Friday, November 12, 2010

Dajjal: The Deceptive One

‘Tell me, O Shaykh, why is it that the faranjis always wear hats that shade their eyes? How can they see the sky?’

‘That is just what they do not want to see,’ replied the Shaykh, with a twinkle in my direction. ‘Perhaps they are afraid lest the sight of the heavens remind them of God; and they do not want to be reminded of God on weekdays…’

We all laugh, but the young beduin is persistent in his search for knowledge. “Then why is it that God is so bountiful toward them and gives them riches that He denies to the Faithful?’

‘Oh, that is simple, my son. They worship gold, and so their deity is in their pockets… But my friend here,’ – and he places his hand on my knee – ‘knows more about the faranjis than I do, for he comes from among them: God, glorified be His name, has led him out of that darkness and into the light.’

‘Is that so, O brother?’ asks the eager young beduin. ‘Is it true that thou hast been a faranji thyself?’ – and when I nod, he whispers, ‘Praise be unto God, praise be unto God, who guides aright whomsoever He wishes… Tell me, brother, why is it that the faranjis are so unmindful of God?’

‘That is a long story,’ I reply, ‘and cannot be explained in a few words. All that I can tell thee now is that the world of the faranjis has become the world of the Dajjal, the Glittering, the Deceptive One. Hast thou ever heard of our Holy Prophet’s prediction that in later times most of the world’s people would follow Dajjal, believing him to be God?’

And as he looks at me with a question in his eyes, I recount, to the visible approval of Shaykh Ibn Bulayhid, the prophecy about the appearance of that apocalyptic being, the Dajjal, who would be blind in one eye but endowed with mysterious powers conferred upon him by God. He would hear with his ears what is spoken in the farthest corners of the earth, and would see with his one eye things that are happening in infinite distances; he would fly around the earth in days, would make treasures of gold and silver appear from under ground, would cause rain to fall and plants to grow at his command, would kill and bring to life again: so that all whose faith is weak would believe him to be God Himself and would prostrate themselves before him in adoration. But those whose faith is strong would read what is written in letters of flame on his forehead: Denier of God – and thus they would know that he is but a deception to test man’s faith…
And while my beduin friend looks at me with wide-open eyes and murmurs, ‘I take refuge with God,’ I turn to Ibn Bulayhid:

‘Is not this parable, O Shaykh, a fitting description of modern technical civilization? It is “one-eyed”: that is, it looks upon only one side of life – material progress – and is unaware of its spiritual side. With the help of its mechanical marvels it enables man to see and hear far beyond his natural ability, and to cover endless distances at an inconceivable speed. Its scientific knowledge causes “rain to fall and plants to grow” and uncovers unsuspected treasures from beneath the ground. Its medicine brings life to those who seem to have been doomed to death, while its wars and scientific horrors destroy life. And its material advancement is so powerful and so glittering that the weak in faith are coming to believe that it is a godhead in its own right; but those who have remained conscious of their Creator clearly recognize that to worship the Dajjal means to deny God…

‘Thou art right, O Muhammad, thou art right!’ cries out Ibn Bulayhid, excitedly striking my knee. ‘It has never occurred to me to look upon the Dajjal prophecy in this light; but thou art right! Instead of realizing that man’s advancement and the progress of science is a bounty from our Lord, more and more people in their folly are beginning to think that it is an end in itself and fit to be worshipped.’

Yes, I think to myself, Western man has truly given himself up to the worship of the Dajjal. He has long ago lost all innocence, all inner integration with nature. Life has become a puzzle to him. He is sceptical, and therefore isolated from his brother and lonely within himself. In order not to perish in this loneliness, he must endeavour to dominate life by outward means. The fact of being alive can, by itself no longer give him inner security: he must always wrestle for it, with pain, from moment to new moment. Because he has lost all metaphysical orientation, and has decided to do without it, he must continuously invent for himself mechanical allies: and thus the furious desperate drive of his technique.

He invents everyday new machines and gives each of them something of his soul to make them fight for his existence. That they do indeed; but at the same time they create for him ever new needs, new dangers, new fears – and an unquenchable thirst for newer, yet artificial allies. His soul loses itself in the ever bolder, ever more fantastic, ever more powerful wheelwork of the creative machine: and the machine loses its true purpose – to be a protector and enricher of human life – and evolves into a deity in its own right, a devouring Moloch of steel.

The priests and preachers of this insatiable deity do not seem to be aware that the rapidity of modern technical progress is a result not only of positive growth of knowledge but also of spiritual despair, and that the grand material achievements in the light of which Western man proclaims his will to attain to mastery over nature are, in their innermost, of a defensive character: behind their shining fa├žades lurks the fear of the Unknown.

Western civilization has not been able to strike a harmonious balance between man’s bodily and social needs and his spiritual cravings; it has abandoned its erstwhile religious ethics without being able to produce out of itself any other moral system, however theoretical, that would commend itself to reason. Despite all its advances in education, it has not been able to overcome man’s stupid readiness to fall pray to any slogan, however absurd, which clever demagogues think fit to invent. It has raised the technique of ‘organization’ to a fine art – and nevertheless the nations of the West daily demonstrate their utter inability to control the forces which their scientists have brought into being, and have now reached a stage where apparently unbounded scientific possibilities go hand in hand with world-wide chaos.

