Who and where are the Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog)? Has their barrier been broken?

What the Qur’an says:

Below are all the verses in the Qur’an pertaining to Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj):

حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ السَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِن دُونِهِمَا قَوْماً لاَّ يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ قَوْلاً قَالُواْ يذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجاً عَلَى أَن تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّا

Until, when he reached [a pass] between two mountains, he found beside them a people who could hardly understand [his] speech. They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed Gog and Magog are [great] corrupters in the land. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make between us and them a barrier?”[1]

The idea to erect a barrier was from the people who were disturbed by Yajuj and Majuj and since they were ordinary people (i.e. human beings without supernatural powers), they requested for a barrier that was worldly as well; hard and strong but not an unrealistic or an unimaginable one. One may argue that the people did request for a hard, strong, and a realistic barrier but Dhulqarnayn was a man of God and through what God had given him, he erected a miraculous barrier. This is a valid argument but since we find no decisive evidence in its favour or against it, it would be better to not enter into it. This paper assumes that the barrier was worldly and rules of science would apply to it unless otherwise stated by Allah or His Messenger (ﷺ).

قَالَ مَا مَكَّنِّى فِيهِ رَبِّى خَيْرٌ فَأَعِينُونِى بِقُوَّةٍ أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا ءَاتُونِى زُبَرَ الْحَدِيدِ حَتَّى إِذَا سَاوَى بَيْنَ الصَّدَفَيْنِ قَالَ انفُخُواْ حَتَّى إِذَا جَعَلَهُ نَاراً قَالَ آتُونِى أُفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِ قِطْراً

He said, “That in which my Lord has established me is better [than what you offer], but assist me with strength; I will make between you and them a dam. Bring me sheets of iron” – until, when he had leveled [them] between the two mountain walls, he said, “Blow [with bellows],” until when he had made it [like] fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour over it molten copper.” So Gog and Magog were unable to pass over it, nor were they able [to effect] in it any penetration.[2]

‘Unable to pass over it’ strongly implies that there was a way on top of the wall/barrier. If they were locked up underground, ‘passing over’ would not have been an option; however, they did think of it i.e. passing over and attempt it just as they attempted penetration but could not do so. This shows us that they were separated from others through a barrier and not necessarily locked up underground.

There are narrations in Sunan Ibn Majah that mention that they could not see the sun where they were locked up; these narrations do not contradict the Qur’anic verse because even though they could be in an open area separated by the barrier, the barrier itself could be between the mountains in a way that when they would come near the barrier to break it, the barrier and the mountains would block their view above. In other words, they could be in an open area while the area around the barrier could be blocked from sunlight due to the barrier and the mountains.

The words ‘unable to pass over it’ refer to the past when they were unable to do as such and there is no indication that they would not be able to break through or pass over or that the wall may fall down in the future.

قَالَ هَـذَا رَحْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّى فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعْدُ رَبِّى جَعَلَهُ دَكَّآءَ وَكَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّى حَقّاً – وَتَرَكْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَمُوجُ فِى بَعْضٍ وَنُفِخَ فِى الصُّورِ فَجَمَعْنَـهُمْ جَمْعاً

[Dhul-Qarnayn] said, “This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord comes, He will make it level, and ever is the promise of my Lord true.” And I will leave them that day surging over each other, and [then] the Horn will be blown, and I will assemble them in [one] assembly.[3]

The wall/barrier is supposed to fall down when Allah wills.

وَحَرَامٌ عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَـهَآ أَنَّهُمْ لاَ يَرْجِعُونَ – حَتَّى إِذَا فُتِحَتْ يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ وَهُمْ مِّن كُلِّ حَدَبٍ يَنسِلُونَ

And there is prohibition upon [the people of] a city which I have destroyed that they will [ever] return [to this world or back to life]. Until when Gog and Magog have been opened and they, from every elevation, descend.[4]

These verses speak of the worldly sign of end times i.e. Day of Judgment. ‘Until when Gog and Magog have been opened’ shows that their emergence is a sign of the Day of Judgment. People of a city who have been destroyed are killed by that destruction and are not exiled and hence this does not mean that a certain group of people will return to some land after the emergence of Yajuj and Majuj. Basic reading of the text is sufficient for this understanding and a simple look into tafaseer, including the statements of Sahaba, give us the same meaning.

وَاقْتَرَبَ الْوَعْدُ الْحَقُّ فَإِذَا هِىَ شَـخِصَةٌ أَبْصَـرُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يَوَيْلَنَا قَدْ كُنَّا فِى غَفْلَةٍ مِّنْ هَـذَا بَلْ كُنَّا ظَـلِمِينَ

And [when] the true promise has approached; then suddenly the eyes of those who disbelieved will be staring [in horror, while they say], “O woe to us; we had been unmindful of this; rather, we were wrongdoers.”[5]

True promise refers to the Day of Judgment and the Afterlife. So we have learned that Yajuj and Majuj were blocked behind a barrier which would break down before the Day of Judgment near the end times and Yajuj and Majuj would surge. It may appear to many that immediately after the appearance/emergence of Yajuj and Majuj, the Day of Judgment would take place. However, the following statement of the Prophet (ﷺ) broadens our thinking:

لَمَّا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ آدَمَ مَسَحَ ظَهْرَهُ فَسَقَطَ مِنْ ظَهْرِهِ كُلُّ نَسَمَةٍ هُوَ خَالِقُهَا مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ عَيْنَىْ كُلِّ إِنْسَانٍ مِنْهُمْ وَبِيصًا مِنْ نُورٍ ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى آدَمَ فَقَالَ أَىْ رَبِّ مَنْ هَؤُلاَءِ قَالَ هَؤُلاَءِ ذُرِّيَّتُكَ فَرَأَى رَجُلاً مِنْهُمْ فَأَعْجَبَهُ وَبِيصُ مَا بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ فَقَالَ أَىْ رَبِّ مَنْ هَذَا فَقَالَ هَذَا رَجُلٌ مِنْ آخِرِ الأُمَمِ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِكَ يُقَالُ لَهُ دَاوُدُ

“When Allah created Adam He wiped his back and every person that He created among his offspring until the Day of Resurrection fell out of his back. He placed a ray of light between the eyes of every person. Then He showed them to Adam and he said: ‘O Lord! Who are these people?’ He said: ‘These are your offspring.’ He saw one of them whose ray between his eyes amazed him, so he said: ‘O Lord! Who is this?’ He said: ‘This is a man from the latter nations of your offspring called Da’ood.’[6]

The Muslims do not believe in a 6,000 year old Earth and if the human population on Earth is a few hundred thousand years old, then Prophet Da’ood (عليه السلام) would definitely be from the latter nations in the overall picture. Likewise, the Day of Judgment being near the advent of Yajuj and Majuj would not mean that it would take place right afterwards any moment and a significantly lengthy gap from a human perspective is a strong possibility.

If one were to say that the barrier of Yajuj and Majuj had been broken long ago and they swarmed the Earth and attacked the people, then this claim would not contradict the Qur’anic verses above. It is not necessary that they attacked immediately after their barrier broke but took a few hundred years to do so and they may attack in stages as well. The Qur’an does not indicate towards the quickness or slowness i.e. the timings of these events but informs us of what they would do.

What the Prophet () said:

Some readers may be of the view that the above hypothesis sounds valid if Ahadith are rejected and one relies solely on the Qur’an. Let us discuss the Ahadith on Yajuj and Majuj below:

لَيُحَجَّنَّ الْبَيْتُ وَلَيُعْتَمَرَنَّ بَعْدَ خُرُوجِ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ ‏”‏‏.‏ تَابَعَهُ أَبَانُ وَعِمْرَانُ عَنْ قَتَادَةَ‏.‏ وَقَالَ عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ عَنْ شُعْبَةَ قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى لاَ يُحَجَّ الْبَيْتُ ‏”

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The people will continue performing the Hajj and `Umra to the Ka`ba even after the appearance of Gog and Magog.” Narrated Shu`ba extra: The Hour (Day of Judgment) will not be established till the Hajj (to the Ka`ba) is abandoned.[7]

Yajuj and Majuj’s attack would be slow and gradual; perhaps even in stages and it would not be an all-out attack as that would not allow the people to continue to make Hajj and ‘Umra.

