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al-Mahdi is "the rightly-guided one" who, according to Islamic Hadiths (traditions), will come before the end of time to make the entire world Muslim.  Over the last 1400 years numerous claimants to the mantle of the Mahdi have arisen in both Shi`i and Sunni circles.  Modern belief in the coming of the Mahdi has manifested most famously in the 1979 al-`Utaybi uprising of Sa`udi Arabia, and more recently in the ongoing Mahdist movements (some violent) in Iraq, as well as in the frequently-expressed public prayers of former Iranian President Ahmadinezhad bidding the Mahdi to return and, in the larger Sunni Islamic world, by claims that Usamah bin Ladin might be the (occulted) Mahdi.  Now in 2014 Mahdism is active in Syria, as the jihadist opposition group Jabhat al-Nusra claims to be fighting to prepare the way for his coming; and in the new "Islamic State/caliphate" spanning Syrian and Iraqi territory, as its leadership promotes the upcoming apocalyptic battle with the West at Dabiq, Syria.  This site will track such Mahdi-related movements, aspirations, propaganda and beliefs in both Sunni and Shi`i milieus, as well as other  Muslim eschatological yearnings.
For a primer on Mahdism, see my 2005 article, "What's Worse than Violent Jihadists?," at the History News Network:; for more in-depth info, see the links here to my other writings, including my book on Mahdism.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Br'er Mahdi? ISIS Caliph al-Baghdadi Still Trying to Lure Us Into Battle

Several days ago the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or ISIL) released an audio khutbah as the capstone of the previous week's nine short propaganda videos.  Some in the mainstream media have dismissed the Caliph's surah-laced sermon as "desperate" or "bizarre"--but they are wrong to do so.  The latter are aimed squarely at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (called only "the Arab Peninsula" by ISIS) and its "unjust" occupation of al-haramayn, the dual Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which must be purged of their mushrikun ("idolater") Christian Americans.


The Caliph's speech, on the other hand, is more strategic and indeed eschatological--aimed at goading us Salibiyin ("bearers of the cross," or Christians) into a ground war in and around Dabiq and Ghouta (the oasis near Damascus).

They don‟t dare come, because they know with certainty what terrors and calamities await them in Shām, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Sinai, Africa, Yemen, and Somalia. They know what awaits them at Dābiq and Ghouta of defeat, ruin, and devastation. They know that it will be the final war, and thereafter – by Allah‟s permission – we will raid them and they will not raid us, and Islam will lead the world once more until the establishment of the Hour.  

These ideas are neither "extremist" nor novel; nor do they bespeak "desperation."  The idea of a great Armageddon-esque battle, which a small Muslim army will win over a much larger Christian one, to be followed by the emergence of al-Dajjal (Islam's "antichrist") and the Mahdi and then the descent of Jesus, is quite mainstream in Islam--and hundreds of millions of Muslims believe in such:


Further Observations:

1) Contra Hillary Clinton's assertions, Donald Trump shows up in none of these nine videos, nor in al-Baghdadi's sermon.  President Clinton and FDR are prominently adduced, however: 


"And then I said 'no, Franklin, you don't have to get up and bow.'"  

2) The Caliph and his minions never refer to us as Americans--we are always Salibiyin, "Christians."  Sounds like this IS a religious war, at least from the other side's perspective--and it only takes one antagonist to make it so.

3)  Those mushrikun that must be driven out of jazirat al-`arab are, again, American Christians--because in mainstream Islamic thought (following the Qur'an and hadiths, not Fox News) those of us who believe in the Trinitarian God are idolaters who must be killed if we do not convert to Islam or submit to second-class dhimmi status.

4) Many of the ISIS jihadists interviewed in the aforementioned videos shout at the camera--whether about tawhid, alleged victimization of Muslims, etc.  This reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, Jeremiah Johnson: "what's he shoutin' for?" "Scared'a'ya."  I think that al-Baghdadi's followers, while true believers in an Islamic apocalypse, know all too well that when the Christians attack 1/3 of the Muslim army will die and 1/3 will abandon their cause (as per hadith)--and they know the military power of the West that has yet to be unleashed.  I think, despite their bluster, they're scared, and the sooner we disabuse them of their eschatological hopes--the better. 

5) My new book Ten Years' Captivation with the Mahdi's Camps explains how ISIS's views in this regard fit into Islamic history, and how much they resemble previous such Muslim movements.   

12:52 pm est          Comments

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Why Does the US Congress Support Measureless Muslim Liars?

Yesterday I appeared on "Alhurra" (الحرة) TV, an Arabic-language outlet funded by the US Congress and intended to provide a more balanced view than that of regional competitors such as AlJazeera. (Here's the link which, alas, has the Arabic so loud that my English responses get lost.)  The producer who booked me said that we would discuss GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump's floated idea of banning Muslim immigration.  While that issue was initially raised, the host quickly turned the topic exclusively to "Muslims under attack in the US." The other guests included Dr. Gabriel Shoenfeld of the Hudson Institute and Ahmad Resab, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago chapter.


The truncated discussion of Trump's plan consisted entirely of guests condemning it; Dr. Schoenfeld even repeated the canard that it was "unconstitutional"--a dubious proposition, as even "The NY Times" pointed out (via this article by a Temple law professor) that his idea was constitutional.  

