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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: http://hnn.us/articles/13146.html; for more in-depth info, see the links here to my other writings, including my book on Mahdism.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Mark Steyn, Meet the Mahdi
Why are there so many tree-lined avenues in Paris? Apparently so that the Mahdi will be able to stroll in the shade.  At least that's what one of Ayatollah Khameini's spokesmen believes:
"In a dozen years, Europe will be an Islamic continent," said Rasul Jalilzadeh on Friday as he was speaking to the basiji, a voluntary organisation in the capital Tehran.
"The Islamisation of the European continent is imminent and this step favours the arrival of the Mahdi," he said, referring to the 12th imam of Shiite Islam  (http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=1.0.1696552901).
Mark Steyn's book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It already spelled out, quite ominously, the demographic decline of Christian Europe and the ascendance of the Muslim populace there.  Little did he know that there was a mystical aspect to this phenomenon.
On the plus side (for us), the Mahdi might have to stay on his side of the Pond, because according to "USA Today" today:
"The fertility rate among Americans has climbed to its highest level since 1971, setting the country apart from most industrialized nations that are struggling with low birthrates and aging populations.

The fertility rate hit 2.1 in 2006, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Center for Health Statistics. It's a milestone: the first time since shortly after the baby boom ended that the nation has reached the rate of births needed for a generation to replace itself, an average 2.1 per woman.

"What matters is that the U.S. is probably one of very few industrialized countries that have a fertility rate close to or at replacement level," says José Antonio Ortega, head of the fertility section at the United Nations' Population Division....(http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-12-19-fertility_N.htm).

11:34 pm est          Comments

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

El Mahdi?

The Islamic Republic of Iran is working on making Nicaragua part of the Mahdi's coming caliphate--or at least detaching it from the orbit of El Diablo Notreamericano:

"Iran is establishing a Central American foothold in Nicaragua, to the alarm of some U.S. state department officials, it is being reported.

The San Antonio News-Express said Monday that Nicaragua, with the backing of its Venezuelan ally, has been forging a new partnership with Iran.

Part of that relationship comes in the form of a $350 million deep-water port at Monkey Point on Nicaragua's Atlantic coast that is to extend across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. Iran has also recently opened an embassy in Nicaraguan capital of Managua....Despite U.S. warnings, Latin America countries, such as Nicaragua and Venezuela have recently been cultivating ties with Iran. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has met with Tehran officials several times this year to seek help with several major infrastructure projects. And on Monday Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wrapped up a visit to the Islamic republic aimed at building a "strategic unity"...." (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317193,00.html)
What happened to the "kinder, gentler" Daniel Ortega that we heard about when he was running
for El Presidente?  He's simply substituted Tehran for Moscow as an ATM. 
This development, along with El Jefe Hugo's ongoing wooing of the ayatollahs and the alarming increase in conversions to Islam among Hispanic gang members (http://www.pluralism.org/research/profiles/display.php?profile=72671 and http://www.mexidata.info/id697.html), should concern all of us. Who knows, maybe the Democrats might even manage to discuss the topic at one of their head-in-the-sand-about-terrorism debates.

9:14 am est          Comments

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Emmy, Oscar, Nobel--now Mahdiyah for Al Gore?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the, er, sand....comes this cartoon:
12-14-07.png

For those of you who aren't Frank Herbert fans, Dune is in my humble opinion
one of the three greatest sci-fi novels of all time (along with A Canticle for
Leibowitz
and The Mote in God's Eye), and it presents the most convincing secondary
world created by an author since Tolkien's Middle-earth.  It's set 10,000 years
 in the future, with humanity spread out over the galaxy and rife with prophecies
of the coming of the Kwisatz Haderach, a Mahdi/messiah-like figure. 
For those of you that are familiar with the Dune universe, I suppose if you're
on the Left you would think Gore could play the Paul Atreides role. But I would think
most of you would be more likely to see Obama in that part (see my post below). 
Most of us not on the Left don't usually pine for human messianic deliverers,
 having a much more jaded view of human nature. 

Special thanks to Stormbear at http://www.towncalleddobson.com/ for
 permission to repost this. AND go check out his nonpartisan
 "Books for Soliders" charity: http://booksforsoldiers.com/donate.php

2:57 pm est          Comments

Friday, December 14, 2007

Religious "Bigotry"--or Honest Doctrinal Analysis?

