Sequence of Dajjal’s arrival: After conquest of Rome or Constantinople?

When it comes to end times prophecies, we tend to equate them to our times and use modern terminology as equivalents. If the basic understanding is flawed, then the modern terminology based understanding would be even worse. This essay discusses certain Hadiths about Rome and Romans pertaining to end times.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

‏ تَغْزُونَ جَزِيرَةَ الْعَرَبِ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ فَارِسَ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ تَغْزُونَ الرُّومَ فَيَفْتَحُهَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ تَغْزُونَ الدَّجَّالَ فَيَفْتَحُهُ اللَّهُ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَقَالَ نَافِعٌ يَا جَابِرُ لاَ نَرَى الدَّجَّالَ يَخْرُجُ حَتَّى تُفْتَحَ الرُّومُ

You will attack Arabia and Allah will enable you to conquer it, then you would attack Persia and He would make you to Conquer it. Then you would attack Rome and Allah will enable you to conquer it, then you would attack the Dajjal and Allah will enable you to conquer him. Nafi’ said: Jabir, we thought that the Dajjal would appear after Rome (Syrian territories) would be conquered.[1]

Based on the Hadith, the sequence is very clear. Lands that would come under Muslim rule would be Arabia (already happened), Persia (already happened), Rome (not yet happened) and then the appearance of Dajjal would take place (not yet happened). Therefore, a sign of Dajjal is that Muslims would conquer Rome.

The Rome in question is what has confused some people. They believe that Constantinople, which became Istanbul, was Byzantium and was conquered and hence, Dajjal should have arrived by now. This misconception is clarified by the Prophet (ﷺ) himself when Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-‘As (رضي الله عنه) asked him:

 أي المدينتين تفتح أولا قسطنطينية أو رومية؟ فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لا بل مدينة هرقل أولا ـ يعني القسطنطينية.

“which of the two cities will be conquered first – Constantinople or Rome?” and the Prophet (ﷺ) replied: “The city of Heraclius (Constantinople) will be conquered first”.[2]

So Dajjal has to appear after the conquest of what was the Roman empire i.e. further North-West of Constantinople. Byzantine was also a part of the great Roman empire; leadership and capitals changed over time. During the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the Sahaba (رضي الله عنهم), the Roman empire was Constantinople, the areas North-West of it (what is now Europe) and areas in modern Middle East under their control i.e. the greater Syria (what are now Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan). Therefore, some of the Sahaba who had not heard of these Hadiths before {the city of Heraclius (Constantinople) will be conquered first} and {Dajjal would appear after Rome would be conquered} thought that Dajjal would appear after the Muslim conquest of parts of the Roman empire i.e. the Syrian territories. Moreover, the companion Jabir (رضي الله عنه) said that they thought previously and changed their understanding when they got to know the full picture.

Now there are narrations that confuse some readers in terms of the understanding derived above.

لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يَنْزِلَ الرُّومُ بِالأَعْمَاقِ أَوْ بِدَابِقَ فَيَخْرُجُ إِلَيْهِمْ جَيْشٌ مِنَ الْمَدِينَةِ مِنْ خِيَارِ أَهْلِ الأَرْضِ يَوْمَئِذٍ فَإِذَا تَصَافُّوا قَالَتِ الرُّومُ خَلُّوا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ سَبَوْا مِنَّا نُقَاتِلْهُمْ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ لاَ وَاللَّهِ لاَ نُخَلِّي بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَانِنَا ‏.‏ فَيُقَاتِلُونَهُمْ فَيَنْهَزِمُ ثُلُثٌ لاَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَبَدًا وَيُقْتَلُ ثُلُثُهُمْ أَفْضَلُ الشُّهَدَاءِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَيَفْتَتِحُ الثُّلُثُ لاَ يُفْتَنُونَ أَبَدًا فَيَفْتَتِحُونَ قُسْطُنْطِينِيَّةَ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ يَقْتَسِمُونَ الْغَنَائِمَ قَدْ عَلَّقُوا سُيُوفَهُمْ بِالزَّيْتُونِ إِذْ صَاحَ فِيهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِنَّ الْمَسِيحَ قَدْ خَلَفَكُمْ فِي أَهْلِيكُمْ ‏.‏ فَيَخْرُجُونَ وَذَلِكَ بَاطِلٌ فَإِذَا جَاءُوا الشَّأْمَ خَرَجَ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ يُعِدُّونَ لِلْقِتَالِ يُسَوُّونَ الصُّفُوفَ إِذْ أُقِيمَتِ الصَّلاَةُ فَيَنْزِلُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ فَأَمَّهُمْ فَإِذَا رَآهُ عَدُوُّ اللَّهِ ذَابَ كَمَا يَذُوبُ الْمِلْحُ فِي الْمَاءِ فَلَوْ تَرَكَهُ لاَنْذَابَ حَتَّى يَهْلِكَ وَلَكِنْ يَقْتُلُهُ اللَّهُ بِيَدِهِ فَيُرِيهِمْ دَمَهُ فِي حَرْبَتِهِ

The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them). When they will arrange themselves in ranks, the Romans would say: Do not stand between us and those (Muslims) who took prisoners from amongst us. Let us fight with them; and the Muslims would say: Nay, by Allah, we would never get aside from you and from our brethren that you may fight them. They will then fight and a third (part) of the army would run away, whom Allah will never forgive. A third (part of the army). which would be constituted of excellent martyrs in Allah’s eye, would be killed and the third who would never be put to trial would win and they would be conquerors of Constantinople. And as they would be busy in distributing the spoils of war (amongst themselves) after hanging their swords by the olive trees, the Satan would cry: “The Dajjal has taken your place among your family”. They would then come out, but it would be of no avail. And when they would come to Syria, he would come out while they would be still preparing themselves for battle drawing up the ranks. Certainly, the time of prayer shall come and then Issa (عليه السلام) son of Maryam would descend and would lead them in prayer. When the enemy of Allah would see him, it would (disappear) just as the salt dissolves itself in water and if he (Issa) were not to confront them at all, even then it would dissolve completely, but Allah would kill them by his hand and he would show them their blood on his lance.[3]

From the Hadith, it appears that a large number of converts to Islam would have been demanded by the Romans.