In Sunan Ibn Majah, we learn that Eisa (عليه السلام) said:

فَأَنْزِلُ فَأَقْتُلُهُ فَيَرْجِعُ النَّاسُ إِلَى بِلاَدِهِمْ فَيَسْتَقْبِلُهُمْ يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ وَهُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ حَدَبٍ يَنْسِلُونَ فَلاَ يَمُرُّونَ بِمَاءٍ إِلاَّ شَرِبُوهُ وَلاَ بِشَىْءٍ إِلاَّ أَفْسَدُوهُ فَيَجْأَرُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ فَأَدْعُو اللَّهَ أَنْ يُمِيتَهُمْ فَتَنْتُنُ الأَرْضُ مِنْ رِيحِهِمْ فَيَجْأَرُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ فَأَدْعُو اللَّهَ فَيُرْسِلُ السَّمَاءَ بِالْمَاءِ فَيَحْمِلُهُمْ فَيُلْقِيهِمْ فِي الْبَحْرِ ثُمَّ تُنْسَفُ الْجِبَالُ وَتُمَدُّ الأَرْضُ مَدَّ الأَدِيمِ فَعُهِدَ إِلَىَّ مَتَى كَانَ ذَلِكَ كَانَتِ السَّاعَةُ مِنَ النَّاسِ

‘I will descend and kill him (Dajjal i.e. anti-Christ), then the people will return to their own lands and will be confronted with Gog and Magog people, who will: “swoop down from every mound.”[21:96] They will not pass by any water but they will drink it, (and they will not pass) by anything but they will spoil it. They (the people) will beseech Allah, and I will pray to Allah to kill them. The earth will be filled with their stench and (the people) will beseech Allah and I will pray to Allah, then the sky will send down rain that will carry them and throw them in the sea. Then the mountains will turn to dust and the earth will be stretched out like a hide. I have been promised that when that happens, the Hour will come upon the people…[8]

This Hadith goes hand in hand with what we have learned so far from the Qur’an about the sign of Day of Judgment and the Judgment Day following Yajuj and Majuj. Here we further learn that Yajuj and Majuj would come forth with an all-out attack after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام).

Another narration states:

أوحى الله تعالى إلى عيسى صلى الله عليه وسلم إني قد أخرجت عباداً لي لا يدان لأحد بقتالهم، فحرز عبادي إلى الطور، ويبعث الله يأجوج ومأجوج وهم من كل حدب ينسلون

Allah will reveal to `Isa these words: `I have brought forth[9] from amongst my slaves (from entire mankind) such people against whom none will be able to fight (Yajuj and Majuj), so take these people (the believers) safely to the mountain.’ And then Allah will send Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog and Magog people) and they will sworn down from every slope.[10]

Another similar narration states:

أَنَّهُمْ لَيَمُرُّونَ بِالنَّهَرِ فَيَشْرَبُونَهُ حَتَّى مَا يَذَرُونَ فِيهِ شَيْئًا فَيَمُرُّ آخِرُهُمْ عَلَى أَثَرِهِمْ فَيَقُولُ قَائِلُهُمْ لَقَدْ كَانَ بِهَذَا الْمَكَانِ مَرَّةً مَاءٌ وَيَظْهَرُونَ عَلَى الأَرْضِ فَيَقُولُ قَائِلُهُمْ هَؤُلاَءِ أَهْلُ الأَرْضِ قَدْ فَرَغْنَا مِنْهُمْ وَلَنُنَازِلَنَّ أَهْلَ السَّمَاءِ حَتَّى إِنَّ أَحَدَهُمْ لَيَهُزُّ حَرْبَتَهُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَتَرْجِعُ مُخَضَّبَةً بِالدَّمِ فَيَقُولُونَ قَدْ قَتَلْنَا أَهْلَ السَّمَاءِ ‏.‏ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ بَعَثَ اللَّهُ دَوَابَّ كَنَغَفِ الْجَرَادِ فَتَأْخُذُ بِأَعْنَاقِهِمْ فَيَمُوتُونَ مَوْتَ الْجَرَادِ يَرْكَبُ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا فَيُصْبِحُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ لاَ يَسْمَعُونَ لَهُمْ حِسًّا فَيَقُولُونَ مَنْ رَجُلٌ يَشْرِي نَفْسَهُ وَيَنْظُرُ مَا فَعَلُوا فَيَنْزِلُ مِنْهُمْ رَجُلٌ قَدْ وَطَّنَ نَفْسَهُ عَلَى أَنْ يَقْتُلُوهُ فَيَجِدُهُمْ مَوْتَى فَيُنَادِيهِمْ أَلاَ أَبْشِرُوا فَقَدْ هَلَكَ عَدُوُّكُمْ ‏.‏ فَيَخْرُجُ النَّاسُ وَيُخْلُونَ سَبِيلَ مَوَاشِيهِمْ فَمَا يَكُونُ لَهُمْ رَعْىٌ إِلاَّ لُحُومُهُمْ فَتَشْكَرُ عَلَيْهَا كَأَحْسَنِ مَا شَكِرَتْ مِنْ نَبَاتٍ أَصَابَتْهُ قَطُّ ‏”‏

They will pass by a river and drink from it, until they leave nothing behind, and the last of them will follow in their footsteps and one of them will say: ‘There was once water in this place.’ They will prevail over the earth, then their leader will say: ‘These are the people of the earth, and we have finished them off. Now let us fight the people of heaven!’ Then one of them will throw his spear towards the sky, and it will come back down smeared with blood. And they will say: ‘We have killed the people of heaven.’ While they are like that, Allah will send a worm like the worm that is found in the noses of sheep, which will penetrate their necks and they will die like locusts, one on top of another. In the morning the Muslims will not hear any sound from them, and they will say: ‘Who will sell his soul for the sake of Allah and see what they are doing?’ A man will go down, having prepared himself to be killed by them, and he will find them dead, so he will call out to them: ‘Be of good cheer, for your enemy is dead!’ Then the people will come out and let their flocks loose, but they will not have anything to graze on except their flesh, and they will become very fat as if they were grazing on the best vegetation they ever found.'”[11]

Ya’juj and Ma’juj would be in such large numbers that they would consume an entire river passing by it. It could be that they would drink the water themselves or consume it for their use for their equipment, transportation and other needs.

Another narration states as follows:

سَيُوقِدُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ مِنْ قِسِيِّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ وَنُشَّابِهِمْ وَأَتْرِسَتِهِمْ سَبْعَ سِنِينَ

“The Muslims will use the bows, arrows and shields of Gog and Magog as firewood, for seven years.'”[12]

Deweaponisation would take place as the world would have seen enough destruction and it would take seven years to destroy their weapons which could include weapons of mass destruction that take a lot of time to properly dispose off. Allah knows best.

The following Hadith makes the matters more clear:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا فَزِعًا يَقُولُ ‏”‏ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ، وَيْلٌ لِلْعَرَبِ مِنْ شَرٍّ قَدِ اقْتَرَبَ فُتِحَ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ رَدْمِ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مِثْلُ هَذِهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ وَحَلَّقَ بِإِصْبَعِهِ الإِبْهَامِ وَالَّتِي تَلِيهَا‏.‏ قَالَتْ زَيْنَبُ ابْنَةُ جَحْشٍ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَنَهْلِكُ وَفِينَا الصَّالِحُونَ قَالَ ‏”‏ نَعَمْ، إِذَا كَثُرَ الْخُبْثُ ‏”

Narrated Zainab bint Jahsh: That the Prophet (ﷺ) once came to her in a state of fear and said, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. Woe unto the Arabs from a danger that has come near. An opening has been made in the wall of Gog and Magog like this,” making a circle with his thumb and index finger. Zainab bint Jahsh said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Shall we be destroyed even though there are pious persons among us?” He said, “Yes, if evil increases/predominates.”[13]

The Qur’an states that Yajuj and Majuj attempted to pass over the barrier and to break through it but were unable to do so. The Qur’an does this all the while referring to the past. From the Hadith, we learn that an opening had been made in the barrier during the time of the Prophet (ﷺ).

Further from the Hadith, we learn that Yajuj and Majuj would attack so that even pious persons would be destroyed because of the increase of evil. From the previous narrations we learn that Yajuj and Majuj would attack after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام) and then evil would end; however, this narration states that evil would predominate. One may feel that there is a contradiction here but if the initial conclusion is kept in mind, this would not occur. Yajuj and Majuj would attack gradually and in stages and they would destroy the people initially when evil would predominate while pious persons would also be around and this would happen before the return of Eisa (عليه السلام) perhaps even centuries before. Then when Eisa (عليه السلام) would have returned to the Earth, further groups from the Yajuj and Majuj nations would again come forth with an all-out attack as stated in the narrations above. This means that their barrier had been broken long ago and they started creating chaos on the Earth and afterwards, they would seek and attempt to occupy the world and beyond after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام).

What we have learned so far does not require mental gymnastics and, as a minimum, it proves that the text has room for this view. Furthermore, there are supporting narrations to this effect:

لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُقَاتِلَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ التُّرْكَ قَوْمًا وُجُوهُهُمْ كَالْمَجَانِّ الْمُطْرَقَةِ يَلْبَسُونَ الشَّعْرَ

The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight with the Turkic people, a people whose faces look as if they were shields covered with skin, and who will wear sandals of hair.[14]

لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تُقَاتِلُوا قَوْمًا نِعَالُهُمُ الشَّعْرُ وَلاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تُقَاتِلُوا قَوْمًا صِغَارَ الأَعْيُنِ ذُلْفَ الآنُفِ كَأَنَّ وُجُوهَهُمُ الْمَجَانُّ الْمُطْرَقَةُ

The last hour will not come before you fight with a people whose sandals are of hair, and the Last hour will not come before you fight with a people who have small eyes, short noses, and whose faces look as if they were shields covered with skin.[15]

Muslims fought with one group of the Turkic people mentioned in the narrations i.e. the Mongols in the 13th century. These people fit the description of Yajuj and Majuj as detailed below:

أحمد وأبن أبى شيبة عن محمد بن بشير ، عن محمد بن عمرو بن علقمة ، عن خالد بن عبد الله بن حرملة ، عن خالته قالت : ( خطبنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: ( إنكم تقولون لا عدو ! ولاتزالون تقاتلون عدواً حتى تقاتلون يأجوج ومأجوج ، عراض الوجوه ، صغار العيون ، صهب الشعاف ، من كل حدب ينسلون ، كأن وجوههم المجان المطرقة ) .

ــ قــال الهيثمي فـى المجمع ( 8/6 ) : ( رواه أحمد والطبرانى ورجالهما رجال الصحيح) . وهو كما قال فمحمد بن بشر العبدي ، ثقة حافظ ، روى له الجماعة – كما فى التقريب ( ص 469 ) و محمد بن عمرو ، عن خالد بن حرملة . إسناد على شرط مسلم .

Indeed, you say no enemy. You will not stop fighting the enemy until you fight Yajuj and Majuj. (They will have) broad faces, small eyes, dirty hair, from every direction descending with faces like broad/round shields.[16]

What we learn from these narrations is that Yajuj and Majuj have similar features as Turkic people because they are from them. Turkic people are one of the many groups of Yajuj and Majuj with small eyes, flat noses and broad faces. These narrations inform us that the Muslims would fight Yajuj and Majuj; however, other Ahadith discussed above inform us that Yajuj and Majuj would not be fought with (as they would be those whom none will be able to fight) and that they would be killed without a fight after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام). At first glance, it may appear to be a contradiction; however, if the gradual attack and attack in stages is considered, the assumed contradiction would eliminate. Yajuj and Majuj were released and when they crossed the barrier, (something which Allah knows and we don’t know), they initially attacked and fought the Muslims; later Yajuj and Majuj would come forth with a massive attack after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام). Please note that Yajuj and Majuj are numerous nations and the initial Mongol attackers were one (or few) of them and it is not necessary that the attackers after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام) are the disbelievers from the Mongols and can be other people with similar features i.e. having small eyes, short noses and flat and wide faces something similar to shields.

Islamqa writes:

Ya’juj and Ma’juj – two disbelieving tribes from among the sons of Adam. They have wide faces and small eyes. They used to spread mischief on earth, so Allaah gave Dhul-Qarnayn the power to build a barrier to detain them. They will keep on digging at it until Allaah gives them permission to come out at the end of time, after ‘Eisa (peace be upon him) has killed the Dajjal. They will emerge in huge numbers and will drink up the lake of Tiberius (in Palestine). They will spread mischief on earth and no one will be able to resist them. ‘Eisa (peace be upon him) and the believers with him will take refuge in Mount Toor until Allaah destroys Ya’juj and Ma’juj by sending worms that will eat their necks. Then Allaah will send rain to wash away their bodies into the sea and cleanse the earth of their stench.[17]

According to the descriptions of them given in the Ahadith, they belong to the Turkic Mongol race, having small eyes, small, flat noses and wide faces. Their faces look like hammered-out shields (their faces are likened to shields because they are wide and round).[18]

Ibn Kathir also states that Gog and Magog are two groups of Turkic people, descended from Yaafith (Japheth), the father of the Turkic people, one of the sons of Noah. Al-Qurtubi states regarding the Mongol attackers: It appears as if they are the Ya’juj Ma’juj – or, at least, are their forerunners. Al-Alusi, although denied the Mongol attack being the attack of Yajuj and Majuj, did admit that their attack did resemble the havoc to be caused by the Ya’juj Ma’juj.[19]

Sheikh Anwar Shah Kashmiri states:

إن سد ذي القرنين قد اندك اليوم، وليس في القرآن وعدٌ ببقائه إلى يوم خروج يأجوج ومأجوج، ولا خبر بكونه مانعاً من خروجهم، ولكنه من تبادر الأوهام فقط، فإنه قال: {{وَتَرَكْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَمُوجُ فِي بَعْضٍ}}، {{حَتَّى إِذَا فُتِحَتْ يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ}} إلخ، فلهم خروج مرة بعد مرة، وقد خرجوا قبل ذلك أيضاً، وأفسدوا في الأرض بما يستعاذ منه. نعم يكون لهم الخروج الموعود في آخر الزمان، وذلك أشدها، وليس في القرآن أن هذا الخروج يكون عقيب الاندكاك متصلاً، بل فيه وعدٌ باندكاكه فقط، فقد اندك كما وعد. أما أن خروجهم موعود بعد اندكاكه بدون فصل، فلا حرف فيه

ولم يذكر في القرآن لفظ الخروج من هذا السد فقط، هاهنا، ولما ذكر في «الأنبياء»: {{حَتَّى إِذَا فُتِحَتْ يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ}} ولم يذكر السد، والردم، فكان الخروج لعمومهم

The barrier of Dhulqarnayn is down today; there is no promise in the Qur’an that the barrier will remain till the emergence of Yajuj of Majuj and there is no report of objection to their release and (some) were too quick to begin speculating. He (Allah) said: [And I will leave them that day surging over each other] – [Until when Yajuj and Majuj are opened/released]. Till the end, they will exit time after time in stages and indeed, they exited before that as well and created chaos on land from which refuge is sought. Yes, the promise of their release is in end times and that is the most severe; (however) it is not in the Qur’an that their exit is immediately subsequent and connected (to the destruction of the barrier). Rather, the promise is about the destruction of barrier only and it has been destroyed as promised. As for their emergence being promised after the destruction of barrier without separation, then there is no mention of it; there is no mention of the word ‘exit’ from this barrier only.

I will conclude this section with the following statements from Mufti Muhammad Shafi from Ma’riful Qur’an:

…it is not necessary that the races known as Ya’juj Ma’juj were pinned down as a whole exclusively behind the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. There must have been some of their tribes and nationalities living on the other side of the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. However, it can be said that the savage killers and destroyers among them were restrained through the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain.

it is not counter to any textual authority (nass) of Qur’an, and Sunnah that the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain may have disintegrated now and some people from among the Ya’juj Ma’juj may have come on this side. However, this will remain subject to the condition that one admits that their last and the most massive onslaught, which will prove to be the destroyer of the entire human population, has not come yet. In fact, it will come after the great manifestation of the signs of Qiyamah mentioned earlier, that is, the appearance of the Dajjal and the descent of Sayyidna ‘Isa (عليه السلام) etc.

no absolute textual authority (nass) contradicts the fact of this Wall disintegrating before Qiyamah, or of some people from the Ya’juj Ma’juj crossing over to this side by taking some distant and long-winding route.

To sum up, it can be said that based on the textual authority of the Qur’an, and Sunnah, it is not possible to give an absolute verdict that the Wall against the Ya’juj and Ma’juj has disintegrated leaving the passage open. Nor can it be said that, according to the Qur’an, and Sunnah, it is necessary that it survives up to the Qiyamah. Both probabilities exist.

