In his book Islamic Antichrist, Joel Richardson compares the Islamic version of Jesus (Isa) to the biblical False Prophet. As previously noted, his theory is that a fake Muslim Jesus who calls himself Isa will appear in the future and his real identity will be the False Prophet of Revelation 13. Richardson provides a list of four main similarities between Isa and the False Prophet. I will discuss each in the order they appear in his book.
The first similarity Richardson proposes is that Isa has a partnership with the Mahdi in the same way that the False Prophet has a partnership with the Antichrist. Since Richardson believes the Mahdi is the Antichrist, he also believes that Isa must be the False Prophet, based on the belief that Isa and the Mahdi are said to have a partnership of some kind.
Is Isa Subordinate to the Mahdi?
In order to make the partnership of Isa and the Mahdi look anything like the Antichrist and False Prophet, Richardson and others need to convince their readers that Isa will actually be subordinate to the Mahdi in the same way the False Prophet is subordinate to the Antichrist. The problem with this idea is that, despite Islamic Antichrist theorists constantly saying Isa is subordinate to the Mahdi, many Islamic sources vehemently disagree and maintain it is actually Isa who outranks the Mahdi, not the other way around.
They have very good reasons for saying this. The first is an important doctrine in the Quran that says prophets outrank all other created beings.
“The statement of Allah Most High after naming numerous prophets, ‘each one We preferred above all beings.’” (6:86)
In his commentary, Imam Baydawi said of this verse: “There is proof in this for their superiority over those other than them from among created things.”
This idea is confirmed several times in the hadiths:
“The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Allah selected my companions over all created things apart from the messengers and prophets.’”
Since Isa is a prophet in Islam, and the Mahdi is only an Imam and a Caliph, Isa outranks the Mahdi. This is not my opinion; it is the common understanding of the relationship between the Mahdi and Isa by the majority of Muslims.1
This should also be quite obvious from the hadiths previously discussed in this book. For example, we have seen that it is Isa who destroys the Dajjal, executes judgment on the world, defeats Gog and Magog (through prayer), and rules the world after the Mahdi serves his role. This is clearly a more exalted set of tasks when compared to the Mahdi, who fights regular wars with human enemies and achieves temporary peace and prosperity.
So what kind of arguments do Islamic Antichrist theorists like Joel Richardson make to support the Mahdi outranking Isa? They point to the hadiths that describe Isa allowing the Mahdi to pray a ritualistic prayer before the battle with the Dajjal. They claim that when Isa allows the Mahdi to pray this prayer, it is essentially the same as saying the Mahdi is of a higher rank than Isa.
Here is the hadith in question:
“This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari that I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘A group of my Ummah will fight for the truth until near the day of judgment when Jesus, the son of Mary, will descend, and the leader of them will ask him to lead the prayer, but Jesus declines, saying: “No, Verily, among you Allah has made leaders for others and He has bestowed his bounty upon them.”’”
A prominent Islamic theology website2 makes the following points when discussing this hadith:
“The fact that our liege-lord `Isa (Allah bless him) was offered to lead [the prayer] indicates that people understood his superiority over all others.”
“These very narrations indicate the reason for our liege-lord `Isa’s (Allah bless him) refusal to lead prayer when offered to do so, namely to show how Allah has honored the community of Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Thus, when requested to lead he will reply, ‘No, for some of you are leaders upon others out of Allah’s honoring this community.’” [Muslim]
Basically what is being pictured here is the Mahdi asking Isa to lead the prayer since he understood Isa’s general superiority over him, but Isa refuses on the grounds that the Mahdi is the leader of the men who are present.
