Dajjāl (Arabic: دَجَّال) is a person or being which in some narrations has been considered among the greatest enemies of Imam al-Mahdi (a). It is mentioned in narrations that Dajjal appears at the time of hardship and famine. He will deceive and attract a group to himself, but finally will be destroyed by Imam (a).
"Dajjal" comes from the root form "Dal Jim Lam" (Arabic: دال جیم لام) meaning "very deceiving".
The word "Dajjal" in Hebrew teachings mean "enemy of God" constituting from "Daj" meaning "enemy" and "al" meaning "God". (In Hebrew, "al" and "il" mean God, e.g. Israel means friend of God, or as Jewish interpret triumphant with God, who prevails with God!).
In the New Testament
In the New Testament, it only exists in the letters of John, the Apostle, and those who deny the Christ, the Father, or the Son are called Dajjal. In English translation of holy books of Christianity, "Anti-Christ" has been considered as the equivalent for it which is the Greek corresponding word; as we read in the first letter 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." Also, in this chapter, verses 22 and 23 we read, "Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist--denying the Father and the Son." .
In Muslim Sources
In Sunni Sources
Most of the narrations regarding Dajjal have been narrated by Ahmad b. Hanbal in Musnad, al-Tirmidhi and his Sahih and by Ibn Maja in Sunan, by Muslim in his Sahih, by Ibn Athir in al-Nihaya from 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri and Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari.
In Shia Sources
Shia hadith references have not mentioned anything about the coming of Dajjal and the trials before the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) and only suggest that he will be killed by Imam (a) or in another narration by Jesus Christ (a). In these narrations, there is no mention of the issues suggested in Sunni narrations such as Dajjal's mischiefs, his appearance, his followers, etc.
According to a narration by the Prophet (s), mention of Dajjal has been in the past but his presence will be in future.
If we assume the story of Dajjal as true, undoubtedly many of the characteristics mentioned for him would seem legendary. Qutb al-Din al-Rawandi narrated a hadith from the Prophet (s) through Sunni sources saying, "No prophet was ever assigned to mission unless he alarmed his people about the mischief of Dajjal."
According to the lexical meaning of Dajjal, it seems that it would not refer to a certain person, but anyone having invalid claims trying to deceive people might be Dajjal.
In this regard, existence of several Dajjals can be justified who may have emerged in different periods and have tried to make mischief and deceive people having weak faith. Existence of hadiths in which several Dajjals are mentioned supports this assumption including a hadith from the Prophet (s), "Before coming of the Dajjal, more than seventy Dajjals will come."
Therefore, the issue of Dajjal suggests that on the verge of the uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a), a deceiving person would do all he can to keep the culture and system of ignorance in order to make people doubtful about the truth and accomplishment of Imam's (a) uprising and his leadership. About Dajjal, many unfounded assumptions have been proposed, none of which have any clear and definite reference and they are only based on possibilities.
Time of Emergence
It is mentioned in a hadith that, "when the spoils of the war in Constantinople are being shared, the news of the emergence of Dajjal is given to Imam al-Mahdi (a) and his companions."
On the verge of the coming of Imam al-Mahdi (a), many signs appear one of which is the coming of Dajjal.
Place of Birth
Characteristics, Beliefs and Thoughts
In hadiths (the origin for most of them are Sunni sources), it is mentioned that Dajjal claims to be God and by his existence, a great bloodshed and mischief happens in the world. It can be learned from the reports that his right eye is sealed and his left eye is in the middle of his forehead and illuminates and that there is a blood clot is in his eye. He is large, powerful, weird looking and very skillful in magic. There is a black mountain in front of him which seems to people that it is a mountain of bread and there is a white mountain behind him which seems to people as flowing pure water. He shouts, "my servants! I am your great Lord." Dajjal passes everywhere but he does not go to Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem al-Quds. Most of his followers are adulterine Jews and Bedouin Arabs who have crowns on their heads.
It is mentioned in these reports that about Dajjal, the Prophet (s) said, "Every believer who sees Dajjal, will spit on his face and recites the Sura al-Fatiha (Qur'an 1) to dispel that cursed one's magic."
According to Imam al-Sadiq (a), in a lengthy speech, Imam Ali (a) said, "Imam al-Mahdi (a) will go from Mecca to Jerusalem al-Quds with his companions and there war happened between Imam (a) and Dajjal and his army; and Dajjal and his army will be defeated so that the first to the last of them will be killed and then the world will thrive."
Eventually, Dajjal will be killed by the hand of Imam al-Mahdi (a) or Jesus Christ (s). According to a narration, Imam (a) will hang Dajjal in Kunasa of Kufa. In another narration, Dajjal will be killed beside the gate of Lad near Jerusalem al-Quds and in another narration in 'Aqaba Afiq of Syria.
- NIV Bible, 1 John:18
- NIV Bible, 1 John:22, 23
- Imam al-Mahdi (a)
- Signs of Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)
- Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)
- The material for this article is mainly taken from دجال in Farsi WikiShia.