One of the main distinguishing features of the End Times is the spread of materialist and atheist philosophies and people adapting their lifestyles in accordance with these perverted intellectual trends. That is why when Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears his greatest intellectual struggle will be that against materialism and atheism, which turn people away from religious moral values and have inflicted terrible disasters on mankind. There can be no doubt that the ideologies that the antichrist, whose aim is the dominion of irreligion, supports and seeks to disseminate the most are materialist and atheistic ones. Indeed, in analyzing the information regarding the antichrist contained in the hadiths, many Islamic scholars have stated that the antichrist will assume the leadership of materialist power centers. One statement by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi on the subject reads:
The Second Current: A tyrannical current born of naturalist and materialist philosophy will gradually become strong and spread at the end of time by means of materialist philosophy, reaching such a degree that it denies Allah. ... the members of that current, who deny Allah, each ascribes dominicality to his soul like a little Nimrod. And the greatest of them, the antichrist, who will come to lead them, will manifest awesome wonders, a sort of spiritualism and hypnosis; he will go even further, and imagining his tyrannical, superficial rule to be a sort of dominicality, he will proclaim his godhead [surely Allah is beyond that]. It is clear just what foolish buffoonery it is for impotent man, who may be defeated by a fly and cannot create even a fly’s wing, to claim godhead. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters, Fifteenth Letter)
“A tyrannical current born of naturalist and materialist philosophy will gradually become strong and spread at the end of time by means of materialist philosophy...”: In the End Times, the irreligious movement that draw its strength from materialist ideologies will be reinforced and spread with the support from these corrupt tendencies and go so far as to deny the existence of Allah.
“... And the greatest of them, the antichrist, who will come to lead them, will manifest awesome wonders, a sort of spiritualism and hypnosis...”: The antichrist will assume the leadership of forces supported by materialist and atheist ideologies in order to turn people away from religious moral values. The antichrist, who will use such extraordinary powers as hypnotism, will unite all those centers opposed to religious moral values and assume their leadership.
There is absolutely no doubt that the indoctrination and propaganda by the antichrist will play a major role in the spread of materialist and atheist philosophies. According to indications contained in the hadiths, the constant repetition of this indoctrination by various means, such as the press, will have a hypnotic effect on some people. Most people will be influenced by this indoctrination, without investigating its accuracy or reflecting on where it might lead, and ignoring its falsehoods. In his works, Bediuzzaman has stated that materialism is a contagious sickness like the plague, and is spread by indoctrinating the public:
Materialism [atheist, materialist and Darwinist philosophy] is a spiritual plague which has infected man with a fearsome fever, causing him to be visited by Divine wrath. The more the ability to inculcate and criticize expands, so does that plague spread. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters, Seeds of Reality)
The antichrist’s support of these irreligious movements and his efforts to spread these will cause a great many people to turn away from Qur’anic moral values and to oppose the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as). (Allah knows the truth.)
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will wage an intellectual struggle against the one waged by the antichrist, one in which Hazrat Mahdi (as) will emerge victorious, a struggle in which he sets out the existence and oneness of Allah and reveals the impasses and errors of materialist and Darwinist ideologies. Materialism, atheism and all false tendencies that are based on these corrupt ideologies will, by Allah’s leave, be demolished in intellectual terms as a result of this great struggle of Hazrat Mahdi’s (as). In describing the duties that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will undertake, Bediuzzaman draws particular attention to the intellectual struggle against materialism:
And he will have three major duties: First: Under the effect of science and philosophy, and the contagious plague known as materialism and naturalism, and its spread among people, he will first of all save the faith in such a way as to silence philosophy and materialism... (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Emirdag Addendum, p. 259)
"... Under the effect of science and philosophy, and the contagious plague known as materialism and naturalism … in such a way as to silence philosophy and materialism…" Using scientific and philosophical proof, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will completely silence atheistic, Darwinist and materialist movements, in other words he will neutralize them on the plane of ideas.