its voice saying that he is dead. That is to say, the news will be broadcast by radio, which is wonderful and leaves even satans in amazement.
Also, since the strange circumstances and fearsome activities of the Antichrist’s regime, and the covert organization and government that he founds, have been narrated as referring to his person, their true meaning has remained obscure. For example, “He will be so powerful and long-lived that only Jesus (PUH) will be able to kill him; nothing else will be able to.”1 That is, it will only be a revealed, elevated, pure religion that will be able to overturn his way and rapacious regime, and eliminate them. Such a religion will emerge among the true followers of Jesus (PUH), and it will follow the Qur’an and become united with it. On the coming of Jesus (PUH) and emergence of the true Christian religion, the Antichrist’s irreligious way will be wiped out and will cease. The Antichrist’s person could otherwise be killed by a mere germ or by influenza.
Also, the explanations and statements of some narrators, made through their own exertions and interpretations, which are open to error, have been mixed up with the words of the Hadith. Their words have been supposed to be part of the Hadith, and the meaning has been obscured. It does not appear to be conformable with reality and in a way has become allegorical.
Also, in early times the social collectivity and its collective personality had not developed as it has at the present and the idea of the isolated individual was predominant, the extensive attributes and widescale actions of the community, therefore, were ascribed to the persons who led them. In order to be worthy and fitting for superhuman, universal attributes, those persons had to have gigantic bodies and be of vast stature and have colossal power and strength a hundred times surpassing their own, so that is how they were depicted. This was not conformable with reality, and the narration became allegorical.
Also, although the circumstances and attributes of the two Antichrists differ from each other, they have been confused in narrations that have come down to us in absolute form; one has been supposed to be the other. Also, the circumstances of the Great Mahdi do not fit the narrations alluding to the earlier Mahdis, and these have become allegorical Hadiths. Imam ‘Ali (May God be pleased with him) mentions only the Islamic Antichrist.
This marks the end of the Introduction. Now we embark on the ‘Matters’.
Tirmidhi, Fitan, 62; Abu Da’ud, Malahim, 14; Musnad, iii, 420; iv, 226; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iv, 529-30.