The Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi will come this century

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CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK

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29 / total: 34

BOOK II -
WHY WILL THE PERSONAGES OF THE END TIMES NOT BE RECOGNIZED?

Book II - Why will the Personages of the End Times not be Recognized?
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Foreword: Who Are the Personages of the End Times?

The century we are living in is a period of glad tidings in which the portents of the End Times reported in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) and in the works of Islamic scholars are taking place. With the consecutive occurrence of these portents the entire Islamic world has entered a most holy state of expectation: of the second coming of the Prophet Jesus (as), the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as), and of Islamic moral values prevailing on Earth.

The End Times is a concept referring to the final period before the Day of Judgment. The features and portents of the End Times have been described in detail in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas). The information regarding the End Times also constitutes one of the main subjects in the most trustworthy and fundamental Islamic sources. Based on these sources, we may describe the main features of the End Times as follows:

The End Times consists of two separate stages. The first stage of the End Times is one of increased moral degeneration, of hunger and poverty, when conflict, anarchy and disorder cause fear and unease, and when the majority of mankind suffers from lovelessness, ruthlessness and selfishness. Following that period, this dark age will come to an end and the "Golden Age" will begin with our Lord sending the Prophet Jesus (as) back to Earth and, through Hazrat Mahdi (as), leading people to the true path. By the leave of Allah, the Golden Age will be a time when plenty, abundance, peace, security, justice and love rule the world.

Major events and historical developments will take place during the End Times. The individuals who will be the means whereby this happens are most sacred and holy people. One of these holy individuals of the End Times, the Prophet Jesus (as), was raised into the Presence of our Lord some 2000 years ago and will return to Earth at the time appointed by Allah. Information provided in hadiths and in verses of the Qur'an indicates that his second coming will take place in the End Times.

In addition, in hadiths our Prophet (saas) has imparted the glad tidings that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear during this time and will fill the world with peace and justice. The superior moral values and honorable intellectual struggle of Hazrat Mahdi (as) are described in detail in the hadiths. Our Prophet (saas) has told devout Muslims to follow Hazrat Mahdi (as) when he appears. The Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) will wage an intellectual struggle against irreligion during the End Times and, by Allah's leave, will be the means whereby the moral values of the Qur'an come to prevail on Earth.

The hadiths also report what the major negative force opposed to the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) in their great struggles will be. This negative force is the antichrist (dajjal). The name dajjal, regarded as one of the great portents of the Last Day in reliable hadiths and fundamental Islamic texts comes from the root djl and means "liar, cheat, he who confuses hearts and minds, good and bad, truth and falsehood, he who conceals a thing's true face by gilding over it, a disturber who wanders everywhere in secret corners, an evil one."

Highly detailed information has been provided in our Prophet's (saas) words on such matters as the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), their physical features, when and where they will appear, the activities they will engage in, and those characteristics that distinguish them from other people and will enable them to be recognized. In the same way, the hadiths contain considerable information about the methods the antichrist will employ to oppose these holy personages, what techniques he will employ to attract people to his side, and how he can be recognized.

One of the wise aspects of our Prophet (saas) providing so much detailed information in the hadiths about the Prophet Jesus (as), Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the antichrist is to enable people to easily recognize them when they do appear. Yet although they have been awaited for some fourteen centuries and despite so much identifying information concerning them, they will still not be recognized, or will be wrongly identified, by the great majority of people. It is certain that the antichrist, who will wage an intense struggle against them, will play a major role in the failure to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as). The antichrist will oppose the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) in the End Times, will strive to disseminate disbelief among people, and will resort to all possible means to lead them into evil. He will introduce himself to people in different forms by way of deceptions and cheating, and it will not at once therefore be realized that he is a negative force, and, like the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), he will not immediately be recognized. In this way he will influence a great many people with his lies and direct them as he sees fit. Indeed, under the indoctrination of the antichrist, the great majority of people will line up against the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) and will strive against them. For that reason, in the early years of their coming, the number of those who appreciate the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) and who support these holy individuals will be very small, and some of those who do believe in them will even gradually turn their backs on them.

