Blogfriend Charles Cameron alerted me to a very interesting and important post by Dr. Tim Furnish, a professor of Islamic Studies and an expert in Mahdism in particular, who managed to contact and interview a spokesman of Ansar al-Mahdi, the shadowy, Shiite-based Mahdist movement in Iraq ( Jamestown Foundation report here).
….3) Is al-Mahdi the same as the Twelfth Imam returned from ghaybah?
Yes, it is quite true to say that Imam al Mahdi is the twelfth Imam Mohammed bin Hassan (p) returned from ghaybah, and also true to say that his son Sayid al Yamani (Ahmad al Hassan) also can be named Mahdi.
4) Is al-Yamani’s group Jund al-Sama’ or Ansar al-Mahdi?
al Yamani group called Ansar al-Mahdi or Ansar Allah, supporters of Imam Mahdi (p) and supporters of Sayid Ahmed Hassan al Yamani; the messenger and guardian and the Imam Mahdi (p).
We are unrelated to the so-called (Jund al-Sama’ ), and there is great difference between us. Ansar al-Mahdi say that Ahmed Hassan (p) is the promised Yamani, a branch of Imam Mahdi Mohammed bin Hassan (p) and his son , while the group Jund al-Sama’ deny the existence of Imam Mahdi Mohammed bin Hassan (p) in total.
5) Do al-Yamani and his group have any connection to Moqtada al-Sadr and the Jaysh al-Mahdi?
No relationship whatsoever between us and Moqtada al Sadr and his army Jaysh al-Mahdi, in a passage names as it is known.
6) What is al-Yamani’s opinion of the American-sponsored Iraq government in Baghdad?
The government has to be based on the principle of the Governorship of God and must derive its legitimacy from God and from Imam Mahdi Mohammed bin Hassan (p).
7) What is al-Yamani’s opinion of vilayet-i faqih in Iran?
Not valid as the answer became clear to you from the previous question.
8 ) What sort of state in Iraq does al-Yamani envision? A caliphate? A Mahdiyah?
Government, which al Yamani see it is the government based on the principle of Governorship of God. Whatever you want to call it as the term crossing, but the lesson in reality is substance and meaning.
9) What will be the Mahdi’s role once he is revealed?
Imam al Mahdi will reveal justice and installment and will be published uniformity across the globe, and re-link the right relationship of God with humans after regrettably interrupted by the ego.
Read the rest here.
Historically, the world has previously seen a Mahdist regime in the Sudan in the 19th century, a mystical and xenophobic movement that slaughtered an Anglo-Egyptian expedition led by General Charles “Chinese” Gordon and was later destroyed in retaliation by the British under the implacable Lord Kitchener ( with a young Winston Churchill on hand, watching Sudanese Mahdist cavalry charge suicidally straight into British cannon and machine gun fire, swords in one hand and Qurans in the other). The terrorist group led by Juhaiman Saif al Otaiba that seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979 and that were killed to the last man by elite KSA troops ( RUMINT says a hastily converted platoon of French special-ops – whatever, dead is still dead) were Sunni Mahdists.
As I understand Mahdism, the Mahdi would transcend the normal strictures of the Quran and have the power to set them aside or issue new ones and in this fashion, Mahdism would not be unlike the claims put forth by the leaders of apocalyptic Christian sects in the West, famously David Khoresh’s Branch Davidians or splinter groups among fundamentalist Mormons. The relatively eucumenical attitude of Ansar al-Mahdi reported by Furnish might be one example of “transcending” customary beliefs.