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For other uses, see Mahdi (disambiguation).

The Mahdi (مهدي translit: Mahdī, also Mehdi; "Guided One" ), in Islamic eschatology, is the prophesied redeemer of Islam, who will change the world into a perfect Islamic society alongside the Prophet Jesus before Yaum al-Qiyamah (literally "Day of the Resurrection"). The "hdi" of "Mahdi" refers to the Arabic root "هدی" which means "to guide".

The exact nature of the Mahdi differs according to Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. For a more in-depth Shi'a account of the Mahdi, see Muhammad al-Mahdi.


[edit] Introduction

The idea of a man who would arise to right the injustices in the world of Islam has been widely held and collections of hadiths included ample references to the Mahdi.

For example, in a hadith widely regarded as authentic, the Islamic prophet Muhammad has stated:

Even if the entire duration of the world's existence has already been exhausted and only one day is left before the Day of Judgment, God (Arabic:Allah) will expand that day to such a length of time, as to accommodate the kingdom of a person out of my Ahl al-Bayt who will be called by my name. He will then fill the Earth with peace and justice as it will have been filled with injustice and tyranny before then.
Sahih Tirmidhi, V2, P86, V9, P74–75.

The Mahdi, according to majority Sunni and Shi'ite tradition, will arise at some point before the day of judgement, institute a kingdom of justice, and will in the last days fight alongside the returned Islamic prophet Jesus against the Dajjal (Antichrist or false Messiah).

However, like most religious concepts, various Muslim traditions have ascribed different characteristics to the Mahdi. Also, as Mahdiism is closely related to the leadership of the whole Muslims (Ummah) and widely accepted by them, it has had the potential to be abused as some leaders of secularly focused politico-religious movements in the name of Islam who have claimed to be the Mahdi.

The following sections list a few of the characteristics of the Mahdi, according to various traditions of Islam:

- A shorter Replication : On the soon to come day of judgement where none will be forgiven or forgotten and where all who have done nothing but wrong will face the consequences which will by the name of Mahdi The chosen one who will lead Islam into front and center stage to overrule the false and morally incorrect religions and vanish all unspeakable deceptions of god (worshipping objects) and create a muslim sanctuary where all Muslims are able to indulge in the perfect religion and not be subject to false sterotyping where Islam will rule supreme.

[edit] Characteristics of the Mahdi

[edit] Sunni and Shi'a sources

  • His name is generally accepted to be Muhammad, Mahdi is just a title. Muhammad literally means "praised one".
  • Some Muslims claim that his name can be an accepted variant of Muhammad such as Ahmed or Mahmoud; Supporters of this idea quote a passage from Muhammad in the Hadith which is interpreted: "If there remains only a day for the world to come to an end, Allah will prolong this day till He raises a man from my nation and my progeny. His name will be my name. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would have fraught with injustice and oppression." (Muntakhabul Asar by Lutfullah Safi Gulpaygani, p. 153)
  • His appearance is similar to that of Muhammad. He will don two woolen Qatwani cloaks (or the QATAN) like the people of Bani-israel (here it means the Muslims who are the descendants of the Bani-israel race and not the Jews)
  • His character is like that of Muhammad, he would follow him perfectly and shall err not.

[edit] Sunni sources

  • He has a fair complexion.
  • He has a broad forehead and a prominent nose.

[edit] Signs indicating the emergence of the Mahdi

[edit] Shi'a sources

  • According to Shia sources no one can detemine the time of Imam Mahdi's emergence and whoever determines any specific time is a liar (Kamal ul-din, p 484, Hadith #4). Nevertheless, there are some signs for his emergence, most of which are not necessary conditions for his reappearance.
  • The 6th Shi'a Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq, is reported to have said:
"Before the appearance of the one who will rise, peace be upon him, the people will be reprimanded for their acts of disobedience by a fire that will appear in the sky and a redness that will cover the sky. It will swallow up Baghdad, and will swallow up Kufa. Their blood will be shed and houses destroyed. Death will occur amid their people and a fear will come over the people of Iraq from which they shall have no rest."
  • There will be an insurgence by the Sufyani, a descendant of Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan is considered by Shias to have been one of Muhammad's worst enemies, along with his son, Muawiya I and Muawiya's son, Yazid. According to Shia narrations, the Sufyani's revolution will start from Palestine/Jordan, and his reign of tyranny will span the Middle East from Iraq to Egypt.
  • A loud call from the sky signals the Mahdi's appearance.