There is no doubt that this is the most astonishing and thought-provoking situation. That is because, the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be most auspicious and worthy people who abide solely by the approval of Allah, who strive with all sincerity for the salvation of all mankind in this world and in the Hereafter, and who will bring peace and plenty to the world. Under normal circumstances, all Muslims living at a time when the portents of the End Times are taking place one after the other and when the appearance of these holy individuals is expected should be waiting for the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) with enormous joy and enthusiasm. When they appear, Muslims should also be able to see and recognize their superior moral virtues with the same enthusiasm and to recognize them from the characteristics revealed in the hadiths. Every Muslim who clearly sees the auspicious activities undertaken by the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) should wish to align himself with them and to support the community of truth that acts alongside them, and all Muslims should compete with one another to support them with great enthusiasm and excitement. On the contrary, however, as stated above, even though many people witness all these developments they will still either fail to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) or else, even if they do recognize them, they will avoid supporting them and standing by their side for one reason or another.

These signs in the hadiths reveal the importance of Muslims being correctly informed regarding the portents of the coming of the personages of the End Times, the characteristics that distinguish them from other people and the struggle based on falsehood that the antichrist will wage against them. It must not be forgotten that the End Times will be a period in which people have difficulty distinguishing between right and wrong and when a turning away from religious moral values will lead to great disorder and confusion. By Allah's leave, this information will protect Muslims against confusing good and evil at such a time and will enable them to realize the truth.

The aim of this section is to enable all Muslims to acquire the most accurate information about the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), and about the antichrist, in the light of the verses of the Qur'an, the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) and statements by great Islamic scholars. It is also to eliminate any reasons that might prevent Muslims recognizing the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) when these holy individuals appear, to expose all the fraudulent measures to which the antichrist will resort, and to prevent Muslims falling into a great error in the face of such a historic event. It is to be a means whereby all Muslims to be the ones to take their places alongside these worthy personages and give them the best possible support, by setting out all this information for their benefit.

We again need to recall that the period we are living in is one that has been awaited for some 1400 years. For that reason, all Muslims who are aware of this and who wish to enjoy the honor of standing alongside these holy personages must read the information contained in this book with the greatest care and be cautious against all misinformation and misdirection that might prevent them from following the truth. They must be aware what might prevent them from recognizing these holy individuals and embrace all means of identifying them properly.

Part One: The Appearance of the Prophet Jesus (as), Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the Antichrist has been Reported in Reliable Hadiths

This book deals with why the great majority of people will fail to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) when these holy personages appear, and the kind of methods and deceptions to which the antichrist will resort to that end. In addition, it will emphasize that fears of losing their ranks and position, pride, concerns about losing worldly interests and desire to continue with bad manners may lead some people to pretend not to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) although they do recognize.

The first section of the book describes why some people will be unable to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) when he returns to Earth. By Allah's leave, the Prophet Jesus (as) will return to Earth for the second time and communicate the message of Islam, the true faith, at a time when some people maintain that he will not return, a claim based on no knowledge or evidence at all. However, we are told in the hadiths that most people's growing distant to religious moral precepts, the spreading of the lie that the Prophet Jesus (as) will not return, the emergence of a large number of false messiahs, and pressure and difficulties caused by ideologies that are incompatible with religious moral virtues will all prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) being recognized when he does return. Nobody apart from pure and devout believers will recognize and follow the Prophet Jesus (as) during the early stages of his coming.

The second part of the book deals with the efforts the antichrist will make to turn people away from Hazrat Mahdi (as) when he appears. Hadiths and works by great Islamic scholars state that the number of believers who follow Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be very small. Again according to the information contained in the hadiths, Hazrat Mahdi (as), together with the few people by his side, will wage a great intellectual struggle against ideologies that are incompatible with religious moral values, will tell people of the proofs of the existence and oneness of Allah, and will call everyone in the world to the truth. However, during the course of this great intellectual struggle Hazrat Mahdi (as) will come under considerable pressure from people who do not live by religious moral values and will suffer many slanders, and many efforts will be made to prevent his activities aimed at disseminating religious moral precepts.

The third part of the book describes the actions the antichrist will take in order to prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) from being recognized and to stop people following them, and how he will mislead people. That chapter also describes how people will fail to identify the antichrist and will fall under his influence. The book as a whole will set out how the system of the antichrist conceals its true face by means of indoctrination and propaganda of various forms and how it will attempt to mislead people against the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as).

In considering all these matters, there is one important fact that must not be forgotten. No matter how much the majority of people fail to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), and no matter how much the system of the antichrist engages in propaganda against true believers and sets traps for them of one kind or another, by Allah's leave none of these will hinder the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi's (as) intellectual struggle for the truth. Allah has revealed in the Qur'an that none of the snares set for believers will enjoy any success: "… Allah will not give the unbelievers any way against the believers." (Surat an-Nisa', 141) By Allah's leave, true believers will support the Prophet Jesus (as) when he returns to Earth and Hazrat Mahdi (as) when he appears, no matter how small their numbers, and the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) will install the moral values of the Qur'an over all the world by eliminating the system of the antichrist that is totally grounded in falsehood.

The return to Earth of the Prophet Jesus (as) and the emergence of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the antichrist are some of the most important portents of the Day of Judgment. Many great Islamic scholars have considered these matters in detail in their works. The information reported in hadiths on the subject is regarded as tawatur (reliable) or completely trustworthy by Islamic scholars, and these hadiths are referred to as mutawatir or completely trustworthy hadiths. The Encyclopedic Ottoman Turkish-Turkish Great Dictionary by Hekimoglu Ismail defines the word "tawatur" as follows:

Tawatur: A reliable report, a trustworthy account with no possibility of falsity and based upon a congregation. (Hekimoglu Ismail, The Encyclopedic Ottoman Turkish-Turkish Great Dictionary, Turdav Publications, p. 3003)

Mutawatir is the name given to hadiths handed down by such a wide community that there is no possibility of imagining they came together to produce a lie. Hadith scholars agree that the individuals who transmitted hadiths regarded as mutawatir cannot be questioned, and that there can be no doubting such hadiths themselves. The Islamic scholar Sayyid ash-Sharif al-Jurjani defines the concept of a mutawatir hadith as follows:

Mutawatir reports are those assuming such a number of narrators that, according to custom, it is impossible for so many narrators to have come together in a lie. In that event, if the account narrated is consistent in words and meaning, it is known as "mutawatir in wording." If they agree as to meaning but there is a discrepancy in their words, this is known as "mutawatir in meaning." (Hasan Basri Cantay, Kur'an-i Hakim ve Meal-i Kerim (Al-Qur'an Al-Hakeem Ma'al Al-Kareem), Vol. I, p. 180; Omer Nasuhi Bilmen, Kur'an-i Kerim'in Türkce Me'ali Alisi ve Tefsiri (Turkish Text of and Commentary on the Holy Qur'an), Vol. II, p. 850; Al-Sabuni, Safwat al-Tafaseer, Vol. I, p. 375)

The great hadith scholar Ibn Majah states that the hadiths regarding the return to Earth of the Prophet Jesus (as), the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the appearance of the antichrist are mutawatir:

Muhammad al-Shawkani said that he had collected 29 hadiths and, when he had recorded them all, he said: "Our hadith have reached the level of tawatur, as you can see. With this, we reach the conclusion that the hadiths on the anticipated Hazrat Mahdi (as), the antichrist, and the Prophet Jesus' (as) second coming are mutawatir." (Sunan Ibn Majah, Istanbul, Kahraman Publishing, 1983, 10:338)

Imam Abu Hanifah, the imam of Sunni Hanafi school, is among the scholars narrating that the Prophet Jesus (as) will return to the Earth and that the antichrist will emerge. He is the greatest collector of hadiths on the Prophet Jesus' (as) second coming. In the final part of his Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, he states that:

