Is there a need for Mahdi?

Within the framework described in Islamic sources on the devastating circumstances of the end of time(*), does it not make it a necessity for a Mahdi to save humanity from that chaos?

If we pay a little more attention to the issue, the necessity and the inevitability of Mahdis emergence will become obvious.

The time of Mahdi is a time of disputes, turmoil and tyranny. They are like the complete darkness before the break of the dawn.

According to the narration of Abu Saidi'l-Khudri, the Messenger of Allah asked: Should I inform you with the good news of Mahdi? and continued: He will be sent at a time when there are disputes and tremors among my ummah. He will fill the earth with justice, which had been filled with tyranny. The individuals of the heavens and the earth will be consent with him.(1)

Mahdi is a person of a time of mischief. The Messenger of Allah did not neglect to warn his ummah against that devastating mischief and even stated that the mischief would come from the Islamic Dajjal, Sufyan. He also called their attention to that mischief when he warned his Ummah against the seven mischiefs. He stated that that mischief would originate from Damascus and it would be called the Sufyani mischief.(2) Damascus had been the capital for Islam in the past but it did not mean that it had to stay that way. Another city could be a capital for Islam in the later times. So, Sufyan could originate from another Islamic capital.

Other Hadiths called attention to that mischief, disturbance and immorality too:

When the world is in chaos; the mischiefs have appeared; when people waylay and loot each others property; when the elders do not have compassion for the young and when the young do not have respect for the elders, Allah will conquer the fortress of astray, open the closed hearts and establish religion during the end of time as it had been established during the early times. Allah will send someone who will fill the earth with justice when it is filled with injustice.(3)

There have been many calamities, tyrannies and torments on people throughout history. As it is mentioned in the previous narration, the end of time is filled with events that lead people to hopelessness and pessimism and demoralize them. There is the mischief of Dajjal whose spiritual destruction is so big and acts are so devastating that all prophets since Noah had felt the need to warn their followers against that evil.

The divine law and practice of the Almighty God has manifested itself in all ages as sending spiritual leaders to save people from despair. Allah had sent prophets to people who had gone astray to lead them back to the right path. During the end of time, which is the period from Prophet Muhammad until the Day of Judgment, Allah has sent important people who can be called mujaddid, murshid or a kind of mahdi to support people at times of material and spiritual calamities. Being sent during the times when the Ummah degenerated, those important people became an important point of support for the believers.

Prof. Dr. A. Salim Kılavuz states that the Mahdi in the Sunni system is not like the one believed by the Shiites and the Mahdi belief has been around as a sociological concept by saying:

It is a sociological fact that there is a need for a charismatic leader for Muslims to show them the way during times when they are depressed under oppression, tyranny and despotism and when they face material and spiritual trouble and crisis.

He continues by emphasizing this fact:

Then, by Islamicizing first on an individual and then on a communal basis, the Islamic communities have to and will bring out from among themselves in all times and all circumstances mujaddid (restorer) and mujtahid guides (murshids), mahdis and leaders who will maintain justice, peace and tranquility and who will exalt Allahs words.(4)

By relying on sources, Mawdudi, one of the important scholars of our time, states that common sense, our created nature and the way this world is going makes the emergence of Mahdi a necessity, be it in our time or centuries later.

He states that the common people expect a Mahdi, who will wipe out the unbelievers with one look, destroy tanks and planes with his curse, and who will have old-fashioned clothes and will have an outdated and mystic look and emerge from a madrasa (Islamic school) all of a sudden while the innovative inventors see it as improbable. He explains the question What sort of Mahdi? as follows:

In my opinion, the person to come will have deep knowledge and power in current branches and main problems of life and be the most modern leader of his era. The world will admire his governing skills, political foresight and strategic talent in war.