Series of events

Below are some narrations presented here to understand the broad picture and series of events so we may identify the parties concerned and determine a sequence.

عَنْ أَبِي نَضْرَةَ، قَالَ كُنَّا عِنْدَ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ يُوشِكُ أَهْلُ الْعِرَاقِ أَنْ لاَ يُجْبَى إِلَيْهِمْ قَفِيزٌ وَلاَ دِرْهَمٌ ‏.‏ قُلْنَا مِنْ أَيْنَ ذَاكَ قَالَ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْعَجَمِ يَمْنَعُونَ ذَاكَ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ يُوشِكَ أَهْلُ الشَّأْمِ أَنْ لاَ يُجْبَى إِلَيْهِمْ دِينَارٌ وَلاَ مُدْىٌ ‏.‏ قُلْنَا مِنْ أَيْنَ ذَاكَ قَالَ مِنْ قِبَلِ الرُّومِ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ سَكَتَ هُنَيَّةً ثُمَّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يَكُونُ فِي آخِرِ أُمَّتِي خَلِيفَةٌ يَحْثِي الْمَالَ حَثْيًا لاَ يَعُدُّهُ عَدَدًا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ قُلْتُ لأَبِي نَضْرَةَ وَأَبِي الْعَلاَءِ أَتَرَيَانِ أَنَّهُ عُمَرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ فَقَالاَ لاَ

Abu Nadra reported: “We were in the company of Jabir b. ‘Abdullah that he said it may happen that the people of Iraq may not send their qafiz and dirhams (their measures of food stuff and their money). We said: Who would be responsible for it? He said: The non-Arabs would prevent them. He again said: There is the possibility that the people of Syria may not send their dinars and mudds. We said: Who would be responsible for it? He said this prevention would be made by the Romans. He (Jabir b. Abdullah) kept quiet for a while and then reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) having said there would be a caliph in the last (period) of my Ummah who would freely give handfuls of wealth to the people without counting it. I said to Abu Nadra and Abu al-‘Ala: Do you mean ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-Aziz? They said: No (he would be the Mahdi).[20]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنَعَتِ الْعِرَاقُ دِرْهَمَهَا وَقَفِيزَهَا وَمَنَعَتِ الشَّأْمُ مُدْيَهَا وَدِينَارَهَا وَمَنَعَتْ مِصْرُ إِرْدَبَّهَا وَدِينَارَهَا وَعُدْتُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ بَدَأْتُمْ وَعُدْتُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ بَدَأْتُمْ وَعُدْتُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ بَدَأْتُمْ ‏”

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Iraq would withhold its dirhams and qafiz; Syria would withhold its mudd and dinar and Egypt would withhold its irdab and dinar and you would recoil to that position from where you started and you would recoil to that position from where you started and you would recoil to that position from where you started.[21]

Before a peace treaty with the Romans, they would oppress the Muslims through taxes, sanctions, and even direct occupation [the second of the two Ahadith above speak of the Roman occupation of these lands]. Following the Roman oppression, due to a common enemy, Muslims and Romans would make peace as stated as follows:

سَتُصَالِحُونَ الرُّومَ صُلْحًا آمِنًا فَتَغْزُونَ أَنْتُمْ وَهُمْ عَدُوًّا مِنْ وَرَائِكُمْ فَتُنْصَرُونَ وَتَغْنَمُونَ وَتَسْلَمُونَ ثُمَّ تَرْجِعُونَ حَتَّى تَنْزِلُوا بِمَرْجٍ ذِي تُلُولٍ فَيَرْفَعُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّصْرَانِيَّةِ الصَّلِيبَ فَيَقُولُ غَلَبَ الصَّلِيبُ فَيَغْضَبُ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَيَدُقُّهُ فَعِنْدَ ذَلِكَ تَغْدِرُ الرُّومُ وَتَجْمَعُ لِلْمَلْحَمَةِ

Dhu Mikhbar said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: you will make a secure peace with the Romans, then you and they will fight an enemy behind you, and you will be victorious, take booty, and be safe. You will then return and alight in a meadow with mounds and one of the Christians will raise the cross and say: The cross has conquered. One of the Muslims will become angry and smash it, and the Romans will act treacherously and prepare for the battle.[22]

So we learn that when Romans would oppress the Muslims, they would be distracted by a common enemy due to which they would be forced to make peace with the Muslims in order to fight that common enemy. The Muslims would be led by a Caliph who would freely give handfuls of wealth to the people without counting it. Muslims and the Romans would defeat that common enemy after which the Muslims and the Romans would enter into a fight also known the great massacre (or the Armageddon).

The following Hadith further clarifies the sequence of events.

يَا عَوْفُ احْفَظْ خِلاَلاً سِتًّا بَيْنَ يَدَىِ السَّاعَةِ إِحْدَاهُنَّ مَوْتِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَوَجَمْتُ عِنْدَهَا وَجْمَةً شَدِيدَةً ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ قُلْ إِحْدَى ثُمَّ فَتْحُ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ ثُمَّ دَاءٌ يَظْهَرُ فِيكُمْ يَسْتَشْهِدُ اللَّهُ بِهِ ذَرَارِيَّكُمْ وَأَنْفُسَكُمْ وَيُزَكِّي بِهِ أَمْوَالَكُمْ ثُمَّ تَكُونُ الأَمْوَالُ فِيكُمْ حَتَّى يُعْطَى الرَّجُلُ مِائَةَ دِينَارٍ فَيَظَلَّ سَاخِطًا وَفِتْنَةٌ تَكُونُ بَيْنَكُمْ لاَ يَبْقَى بَيْتُ مُسْلِمٍ إِلاَّ دَخَلَتْهُ ثُمَّ تَكُونُ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ بَنِي الأَصْفَرِ هُدْنَةٌ فَيَغْدِرُونَ بِكُمْ فَيَسِيرُونَ إِلَيْكُمْ فِي ثَمَانِينَ غَايَةٍ تَحْتَ كُلِّ غَايَةٍ اثْنَا عَشَرَ أَلْفًا

‘Awf bin Malik Al-Ashja’i said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘O ‘Awf, remember six things (that will occur) before the Hour comes, one of which is my death.’ I was very shocked and saddened at that. He said: ‘Count that as the first. Then (will come) the conquest of Baitul-Maqdis (Jerusalem); then a disease which will appear among you and cause you and your offspring to die as martyrs and will purify your deeds; then there will be (much) wealth among you, so that if a man were to be given one hundred Dinar he would still be dissatisfied; and there will be tribulation among you that will not leave any Muslim house untouched; then there will be a treaty between you and the Romans, then they will betray you and march against you with eighty banners, under each of which will be twelve thousand (troops).’”[23]

There would appear a time when the believers would not find a needy person to give charities to because of the Mahdi who would give out in abundance without counting it i.e. he would provide plenty to his people. Before the Mahdi, the Romans would be oppressing the believers. After the Mahdi, a tribulation would appear of which we do not know; perhaps it refers to trials that come with wealth – Allah knows best. Once the Mahdi appears, the Romans would enter into a peace treaty with him and fight and destroy a common enemy after which the Armageddon between the two parties would occur.

The following narration is interesting:

“‏ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ وَالرُّومُ أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ لَهُ عَمْرٌو أَبْصِرْ مَا تَقُولُ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَقُولُ مَا سَمِعْتُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لَئِنْ قُلْتَ ذَلِكَ إِنَّ فِيهِمْ لَخِصَالاً أَرْبَعًا إِنَّهُمْ لأَحْلَمُ النَّاسِ عِنْدَ فِتْنَةٍ وَأَسْرَعُهُمْ إِفَاقَةً بَعْدَ مُصِيبَةٍ وَأَوْشَكُهُمْ كَرَّةً بَعْدَ فَرَّةٍ وَخَيْرُهُمْ لِمِسْكِينٍ وَيَتِيمٍ وَضَعِيفٍ وَخَامِسَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ جَمِيلَةٌ وَأَمْنَعُهُمْ مِنْ ظُلْمِ الْمُلُوكِ

Mustaurid al-Qurashi reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: The Last Hour would come (when) the Romans would form a majority amongst people. ‘Amr said to him (Mustaurid Qurashi): See what you are saying? He said: I say what I heard from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). Thereupon he said: If you say that, it is a fact for they have four qualities. They have the patience to undergo a trial and immediately restore themselves to sanity after trouble and attack again after flight. They (have the quality) of being good to the destitute and the orphans, to the weak and the good quality in them is that they put resistance against the oppression of kings.[24]

What is interesting about the narration is the surprise of the companion of the Prophet (ﷺ). Romans being the majority of the people of the world was surprising to the companion because the Romans would have suffered huge setbacks due to the common enemy. Remember earlier we learned that Romans would be oppressing the believers before the Mahdi but after his appearance, they would stop their oppression and enter into a truce. It appears that the reason for entering into truce would be the common enemy who would have caused significant damage to the Romans just around or before the appearance of the Mahdi; this immense damage would have forced them to ally with the believers. Due to the damage caused by the common enemy to the Romans, the companion was surprised as to how they would be able to bounce back from such disasters but he himself said that it would make sense due to the good qualities he narrated of the Romans.

