The false messiah (al-maseeh al-dajjaal) is the liar who leads people astray, the messiah of misguidance who will tempt people by means of the signs that he is given, such as bringing down rain, reviving the earth to bring forth vegetation, and other “miracles.”
There are over fifty scholarly comments on the meaning of the word Maseeh (Messiah). They said that this word is applied both to the Truthful One [True Messiah, i.e., ‘Eesa (Jesus)] and to the misleading liar [the “antichrist” or Dajjaal]. The Messiah is the Truthful One, ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of Mary), the Messiah of guidance, who healed those who were born blind and lepers, and brought the dead to life by Allah’s Leave.
The word Dajjaal is taken from the expression “Dajjala al- ba’eer (he smeared the camel)”, referring to when they covered it with tar. The root dajala means to mix. The word dajala is used to mean deliberately confusing matters and being vague and ambiguous, The Dajjaal is the one who speaks in vagaries, who tells many lies and deceives many people.
The word “Dajjaal” became a title given to the lying, one-eyed, false messiah. The Dajjaal is so called because he will conceal his kufr from the people by lying to them, deceiving them and confusing them.
Narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mentioned the Dajjaal to the people and said: “Allah is not one-eyed, but the false messiah (al-maseeh al- dajjaal) is one-eyed, blind or defective in his right eye, with his eye looking like a floating grape…”Sahih Al Bukhari 3184
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No Prophet was sent but he warned his people about the one-eyed liar. He is one-eyed, but your Lord is not one-eyed, and between his eyes will be written ‘kaafir.’” Sahih Al Bukhari 6598
‘Imraan ibn Husayn رضي الله عنه said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘From the time of the creation of Adam until the Hour begins, there will never be a bigger creation than the Dajjaal.’”Sahih Muslim, 5239
The fact that some will see it whilst others will not, and that illiterate people will read it, is not problematic. “This is because Allah causes people to understand something when looking at it, as He wills and when He wills. So the believer will see this with his insight, even if he is illiterate, and the kaafir will not be able to see it, even if he is literate. By the same token, the believer will see with his insight evidence that the kaafir will not see. Allah will enable the believer to understand without him being literate, because at that time, extraordinary things will be happening.” Fath al-Baari by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani, 13/100
Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As رضي الله عنه: I committed to memory a hadith from Allah's Apostle صلى الله عليه و سلم and I did not forget it after I had heard Allah's Apostle صلى الله عليه و سلم said: The first sign (out of the signs of the appearance of the Dajjal) would be the appearance of the sun from the west, the appearance of the beast before the people in the forenoon and which of the two happens first, the second one would follow immediately after that. Sahih Muslim 7025
A lengthy hadith narrated by Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah, and ad-Dhiyaa’, attributed to Abu Umamah, reports that the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “There will be three hard years before the Dajjal (appears). During them, people will be stricken by a great famine. In the first year, Allah will command the sky to withhold a third of its rain, and the earth to withhold a third a third of its produce. In the second year, Allah will command the sky to withhold two thirds of its rain, and the earth to withhold two thirds of its produce. In the third year, Allah will command the sky to withhold all of its rain, and it will not rain a single drop of rain. He will command the earth to withhold all of its produce, and no plant will grow. All hoofed animals will perish, except that which Allah wills.” He صلى الله عليه و سلم was asked, ‘What sustains people during that time?’ He said, “Tahlil, takbir and tahmid (Saying, la ilaha ill Allah, Allahu Akbar and Alhamdulillah). This will sustain them just as food does.” Sahih Al-Jami` as-Saghir 7875
“The correct view according to those who studied this issue is that this writing should be taken literally, as being real writing which Allah will create as a sign, one of the definitive proofs that (the Dajjaal) is a kaafir and a liar, to expose his falsehood. Allah will show this sign to every Muslim, literate or illiterate, and will conceal it from everyone whom He decrees is doomed or whom He wants to test. There is no reason why this should be impossible.” Sharh al-Nawawi li Saheeh Muslim, 18/60
The fitnah of the Dajjaal will be the greatest fitnah from the time Allah created Adam until the Hour begins. This will be because of the mighty miracles that Allah will create with him, which will dazzle people’s minds and amaze them.
Adhering to Islam, having the right faith and learning the Names and Most Beautiful Attributes of Allah which are not shared by anyone else. One should know that the Dajjaal will be a human being who will eat and drink, and that Allah is far above that; the Dajjaal will be one-eyed but Allah is not one-eyed; no one can see his Lord until he dies, but the Dajjaal will be seen by all people, believers and kaafirs alike, when he emerges.