Lacking all truly religious orientation, the Westerner cannot morally benefit by the light of the knowledge which his – undoubtedly great – science is shedding. To him might be applied the words of the Koran:

Their parable is the parable of people who lit a fire: but hen it has shed its light around them, God took away their light and left them in darkness in which they cannot see – deaf, dumb, blind: and yet they do not turn back.

And yet, in the arrogance of their blindness, the people of the West are convinced that it is their civilization that will bring light and happiness to the world… they consider religion no more than soothing background music – allowed to accompany, but not to influence, ‘real’ life – they have begun to spread instead the materialistic gospel of the ‘Western way of life’: the belief that all human problems can be solved in factories, laboratories and on the desks of statisticians. And thus the dajjal has come into his own…
(Excerpt taken from Road to Makkah, an autobiography by Muhammad Asad previously known as Leopold Weiss, circa 1921 - 1936)

I’m always stating (quite emphatically) on both my blogs and in my day-to-day interaction with friends and family, how much I hate this world… and I’m always met with the same reaction: indifference, silent groans and eye-rolling or I’m thought to be pessimistic and fatalistic before enduring a lecture on “looking at the brighter side of life”.

But this is how it’s always been for me… ever since I was a toddler and held on to my first memories… there’s always been this inexplicable detestation and even on my very BEST days, when I absolutely LOVE my life, I STILL despise this world down to my very core with every fiber of my being. And no matter what I do to try and change my perception, I (increasingly) find it impossible to escape the hypocrisy, contradictions, atrocities and horrors of a world that is so constrictive and oppressive. So I do what most do to survive, I either keep myself busy with shallow, frivolous activities to take my mind off it or I dive into spirituality with a keen sense that there is definitely more to my existence than this despotic physical realm.

I’ve tried explaining it many times, and most people don’t get it and I don’t expect them to. But I’m often reminded of a few episodes of Angel in Season 4 when the Demonic Jasmine comes to earth, intent on ruling over it. And to the entire world’s eyes, she is breathtakingly beautiful and they become so hypnotized and enamoured with her that they immediately pledge their eternal devotion to her. Then through some mishap one of the characters, Winifred aka Fred, has an accident that allows her to see the Demon Jasmine as she really is and the sight leaves her so horrified that at first she cannot speak. 

When she tries to tell the rest of her friends about Jasmine, they become so defensive and aggressive that they actually try to kill Fred and she runs away. Then figuring out how the hypnotic spell was broken, Fred manages to break the spell on her friends and they all eventually see Jasmine for who she really is. And Jasmine is my metaphor for this world… beautiful to most yes. But to me, this is all I see.

5 comments:

  1. I'm fast approaching the end of that book (10 pages to go!) - and the last few sections have really struck me as an outstanding means of da'wah. I don't know if that's what he intended in writing the book (or the latter parts of it) - but his analysis of things - the things he found wrong with European society and religions; are incredibly insightful and I think if many of today's people read it - they may be closer to finding the truth about the world we live in.

    The period he writes about is almost 100 years ago - but his analysis rings so true; in fact, it's just become much worse since back then.

    Anyway, your relation to it -how you 'hate' this world, reminds me of the hadith that goes (roughly paraphrased): 'This world is like a prison to the believer; and a paradise to the disbeliever.'

    I think our souls - when able to see and understand things clearly for what they are - are naturally inclined to yearn for the Hereafter, with its perfection (in Heaven, that is) - and yearn to leave this world - which is so difficult a place to reside in considering the state of things.

    But this world is necessary: it's a station of tests; and you HAVE to be here, and get through this period, to get to the one you're wanting so desperately.

    Seeing the reality of life - of the soul's ENTIRE cycle of existence (i.e. not just our short period in this world) - makes it much easier to understand things.

    So, while you may feel that way about the world, I think you know that it's still a necessary part of your overall journey.

    But as for taking one extreme or another - that's also not an ideal situation; because balance and moderation are essentials if we're to succeed and be happy in this life. BUt you already know that.

    I think it's hard for some of us to find that balance - because many of us have a personality of extremes: either one or the other; and not many periods of in-between. But I do think that being more balanced is something that comes with age and maturity. At least, that's my experience so far.

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  2. As for that "Angel" episode / story - it does remind me of the deception of Dajjal; and how people can be hypnotised / fooled on such a great scale. Kind of like mob mentality - like some horror movie where everyone turns into a zombie, and there's only one person - the protagonist - who is tasked with saving the world from the horror.

    A while back, I read this short story which is somewhat similar:

    "Eight O’clock In The Morning" by Ray Nelson

    You can read it here:
    http://www.manrilla.net/blog/eight-oclock-in-the-morning/


    ANother thing that came to mind while reading your post - specifically the "Jasmine" story, is a hadith from the story of the Isra / night journey of the Prophet (pbuh). There was a stage where he went through that in-between state of existence - between the living and the dead (the barzakh), and that's where he saw the consequences of some sins.