It should be noted that certain sections of Shite Muslims, which constitute about 10 to 20 percent of Muslims,3 do in fact take this passage to mean the Mahdi is superior to Isa. Because of this, I will not state too strongly what Muslims believe about the relationship between Isa and the Mahdi. However, I will say that Richardson and others who tell Christians that Muslims believe Isa is subordinate to the Mahdi are at best only talking about 20 percent of the Muslim population. As we have seen, there are good arguments to support the Sunni position, such as Isa ruling the world after the Mahdi; Isa, not the Mahdi, destroying the Dajjal and Gog-Magog; the contextual evidence that shows the Mahdi offered the prayer to Isa first; and the Quran passages which state that prophets are always superior to non-prophets.
The most important similarity that Richardson makes when talking about the “unholy partnership” is that Isa is subordinate to the Mahdi in the same way the False Prophet is subordinate to the Antichrist. If that premise is called into question—which I very much think it should be—then the rest of this theory about the supposed similarities between Isa and the False Prophet or the Mahdi and the Antichrist is on thin ice.
The next similarity between Isa and the False Prophet, suggested by Richardson, is that both are enforcers of the orders from their leader. In the case of the False Prophet, this is more or less true. The False Prophet institutes the mark of the beast system and carries out its implementation (Revelation 13:16–17). He is also the one who sets up the “image of the beast” which the world is forced to worship (Revelation 13:14–15). Finally, he is clearly doing all these things so the Antichrist, not himself, will be glorified (Revelation 13:12).
It is only when Richardson tries to show that Isa is “the Mahdi’s chief enforcer” that I must disagree. Despite the relevant section in his book being titled “The Muslim Jesus as the Mahdi’s Chief Enforcer,” he doesn’t offer a single argument to prove this. Instead he shows that Isa is an enforcer of Islam in general when he becomes the ruler of the world. For example, he cites that Isa is said to convert Christians to Islam, abolish the Jizyah tax, and judge the world with Islamic law. None of these hadiths suggest that Isa is doing this on behalf of the Mahdi. The Mahdi is said to rule for seven to nineteen years and most, if not all, of these years take place before Isa even shows up. Isa is said to rule for forty years, so it is clear that Isa does not need the Mahdi to help him rule since he is said to be doing so long after the Mahdi is dead.
Richardson’s third point is that both Isa and the False Prophet set up systems that will ultimately lead to the death of those who hold to any other religion. The False Prophet, for example, sets up the mark of the beast system. If people do not receive this mark, they will be executed. Isa, on the other hand, abolishes the Jizya tax that allows non-Muslims to live peacefully with Muslims. Although not expressly stated in the hadiths, it is presumed that this would lead to the death of non-Muslims. I submit that the similarity here is minimal and, in any case, this kind of general similarity is to be expected since the hadith writers, as we have seen, based their Isa on biblical and extra-biblical accounts of the Christian Jesus in the kingdom age. Jesus rules the earth with an “iron rod,” demands religious obedience,4 pilgrimage,5 and gifts.6 He is also said to “slay the wicked”7 during His earthly reign. If Muslims were simply basing their Isa on the biblical prophecies about Jesus in the kingdom age, such general similarities as the one Richardson proposes here are to be expected.
Richardson’s final attempt to equate Isa with the False Prophet is related to the following verse about the False Prophet in Revelation 13:11:
“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.”
Richardson argues that because the False Prophet is said to have “two horns like a lamb,” the False Prophet is attempting to imitate Jesus, who is often referred to as “the Lamb.”
I believe the correct way to interpret this passage is in light of Jesus’ warnings about false prophets in Matthew 7:15, which says:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but, inwardly, they are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
Jesus said that in the last days false prophets would come in sheep’s clothing, but would inwardly be like wolves. In this passage, it seems clear that Jesus is not using the sheep imagery to refer to Himself but to suggest that false prophets would act as though they are meek and harmless like lambs. He is essentially using the sheep imagery the same way He does in many other places in Scripture,8 in a generic sense, to speak of people who are meek and harmless, like his church.
