The ruling on whether the Dajjaal's donkey is real or metaphorical
Fatwa No: 314212

  • Fatwa Date:15-2-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 7, 1437
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. If Allaah did not help the disbeliever/sinner/unjust in the past, will He help them today? Fir'awn (the Pharaoh) and Namrood used all the available resources to claim divinity in the past, will the Dajjaal be provided with his vehicle - i.e. a weird and powerful donkey, as mentioned in the hadiths - by Allah to help him spread afflictions? Or is this donkey a metaphorical donkey? As in the past, a prophecy mentioned below had come true, and the people then knew that the longest hand was the symbol of practicing charity. Sahih Bukhari Hadith no: 501 says that Aa'ishah related that some of the wives of the Prophet asked him, "Who amongst us will be the first to follow you (i.e. die after you)?" He said, "Whoever has the longest hand." So they started measuring their hands with a stick, and Sauda's hand turned out to be the longest. (When Zainab bint Jahsh died first of all in the caliphate of 'Umar), we came to know that the long hand was a symbol of practicing charity, so she was the first to follow the Prophet, and she used to love to practice charity. (Sauda died later in the caliphate of Mu'aawiyah).

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Allaah, The Exalted, helps the disbeliever as part of the trial for him and not for the purpose of honoring him. He puts the disbeliever to trial and makes him a source of trial for others so as to distinguish the believer from the disbeliever and the truthful from the liar. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you (for the cause of Allaah) and the patient, and We will test your affairs.} [Quran 47:31]

An example of such help is what Allaah gives to the Dajjaal and other disbelievers unto the Day of Judgment.

Perhaps you are referring to the long hadeeth cited by Imaam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him about the Dajjaal, a part of which reads, "... and he has a donkey that he rides, the width between its ears is 40 cubits." This hadeeth's chain of narration is authentic, as stated by Shuʻayb Al-Arnaa’oot  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in his revision of Musnad Ahmad.

In principle, the Islamic terminology in religious texts is interpreted according to the literal meaning unless proven otherwise by a contextual or any other evidence. No scholar held that the hadeeth refers to a metaphorical donkey and not an actual one. Therefore, this means that the Dajjaal will be riding a real donkey, as described in the hadeeth, which indicates that it will be distinguished from usual donkeys as is clear from the measurement of its ears, let alone the rest of its body. This is similar to the description of Al-Buraaq that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, rode during the night journey of Al-Israa'. The span of its step was described in the hadeeth that reads, "It places its hoof where its range of vision ends." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Indeed, nothing is to be classified as odd or impossible when it comes to the infinite power of Allaah. He says (what means):

- {...Indeed, Allaah is over all things competent.} [Quran 2:20]

- {...But Allaah is not to be caused failure by anything in the heavens or on the earth. Indeed, He is ever Knowing and Competent.} [Quran 35:44]

It was made clear that the words of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, in the hadeeth to which you referred (Whoever has the longest hand) were intended in the figurative sense; otherwise, the literal meaning would have been declared  to be the intended meaning in this hadeeth by scholars, according to the basic principle as we mentioned above.

Allaah knows best.

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