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['Aalim Network QR] The Messiah

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
Salaamun Alaykum

Please find below a question on the Messiah to which the reply was kindly
provided by Ma'alim Liyakatali Takim.


With Duas and Salaams

Maqbul Rahim
Acting Moderator for ABDG-A

What is the concept of the Messiah in Islam?  I would also like to know the
Concept of the Messiah in Christianity. What are the differences between the 
Two concepts.


Salaamun 'Alaykum

The concept of the Messiah in Islam is rooted in the Qur'anic vision of
establishing a just society in which justice and equity would be triumphant
over injustice and inequity under the supervision of a divinely guided
ruler. This is the concept of al-Mahdi. Therefore vrs 28:5-6 talks of
Allah's wish to favor the oppressed by making them leaders and inheriting
the earth. According to the Shi'i sources, the verse was revealed in
conjunction with the messianic role in Islam. The doctrine of the Mahdi is
important also because the concept of salvation as taught by the Qur'an is
deeply interwoven with acknowledging the divinely guided Prophets and their

The Mahdi therefore is the restorer of faith since he will reappear at a
time when, according to a letter which the Imam himself wrote to his fourth
agent - the hearts will have hardened and people's faith will be unstable.
He will restore people's faith in Allah by fighting against the oppressors,
destroying the cross and by establishing the kingdom promised by Allah,
which will be divinely guided.

It is to be noted also that the Islamic view of the Messiah is also rooted
in the Prophetic hadiths reported in both Sunni and Shi'i sources. The main
difference betweent the Sunnis and the Shi'is on this is that whereas the
latter believe that Imam al-Mahdi is already born and currently in a state
of occultation, the Sunnis believe that he wil be born and will then fulfill
God's promise. Traditions on the Mahdi abound in the Sunnan works of Ibn
Maja, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud etc.

The Shi'i authors have also devoted voluminous works on the function of the
Mahdi. See for example Tusi, KItab al-Ghayba, Shaykh Saduq Kamal al-Din etc.

The Christians see the messianic role being fulfilled by Jesus (A.S) when he
reappears to establish the kingdom of God. They talk of the second coming of
Christ. For them,  mere faith in Christ is sufficient for salvation whereas
Islam teaches that the belief in the messiah is a mere stepping stone
towards attaining salvation which, in the final analysis is dependent on
both faith and upright actions.

Moreover, according to Muslim belief, after the Mahdi appears, Prophet  Isa
will also reappear and play his role in fulfilling the Qur'anic vision of
establishing the just society. Whereas the Christains talk of the 2nd coming
of Christ, the Muslims talk of the zuhur (appearance from occultation) of
the Mahdi.




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