About al-Dajjal1, to whom Ibn Khaldun referred in his discussion on al-Mahdi, many traditions have been reported, some of which indicating that the Prophet (S) was believing in the emergence of al-Dajjal during his lifetime, and his(S) saving the Muslims from his harm and evil. Whereas some other traditions indicated his appearance to be after the conquest of the Romans Land and Constantinople (Istanbul), with some others stating that with him there will appear mountains of bread and rivers of honey as reported by Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi, with Muslim adding to them mountains of meat!
Nu'aym ibn Hammad reported from Ka'b as saying: "Al-Dajjal will verily be given birth by his mother in Qous in Egypt, and there will be thirty years separating between his birth and appearance...!
The reports regarding him state that he will descend at the Damascus east gate... then he will appear in the East where he will be granted caliphate. After that he will come to the river, and command it to flow when it would flow, ordering it then to return when it would retreat, and then to dry when it would become dry. Then he will command the mountains to butt one another and they will do so, and then the winds to stir up the clouds which will rain upon the earth. Thereat the sea will ford three times a day, without reaching its two loins, with one of its hands being longer than the other, which he will extend into the sea, when it will reach its bottom, from where he will bring out as many as whales he likes!
In another narration by Muslim, it is reported that he will rise out from Isbahan. Also in the Jassasah Hadith it is reported that he is confined in an abbey or a palace at an island in the Sham or the Sea of Yemen. al-Hakim and Ahmad reported that he will emerge from Khurasan. But through the hadith reported by al-Nuwwas ibn Sam'an and recorded in Sahih Muslim, he will appear in a place between the Sham and Iraq.
Al-Bukhari reported that Ibn Umar said: We were once upon a day talking about Hijjat al-Wada' with the Prophet being present amongst us, without knowing what is meant by Hijjat al-Wada'. At that moment he(S) praised and glorified Allah, mentioning then the impostor Messias, making extravagant statements about him, saying: Allah has never delegated any prophet but only warning his community... so Noah and the prophets succeeding him warned that he (al-Dajjal) will rise among you.
Whatever is unknown about his affair it will never be concealed for you! Three traits of those hidden from you are never ascribed to your Lord! Your Lord is not one-eyed while he (al-Dajjal) is right one-eyed. Allah has verily tabooed for you your blood and properties as the inviolability of this day in this country, in this month. Have I conveyed the message! They said: Yes, He said: O God, I give witness thrice. Woe to you, be careful: never return after me disbelievers, killing each other.
In expounding this hadith, Ibn Hajar said: This sermon (Khutbah) was stated during the last hajj by a group of the Companions, with no one of them implying the story of al-Dajjal except Ibn Umar.
Ibn Hajar may have forgotten that this Ibn Umar being one of the disciples of Ka'b al-Ahbar.
Following is another strange hadith on al-Dajjal: In the two Sahihs, a hadith reported by Anas ibn Malik from the Prophet that he referred to al Dajjal saying: He is verily one-eyed and your Lord is not one-eyed.
In his commentary on this hadith, al-Fakhr al-Razi in his book Asas al-taqdis said: "This hadith is indistinct, as its exterior shows that the Prophet disclosed the difference between Allah, the Exalted, and al-Dajjal, through indicating al-Dajjal being one-eyed and God not being one-eyed, which is far from belief. And when khabar al-wahid reaching this degree of feeble meaning, it should be believed that the speech was preceded by an introduction which had been mentioned, this ambiguity would have been removed.
There are other traditions about this al-Dajjal that are ascribed to the Prophet, we abstained from citing for sake of brevity.
In order to instill this tenet and belief in the minds of Muslims, they (narrators) cited a hadith ascribed to the Prophet that he said: "Whoever denies al-Mahdi has denied God, and whoever denies al-Dajjal has denied God (turned an infidel)."2
In Tafsir al-Alusi, al-Suyuti reported several traditions stating that the age of the world being seven thousand years. He indicated that the life of this Ummah will exceed one thousand years, but the excess never amounting to five hundred years. For proving this, he deduced reports stated by al-Suyuti in his treatise which he named: "al-Kashf’an mujawazat hadhihi al-ummah al-alf."3 (Exposing of this Ummah exceeding thousand years). Al-Alusi said: If al-Mahdi does not appear at the end of the current century whatever he foretold of will be destroyed. And as is not hidden for you, everything has already vanished.