Mawdudi states that, on the one hand, Mahdi will spread the true Islamic spirit on the other hand, he will accelerate the development of practice and maturity. He also points out the following:

If the idea of the Islamic dominance of this world in terms of opinion, culture and politics is to be realized, then the emergence of a great leader who can realize such a revolution thanks to his exhaustive and capable leadership is necessary. I am amazed at the lack of common sense of the people who see the idea of the emergence of such a leader as improbable! Why should the idea for the emergence of a leader of virtue seem improbable and doubtful although this world saw sinful leaders like Lenin and Hitler?"(5)

Badiuzzaman, on the other hand, explains the need for a kind of Mahdi in every age and for the great Mahdi in the end of time. He states that, by basing it on revelation, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) informed us about a Mahdi who will rescue each age from despair, boost morale, reinforce spiritual strength, rescue believers from falling into despair when they face devastating events and connect the believers to the beautiful chain of the Islamic world (Al-e Bayt). Just like there is a final Mahdi in the end of time, each century has a Mahdi or maybe Mahdis from the Al-e Bayt.(6)

He states in another passage that, because of the perfection of His mercy, the Almighty God sends holy people like a corrector (Muslih) in times of trouble among the followers of Islam (ummah) or a restorer (mujaddid) or a glorious caliph (Khalifa-i Zishan) or a big authority (Qutb-u Azam) or a complete guide (Murshid-i Akmal) or a kind of Mahdi as a sign of protection for the infinity of the religion of Islam. They remove the trouble, improve the people and protect the religion of Muhammad (pbuh). Badiuzzaman continues as:

Because His practice tends to be that way, during the mischief times of the en of time, He will send a saintly person who is a most important interpreter (mujtahid), also a most important restorer (mujaddid), also a judge (Haakim), also a Mahdi, also a guide (murshid), also a big authority (Qutb-u Azam) and this person will be from the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (Ahl-i Bayt-i Nabawi).

Badiuzzaman states that the reasons are suitable for it and it is not at all difficult for the Omnipotence of Allah and goes further to say that the Ahl-i tafakkur have concluded that Even if there was no narration from the Loyal Messenger, it would have to be take place and will happen so.(7)

After those explanations, we could say the following about the necessity of the coming of the Mahdi:

Because Mahdi is a big spiritual authority who will repel the devastating mischief of Dajjal, he will be a strong point of support for the believers of the time. He will come when faith is in danger and there is an extremely rare and unique kind of oppression and tyranny and he will bring relief and will weave the existence and oneness of Allah to the hearts; he will sustain the delight of faith and will bring strength to endure calamities. It must be because of this need that, in one Hadith, the companions (sahaba) of the Prophet Muhammad feared of some kind of an incident after His death and they asked him. The Messenger of Allah gave them the good of news of Mahdi.(8) Again, it must be because of this need that the people of that time will seek refuge in Mahdi like the bees seek refuge in the queen bee(9) and they will love and respect him greatly. The Tazkira of Qurtubi states that people will come from all places and be subject to him.(10)

In addition, it is because of the greatness of the need for a Mahdi that, a hadith states that even if there is one day until the Day of Judgment, Allah the Almighty will prolong that day and send Mahdi.(11)

(*). See:
(1). Iqdu'd-Durar, Waraq: 54a; Kitabu'l-Fitan, Waraq: 51ab.
(2). Iqdu'd-Durar, Waraq: 23a-b.
(3). Tabarani, Mu'jamu'l-Kabir.
(4). Prof. Dr. Salim Kılavuz, Mehdî Meselesi, İslâm, Temmuz 1996, p. 16.
(5). Mawdudi, İslâmda İhya Hareketleri, p. 48, 49.
(6). Nursi, Mektûbât, (Letters)p. 96.
(7). ibid, p. 425.
(8). Tirmizi, Fitan: 43.
(9). al-Burhan, Waraq: 82a.
(10). Tazkiratu'l-Qurtubi, p. 187.
(11). Abu Dawud, Mahdi: 4; Tirmizi, Fitan: 43.

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