We have already established above that the conquest of Constantinople and Rome are different. However, this Hadith says that Dajjal would come after Constantinople has been conquered. How do we reconcile it?

It has been established as a fact that Dajjal would appear after the conquest of Rome and that conquest is other than the conquest of Syrian territories and Constantinople; the conquest of Rome refers to the areas North-West of Constantinople.

The following Hadith is interesting:

سَمِعْتُمْ بِمَدِينَةٍ جَانِبٌ مِنْهَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَجَانِبٌ مِنْهَا فِي الْبَحْرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا نَعَمْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يَغْزُوَهَا سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا مِنْ بَنِي إِسْحَاقَ فَإِذَا جَاءُوهَا نَزَلُوا فَلَمْ يُقَاتِلُوا بِسِلاَحٍ وَلَمْ يَرْمُوا بِسَهْمٍ قَالُوا لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ ‏.‏ فَيَسْقُطُ أَحَدُ جَانِبَيْهَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ ثَوْرٌ لاَ أَعْلَمُهُ إِلاَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ الَّذِي فِي الْبَحْرِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُوا الثَّانِيَةَ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ ‏.‏ فَيَسْقُطُ جَانِبُهَا الآخَرُ ثُمَّ يَقُولُوا الثَّالِثَةَ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ ‏.‏ فَيُفَرَّجُ لَهُمْ فَيَدْخُلُوهَا فَيَغْنَمُوا فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ يَقْتَسِمُونَ الْمَغَانِمَ إِذْ جَاءَهُمُ الصَّرِيخُ فَقَالَ إِنَّ الدَّجَّالَ قَدْ خَرَجَ ‏.‏ فَيَتْرُكُونَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ وَيَرْجِعُونَ

You have heard about a city the one side of which is in the land and the other is in the sea. They said: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), yes. Thereupon he said: The Last Hour would not come unless seventy thousand persons from Bani Ishaq would attack it. When they would land there, they will neither fight with weapons nor would shower arrows but would only say: “There is no god but Allah and Allah is the Greatest,” and one side of it would fall. Thaur (one of the narrators) said: I think that he said: The part by the side of the ocean. Then they would say for the second time: “There is no god but Allah and Allah is the Greatest” and the second side would also fall, and they would say: “There is no god but Allah and Allah is the Greatest,” and the gates would be opened for them and they would enter therein and, they would be collecting spoils of war and distributing them amongst themselves when a noise would be heard saying: Verily, Dajjal has come. And thus they would leave everything there and go back. [4]

In this particular Hadith and the one quoted before, we find many similarities but there is one major difference in both as well. In the first one, Constantinople would be taken by the Muslims after heavy fighting as the Hadith says: third (part of the army) which would be constituted of excellent martyrs in Allah’s eye; this indicates that there would be heavy fighting. However, in the second one quoted above, we see that {they will neither fight with weapons nor would shower arrows}. This may appear to be another contradiction and we have two things to reconcile; 1) would the Muslims conquer Constantinople or Rome, and 2) would the Muslims conquer with a fight or without?

The answer is that when the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq (modern day Turkish Syrian border), they (Romans) might occupy Constantinople alongside their landing at these places before fighting the Muslims coming out of Madina and possibly also Syria. Alternatively, it could be that Romans may occupy Constantinople much before landing at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. So, when the Muslims would defeat them, they would take back Constantinople after heavy fighting and chase them all the way to take over entire Rome as well (i.e. the areas North-West of Constantinople) without any fight. In this way, Constantinople and Rome would both be conquered by the Muslims.

This way Constantinople, which is under Muslim control, may fall from the hands of the Muslims before being taken back. In Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 43, the Prophet (ﷺ) mentions that Iraq, Syria, and Egypt would be captured by the Romans and he also said “you would recoil to that position from where you started” and he repeated this thrice. This last statement indicates that it would not only be Iraq, Syria, and Egypt but Muslims would suffer heavy setbacks and go back in time as if they have to start all over again. The fall of Constantinople, as understood from other Hadiths, fits right into this Hadith as well.

Indeed, Allah () knows the best.

Related reading: Who and where are the Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog)? Has their barrier been broken? | Contentions against Islamic end times prophecies | Are Hadiths Anti-Semitic? There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him!

References and Footnotes:

[1] Saheeh Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 50

[2] Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 508. Also, see Musnad Ahmad, and As-Silsilah as-Sahihah, vol. 1

[3] Sahih Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 44

[4] Sahih al-Muslim, Book 54, Hadith 99

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2 thoughts on “Sequence of Dajjal’s arrival: After conquest of Rome or Constantinople?

  1. Pingback: Will caliphate return before the Mahdi? | Qur'anic misconceptions addressed

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