The Mahdi Is A Subject Needing To Be Widely Broadcast Rather Than Kept Hidden
Talk Of The Mahdi Is One Of The Portents of His Appearance
In his works, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, the reviver(mujad did) of the 13th cen tu ry Hijri, has made a number of important statements that serve as aguide to all Muslims concerning the coming of the Mahdi and the way that he will be areason for Islamic moral values to prevail all over the world. Some circles, however, maintain that, "it would be wrong and objectionable in many ways to speak openly of the subject of the Mahdi," to which Bediuzzaman devoted considerable space in his works.
The fact is, however, that "The Mahdi is a subject needing to be broadcast, rather than hidden or concealed." The glad tidings, of the coming of the Mahdi, have been imparted by our Prophet (saas) himself; there are a number of hadiths of our Prophet (saas) on the subjects that are regarded as completely reliable. In one hadith, the Prophet (saas) revealed that the subject represented great glad tidings for all Muslims:
"LEARN OF THE MAHDI. He is from the Quraysh and is one of my house." (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p.13) In another hadith, which reads: "The Mahdi will appear, AND EVERYONE WILL SPEAK ONLY OF HIM, drink of his love AND SPEAK OF NOTHING ELSE," (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 33) our Prophet (saas) stated that when the Mahdi appears, every one will speak of this holy individual. These signs revealed by our Prophet (saas) have begun to take place in our own day, and every one is speaking of the Mahdi.
In his works, Bediuzzaman devoted wide space to this subject, describing it in detail over hundreds of pages. It is clear that had he thought the subject was one needing to be concealed, or one which there was no need to read about, he would not have included all these state ments in his treatises. Indeed, when a subject was to be avoided, Bediuzzaman wrote that this was "confidential" in his works and stated in variousplaces that it did not appear in the treatises because it should not be published. One of these state ments by Bediuzzaman reads, "As for the treatises, we have called such treatises confidential … we have for bidden them to be broadcast." (Bediuzzaman and His Students' Trial Defense, p. 187)
As stated by Bediuzzaman, secret things should not be published. However, the situation is the exact opposite of this when it comes to the subject of the Mahdi.
Bediuzzaman devoted hundreds of pages to elucidating the coming of the Mahdi, made the matter a public one, and openly stated that it was not anissue that needed to be kepthidden. Indeed, the fact that the treatises have been read by millions over the years makes it clear that the subject is one for public consumption, not a secret one.
However, although Bediuzzaman's view is crystal clear, some people have sought to support this misconception by loading various false meanings onto Bediuzzaman's words. One state ment by Bediuzzaman that has been misinterpreted to that end is this:
My brothers' second error: they ascribe a mortal identity that is prone to decay to that help less brother who represents the spiritual entity of the Disciples of Light and who forms the vanguard in the first dutyin certain respects. Although these two errors do no harm to the true purity of the Treatise on Light nor evenin any way to its use in spiritual and heavenly spheres, they cause political circles to fall into an unfounded error and the publication of the Treatise of Light is harmed. Since this time is one of a spiritual entity, such great and eternal truths can not be built on mortal, helpless identities that are liable to error. Incon sequence, it is wrong to give the name of that person age who will come and per form three tasks. Both the purity in the Treatise that can not be mis used will be harmed, and the truths will become deficient in the eyes of believers with little knowl edge of spiritual things; evenindisputable arguments will turn into an opinion that is only partly the truth, and the victory over stubborn proof and arrogant atheism will begin to not be seen among the confused people of faith. Political circles and some religious teachers will begin to feel doubts. Therefore, it does not seem appropriate to give that name in the Treatises. It may be said that he is a reviver, a precursor." (The Seal of Affirmation of Hidden Things, p. 10)
The facts stated by Bediuzzaman in this extract are distorted, and it is suggested that "he said it would be extremely damaging for the subject of the Mahdi to be spoken about publicly." Yet this ideais totally based on a misinterpretation; what Bediuzzaman is saying here refers to his own time. He says that his disciples harbour a miscon ception about him with regard to the Mahdi, but that "this is an error that stems from confusion." For that reason, he tells them not to "speak in this way or make any claims with regard to the Mahdi." On close inspection, however, Bediuzzaman is say ing that it is not speak ing of the Mahdi that is objectionable and damaging, but directing claims regarding the rank of Mahdi towards himself, since these are founded on an erroneous opinion. He reminds them that at that time, bringing up such a mistaken idea regarding himself will damage the truth and may cause certain politicians unease, harm the publication of the Treatise of Light and mean that the treatise enjoys only halfa victory over the deniers. Bediuzzaman says that holding such an erroneous view will lead to the victory of "what is probably the truth" and thus to the misdirection of the people of faith; as a result of this uncertainty, this will prevent Muslims from beingable to recog nise the true Mahdi.
With the terms he also employs here, Bediuzzaman has many times reiterated that he is not the Mahdi. For example, he does not say, "I have per formed the Mahdi's three tasks at the same time." Note that he says that he has only led the way for the Mahdi in the first of the Mahdi's duties, that of regarding the truths of faith, and that he has only performed this in one way. By saying "it will be wrong … to give the name of that person age who will come in the future," he is stating that it will be wrong for him to be given this name although he is not the Mahdi and that this will damage the truth, for which reason the name of Mahdi should be given, not to him, but to that individual who will come in the future. Regarding him self, he says that he may be referred to as a reformer and "the precursor" of the Mahdi.
In addition to all this, as we know, the date given by Bediuzzaman regarding the appearance of the Mahdi is 2011. There is, of course, no question of suchan important matter being kep tconcealed and not talked about with so little time remaining.
Bediuzzaman's words are perfectly clear. He states that his treatises are works that "every one, from a labourer to the wisest scholar, a middle school student to a philosopher, can easily understand." (Kastamonu Addendum, p. 10, Rays of Light, p. 549) Some extracts from Bediuzzaman on this subject read:
To suggest, none the less, that only special people possessed of special secrets and special abilities can understand the Treatise and to so depart from the evident meaning of Bediuzzaman's words is a grave mistake. In that event, everyone can draw his own erroneous conclusions from Bediuzzaman's words. Thus the treatises will become works that reflect, not the true words of Bediuzzaman himself, but of those who interpret those words according to their own knowledge and understanding. The question of the damaging effect that suchalogic could have on the Collection, written by Bediuzzaman in sucha compact and sincere style, is one calling for careful consideration.
Bediuzzaman Has Told, With Full Supporting Evidence, Those Who Imagine Him To Be The Mahdi That He Is Not The Mahdi
A number of questions were directed towards Bediuzzaman in his own day from his disciples and those around him regarding whether or not he was the Mahdi. In fact, similar questions had been put to other revivers (mujad dids) before Bediuzzaman, and their followers claimed that these people were the Mahdi. They also told their students, with proof, that they were not the Mahdi, and that their attributes were incompatible with his. They gave detailed descriptions of when and where the Mahdi would appear, the kind of features he would possess, his struggle, and how he would cause Islamic moral values to prevail. They made statements, in the light of the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), along the lines of "I am not the Mahdi, because the Mahdi will be aged such and such, appear from such and such a place, possess such and such features, and be a sayyid."
Bediuzzaman gave two kinds of response to those asking for his thoughts on the subject;
1) He made it clear that he was not the Mahdi and wrote pages of statements regarding why he was not the Mahdi aimed at those who claimed that he was.
2) He also responded to those who ascribed the rank of Mahdi to him by say ing, "misconceptions have been around for a long time, that can not be denied; there fore, I had no quarrel with those holding such misconceptions, and told these people that "he rejected claims regarding the rank of Mahdi"
1. Bediuzzaman said, "All my brothers will bear witness that I never accepted the rank of Mahdi" (Rays of Light, p. 365) and proved this over hundreds of pages in the trea tises.
The answer provided by Bediuzzaman, when asked about a subject is important, and he clearly stated that he was not the Mahdi. In his works, Bediuzzaman stated that he was not the Mahdi (Emirdag Addendum, p. 266), that the Mahdi would appear a century after him (Kastamonu Addendum, p. 57), that he was a private soldier and a member of the vanguard of the Mahdi (Barla Addendum, p. 162), that he had prepared the way for the Mahdi with his work and books (The Seal of Affirmation of Hidden Things, p. 189), and that it was an error and a confusion to imagine that he and the Treatise of Light were the Mahdi (Emirdag Addendum, p. 266).