As I said, the bulk of this episode of the show "Eye on Democracy" consisted of recitations of the alleged horrors facing Muslims in the US.  The host initially described Muslims here as "under attack."  I took issue with that opening premise, pointing out that the number of mosques in the US had increased from about 900 on September 10, 2001 to over 2200 today (rather vitiating the "Muslims are unwelcome" premise) and also noting that CAIR, taking its cue (and sometimes actual "data") from the tendentiously-liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, defines "attack" and "hate-crime" so broadly as to be meaningless: spray-painting graffiti on a mosque, or someone yelling at a woman in a hijab.  While such indignities are uncalled-for, they are not even in the same realm as beheadings, pressure cooker bombs at races, and murderous shooting rampages.  So the next time the host circled around to the issue, he'd reduced it to "threats against Muslims," citing (alleged) examples of armed groups of (presumably white and Christian) Americans menacing Muslims in unspecified locales.  I questioned the veracity of such stories, and provided a defense of us who carry weapons as a quite rational response to the Muslim terrorists in our midst.  Giving the issue one last go, but somewhat acknowledging my points, the host finally retreated to alleged "aggresssions" against Muslims and mosques in the US.  About this time Rehab jumped in again, claming that the San Bernadino shooters, the Boston Marathon bombers, the Oklahoma beheader, et al., had no more to do with Islam than the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter had to do with Christianity.  I shot that out of the water in short order, pointing out that Robert Lewis Dear was not screaming "Deus Vult!" during his rampage, whereas Syed Farook and Tashfin Malik, the brothers Tsarnaev, and Muslim convert Alton Nolen all based their heinous deeds fi sabil Allah, "in the path of Allah."  

Resab threw the "Islamophobia" card, which I trumped by explaining that I hadn't spent three decades studying Islam and Islamic history out of a "fear" of Islam, and I adducced data backing up the reality that jihad and beheading and violence against non-Muslims comes from the Qur'an, Muhammad's life examples, and his (alleged) sayings, the hadiths--just as I did on Dr. Bill Bennett's national radio show two weeks ago. 

As the show wound down, Resab tried a Parthian shot by claiming that recently in the US a Muslim was thrown out of a window as a "hate-crime." I disputed this, and stated that I doubted such had even happened.  It turns out that two weeks ago a Somali-American college student fell to his death off a balcony at Seattle Central College--but there is no evidence at all that there was anything nefarious about his tragic demise.  

One has to wonder whether the US Congress, which funds Alhurra and Alhurra-Iraq to the tune of over $30 million, is aware that this outlet allows measureless liars (Coriolanus, Act V, Scence 6) a platform from which to slander the US and its people in the Arab Muslim world? 

1:04 pm est          Comments

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qa`ida, etc.: Nobody's Fault But Muhammad's

I appeared on two more radio shows this past week: "Janet Mefferd Today," a national (Evangelical) Christian one; and Pete Turner's "Break It Down Show," an in-depth but bit more profane venue.  With Janet I discussed the roots of the San Bernadino jihad, while on Pete's show we delved deeply (for an hour) into Islam's history of violence.  On both shows a main point was that ISIS and the unholy host of other Muslim terrorist groups are indeed profoundly Islamic--and thus that such are not Obama's or Bush's fault, but ultimately Muhammad's.

Moswordsjpeg.jpg Swords of "prophet" Muhammad.  How radical and extremist of him! 

10:46 am est          Comments

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tanks for the Apocalyptic Reminder, ISIS

ISIS (or ISIL, or Da`ish, depending on your political slant) has eructed forth another video.  While it does contain some apocalyptic elements--boasting about how ISIS will conquer Rome with, seemingly, two old Soviet T-55 tanks but no naval assets--the bulk of this quarter-hour piece of propaganda looks more like something a used-armor dealer would disseminate.  There are many slow-motion sequences of T-55s, as well as of Soviet-era armored personnel carriers, in action--notably the BTR-80 which, while amphibious, probably won't make it from Latakia to the coast of Italy.  

BTR80ISIS.jpg See, your king comes to you, violent and riding on an amphibious APC....

The rest of the video consists largely of interminable slow-mo clips of ISIS mujahids debarking from said APCs, practicing their martial arts, firing an RPG-7, and washing up or cooking dinner.  Very little of this appears to be apocalyptic or involves the Mahdi, Dajjal, or Jesus--unless those chaps are under deep, deep cover. ISIS used to show us clips of them in actual combat; now all we get are glorified training videos? 

Well, it COULD be worse, I suppose:

Dukakistank.jpg Pictured: NOT the Mahdi. 


4:37 pm est          Comments

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ISIS: Continuing A History of Islamic Violence....or Perverting That Faith?

Yesterday (12.7.15) I was interviewed by Dr. Bill Bennett on his "Morning in America" national radio show about whether President Obama was correct to call ISIS/ISIL a "perversion" of Islam in his 12.6.15 Oval Office address in the wake of the San Bernardino jihad.  Of course, I answered "no, Obama was not correct"--at some length. And Bill was nice enough to mention my new book, Ten Years' Captivation with the Mahdi's Camps: Essays on Muslim Eschatology 2005-2015. 

CombatAli.jpg Ali (left) fighting `Amr b. Abd al-Wud, a pagan Arab champion. It's just a flesh wound, though.

12:12 pm est          Comments

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Jamkaran Mosque near Qom, Iran (during my trip there Aug. 2008)

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