Home | About Me | Links to My Articles | Info on My Books | Contact Me

Welcome to!

al-Mahdi is "the rightly-guided one" who, according to Islamic Hadiths (traditions), will come before the end of time to make the entire world Muslim.  Over the last 1400 years numerous claimants to the mantle of the Mahdi have arisen in both Shi`i and Sunni circles.  Modern belief in the coming of the Mahdi has manifested most famously in the 1979 al-`Utaybi uprising of Sa`udi Arabia, and more recently in the ongoing Mahdist movements (some violent) in Iraq, as well as in the frequently-expressed public prayers of former Iranian President Ahmadinezhad bidding the Mahdi to return and, in the larger Sunni Islamic world, by claims that Usamah bin Ladin might be the (occulted) Mahdi.  Now in 2014 Mahdism is active in Syria, as the jihadist opposition group Jabhat al-Nusra claims to be fighting to prepare the way for his coming; and in the new "Islamic State/caliphate" spanning Syrian and Iraqi territory, as its leadership promotes the upcoming apocalyptic battle with the West at Dabiq, Syria.  This site will track such Mahdi-related movements, aspirations, propaganda and beliefs in both Sunni and Shi`i milieus, as well as other  Muslim eschatological yearnings.
For a primer on Mahdism, see my 2005 article, "What's Worse than Violent Jihadists?," at the History News Network:; for more in-depth info, see the links here to my other writings, including my book on Mahdism.

Archive Newer | Older

Monday, July 30, 2007

Onward Shi`ite Soldiers....Despite Divisions in the Ranks?
According to an article yesterday in "Haaretz," President Ahmadinezhad of Iran "sent a greeting card to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to mark the first anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, calling the head of the Islamist Lebanese group a soldier in the messiah's army" and "also wrote that Nasrallah is one of the soldiers of "Mahdi"...." 

("Ahmadinejad hails Nasrallah as soldier in army of the 'messiah',"
However, a recent article in "The Economist" asserts that "a lot of senior clerics [in Qom] are appalled by the...president's claims that the appearance of the hidden imam is imminent and its timing somehow connected with the political zeal of the present government" ("The Verdict of Qom," 
The two most interesting aspects of these complementary stories are 1) the divisions in the upper echelons of the Iranian governmental/religious regime as to the immediate salience of the Hidden Imam, and 2) the ongoing silence from the Lebanese Shi`ite side--Hizbullah, that is--as to the importance of the Hidden Imam/Mahdi in their political calculations.  Perhaps Nasrallah is just more cautious about airing his Mahdist beliefs in public than his co-religionist patron(s) in Tehran.  But rest assured that both Ahmadinezhad and Nasrallah share this belief and fully expect the Mahdi to come and fight on their side--against the "Zionists" and "Crusaders."

11:00 pm edt          Comments

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Stealth Caliphate?
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues its quest to gain influence in the Sunni Muslim world, most notably in North Africa.  Besides its recent rapproachment with Libya (the topic of several previous posts and one article), the ayatollahs are gaining traction in Westernized Morocco.  The official IRIB website reported the following last week:

"Muslim countries can form a joint legal council, Head of IRI Judiciary System told Rabat-based Al-Tajdid Newspaper on Wednesday.
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi said his trip to Morocco is aimed to strenghten IRI-Morocco ties in the judiciary field and to pave the ground for setting up joint legal committees and councils.
Ayatollah Shahroudi said a consultative council will be formed at the level of supreme judges of the Islamic countries in the near future adding that the council's role is valuable in solving the Muslim world's current challenges [emphasis added].
After analyzing the two countries' judicial issues in a joint session attended by the two sides' legal experts, agreements were made for forming judicial and legal relations. The accords will be signed by the two sides during Moroccan Judiciary Minister's trip to Tehran."

Iran's bid for leadership of the entire Islamic world is obvious here and in similar initiatives--not just in the ayatollahs' bid for nuclear weapons.  This Moroccan (and Libyan) connection needs to be analyzed in strategic perspective.  There are five schools of jurisprudence in the Muslim world, four Sunni and one (major) Shi`i one: the former are Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi'i and Maliki; the latter is known as Ja`fari.  Hanafis predominate in the former lands of the Ottoman and Mughal empires (Turkey, the Levant, India, Central Asia); Hanbalis are mostly in Sa`udi Arabia and the peninsula; Shafi'is are concentrated in Egypt and northeast Africa, as well as Indonesia and Southeast Asia; and Malikis are the majority interpretive school in the Maghrib (northwest Africa--including Morocco) but also, interestingly, in Kuwait, Bahrain and Dubai.  Thus, by striking a deal to integrate elements of its Ja`fari school with that of Morocco's Maliki one, Iran is not only gaining influence in North Africa but indirectly gets access to the higher levels of  the legal system in those key Gulf countries--which have more sizable Shi`i populations than does Morocco.  Furthermore, since Morocco has produced some of the most powerful Mahdist movements in history--beginning with the first and most successful Mahdi of all time (at least to date), Ibn Tumart of the 12th c. CE--it is not out of the realm of possibility that the eschatological fervor of Ahmadinezhad and the ayatollahs regarding the coming of the Hidden Imam could strike receptive chords in Mahdist-prone Morocco. 

Here's the link:

2:40 pm edt          Comments

Archive Newer | Older

Jamkaran Mosque near Qom, Iran (during my trip there Aug. 2008)

Mahdi, Mahdism, Eschatology, Usama bin Ladin, Dajjal, Ahmadinejad, al-Sadr, Hizbullah, Yajuj wa-Majuj, Dabbah, Jesus, `Isa, Holiest Wars, Nasrallah, End of Time, Twelfth Imam, Middle East Politics, Iran, Iraq, al-Sistani, Awaited Mahdi, al-Mahdi, the Mahdi, Hojjatiyeh, Armageddon, Dabbah, Muhammad, Hadith, Jihadists, Apocalypse, Consultant, Islamic Mahdis, Osama bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda, al-Qa`ida, Azzam, Muhammad Ahmad, Ibn Tumart, al-Utaybi, Islam, Islamic, Muslim, Messiah, Ahmadinezhad, Khamanei, Ayatollah