Analysis of the personification of lawlessness in Abrahamic Eschaton:
Humanity’s darkest hour
Jewish apocryphal and Christian Apocalyptic literature as well as Qur’an and Hadith regarding the Final Days foresee God’s intervention with a worldview that challenges morality and His laws, underscored by change in leadership. Each eschatological tradition singles out a uniquely immoral individual (the immoral individual may serve as a concealment of a system or political power) as the epitome of corruption and wicked governance - a deceiver or pretender claiming divine prerogative. This pseudo prophet (or counterfeit system) will seduce and lure many from monotheistic culture and prophetic commandments, indicating humanity’s darkest hour. In the context of signs indicating the approach of eschaton, the false messiah functions as the antithesis of God’s will – the wrong type of governance.
In the Abrahamic traditions, Law functions as the center of religion, the formative force, God’s will. Prophecy must accompany divine law; God’s messengers move the people to walk in the path of God. The task assigned to every prophet served to correct moral behavior and proclaim religious truths through the assignment of Divine Directives.
Collectively, the prophets voiced a specific way of living; stressing ethical monotheism. In the Persian proto-monotheistic religion Zoroastrianism, the correct nature of human society is known as Daena, in Hebrew דרך (Derekh) means ‘way’ in the manner of God’s acting or nature another connotation is ‘straight path’ in the course of one’s life. The Arabic word دین (Deen) means ‘authority’ interchangeable with ‘religion’ implying the sacred norm by which to mold life. Euphemistically Deen is known as the ‘straight path’ in Islam. The application of these three words denote (from their own religious perspective) transcendent principles and the application or habit of following that Law in life. The Pretender of each tradition will strive to diminish the validity of God’s laws and in doing so will diminish the value of life itself.
Judaism as a religious tradition extols praxis over doctrine, therefore one finds very little consensus among the various ‘sects’ i.e. Chassidic, Reform, Conservative, and the other assorted movements, regarding beliefs including an eschatological philosophy. Perhaps the most adhesive element in general among the various movements aside from the Law is not what they believe but rather the beliefs the movements consistently reject. In this context, we can discern a uniform rejection of cosmic dualism in Judaism – based on the first five books of Tanakh little evidence supports the existence of a supernatural opponent to God.
The Biblical Book Lamentations says From the Supernal One cannot emerge both evil and good; Chassidic teachings regard this to mean the "evil” humankind encounters is only the concealment of good.
Rivals for the prerogative of adoration appear in the guise of various other gods; however, scripture eventually exposes the deceit in idolatry. Textually, the Children of Israel face opponents but a dichotomy of good and evil forces in the micro and macro realms of life consists only of obedience and disobedience to the Law in particular and God in general. In this respect, consistent ‘stiff necked’ disobedience to God’s law epitomizes their greatest opponent. Disobedience is concealment of good or absence of God in the world.
Torah represents the most valuable cargo a Jew bears in the caravan of life. Its Divine mitzvah (commandments) are metaphorically referred to as the ‘yoke of the kingdom of heaven’ invoking a sense of bondage or obedience to God. Within the context of eschatology and Jewish anticipation of recommitment to the laws and heritage of Torah, there exists an allegory of anyone who rebels against God’s authority and laws as wicked or worthless.
The word Belial is scornfully evoked for such an individual and with it is attached the rabbinical definition of “one who has thrown off the ‘yoke of heaven’ [i.e. the Torah, the law]”. Jewish exegetes suppose several possible etymons for Belial. Some writers construe ‘worthless’. The Talmud regards Belial as a compound word composed of beli and ol meaning ‘without a yoke’. Other writers posit ‘never to rise’ denoting never to do well . The final etiology could function as an apt reference to not repairing the world and its consequence of exclusion from eschatological redemption. In addition, Belial is also translated in the Septuagint as ‘lawlessness’ .
Minor significance is attached to Belial in the overall scope of Judaism; the metaphor for the most part supports an eschatological concept found predominately in extra-textual material. Scripturally, Belial does not appear as a personal name but rather symbolizes opposition to God’s laws; rare references in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) usually designate persons committing wickedness, sedition and idolatry; those who disregard divine law or in Biblical language those who ‘do not fear God’.
This euphemism conveys the earliest concept of religion as recognition of right from wrong. Other oblique references associate the word Belial with the netherworld, including ‘rivers of the underworld’ and ‘the land from which there is no return’. Some writers conjecture the metaphor of a ‘land of no return’ represents an exact translation into emerging monotheism of the Assyrian mythological dragon of the Abyss – an Ancient Near East cultural reference to primordial chaos. The innuendo of pre-creative chaos tracks well with the concept of lawlessness and disorder. Allusions to waterways of the underworld or ‘the deep’ keep with the nuance of the etymon ‘never to rise’ i.e. the rejected or banished by God (omission from possible resurrection).
Belial eventually began to represent anthropomorphous of the agent of evil in Jewish apocryphal Apocalypses indicative by the many epithets associative with Belial as a personal name including the Angel of Lawlessness, the Spirit of Darkness and ultimately the Father of all Idolatrous Nations. This supports the precative curse associative with the meaning of Belial, ‘may he have no rising’. Eventually these ideas contributed to Christian concepts regarding the Antichrist.
In the Apocalypse known as the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, appears several references to Belial’s opposition to the Law of God and the choice that must be made between obedience to God’s Holy laws and the works of Belial. The Testament purports the lives and words of the 12 sons of Jacob. Each Testament exhorts the reader to emulate the virtues elucidated and avoid the sins committed by the writer.
Each Testament also possesses prophetic visions of the future. The Testaments are Jewish works originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic with Christian interpolations. Scholars have discerned similarities with The Testaments and the writings of the Christian New Testament leading to conjecture that Paul and other writers quoted from the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs in their expositions of virtue in waiting for the Second Coming of Christ. In the context of Belial, The Maccabean Testament of Levi specifically foresees the Moshiach (messiah) receiving the ‘holy ones’ and overcoming Belial and his hosts. Therefore, Levi extols his offspring to accept the yoke of God and reject Belial. From the Testament of Issachar we see:
I sighed with every one that was troubled, and I gave my bread to the poor. I ate not alone; I broke no oath; I wrought piety and truth all my days. I have loved the Lord with all my might, and I have loved every man even as my children. Do ye these things, my children, and every spirit of Belial will flee from you, and no deed of evil men will have power over you; and ye shall subdue every wild beast, having with you the God of heaven, that walketh with men in simplicity of heart.
In addition, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, known as The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness, describes Belial as the leader of Darkness:
'But for corruption thou hast made Belial, an angel of hostility. All his dominions are in darkness, and his purpose is to bring about wickedness and guilt. All the spirits that are associated with him are but angels of Sweed, a type of drug.' (1QM)
A Rabbinic axiom says the Step (or Coming) of the Moshiach (messiah) is discerned in the insolence and lawlessness of the people, ‘the turning of the schoolhouse into a brothel, and the turning of the rulers to heresy’. Belial (whether an individual leader or collective presence of mind in the world) represents a sign of degradation. Apocalyptic literature foretells the disorder in the world of man (‘lawlessness i.e. Belial will prevail, causing men to hate and persecute’) and disharmony in the world of nature (‘birds, beast, trees, and stones and will cease to act in accord with nature’) accompanying the disobedience to God’s way.
In Jewish eschatology, because of Belial, Truth and the laws of Torah will be minimized in Judaism and seem alien to the world as well. Calamity, the causality brought on by the wicked i.e. lawless behavior of man often finds expression in the Biblical plagues and curses, punitive measures exercised most frequently as a demonstration of God’s supremacy. From the book of Isaiah Chapter 24
The earth is defiled by its people; they disobeyed the law, violated the statues and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear the guilt…Isaiah 24; 5-6.
The plagues associative with the End of Days in Judaism include the signs of warfare and captivity, famine and death, terror and havoc, earthquake and fire, illness and pain; epitomizing the Talmud’s plea, ‘Let the end of days come but may I not live to se them, because they will be filled with so much conflict and suffering.’
Watch out that no one deceives you for many will come in my sane, claiming, “I am the Christ”, and will deceive many…..For false Christs and false prophets will appear to perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect….