    Like, one man had 2 plates of food in front of him: one lovely and delicious, and the other putrid and rotting. And he'd take the latter.

    That man was one who committed adultery - cheating on his wife: the symbolism is that he had something good and pure in front of him (i.e. his wife) - yet he sought to satisfy his desires in something that was prohibited to him (i.e. an extra-marital affair).

    This talk I listened to about that story (i.e. Isra and Me'raj) contained numerous examples like this - and each of them is just so striking, because they show the reality of this life: we do certain actions (sins) - but we don't know what the consequences are. And the descriptions given in those narrations bring the consequences very sharply into focus.

    If anyone's interested, you can hear the talk here:

    Download/Stream: http://www.sacredlearning.org/audio/general/2006/isra_miraj.mp3



    Anyway - as for Jasmine's spell - yes, that's exactly what Dajjal is. A deception - such that people will think him to be their saviour; yet he's the opposite. It's frightening that the world is going that exact route - where things are disguised to look the opposite to what they really are.

    But then again, we are approaching his time....so we must expect this kind of thing; and be prepared for it to get a whole lot worse.

    (This wasn't so happy a reply for a Friday...but you brought up the topic ;)

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  3. dreamlife - I know exactly what you mean... but like a Christian friend of mine said "Jesus said that we're made to live in this world for a short time, not become a part of it."
    And after the second world war, many became disillusioned with the world, forsaking God and replacing Him with science and they've susequently thrived to "become a part of it".

    I have found that many people of all ethnicities and religions that have been influenced by the cultures that came with Colonialism have fallen pray to the need to "become a part of it (the world)" so much so, that it has been interwoven into our own cultures... i.e. that need to acquire, consume and own.

    At the end of the aday, I just find it all very frustrating and sometimes I wonder if ignorance is bliss.

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  4. Lovely post!
    And I totally agree with the representation of dajjal mentioned here.
    What do you think about the literal interpretation of it? There's a lot of Muslims out there, who believe the Dajjal will actually be a thing, and the Hadith was not a metaphorical description.

    What you have said is true, and saddening too. sign of the times?

    :)

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  5. salaam aleikum.

    yeah im the guy thats been leaving the posts, which you may consider to be quite vitriolic nature, throughout your blog.

    i , in all my sincerity, as ALLAH is my witness, wish to address an issue that is of dire importance for anyone and everyone that consider themselves to be muslims.
    the issue is of dajjal, and i wish to point out that you are dangerously harboring faulty ideas about this character.

    but before i begin, i'd like to reveal who i am so that there is a level of legitimacy and feeling of sincerity as i hope you read my comments.
    my names bayezid, and im 29 years of age born august 15 1982 and i live in bangladesh.part time enthusiast in improving my life and part time freeloading piece of shit. yep that's me.
    i was actually looking up for additional info regarding gog magog and i came across the delightful post in your blog in the google hits. i immediately fell head over heels in love with your prowess in conveying ideas through weaving words beautifully. since the past few days, this blog has been like crack to me. its like i can almost make out the contours of your face in your writings. ok , im not stalking you. i live in bangladesh.

    look, judging from your mentality and where your coming from, you might very well dismiss me as a lunatic, but i wouldnt want someone such as yourself to fall victim to a fitnah ALLAH HIMSELF promised to be unlike other fitnas, or tribulations. muslims who are unwary of this dajjal will join him and ALLAH considers them dwellers of the fire.
    the dajjal is a real being in the form of a human, and the prophet himself pbuh described his appearance in detail along with that of the prophet isa or jesus a.s. who will be sent to kill the dajjal.
    as of yet, poeple are expecting his emergence. he is matreya to the hindus and new agers, and the jewish messiah to the jews. also al qaim to the shiites of iran.

    there is indeed a secret society tirelessly working towards dajjals emergence. and they are known by the annuit coeptis. it is the one eye symbol atop an unfinished pyramid missing its capstone. please see into it.

    the dajjal as described in the sahih hadeeth, is a man with a short stature but large, powerful body, with hair profusely covering his body, he will possess curly hairand one functioning eye only. he is also described to be a great charismatic leader who will perform miracles and turn many to his side.
    he isnt a metaphor, he's a real being.
    please do more research on this as it pertains to your well being as well. and i pray that you consider this as well meaning gesture, dont be offended by it thinking that i am patronizing you.

    once again, i am not a stalker, im just someone you made a huge impression on, probably going to be a lasting one at that, with your blog.
    i learnt many things from here and your post on unruly children and how parents spoil them seemed like as if you were addressing me. the imagery in your writing made me almost feel like you were slapping me in the face for being rude to my parents. yeah i was a spoilt child, a monster that misbehaved a lot. loong story.

    look, id like to talk to you about this through mail if possible. i must make sure u received this. i assure you, your silence on this matter will mean i wont ask to correspond with you via mail.

    but if youve seen this comment and read it top to bottom, and feel that you have enough time to discuss this issue, please let me know on this very comment section. ok.

    if ive alarmed you, my sincerest apologies, sister.

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