How Do We Know when the Antichrist is Here?

This is a transcription of the video “Q&As about the Antichrist and the End of Times“.

One may ask what is the Antichrist?

Is he human?

Who exactly is he?

Well some traditions seem to depict him as a human to the extent that some people at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed an individual, ibn Sayyad, and thought that he might have been the Antichrist. So they observed him for a while and then eventually they decided that he’s not him.

Q: So they observed him because of his physical characteristic or his personality? What was it about him?

A: I think It’s all of these, not much of his physical characteristics but his personality, they thought that he might be the Antichrist, a kind of devilish sort of person.

Q: So when the Muslims talk about the Antichrist, do they have the physical description in mind, it is something about the individual, the characteristic or the personality?

A: There are physical descriptions and those seem difficult to reconcile the expectation that it could have been ibn Sayyad, a certain historical person, because the physical descriptions are given in the hadith speak of somebody who is blinded in one eye and he will travel very fast; he will be in one continent in the morning and another continent later on in the day and so on.

And that he will have great powers with him in that he will call people to worship him, and if somebody refuses, he will make an example of that person by throwing him by what he has as Hell. It will turn out what he has as Hell, in which he throws this person who refuses to worship him, to be Paradise for that person.

And on the other hand, he will have what looks like Paradise, and those who do worship him would be put into Paradise, but that will turn out to be Hell, in reality, for them.

So this will be the person with such a great powers, it is unimaginable that anyone could have thought that this living individual at that time, but that goes to show that the hadith or traditions about this were evolving in the early centuries of Islam until they’ve amounted to what we have now in the classical texts of Hadith collections of traditions.

They were passed on orally, they developed and grew and evolved. Eventually we have the collections that we have now.

Q: So do we have confident that the Antichrist will come as depicted in the hadith?

A: We need to study these hadiths again because the classical scholarship largely took the hadiths as they are and they wrote about the expectation of the Antichrist as though these hadiths were, in there totality, dependable; and where they saw some conflict between them, they try their best to reconcile them on the expectation or on the assumption that all of these are genuine things from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It was only a matter of trying to understand what they say exactly.

So some more work needs to be done on that but to describe the classical projection of the image of the Antichrist as he’s called al-Masih Addajjal in the Islamic tradition. It is mentioned that he will cause havoc far and wide. It is in response to his work or his evil that Jesus will now descend and then he will meet him in a place called Lud which is now identified as a place close to Tel Aviv and it is known that there is an airport there so one wonders about the speed of the Dajjal, his international travel; being in one continent in the morning and another by the evening…

But in any case, it’s said that Jesus (peace be upon him) will descend on the wings of two angels; he will arrive on the white minaret of a mosque in Damascus; he will pray with the Muslims it will be the time of the morning prayer.

And after having preforming the prayer, Jesus will go out with some of Muslims following him and he will meet the Dajjal or the Antichrist at a place called Lud near Tel Aviv and he will throw a spear into his body and it is said the Dajjal in fact will start to melt on the site of Jesus, in any case; but the spear that will be the last thrust that will be finishes him off, and then there will be the spirit of peace.

Well, I didn’t mention the Mahdi. It is said that in connection with this story that besides Jesus and the Antichrist, there will be another figure who’s known as the Mahdi (the Guided one). So some righteous individual who also spread peace on the earth; something that he will come before Jesus, he will spread peace for a certain amount of time and after this thing will return to chaos and then and that will be fueled more by the acts of the Antichrist until Jesus comes and slays him as well.

The Mahdi is described as a person who will be from among the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his daughter Fatimah. And this in a way coincides with some of the expectations of those of the shi’ite branch of Islamic following as well because they expect that they will be a return of the hidden imam as the Mahdi (the guided one).

About Dr. Shabir Ally
Dr. Shabir Ally holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature. He also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Quranic Exegesis.
He is the president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International in Toronto where he functions as Imam. He travels internationally to represent Islam in public lectures and interfaith dialogues. He explains Islam on a weekly television program called "Let the Quran Speak". Past episodes of this show can be seen online at: www.quranspeaks.com.