The Gospel According to Matthew
Similar to the Jewish eschatological concepts of Belial as ‘lawlessness’, Antichrist denotes a characterization of denial as well as a character of evil in the drama of eschaton. In both traditions of Judaism and Christianity, we see a tendency to elaborate obscure textual references into an enigmatic metaphor of evil. The word Antichrist appears only in the Johannine Epistles. The author’s application of the term indicates a quality or state of being that denies the authority of Jesus.
Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, 1 John 4:2-4
The word Antichrist is derived from two ancient Greek words, αντί + χριστος or anti+ khristos. Khristos or Christos means ‘the anointed’ referencing divine unction, founded upon the ancient custom of consecration whereby oil was poured on the head of those given authority. Christos as a title in junction with the name Jesus designated legitimacy as heir to the divinely ordained Davidic leadership.
According to Jewish tradition as related in the Torah/Old Testament, from the lineage of David will come all the future kings of Judah and ultimately, at the end of history, the Messiah. From the perspective of Christianity, association with the Davidic covenant does not invest Jesus with power to replace the law but rather demonstrates his destiny to fulfill God’s wishes and epitomize God’s law on earth. The word anti implies several connotations including ‘in place of’ and the antonym of ‘in opposition of’; therefore antichristos might denote one resembling Christ or one who opposes Christ. Both definitions resonate well within Christian eschatology regarding the great deceiver or pseudo messiah as the mirror image of Jesus Christ. Underscoring the crux of evil in every tradition - in order to seduce and deceive humankind, evil takes on the guise or charades as its opponent.
The model of Antichrist in Christianity tracks through two intertwining paths, that of heresy and the other of opposition to God – for to reject Jesus was the ultimate Christian apostasy tantamount to the rejection of God. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says,
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.
The Gospel of John 14; 6-7
From the perspective of the Johannine Epistles (in the Bible), the reference ‘the spirit of antichrist’ castigated individuals considered heretics in the Christian movement; ergo we see references to many antichrists. The Epistle explains that those who have rejected belief in a historical manifestation of God upon the stage of humanity through the body of Christ are not true members of the Christian community, the inheritors of the Kingdom of God. From 1 John 2:18-19,
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. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
The reader must bear in mind that the Epistles and other books following the Gospels in the Bible reflect the development of Christian ideology and the various conflicts among the nascent followers of the precept of the corporeal divinity of Jesus as Christ. In most cases, the various Epistles were letters written to a specific church in a defensive context addressing a local and immediate ‘situation’. So part of the orbit of concepts about an antagonistic antichrist includes adversaries to doctrinal concepts such as Jesus ‘appearing in the flesh’ i.e. God incarnate.
The span of Antichrist pertinent to this paper encompasses the emerging idea that an Adversary to Christ’s teachings and the way of God will come in the ’Last days’ and that will be a sign of the approaching Second Coming or the return of Christ as Messiah. In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul (perhaps the Pauline authorship is pseudonymous) interchanges the term ‘the man of lawlessness’ or ‘the lawless one’ with the concept of Antichrist emphasizing the ultimate rebellion against God. From 2 Thessalonians chapter 2:
Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God….. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.
Paul, a Hellenized Jew who converted to Christianity, masterfully connected Jewish precepts into Christian concepts to illustrate that Jesus was the awaited Messiah per the prophecies of the Torah. In ancient Greek texts of Second Thessalonians, the expression attributed by Paul for lawlessness is anomia. The Greek word anomia literally means, "Being without law" also implying transgression of the law. Paul underscores the word play of law with Torah as the yoke of Heaven i.e. God. Torah (תורה) is a Hebrew word denoting ‘law’. Therefore to be lawless means to be without Torah or yoke as well meaning iniquity or transgressing the word of God (in the Gospel of John, ‘word’ is a Christian metaphor for Jesus: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.).
The ‘lawless one’ refers not to misconduct but rather defiant rejection or disbelief in the Prophesized laws of God. Paul states ‘the mystery of lawlessness is already at work’, which implies that this condition or state of rejecting concepts about Jesus as the fulfillment of divine law already exists but will be supremely manifest by one who will attempt to lead the world of believers astray:
he will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God, is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God 2 Thessalonians 2;4.
In the Apocalyptic book of Revelation, we see heresy and lawlessness anthropomorphous into several reviled symbolic figures including the dragon, the harlot, and ultimately the Beast; evil incarnate also called the Son of Perdition. However, both the writing of Paul’s letter to the Church in Thessalonica, and the Book of Revelation were driven by perceived external ecumenical crisis. Most of Paul’s writings (none of which are categorized as apocalyptic) were meant to give specific practical guidance to a definite community and were usually incorporated into that community’s liturgy.
Paul’s advice served as literal guidance. Paul himself said, ‘I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one by who the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy’. Yet a vast portion of the Christian canon is attributed to his authorship and that practical advice serves today as the backbone of Christianity. Paul advocated co-existing in peace with non-Christians and more importantly non-resistance to the Roman Empire. However, the author of the Apocalypse of John the last book in the Christian Testament also known as Revelation purports very little practical advice instead castigates wickedness in cloaked hyperbole and symbolism. John advocates resistance to the seductiveness of pagan Rome. However, once Rome became the capitol of Christianity, a literal interpretation of the apocalyptic themes became problematic forcing a more inward or spiritual analysis of the signs of Revelation.
Analysis of lawless figures in the Apocalyptic Books Daniel and Revelation
The book of Revelation represents the only apocalyptic book in Christian canon (the New Testament) and closely resembles the apocalyptic book in the Hebrew canon, Daniel. Daniel’s visions may have influenced the ideas and symbology of Revelations – as the themes carry over into the apocalypse of the New Testament. Both books purport to describe the signs of what will happen in the ‘Last days’. Imagery found in each tome reveals the anxiety and greatest fears of a community living in oppression. The circumstances behind each story reveal times of crisis and political systems that oppose monotheism. Both rely on the use of visions or dreams in fantastic imagery to delineate God’s triumph battle over wrongful governance. In each book, the symbolic descriptions i.e. horned talking beasts, dragons, should not be taken as literal descriptions, nor are the symbolism meant to be pictured realistically. They function as captivating literary devices to express intense psychological distress.
The book of Daniel was written in the period of the Maccabean revolt against a Syrian-Greek force governed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes that suppressed Jerusalem around the year 165 BC. (However, Daniel does not represent a ‘manifesto’ of that rebellion but rather the vision of a world transformed.) During the Seleucid dynasty, Antiochus tyrannized the Jews by desecrating their Temple and forbidding all religious practices, an action tantamount to stripping the Jews of their law ergo yoke. Antiochus belligerently attempted to destroy the bond between the Jews and God creating a state of lawless i.e. nonexistence. Those Jews, who would not compromise their principles and abandon the Law, resisted and rebelled eventually winning.
Cloaked in the ‘current’ crisis of the Maccabees, the character Daniel a pious young man and model Jew who figures during the Babylonian Exile a period of history prior to the Maccabean revolt, entreats the Jews to stand fast in faith and look forward to the righteous dynasty of God’s Kingdom. (Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and earned the most reviled place in Jewish history for it.) The figure Daniel purports several apocalyptic visions and ultimately a transfigured world.
Included in the visions is the reoccurring description of an ‘arrogant king’ who defiles the Temple, sets up a "desolating abomination" i.e. idolatrous worship (or a false covenant which we may infer as inerrant law), and persecutes those who remain true to the "holy covenant". The projected arrogant king represents ultimate disobedience (living without a yoke) and wicked governance, this projection prefigures the role of the Antichrist in Christianity. In both cases, the imagery serves as a sign of the corruption that will manifest the need for reformation.
The literary device of veiling present strife and crisis in the context of past achievements is what gives apocalyptic literature its distinctively prospective character. The past is pulled into the present and both are pitched into the future. The reader senses a cycle of fulfillment and impression that God is directing the course of history. The book of Daniel represents a response on two levels. Initially, it is written in response to a political crisis with a Divine response of deliverance. Perhaps the ‘religious’ nature of an apocalypse obscures the fact that such tomes criticize political or power systems. However, the reader must bear in mind that no distinction existed between religion and politics in Ancient Near Eastern Culture.
Comparatively, the book Revelation like Daniel fomented in the environment of religious/political oppression by a perceived ‘evil’ empire. The book of Revelation, (as is the case with Daniel) prophesizes a period of world crisis dominated by counterfeit wicked leadership, a veiled reference to Rome’s dominance of the region. The word Antichrist does not appear in the text of Revelation, rather the figure denominates the text in guise of ‘beast’ and ‘false prophet’. Beast aptly fits in the scenario of an animal that requires a yoke to direct its path with the nuance of something horrific that cannot be yoked. The vision purported by the author describes humanity’s darkest hour when a political ruler will dominate the world, subjugate the faithful to laws contradictory to God’s laws i.e. idolatry.
John, the author of Revelation opens the narrative by stating that he is in exile on the Island of Patmos, imprisoned in a cave, due to his extreme Christian views. The author is clearly antagonistic toward the Roman Empire of the time and his views however guised are subversive to any authority other than Christ. John’s visions and imagery underscore his disgust with a perceived level of acquiesce among Christians with the idolatrous practices of Rome in particular obedience to an imperial court that worships its political leader as god.
John, on the other hand, believes that the worship of the emperor was idolatry and more so that Roman laws were illegitimate. The apocalypse reflects his asceticism to worldliness and ultimate hope that God’s chosen will overthrow and yoke the Roman Empire Law guised as a beast. John uses pejorative imagery of a beast and prostitute in allusion to Rome and Babylon (Babylon is associative with Rome for destroying Jerusalem.) and their religious persecution of both the Jews and Christians.
Beast, “Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast” Revelation 13; 11-12.
Harlot, “There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven head and 10 horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries….I saw the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the those who bore testimony to Jesus” Revelation 17;3-6.
The reference to adultery alludes not to sexual fornication but rather the Biblical troupe of infidelity to God. Jewish tradition allegorizes the relationship between the Children of Israel and YHVH (God) kindred to marriage a sacred lawful union. Eventually and by extension in Christianity, any nation including Israel that practiced idolatry was unfaithful to the One True God. John goes on to say that the woman had a title on her head saying ‘Babylon the Great the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the Earth’.
John envisions a world of dominated by a lawless power; contextually the Romans as pagans were a people without Torah i.e. ‘revealed’ Divine Law (compare this to the Islamic concept People of the Book). Acquiesce to the laws of Rome represent Apostasy or Divine Treason. Therefore, John’s prophecy centers on signs of abomination and Divine retribution against any and all who reject God’s law.
"Shall I not tell you about the Dajjal a story of which no prophet told his nation? The Dajjal is one-eyed and will bring with him what will resemble Hell and Paradise, and what he will call Paradise will be actually Hell; so I warn you (against him) as Noah warned his nation against him.
The false messiah or lawless figure in Islamic eschatology is known as Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal. The term Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal الدّجّال (Arabic for "The False Messiah") is also a literal translation of the term "Meshiha Deghala", found in the Peshitta or Christian Bible translated into the Syriac language. Syriac is a dialect, or group of dialects, of Eastern Aramaic, which shares a common vocabulary with Arabic and Hebrew as related tongues. The term Meshiha Deghala carries the same connotations of the Greek "antichristos" representing a conversion of Christian Greek terminology into Syriac. Masih, the Arabic word for Messiah, is used as one of the titles associated with the prophet Isa or Jesus in Islam. The word Masih implies many connotations. Some suggest it means to be touched on in the head in the context of the purification rite of ablution.
Some Islamic scholars correlate this with the Jewish and Christian concept of unction. Masih conveys the meaning of anointed. The article ‘Al’ heightens the meaning to ‘the most anointed one’. The grammatical form of the Arabic Masih word also emphasizes not only an inherent quality but also ability. According to A Grammar of the Arabic Language, vol. 1, Edited by W. Wright, L.L.D, copyright 1967, p. 136, “It is an "intensive form" that often indicates "a very high degree of the quality which their subject possesses or an act which is done with frequency ... by their subject." Indicating Al-Masih, the most anointed, has the ability to anoint others –perhaps the anointing of Masih is his teaching of Allah’s will or way. The Qur'an does not refer to any other prophet as being "masih" ergo anointed, much less "al-Masih".
Another meaning associative with Masih is the concept of surveying the world to propagate a message. The latter concept corresponds with Ad- Dajjal as the false messiah who will attempt to deceive the world.
As is the case with Belial in Judaism, Ad-Dajjal primarily occupies a place in Islamic eschatology; no references to Ad-Dajjal exist in Qu’ran, rather the tradition of Hadith fleshes out Islamic concepts. Similar in nature to the flexibility in definition of antichrist in Christianity the word Dajjal denotes a couple of conations, primarily associative with a system of falsehood and deceit, also vaguely referring to Satan or an unseen force of evil who is the master of falsehood and deceit.
However, with the article ‘Ad’ Dajjal becomes the specific End Times deceiver or false prophet. Therefore, in Islamic eschatology we clearly see two individuals with opposing titles: Isa al Masih (Jesus) and the Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal (The Deceiver). One represents the anointed or chosen way of Allah and the other is falsehood. In Islamic eschatology, Al Masih and Al Mahdi are not the same individual. Each places a significant role in the fulfillment of Allah’s divine plan in the eschaton. Similar to the Jewish concept of Belial, Dajjal (without the article Ad) conceptually represents divine treason. As is the case with Belial in Jewish apocalyptic literature Ad Dajjal represents the leader of falsehood who occupies the throne of every act antithetical to Divine law.
As mentioned earlier, due to the historical circumstances of crisis and socio-religious oppression, Jewish and Christian eschatology found its greatest expression in apocalyptic literature. This particular genre (dictated by tyranny and repression) for the most part eluded Islam. However, the corpus of Hadith contains a rich tradition of apocalyptic (in the context of cataclysmic events) prophecy. While much of the esoteric symbolism necessitated by secrecy in Judaism and Christianity is absent, fantastic imagery still surrounds Ad-Dajjal.
According to one Hadith, three signs mark the End of Time (Ahara-Zamon): The fitna of the Beast (Dababah Asr ), The rising of the sun in West, and The Second Coming of the Masih or Jesus.
وَ فِي رِوَايَةِ أَبِي الْجَارُودِ عَنْ أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ ع فِي قَوْلِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قادِرٌ عَلى أَنْ يُنَزِّلَ آيَةً وَ سَيُرِيكَ فِي آخِرِ الزَّمَانِ آيَاتٍ مِنْهَا دَابَّةُ الْأَرْضِ وَ الدَّجَّالُ وَ نُزُولُ عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ع وَ طُلُوعُ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا
امام صادق در تقسیر آیه إِنَّ اللَّهَ قادِرٌ عَلى أَنْ يُنَزِّلَ آيَةً فرمود نشانه هایی که در آخرالزمان خواهی دید ؟ زمین و دجال و برگشت حضرت عیسی بن مریم و طلوع خورشید از مغرب است
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I have told you so much about the Dajjal (Antichrist) that I am afraid you may not understand. The Dajjal is short, hen-toed, woolly-haired, one-eyed, an eye-sightless, neither protruding nor deep-seated. If you are confused about him, know that your Lord is not one-eyed.
Another fantastic characteristic associated with Ad-Dajjal is a mark of the letters ‘KFR’ (ک ف ر) on his forehead between his eyes. KFR refers to the Arabic word Kaafir:
There is written between his eyes the word "kaafir". He then spelled the word as k. f. r., which every Muslim would be able to read
As recorded in Nahj al-balaghah or Path of Eloquence, Imam Ali related to Asbagh Ibn Nabateh, that the Dajjal will be blind in the right eye and the left eye will shine like a star. Between his eyes will be the sign of KFR visible to both the literate and illiterate. The Dajjal will come when the world is in great distress at a time when the sky no longer ‘cries’.
The root of Dajjal dajala signifies ‘to mix’ and expresses the meaning of deliberately confusing matters through ambiguity. According to Hadith Dajjal will bring with him what “will resemble Hell and Paradise, and what he will call Paradise will be actually Hell” . The letters KFR are the root of the Arabic word Kaafir (کافر) which means to cover or reject.
Before the advent of Islam the root word KFR described farmers burying seeds in the ground, covering them with soil while planting. In the perspective of Islam the etiology suggests covering up or ‘smearing’ the truth with deceit or filth. A kaafir denotes one who systematically rejects God and His messengers. In the context of this conference, the author wishes to emphasis kaafir solely as those who consciously live in spite of God and more specifically Divine law. The letters KFR on Ad-Dajjal do not seem to be apparent for the entire world to witness. They reflect a pejorative quality or characteristic distinctively known to Muslims. According to Islamic tradition, Ad-Dajjal embodies the way of kaafir, constitutes a system of confusing the truth with deceit.
