Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 35 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Little-Known Quirk of Faith

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Message James A. Haught
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

This piece was reprinted by OpEd News with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Here's an odd twist of religion: Multitudes of Muslims believe that Jesus will return to Earth soon -- not to spread Christianity, but to abolish it in support of Islam.

Muslim scholar Mustafa Akyol outlines this bizarre tenet in The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims. In a New York Times commentary, he explained:

Islam has two major scriptures: The Quran, supposedly dictated to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel, and the Hadiths, sayings of Muhammad recorded by others.

The Hadiths foretell two saviors: The first is the Mahdi, a holy leader who will unite Muslims worldwide -- and the second is Jesus, who will come to renounce Christianity and affirm Islam as supreme. One Hadith says:

"The Son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just ruler; he will break the cross and kill the swine."

A 2012 Pew Research poll found that half of Muslims in nine Islamic nations expect the Mahdi to arrive soon, perhaps in their lifetimes.

Author Akyol says millions of Muslims feel inferior, so they seize upon the savior predictions in hope of better times. "The main quandary of the Muslim world for the past two centuries," he wrote, is: "Why have we moved so far backward compared to the West?"

Perplexed, many Muslims conclude that "only divinely guided saviors can find a way out," he said. "This belief discourages pursuing the real solutions to the gap between the Islamic world and the West: science, economic development and liberal democracy."

Over the centuries, various Muslim leaders have proclaimed themselves the Mahdi and launched holy wars that ended in defeat or triggered bloody persecutions.

The first was al-Mukhtar in 686 A.D., whose uprising was quashed by majority Muslims. Another such doomed jihad erupted in Morocco in 1610.

In 1844 in Persia, Baha'u'llah, the Promised One of All Religions, declared that he was the Mahdi coming for Muslims, Jesus coming for Christians, the Messiah coming for Jews, Lord Krishna coming for Hindus, etc. His followers, the Baha'i, were massacred by thousands.

In 1881, a Sudanese holy man claimed to be the Mahdi and started a jihad that captured Khartoum, killing defenders including British general "Chinese" Gordon. (Gordon was no stranger to holy wars. He got his nickname by previously leading an army against Taiping religious fanatics in China.) Then Lord Kichener arrived with artillery and Maxim machine guns to wipe out the Sudan rebels. One battle killed 11,000 poorly armed holy warriors and only 48 of Kichener's forces.

In 1979, a proclaimed Mahdi led rebels to seize the Grand Mosque in Mecca, causing a two-week siege that killed 300.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

James A. Haught Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Feeding 7.7 Billion

Megachurch Mess

Religion-Tinged Politics

deadly labor struggles

The Dreams that Stuff is Made Of

Coal Mine Wars

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend