4.3.2. Jesus Christ and the Mahdi

4.3.2. Jesus Christ and the Mahdi

Unlike Christian eschatology, which is populated by a single messianic figure in the person of Jesus Christ, in the Islamic one there are two messianic figures with similar roles: Isa (Jesus, the son of Mary) and the Mahdi.

The first, Isa, was an important prophet, but his mission and teachings only foreshadowed – and at the moment they complement – the true teachings received by Muhammad. According to lots of hadiths, at a moment known only by Allah, Isa will return in a physical and visible way, concurrently with the advent of the eschatological entity the Mahdi and shortly after the rise of al-Dajjal. Jesus will descend to the earth from the clouds of heaven, will guide the righteous through the power of Allah, will kill al-Dajjal, will put an end to all wars and will establish an era of peace and prosperity. Jesus will perform the role of the Messiah (mahdi), but only as an apostle of God.

The second, the Mahdi (or Mehdi – the “Guided One”), is a controversial messianic entity. The Sunni doctrine still debates if the idea of the Mahdi is an invention with political tint or he is indeed Muhammad’s successor who is yet to come.40 The concept is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran and in the Sunni hadiths such as the famous Sahih Al-Bukhari; these

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4.3.1. Al-Dajjal (the Antichrist)

4.3. THE SIGNS OF THE END

4.3.1. Al-Dajjal (the Antichrist)

Muslims also expect the advent of the Antichrist, whom they name the “Great Deceiver” or the “Impostor Messiah” (Romanized Arabic: Al-Masikh al-Dajjal). The (Romanized) Arabic word dajjal means “to deceive” and it is used in religious contexts to designate false prophets or messiahs. Muhammad said that there will be around 30 dajjals ("antichrists") (Sahih Al-Bukhari 9:237). But Al-Masikh al-Dajjal, written with definite article and capital letter, refers to the “Imposter,” the Antichrist, a unique cunning entity, who will be the last and most powerful of antichrists. He will appear toward the end of civilization, before Judgment Day, will defy God and will make a deceiving interpretation of the scriptures. He will speak beautifully and will fool the world to follow his teachings, saying that Hell is Heaven and vice versa (Sahih Al-Bukhari 4:554). He will appear pretending he is the Jewish messiah and the returned Jesus Christ, but the real Jesus will descend from heaven and will kill him (Sahih Muslim 7023).

Al-Dajjal is believed to appear somewhere between Syria and Iraq, approximately at the same time with the return of Isa (Jesus) on the clouds of heaven and the coming of the Mahdi. Al-Dajjal will travel the entire world preaching his false teachings, but Allah will forbid him to enter Mecca and Medina (Sahih Al-Bukhari 3:105). The hadiths offer details regarding the look and the actions of al-Dajjal, so that he can be identified by believers:

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3.2. The central point of Christian eschatology: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

3.2. THE CENTRAL POINT OF CHRISTIAN ESCHATOLOGY: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

Much of the Christian doctrine was conceived during the dark times of the Roman persecution and of the Middle Ages. Therefore, the dominant Christian point of view depicts a human order deeply and hopelessly wrong, decadent, beyond human powers of correction. Yet, the end of the world is not a divine punishment for the sins of humanity, but its salvation from self-destruction and the hope of a better world; it is not an apogee of God’s anger and retribution, but the fulfillment of the love story between God, the Creator, and mankind, his Creation.

According to the Book of Genesis, the existing human order was born out of sin. When Adam and Eve, the primordial people, bit the fruit of knowledge, they disobeyed God’s commandment, they committed a sin and were banished from Paradise to the earth. As a result, the relation between Creator and Creation became disharmonious; the Creation came to experience good and evil, took an unstable nature and started to suffer transformations. The committing of original sin led to the perpetuation of the dual knowledge toward the descendants of the primordial couple and the birth of a world dominated by spiritual and material instability. Good and evil became defining parts of man, every moment of his life being

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