-6.). Again, a king sees in a dream some lean cows swallowing up some fat cows (12:43-49.). The interpretation was that the stored corn of surplus years would be used up in lean years. In the hadith also we read of the true dreams of the Holy Prophet, of which the meaning is different from the actual scenes presented. For instance, two bracelets seen in a dream meant two false prophets (Muslim Kitab al-Ru'ya', Vol. II.); long hands meant munificence (Mishkat al-Mahsabih Kitab al-Ru'ya'.). Besides, it is universally admitted that prophecies are clothed in metaphorical language.
The first thing, therefore, to remember in connection with the prophecies about the Antichrist is that there is a good deal of metaphor in them. Again, because these prophecies had nothing to do with the injunctions and prohibitions of the Law, they suffered from two drawbacks. In the first place, the narrators were not as careful about the preservation of the actual words of the Prophet's utterances on these questions as they were in preserving those concerning the shari`ah. Secondly, as there are no means of knowing the true significance of a prophecy before it is fulfilled, it is not infrequently that the sense of such utterances is wrongly grasped and these wrong impressions in their turn become a fruitful source of additions and alterations in the words of the reports.