There Exist Some People Coming Forward Claiming Themselves to Be Mahdi. How should Our Reaction be against them? Will Mahdi Claim Himself to Be So?
It has been observed since around one thousand and four hundred years that many leaders, charlatans, revolutionaries, insane persons and their followers who hoped help from Mahdi and Mahdihood for the sake of political, religious, national, commercial and other numerous benefits.(1)
It is true but striving to adduce proof in order to refute the belief of Mahdihood because Mahdihood is exploited is wrong. Is there any issue which has not been exploited yet or is not possible to be exploited?
Did some people not attempt to exploit even the prophethood, although it is based on firm proofs? People, such as Musaylama the Liar and Aswad al-Ansî had declared their prophethood even in the era of bliss; some individuals such as Nimrod and Pharaoh had enunciated themselves to be God; so the exploitation of Mahdihood is unavoidable. however, at this point, it is necessary to be able to put everything where they should be, to explain Mahdi to people in the way the religion described it and to be able to reflect the truth. As a matter of fact, this is incumbent upon the scholars. Then, exploitations would not possess any importance.
Thus, wrong acts like not to to put everything where they should be or not to understand the Hadiths in the way that they should be understood, to deny the hadiths by just giving importance to their explicit meanings to wait for Dajjal, Mahdi and Jesus (UWP) in a manner contrary to divine events, natural laws and the secret of testing and trial become inevitable.
These lines demonstrate this truth very well:
On account of not understanding the actual meanings of the sound Hadiths (sahih Hadiths) concerning the descension of Jesus (UWP) and his killing Dajjal at the end of time, some explicit scholars began to suspect by regarding their explicit meanings. They harm ordinary Muslims by denying the authenticity of those Hadiths or giving some superstition meanings to them and waiting for a situation which is virtually impossible. As for irreligious people, by evidencing those Hadiths which are illogical extrinsically, they despise and attack the truths of Islam.(2)
Therefore, the true interpretations of those obscure Hadiths should be revealed.
An Accurate Belief of Mahdi
The inaccurate ones of everything are harmful or dangerous; so, an incorrect belief of Mahdi would cause many difficulties or harms. Trying to learn its truth should not be avoided. The truth is the one which is free from excessivenesses. The incident which occurred during the conquest of Istanbul is a good example relating to the issue: Sultan Fatih (The conqueror) gathered the government men and famous scholars in Edirne, in the first year of his ascendance to the throne. He held a consultation with them on the issue of the conquest of Istanbul he had been dreaming since his childhood. However the participants of the meeting did not consider it right to launch the conquest campaign. They showed the reason that the conquest of Istanbul would only be realized by Mahdi. Akshamsaddin, one of the Islamic scholars and the teacher of Sultan Fatih, interfered with the situation and gave the following explanation: Sultan Fatih Khan will conquer Istanbul first. Then, Europeans will take it over again. After that Mahdi will save and conquer Istanbul. Later, they debated and compared the ideas and started to prepare for the campaign by finding the idea of Aksemseddin justified. (3)
As it is seen in this example, knowing the truth of something and advocating it is different from advocating a wrong topic. The truth should not be forsaken because of the considerations of doing something wrong. Definite benefits should not be sacrificed for imaginary harms. (4)
Some Pious Peoples Thinking of Themselves as Mahdi
Apart from exploiters, we observe some pious people that attempted to claim themselves to be Mahdi, and some of them accepted this label with silence. What could its reason be?
This question is answered in Mektubat (The Letters) as follows:
I have also seen many people who thought themselves to be a sort of Mahdi, and they said that they were going to be Mahdi. These people are not liars and deceivers, they are deceived. They suppose what they see to be reality. As the Divine Names have manifestations from the sphere of the Sublime Throne down to an atom, and the places of manifestation differ in that relation, so the degrees of sainthood, which consist of manifesting the Names, differ in the same way.
The most important reason for the confusion is this: In some of the stations of the saints, the characteristics of Mahdis function are found, or there is a special relation with the Supreme Spiritual Pole, or with Khidr; there are certain stations which are connected with certain famous persons. In fact, the stations are called the station of Khidr, the station of Uways, or the station of Mahdi.
As a consequence of this, those who attain to these stations, or to minor samples or shadows of them, suppose themselves to be the famous persons related with the station. They suppose themselves to be Khidr, or Mahdi, or the Supreme Spiritual Pole. If such a person has no ego which seeks rank or position, then he is not condemned to that state. His excessive high-flown claims are considered to be ecstatic utterances; he is probably not responsible for them. But if his ego is secretly set on acquiring rank and position, and if he defeated by his ego, and leaves off thanks and becomes proud, from there he will gradually fall into conceit, or else fall to the depths of madness, or deviate from the path of truth. For he reckons the great saints to be like himself and his good opinion of them is destroyed. Because however arrogant a soul is, it still perceives its own faults. Comparing those great saints with himself, he imagines them to be at fault. His respect towards the prophets even lessens.
It is necessary for those afflicted with this state to hold fast to the balance of the Sharia, and take for themselves the rules of the scholars of the principles of religion, and to take as their guides the instructions of the authoritative scholars from among the saints like Imam Ghazali and Imam-i Rabbani. They should constantly accuse their own souls, and attribute nothing to their souls other than fault, impotence, and want. The ecstatic utterances in this way arise from love of self, because the eye of love sees no faults. Since such a person loves his self, he supposes that faulty, unworthy fragment of glass to be a brilliant or a diamond. (5)
Will Mahdi Claim Himself to Be So?
No, Mahdi will not come forward by claiming obviously that I am Mahdi. I have been sent by Allah. Obey me. He will be recognized by means of his achievements and services.
Saying I do not accept that Mahdi will declare his Mahdihood Mawdûdi, one of the Islamic scholars, adds nobody possesses the right of claiming except the prophets; therefore, Mahdi will not emerge by asserting that I am Mahdi, also Mahdihood encompasses services but not assertion. People will recognize Mahdi, who will establish the Caliphate in the bounds of prophethood standards, by means of his achievements and services. After that, he speaks out his comments as follows:
In my opinion, Mahdi will have to resist by means of a tough struggle against difficult obstacles on his way, like other revolutionist leaders. He will establish a new school of understanding based only on Islam and he will change the mentality of the community and will embark upon a strong scientific and political movement. Jahiliyya, (people of ignorance) will gather all their strength and power in order to smash him up, but eventually, Jahiliyya will be defeated and a strong government of Islam will be established.(6)
(1) Prof. Dr. Avni Ilhan, Mehdilik (Mahdihood). (Istanbul: Beyan Publishing, 1993), p. 181-182.
(2) B. Said Nursî, Kastamonu Addendum (Germany: 1994), p. 53.
(3) Hüseyin Enisî, Menakıb-ı Akşemseddin, v. 9a-10b. Süleymaniye Library (Hacı Mahmud Efendi Stage, narrated from no. 4666, Müneccimbaşı History, Ismail Erünsal Translation, I: 258.page footnote.)
(4) Nursî, Mektubat (the Letters), p. 459.
(5) Nursî, Mektubat (the Letters), p. 431, 432.
(6) Mawdudi, Islâmda Ihya Hareketleri, (Recovery Attempts in Islam) p. 47-48.
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