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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.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Talking (in) Turkey about the Mahdi
Last week I was in Istanbul interviewing prominent Turkish Mahdist/Creationist Adnan Oktar, a.k.a. "Harun Yahyan."  I will have more information about this, perhaps in published form, soon. But for now just let me say that Oktar believes the Mahdi and Jesus are both already here on Earth, and will reveal themselves "in 10-15 years." 
Here's a shot of Haya Sofya/Hagia Sophia Mosque, the largest church in the world prior to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453:
And here's one of me inside, between Muhammad and Ali:
8:47 am est          Comments

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama, Vice-Mahdi?
Two weeks ago Iran watcher Amir Taheri published an article in which he alleged that there exists a Shi`i hadith stating that "a tall black man will assume the reins of government in the West...commanding the strongest army on Earth" and carrying a "clear sign" from the Third Imam, Husayn and that "Shi`is should have no doubt that he is with us" (  This hadith was said to be contained in the collection Bahar al-Anvar by Mollah Majlisi and date to the 17th c. CE.  Taheri spun an entire web of geopolitical analysis around this point, claiming that "the Khomeinist establishment sees Obama's rise as another sign of the West's decline and the triumph of Islam."
Problem is: it's not true.  According to my contacts in Iran, including Professor Abolfazl Nurmuhammadpour at the Bright Future Institute--dedicated to teaching the world about the coming of the Mahdi, and the organization which sponsored the Mahdism Conference which I attended this past August in Tehran and Qom--and other ranking clerics at the Dar al-Hadith in Qom, this hadith is NOT authentic.
Another myth about President-Elect Barack Obama bites the dust.
5:20 pm est          Comments

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

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