Soon soon coming of the Mahdi?

[ cross-posted from Zenpundit ]


Okay, I’d say things are heating up. Here’s a screen grab from what we are led to believe is a recent video from Iran, made with government backing as described below the fold.


This does not bode well…


The Christian thriller novelist Joel Rosenberg (author of The Twelfth Imam) has a new blog post up, in which he cites a Christian Broadcasting Network story — which in turn refers to a video posted with some introductory materials on his blog by Reza Kahlili (author of A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran).

According to Kahlili, who has also posted the full video to YouTube, it is a half-hour long program sponsored by the Basij militia and the Office of the President of Iran, affirming the soon-return of the Mahdi.

And containing “inflammatory language” about King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (see subtitle above)? Can I say that?

For what it’s worth, the supposed “hadith” about the death of King Abdullah is discussed in some detail at The Wake-Up Project, so it’s definitely “in the air” — but I don’t recall seeing any references to it in Abbas Amanat, Abdulazziz Sachedina, or any of the lists of Signs of the Coming I’ve read, so my suspicion is that this is an opportunistic addition to the corpus rather than a reliable hadith.

Which brings me to my last point:

I am not posting these materials to encourage panic — that’s what terrorism strives for, and it is the very opposite of what I would wish to see. If anything, these stirrings of Mahdist sentiment should make us more careful and attentive to the serious scholarly work that has been done in this area. Jean-Pierre Filiu‘s book Apocalypse in Islam, which I reviewed for Jihadology, would be an excellent place to start.


There are plenty of other things going on that I would love to track, blog about or comment on these days, but for the next while I shall try to restrain myself and focus in on this particular issue and its ramifications:

  • Contemporary Shi’ite Mahdist expectation
  • The Iranian nuclear program in the light of Mahdist expectation
  • Iranian attempts to use Mahdism to unite Sunni and Shi’a
  • Mahdism and jihad
  • The role of Khorasan in Mahdist rhetoric
  • Christian apocalyptic responses to Mahdist stirrings
  • Joel Rosenberg‘s book, The Twelfth Imam
  • Joel Richardson‘s book, The Islamic Antichrist
  • Glenn Beck‘s increasing focus on Iranian Mahdism
  • The increasing influence of Islamic and Christian apocalyptic on geopolitics

This is a pretty complex and potent mix of topics, and while I’ll post some individual pieces of the puzzle as I see it, I shall also try to put together a “bigger picture” piece with the whole mosaic laid out.


Apart from that, I remain deeply committed to questions of chivalry and peace-making, and will continue to monitor developments and write what I can on those topics as time allows…

5 thoughts on “Soon soon coming of the Mahdi?”

  1. I response to a book drive, I sent a copy of the political biography “Mayor” by Ed Koch along with Frank Herbert’s science fiction fantasy novel “Dune” to the US soldiers in Iraq.

    Maybe that wasn’t the right thing to do. I have the uneasy feeling that these two versions of leadership (the one-time Mayor of New York City along with the fictional heir to the Atriedes family) will be melded so that when the Mahdi emerges from the deep desert, he will be this blue-eyed bald-headed guy with a Brooklyn accent who will greet his massed followers with the incantation “How’m-eyedoin?”

  2. I fear that we are going to see an Iranian attack on Israel in the next couple of years. Everything Obama is doing would tend to encourage them. The Mahdi fixation of Ahmadinejad and some imams suggests that rational thought, which we could rely on with the USSR, is not a strong factor. I would remind everyone of Tony Cordesman’s paper a few years ago.

    The short version is that Israel would survive although badly damaged. Iran would not survive as a nation state. The “Petroleum Age” would be over, at least in so far as the middle east is concerned.

  3. Paul:

    My head hurts.


    Thank you for the pointer to the Cordesman paper — there’s another war game scenario discussed at this site that might be of interest.

    FWIW, Timothy Furnish, author of Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads and Osama bin Laden and one of our few scholars actively following Mahdism at his MahdiWatch blog, visited Tehran for one of the Mahdist conferences a couple of years back, and doesn’t believe Ahmadinejad would use nuclear weapons because they’d make such an unholy mess for the Mahdi to clean up.

    J-P Filiu, author of Apocalypse in Islam on the other hand, didn’t seem to be quite so sure… But that’s an area I hope to explore in some detail shortly — not that I’ll be able to give a definitive answer, but I’d hope to be able to lay out some of the considerations in a bit more detail…

  4. I’m reading this as “in the near future there will be more dead muslims”, possibly by a huge red on red action. I’m striving to find a negative angle, as war and conflict between Israel and the West are inevitable with these populations anyway. Bully! Might as well get it over with, all the sooner all the better.

Comments are closed.