Doctoral candidate in Contemporary Creedal Currents, Al-Mustafa International University
Visiting Professor at Al-Mustafa International University
The belief in Mahdism, or the Islamic form of the belief in the divine promise and imminent coming of a universal savior, is a tenet which all Moslems believe in, in one form or another. Like other sects within Islam, the Wahhābi sect also accepts the principle of Mahdism based on hadith reports which they consider to be moterwāter,3 as well as believing in the advent of the Mahdi at the end of time for the purposes of bringing about universal jus tice in the world. As one of the important figures in contemporary Wahhābi thought, Abdol-Azīz Ben-Bāz has also proffered some views concerning the issue of Mahdism, although [these are] scattered [throughout his work]. The present paper is a descriptive and analytical work that examines the position of the Wahhābis on the issue of the promised universal savior, with a particular emphasis on the position of Abdol-Azīz Ben-Bāz. Ben-Bāzconsiders the hadith reports which are the basis for the belief in the principle of Mahdism to be motewāter, and also considers anyone who denies this principle to be an unbeliever (kāfir). Ben-Bāz believes the Mahdi (universal savior) who is promised to appear at the end of time will have the following attributes: the Mahdi’s father will have the same name as the Apos tle of God [i.e. Mohammad] (may God’s peace and blessings be upon him and upon the purified and immaculate members of his House); the Mahdi will be a descendent of the Prophet and thus be a member of his household; the Mahdi will be a descendant of the Prophet through the Hasanid line; the Mahdi’s advent will be for the purpose of bringing about universal peace and jus tice; the Mahdi will rule in accordance with the sacred law of Islam; the Mahdi’s advent will be accompanied by the advent of the Chris t Jesus, the son of Lady Mary; and so on. [All of these views are in accord with the consensus view of the Moslem community], but [nevertheless] there are some serious criticisms concerning his views and position, which we have striven to point out and refute mainly on the basis of sources which are acceptable to the Wahhābis themselves.