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2013 Mahdism Update, I: duet or duel?

[ by Charles Cameron -- comparative contemporary Turkish Mahdisms ]
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Image from the Adnan Oktar / Harun Yahya site http://www.mahdinevershedsblood.com/

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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.

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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.

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One Response to “2013 Mahdism Update, I: duet or duel?”

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