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Mahdiyyah

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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

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    Mahdiyyah

    Messianic movement founded in Sudan in the late nineteenth century by Muhammad Ahmad ibn Abd Allah , who proclaimed himself Mahdi (divinely appointed guide) in 1881 and called his followers ansar (helpers, supporters), after the Companions of Muhammad . Proclaimed a millenarian message of an age of justice and equity. Called for the overthrow of Turkish-Egyptian rule and jihad against its enemies; military activities against government troops were successful, enhancing the Mahdi's credibility among both sedentary and nomadic populations. The movement was in command of northern Sudan by early 1884 , and Khartoum was captured in 1885 . Mahdi died six months later. Though the movement was ultimately defeated by the Anglo-Egyptian army in 1889 , it inspired nationalism and processes of Islamization and Arabization, and produced powerful symbols of common identity and national coherence. It also inspired the twentieth-century Ansar religious movement in Sudan and its political movement, the Ummah Party. Reverence for the Mahdi's family and observance of his collection of prayers are common throughout northern Sudan.

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