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Mahdi

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Mahdi

    Divinely guided one. An eschatological figure who Muslims believe will usher in an era of justice and true belief just prior to the end of time; an honorific applied to Muhammad and the first four caliphs by the earliest Muslims. Not mentioned in the Quran. The concept was developed by the Shiis and some Sunnis into that of a messianic deliverer who would return to champion their cause. Common themes run through both traditions: he will be of Muhammad's family; he will appear when the world is irretrievably corrupt; his reign will be a time of natural abundance; he will spread justice, restore the faith, and defeat the enemies of Islam.

    See also Eschatology; Messianism

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