Question: Some people say: "Believing the ahadith about the Dajjal and Dabbat al-ard literally is not only ridiculous but also takes one out of the fold of Islam, for it is impossible for them to take place exactly as they are stated in ahadith. Moreover, it is contrary to the trial as well because if such things appeared all people would become Muslims. The Dajjal is not a human with a blind eye; it refers to atheism. As for the Dabbat al-ard, it is not a beast that will emerge from the earth; it refers to telephones." In this case, doesn't saying "Believing the ahadith takes one out of the fold of Islam" come to mean "The Messenger of Allah gave false information"?
Believing the hadith-i sharifs is from faith (iman), and to attempt to interpret their meanings into different things with a view to rejecting them is heresy. Rejecting a mass-transmitted (mutawatir) hadith-i sharif in particular causes disbelief. To claim that no one believes these hadith-i sharifs is a very ugly slander against Islamic scholars and Muslims who have lived for centuries. The reason for this ugly interpretation is as follows:
Since the Dajjal and the Dabbat al-ard will also appear when Hadrat Mahdi appears, such people are left with no choice but to interpret them into different things in order to be able to say that the Mahdi has come. If they do not interpret them differently, then how can they say that Mahdi is they or their master?
Such signs as the sun's rising in the west, the appearing of the Dajjal, and the emergence of the Dabbat al-ard are extraordinary, that is, unusual events. They are certainly beyond the reach of the human intellect. About a thousand miracles (mu'jizat) of our master the Prophet were witnessed, but people like Abu Jahl did not believe in him. Though the fire did not burn Ibrahim 'alaihis-salam, Nimrod and his cohorts did not believe in him. Though the staff of Musa 'alaihis-salam became a big serpent, Pharaoh and his supporters did not believe in him, and only the magicians believed. Similarly, 'Isa 'alaihis-salam displayed a lot of miracles, such as healing the blind and resurrecting the dead. Despite them, no one believed in him except 12 people. These 12 people believed in him not simply because they saw miracles, but because they believed in his prophethood. The camel of Salih 'alaihis-salam used to go to every door and let people milk from itself. Though the amount of its milk never dropped off, people did not believe in Salih 'alaihis-salam and slaughtered the camel. In the same way, many wonders (karamat) were performed by the Awliya, but non-Muslims who did not believe in them though seeing the miracles were many. This means to say that such happenings as mu'jizat and karamat do not break the trial.
It is a great disaster to make fun of the major signs of Doomsday by saying, "They are inconsistent with the mind." Moreover, such a statement contains the implication that Allah cannot create things of this sort, which amounts to doubt about His omnipotence. Since they are unusual occurrences, it is very wrong to interpret such signs into different things. In fact, people are not ordered to have faith after seeing such major signs as the Dabbat al-ard, the Dajjal, the sun's rising in the west. On the contrary, it is stated that after the appearing of them the period of the trial will come to an end and faith will not be accepted from then on. A Qur'anic verse purports:
(On the day when some of the signs of your Lord come, believing then will be of no avail to a person who did not believe before, or who did not earn some good through his faith.) [Surat-ul-An'am 158]
Two hadith-i sharifs that clarify the Qur'anic verse above declare as follows:
(When these three things appear, believing then will be of no avail to a person who did not believe before or who did not earn some good through his faith: the sun’s rising in the west, Dajjal, and Dabbat-ul-ard.) [Muslim, Tirmidhi, Bayhaqi] (The fact that these signs will appear one right after the other is explained clearly below. One cannot say, "The Dajjal and the Dabbat al-ard have appeared, but the sun will rise in the west after 100 years.")
(The first of the signs of Doomsday is the sun's rising from where it sets and the emergence of Dabbat al-ard to people at forenoon. Of them, whichever appears first will immediately be followed by the other.) [Muslim, Abu Dawud]
To say, "Contrary to what the ayah and hadith state, the Dabba is not a beast," means denying the ayah and hadith by way of interpretation, which is the false way of the sect of Batiniyyah. To say, "It has a hidden meaning" or "They have unintelligible, occult meanings [mutashabih]" means denying their true meanings. Our religion has made known which âyât and ahadith are mutashabih. They are mostly the ones that are about Allahu ta'ala's Dhat [Person, Essence]. Otherwise, if everybody himself/herself decides which ayah or hadith is mutashabih and interprets it differently in accordance with his/her own mentality, there will be no such thing as Islam. Those la-madhhabi people who draw from the Qur'an conclusions that are incompatible with Islam claim, "Salat refers to supplication. There is no namaz in our religion. There is supplication." Thus they reject namaz. There is no difference between rejecting the fact that salat refers to namaz and rejecting the fact that the Dabba is a beast.
Similarly, the Mutazila sect rejected the things that were difficult to be grasped by the intellect, such as the Sirat and Mizan, simply because they could not comprehend them, although they were reported in sound ahadith. A hadith-i sharif declares, "The Sirat Bridge is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword" (Imam-i Ahmad).
It is also reported in hadith-i sharifs that deeds will be weighed on a scale at Mizan. The Mutazila sect could not accept this fact, saying, "Can deed have any weight?"
Just as there are people who interpret the Dajjal and the Dabbat al-ard into different things, so there are heretics who interpret the coming of Hadrat 'Isa and Hadrat Mahdi into different things, asserting, "The rising of the sun in the west refers to the spread of Islam from the west. 'Isa and Mahdi will come as a movement, as spiritual figures." As it is seen, when the way for interpretation is opened, there will be no limitation upon it. Everybody will interpret everything as he/she wishes. Then there will be no such thing as Islam.
Hadrat Ibn Abbas quoted Hadrat 'Umar as saying:
(There will appear people who will deny rajm, the Dajjal, the sun's rising in the west, the torment in the grave, intercession, Muslims' being taken out of Hell after they burn as much as their sins.) [Ibn Abd-il barr, Qurtubi]
With this statement that Hadrat 'Umar uttered by way of karamah, he gave an answer to many la-madhhabi people who reject such facts. Rejecting something by interpreting it differently is the common trait of la-madhhabi people. By doing so, they have rejected many miracles, such as Mi'raj and Shaqq-ul qamar (the splitting of the moon). Though there are no people who say openly, "The Dajjal will not appear" or "The sun will not rise in the west," there are many heretics who reject such events by interpreting them into different things. It is very obvious that Hadrat 'Umar told us beforehand about such people by way of karamah. In fact, the same people (that is, those who interpret the signs of Doomsday differently) reject many matters like rajm (the punishment of stoning to death), shafa'a (intercession), the torment in the grave, and the fact that Believers who will not be able to benefit from the intercession will burn in Hell as much as their sins and then will be admitted to Paradise. Hadrat Imam-i A'zam states:
"We believe [without interpreting their meanings into different things] that Gog and Magog’s emerging, the sun’s rising in the west, Hadrat ‘Isa’s descent from the sky, the coming of the Dajjal, and all other signs before Doomsday will take place in due course in exactly the same way as they were stated in hadith-i sharifs" (Fiqh-i akbar).
No Ahl as-Sunnah scholar gave them different meanings or said that they were mutashabih. Did the Messenger of Allah talk in riddles (never!)? To say, "If I say 'a beast', understand it as a telephone. If I say 'a human', understand it as atheism," is to change the religion and demolish it.
As Hadrat Imam-i A'zam stated, one must accept the fact that all the signs before Doomsday will occur in exactly the same way as they were stated in hadith-i sharifs and must not be one of the rejecters who interpret them differently.