The emergence of the antichrist and of Gog and Magog is a reality; the rising of the sun in the West is a reality; the descent of the Prophet Jesus (as) from the heavens is a reality; and all the other signs of the Day of Resurrection, as contained in authentic traditions, are also established realities. (Imam Abu Hanifah, Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, http://muslim-canada.org/fiqh.htm)

In his book Al-Hawi lil-Fatawi and the collection known as Al I'lam bi Hukmi 'Isa, Imam as-Suyuti first sets out all the hadiths on the subject and then states that these are mutawatir:

It will not remain hidden to those possessing knowledge of the hadith that all the hadiths I have cited on this subject have achieved the level of mutawatir. Therefore, in the same way that the hadiths about the awaited Mahdi (as) are mutawatir, those about the antichrist have also reached the level of being tawatur, and the hadiths about the return of the Prophet Jesus (as) are also mutawatir. (As-Suyuti, Al-Hawi Lil-Fatawi, 2/277)

Al-Kutub As-Sittah, one source of trustworthy hadiths, as well as other such esteemed sources of hadith as Imam Malik's Muwatta', Ibn Huzayma and Ibn Hibbaan's Sahih, and Ibn Hanbal's and Al-Tayalisi's Musnad devout wide space to reliable hadiths on the subject. Some of the hadiths concerning the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) read as follows:

It [the Last Day] will not come until you see ten signs ... the descent of the Prophet Jesus (as), son of Mary… (Sahih Muslim)

By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary [the Prophet Jesus (as)] will shortly descend amongst you people as a just ruler. (Abu Hurairah (ra); Sahih Bukhari, Sales and Trade, Vol. 3, Book 34, 425; Oppressions, Vol. 3, Book 43, 656; Prophets, Vol. 4, Book 55, 657; Sahih Muslim, The Book of Faith, Book 1, 0287)

The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary [the Prophet Jesus (as)] descends amongst you as a just ruler. (Abu Hurairah (ra); Sahih Bukhari, Oppressions, Vol. 3, Book 43, 656; Prophets, Vol. 4, Book 55, 657)

How will you be when the son of Mary [the Prophet Jesus (as)] descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Qur'an? (Abu Hurairah (ra); Sahih Bukhari, Prophets, Vol. 4, Book 55, 658; Fateh-ul Bari, Vol. 7, pp. 304-305)

Some of the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) concerning the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as), the great mujaddid (a great scholar and heir to the Prophet [saas] sent down every century in order to teach religious truths according to the requirements of the age) of the 14th century read as follows:

If there were only one day left for this world, Allah would lengthen it until he [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] took power. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 4/92)

If there were only one day left for the world, that day would be lengthened until a man from among my descendants or from among the people of my household, was sent. (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi, The Great Hadith Collection, Rudani vol. 5, p. 365; Saim Gungor, Buyuk Fitne Mesih-i Deccal [The Great Corruption of the Messiah Antichrist], Pamuk Publishing, p. 80)

Many worthy Islamic scholars are agreed that the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) is certain, and have set their opinions on the subject out:

Imam Rabbani: A thousand years later, the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) is for this. Our Prophet (saas) gave the glad tidings of his holy coming. The Prophet Jesus (as) will appear after a thousand years have passed. (Imam Rabbani, Letters of Rabbani, Vol. 1, Letter 209, p. 440)

Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi: It is certain that when the world is full of cruelty and injustice, the successor [spiritual leader, i.e. Hazrat Mahdi (as)] of Allah will rise up and fill the Earth with justice and equality … He will divide general earnings equally among the people, govern them with justice and decide on disputes between them. (Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, bab 366, Vol. 3, pp. 327-328)

Imam Al-Sharani: Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be in my community. He will rule for seven years if his reign is short, or nine years if it is long. (Al-Sharani, Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, pp. 432-448)

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: In the End Times, the lords of the broad sphere of life, Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his followers, will come by the leave of Almighty Allah and expand that sphere, and the seeds will sprout. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Ratifying Stamp of the Unseen, p. 138, Kastamonu Addendum, p. 72)

All this information once again goes to show that in the light of the information contained in the hadiths great hadith scholars, commentators and Islamic thinkers are agreed on the subjects of the return to Earth of the Prophet Jesus (as), the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as) during the End Times, and the struggle to be waged against them by the antichrist.