In addition to the mark of KFR which correlates to the mark of the beast in Christianity (pundits posit that 666 actually represents a numerical calculation of letters for an imperial Roman title or slogan used officially for documents and commercial contracts) , the distinguishing feature of Dajjal’s one eye harkens to Judeo-Christian apocalyptic symbolic characteristics as well.
While Dajjal appears to have two physical eyes, one is faulty impairing his vision and character. The book of Daniel alludes to a grotesque figure. (Christians interpret the allusion as a reference to the ‘Son of Perdition’ the antithetical Son of God, some in Judaism posit that the figure represents a mighty empire and enemy of Israel) The figure is a beast that crushes and devours it victims, a creature with a ‘horn most imposing that had eyes and a mouth that spoke’. This horn wages war against the ‘holy ones’ of the Most High (God). (Daniel 7; 20). Biblically a horn alludes to potency (Ancient Near Eastern religious cults portrayed gods with horns adding a supernatural or occult nuance to the symbolism in the Biblical context). Eyes often symbolize wisdom. The Beast of Daniel possesses supernatural power and cunning.
However, in Islam, Dajjal with his eschewed sight and the epithet of Kafir in proximity of his vision possesses myopic knowledge. In Islam, knowledge is derived from two sources, ‘aql and Ma’rifah. ‘Aql means reason or exercise of the intellect and depends entirely on a rational process. However, reason alone is blind. Ma’rifah, or intuitive gnosis equated with wisdom is direct knowledge acquired alongside the processes of logic or reason. The Prophets and Ahlul Bayt (including the Awaited Mahdi), as recipients of Ma’rifah, possess initiated and perfect knowledge of Allah. Knowledge is therefore both a divine gift and a creative process of the human intellect.
The system of Dajjal as KFR covers aql or reason and therefore cannot see clearly or analyze beyond the immediate and base needs of man. The rejection of revelation and ergo religion is not entirely rooted in corruption of the will but also in the neglect and waste of knowledge. When a person sins intelligence departs and the individual becomes more like an animal than a reasoning being. The Qur’an describes those who avoid the path of religion as "lâ ya`qilûn" (Surah Baqarah; 170-171), those who will not use their intelligence appropriately. Ad-Dajjal’s possesses like all men two physical eyes, the vehicles to receive ‘aql and Ma’rifah. For whatever ontological reason Ad-Dajjal utilizes only one eye; he possesses the capacity to reason if only in cunning, but not Allah’s favor or enlightenment. He lacks complete vision and knowledge – he forsakes or wastes one eye. Hadith concerning the eye of Ad-Dajjal relates:
Ad-Dajjal was mentioned in the presence of the Prophet. The Prophet said, "Allah is not hidden from you; He is not one-eyed," and pointed with his hand towards his eye, adding, "While Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal is blind in the right eye
Islam rejects anthropomorphic references to Allah; therefore, the reference to Allah’s eyes is purely metaphoric – indicating the completeness of Allah’s vision or sight in contrast to the inadequate vision of Dajjal. Dajjal as the final enemy of the righteous, covers, or ignores; he ‘turns a blind eye’ toward Allah. The system of Dajjal in Islam represents humanity’s darkest hour.
According to Hadith Ad-Dajjal will deceive many with his vision and eventually gather a great army to rebel against the righteous:
'O Messenger of Allah, how quickly will he (Dajjal) walk upon the earth?' He said, 'Like a cloud driven by the wind. He will come to the people and call them (to a false religion), and they will believe in him and respond to him.
Ad-Dajjal as the protagonist in Islamic eschatology represents rejection of Allah’s will - the metaphor of an unbridled beast wandering off the straight path, leading others astray. The period of Belial, Antichrist and Ad-Dajjal symbolizes anarchy, comparative with the primordial period before Creation in the Bible. Perhaps most profoundly, the system of Belial, Antichrist or Dajjal represents the absence of God’s way. In the eschatological traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Judaism the period of lawlessness precedes the ultimate establishment of God’s law in the world. Lawlessness gives birth to the reign of Law. Each tradition parlays the task of destroying or eliminating the system of lawlessness upon its messiah.