Don't get me wrong--if Mitt Romney gets the Republican nomination, I'll almost certainly vote for him for President.  But it's very disheartening (and unpresidential, frankly) of him to play the "religious bigotry" card whenever hard questions get asked about Mormon theology.  This is very much the tack taken by Muslims whenever Robert Spencer or Julia Gorin (or I, for that matter) point out unsavory doctrines in Islam (jihad, beheading, dhimmitude, etc.).  And it plays into the secular media's reductionist belief that all religions are basically the same--which is demonstrably absurd.  In this vein,  Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has taken flack from the media--both the Left ("New York Times") AND the Right (Rush Limbaugh--for saying that in Mormonism Jesus and Lucifer are brothers.  Well, according to this Q & A in the Ensign, the flagship magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Huckabee was exactly right. 
Marge Simpson's "uhmmmm, it's  true but he still shouldn't say it" comes to mind.

How can Jesus and Lucifer be spirit brothers when their characters and purposes are so utterly opposed?

Jess L. Christensen, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, June 1986, 25–26

Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel “who was in authority in the presence of God,” a “son of the morning.” (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.) (http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=4a10ef960417b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

10:34 am est          Comments

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Where's Your Messiah Now?
Seems Muslims aren't the only ones pining for their messiah figure to come: some Russian Christian extremists not only consider President Vladimir Putin to be the "Chosen One"--they have also taken up praying to icons of him (http://wwrn.org/article.php?idd=27147)!  And Rich Lowry at Townhall.com today points out the messianic hopes regarding Barack Obama among his supporters, including Oprah Winfrey (http://www.townhall.com/columnists/RichLowry/2007/12/11/obama_the_messianic&comments=true#a6f5f49b-9a62-41bb-b43a-8243c4ca58af). 
To be fair, Ben Shapiro was all over Barack the Anointed almost a year ago (http://www.townhall.com/columnists/BenShapiro/2007/01/31/is_barack_obama_the_messiah). 
Since Obama was at one point in his life at least quasi-Muslim, is it beyond the realm of possibility that some in the Islamic world might be willing to view him as the Mahdi, as well? (As Andrew Sullivan comes close to doing in the latest issue of "The Atlantic Monthly" (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama).
11:05 pm est          Comments

Be Careful What You Wish For...
Every few years some journalist discovers Sufism--mystical Islam--and hastens to write a piece extolling its possibilities as an anti-jihadist movement.  The latest to do so is Jane Lampman of the "Christian Science Monitor," December 5, 2007, in an article entitled "Sufism may be Powerful Antidote to Islamic Extremism" (http://wwrn.org/article.php?idd=27084).  Much the same approach was taken--even more in-depth--by Stephen Schwartz in The Weekly Standard back in 2005 ("Getting to Know the Sufis"). 
Lampman, a number of times, quotes Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University and a noted Sufi himself: "Sufism is the most powerful antidote to the religious radicalism called fundamentalism...." and "some of the greatest reform movements in the 19th century were carried out by Sufis...." 
True.  But what Nasr ignores is that some of the most violent revolutionary movements in Islamic history were led, and manned, by Sufis.  Six of the eight major Mahdist movements I discuss in my book Holiest Wars were started, and staffed, by Sufi shaykhs, each of whom at some juncture decided he was the Mahdi: Muhammad Jawnpuri (d. 1505), in Gujarat (India), a member of the Chistiyah Sufi order; Ibn Abu Mahallah (d. 1613), in Morocco, belonged to the Qutbaniyah; Ahmad Barelwi (d. 1831), was an Indian Naqshabandi; Muhammad Amzian (d. 1879), in French-occupied Algeria, was a member of the Rahmaniyah; one of the most successful Mahdis ever, Muhammad Ahmad of Sudan (d. 1885), belonged to the Sammaniyah; and in 1930 a Sufi named Mehmet tried to start an eschatological revolt against the newly-established Turkish Republic.
So you see, while Sufism's undeniable spirituality and syncretism can often counterbalance Wahhabi/Salafi intolerance, its tendency to idealize charismatic leaders has many times also led to violent fervor within its own ranks that eventually spills out into the larger society.  Indeed, while Sufism does not always produce Mahdism, Mahdism is more likely to develop within a Sufi context than almost any other. 
10:30 pm est          Comments


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Iran130.jpg
Jamkaran Mosque near Qom, Iran (during my trip there Aug. 2008)

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