Why will the Prophet Jesus (as) Not be Recognizedwhen He Returns to Earth?

During his first time on Earth, the Prophet Jesus (as), like all other prophets, advised people to believe in Allah, the One and Only, and to avoid disbelief, polytheism and all forms of evil. Those who failed to heed the Prophet Jesus' (as) call sought to hinder this worthy individual, for which reason they put pressure on him and those around him. When these efforts proved to be in vain they then decided to kill the Prophet Jesus (as). However, these initiatives also ended in failure. As is clearly revealed in verses of the Qur'an, these people were unable to kill the Prophet Jesus (as). They were instead shown someone else who resembled him. As a miracle of our Lord's, the person who had informed on the Prophet Jesus (as) was killed in his place. Allah raised the Prophet Jesus (as) into His Presence, without taking his life in the biological sense. This is revealed in the following terms in the verse below:

And [on account of] their saying, "We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Messenger of Allah." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. (Surat an-Nisa', 157)

That the Prophet Jesus (as) did not die but was raised into the Presence of our Lord is revealed in a verse as follows:

When Allah said, "Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me and purify you of those who disbelieve. And I will place the people who follow you above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then you will all return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed." (Surah Al 'Imran, 55)

The second coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) during the End Times represents very glad tidings that are imparted in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas). However, it needs to be made clear that when the Prophet Jesus (as) does return, very few people will recognize and join him. The great majority of people will keep away from him, for a variety of reasons, such as the effect of indoctrination and falsehoods, the conditions in the societies they live in, lack of information or misinformation.

This section of the book sets out the reason why people will be unable to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) or will ignore him even if they do so, as well as ignoring this holy prophet's honorable struggle. Before that, however, we need to remember that the fact that many people fail to recognize and support the Prophet Jesus (as) will not stop his intellectual struggle being successful, with the help and by the leave of Allah. Muslims must allow no concessions with regard to their excitement, enthusiasm and joy at our Lord's sending a prophet back to Earth after some 2000 years. When the time appointed comes and this holy messenger does return, praying to achieve the honor of being one of his helpers and followers and preparing themselves for this time in the finest manner is one of the main responsibilities incumbent upon believers living in the End Times.

The Appearance of False Messiahs Will Hinder the Recognition of the Prophet Jesus (as)

The second coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) is both a great miracle and also very happy tidings. As revealed in a verse, "Allah showed great kindness to the believers when He sent a messenger to them from among themselves..." (Surah Al 'Imran, 164), the sending of messengers and prophets is a blessing from our Lord. Therefore, believers await the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) with enthusiasm and excitement. However, the hadiths tell us that false messiahs will appear before the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as). The emergence of such people may cause the Prophet Jesus (as) to be met with suspicion and doubt when he returns to Earth. Yet these doubts are unfounded because;

First; the emergence of false messiahs is one of the portents of the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as). This is indicated in many hadiths. In one hadith it is revealed that:

The Last Hour will not come before there come forth thirty antichrists (imposters), each presenting himself as an apostle of Allah. (Abu Hurairah (ra); Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab Al-Fitan, 43; Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab Al-Malahim, 16)

That being the case, the appearance of false messiahs is not something that should instill doubt or concern in people. On the contrary, it is a sign calling for them to feel excitement and enthusiasm since it indicates that the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) is approaching.

Second; it is totally impossible for true believers to be deceived by false messiahs. That is because, by Allah's leave, when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns his superior moral virtues, the majesty unique to prophets, his radiance, his deep faith and wise behavior will enable sincere believers to recognize him. There will be no need for any proof in order for true believers to be able to identify the Prophet Jesus (as). The way that false messiahs seek to prove themselves is one of the clearest signs of their false nature.

One of the proofs of the Prophet Jesus (as) will be his auspicious deeds. By Allah's leave he will inflict great intellectual defeats on irreligious movements and the ideologies of those seeking to spread disbelief and immorality.