But after the elapse of the century — the thirteenth Hijrah century — in which al-Alusi lived, with eighty-six years of the fourteenth century, al-Mahdi did not appear, leading then to demolishing whatever al-Suyuti foretold of and confused in.
In his Maqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun said: They said: the rise of al-Dajjal will be in the year 743 H.4
Discussion of this subject may be prolonged with no avail. Besides, I abandoned to cite any reports about the seditions that occurred, and provisions of the hour (of appearance), and descension of Jesus, that were filling the Sunnah books which were reliable among Muslims, and sanctified by shaykhs of religion. Also I neglected any reference to the traditions reported about the emanation of (the rivers of) the Nile, Euphratese, Sihoun and Jihoun out of the root of Sidrat al-Muntaha over the seventh heaven, which are recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari and other books. Beside those ones about God's creating everything out of the Prophet's light, and rejoicing of the beasts at him, with alike odd and eccentric traditions and reports.
Whoever desiring to be acquainted with the details of these reports can refer to the Sunnah books, and the fifty-second chapter of Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah, which he dedicated for "the affair of al-Fatimi and what people think in his regard, and unveiling the truth about this matter."
After refuting the traditions on provisions and ensigns of the last Hour, like the seditions, al-Dajjal, al-Jassasah and reappearance of al-Mahdi, and other marks, al-Allamah al-Sayyid Rashid Ridha’ reached the following valuable conclusions:5
1- That the Prophet was not aware of the Unseen: "Say: neither I own for my self any benefit nor harm except, what willeth God; and had I known the Unseen indeed I would have had much of good and evil had touched me not, and I am not but a warner and the bearer of good news for a people who believe," a fact that is necessarily known from religion. But Allah gave him knowledge of some unseen matters through what He revealed to him in His Book, which is of two parts: manifest and deduced.
2. Undoubtedly most of the traditions have been narrated according to meaning, as is widely known and unanimously agreed by the ulama’. This fact was indicated by the difference among the Sihah narrators in the words of the same hadith, even the abbreviated ones, and the inclusions inserted into some of the traditions, reported by narrators through a chain going back to the Prophet. Thus every narrator was reporting whatever he could comprehend (of the hadith), and an error might occur in his comprehension, since these affairs being conducted by Unseen hand. Also, some of the narrators may have interpreted whatever they apprehended with words added and included from their own.6
And if the Prophet was not informed by Allah the Exalted, of these unseen affairs in detail, exerting his opinion in some of them, adopting the available contexts, as claimed by al-Nawawi and Ibn al-Jawzi who ascribed to the Prophet(S) the saying that the contemporary Jew Ibn Sayyad being the expected Dajjal, and his appearance would be during his (S) lifetime, would it be strange then that confusion and incongruity would appear in the traditions reported from him on the basis of meaning to the extent perceived by the narrators.
Those sporting with Islam and seeking to corrupt the Muslims and uproot their sovereign power, from among Zanadiqah of Jews and Persians and other heretics, and partisans to the Alawid, Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, have all fabricated numerous slandered traditions, foisting into some of the narrated reports insertions from their own. Many of these falsified
traditions became prevalent by their narrators' pretending uprightness and piety (taqwa). No one could recognize and distinguish some of the fabricated traditions but only through the confession of their fabricators who repented to Allah.
Ustadh Muhammad Abduh (may God's mercy be upon him) used to say: The true Islam was that one followed by the first generation people before occurrence of seditions. And some of the Companions and followers used to report from all Muslims, who were not necessarily altogether faithful and truthful.
In this practice they were not differentiating between what they heard from the Prophet or from any other one, and between what reached them through the expressions: "I heard' and `he related to me' or 'he informed' me, and ones like:" It is reported that the Prophet said,' or `the Messenger of Allah said', as used to be the practice of the latter muhaddithun when fabricating the hadith. It is proved for all that the Sahabah used to report from one another,7 and from the Tabi'un, and even from Ka'b al-Ahbar and his likes.
