(Editor's Note: The following is from a lecture delivered October 5, 1986 at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad. This is the first of several installments.)
Today the topic is Gog and Magog. The Arabic terms tor "Gog and Magog" is Ya'juj wa Majuj. I've heard preachers, ministers and even my father, the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad. speak on Gog and Magog. I've read what preachers, leaders and students of Christianity and the Bible wrote about Gog and Magog, and it has finally registered to me that we need to discuss this growing evil in the world, in the area we call our private life.
The Qur'an in Chapter 18. verse 94, discusses what is called Zul-qarnain. This Zul-qarnain is the personality in the Qur'an that has been likened to or identified with Alexander the Great. But we cannot be sure; there is nothing conclusive for us to really say, 'yes, Zul-qarnain is Alexander the Great.'
In verse 83 of the same chapter it says: "They ask thee concerning Zul-qarnain. Qul (Say) I will rehearse to you something of his story. Verily, we established his power on earth, and We gave him the ways and the means to all end."
This great figure in the Qur'an and in the Scripture, by the name of Zul-qarnain, was one blessed by God with knowledge of the ways of things: That is, causes, underlying happenings. or underlying things. It continues: "One such way he followed until when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water." He found it, (the sun), setting in murky water, that is, dark water, muddy water. "Near it, he found a people. We said. 0. Zulqarnain, thou hast authority either to punish them or to treat them with kindness. He said: whoever does wrong, him shall we punish. Then shall he be sent back to his Lord, and He (meaning his Lord) will punish him with a punishment unheard of before." (A new punishment is a punishment unknown to the person deserving the punishment.)
"But whosover believes and works righteousness, he shall have a goodly reward and easy will be his task as We order it by Our command."
So that was one way that Zul-qarnain followed. His way was to reward people according to their deeds; those who earned good, were to be given good; those who earned punishment (bad), were to be given punishment.
"Then followed he another way," (a second way now), "until when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom we had provided no covering protection against the sun. He left them as they were. We completely understood what was before him."
There's a second way he followed. The second way he followed was when he found a people in certain circumstances, was to leave them alone.
It continues: "Then followed he another way until when he reached the tract between two mountains, he found beneath them a people who scarcely understood a word". They said, '0, Zul-qarnain, the Gog and Magog people do great mishcief on earth. Shall we then render thee tribute in order that thou mightest erect a barrier between us and them?'
They wanted Zul-qarnain to do something to protect them from the Gog and Magog people. He said, "The power in which my Lord has established me, is better than tribute. Help me, therefore, with strength and labor. I will erect a strong barrier between you and them."
Now the term used by them for barrier, is `saddha.' The term used by Zul-qarnain, for barrier, is `rabna.' He didn't use their term. He used his own term.
"Bring me blocks of iron at length," he said. "When he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain sides. he said, "Blow with your bellows." You have perhaps seen pictures of the bellows in the dictionary. They had two-parts, and air is in both. The outlet is in the end of it, and when you bring the two bags together, the air goes out through the opening and feeds oxygen to the flame to make it burn hotter. So Zul-qarnain asked them to bring blocks of iron. and bellows, to blow the fire. He had the knowledge of the method; he wanted their labor, strength, bellows and blocks of iron.
Then, when he made it red-hot as fire, he said, "bring me, that I may pour over it, molten lead." The name for this molten lead, is `pithrah.' "Thus were they made powerless to scale it, or dig through it. "They," meaning the Gog and Magog people.
So Zul-qarnain succeeded in giving them a protection from the Gog and Magog people, by blocking the path that they had to use between the mountains. He blocked it with blocks of iron, melted down. Then, over the iron was poured lead. Lead is a whitish metal that is when it cools. Iron is not a whitish metal, although we know iron looks whitish at times. Iron is more black. So he poured over the black iron, a whitish poisonous metal, known as lead.
It continues: He said, "This is a mercy from my Lord." Zul-qarnain called the protection that he was able to give them a mercy from Allah. "But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He will make it into dust." The protection that he gave those people would not last forever. He said God's promise would come one day, and that protection would be destroyed and made into dust.
"And the promise of my Lord is true." That means it's guaranteed to be fulfilled. "On that day we shall leave them to surge like waves on one another." ViTho will surge like waves? The Gog and Magog people. Here is the connection with the water, or the sea. "The trumpet will be blown, and we shall collect them altogether." That's Judgement.
"And we shall present hell that day for the unbelievers to see, all spread out." Hell will be very obvious on that day. People won't be in doubt as to what hell is.
"Unbelievers whose eyes had been under a veil, from rememberance of Me, they will be shown hell, plain, and who had been unable even to give an ear. They refused to even hear.
So we have Gog and Magog before us, from the Qur'anic revelation, as a people who threatened another people who were weak, uncivilized and seemingly no threat to anybody, but were themselves threatened by Gog and Magog people. They turned to Zulqarnain for protection because he was one who could answer needs, because he knew causes behind things or underlying things.
Next week, insha' Allah, we will look at what the Bible has to say on this subject.