Ali A Olomi Profile picture
13 Jan, 20 tweets, 3 min read
In Islamic eschatology, the world will be flooded by a mighty invasion in the end of days.

The great army of the monstrous Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) will rampage throughout the earth.

A thread-
Yajuj and Majuj are mentioned in the Qur’an (Kahf and Anbiya).

They are sealed away behind a mighty wall by a legendary king, Dhul al-Qarnayn who is frequently linked to Alexander the Great and occasionally Cyrus the Great, though neither are exact matches
It is commonly believed they scratch at the wall daily, tearing nearly through until God intervenes and restores the barrier.

Thus sealed away, the world is safe from Yajuj and Majuj, that is, until the end of days.
Once released they are so numerous it is said when they come upon Tiberias lake or the Tigris and Euphrates they will drink it dry.

When they stand in formation their army stretches from Syria to ends of Persia.
Islamic eschatology regularly features the idea of an invading army and a great battle and Yajuj and Majuj is central to the narrative.
They will fill the world with violence and horror, even daring to turn their arrows to the heavens attempting to strike at God.

They will swarm the Earth, until it becomes difficult to find food and water. Then Isa (Jesus) who had returned, will ask God to intervene.
God will then send insects to attach to their necks and kill them.

The mightiest army will by laid low by the tiniest bugs.
Yajuj and Majuj are prominent characters in medieval geographic and cosmographic treatise like the works of Al Qazwini.

They are frequently treated as monstrous humans. A tradition from ibn Abbas deems them as inhuman, different from human and jinn both.
But most scholars identify them as human and descendants of Adam.
Despite being human, medieval depictions show Yajuj and Majuj as monstrous beings; hairy creatures with talons and nails.

Written descriptions say they are covered in great ears.
They are racialized as an amorphous other frequently linked to either Turks, or Mongols.
Scholar Zadeh notes the wall marks the edges of Abbasid imperial geographic imagination.

The wall holding them back is generally associated with places like Armenia, or Ibn Battuta may have linked it to the Great Wall of China.
One night, the 9th C caliph, Al Wathiq, awoke from a nightmare, drenched in sweat. Horror gripped him for in his dream he saw the wall of Yajuj and Majuj breached.

He quickly dispatched an emissary to ensure the wall was still intact.
In the report, the wall was described as so mighty not even the wind could pass.

Artistic rendering of the building of the wall show jinn and human working together to build it—a reminder of how great the threat of Yajuj and Majuj was for human and jinn alike.
Medieval astrologers like, Abu Ma’shar attempted to use astrology to predict the coming of the end.

They postulated the world would come to an end and the armies of the Yajuj and Majuj unleashed when all the planets aligned in Pisces.
In the 19th century, some Muslim thinkers linked Yajuj and Majuj with European colonists.
Yajuj and Majuj is shared across confessional boundaries and much of the contours of the narrative is drawn from the Jewish and Christian Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39 & Revelations 20: 7-10).
Theologically, Yajuj and Majuj are important for Islamic eschatology.

It also provides an important insight into medieval imagination of geography, conceptions of the other, and the boundaries of empire
For those interested in more on Islamic esotericism, apocalypticism, astrology, and jinn you can check out my patreon. I’m releasing a new episode on the astrologer Abu Ma’shar today.
I’ll be covering more on Islamic apocalypticism in future threads

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More from @aaolomi

6 Jan
In Middle Eastern and Islamic lore, the jinn are associated with dreams. As subtle, invisible creatures they were treated as a separate race of beings and as a type of spirit-life.

A thread on jinn and dreams-
Jinn were said to have a special capacity to psychically influence humans through whisperings. These could fill the mind of people with doubt, fear, and lust

They could also sway the dreams of humans.
Some jinn like Kabus were described as a type of winged shadow which stalks humans at nighttime.

Slipping in through cracks, he perches on your chest causing paralysis as his icy fingers seep into the mind inducing nightmares and terror.
Read 22 tweets
3 Jan
The Horoscope of Iskandar Sultan, cast by the astrologer Imad al Munajjim for April 25th 1384 CE

It has Capricorn on the Ascendent, Venus in her kingdom in Pisces, the Sun in Taurus, and Mars in his domicile in Scorpio
the birth time and subsequent horoscope are idealized; it reflects a nocturnal birth so Venus and Mars are emphasized.

The placements likely invoke Iskandar’s grandfather Timur, with Mars in the 11th House reflecting the power to conquer the world
It’s a beautiful depiction of Persian and Timurid art and the continuation of astrological knowledge with references to the astrologer Abu Ma’shar and the use of the ancient al-hilaj technique in the commentary
Read 4 tweets
30 Dec 20
The Great Pyramids have always captured our imagination. For medieval Muslims, they were a relic of a ancient age of knowledge; an edifice of magic, astrology, and the jinn.

A thread-
By the 9th century there were several theories for who actually built the pyramids.

One stated they were built by the last jinn king, ibn Jann who ruled in the age before humanity.
In this narration, the jinn were the original inhabitants of the world. They filled the earth with wonder and corruption in equal measure.

Eventually a great jinn war broke out in which the angels sided with the goodly jinn and drove out the wicked ones.
Read 25 tweets
21 Dec 20
The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is upon us.

So ends the age of earth and so begins the age of air.

if an undead Timur i lang rises from his grave you'll know why...

we're also entering a new dawr or planetary age

so fun times ahead!

Read 4 tweets
16 Dec 20
Astrologers from the medieval Islamic world envisioned history as a series of great planetary cycles. You've heard of the Great Conjunction on December 20th and the Age of Aquarius, but the medieval writers had different ideas.

According to them we are in a new age

A thread-
While the Age of Aquarius is not really a thing in the writings of medieval astrologers, they do have several techniques which divide up history into astrological ages, or world years.

One is the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn which we discussed in our last two threads.
The others are intiha’at, fardar, dawr, and qisma which were all related to one another
Read 21 tweets
9 Dec 20
Every few hundred years Jupiter and Saturn meet in a conjunction. For medieval Muslim astrologers, the cycles of Jupiter and Saturn would be linked to world conquerors, messiahs, and the apocalypse.

The next Great Conjunction is on December 20th 2020.

A thread-
The Jewish-Persian astrologer Mashallah, drawing heavily from his Sassanian predecessors, argued all of world history was shaped by cycles of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions.

They would be used to explain seismic political and historical changes.
In the little conjunction of 20 yrs Jupiter Saturn would meet in a sign indicating shifts in political winds and war.

In the great conjunction of 240ish yrs they would shift triplicity indicating the fall of empires, the rise of new dynasties, & the coming of a world conqueror
Read 28 tweets

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