Ahl al-Sunnah, in principle, were viewing all the Sahabah to be equitable and reliable8 as a whole, so ignoring the name of any narrator would never disturb the veracity of the sanad which was the basis among the majority with some exceptions, as there were hypocrites during the Prophet's lifetime. Allah, the Exalted, says:
وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ الْأَعْرَابِ مُنَافِقُونَ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ مَرَدُوا عَلَى النِّفَاقِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُمْ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ
They were stubborn in hypocrisy, confirmed and burnished it or were burnished in it to the extent that it was never recognized through their features and through the purport of their speech, like those in regard of whom Allah said:
وَلَوْ نَشَاءُ لَأَرَيْنَاكَهُمْ فَلَعَرَفْتَهُم بِسِيمَاهُمْ وَلَتَعْرِفَنَّهُمْ فِي لَحْنِ الْقَوْلِ
But the misfortune afflicting the Ummah results in fact from riwayah from Ka'b al-Ahbar and those who used to report from him like Abu Hurayrah and Ibn abbas,9 from whom most of the circulated interpretation was taken, beside his disciples among whom fraudulents were found, such as Qatadah and other great exegetes, and Ibn Jarih.10
So every hadith characterized with ambiguous text, or confused chain of narrators, or being contradictory to Allah's methods (sunan) in creation, or to principles of religion or its definite texts, or to the sensories and alike certain issues, would be a supposition for what we have already stated.
Whoever believing any narration of those mentioned before, finding no ambiguity (ishkal) in it, then it should be true in origin, and whoever doubting anything of it, or if any of the sceptics or suspicious finding some ambiguity in the texts, he should hold it within those unreliable not trusted traditions, as they might be among the Jewish falsified traditions, or wrongly narrated ones by meaning or any other previously mentioned kind. Had anything of them been established through decisive tawatur, it would be improper to raise any doubt against the Messenger’s truthful words known to be definite, or any other definite statements.
I quoted this comprehensive speech so as people be led toward study of hadith, not only the traditions on provisions of the Hour, but also whatever narrated and ascribed to the Prophet (S).
I conclude this chapter with the following incongruous traditions.
Incongruous traditions (With Muslims knowing not which to adopt)
Al-Bukhari reported from Imran ibn Husayn, that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: The best of my Ummah being my offspring, and then their descendants and after them the descendants of their descendants.
Imran said: I know not whether he has mentioned after his progeny two or three descents... then after you there will come people who give witness but won't be summoned to witness, betray and won't be trusted, and give warning but never fulfil (their promise), with fatness afflicting them.
Abd Allah reported that the Prophet said: "The best of my Ummah are my household, and after them their descendants and they will be succeeded by people whose testimony precedes their oath and oath their testimony.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani is reported to have said : About the characteristic of the Prophet (S) we can refer to his saying: I have been delegated to the best descent of the children of Adam. In another narration by Buraydah, as reported by Ahmad: The best of this Ummah being the folk to whom I was delegated. It was known later on that there was about a hundred and twenty years separating between the Bi'thah and the last of Companions, with a little difference in regard of the decease date of Abu al-Tufayl. And when counting it from the post-demise of the prophet, it would be one hundred, or ninety or ninety-seven years.
Concerning the generation of the Followers, if it be considered from the year 100 H, it would be seventy or eighty years, till he said: It was unanimously concurred that last among the followers of followers approving his utterance, one who lived for two hundred and twenty years. At that time heresies spread so extensively, with the Mu'tazilah finding good chance to say their word, and the philosophers pridely keeping their heads up, and men of knowledge were tested so as to believe in the invention of the Qur'an, with the conditions and circumstances being subject to so many changes.11 This matter continued to be deficient till the present time, with the circulation of the Prophet's words: "Then falsity will prevail so manifestly and explicitly,12 till including all the sayings and acts and tenets, and Allah is the only One from Whom help is sought!
