Al-Albaani: ‘Until when [the dam of] Gog and Magog [Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj] has been opened and they, from every elevation, descend …,’ [21:96] there is no doubt that believing in the people known as Gog and Magog is a correct Islamic belief, due to it being present in the Quran and due to the story and its details [also] being related in the Sunnah.
The barrier mentioned in the verse before this one in the Noble Quraan is the one our Prophet ﷺ spoke about in the authentic hadith, i.e., that behind this barrier are the people of Gog and Magog and that every day they betake themselves to it in order to escape from it to [the rest of] the world, licking it with their tongues until when they [do get through it enough that they can] see a ray of light they say, ‘Tomorrow we will complete it and then leave through it,’ but when they come back they find it to have reverted to how it initially was.
[It will carry on like this] until when Allaah تبارك و تعالى [finally] permits them to leave He will inspire some of them to say, ‘Tomorrow, inshaa Allaah,’ so they then come back to the barrier … and find that it is as they had left it and carry on doing what they were doing and then they will, ‘… from every elevation, descend …’ as the Lord of the Worlds said.
So now, the doubt which is thrown around these days—emanating from the disbelievers and ending among some of those [Muslims] who are weak in knowledge, if not weak in eemaan, where these people claim even more than the disbelievers do, these people weak in knowledge and eemaan claim things the disbelievers don’t even claim about themselves—saying, ‘The non-Muslims have covered the entire globe and are acquainted with all of it, from its mountains to its plateaus, plains, rivers, seas, forests and so on,’ there is no place left, according to them, that they haven’t traversed—the disbelievers themselves don’t even make this claim.
This is because, regretufully, we acknowledge that the disbelievers don’t believe in anything except scientific research and it is this scientific research that causes them to refrain from claiming something they don’t have knowledge about such that they will say, ‘We reached this point but we don’t know what is beyond it.’
As for those in our Ummah who are weak in knowledge and eemaan … … so I say: this is a claim bereft of any proof, it is obligatory on the believer to believe in the Quraan and the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, the very least that can be said is that he believes in these things more than his belief in what the disbelievers say and [more than his belief] in their research and experiments, and if the Quraan has openly declared the presence of a barrier there and of a people behind said barrier and that a time will come when they escape from it, then this means that the disbelievers [fall under the description that Allaah mentioned, when He said], talking about all creatures in general, ‘… and of knowledge ye have been given but a little,’ [17:85] from the knowledge that they have not acquired to this day is where Dhul-Qarnain’s barrier or the people who are behind it are.
It is, without doubt, on this earth—‘Allaah knows and you do not.’ [2:216]
Therefore, let no-one be confused into thinking that the disbelievers have explored all the world, for this is a false claim. Additionally, if the disbelievers did find it they would hasten to deny it because in that would be a … … for Islaam whereas they disbelieve in it, and if that were the case then the statement of the Lord of the Worlds regarding the early polytheists, would [also] apply to them, ‘They denied them [the signs], in their wickedness and their pride, even though their souls acknowledged them as true. See how those who spread corruption met their end!’ [27:14]
This is my answer to the issue and in summary it is that: we believe in what has come in the Book and the Sunnah and reject the statement that it does not exist.
Questioner: The statement of the Prophet ﷺ, ‘Woe to the Arabs from a great evil that has drawn near! Today a gap has been made in the wall of Gog and Magog …’ to the end of the hadith, along with what is mentioned from his statement ﷺ that they lick the barrier with their tongues, does it mean that a gap in this wall was made from that time?
Al-Albaani: The gap is made every day and then goes back to being as it was.
Questioner: The Prophet’s saying, ‘Today a gap has been made …,’ does it mean every day?
Al-Albaani: Yes, every day, yes.
Fataawaa Jeddah, 15b, see here.