He also stated that the Mahdi would be a sayyid (Exposition, Rays of Light, p. 365), that he will perform three tasks in the worlds of politics, authority, and religion at one and at the same time (Rays of Light, p. 456) (Rays of Light, p. 590) (Emirdag Addendum, p. 259- 260), that the Mahdi will reanimate the essence of Islamic moral values by bearing the titles of the caliph of our Prophet (saas) and the spiritual leader of all Muslims (The Seal of Afformation of Hidden Things, p. 9), that he will bring peace and jus tice to all the world (Emirdag Addendum, p. 2590 (Letters, p. 411-412), that he will bear the title of "the Great Reformer" (Tilsimlar Magazine, p. 168), that he will bring about Islamic Union (Emirdag Addendum, p. 260), that he will receive the support of all Islamic scholars, sayyids descended from our Prophet (saas), and all Muslims (Emirdag Addendum, p. 260), that he will forge an alliance with the Christian world (The Seal of Affirmation of Hidden Things, p. 9), that he will pray together with the Prophet Isa (Rays of Light, p. 493), and that he will install the moral values of the Qur'an over all the world and encour age all people towards the true path (The Seal of Affirmation of Hidden Things, p. 9) (Letters p. 473).
In Bediuzzaman's day, "no Islamic Union collecting all Muslims under a single roof had been established, and nobody bore the title of spiritual leader of all believers." "Justice and dominion had not been brought the entire world," and "Islamic moral values did not prevail all over the world." Nobody bore the title of Great Leader and Ruler; nobody enjoyed "the support of all Islamic scholars, sayyids descended from the line of the Prophet (saas), and all Muslims," and nobody had performed suc a great service to the faithas communicating the message of the moral values of the Qur'an, dedicating his life to and risking everything for it.
(**Suggestion: All these points, in the past 2-3 paragraphs, about the traits of the Mahdi could be better under stood if made as points/bul lets with in the article. Using semi-colons, as originally done is not exactly proper sentence structure. However, by making them bullent points, it would be easier to understand for the reader.)
He ful filled the role of reform er of his own century in the most honourable manner. Yet, his message was communicated, not with force and imposition, but in the face of difficult physical and spiritual circum stances and enormous difficulties. He did not assume the position of commander; on the contrary, he was oppressed and spent his life as a captive, faced with physical troubles and difficulties. He received no wide spread support, but was rather subjected to various injustices, oppressed, and spent much of his life under such harsh circum stances aspris on and exile. He reported that the means and responsibilities to be discharged as listed above, would belong to the Mahdi, the reformer of the century following his.
2. Bediuzzaman stated with full supporting evidence that he was not the Mahdi, but that he had no quarrel with people who harboured such misconceptions:
There were people close to him in his day who held mis con cep tions about Bediuzzaman being the Mahdi. Indeed, Bediuzzaman added some mentions of these attitudes of his followers to various parts of his treatises.
However, as we know, pleasing thoughts about a person are no proof that they actually reflect the truth. Bediuzzaman also stated this in his treatises, say ing: "There may be people who hold pleasing ideas about one; these have been around for a long time, that can not be denied, but they are infactan error and a confusion." One extract in which Bediuzzaman sets this out reads:
... They rightly personally regard the spiritual entity of the Treatise of Light as a kind of Mahdi. Since they imagine that this spiritual entity has a representative, aspiritualentity coming from the students of Light, and that this spiritual entity has a (do you mean the word "representative"??) who is a mere interpreter, they some times give him that name (the Mahdi). This is, in fact, a confusion and an error, but not one for which they are responsible; misconceptions have been around for a long time and can not be objected to. Since I regard what my brothers do as a kind of prayer, a hope, and a reflection of the purecon viction of the studentsn of Light, I made no great objection. (Emirdağ Addendum,p. 248)
Bediuzzaman states that it is sometimes imagined that as the spiritual entity of the Treatise of Light and the author of these works he may himself be the Mahdi, but that this is an error and a confusion. He says that people who think along those lines make an analysis with regard to describing the truths of faith, but that they do not take into consideration that the Mahdi's other two duties - "establishing an Islamic Union, being the leader of the Islamic world, and causing Islamic moral values to prevail over the world, are absent from him." Therefore, equating the role of Mahdi with the Treatise on Light and with himself is merely a "supposition."
