Even in the matter of the anti-Christ, Islam parodies Christianity. In the Bible, the growth of apostasy coincides with the appearance of a very energetic leader whom the Apostle John calls Anti-Christ (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7), while Paul calls him ‘the man of sin.’ The identity of Antichrist has, and remains, a matter of much debate.
He is not simply Antichrist because he is in opposition to Christ but because he is a rival Christ and receives honours which are due to God alone. The question which naturally comes to mind, when we think of Islam, is – have we here a religion that has so marred the visage of the Biblical Christ as to make its herald, Muhammad, a worthy bearer of this title?
Who is ad-Dajjal?
The word ad-Dajjal is not mentioned in the Quran and it is possibly an Aramaic loan-word. He is similar to the eschatological tyrant of the Old Testament, but instead of coming from a remote region in the north, he will come from the east. We are told that in Islam every prophet warned their community about this tempter.
“Narrated Abdullah bin Umar: Allah’s Apostle stood up amongst the people and ……. then he mentioned ad-Dajjal, saying, ‘I warn you of him, and there was no prophet but warned his followers of him; but I will tell you something about him which no prophet has told his followers: Ad-Dajjal is one-eyed whereas Allah is not.’” (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 241)
What are the signs of Christ’s coming in Islam?
The coming of ‘Isa and the Day of Resurrection will be preceded not only by impostors but by the appearance of ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist).
What will ad-Dajjal do?
Here is a basic outline of the activities of ad-Dajjal according to the approved Traditions.
1) Identified along with Satan he will conspire against the Muslim forces. Muslim armies will successfully conquer Constantinople and at the moment they are dividing the spoil a false alarm will be raised by Satan who will suggest to them that ad-Dajjal has attacked their families in their absence. When they reach Syria he would come out while the Muslims were be still preparing themselves for battle and drawing up the ranks. At the time of prayer Jesus, son of Mary would descend and would lead them in prayer then Christ will kill him with his lance and this enemy of Allah will disappear ‘as the salt dissolves itself in water.’ (Muslim Book 41 Number 6924 c/f Ibn Majda, Fitan, trad. 33)
2) Ad-Dajjal will test mankind and commence a worldwide conquest. He will appear bringing supplies of food and water and will set out to conquer the earth. Times of great hardship will precede his appearance and he will come to lure many away from Islam and show great miracles. His followers will be unbelievers, mostly women and Jews. The relevant hadith from Bukhari is as follows: “Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba: Nobody asked the Prophet as many questions as I asked regarding ad-Dajjal. The Prophet said to me, ‘What worries you about him?’ I said, ‘Because the people say that he will have a mountain of bread and a river of water with him (i.e. he will have abundance of food and water)’ The Prophet said, ‘Nay, he is too mean to be allowed such a thing by Allah”‘ (but it is only to test mankind whether they believe in Allah or in ad-Dajjal.) (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 238)
3) Ad-Dajjal will conquer the earth but because there are angels at the mountain passes of Medina he will not be able to enter Mecca and Medina. (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 247)
4) When ad-Dajjal appears he would stay in the world for either forty, forty months, or forty years, then Allah will send Jesus son of Mary (who will resemble `Urwa ibn Mas’ud). Jesus Christ will chase him and kill him. Following his destruction people will live for seven years in an environment free from rancour. (Muslim.)
5) After ‘Isa has descended there will be warfare between ad-Dajjal and his hosts and the Muslims. Ad-Dajjal will retreat, and Isa will pursue him. ‘Isa will have two flexible swords and one shield with him and with these he will kill ad-Dajjal at the Gate of Hudd. He will show the Muslims the blood of ad-Dajjal which had fallen on his shield or was found on his lance.
From the traditions of Bukhari and Tayalisi (born in 133 A.H) we get the following description of ad-Dajjal. Just as it will be important to recognise Christ on his return, so like-wise, it will be important to recognise ad-Dajjal. Therefore the traditions present the distorted features of ad-Dajjal through which he will be recognised.
1. He is reddish with curly, thick hair.
2. He is corpulent.
3. He has a wide throat
4. He is one-eyed or has defective vision in both eyes; his right eye would be like a floating grape.
5. On his forehead is written Kafir – ‘Unbeliever’ “Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, ‘Allah did not send any prophet but that he warned his nation of the one-eyed liar (ad-Dajjal). He is one-eyed while your Lord is not one-eyed, The word ‘Kafir’ (unbeliever) is written between his two eyes.’” (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 93, Number 505)