In Revelation 13:11 it seems that lambs are to be understood in this way (e.g. a meek person), and not a reference to Jesus because the verse goes on to contrast the False Prophet’s looking like a harmless lamb with his dragon-like speech:
“Then I saw another beast coming up from the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but was speaking like a dragon.” (NET)
This is virtually the same illustration Jesus gave in Matthew 7:15 about false prophets who dress up like sheep but are really wolves. However, in this case, a dragon is used instead of a wolf, which is probably to link the speech of the False Prophet to the satanic (dragon9) doctrine he will be teaching.
The idea that the False Prophet has two horns like a lamb is, therefore, to be understood as him trying to seem like a genuine lamb (a meek and harmless person) because this is the normal number of horns a lamb will grow just after they are weaned. In other words, the concept of having two horns like a lamb is to be connected with the idea of having “sheep’s clothing.” This has been noted in many Bible commentaries, such as theologian Johann Peter Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical, Volume 10:
“We do not translate, like the lamb…The two horns, therefore, are not to be placed in the category of a defect…has but two horns, and is thus distinguished, as a natural sheep.”
In addition, I draw the reader’s attention to how Jesus used the term “false prophets” in the Olivet Discourse, which almost certainly has the False Prophet of Revelation 13 in mind:
“Then, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!,’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:23–24)
In this verse Jesus is contrasting the false prophets who show “great signs” (the same Greek phrase John uses to describe the False Prophet’s signs in Revelation 13) with false christs. The fact that Jesus makes a clear distinction between these last-days false christs and false prophets makes it very unlikely that the False Prophet will also be a false christ as Richardson is suggesting. It seems clear Jesus is warning of two distinct types of last-days deceivers and not one deceiver who will be both a false christ and a false prophet.
I will once again suggest that the best way to refute an argument is to offer a more plausible explanation than the one you are attempting to refute. In the case of the False Prophet, I think I have a much better theory than the one proposed by Richardson, one that takes into account all the information the Bible offers about the False Prophet. However, since I am determined to keep my personal views out of the main body of this text, I will include my thoughts on the False Prophet in Appendix 4.
Islamic Antichrist theorists compare the Islamic Mahdi to the biblical Antichrist. They basically believe when the Antichrist shows up, he will claim to be the Mahdi of Islamic traditions. Joel Richardson offers a list of similarities between the Mahdi and the Antichrist in his book, and just like in the case of the Isa/False Prophet comparisons, I will take each supposed similarity one by one.
Richardson points out that both the Mahdi and the Antichrist are said to be powerful political and military world leaders. This is true, but it should be noted that this is a very general statement that can be applied to just about everyone we have discussed in this section of the book. For example, the Islamic Isa certainly could be described as a powerful political and military world leader, even more powerful than the Mahdi. In addition, the Last Roman Emperor from the Christian pseudopigraphical material could also be described as a powerful political and military world leader.
As we have already discussed, the concept of the Mahdi is almost certainly based on the Last Roman Emperor idea in Christian tradition. The pattern that will develop as we go over this list of similarities is Richardson will describe commonalities that are much more applicable to the Mahdi and the Last Roman Emperor than to the Mahdi and the Antichrist. We will also see that differences between the Mahdi and the Antichrist are the same as the differences between the Last Roman Emperor and the Antichrist. This is why the majority of Richardson’s similarities must by necessity be extremely general.
For example, in this case, though the Mahdi and the Last Roman Emperor are powerful political and military leaders, they differ from the Antichrist in that they both die, allowing Jesus/Isa to rule the world after their very short reign. This is certainly not the case with the Antichrist and the False Prophet. The fact that Isa, not the Mahdi, is the one who restores the world to a state in which the lambs and wolves graze together and the vipers no longer bite people is a testament to the primacy of Isa over the Mahdi in the Islamic system. My point is that the general comparisons made by Richardson could be very specific comparisons if he were equating the Mahdi to the correct counterpart (i.e. the last Roman Emperor), who is a political and military world leader who rules the world before Jesus takes his throne. However, since Richardson is determined to equate the Mahdi with the Antichrist, he must minimize the importance of Isa as the final ruler in Islamic tradition.
