Apocalypse Then

Posted by sepoy on October 07, 2004 · 3 mins read

Had a weird class. Round table discussion. Hodgson's How the Shi'a Became Sectarian? I say, so, how did the shi'a become sectarian? ...chirp ...chirp. No one budges. A few ruffle paper. One starts underlining something with real urgency. It piques my interest. Hey, Josh. What are you underlining? Who me?! Ah. This passage about Syrian christian tribes. Oh, what about it? ...chirp ...chirp. Anyone else? No. Really? Anyone read it? Ah, you did. "It was really boring and hard to read."
Kick the man while he is dead, why doncha? I said.

Needless to say, this teaching business is kinda pain. Everyone was lethargic. One girl, who usually makes good effort to participate just curled her legs up and nodded off. At least two more were dozing. No one wanted to be there. Which is surprising because up to this point, the class has been very engaging and involved in the readings. They have contributed excellent material on the blog and in the essays. It must be the mid-term malaise. Still, it really sucked the spirit out of the class. I lost all interest.

My lecture was about Shi'i and Kharajite developments and I had thought it would be fun to read some traditions about the occulted Imam Mahdi and Dajjal. Instead, I stuck with the lecture points. Didn't go into Syrian Christian eschatological tribes during the Umayyad period and the various traditions about the anti-Christ. Didn't talk about the end of times, fear of Dajjal (anti-Christ) as common themes. Nary a word about the wild scares of escaping Gog and Magog.

Syria under the Umayyads was a funky place. The fear of renewed invasions by the Byzantines and the uncertainty of support from the local Christian tribes created a paranoid atmosphere. Everyone was freaking out that the world was going to end. Led largely by Hadi'ths that gave 100 years as the period of "Islam" [that Islam originated as an apocalyptic faith is quiet the hot topic in the last 10 years]. Jesus was the messiah in the earliest traditions in the various kitab al-fitan but the Mahdi soon overtook him as the savior. al-Masih al-Dajjal was the one-eyed opponent. He was generally considered to be a human and a Jew and did represent, I think, strong anti-Jewish feelings. Though, his legend must have borrowed heavily from the Jewish Armillus as well as the anti-Christ. His appearance was imminent as there are traditions that cite the Prophet saying "some of those before me will see the Dajjal". Several times we have mention in Umayyad sources of blind or deformed people suspected of being Dajjal. Luckily for us, when Dajjal does come, he will have kaffir tattoed on his forehead.

Like I said, I was gonna have them read a few traditions and talk about Constantinople in the apocalyptic imagination but...eh.


COMMENTS


s¯nee | October 23, 2004

For details on Dajjal: i suggest an excellent lecture (english) by Maulana Ahmed Ali (UK) on http://www.saleel.com/staticpages/index.php?page=bayanaat


bella | May 31, 2010

aq ga terlalu percaya sama ang begituan aku cuma percaya sama apa yang di kehendaki allah