The Story of Yajooj and Majooj (Gog and Magog)

Who are Yajooj and Majooj in Islam?

Yajooj and Majooj are two huge tribes from the descendants of Adam AS. They are very similar to humans, being from the progeny of the first man. It is narrated that during the period of Zul-Qarnayn, they caused a great deal of mischief and trouble on the earth. For this reason, a gigantic wall was built to prevent Gog and Magog from reaching nearby tribes and wreaking havoc.

Nabi SAW informed us that at the end of time, after Esa AS is sent down to earth again, Yajooj and Majooj will emerge from behind the wall and spread throughout the land. They will besiege Esa the Messiah AS and the believers who are with him on the mountain of Bayt ul Maqdis in Jerusalem. This will lead to a period of great hardship for the Muslims of that time.

yajooj and majooj behinda huge wall

Allah will afflict Yajooj and Majooj with a worm that will eat their necks, causing them to perish simultaneously. Like this, Allah will protect Esa AS and his companions from the evil of Gog and Magog.

  • It is said Yajooj and Majooj are two foreign names like Taloot and Jaloot
  • The names are derived from the saying “Ajjat al-naar“, meaning the fire becomes intense. This is because they are an evil nation who will burn and destroy everything
  • The names could also be derived from “Al-Ma’ Al-Ajjaj“, which refers to very salty water
  • It is said their names could come from the word “Al-Ajj”, which means running very fast.
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What are Yajooj Majooj called in English?

In English, Yajooj Majooj are known as Gog and Magog.

Are Yajooj Majooj humans?

The physical attributes of Yajooj and Majooj are usually exaggerated in many books. Some examples include:

  • They are extremely short-statured and small
  • Others say they are extremely tall
  • Some can spread one ear on the ground, lie on it and cover themselves with the other ear (like a blanket)

There are no basis to these claims. They are from the children of Adam AS and hence are just like other human beings.

The Story of building the barrier

The story of Zul-Qarnayn is mentioned in Surah Kahf where Allah says:

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ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا – حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ ٱلسَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِن دُونِهِمَا قَوْمًا لَّا يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ قَوْلًا – قَالُوا۟ يَـٰذَا ٱلْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًا عَلَىٰٓ أَن تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّا – قَالَ مَا مَكَّنِّى فِيهِ رَبِّى خَيْرٌ فَأَعِينُونِى بِقُوَّةٍ أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا – ءَاتُونِى زُبَرَ ٱلْحَدِيدِ ۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا سَاوَىٰ بَيْنَ ٱلصَّدَفَيْنِ قَالَ ٱنفُخُوا۟ ۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَعَلَهُۥ نَارًا قَالَ ءَاتُونِىٓ أُفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِ قِطْرًا – فَمَا ٱسْطَـٰعُوٓا۟ أَن يَظْهَرُوهُ وَمَا ٱسْتَطَـٰعُوا۟ لَهُۥ نَقْبًا [Al-Kahf 18:92-97]

Translation

18:92 Then he followed a (another) way.

18:93 Until, when he reached [a pass] between two mountains, he found beside them a people who could hardly understand [his] speech.

18:94 They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed Gog and Magog are [great] corrupters in the land. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make between us and them a barrier?”

18:95 He said, “That in which my Lord has established me is better [than what you offer], but assist me with strength [i.e., manpower]; I will make between you and them a dam.

18:96 Bring me bars of iron” – until, when he had leveled [them] between the two mountain walls, he said, “Blow [with bellows],” until when he had made it [like] fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour over it molten copper.”

18:97 So they [i.e., Gog and Magog] were unable to pass over it, nor were they able [to effect] in it any penetration.

wall of dhul qarnayn

Explanation of Quran Verses

18:92 – He followed a third path, between the east and the west. This lead him up to the north, where there were high mountains.

18:93 – Zul-Qarnayn and his troops reached a region where there was two great mountains. This was at the edge of the lands of the Turks, neighboring present day Armenia and Azerbaijan. Between these two mountains was a gap through which Yajooj and Majooj would come through to cause mischief.

After the Turks saw the immense power of Zul-Qarnayn, they realised that he was a capable and righteous man. So they asked him to build a barrier for them that would effectively block Yajooj and Majooj from attacking them. They were ready to pay him but he refused and hoped for reward from Allah.

18:94 – He placed sheets of iron between the mountains

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18:95,96 – After the sheets of iron were piled up, he heated them by blowing with the bellows

18:97 – He asked for molten copper to pour over the iron sheets so that they would stick together and become impenetrable.

Who was ZulQarnayn?

ZulQarnayn was a believing, righteous king. However, he was not a prophet according to the most correct view of scholars. He was called ZulQarnayn because he travelled to lands in the east and the west where [it is narrated] the horn of shaytaan rises and disappears.

People have the opinion the he was Alexander the Great of Macedonia, but this is completely false. Alexander was a disbeliever and his era was estimated to be around 2000 years after Zulqarnayn. Allah knows best.

What is the religion of Yajooj and Majooj?

According to Hafiz Ibn Hajar RH, Yajooj and Majooj are two tribes descended from Yaafith ibn Nooh (Japeth son of Noah). This means they are descendants of Adam and Hawwa AS.

A narration from Imran ibn Husayn RA states, Nabi SAW was on a journey and the people with him got separated. He SAW raised his voice, reciting two verses:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُوا۟ رَبَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ ٱلسَّاعَةِ شَىْءٌ عَظِيمٌ – يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّآ أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى ٱلنَّاسَ سُكَـٰرَىٰ وَمَا هُم بِسُكَـٰرَىٰ وَلَـٰكِنَّ عَذَابَ ٱللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ [Al-Hajj 22:1-2]

22:1 O mankind, fear your Lord. Indeed, the convulsion of the [final] Hour is a terrible thing.

22:2 On the Day you see it every nursing mother will be distracted from that [child] she was nursing, and every pregnant woman will abort her pregnancy, and you will see the people [appearing] intoxicated while they are not intoxicated; but the punishment of Allah is severe.

When the companions heard this, they started urging their horses forward, as they realised that the prophet SAW wanted to convey something. When they reached the Prophet SAW he said:

“Do you know what day this is? That is the day when Adam will be called by his Lord, may He be blessed and exalted: ‘O Adam, send forth the group who are destined for hell.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, who are the group who are destined for hell?’ He [Allah] will say: ‘From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine will be in hell and one will be in paradise.'”

yajooj and majooj in hell

Imran said: On hearing this, the despair of the companions was so great that they couldn’t even muster a smile after this. When the Prophet SAW noticed their state, he said: “Strive hard and be of good cheer, for by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammed, you will be with two creations who are never joined to anything except that they prevail in numbers [over the others]: Yajooj and Majooj and those of the sons of Adam and the sons of Iblees who are doomed.” At this, the companions felt relieved.

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Then the Prophet SAW said: “Strive hard and be of good cheer, for by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammed, in relation to the people, you are like a black spot on the side of a camel, or like a small circle on the foreleg of a beast.” [Ahmed and Tirmidhi]

Huge number of Yajooj and Majooj

Abdullah ibn Amr RA narrates, Nabi SAW said: “Yajooj and Majooj are sons of Adam. If they were allowed to come out, they would cause mischief and ruin people’s lives, and not one of them would die before leaving behind one thousand or more of his offspring. Behind them are three nations: Taawul, Taarees and Misk.”

Tabaraani

How will Yajooj Majooj look? (Physical Appearance)

It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“The Hour will not begin until you fight people with small eyes and wide faces, as if their eyes are the pupils of locusts and as if their faces are hammered shields. They will be wearing shoes of hair, using leather shields and tying their horses to date-palm trees.”

Ibn Majah

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:You shall fight in the hours to come against a nation wearing shoes made of hair and faces like hammered shields, with red complexion and small eyes.

Sahih Muslim