Richardson’s next point is that the Mahdi and the Antichrist are both said to be spiritual world leaders. Again this is true in a general sense, but this has the same problem with the previous point that this general statement is actually truer of Isa and the Last Roman Emperor. In the case of Isa, he is the one who actually converts the world to Islam and judges the world in accordance with Islamic law. It is only after the Mahdi dies and Isa begins his rule that the universal peace and justice based on Islamic law begins. The Mahdi should be considered more of a forerunner, preparing the way for Isa’s new world.
The actual type of “spiritual world leader” the Mahdi is said to be is much more like the spiritual world leader the Last Roman Emperor is said to be. That is, they both come at a time when the world has lost faith, they both fight limited wars with the nations that oppose their religion to restore orthodox religion, they both set up a limited peace based on their religion, and this peace lasts until the Antichrist/Dajjal arrives, in which case they both look to Isa/Jesus for help.
Next Richardson says that both the Mahdi and the Antichrist kill Jews and Christians and, therefore, should be equated with one another. There are several problems with this comparison. The first is that, while it is true that the Mahdi does kill Jews and Christians during his wars, he begins his military campaign against the Sufyani, a Muslim leader from Syria. The Mahdi also conquers many other Islamic countries, including parts of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The Mahdi is even said to team up with the Christians at one point to fight their common Arab enemies; the Christians and Muslims even conquer Constantinople together. However this Christian/Islamic coalition ends when the Christians claim the victory was due to Christ and the Muslim armies claim it was due to Allah.
There is no systematic killing of Christians whatsoever by the Mahdi, certainly not in the way the Antichrist is said to do. The systematic killing on religious grounds will only happen after Isa arrives to judge the world by Islamic law. So here again we have the same problem. Richardson’s supposed similarities with the Mahdi and the Antichrist are truer of Isa than the Mahdi.
The actual type of killing of Jews and Christians done by the Mahdi is the same type of killing the Last Roman Emperor is said to do. The Last Roman Emperor is said to fight wars with those who oppose him and his religion. His killing of people is all military in nature. There is no hint of executing civilians because of their religion, but rather he is pictured as subduing the nations that oppose him. Those who die, die in battle with the Mahdi’s armies, just like the Last Roman Emperor.
Richardson says that both the Antichrist and the Mahdi conquer and rule from Jerusalem. This initial statement is only half true. In the hadiths, Jerusalem seems to be conquered before the Mahdi arrives, and the people who fight there are Arabs.
“Then, another black banner (army battalion) will come from Khorasan. Their turbans are black and their clothes are white. At their front end will be a man named Shuayb bin Salih, from Tamim (tribe). They will defeat supporters of the Sufyani [a Muslim leader] (and proceed further) until he (Shuayb bin Salih) arrives to Jerusalem (where) he will lay the foundation for the Mahdi’s (future) dominion. He will be supplied with three hundred (men) from AshSham (Syria). From the time, he comes out (from Khorasan) until he hands over the matter (rule) to the Mahdi, there will be seventy two months (six years).’” (Nuaim Ibn Hammad's Kitab Al-Fitan)
I cannot find many hadiths that state specifically the Mahdi will actually rule his Caliphate from Jerusalem; but, as in the case of the hadith above, there is enough to at least suggest that he does. Unlike the Antichrist, however, there is certainly nothing in the hadiths that describe the Mahdi setting up the temple or allowing Jewish people to start the daily sacrifices again (Daniel 9:27), let alone sitting in the Jewish temple and declaring himself to be God. So I would again submit that the part of the similarity that is true is a general statement that better applies to Islamic Isa, who, without question, is said in the hadiths to rule from Jerusalem.