عَدُوٌّ يَجْمَعُونَ لأَهْلِ الإِسْلاَمِ وَيَجْمَعُ لَهُمْ أَهْلُ الإِسْلاَمِ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ الرُّومَ تَعْنِي قَالَ نَعَمْ وَتَكُونُ عِنْدَ ذَاكُمُ الْقِتَالِ رَدَّةٌ شَدِيدَةٌ فَيَشْتَرِطُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ شُرْطَةً لِلْمَوْتِ لاَ تَرْجِعُ إِلاَّ غَالِبَةً فَيَقْتَتِلُونَ حَتَّى يَحْجُزَ بَيْنَهُمُ اللَّيْلُ فَيَفِيءُ هَؤُلاَءِ وَهَؤُلاَءِ كُلٌّ غَيْرُ غَالِبٍ وَتَفْنَى الشُّرْطَةُ ثُمَّ يَشْتَرِطُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ شُرْطَةً لِلْمَوْتِ لاَ تَرْجِعُ إِلاَّ غَالِبَةً فَيَقْتَتِلُونَ حَتَّى يَحْجُزَ بَيْنَهُمُ اللَّيْلُ فَيَفِيءُ هَؤُلاَءِ وَهَؤُلاَءِ كُلٌّ غَيْرُ غَالِبٍ وَتَفْنَى الشُّرْطَةُ ثُمَّ يَشْتَرِطُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ شُرْطَةً لِلْمَوْتِ لاَ تَرْجِعُ إِلاَّ غَالِبَةً فَيَقْتَتِلُونَ حَتَّى يُمْسُوا فَيَفِيءُ هَؤُلاَءِ وَهَؤُلاَءِ كُلٌّ غَيْرُ غَالِبٍ وَتَفْنَى الشُّرْطَةُ فَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الرَّابِعِ نَهَدَ إِلَيْهِمْ بَقِيَّةُ أَهْلِ الإِسْلاَمِ فَيَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الدَّبْرَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ فَيَقْتُلُونَ مَقْتَلَةً – إِمَّا قَالَ لاَ يُرَى مِثْلُهَا وَإِمَّا قَالَ لَمْ يُرَ مِثْلُهَا – حَتَّى إِنَّ الطَّائِرَ لَيَمُرُّ بِجَنَبَاتِهِمْ فَمَا يُخَلِّفُهُمْ حَتَّى يَخِرَّ مَيْتًا فَيَتَعَادُّ بَنُو الأَبِ كَانُوا مِائَةً فَلاَ يَجِدُونَهُ بَقِيَ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ الرَّجُلُ الْوَاحِدُ فَبِأَىِّ غَنِيمَةٍ يُفْرَحُ أَوْ أَىُّ مِيرَاثٍ يُقَاسَمُ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ سَمِعُوا بِبَأْسٍ هُوَ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَجَاءَهُمُ الصَّرِيخُ إِنَّ الدَّجَّالَ قَدْ خَلَفَهُمْ فِي ذَرَارِيِّهِمْ فَيَرْفُضُونَ مَا فِي أَيْدِيهِمْ وَيُقْبِلُونَ فَيَبْعَثُونَ عَشَرَةَ فَوَارِسَ طَلِيعَةً ‏.‏ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنِّي لأَعْرِفُ أَسْمَاءَهُمْ وَأَسْمَاءَ آبَائِهِمْ وَأَلْوَانَ خُيُولِهِمْ هُمْ خَيْرُ فَوَارِسَ عَلَى ظَهْرِ الأَرْضِ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَوْ مِنْ خَيْرِ فَوَارِسَ عَلَى ظَهْرِ الأَرْضِ يَوْمَئِذٍ ‏”

Ibn Mas’ood (the companion of the Prophet (ﷺ)) said: The enemy shall muster strength against Muslims and the Muslims will muster strength against them (for Armageddon). I (the narrator) said: You mean Rome? And he said: Yes, and there would be a terrible fight and the Muslims would prepare a detachment (for fighting unto death) which would not return but victorious. They will fight until night will intervene them; both the sides will return without being victorious and both will be wiped out. The Muslims will again prepare a detachment for fighting unto death so that they may not return but victorious. When it would be the fourth day, a new detachment out of the remnant of the Muslims would be prepared and Allah will decree that the enemy should be routed. And they would fight such a fight the like of which would not be seen, so much so that even if a bird were to pass their flanks, it would fall down dead before reaching the end of them. (There would be such a large scale massacre) that when counting would be done, (only) one out of a hundred men related to one another would be found alive. So what can be the joy at the spoils of such war and what inheritance would be divided! They would be in this very state that they would hear of a calamity more horrible than this. And a cry would reach them: The Dajjal has taken your place among your offspring. They will, therefore, throw away what would be in their hands and go forward sending ten horsemen, as a scouting party. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: I know their names and the names of their forefathers and the color of their rides. They will be the best riders on the surface of the earth on that day or amongst the best riders on the surface of the earth on that day.[25]

The death scale would be so high that a bird would not be able to fly over the bodies. It appears that very destructive weapons would be used. What is important to note here is that all the while Muslims and Romans would be fighting the common enemy (behind Rome) and then fighting each other, and as a result suffering huge setbacks and death and destruction, Yajuj and Majuj would not have done anything; they would simply wait it out and let all others fight and almost practically enter the new stone age while they would remain significantly strong and maintain their high caliber weapons including those they would shoot into space (ref. Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 36, Hadith 154 quoted above).

We have determined the sequence derived from the narrations of the Prophet (ﷺ) without resorting to interpretation; the text is very clear. Another explicit statement is as follows:

“‏ سَتُقَاتِلُونَ جَزِيرَةَ الْعَرَبِ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ تُقَاتِلُونَ الرُّومَ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ تُقَاتِلُونَ الدَّجَّالَ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ جَابِرٌ فَمَا يَخْرُجُ الدَّجَّالُ حَتَّى تُفْتَحَ الرُّومُ

It was narrated from Jabir bin Samurah, that Nafi’ bin ‘Utbah bin Abu Waqqas narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “You will fight the Arabian Peninsula and victory will be granted by Allah. Then you will fight the Romans and victory will be granted (by Allah). Then you will fight Dajjal and victory will be granted (by Allah).” Jabir said: “Dajjal (the anti-Christ) will not appear until you have fought the Romans.”

There are some narrations, whose authenticity is debated, which state that when Eisa (عليه السلام) would descend and kill the Dajjal, the Jews and Christians would convert to the religion of Eisa (عليه السلام) i.e. Islam, but there would be some among them who would not be pleased with peace; they would go and join Yajuj and Majuj. If we assume the misconception that Yajuj and Majuj are animalistic beings (yet humans) and that they simply kill anyone they encounter, then this joining of some Jews and Christians with Yajuj and Majuj would not make sense as they should also be killed by them but they would not do so and welcome them. This goes to show that during all these battles and wars, Yajuj and Majuj would wait it out on the sidelines and come forth with their attack after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام) and would welcome anyone who would be a rejector of Eisa (عليه السلام) and who would submit to their authority and claimed superiority.

