[ by Charles Cameron — comparative contemporary Turkish Mahdisms ]
Here’s an intriguing paragraph today from Tim Furnish‘s MahdiWatch blog, as one prospective Mahdi candidate evaluates another:
Another Mahdi-related figure (sometimes seen as a forerunner, other times as a successor) is al-Qahtani. Heretofore the most prominent such was Muhammad Abd Allah al-Qahtani (d. 1979), the putatative “mahdi” held up as inspiration for the abortive coup against the Saudis led by Juhayman al-Utaby in 1979. Now, however, another-and, thankfully, more pacific-Qahtani has been identified: he is Fethullah Gülen, the exiled-to-America neo-Sufi Turkish leader of a massive global charter school system This is according to a man whom some consider to be the Mahdi himself, Istanbul-based Adnan Oktar. (And in fact it’s not overly cynical to observe that since Oktar and Gülen are in many ways rivals for the mantle of the late Ottoman/early Turkish Mahdist thinker Said Nursi (d. 1960), the former’s relegation of the latter to a supporting role is quite astute in Mahdist circles.)
Both Adnan Oktar / Harun Yahya and Fethullah Gülen are worth paying attention to as popular leaders who might well be treated as Mahdi by their devotees — much as the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson was considered the Messiah by some of his followers — though both of them seem to be of the opinion that the authentic Mahdi would not claim that title for himself.
Both men, as I understand it, also make the claim that the Mahdi will be peaceable. I don’t want to promise a more detailed account of the Mahdi-related writings of either one of them at this time, because the research effort would exceed my grasp — but for a quick glimpse, see the Adnan Oktar page on the Mahdi illustrated above, or this page on the Mahdi from Gülen.
There’s more interesting stuff in the rest of Furnish’s piece, but that’s the paragraph that caught my attention and triggered this post.