[edit] Emergence of the Mahdi

[edit] Sunni and Shi'a sources

  • He emerges during the last days of the world from Makkah (Mecca)
  • He and Isa (ie. Jesus) are two different individuals; This so accepted by consensus of earlier scholars, although it counters the prophetic tradition presented by famous Muslim historian Ibn Khuldun. He quotes Anas ibn Malik that the prophet said, "لا مهدي إلا عيسى بن مريم", literally meaning: No Mahdi but Jesus son of Mary.
  • He precedes the second appearance of Jesus
  • He establishes justice, peace and truth throughout the world (or land, the Arabic word "الأرض" pronounced al-ardh does not necessarily translates to whole world or Planet Earth only, it basically means 'land' and could thus address to some nation or part thereof.)
  • Jesus defeats the Deceiving Messiah or Antichrist, known as al-Masih ad-Dajjal
  • Once the Deceiving Messiah is defeated, Jesus and the Mahdi live on Earth to live out their natural life
  • The Mahdi will correct the false or corrupted practices in Islam, and Jesus will likewise correct false practices done in his name (i.e. Christianity).
  • Some scholars also established Jesus could be praying behind Mahdi.
  • Jesus will destroy all the crucifixes and false churches

[edit] Shi'a sources

  • Upon his emergence, the young among his followers, without any prior appointment, reach Mecca that very night
  • Each of his soldiers has the power of forty strong men
  • Sinful opposers call their own followers to fight
  • A large number of non-believers will convert to Islam once they see that the signs in the reports have occurred

[edit] Claims of being the Mahdi

There have been several personalities over time who have considered themselves the Mahdi prophesied in Islam. Similar to the notion of a Messiah in the Judeo-Christian religions, the notion of a Mahdi as a redeemer to establish a society has lent itself to various interpretations leading to different claims within minorities or by individuals within Islam.

The first historical recorded reference to a movement using the name of Mahdi is al-Mukhtar's rebellion against the Umayyid Caliphate in 686 CE (almost 50 years after the Islamic prophet). Al-Mukhtar claimed that Ibn al-Hanifiya, a son of the fourth Caliph Ali (the first Imam of Shi'ite), was the Mahdi who would save the Muslim people from the unjust rule of the Umayyids. Ibn al-Hanifiya was not actively involved in the rebellion, and when the Umayyids successfully quashed it, they left him undisturbed.

A list and a summary of known claimants is given on its own page.

[edit] Divergent views among Sunnis

The coming of the Mahdi is a disputed notion within Sunnis, with the claim being denied notably by both the Ahle Quran and notable Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama clerics.

[edit] The Mahdi in fiction

Several authors have used the concept of the Mahdi in fictional stories. Perhaps the best known is Frank Herbert, whose Dune science fiction novels centered on the character of Paul Atreides, who was proclaimed by his followers, the Fremen, to be the Mahdi. Paul's Fremen name, "Muad'Dib", means "teacher of adāb (manners and respect)" in Arabic, although within the novel it is a word in the Fremen language of Chakobsa, and is the name of a kind of desert mouse.

In The Wheel of Time fictional world, the Tinker people are divided into travelling bands each led by a mahdi, which is translated as "seeker". The Tinkers are of the same ethnicity as the Aiel, a Fremen-like desert-dwelling people. One of the Aiel warrior societies is the Duadhe Mahdi'in, meaning "Water Seekers."

The Mahdi claimant Muhammad Ahmad plays a central role in Wilbur Smith's book The Triumph of the Sun, a story of an English family during the Mahdi's siege of Khartoum in 1884.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Ahmadiyya view

[edit] Sunni view

[edit] Shia view

Mouood (Arabic: موعود) The largest portal about Imam Mahdi and related articles and news, in Persian language.

[edit] Mehdavi view

[edit] Bibliography (English)

  • Shauhat Ali: Millenarian and Messianic Tendencies in Islamic Thought: Lahore: Publishers United: 1993.
  • Timothy Furnish: Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, Jihad and Osama Bin Laden: Westport: Praeger: 2005: ISBN 0-279-83383-8
  • Abdulaziz Abdulhussein Sachedina: Islamic Messianism: The Idea of the Mahdi in Twelver Shi'ism: Albany: State University of New York Press: 1981: ISBN 0-87395-458-0

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