There are two probable reasons why the hadith writers felt compelled to incorporate Jerusalem into their eschatology. First, the Bible is clear that Jerusalem is where the kingdom age will take place. Even though Islamic writers obviously had no problem with making certain editorial changes of biblical stories, the centrality of Jerusalem in the last days was too significant to tamper with. The last battle with the Dajjal is, therefore, said to be in Jerusalem and Isa is said to rule the world from Jerusalem, just like in the Bible. The hadith writers’ dependence on the Bible for the basic framework of their eschatology forced them to make Jerusalem the center of the last days despite their probable preference for making it Mecca or Medina. This is the first reason that Jerusalem was included, though I would argue the majority of Islamic texts that mention the city apply to Isa, not the Mahdi.
The only reason the Mahdi has any relationship to Jerusalem at all is probably related to the Last Roman Emperor. It should not be overlooked that both the Mahdi and the Last Roman Emperor are said to travel from Constantinople to Jerusalem after hearing of the Antichrist’s appearance. This very specific similarity should be enough to show that the Mahdi is being patterned after the apocalyptic writings regarding the Last Roman Emperor, which explains the mention of Jerusalem in relationship to the Mahdi, since Jerusalem is where both men give up their rule to Jesus/Isa.
This is the first of the similarities Richardson suggests that does not have the problem of being too general; in fact, it’s quite specific. He quotes a hadith that says the Mahdi will make a seven-year treaty with the Romans. And since he also believes that Daniel 9:27 is speaking of the Antichrist making a seven-year treaty with the Jews, he says they must be a reference to the same thing. I will quote the hadith in question below:
“The Prophet said: There will be four peace agreements between you and the Romans. The fourth will be mediated through a person who will be from the progeny of Hadrat Aaron [Honorable Aaron—the brother of Moses] and will be upheld for seven years. The people asked, ‘O Prophet Muhammad, who will be the imam [leader] of the people at that time?’ The Prophet said: ‘He will be from my progeny and will be exactly forty years of age. His face will shine like a star.’”10
The first problem is this hadith is almost certainly referring to an event other hadiths talk about at great length, namely the treaty that unites the Roman armies and the armies of the Mahdi to fight against their common enemies. As previously noted, this treaty ends because of a disagreement between the soldiers about which God has been responsible for their victories. Note that in the following hadith the treaty is said to be for ten years, not seven.
“You will enter into a reconciliation treaty with them [the Romans] for 10 years. You and the Romans will invade an enemy behind Constantinople. When you return for that invasion, you will see Constantinople... Then, together, you will invade Al-Kufa (a Shia city in Iraq) ... Then, you and the Romans together will invade some of the people of the East. You will capture women, children and money (possessions and wealth) The Romans will tell you: Give us our share of the children and women. The Muslims will say: No, we cannot based on our religion, but take from the rest of things (meaning from the possessions, etc). The Romans say: We will not take except from every thing. The Romans say: You won (the battle against the common enemies) because of us and our Cross. The Muslims will say: No, Allah granted victory and support to its religion. So, they will raise the Cross. Muslims become angry. A (Muslim) man will jump on to the Cross and break it. The Romans will leave angry and when you reach their king, they will tell him: The Arabs deceived us and withheld from us what we are entitled to and they broke our Cross and killed some of us. Their king becomes very angry and amasses a large army and reconcile with other nations. They will marsh against the Muslims.”11
Though the timing of the Roman treaties is very hard to pin down due to multiple contradictory accounts, it seems likely that some hadith writers wrote seven years as opposed to ten years because of the time between the Constantinople battle and the Dajjal, which is occasionally said to be seven years.
“Abdullah bin Busr reports that the Prophet said: ‘Between the Malhama (the final War or Battle) and the conquest of the City (i.e. Constantinople), there will be six years, and the Dajjal (Antichrist) shall appear in the seventh year’”
To further illustrate the unreliability of these hadiths, especially concerning the amount of years involved, the “seven years” in the above hadith about the length of time between the conquest of Constantinople and the Dajjal is sometimes referred to as being “seven months.”