This hadith required that the Companions being superior to the Tabi'un and the latters in turn being better than the followers of Tabi'un. Ibn Abd al-Barr argued with the hadith : "The parable of my Ummah is like that of rain, the good of which is not known to lie in its beginning or end.13 It is a good (hasan) hadith, with several chains, that may amount to degree of veracity.
Ibn Abi Shaybah reported from Abd al-Rahman ibn Jabr, that the Messenger of Allah said: Jesus Christ will verily come up with folks who are like you or better than you — repeating these words thrice. Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi, reported a hadith related by Abu Tha'labah, as the Prophet used to say: There are some days in which for that who strives on God's way there will be a reward of fifty men. Then it was said to him: Are these fifty from among them or among us O Messenger of Allah? He replied: Rather, they are from among you. This is a confirmation for the hadith "The parable of my Ummah is that of rain." Ahmad, al-Darimi and al-Tabarrani reported hadith of Abu Jumu'ah as saying: Abu Ubaydah said: O Messenger of Allah is there anyone superior to us?! We have embraced Islam with you, and contended in war with you! He said: "You will be succeeded by a people who believe in me without sighting me. This hadith was of good isnad (chain of transmitters), and confirmed by al-Hakim.
What we conceive from speech of Ibn Abd al-Barr, is that among those coming after the Companions there will be people superior to some of the Companions, as expressed by al-Qurtubi. But verily Ibn Abd al-Barr never meant all the Sahabah in these words, as he accepted those who took part in the Battle of Badr and (Treaty of) al-Hudaybiyyah. About this matter, Ibn Hajar has a detailed comment, to which any one can refer.
It is known for all how many exorbitant misfortunes afflicted the Prophet's Household, among which we can refer to the fitnah (sedition — turmoil) that erupted after murder of Uthman, beside the calamities it caused for Muslims, and the Umayyads' measures and intrigues to undermine the principle of shura in Islam! Here is not the place to state all the ordeals experienced by the Progeny of the Prophet that were recorded in history books.
Therefore, we prefer that the correct hadith which agrees with the spirit of the Muhammadan Message being: "The parable of my Ummah is like that of rain, the good of which is unknown to lie in its beginning or end."
There are many other incongruous traditions of which books can be compiled.
- 1. I have talked about al-Dajjal previously in the hadith of al-Jassasah.
- 2. This hadith is reported by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami in his book al-Fatawa al-hadithah, from Abu Ja'far al-Iskafi, from the Prophet with the wording: "Whoever negates al-Dajjal has become an infidel. And whoever negates al-Mahdi has become an infidel." See al-Imam al-muntazar of al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Kazimi al-Qazwini, p.60.
- 3. In a hadith reported by the two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim), the last Hour will come before the end of the 1st Hijrah Century.
- 4. Tafsir al-Alusi, Edition of Syria, p. 325. These traditions can be seen in my book Shaykh al-mudirah.
- 5. Tafsir al-Qur'an al-hakim, vol. IX, pp. 504-507.
- 6. Refer to the chapter: "Narration of Hadith by Meaning" in this book.
- 7. Refer to the chapter: "Companions Reporting from Each Other" in this book.
- 8. Refer to the chapter: "Reliability of the Sahabah" in this book.
- 9. From him also many Abds and a large number of Companions used to report.
- 10. Ibn Jarih was among the Christians.
- 11. Fath al-Bari, vol. VII, p. 7 and following pages.
- 12. It seems that falsity has not spread but only in the 3rd century.
- 13. This hadith is reported by al-Tirmidhi, Abu Ya'la and al-Daraqutni from Anas with a chain of transmitters. It is also reported by al-Khatib from Malik in al-Ruwat, beside al-Hasan al-Qattan in al-'Ilal. It has also a witness from Ammar ibn Yasir and reported by Ibn Hayyan in his Sahih. It is further reported by al-Tabarrani with other words: The parable of my Ummah is that of rain, which Allah makes good in its beginning and in its end. Al-Bazzaz also reported it with a good chain from Imran ibn Husayn (who is the narrator of the first hadith).