Gog and Magog In Islamic Tradition
Apr 28th, 2010 by Rasheed

Gog and Magog appear in Qur’an sura Al-Kahf (The Cave chapter), 18:83-98, as Yajuj and Majuj (Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj in Arabic). Muslim scholars contend that the Gog in Ezekiel verse 38:2 should be read Yajuj (there is a maqaph or hyphen immediately before Gog in the Hebrew version which in some printings looks like the Hebrew letter “yod” or “Y” The verses state that Dhul-Qarnayn (the one with two horns or Two Ages (one who impacts on two ages)) travelled the world in three directions, until he found a tribe threatened by Gog and Magog, who were of an “evil and destructive nature” and “caused great corruption on earth.”

The people offered tribute in exchange for protection. Dhul-Qarnayn agreed to help them, but refused the tribute; he constructed a great wall that the hostile nations were unable to penetrate. They will be trapped there until doomsday, and their escape will be a sign of the end: But when Gog and Magog are let loose and they rush headlong down every height (or advantage). Then will the True Promise draw near – (Qur’an 21:96-97)
The Qur’anic account of Dhul-Qarnayn follows very closely the “Gates of Alexander” story from the Alexander romance, a thoroughly embellished compilation of Alexander the Great’s wars and adventures (see Alexander the Great in the Qur’an). Since the construction of a great iron gate to hold back a hostile northern people was attributed to Alexander many centuries before the time of Islamic Prophet Muhammad and the recording of the Qur’an, most historians consider Dhul-Qarnayn a reference to Alexander (Alexander the Great in the Qur’an).

However, some Muslim scholars reject this attribution, associating Dhul-Qarnayn with some other early ruler, usually Cyrus the Great, but also Darius the Great. Gog and Magog are also mentioned in some of the hadith, or sayings of Muhammad, specifically the Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, revered by Sunni Muslims.

Fourteenth century Muslim sojourner Ibn Battuta traveled to China on order of the Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq, and encountered a large community of Muslim merchants in the city of Zaitun. He comments in his travel log that “Between it [the city] and the rampart of Yajuj and Majuj is sixty days’ travel.” The translator of the travel log notes that Ibn Battuta confused the Great Wall of China with that supposedly built by Dhul-Qarnayn.

The Ahmadiyya Community present the view that Gog and Magog represent one or more of the European nations. They associate European imperialism after the Age of Discovery with the reference to Gog and Magog’s rule at the “four corners of the world” in the Christian Book of Revelation.

The Ahmadiyya founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad linked Gog and Magog to the European nations and Russia. His son and second successor, Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad further expounds the connection between Europe and the accounts of Gog and Magog in the Bible, the Qur’an, and the hadith in his work Tafseer-e-Kabeer..

According to this interpretation of Mahmood Ahmad in his commentary on Surah Al-Kahf (Urdu), Gog and Magog were the descendants of Noah who populated eastern and western Europe long ago, the Scythians. According to Ahmadiyya teachings, the period of the cold War between the two superpowers, USA and the Soviet union (identified as Gog and Magog) or the influence of Communism and capitalism, the conflict and rivalry between the two and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union all occurred in accordance with the prophecies concerning Gog and Magog. Ahmadis also cite the folkloric British interpretation of Gog and Magog as giants (see below) as support for their view.

Ahmadis point out that the Arabic words for Gog and Magog i.e. Yajuj and Majuj derive from the root word Ajjij (to burn, blaze, hasten) which suggests that Gog and Magog will excel all nations in harnessing fire to their service and shall fight their battles with fire. In his commentary of Surah-Al-Masadd, Mirza Mahmood Ahmad, the Second Ahmadiyya leader has interpreted the two hands of Abu-lahab (the father of flame) as Gog and Magog, the nations opposed to Islam that will ultimately be destroyed by the ‘fire’ of their own making.

Gog and Magog in Hebrew Tradition
Apr 28th, 2010 by Ariel

Gog and Magog appear in the Book of Genesis, the Book of Ezekiel, the Book of Revelation, and the Qur’an. They are variously presented as men, supernatural beings (giants or demons), national groups, or lands. Gog and Magog occur widely in mythology and folklore.

Magog appears in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10:2 as the eponymous ancestor of a people or nation:

The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras
Gog is listed as a descendant of Reuben (eldest son of patriarch Jacob) in the 5th century BC 1 Chronicles 5: 3, 4.

“Gog” and “Magog” appear together in the Book of Ezekiel, 38:2-3:

38:2. Son of man, set thy face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
3. And you shall say; So said the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
In terms of extra-biblical Jewish tradition, Gog the “prince” has been explained by Rashi, Radak and others as being the king of the nation of Magog, descended from the son Magog of Japthet, the son of Noah. No particular nation is associated with them, nor is any particular territory beyond them being in the north of Israel. Some Biblical scholars believe that Gyges (Ancient Greek), king of Lydia (687 BC-652 BC), is meant. In Assyrian letters, Gyges appears as Gu-gu, in which case Magog might be his territory in Anatolia; for in Assyrian, māt Gu-gu would be the normal way of designating ‘the land of Gugu’.

In his book Antiquities of the Jews, the Jewish historian and scholar Josephus identifies Magog with the Scythians, but this name seems to have been used generically in antiquity for a number of peoples north of the Black Sea.

The Jewish Talmud and Midrashim also deal with Magog’s location, and use the names Gytia and Germania, identified by later Jewish scholars as Kermania and Sattagydia, currently located in eastern Iran and Balochistan, which is also called Sakastan, meaning “home of the Scythians” (which were named by Josephus as Magogites).

Ezekiel Chapter 38 Hebrew Bible
Apr 28th, 2010 by AZ

1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying:

2 ‘Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

3 and say: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;

4 and I will turn thee about, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed most gorgeously, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords:

5 Persia, Cush, and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet;

6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north, and all his bands; even many peoples with thee.

7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou guarded of them.

8 After many days thou shalt be mustered for service, in the latter years thou shalt come against the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, against the mountains of Israel, which have been a continual waste; but it is brought forth out of the peoples, and they dwell safely all of them.

9 And thou shalt ascend, thou shalt come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many peoples with thee. {S}

10 Thus saith the Lord GOD: It shall come to pass in that day, that things shall come into thy mind, and thou shalt devise an evil device;

11 and thou shalt say: I will go up against the land of unwalled villages; I will come upon them that are at quiet, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates;

12 to take the spoil and to take the prey; to turn thy hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and against the people that are gathered out of the nations, that have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the middle of the earth.

13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the magnates thereof, shall say unto thee: Comest thou to take the spoil? hast thou assembled thy company to take the prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take great spoil? {S}

14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say unto Gog: Thus saith the Lord GOD: In that day when My people Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?

15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the uttermost parts of the north, thou, and many peoples with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army;

16 and thou shalt come up against My people Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the end of days, and I will bring thee against My land, that the nations may know Me, when I shall be sanctified through thee, O Gog, before their eyes. {S}

17 Thus saith the Lord GOD: Art thou he of whom I spoke in old time by My servants the prophets of Israel, that prophesied in those days for many years, that I would bring thee against them? {S}

18 And it shall come to pass in that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that My fury shall arise up in My nostrils.

19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken: Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;

20 so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep upon the ground, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at My presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD; every man’s sword shall be against his brother.

22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will cause to rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

23 Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself, and I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

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