One may argue that the following Hadith would render the above explanation faulty:

يَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَا آدَمُ‏.‏ يَقُولُ لَبَّيْكَ رَبَّنَا وَسَعْدَيْكَ، فَيُنَادَى بِصَوْتٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكَ أَنْ تُخْرِجَ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِكَ بَعْثًا إِلَى النَّارِ‏.‏ قَالَ يَا رَبِّ وَمَا بَعْثُ النَّارِ قَالَ مِنْ كُلِّ أَلْفٍ ـ أُرَاهُ قَالَ ـ تِسْعَمِائَةٍ وَتِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ فَحِينَئِذٍ تَضَعُ الْحَامِلُ حَمْلَهَا وَيَشِيبُ الْوَلِيدُ ‏{‏وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُمْ بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ‏}‏ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَشَقَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى النَّاسِ حَتَّى تَغَيَّرَتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ مِنْ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ تِسْعَمِائَةٍ وَتِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ، وَمِنْكُمْ وَاحِدٌ

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “On the day of Resurrection Allah will say, ‘O Adam!’ Adam will reply, ‘Labbaik our Lord, and Sa`daik ‘ Then there will be a loud call (saying), Allah orders you to take from among your offspring a mission for the (Hell) Fire.’ Adam will say, ‘O Lord! Who are the mission for the (Hell) Fire?’ Allah will say, ‘Out of each thousand, take out 999.’ At that time every pregnant female shall drop her load (have a miscarriage) and a child will have grey hair. And you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet not drunk, but severe will be the torment of Allah.” (22.2) (When the Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned this), the people were so distressed (and afraid) that their faces got changed (in color) whereupon the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “From Gog and Magog nine-hundred ninety-nine will be taken out and one from you. “[26]

The above narration may be considered problematic mathematically and one may need to explain it through reliance on the miracle that Yajuj and Majuj, when unleashed, would come out in such large numbers that they would be 999 times more than the believers. However, on the contrary, this approach is not necessary; the numbers of Yajuj and Majuj being 999 times more is not against the remaining population of mankind but against only the believers. Secondly, 999 to 1 is a ratio of Yajuj and Majuj against the believers since the start of mankind till the end and mankind may have started a few hundred thousand years ago. Thirdly, it may not be an exact measure and may be intended to convey the massiveness of their numbers. Fourthly, the ancient most civilizations have pretty much all gone extinct except the ones with small eyes, short noses, and broad faces and they have always been in significantly huge numbers and, at the same time, their ages have also been significantly longer while other nations numbered very few. Lastly, there is another interpretation of this Hadith: 999 out of 1,000 would be Yajuj and Majuj and one would be the believers; where would the other disbelievers (other than Yajuj and Majuj) be then? A possibility is that the ratio of 999 to 1 is the ratio of the Yajuj and Majuj that would cause chaos (999) to the companions (1). Suppose, if the companions were 2,000, Yajuj and Majuj would be roughly around two million. Allah knows best.

The following narration gives us the indication that Yajuj and Majuj are around 90% of the entire mankind. This shows that they are not an exact 99.9% (999 out of 1,000) and that these numbers are rough close figures.

Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Allah divided mankind into ten parts. Nine tenths constitute Ya’juj and Ma’juj while the remaining one tenth constitutes the rest of mankind.”[27]


What we have learned is summarised as follows:

  • The barrier of Yajuj and Majuj had been broken long back
  • Some of them attacked the Muslims in the 13th century and killed plenty of them in the initial Mongol attacks
  • They continue to live in the world while continuing their oppression
  • They are not necessary only Mongols and are more groups of people as well who have immense strength and weapons (the likes of which could be sent to outer space)
  • The Romans would oppress and occupy the believers
  • A common enemy of the Muslims and the Romans would attack the Romans
  • Muslims and the Romans would enter into peace treaties and fight and destroy the common enemy
  • Afterwards, Armageddon between Muslims and Romans would take place (Yajuj and Majuj would wait and watch)
  • The anti-Christ (Dajjal) would emerge
  • Eisa (عليه السلام) would descend and kill the Dajjal
  • Afterwards, Yajuj and Majuj would come forth to take over the world and would cause immense damage but would be destroyed by Allah

Indeed, Allah knows the best.

References and footnotes:

[1] Qur’an 18:93-94

[2] Qur’an 18:95-97

[3] Qur’an 18:98-99

[4] Qur’an 21:95-96

[5] Qur’an 21:97

[6] Tirmidhi vol. 5, book 44, Hadith 3076

[7] Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 25, Hadith 79

[8] Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 36, Hadith 156

[9] Here Yajuj and Majuj have been stated to be ‘brought forth’ and not released implying that they would have been released long ago and would come forth and attack.

[10] Sahih al-Muslim, Book 19, Hadith 1808

[11] Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 36, Hadith 154

[12] Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 36, Hadith 151

[13] Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 60, Hadith 26

[14] Sunan Abi Da’ood, Book 39, Hadith 13

[15] Sunan Abi Da’ood, Book 39, Hadith 14

[16] Musnad Ahmad 5/271

[17] Gog and Magog 1 – Islamqa

[18] Gog and Magog 2 – Islamqa

[19] Al-Alusi did not deny the argument presented in this paper. He simply denied that the complete attack of Yajuj and Majuj had occurred, that it was a thing of the past. This paper states that it occurred partly in the past and their final and destructive attack will occur after the return of Eisa (عليه السلام). Scholars have not categorically denied this view to be unacceptable; what the scholars have denied and rejected is the view that Yajuj and Majuj have been released and that their full and final attack has also taken place.

[20] Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 81

[21] Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 43

[22] Sunan Abi Da’ood, Book 39, Hadith 2

[23] Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 36, Hadith 117

[24] Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 45

[25] Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 47

Other Hadiths mention that the Romans would come under 80 flags with 12,000 people under each flag (i.e. close to a million people).

All the Romans combined would be able to raise such a large army even after suffering heavy casualties after the war with the common enemy and many flags indicates many countries and many battalions.

One Hadith in Ibn Majah states “’Indeed, you will fight bani al-Asfar i.e. Romans and those who will come after you will fight them (crusades) until the best of Islam’s adherents… will go out to them (end time wars) …” During the crusades, the biggest group of Romans included the British, French, and Germans. Some people today, disguised as Sheikhs, attempt to mislead the Muslims into the identity of the Romans in order to further their political agendas; however, their identity is clear from Islamic texts and a simple and basic look at history and facts.

[26] Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 65, Hadith 4741

[27] Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani’s Fath ul-Bari

19 thoughts on “Who and where are the Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog)? Has their barrier been broken?

  1. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    Brother, overall you’ve done really good job at building a strong case at this point, namely that the barrier has already been destroyed. I myself was planning to blog about this but I think your post is very detailed so I ask Allah to reward you.

    However, there’s one big issue I think you should have concentrated on a bit more as it weakens your case considerably, IMO.

    This is the hadith that is mentioned in Sunan al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, regarding Ya’juj and Ma’juj digging the barrier every day until one day they are let loose. The hadith makes it very clear that the breaking of the barrier precedes their emergence and destruction immediately.

    The hadith is below in full:

    حَدَّثَنَا أَزْهَرُ بْنُ مَرْوَانَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الأَعْلَى، حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدٌ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو رَافِعٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏”‏ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ يَحْفِرُونَ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ حَتَّى إِذَا كَادُوا يَرَوْنَ شُعَاعَ الشَّمْسِ قَالَ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِمُ ارْجِعُوا فَسَنَحْفِرُهُ غَدًا ‏.‏ فَيُعِيدُهُ اللَّهُ أَشَدَّ مَا كَانَ حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَتْ مُدَّتُهُمْ وَأَرَادَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَهُمْ عَلَى النَّاسِ حَفَرُوا حَتَّى إِذَا كَادُوا يَرَوْنَ شُعَاعَ الشَّمْسِ قَالَ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِمُ ارْجِعُوا فَسَتَحْفِرُونَهُ غَدًا إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى وَاسْتَثْنَوْا فَيَعُودُونَ إِلَيْهِ وَهُوَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ حِينَ تَرَكُوهُ فَيَحْفِرُونَهُ وَيَخْرُجُونَ عَلَى النَّاسِ فَيَنْشِفُونَ الْمَاءَ وَيَتَحَصَّنُ النَّاسُ مِنْهُمْ فِي حُصُونِهِمْ فَيَرْمُونَ بِسِهَامِهِمْ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَتَرْجِعُ عَلَيْهَا الدَّمُ الَّذِي اجْفَظَّ فَيَقُولُونَ قَهَرْنَا أَهْلَ الأَرْضِ وَعَلَوْنَا أَهْلَ السَّمَاءِ فَيَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ نَغَفًا فِي أَقْفَائِهِمْ فَيَقْتُلُهُمْ بِهَا ‏”‏

    Abu ‘Isa al-Tirmidhi says: Azhar ibn Marwan narrated to us from ‘Abd al-‘A’la from Sa’id from Qatadah, from Abu Rafi’ that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

    “Gog and Magog dig the barrier every day until, when they can almost see the rays of the sun, the one in charge of them says: “Go back and we will dig it tomorrow.” Then Allah puts it back, stronger than it was before. (This will continue) until, when their time has come, and Allah wants to send them against the people, they will dig until they can almost see the rays of the sun, then the one who is in charge of them will say: “Go back, and we will dig it tomorrow if Allah wills.’ So they will say: “If Allah wills.” Then they will come back to it and it will be as they left it. So they will dig and will come out to the people, and they will drink all the water. The people will fortify themselves against them in their fortresses. They will shoot their arrows towards the sky and they will come back with blood on them, and they will say: “We have defeated the people of earth and dominated the people of heaven.” Then Allah will send a worm in the napes of their necks and will kill them thereby.'” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the beasts of the earth will grow fat on their flesh.”