“Al-Malhama Al-Kubra conquest of Constantinople, and the coming of Dajjal (Antichrist) will be (occur) within (a period of) seven months.” (Abu Dawud and Ibn Maja)
Richardson wants to equate this seven-year treaty with the Romans to the Antichrist “making a covenant” in Daniel 9:27. He suggests that the treaty the Mahdi makes with the Romans would allow the Jews to rebuild the temple, but it seems clear what Muslims believe this treaty is about and it has nothing to do with the Jewish temple. It is a military alliance with Romans to help the Muslims destroy various enemies. The treaty is broken when the soldiers get in a fight about religion.
As alluded to earlier, there is also a problem with the number of years mentioned in the hadith quoted by Richardson. The treaty with the Romans is almost always referred to in other hadiths as being ten years long, not seven. As far as I know, the only hadith that says it will be seven years is the one Richardson quotes. Hadiths are notorious for having contradictory statements, especially when it comes to numbers, but to choose the hadith with the number that best suits your theory, in light of it being the only hadith on the subject containing that number, is not good.
Another problem with this theory is that this treaty in the hadith that Richardson quotes does not include the Jews at all! It is true that a Jew from the tribe of Aaron mediates the treaty, but the treaty itself is actually between the Romans and the Muslims. So when Richardson says this treaty will have something to do with the temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem, I have to ask why? The Jews are not entering into any kind of agreement, with the Muslims, Romans, or anyone else in this hadith; they are simply acting as a middleman between the Muslims and the Christians.
Finally I submit that this entire issue may be moot since it may not even be a “peace treaty” that the Antichrist makes. The actual words used in Daniel 9:27 are “make firm a covenant”; and while a covenant can mean a contract or perhaps treaty, it certainly can be a reference to an actual covenant in the biblical sense of the word, as well. Again my self-imposed limitations prevent me from detailing my personal thoughts about this here, but I will include a discussion about the covenant made by the Antichrist in Appendix 5.
The last comparison Richardson makes is actually very deceptive, that is, if he knew beforehand what he was doing. However, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and chalk this up to an honest mistake on his part.
Richardson says an influential Islamic scholar in the Middle Ages believed the Mahdi is in view in Revelation 6:1–2 in which a rider on a white horse, typically understood to be the Antichrist, is seen. I will quote Richardson directly on this point:
“For in seeing the Antichrist on the white horse with a crown and conquering, Muslim scholars see a clear picture of the Mahdi. As mentioned in the earlier chapter on the Mahdi, the early Muslim transmitter of hadiths, Ka’b al Ahbar is quoted as saying:
“I find the Mahdi recorded in the books of the Prophets… For instance, the Book of Revelation says: ‘And I saw and behold a white horse. He that sat on him…went forth conquering and to conquer.’”12
When I first read this I was skeptical for several reasons. The first reason was because there is absolutely nothing that says the Mahdi rides on a white horse in any hadith or Quran verse that I have found. The second reason is that the person he is supposedly quoting, “Ka’b al Ahbar,” wrote at a time when the concept of the Mahdi was not very well developed, certainly nothing like it is today. I found it very unlikely that he would say such a thing, so I went about trying to track down this quote.
What I found is a quote from a book by two Egyptian writers, Muhammad ibn Izzat and Muhammad Arif, in their book Al-Mahdi, published in 1997. The actual quote reads like this:
“Ka‘b al-Ahbar said: “I find the Mahdi recorded in the books of the Prophets. There will be no injustice or oppression in his rule.” [This is when the actual quote from Ka‘b al-Ahbar stops (Note the quotation marks). The rest of this paragraph is commentary from the authors of this book] For instance the Book of Revelation says: ‘And I saw and behold a white horse. He that sat on him ... went forth conquering and to conquer.’ It is clear that this man is the Mahdi who will ride a white horse and judge by the Qur’an (with justice) and with whom will be men with the marks of prostration on their foreheads.”13
Richardson took out the last part of the actual quote from al-Ahbar which said “There will be no injustice or oppression in his rule” and added in its place a quote from the authors of this book: “For instance, the Book of Revelation says: ‘And I saw and behold a white horse. He that sat on him…went forth conquering and to conquer.’” Therefore, he is telling his readers a prominent Islamic scholar believes this when, in fact, this is the belief of two Egyptian men in 1997 who, in other places in their book, show that they have rather unorthodox views about the end times.
