Beast of the Earth

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depiction of Dabba from 16th century Persian art

The Beast of the Earth (دابة الأرض Dābbat al-Arḍ), in Islamic eschatology, will be one of the signs of the coming of the Last Day. It will appear after the sun rises in the west, where the Beast will be sighted the first time. The Beast is mentioned in the Quran (in Sura An-Naml) and is also mentioned in the ahadith, which expand upon the characteristics of the beast. Islamic tradition holds that the Beast will precipitate the death of all true believers and the removal of the Quran from the world.[1]

The Quran mentions that the Beast will address the unbelievers and admonish them for their lack of attention towards God:

And when the Word is fulfilled against them (the unjust), we shall produce from the earth a beast to (face) them: He will speak to them, for that mankind did not believe with assurance in Our Signs.

— Qur'an, sura 27 (An-Naml), ayat 82[2]

In the ahadith[edit]


A well known hadith states that the Beast will carry the Seal of Solomon and the Staff of Moses. He will mark the believers with the staff and the seal will mark the unbelievers.[3] A similar tradition attributed to Ibn al-Zubayr also describes the Beast carrying the Seal of Solomon, and describes the Beast as a chimera composed of the parts of various animals, including the head of a bull, the ears of an elephant, the horns of a stag, and the neck of an ostrich. It is described as a very large creature, with "a distance of twelve cubits" between each of its joints.[4]

More reputable ahadith say that the Beast will be one of the first signs of the Last Day, along with the sun rising in the west.[5] The appearance of the Dajjal, rising smoke, massacres, and widespread death are said to be other signs of the end times in a similar hadith.[6]

Interpretations[edit]

Traditional[edit]

According to the medieval Sunni theologian Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, there is nothing mentioned in the reports attributed to Muhammad about the nature of this creature, but it is mentioned in narrations circulating around the time of his successors. Wahb ibn Munabbih stated that such a "beast" spoke to the people of Sodom from under the earth.[7]

Alternative[edit]

While the majority of scholars accept the traditional explanation of the Beast as a literal creature who will appear in the end times, some modern interpreters such as Fethullah Gülen interpret the Beast as being made of various parts, including diseases like HIV.[8] Another interpretation holds that the Dabba is related to materialistic tendencies, thus Dabba does not appear at the end of the world, but will doom a nation or society.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lorenzo DiTommaso Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha, Band 20 BRILL 2005 ISBN 978-9-004-14412-5 page 172
  2. ^ Quran 27:82
  3. ^ "Sunan Ibn Majah » Book of Tribulations » (31) Chapter: The Beast of the Earth". Sunnah.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah 27". Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Sunan Abi Dawud » The Rites of Hajj (Kitab Al-Manasik Wa'l-Hajj) » (645) Chapter: Regarding Stoning The Jimar". Sunnah.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Sahih Muslim » The Book of Tribulations and Portents of the Last Hour » (25) Chapter: The Rest Of The Ahadith About Ad-Dajjal". Sunnah.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  7. ^ Hasbi. "Dabbetülarz (1)". www.suleyman-ates.com. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  8. ^ "Is It Right When People Link HIV to "The Beast of the Earth" (Dabbat al ard), One of the Signs of the Last Day?". Fethullah Gulen. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  9. ^ Maulana Muhammad Ali English Translation of the Holy Quran: With Explanatory Notes : from the English Translation and Commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali A.a.i.i.l. (u.k.) 2010 ISBN 978-1-906-10907-3 page 477