    Now, although I think the Quran and the hadith in the Sahihayn can be interpreted more openly, I think this hadith weakens your case, I also noticed the same thing after my own research. Of course one could say there is a delay between the phrases “they will come out to the people” and “they will drink all the water” but this is nowhere in the hadith itself. Hence the interpretation would be weak.

    I think the only real way to solve the issue is to look at the grading of the hadith. Ibn Kathir says in his tafsir of 18:97-98 that this hadith is mu`allal (defective) and he thinks it is the statement of Ka’b ibn Ahbar, as the same narration was narrated from him without attribution to the Prophet (ﷺ). Ibn Kathir further mentions that Abu Hurayrah and Ka’b used to sit together often so it is possible that Abu Hurayrah got this narration from Ka’b and that later narrators ascribed it to the Prophet (ﷺ). Ibn Kathir also notes that the hadith in his opinion contradicts the clear ayah of the Quran that states that Gog and Magog were not able to dig through the barrier, though you talked about this in your post.

    There are also interesting modern discussions on the hadith, for example here: http://www.dr-hakem.com/Portals/Content/?info=TlRRMUpsTjFZbEJoWjJVbU1RPT0rdQ==.jsp that basically build a good case that this hadith is mursal, as Qatadah never heard a hadith from Abu Rafi’ according to authorities.

    Anyway, just wanted to bring this to your attention. I honestly think that the hadith does not support the idea of there being a delay between their emergence and their death as mentioned elsewhere. The above hadith seems to make it explicit that they will be killed very soon after their release, which is after the descent of ‘Isa (عليه سلم)

    One quick question: Could you elaborate on your interpretation on Surah 21:97-98 and how you see the destruction of the city being a CONSEQUENCE of the release of Gog and Magog?

    May Allah reward you abundantly.

    • وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته – جزاك اللهُ خيراً

      I am aware of the Hadith you quoted and the criticism as well. However, even if the Hadith is Sahih, it should not be problematic. The one you quoted has nothing about Eisa (عليه السلام) but we know that Yajuj wa Majuj would be killed after he makes the Dua. This narration may not be verbatim words of Rasoolullah (ﷺ) but paraphrasing of the message behind it i.e. the events that would take place and this particular narration misses out a lot of events.

      If you notice the words of the entire narration and especially this part: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the beasts of the earth will grow fat on their flesh.” The Hadith starts with quoting Rasoolullah (ﷺ) and then there is an addition “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said”. There was no need for this additional “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said”; however, since it is there, it means that the Sahabi was narrating bits and pieces of his (ﷺ) statements in one go. Rasoolullah (ﷺ) did not necessary say them in one paragraph but a number of different sayings on the same topic are quoted in one passage. This way, things to occur immediately are not necessary. Allah knows best.

      Furthermore, I posted the Hadith about Da’ood (عليه السلام) to make the point as well. All these above in addition to this Hadith makes our case stronger I believe (ان شاء الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ).

      You said: “Quran and the hadith in the Sahihayn can be interpreted more openly”. Actually this entire piece is something I would like to consider apparent reading of the text without delving into interpretation. The apparent, literal reading of the text enables us to reach at this conclusion; even the other widely held view that Y&M would come out in billions and trillions from somewhere underground between the mountains is based on apparent, literal reading. My point is that both the views are based on the text without resorting to interpretation. Allah knows best.

      21:97 has been misused by a lot of people who have come up with weird theories. “And there is prohibition upon [the people of] a city which We have destroyed”. People destroyed are those who have perished and these perished, killed, dead people will not return back to life “Until when Gog and Magog have been opened”. This could mean one of two things 1) Dead people would come back to life when Yajuj wa Majuj appear, or 2) Dead people would come back to life after the Day of Judgment which would occur immediately after the emergence and attack of Yajuj wa Majuj. Ahadith, statements of Sahaba, Tafaseer, and even logic and common sense dictate that option 2 is the right option. Allah knows best.

      • السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

        Sorry for the late reply, just wanted to add some thoughts and comment on your response.

        You said: “This narration may not be verbatim words of Rasoolullah (ﷺ) but paraphrasing of the message behind it i.e. the events that would take place and this particular narration misses out a lot of events.”

        While I agree that the narration could indeed be seen as paraphrasing, it seems to narrate events in a chronological order and again seems to imply that the release of Ya’juj and Ma’juj is followed immediately by the events described after. I suppose the most we could say is that both interpretations could apply.

        However, we would need to look into other narrations on the issue and see if this narration does indeed leave events out. If such was the case then your proposal could be strengthened, However upon cursory reading of other ahadith on the issue, they all seem to more or less say the same things (Ya’juj and Ma’juj will emerge after ‘Isa (عليه السلام) kills the Dajjal, they will drink the water they come across near lake Tiberius, the Muslims will fortify themselves, Ya’juj and Ma’juj will cause havoc and kill people on earth and then shoot their weapons to the sky, then ‘Isa (عليه السلام) will make a du’a and Ya’juj and Ma’juj will be killed by worms, after which rain will come and wash their remains away, all of this is close to the Hour). Hence the narration seems to just be repeating what the other ahadith say and the case of paraphrasing is weakened.

        You made a good point regarding the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ) at the end of the narration, however this does not necessitate that Abu Hurayrah was narrating bits and pieces of what the Prophet (ﷺ) had said previously. It could simply be an addition and it is clearly a follow-up to the statement about the death of Ya’juj and Ma’juj since animals will also eat them, this is what the hadith seems to suggest.

        You also brought the hadith regarding how Hajj will continue after the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj and said that this could be used to support the idea that Ya’juj and Ma’juj will attack in stages. While I agree partly here I would also remind you that the sahih ahadith mention that after ‘Isa (عليه السلام) kills the Dajjal, humanity will flourish again and there will be universal peace for as long as Allah wills. Then right before the Hour the Ka’ba will be destroyed by a man from Ethiopia. Hence these narrations could be interpreted both ways.

        You also brought the narration where ‘Isa (عليه السلام) talks about his descent. He refers to Ya’juj and Ma’juj coming down from every hill like the Quran says in 21:96. This ayah, if understood with the context of the prophecy of ‘Isa (عليه السلام) means that Ya’juj and Ma’juj will come down from every hill when they are let loose (ie. after ‘Isa (عليه السلام) descends). I suppose one could interpret the words ” and they, from every elevation, descend” as to referring to multiple events (ie. when the barrier was first broken and a second time after ‘Isa (عليه السلام) descends. However there is no support for this in the Quran and Sunnah. *isa (عليه السلام) seems to refer to only one such event.

        Final point: Do you know the authenticity of the hadith you referred to from Musnad Ahmad where it was stated that Muslims will fight Ya’juj and Ma’juj? This is very interesting and if it is indeed authentic I think it would strengthen the case you are making considerably.

        In closing, my dear brother, my intention is not to challenge you. But it is important we discuss our interpretations critically so that they will also stand the criticism of non-Muslims when we present such interpretations.

        May Allah bless you.

      • واعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته،

        Yes, chronology is indeed there. My point is that since the narrator (and not Abu Hurayra) added that additional line that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, he chose to add it near the end as that separate statement fits this context. It is possible that the narrator (or even Abu Hurayra) put up the sequence from a number of isolated or other statements of Rasoolullah (ﷺ) and when you put together the entire chain of events, the events do appear to be immediate but as you said ‘both interpretations could apply’. However, as I said, this narration actually does leave events out; this particular one does not mention Eisa (عليه السلام) and that after ‘his’ Du’a, Y&M would be destroyed.

