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Messiah or Antichrist ? Netflix Controversy Explained

Netflix is no stranger to controversy. Although, Netflix is the fastest growing video streaming platform with a staggering 153 million viewers, it just can’t resist getting on the wrong side with the audiences. From fat-shaming to salary disputes, numerous original productions by the service have come under fire in the past but nothing comes close to the recent controversy, whereby Netflix managed to trigger an entire community last week with the release of the trailer for upcoming series: Messiah.

Messiah follows a man who pops up all over the Middle East including the State of Palestine performing miracles and building a huge following in the process, worldwide. The lead character clearly resembles a modern-day Jesus who claims that he has been sent “by his father” to be of assistance to people. The CIA and the world’s leading experts, are convinced that the person is a global con-artist and initiate an investigation against him.


Mehdi Dehbi, the actor playing the lead role of ‘Messiah’ in the series bears a striking resemblance to Jesus and then there is the name of his character. The name means a leader or savior but in Islam, it is the name given to Jesus Christ. It is also the promised deliverer who was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible for the Jewish nation. However, the messiah is also the name for a more controversial figure in Islamic theology; Dajjal

Dajjal, according to Muslim teachings is a false prophet who will proclaim himself as the ‘Messiah’ and is comparable to the Antichrist. Dajjal in Arabic… means ‘deceiver’ and that is exactly what this character will do during end times. Islamic eschatology provides evidence that Al-Messiah Ad-Dajjal will come to earth and try to promise reward and punishment in order to lure people into following him. 

Quran and Hadith are two of the fundamental and most revered sources of knowledge and religious teachings in Islam. Both of them have mentions of Dajjal with one hadith explaining his physical appearance as having curly hair, one-eye and the word ‘unbeliever’ on his forehead in Arabic. 



The tweet from the official page of the series contains a small question Who do you think he is?leaving people in a state of confusion about what it actually means. The TV show directed by Michael Petroni begins streaming January 1st, 2020. The exact details about the show and what it will depict are still unclear and the only way is to wait for the program to begin streaming for a better opinion to be formed. Still, from what is known so far, the story contains a number of references that are religious in nature. 



The reaction from the Muslim community has been quite, especially on Twitter and other social media platforms. This one comment has received hundreds of likes and retweets at the time of writing this with the user even reporting that he has been blocked by both Netflix and the official Messiah accounts on Twitter. 


Other users are expressing mixed opinions about the series too. Although the official Twitter account of Netflix has denied that the character in the show is known as Antichrist but most people are not convinced. Whether this is the case or not, it is a decision… has to wait until the show comes out.