If you look up the idea of the Mahdi riding a white horse, you will not find the idea in the hadiths or the Quran. Instead, you will find Christians citing Joel Richardson who attributes the words of a recent book to the Middle Ages Islamic scholar Ka‘b al-Ahbar.
In his book Islamic Antichrist, Joel Richardson claims the Dajjal, the Islamic Antichrist, will in reality be the real return of Jesus. The primary reason he makes this claim is because many Muslims believe the Dajjal will claim to be the Jewish Messiah, just as Jesus will. Richardson doesn’t spend very much time trying to point out similarities with the Dajjal and the real Jesus since there are virtually no similarities. The two characters are very different in their attributes and actions, and the reason they are so different is, as we have seen, the Dajjal is based on the biblical and extra-biblical Christian views of the Antichrist.
When attempting a comparison of these two figures, Richardson highlights only two items. The first is that the Dajjal is believed to be the Jewish Messiah, like Jesus; and second is that the Dajjal “defends Israel” from the Mahdi in the same way Jesus defends Israel from the Antichrist. I think this second point should be called into question since it takes a bit of imagination to understand the hadiths about the Dajjal’s actions as “defending Israel.” With that being said, even if we accepted these two premises as true, all this really proves is that the Dajjal is modeled after the early Christian views of the Antichrist and it is not a prophecy of the return of Jesus hidden in Islamic traditions.
Even if someone doesn’t believe the Antichrist will claim to be the Jewish Messiah, no one would disagree that this was the earliest view of the church and it was certainly the prominent view at the time the hadiths were written. In other words, the Islamic hadith writers believed the Christian Antichrist would claim to be the Jewish Messiah and that is the reason the Dajjal also claims to be the Jewish Messiah. Similarly the Bible says the Antichrist will gather the nations to Armageddon in Israel to fight the last battle, a battle in which Jesus defeats the Antichrist. Given all we have discovered in this chapter, it is no surprise then that the Islamic hadiths also place their last battle in Israel where Isa, their version of Jesus, destroys the Dajjal. That is an exact match! This is very simple—the hadith writers were basing the Dajjal on the Antichrist, not Jesus.
I would invite you to consider how irresponsible Joel Richardson’s theory about the Dajjal is. He is taking a character, who is unambiguously molded after the Antichrist, and telling Christians not just that the Islamic version of events will more or less come to pass, but that when they do, they should embrace the Dajjal as their savior! Even if there is the slightest chance that the Antichrist will actually claim to be the Jewish Messiah or Jesus Himself, then Richardson’s theory is setting up the Christians who take his theory seriously for disaster. I will spend a considerable amount of time in the last chapter of this book explaining how much damage this theory could cause.
In this section we have looked at Islamic eschatology in detail. We saw that the writers of the hadiths based their end times doctrine partly on the Bible and partly on the extra-biblical beliefs of Christians at the time. We have seen that the Islamic Isa is based on Jesus, the Dajjal is based on the Antichrist, and the Mahdi is based on the so-called Last Roman Emperor. We have looked at the theories of Islamic Antichrist proponents like Joel Richardson who believe the Islamic version of the end times will actually come to pass more or less like the hadiths say, but that Isa is really the False Prophet, the Mahdi is the Antichrist, and the Dajjal is the real Jesus. I hope I have presented enough to show the flawed reasoning behind this theory and that the simplest explanation, which is that the hadith writers were simply plagiarizing Christian sources, is the correct one. There is absolutely no reason to expect the Islamic version of the end times to come to pass or to be true in any way.