        I quoted the Hadith of Da’ood (عليه السلام) for the time duration not being immediate. Here is another:

        By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Maryam will SHORTLY DESCEND amongst you people.

        So even if we ignore all this analysis behind the Hadith, we still have proof that immediate sequence does not necessarily mean very soon as per our standards and a few centuries can also be considered very soon in greater context.

        Regarding Hajj, the narrations mention that it will continue even after the ’emergence’ of Y&M which would imply that they would be alive and Hajj would continue to take place during that time.

        Now, about the narration where Isa (عليه السلام) talks about his descent, yes Y&M will come down from every hill and that incident would be their major, final attack. This particular Ayah and Hadith do not state that it would be in stages; we get the stages bit from elsewhere; this Ayah and Hadith mention that when they emerge after the return of Isa (عليه السلام), they would come down from every hill.

        The Musnad Ahmad Hadith is doubted by some but giant scholars have authenticated it as well. Ibn Kathir has also used it in his book of the end and that is sufficient for me.

        I appreciate your feedback a lot.

        جزاك الله خيرا.

    • Jazakallahukhairan brother.I used to be confused about this whole story of zul-qarnain,gog and magog but now,alhamdulilah,i am clear about it now.May Allah(s.w.t)increase you in knowledge(ameen)

  2. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    I think we can agree on your interpretation of the hadith in Sunan ibn Majah and Tirmidhi. Alternatively, the hadith could be inauthentic as mentioned by some scholars. What can be said is that the interpretation is unclear whether it is authentic or not.

    As for the issue of Hajj and it continuing after the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, again, I think that the text is not conclusive as the hadith uses the same word (khuruj) as the other ahadith that speak of their emergence. Hence it could refer to a time in the past or it could refer to the future appearance/emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj. However this hadith has no evidence as to if Ya’juj and Ma’juj are out already unless one interprets it to refer to a past event.

    I just wanted to say with regards to your statement: “this Ayah and Hadith mention that when they emerge after the return of Isa (عليه السلام), they would come down from every hill.” But the ayah says that they will do this AFTER they are released, imo the ayah seems to again indicate immediate descent after their release. Maybe I’m just too deeply steeped in pre-modern opinions so trying to accept newer ones is more difficult. Though I have to admit that the ayah is not completely explicit as to if their descent is immediately after or after a period of time.

    In conclusion, I think this issue is definitely something we should think about, I’ve seen a lot of Muslims confused over this matter over polemics from apostates like The Masked Arab and just general confusion as the classical opinion has always been that the wall will remain until their emergence. Even today most Salafi scholars maintain that the wall is still intact. However your post is very good in proving that this opinion is not conclusive.

    Anyway, speaking of classical opinions, I’d love to see your take on either interpretations on Quranic chronology of creation of the universe as the classical opinion is that the earth was created before the heaven. I’ve blogged about this myself but I’ve done a lot more thinking since then and I might write more about it myself, but I’d be very interested in reading your interpretation on the ayat of creation of the universe and how they should be read. Currently I’m thinking of understanding ‘earth’ in 41:9 to refer to the origin of the earth (ie. matter/energy) just like how Allah called Adam the origin of man and called us Adam in 7:11.

    Another topic (and one much more rarely addressed) is a response to recent Christian polemics on the Quran, namely that the Quran has a historical error because it says that Thamud lived in the region of al-Hijr, and Allah speaks of their houses. However since all the buildings we have today in the region (namely Mada’in Salih) are from the Nabatean period. The issue is complicated because the Prophet (ﷺ) is said to had been stopping there once and he referred to the buildings as the dwellings of Thamud. I’ve thought about this myself for a few months and haven’t really managed to solve the issue until now.

    Some forum posts for reference if you’re interested in tackling this:



    May Allah bless you.

    PS: I recently finished my article on Dhu al-Qarnayn and the supposed borrowing from the Syriac Alexander Legend. You might want to have a read as it’s somehow related to this article. Obviously one could discuss the identity of Dhu al-Qarnayn further but that’s a whole other issue.

    Let me know what you think.


    • واعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

      I went through your site earlier and it is really good (ما شاء الله). I have written a piece on six days of creation here: https://qurananswers.me/2013/12/22/six-days-of-creation/ (comments below are directly relevant). I also discuss briefly the Alexander legends here (in point 6): https://qurananswers.me/2015/12/03/dhul-qarnayn-and-the-muddy-spring/ Your piece is really good (ما شاء الله) and I have linked it there.

      To be honest, I haven’t really read about the Thamud argument but I will tackle it (إن شاء الله). Right now I’m working on plural pronouns and have some Tawhid contradiction allegations next lined up. Following that, I will surely address this argument (إن شاء الله).

  3. Assalam o alaikum brother adeel and alfinlandi
    above is a great example of your knowledge of the subject, however, i would love to direct your attention to the concept/hypothesis developed by Shaikh Imran Hosien on the subject. His explanations, translations and interpretations are so connected and harmonized that with the knowledge I possess with the grace of Allah (SWT) it is very hard to reject yet it gives a feeling of having the puzzle solved without having any problem with any ayah or hadith.

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  5. Salamun alaikum,

    the hadiths where Jesus(s) himself talks about Gog and Magog are weak. And so are the ones describing them as Turks. It could also be that by the Turks the Khazars are meant, not the Mongols. The Muslims and Khazars had a long ongoing confluct with each other. Interestingly, our Prophet(s) prohibited the offensive Jihad against them together with the Abyssinians, a widely neglected hadith these days…

    And: Again, compare the the other versions of the Hadith with the 999 out of 1000 going to hell and you will see that Gog and Magog are not mentioned at all. This makes more sense for he later compares the belivers in relation to the unbelievers with an one hair of the Ox. The 999 are the disbelievers!

    Again, we don’t know for sure if -whatever Gog and Magog are- they will appear after the death of Dajjal, because the textes saying so are questionable. I don’t deny this great sign, for it is mentioned in the Quran.

    God(swt) knows best!

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  8. This is very interesting may Allah guide us to the truth, frankly I don’t understand why has this matter not been settled already between the scholars as the subject of future events put forth by the Qur’an and sunna are clear and absolute, as for matters of different interpretations they ought to be settled through the whole context of chronology by extensive research and consensus between the scholars of the Umma. Thank you very much and may Allah bless our efforts to seek from his knowledge.

    • So one may conclude that Y&M may be out or not biased on different interpretations, yet it matters not which interpretation is correct because of the whole lots events mentioned by the prophet peace be upon him that have to occur before Y&M finally come out as mentioned in the Qur’an and sunna to destroy humanity, so in conclusion the other events of the great wars and the arrival of the Mahdi is of first significance that trumps any other interpretations of Y&M.

  9. Salam ‘Alaykum,
    About the idea that the barrier of Gog and Magog has already been destroyed: doesn’t it seem like this was promoted to deal with the embarrassment resulting from our not being able to find the barrier?
    “Where is it?” ask the Christian missionaries, and we have no convincing answer at all.
    Now consider the famous hadith which says that an evil has “drawn near to the Arabs”, and comments that a hole has been created in the barrier of Gog and Magog, What could the evil mean here, other than the eschatological attack of Gog and Magog? If this is correct, then the mention of the barrier, in this context, indicates that this final attack will take place after the barrier has been breached — the hole made therein means that the Gog and Magog will find it easier to break through, and so indicates that the time of their final outbreak has drawn nigh.
    This doesn’t have to mean that they are present at the barrier all along — the hole already made in the barrier might be due to seismic activity: whereas before, the Gog and Magog could not break through, in the future they will be able to break through, because the mountains joined by the barrier may well have shifted over time as a result of tectonic forces. The barrier gets weaker over time as a result of these seismic shifts and tectonic plate movements; when the Gog and Magog are brought forth again, and re-appear at the same place, and once again try to breach the barrier, they can do what they were not able to do during the time of Dhu’l-Qarnayn: break through. That signals their final assault on mankind.
    Allah knows best!

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  12. As salaam alaykum akhi

    Maasha Allah. You did a very great job.
    My question is that:
    If the barrier was broken, I think they should come out all together with full force the day it was broken. What hold others back ? Why are they coming out gradually when we know they are all waiting for the day it will be broken ?

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