Bediuzzaman has stated several times in his works that the Mahdi will be a sayyid, and that he is not a sayyid, but a Kurd.
In one of the proofs revealed by Bediuzzaman demosn trating that he is not the Mahdi, he states that "the Mahdi will be a sayyid, but that he himself is not a sayyid." Some extracts in which Bediuzzaman openly expresses this fact read as follows:
Bediuzzaman also recalled one of the had iths of our Prophet (saas) in his works - "it is incom pat i ble with Qur'anic moral values for one who is a sayyid to conceal the fact," thus making it clear that what he said on this subject was the truth:
Those people who are not sayyids, but who say they are, and those who are sayyids, but who say they are not, are both sinners, and in the same way that suchclaims and denials are for bidden … so adding anything to or removing anything from the hadiths and Qur'an is for bidden. (Judgements, p. 52)
Had Bediuzzaman been a sayyid, there would have been no reason to conceal it because being descended from the line of our Prophet (saas) is not a feature requiring to be concealed. On the contrary, it is a great honour for all Muslims. Therefore, had Bediuzzaman been a sayyid, then when he was asked, he would have said, "Yes, I am a sayyid, but I am not the Mahdi," and he would have been honoured to say that he was descended from the line of the Prophet (saas) because admitting that one is a sayyid does not necessarily mean that one is the Mahdi. However, he never the less, several times reiter ated that he was not a sayyid. Bediuzzaman also confirmed this several times in the treatises by saying that he was "Kurdish" (Disputations, p. 84, History of Life, p. 228, Bediuzzaman and His Students' Trial Defence, p. 18). In the same way, had he been of the opinion that he was the Mahdi, he would not have spent hundreds of pages in works read by millions saying the exact opposite; he would not have said that he did not match the attributes of the Mahdi nor, with a greatdeal of evidence, that this holy individual would be coming after him.
In addition, "there is no question of every one who is a sayyid being the Mahdi." There are millions of sayyids in the world. Since the fact that some one is a sayyid does not necessarily mean that he is the Mahdi, and every one who is a sayyid can freely and openly admit the fact. Moreover, Bediuzzaman did not say, "The only thing I lack in this regard is being a sayyid, had I beena sayyid I would have been the Mahdi." On the contrary, he provided lengthy descriptions of all the attributes of the Mahdi and the match less activities he would engagein, and stated that these had not yet come about in his own day.
The effects of the system of the Dajjal and the Sufyan, opposed to the Mahdi, had not been felt when Bediuzzaman was alive
The current state of Islamic countries and of the Muslims of the world clearly reveals that the duties to be discharged by the Mahdi had not come about in Bediuzzaman's day. The effect of the Sufyan and the system of the Dajjal were not yet fully felt in Muslim countries. Religious freedom does not apply in many countries of the world. When Bediuzzaman was alive, the difficulties, troubles and oppression facing Muslims were not that intense. This shows that, like those of the Mahdi, the activities of the Sufyan and the Dajjal had not yet taken place at that time. It is impossible to speak of the Mahdi performing his duties in a climate in which the struggle against the Dajjal and the Sufyan had not yet arisen.
In addition, the whole Islamic world and Muslims are today divided amongst them selves. In Bediuzzaman's day, there was a unifying effect on the Muslims of the world. It is revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) that the Mahdi will have a unifying effect on all Muslims. Bediuzzaman also reports this characteristic of the Mahdi:
…that indi vid u al will seek to ful fill that great duty with the spir it u al assist ance of all believ ers, and the sol i dar i ty of Islamic UUnion, and all schol ars and learned men, and in par tic u lar with the con tri bu tion of mil lions of devot ed say y ids descend ed from the line of our Prophet (saas). (Emirdag Addendum, p. 260)
In this extract, Bediuzzaman is describing the thirdduty of the Mahdi. According to this, at a time when the moral values of the Qur'an are ignored, the Mahdi will be a means where by people turn back to religious morality; he will establish an islamic Union, and all Muslims will unite and join forces and assist the Mahdi in this task. Such comprehensive alliance and support, in which all Muslims will be included, had not yet come about in Bediuzzaman's day. As revealed by Bediuzzaman, the spiritual assistance from this wide community will only emerge in the end times with the Mahdi, and will play a major role in Islamic moral values coming to rule the world.
Bediuzzaman said that the accounts in the treatises were sufficient concerning all matters.
Bediuzzaman, many times, asserted during his life time the truth of every thing he had written, saying, "I also abide by these as a student of the Treatise of Light." Each trea tise is a book published in many editions. If, there fore, he openly states, "I know I am not a sayyid" in his works, then it would be a vile insult and slander against Bediuzzaman Said Nursi forcertain people to say: "Bediuzzaman's state ments are untrue; he called us one day and said that he was both a sayyid and the Mahdi." Because this would be equivalent to claiming that what such a wor thy and moral individualas Bediuzzaman had written was a "lie." A claim to the effect that, contrary to what he wrote over hundreds of pages, Bediuzzaman "only told two or three people that what he had written was a lie," is a grave imputation against those who make such claims. No claim to the effect that "Bediuzzaman deceived millions of people, but only told a hand ful of people the truth," is completely unacceptable.
On the other hand, it is sufficient for Bediuzzaman to say, "I am not the Mahdi" to put the record straight. It is nonsensical to maintain that such a holyper son age "wrote detailed and comprehensive lies over hundreds of pages, and what he wrote is all a deception." Such a grave insult is unacceptable, even if made out of love.
It is com pletely out of the question for a reviver of such deep faith as Bediuzzaman to have written the exact opposite of what he thought and believed in his works. Therefore, it is a grave slander, albeit made out of love for Bediuzzaman, albeit with the very best of intentions, to make such a claim years after his death. An attitude that accuses him of lying and main tains that he spent hundreds of pages deceiving the public can not be accepted by any conscience.
In addition, in those extracts in which Bediuzzaman refers to the Prophet Isa's (as) struggle against the Dajjal, he speaks not of a struggle between one spiritual entity and another, but of one between the true person of the Prophet Isa (as) and the person age of the Dajjal:
... Those whose faith is weak find it hard to believe that "the Prophet Isa (as) will come and labour with the law of Islam and will slay the Dajjal," as is reported in a hadith of absolute trust worthiness. If the truth of that is set out, no room for doubt will remain. (Letters, p. 58-59)
In another extract, Bediuzzaman says that the influence of the Dajjal can only be done away with by a prophet possessed of the power of miracles, and once again states that the Prophet Isa (as) will be a person with the attribute of working miracles, and not a spiritual entity:
... he can only be A PERSON possessed of marvels and miracles and accepted by the people; THAT PERSON is THE PROPHET ISA (as), the most concerned and the prophet of most people..... (Rays of Light, p. 463)
Such claims as these, pointing to private conversations as evidence, despite Bediuzzaman's unequivocal words regarding the coming of the Mahdi and the Prophet Isa (as), are very dangerous interventions that may cast doubton all the treatises written by such a valuable reformer. How valid can these be if many people come up with very different claims, saying, "Bediuzzaman Said Nursi may have said this here, but this is only a stratagem, a lie; he toldus the truth?" Not long after this, anything at all will be able to be said about any matter in the Treatise of Light, and Bediuzzaman's works will increasingly lose their true meaning and wisdom. The only way to fore stall this danger is to accept the words of such a wor thy Islamic scholar, written and confirmed by himself, at their face value. Indeed, in his works, Bediuzzaman has recalled that the treatises contain the most truth ful exposition of this subject, as they do of all others, and has stated that when some one reads what is written in the treatises they can acquire the most accurate information, just as if they were speaking to him in person.
Bediuzzaman also devot ed space in his works to the words of his students who expressed the same fact. Some of these read: