Talk of Hazrat Mahdi (as) Is One of the Portents of His Appearance
In his works, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, mujaddid (reviver) of the 13th century Hijri, has made a number of important statements that serve as a guide to all Muslims concerning the coming of the Mahdi and the way that he will be a reason 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 Hazrat Mahdi (as), 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-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-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-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 33) our Prophet (saas) stated that when the Mahdi (as) appears, everyone will speak of this holy individual. These signs revealed by our Prophet (saas) have begun to take place in our own day, and everyone 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 statements in his treatises. Indeed, when a subject was to be avoided, Bediuzzaman wrote that this was “confidential” in his works and stated in various places that it did not appear in the treatises because it should not be published. One of these statements by Bediuzzaman reads,
“As for the treatises, we have called such treatises confidential … we have forbidden 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As stated by Bediuzzaman, secret things should not be published.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 (as). 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 an issue that needed to be kept hidden. 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 statement 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 helpless brother who represents the spiritual entity of the Disciples of Light (Nur) and who forms the vanguard in the first duty in certain respects. Such as these two errors harm ,the true purity of the Risale-i Nur, the Treatise of Light, even in one respect to its being used for spiritual and heavenly rank, 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 cannot be built on mortal, helpless identities that are liable to error. In consequence, it is wrong to give the name of that personage who will come and perform three tasks. Both the purity in the Treatise that cannot be misused will be harmed, and the truths will become deficient in the eyes of common believers (with little knowledge of spiritual things); even indisputable 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 will begin to feel doubts and some religious teachers will begin to protest... Therefore, it does not seem appropriate to give that name to the followers of Light. A reviver, a precursor may be said.”(Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Ratifying Stamp of the Unseen, 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 (as) to be spoken about publicly.” Yet this idea is totally based on a misinterpretation; what Bediuzzaman is saying here refers to his own time. He says that his disciples harbour a misconception about him with regard to the Mahdi (as), 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 saying that it is not speaking of the Mahdi (as) that is objectionable and damaging, but directing claims regarding the rank of the Mahdi (as) 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 purity and may cause certain politicians unease, harm the publication of the Risale-i Nur, the Treatise of Nur and mean that theTreatise enjoys only half a victory over the deniers. Bediuzzaman says that holding such an erroneous view will lead to an erroneous supposition and thus to the misdirection of the people of faith; as a result of this uncertainty, this will prevent Muslims from being able to recognise the true Mahdi (as).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 performed the Mahdi’s (as) three tasks at the same time.” Note that he says that he has only led the way for the Mahdi (as) 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 personage who will come in the future,”he is stating that it will be wrong for him to be given the name of the Mahdi (as) 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 himself, he says that he may be referred to as a “reviver 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 (as) is 2011. There is, of course, no question of such an important matter being kept concealed and not talked about with so little time remaining.
Bediuzzaman’s words are perfectly clear. He states that his treatises are works that “everyone, from a labourer to the wisest scholar, a middle school student to a philosopher, can easily understand.”(Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Kastamonu Addendum, p. 10; Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays, p. 549) Some extracts from Bediuzzaman on this subject read:
... The Treatise of Light proves this duty, at the most severe, essential and sensitive time, in a manner everyone can understand, the deepest and most secret truths of the Qur’an and of faith, with the most powerful evidence.(Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays, p. 748)
... The Treatise of Light can be read and understood by all levels of society, such as a woman, a man, a civil servant and a tradesman, a scholar and a philosopher… (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays, p. 549)
To suggest, nonetheless, 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 such a logic could have on the Collection, written by Bediuzzaman in such a compact and sincere style, is one calling for careful consideration.