June 22, 2024
Ya’juj and Ma’juj
In Islamic tradition, the story of Ya'juj and Ma'juj (Gog and Magog in English) is a recurring theme with mysterious and apocalyptic connotations.
In Islamic eschatology, the story of Ya'juj and Ma'juj, also spelled Yajooj and Majooj (Gog and Magog in English), is a recurring theme with mysterious and apocalyptic connotations. The Qur'an describes them as people who spread mischief and chaos in the world, causing fear and distress among other human beings. 
While the majority of Qur'anic commentators interpret them as ancient tribes descended from Japheth, the son of Noah, additional insights from hadiths provide a more nuanced understanding of their nature.
The story of Dhul-Qarnayn is mentioned in Surah Al-Kahf (18:83-98) of the Qur'an. Dhul-Qarnayn is described as a righteous and just ruler who traveled to various lands and encountered different peoples. One of his journeys is described as reaching a nation with no barrier to screen the sun.

The interpretation of this particular journey has sparked various interpretations among scholars and commentators. Some interpret it as a reference to lands near the Arctic Circle where during certain times of the year, particularly in the summer, the sun doesn't fully set for several days. This phenomenon is known as the midnight sun.

The concept of the midnight sun occurs in regions north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, where the tilt of the Earth's axis results in prolonged periods of daylight during certain times of the year. In these regions, the sun may not dip below the horizon for days or even weeks, creating continuous daylight.

Given the context of Dhul-Qarnayn's travels to distant lands and encountering unique natural phenomena, it's plausible that his journey to a nation with no barrier to screen the sun refers to his encounter with a region experiencing the midnight sun phenomenon.

However, it's important to note that interpretations of religious texts can vary, and some scholars may offer alternative explanations for this particular journey of Dhul-Qarnayn. The interpretation of Quranic verses often depends on linguistic, historical, and cultural contexts, and different scholars may emphasize different aspects of the text based on their methodologies and perspectives.

According to various hadiths, Ya’juj and Ma’juj possess qualities and characteristics that differentiate them from ordinary human beings. These traditions often depict them as being physically distinct, with some descriptions suggesting that they are unusually large or possess supernatural abilities. Additionally, their manner of behavior and the scale of their mischief are portrayed as extraordinary and beyond the capabilities of regular human societies.

Furthermore, hadiths elaborate on the prophesied events surrounding the release of Ya’juj and Ma’juj upon the world. It is said that they are confined behind a barrier constructed by Dhul-Qarnayn, a figure mentioned in the Qur’an, and will only be unleashed close to the Day of Judgment. Their release is believed to coincide with a period of great turmoil and tribulation, signifying the approach of the end times.

In light of these teachings, Ya’juj and Ma’juj are perceived not merely as historical entities but as symbolic representations of cosmic forces and eschatological events. Their existence serves to illustrate themes of corruption, temptation, and the ultimate triumph of righteousness over evil in Islamic eschatology. Therefore, while they may have originated as human tribes in ancient times, their significance transcends mere historical interpretation, encompassing broader theological and metaphysical dimensions within Islamic thought.

The Qur’an also mentions in the story of Dul-Qarnain the Great (Al-Kahf:83-100), that Ya’juj and Ma’juj are very savage and bloodthirsty tribes. There is sufficient evidence in ancient history and some clues in the Quran and Hadith to conclude that Ya’juj and Ma’juj are cannibals (man-eating tribes). We mentioned in our paper  Dhul-Qarnain the Great: A Modern Review that  Ya’juj and Ma’juj might be present in the Siberian mountains, where Dhul-Qarnain built an iron barrier to stop their attacks.

The Qur’an recounts the story of Dhul-Qarnayn, a figure often identified with Alexander the Great, who is described as a righteous and powerful ruler. In Surah Al-Kahf (18:83-100), Dhul-Qarnayn is depicted as journeying to the ends of the earth, where he encounters Ya’juj and Ma’juj, whom he finds to be exceedingly aggressive and predatory tribes.

The verses suggest that Ya’juj and Ma’juj are not merely mischievous or troublesome, but rather possess a savage and bloodthirsty nature. This characterization aligns with interpretations that view them as exceptionally violent and hostile entities. Some scholars and commentators, drawing from historical sources and additional religious texts, propose that Ya’juj and Ma’juj are cannibalistic tribes, known for their consumption of human flesh.

Ancient historical accounts and cultural narratives from various civilizations contain references to mythical or legendary tribes with cannibalistic practices. These stories often depict such tribes as fearsome and monstrous, instilling a sense of dread and horror. In this context, the Qur’anic portrayal of Ya’juj and Ma’juj as savage and bloodthirsty can be seen as consistent with these broader cultural motifs surrounding cannibalism.

Moreover, clues found in hadith literature provide further support for the notion that Ya’juj and Ma’juj are indeed man-eating tribes. Narratives describing their immense size, ferocity, and the scale of their destruction reinforce the image of them as formidable and carnivorous adversaries.

While the Qur’an and hadiths do not explicitly state that Ya’juj and Ma’juj are cannibals, the descriptions of their behavior and characteristics suggest an extreme level of brutality and aggression. As such, the interpretation that they are cannibalistic tribes finds resonance within certain theological and scholarly circles, offering a chilling portrayal of these enigmatic figures in Islamic eschatology.

The Qur’anic narrative regarding Dhul-Qarnayn’s encounter with Ya’juj and Ma’juj presents an intriguing theological and moral dilemma. Despite Dhul-Qarnayn’s formidable power and authority as a ruler, the text suggests that he did not eradicate Ya’juj and Ma’juj but chose instead to contain them by constructing a massive barrier or wall to prevent their incursions into the inhabited lands.

One interpretation posits that Dhul-Qarnayn’s decision to build the barrier rather than annihilate Ya’juj and Ma’juj reflects a pearl of deeper wisdom and moral consideration. Despite his immense military might, he may have recognized the futility or impracticality of attempting to exterminate them entirely. The sheer number and ferocity of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, as depicted in the Qur’an, could have made such a task insurmountable, even for a ruler as powerful as Dhul-Qarnayn.

Additionally, Dhul-Qarnayn’s actions may be seen as a display of mercy or compassion, even towards such malevolent beings. Rather than resorting to wholesale slaughter, he chose a solution that would effectively neutralize the threat posed by Ya’juj and Ma’juj while minimizing bloodshed and preserving life to the extent possible. This interpretation aligns with Islamic teachings emphasizing mercy, justice, and the avoidance of unnecessary harm.

Furthermore, Dhul-Qarnayn’s decision to construct the barrier can be viewed as a pragmatic response to the existential threat posed by Ya’juj and Ma’juj. By blocking their path of aggression, he sought to safeguard the inhabited lands and protect his subjects from the depredations of these savage tribes. This approach reflects strategic foresight and a commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of his people, even in the face of daunting challenges.

This clearly means that Dhul-Qarnain and his army did not have the strength and courage to fight Ya’juj and Ma’juj. After all, what characteristics of Ya’juj and Ma’juj made them unbeatable? Even then, the most powerful king was helpless before them. Let us try to find the answer to these questions from the hadiths.

It is narrated on the authority of Nawas bin Samaan (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: When Jesus (peace be upon him) kills Dajjal (the antichrist), Allah will reveal to him that I am sending to you people, no one is able to fight against them. Take these (believing) servants of mine away to mountains. Then Allah will send Ya’juj and Ma’juj.[1]

Certainly, the phrase “no one is able to fight against them” in the hadith underscores the sheer magnitude of Ya’juj and Ma’juj’s power and ferocity, emphasizing their monstrous nature. This statement highlights the incapability of human forces to contend with Ya’juj and Ma’juj, despite their military might or strategic prowess.

The inclusion of this phrase serves to underscore the extraordinary and almost insurmountable challenge posed by Ya’juj and Ma’juj. It suggests that their strength and aggression transcend the capabilities of ordinary human beings, rendering conventional means of defense or combat ineffective against them. This characterization aligns with interpretations that depict Ya’juj and Ma’juj as supernatural or superhuman entities, possessing abilities and attributes far beyond those of mortal beings.

In essence, the phrase “no one is able to fight against them” emphasizes the formidable and monstrous nature of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, contributing to the apocalyptic and cataclysmic imagery associated with their arrival in Islamic eschatology. It serves as a stark reminder of the overwhelming challenge that believers will face when confronted with these malevolent forces, highlighting the need for divine intervention and protection in the face of such existential threats.

The main reason behind the invincible powers of  Ya’juj and Ma’juj seems to be their man-eating habit. Imam ibni Jarir At-Tabri quotes Imam Saeed bin Abdul Aziz Ad-Demashqi (90 -167 H) who said while interpreting the mischief spread by Ya’juj and Ma’juj:

قال :

سمعت سعيد بن عبد العزيز يقول في قوله 

( إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الأرْضِ ) 

كانوا يأكلون الناس[2].

Imam Saeed bin Abdul Aziz said the Allah’s word  ( إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الأرْضِ )  means they (Ya’juj and Ma’juj) used to eat people.

Imam ibni Jarir At-Tabri, in his interpretation of the mischief spread by Ya’juj and Ma’juj, quotes Imam Saeed bin Abdul Aziz Ad-Demashqi, who offers a compelling insight into their invincible powers. Imam Saeed bin Abdul Aziz suggests that the key factor behind the indomitable strength and menace of Ya’juj and Ma’juj lies in their gruesome habit of consuming human flesh.

His interpretation of the Qur’anic verse (Surah Al-Anbiya, 21:96), “إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ” (“Indeed, Ya’juj and Ma’juj are [causing] chaos upon the earth”), presents a chilling revelation: they were cannibals, devouring human beings as part of their malevolent activities.

Imam Saeed’s commentary provides a striking explanation for the unparalleled havoc wreaked by Ya’juj and Ma’juj throughout history. Their insatiable appetite for human flesh not only reflects their monstrous nature but also underscores the severity of their threat to humanity. This interpretation sheds light on why conventional means of defense or combat are ineffective against them, as their monstrous behavior transcends the bounds of ordinary conflict.

Moreover, the notion that Ya’juj and Ma’juj are man-eaters adds a layer of horror to their characterization, evoking fear and revulsion among believers. It underscores the urgency of the prophetic warnings regarding their imminent release and the necessity for divine intervention to protect the faithful from their predations.

In summary, Imam Saeed bin Abdul Aziz’s interpretation highlights the cannibalistic nature of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, providing a compelling explanation for their invincible powers and the devastation they unleash upon the earth. This insight deepens our understanding of the eschatological narrative surrounding these enigmatic entities and emphasizes the gravity of the threat they pose in Islamic tradition.

siberian people

The oldest language spoken in Siberia is the Samoyedic language, the language of the indigenous  Samoyedic people. In Russian language, Samoyed means self-eaters.[4]The Samoyedic people are the closest relatives to Ya’juj and Ma’juj. Since, the Samoyedic people live in the same region, where Ya’juj and Ma’juj once have lived; the Samoyedic people were also thought to be cannibals, by the European historians. The eating habits of the Samoyedic people are somewhat similar to those of the man-eating tribes. The Samoyeds are accustomed to eating raw meat and drinking blood. The reindeer is a Siberian pet. Its raw meat and blood is their favorite food. Probably the Ya’juj and Ma’juj tribes also become savages and cannibals because of their food habits. The famous Greek historian Herodotus, in his book Histories, mentions the man-eating tribes which invaded Greek lands, from the northeast. Herodotus used the term Androphagi for them, which in modern language is called anthropophagus or cannibal. Herodotus notes:

“The manners of the Androphagi are more savage than those of any other race. They neither observe justice, nor are governed, by any laws. They are nomads, and their dress is Scythian; but the language which they speak is peculiar to themselves. Unlike any other nation in these parts, they are cannibals.” [5]

Encyclopedia Britannica observes:

ANDROPHAGI (Gr. for “man-eaters”), an ancient nation of cannibals north of Scythia (Herodotus iv. 18, 106), probably in the forests between the upper waters of the Dnieper and Don. They were most likely Finns (Samoyed has the same meaning) and perhaps the ancestors of the Mordvinians (q.v.).”[6]


This is what the Greek and other European experts guessed about the land of the cannibals, located in the northern region of Caucasia. The existence of cannibals is not a myth or a folk tale alone. Archaeological sites have shown signs of scratching flesh and breaking or crushing human bones, at certain burials, indicating that those people were attacked and eaten by some other ferocious human beings. [7]

How did Ya’juj and Ma’juj turn into cannibals?

Due to eating raw meat and drinking blood constantly, their DNA has undergone such dramatic changes that they have developed extraordinary traits and strange eating behaviors. These behaviors are inherited through generations and become inevitable, coincidentally consistent with the laws of genetics. Genetic mutations make their way in large but isolated populations, through centuries and muted traits become dominant over time.

DNA inside chromosomes



“The development and function of an organism is in large part controlled by genes. Mutations can lead to changes in the structure of an encoded protein or to a decrease or complete loss in its expression. Because a change in the DNA sequence affects all copies of the encoded protein, mutations can be particularly damaging to a cell or organism. In contrast, any alterations in the sequences of RNA or protein molecules that occur during their synthesis are less serious because many copies of each RNA and protein are synthesized.” [8]




Generally, mutations occur spontaneously and cause abnormalities in an organism, especially in humans. However, over a larger time scale, these mutations may develop certain abnormal traits in an individual and population. So the development of cannibalism in Ya’juj and Ma’juj is the product of genetic mutations.

Do Ya’juj and Ma’juj exist today?

In Dhul-Qarnain’s account, it is mentioned that Ya’juj and Ma’juj were blocked or imprisoned between two mighty mountains and an iron wall was built as a barrier against them.  According to authentic Hadiths, they not only existed in Prophet Muhammad’s life (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on him), but the said barrier was intact. Only a small hole of the size of a coin was made in that wall.

Narrated Zainab bint Jahsh (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet () once came to her in a state of fear and said, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. Woe unto the Arabs from a danger that has come near. An opening has been made in the wall of Ya’juj and Ma’juj like this,” making a circle with his thumb and index finger. Zainab bint Jahsh (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “O Allah’s Messenger ()! Shall we be destroyed even though there are pious persons among us?” He said, “Yes when the evil person will increase.” [9]

As it has been mentioned in Abu Hurairah’s Hadith, Ya’juj and Ma’juj would be released after the assassination of Dajjal. It indicates clearly that Ya’juj and Ma’juj not only existed in the Prophet’s time but at present as well.

siberian mountain range



Where are Ya’juj and Ma’juj

It is an important question if Ya’juj and Ma;juj really exist today, then, where are these cannibals? In our previous paper Dhul-Qarnain the Great: A Modern Review, we did mention that the possible place of residing Ya’juj and Ma’juj might be Siberian forests. Despite the latest technology, several mysteries are waiting to be solved including the Bermuda Triangle, Stonehenge Egyptian Pyramids, etc. The Arctic Siberia is extremely cold with the lowest recorded temperature as 90 degrees below freezing point.[10]Such an extremely cold environment makes it harder if not impossible to investigate the forests in this region.

siberian forest frozen


Possibly, Dhul-Qarnian’s wall might be covered by some glaciers; due to global warming glaciers tend to melt; so the said wall might be revealed after melting glaciers.

siberian mountains



When would the Dhul-Qarnain’s Barrier breach?

Read this Hadith again:

It is narrated on the authority of Nawas bin Simaan (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: When Jesus (peace be upon him) kills Dajjal (the antichrist), Allah will reveal to him that I am sending to you people, no one is able to fight against them. Take these (believing) servants of mine away to mountains. Then Allah will send Ya’juj and Ma’juj.[11]

This Hadith clearly mentions that Ya’juj and Ma’juj will be released from their captivity after the assassination of Dajjal by Jesus’ blessed hands (En sha Allah). Definitely, this forecast is awaiting to be witnessed. So the claims that Dhul-Qarnai’s wall has been already breached; are not consistent.

The following hadith is noteworthy regarding Ya’juj and Ma’juj.

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Ya’juj and Ma’juj dig the wall in their path every night, even when the sun is about to rise; their leader says: Let’s just dig the rest tomorrow, but Allah makes this wall harder than ever. Until when their captivity is over and Allah wants to allow them to attack the people, Ya’juj and Ma’juj are digging the wall and the sun is about to rise, their leader will say, ” Let’s just dig the rest tomorrow Inshallah”, then they come the next day, they will find the wall in the same condition in which they left. Then they will be able to dig it out completely and attack the people. They will drink the water of the lakes and the people will take refuge in their forts. Then they will shoot arrows into the sky, which will return with blood on them. They will say, “We have driven out the people of the earth and defeated the people of the heavens as well.” Then Allah will send some insects (like grasshoppers) which will enter their necks and kill them. Animals of the earth will eat their flesh and become very fat and fresh.[12]

Why Ya’juj and Ma’juj dig the wall only at night? There is a clear indication in this hadith that Ya’juj and Ma’juj come to the open space only at night, because, they are afraid of light. It seems that they are suffering from photophobia. The Qur’an al-Hakim states that they live in narrow and dark valleys between high mountains. Having been away from light for thousands of years, their eyes could not withstand the bright light. As a result, they have developed photophobia.

These Hadiths evidently reject the misconceptions regarding Ya’juj and Ma’juj that different groups are spreading for their political agenda. The following points can be easily deducted from the aforementioned Hadiths:

1.     Ya’juj and Ma’juj are not normal humans.

2.     They are permanently, suffering a medical problem called photophobia.

3.     Despite modern technology, people would not be able to eliminate them.

4.     They would be released from their captivity after the assassination of Dajjal.

5.     They would be killed by a sort of worms in a short time period.

  These implications, deducted from authentic Hadiths, neither could be applied to the Turks, nor Khazar Jews. It is a matter of fact that these misconceptions could not withstand the authentic Hadiths.

This is what we comprehended and Allah s.w.t knows the best.

[1] Sahih Muslim H.No. 2937

[9]Sahih al-Bukhari: Hadith No.7059

[11] Sahih Muslim H.No. 2937

[12] Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 4080


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