Go to any bookstore and there is a very good chance that you will find an assortment of books regarding the Dajjal. There are books exploring whether Dajjal is an individual or a system; there are booklets of Ahadeeth foretelling the coming of Dajjal, Imam Mahdi and Prophet Isa (as); there are volumes addressing the current world order and how conducive it is to the aims of Dajjal, and the list goes on. Being an avid collector and reader of most of these books, my sister and I have discovered that there are some books which are well-worth a read, while others contain theories which are too far-fetched to be authentic. So how do you, as an average reader, sift through this extensive information? How do you differentiate between what is fact and what has been fabricated? How do you ensure that you are not misled? Here are some pointers:
Before reading any book, sincerely supplicate to Allah (swt) that He would open your heart to what is authentic in that book and turn you away from all that is fabricated. Insha’Allah, Allah (swt) will guide you.
While reading any book, booklet or article, it is imperative to look at the references. Whom has the author quoted? Is this a reference from a Hadeeth? If so, what is the grade of this Hadeeth (reliable, authentic, weak, etc.)? Are all the references leading to other books and not a single Hadeeth? Answers to these vital questions will authenticate most of the information for you.
There are some books that contain nothing but sweeping statements and conspiracy theories, which are not supported by a single authentic reference. Such generalizations should alert you to their dubious nature.
Some books clearly point out the relationship between the information that was foretold by the Prophet (saw) and the current world events, as they are unfolding. Even though they are the opinions of the authors concerned, it is refreshing to read them. This ensures that one does not treat the coming of Dajjal as a mere story and something too distant to consider. However, such books are scarce.
The coming of Dajjal is a definite event. We need to know how to protect ourselves and how he will affect us. However, some books digress to the point that they start debating issues which do not really affect us as common people. For instance, does it really matter if certain countries are “Dajjal”? How does it affect us whether or not the armies of certain countries are part of the Dajjal army? Reading books on these topics may be of interest to the more scholarly among us; however, for the vast majority of others, the basic questions are: how will we recognize him and how will we protect ourselves? Useless debates are just a waste of time.
Alright, so we have some idea as to how to sift the information that we read. What next? It is of great concern that a lot of people refuse to believe most of the authentic information given to them. Such people choose to remain in a state of denial, refuting the facts which are right in front of them. Try telling anyone that the money of the future is electronic money, for instance, and they will give you a blank look. On one hand, there is a lot of disinformation, and on the other hand, there is a complete denial of authentic information. It all boils down to the fact that most of us treat the coming of Dajjal as a mere story – something, which will not affect us.
A major step towards correcting our attitude regarding the information is to accept the fact that Dajjal will come, if not during our time then definitely during the time of our descendents. We have to equip ourselves with the right information and then pass it down through our children. Once we see this as our ultimate mission, it will become clear that we must have the correct information about Dajjal from authentic sources. And we must know how to handle this information.