The Return of the Mahdi: the Islamic Messiah

Landscape with Grave, Coffin and Owl by Caspar David Friedrich

The Mahdi (the Guided by God) is the vaticinated Islamic redeemer who will rule before the Judgement Day and, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny with the help of Jesus. He will be an ordinary man from the lineage of Muhammad:

“The world will not come to an end until the Arabs are ruled by a man from my family whose name is the same as mine and whose father’s name is the same as my father’s” (Prophet Muhammad)

Modernist Sunni Scholars seem to reject this doctrine, having Allama Muhammad Iqbal said:

“As I think, the concept of the Mahdi, Masih and Mujaddid is a completely Iranian and Ajmi perception. This concept has no link to the Qur’an, Islam and Arabic perceptions.”

However, in this post we will focus on the Shia doctrine that believes the Mahdi to be a powerful and central religious idea. The Shiites seem to deeply believe that the redeemer will come and that some interesting signs will forewarn his arrival:
  • A great conflict in the land of Syria, until it is destroyed.
  • Death and fear will afflict the People of Baghdad and Iraq. A fire will appear in the sky and redness will cover them. 
President Ahmadinejad is a fervent believer in the coming of the Mahdi. He believes that the Iranian Revolution paved the way for his return and that the process can be expedited through a Nuclear War (hence his urgent need to develop a Nuclear Program for non-peaceful purposes).
This can lead us into wondering whether Iran had the nerve to sponsor chaos in Syria (as he does in Iraq) in order to hasten the return of the Islamic Messiah...indeed, politics & religion walking intimately, hand in hand, can blur the issue.

What is most interesting is the apparent belief that to cause the Guided One to come, some Muslims would “think” that violence and destruction is the best way to accelerate the process.
This perception draws us to the antithetic view of Hasidic Judaism that believes the way to hasten the coming of the Mashiach (the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Masih [translated by the Greeks as Khristós]) is for Jews to increase the acts of kindness.

I have an image of what the Mahdi should be: a very intelligent and rational Human Being, upon whom the spirit of Allah falls, who will guide Muslims towards the Light (casting thus the darkness of hatred, violence, war and destruction) and paving the way to a peaceful interaction between Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Mystics etc anywhere in the world. By the hand of the Mahdi, Muslim Women will enjoy Empowerment and see their Status increase. With the Mahdi, Islam will truly mean Salam (Peace).
In my humble opinion, to hasten his return all Muslims have to do is to wake up and make use of Constructive Reason instead of Destructive Emotions, reach a consensus and reform towards the Good.

Comments

  1. Nice article. My first introduction to the concept of the Mahdi was watching the movie, Four Feathers, and studying a bit about the actual 19th century events in the Sudan. Setting aside the modernists, are there many notions of the Mahdi in Islam?

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    1. Hi Looney :D!

      "Nice article."

      Thank you *bowing*.

      "My first introduction to the concept of the Mahdi was watching the movie, Four Feathers, and studying a bit about the actual 19th century events in the Sudan."

      Really? I haven't watched that movie yet. My first introduction to the Mahdi was watching God's Warriors (a CNN Documentary produced by Christiane Amanpour) a few years ago. The documentary suggested that the Mahdi was one of the many subjects that create tension between Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah...

      "Setting aside the modernists, are there many notions of the Mahdi in Islam?"

      I only read the modernists view, the Shia notion, the Sufi notion (that also believes in the Mahdi and goes as far as saying that the denial of the Mahdi is disbelief and whomever differs with the Sufis is a liar and an innovator [apparently the Sufis do not appreciate innovation]) and the Ahmadiyya notion that basically states that "there is NO Mahdi but Jesus son of Mary" and that the second coming of Jesus and the return of the Guided One have already been fulfilled in the person of Mirza Gulam Ahmad (1835-1908). But only the Shia doctrine regarding the Mahdi fit in the present context, which is most interesting.

      Looney, thank you so much for your comment :D.

      Cheers

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  2. Hi Max,

    This reminds me of deus ex machina "god out of the machine"; a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly solved with an unexpected divine intervention.

    It seems like people expect The Mahdi to erase everything that is hurtful, hateful, vengeful, etc. but those are the things that help us grow as individuals and spiritualists. They help us develop compassion, temperance and love. We have to traverse through life, not with rose colored glasses but with the eyesight to see the thorns and remove them. We can't appreciate the flowers if the thorns are not shorn.

    No one is going to save us from our karma. It's similar to people who behave atrociously through the week and go to church on Sunday to be absolved of their 'sins.'

    "President Ahmadinejad.."

    He doesn't seem to be reasonable or a peace wager.

    "…to hasten his return all Muslims have to do is to wake up and make use of Constructive Reason instead of Destructive Emotions, reach a consensus and reform towards the Good."

    Preach it sista!

    A powerful piece my dear.

    We can't forget to live for today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

    Peace Now Cheers!

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  3. Hey Max! It's been a long time since I last visited you, sorry. :) I'm doing good, just a little busy (also helping out take care of the twins).

    Hope you are doing great as well. I miss you!

    Kisses and hugs.

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  5. Hi Lady A :D!

    "This reminds me of deus ex machina "god out of the machine"; a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly solved with an unexpected divine intervention."

    Indeed...

    "It seems like people expect The Mahdi to erase everything that is hurtful, hateful, vengeful, etc. but those are the things that help us grow as individuals and spiritualists. They help us develop compassion, temperance and love. We have to traverse through life, not with rose colored glasses but with the eyesight to see the thorns and remove them. We can't appreciate the flowers if the thorns are not shorn."

    Perhaps the Mahdi represents a man that grows as an individual and spiritualist exactly because of the pain, hate, vengeance etc suffered, nurtured and perpetrated by Muslims in general; and finally says "Enough is enough!" and changes things, who knows?

    "No one is going to save us from our karma. It's similar to people who behave atrociously through the week and go to church on Sunday to be absolved of their 'sins.'"

    That is true. LOL LOL I know a few like that...

    "["President Ahmadinejad.."] He doesn't seem to be reasonable or a peace wager."

    No, he doesn't...

    "["…to hasten his return all Muslims have to do is to wake up and make use of Constructive Reason instead of Destructive Emotions, reach a consensus and reform towards the Good."] Preach it sista!"

    ^5!

    "A powerful piece my dear."

    Thank you, darling *bowing*.

    "We can't forget to live for today because tomorrow is not guaranteed."

    Well, I would say "We can't forget to work today to build a tomorrow" if not for ourselves (because like you said we might not have a tomorrow) at a least for the future generations.

    Lady A, thank you ever so much for your awesome comment :D.

    Peace Cheers

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  6. Hi Liza :D!

    "It's been a long time since I last visited you, sorry. :) I'm doing good, just a little busy (also helping out take care of the twins)."

    No problem, girl. Ah, that is good news :D! And I am happy that the twins are doing so well.

    "Hope you are doing great as well. I miss you!"

    I am, thank you. I miss you too! But I am happy enough that you dropped by today: thank you for the lovely visit :D

    Kisses and a big Hug

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  7. Olá Max,

    If the Mahdi, with the help of Jesus, is going to redeem the world how come Muslims call Christians infidels? I don't get it: the followers of the prophet that is supposed to help the descendent of their prophet are infidels?
    Given the current events in the middle east (that at least foretell the coming of the Islamic messiah, according to the Shiite school of thought) are we to expect the coming of the Mahdi anytime soon and what if he is not what Muslims expect him to be exactly?

    Tchau

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    1. Olá Celeste :D!

      "If the Mahdi, with the help of Jesus, is going to redeem the world how come Muslims call Christians infidels? I don't get it: the followers of the prophet that is supposed to help the descendent of their prophet are infidels?"

      That is a really good question, girl. I am having this same debate on Etnias with someone who seems to know the Muslim faith, so perhaps you could ask him this question (he is enlightening me a lot on this subject)...

      "Given the current events in the middle east (that at least foretell the coming of the Islamic messiah, according to the Shiite school of thought) are we to expect the coming of the Mahdi anytime soon and what if he is not what Muslims expect him to be exactly?"

      Answering that would be the same as answering Christians about the schedule of Christ's Second Coming, now wouldn't it?

      Celeste, thank you ever so much for your marvellous comment :D.

      Cheers

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  8. If the liberty of the metaphor is allowed this could well be the Mahdi.
    http://www.etapasvi.com/en/

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    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      "If the liberty of the metaphor is allowed this could well be the Mahdi.
      http://www.etapasvi.com/en/ "

      Thanks for the link (which I loved, by the way). I am inclined to agree with you: this young man could be him.

      Rummy, thank you ever so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

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  9. Well politics and religion is a strange bonhomie, which creates a fatal mixture, where ideals, logic and right thinking blur to produce a concoction of thoughts, where only fire is seen in the skies, and no amount of water from the oceans enough to vanquish it. Beliefs and pragmatism should go hand in hand else there will be a land where only cows fly and damsels dance in the moon.


    ps: after reading the post the mood suddenly turned a little philosophic.

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    1. Hi Kalyan :D!

      "Well politics and religion is a strange bonhomie, which creates a fatal mixture, where ideals, logic and right thinking blur to produce a concoction of thoughts, where only fire is seen in the skies, and no amount of water from the oceans enough to vanquish it. Beliefs and pragmatism should go hand in hand else there will be a land where only cows fly and damsels dance in the moon."

      *nodding in agreement*....

      "ps: after reading the post the mood suddenly turned a little philosophic."

      You are a gem, man!

      Kalyan, thank you ever so much for your great input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete

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