The Fact that Hadiths Concerning the End of Time Do not Express a Certainty Prompted People to Seek For a Mahdi and Dajjal in Each Century. What is its Wisdom (Reason)?
The world is a place of testing. Just as giving the answers to the questions is contrary to the examination concept, so, in this world of testing, it should not be expected that everything should be so self-evident as to compel people to believe. The door is opened for the mind, but the will is not withdrawn from man. Man will see the truths by means of evidence and will recognize Dajjal and Mahdi. We know that even the miracles of the prophet (PBUH) are aimed to convince people, not to compel them. So, if it were possible to write There is no god but Allah with stars, everyone would believe. The Almighty God concealed certain things in others because of the testing as He concealed the occurrence time of the Doomsday in the life span of the world, persons time of death in his life, the Night of Power in Ramadan, the acceptance moment of prayers on Fridays.
There are numerous mysteries and wisdoms in keeping them concealed. For instance, since the time of death of a person is concealed, he continually bears in mind both his death and his continued life, and he works both for this world and the hereafter. The Day of Judgment is like that too. He is also aware that the end of the world may occur in any age so he works for the eternal life and strives to build the world as though he is never going to die.
There are many reasons of the obscurity of the occurrence of calamities. If the occurrence of calamities were specified, a man who expected one would suffer a calamity perhaps ten times greater than the actual calamity. However when it remains secret, man can spend a happy life. It is because of those reasons that to give news about the ghaib (unseen, unknown) is prohibited in Islam.
Those who, with the permission of the Lord, give news about the ghaib other than concerning responsibility and the truths of belief have done so only allusively and indirectly. In fact, the good tidings about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Torah, Gospel, and Psalms, are veiled and obscure; so, some of the adherents of those scriptures interpreted those passages differently and did not believe them. However, since it is the necessity of the wisdom of mans accountability and responsibility to express the tenets of belief explicitly and repeatedly, the Quran of Miraculous Exposition and its Glorious Interpreter (PBUH) tell about the matters of the hereafter in detail, and of the future worldly events only in summary.(1)
One of the reasons why some individuals like Dajjal and Mahdi are kept secret is to let people take their place in the struggle between truth and falsehood in every century. As it is known, the struggle between the truth and the falsehood had started with Adam (UWP) and will continue until the Doomsday. There were Namruds, Pharaohs, Abu Jahls in the previous ages and each of them was a Dajjal. Every century has a specific Dajjal but the Dajjal of the end of time is the biggest one.
The Prophet (PBUH) impelled each century to cautiousness by saying The Doomsday will not occur until about thirty Dajjals appear.(2)
This truth has motivated each century to be cautious; violent incidences, which agitated the world, were associated with Dajjal and searches for remedy caused people to look for Mahdi.
Dajjal was expected even in the era of bliss. Some companions of the prophet (PBUH) had the idea that Ibn-i Sayyad, who was a Jewish in origin, was Dajjal. From that group Abdullah bin Umar and Jabir bin Abdullah had that opinion. Ibn-i Sayyad who was blind in one eye and claimed to be a prophet before he reached puberty, took orders from Satan. One day, when the question whether he wanted to be Dajjal was asked, he said, If such a duty were offered to me, I would not reject it.(3) One day, when he was playing with children, the Prophet (PBUH) and Umar (May God be pleased with him) came near him and the prophet asked him Do you testify that I am the messenger of Allah? He did not only deny him (PBUH) but also wanted him (PBUH) to believe his prophethood. Getting angry with his response, Hazrat Umar (May God be pleased with him) asked Allahs prophet (PBUH) for permission to kill him. However, the Prophet (PBUH) replied: If he is the expected Dajjal, you cannot kill him (because Jesus (UWP) will kill him.); if not, you would not get a reward by killing him.(4)
Some people, who were regarded as Dajjal, were seen both in the Christian world and the Islamic world.
Hazrat Ali considered the heretic Abdullah bin al-Qurra to be Dajjal. Aswad al-Ansi (died in 632) and Musaylima the Liar (died in 633) who proclaimed themselves being prophets were Dajjals. The founder of Babiyya division Mirza Ali Muhammad (died in 1850), and the founder of Qadiyani division Mirza Gulam Ahmad Qadiyani (died in 1908) were regarded as Dajjals of their centuries, too.
While Peter the Great, who used to cut long beards and clothes with his scissors holding in his hand, was considered as Dajjal by Christians, Friedrich Nietzsche said let us get rid of worshipping in his letter which he declared to the world with the signature The religions enemy Dajjal Marx, Lenin and Stalin were also Dajjals.
The reason why the time Mahdi and Sufyan would arrive was not stated clearly was to remind people to be ready since they could emerge in any century.People expected the persons who will come at the end of time like Mahdi and Sufyan a long time ago, and even in the time of the generation just after the Prophet and they hoped to live long enough to see them. Some of the saints said that they had passed. Like the end of the world, Divine wisdom requires that the times of those persons are not specified either. Every age is in need of the meaning of the Mahdi, who will strengthen their morale and save them from despair. Each century has to have a share of this meaning. Lest people should heedlessly conform to evil things and the reins of the soul should be left free in indifference, in every century, people must avoid and fear the fearsome persons who come to lead strife. If they had been specified, the benefits of general guidance would have been lost."(5)
(1) Nursi, Sözler (The Words), p. 309.
(2) Bukhari, Fitan: 25; Manaqib: 25; Muslim, Fitan, 84; Abu Dawud, Fitan: 1.
(3) Muslim, Fitan: 90-91; Tirmizi, Fitan: 63; Musnad, 3:43, 79.
(4) Bukhari, Adab: 97; Fitan: 85-88; Abu Dawud, Malahim: 16; Tirmizi, Fitan: 63.
(5) Nursi, sözler (The Words), p. 309-310.
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