Differences between the narrations

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Why are there considerable differences between the narrations about the Mahdi and Dajjal?

The texts of these Traditions have been confused or even mixed with the commentaries of those who have interpreted them according to their own understanding and deductions. For example, since the center of power in the time of the widest circulation of these Traditions was Medina or Damascus, they imagined the events connected with the Mahdi and Sufyan in those centers or neighboring places like Basra and Kufa, and interpreted them accordingly. Moreover, they imagined attributable to those individuals themselves the mighty works and performances pertaining to the collective identity or community which they represent, and interpreted the relevant Traditions in a way that everyone would be able to recognize those individuals when they appear. However as we said earlier, this world is an arena of trial. A door is opened to the reason, but people are not deprived of using their free choice. For this reason, when those mighty individuals, and even the terrible Dajjal—the Anti-Christ—appear, most of the people (even himself) may not know at the beginning that he is the Dajjal. Rather, those individuals of the end of time can only be known through the light of faith.

About the Dajjal, who is one of the signs of the end of time, a Tradition says: His first day is like a year, his second day like a month, his third day like a week, and his fourth like your normal days. When he appears, all the world will hear. He will travel the world in forty days.135 Some unfair people judge this prophetic prediction to be impossible and go so far as to deny the Tradition. Whereas—the knowledge is with God—the meaning of this narration must be as follows:

An individual will appear in the north, where unbelief is most strong and at its peak, and leading a mighty current issuing from atheistic ideas of naturalism, will absolutely deny God and religion. There is a subtle point in this narration, namely that in latitudes close to the North Pole, the whole year is one day and one night, each comprising six months. The expression, Dajjal’s first day is a year, alludes to his appearance close to those latitudes. What is meant by His second day is a month is that coming southwards, there are latitudes where a day of summer lasts one month. This means that the Dajjal will appear in the far north and invade southwards towards the civilized world. Coming south-wards, the nights shorten until there are barely three hours between the sun’s rising and setting—as a prisoner of war in Russia, I was in such a place. The difficulty in understanding ‘All the world will hear when the Dajjal appears’ has already been solved through the invention of radio and telegraph. As for his traveling the world in forty days, the motorized vehicles have proved it to be possible. Heretics who formerly considered what is meant in these two statements as impossible, now see it as commonplace.

135. Muslim, Fitan, 110; Abu Dawud, Malahim, 14; Tirmidhi, Fitan, 59.

 

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