It must not be forgotten that some false messiahs have already appeared, and that others will appear in the future (Allah knows the truth). However, our Prophet (saas) has told us the glad tidings of the return of the Prophet Jesus (as) after the liars.

The Suggestion That He Will Return Not As a Person But As a "Collective Personality" Will Prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) Being Recognized

In his works, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi devoted considerable space to the subject of the second coming of the Prophet Jesus (as). However, the term "collective personality" employed by Bediuzzaman in discussing the issue may be interpreted rather differently in our own time. The expression "collective personality" he used may be interpreted as meaning that the Prophet Jesus (as) will return to Earth not as an individual but as a collective identity. This belief may represent one of the reasons that prevent people from recognizing the Prophet Jesus (as) and making preparations to greet this holy figure. The fact is, however, Bediuzzaman's statements make it perfectly clear that the Prophet Jesus (as) will return not as a collective personality but as an individual, and will, together with Hazrat Mahdi (as), cause peace and security to rule the entire world.

There is a collective personality around every prophet and messenger, a manifestation of his spiritual identity. A community and movement of those who join the messenger, take him as a role model and follow his message constitute his collective personality. It is obviously impossible, however, to speak of a collective personality in the absence of that particular individual. It is a law of Allah revealed in the Qur'an that every community of the faithful has a leader. Therefore, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi uses the term "collective personality" in the sense of that law in the Qur'an. Indeed, in employing the term to refer to his own works and followers, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi is himself at the head of that collective personality. His works and followers are part of the collective personality of the Risale-i Nur Collection, though Bediuzzaman himself, the leader of the movement, cannot be held distinct from the expression.

Furthermore, Allah has revealed in verses of the Qur'an that messengers have been sent to every society that has ever existed to tell them of the true faith and show them what is right and wrong. The Qur'an contains detailed information about these messengers. The relevant verses contain all kinds of information about the events they experienced, their families, wives, children, sincere faith in Allah and prayers. All this information goes to show that "no messenger or prophet throughout the course of history has been sent as a collective personality, but that all messengers have been sent as individuals." In the same way, all mujaddids or mujtahids in Islamic history after the time of our Prophet (saas) have been sent as individuals. Under the Divine law in the Qur'an it can be seen that all messengers and all revivers have been sent as individuals, guides to warn people, to impart the glad tidings of Allah's approval, mercy and Paradise, and to enable them to distinguish truth from falsehood.

There is no doubt that this Divine law of the Qur'an, that has continued for hundreds of years, will apply to the Prophet Jesus (as) who will appear in the End Times just as it has throughout the history of Islam. When the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth he will again be accompanied by a community consisting of those people close to him, a community headed by the Prophet Jesus (as) himself. In the same way that there was no collective personality without an individual in terms of the other prophets, so there cannot be for the Prophet Jesus (as). Indeed, the following quotations from Bediuzzaman make the matter crystal clear, in a manner that leaves no room for discussion:

Quotation 1.

... so too, representing the collective personality of Christianity, the Prophet Jesus (as) will kill [destroy] the antichrist, who represents the collective personality of irreligion... (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters, p. 6)

Here, Bediuzzaman is describing the collective personality of Christianity. It is impossible for a collective personality to represent a collective personality. Therefore, the answers to these two questions are perfectly clear:

One person represents the collective personality of Christianity. Who is that?
The Prophet Jesus (as)
Who does the Prophet Jesus (as) represent?
The collective personality of Christianity.
The answers to these questions clearly reveal that Bediuzzaman is referring to the Prophet Jesus (as) and his collective personality as two distinct concepts.

Quotation 2.

... It could only be a wondrous person with the power of miracles… And that person will be the Prophet Jesus (as), who is the prophet of the majority of mankind. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays / The Fifth Ray - Second Station, p. 109)

In this statement, Bediuzzaman refers to the Prophet Jesus (as) as a person. Not two or three. By continuing to refer to "that person" he is again emphasizing that the Prophet Jesus (as) will come as an individual, not as a collective personality. These are singular terms, and all refer to "a single person," not to a collective personality.

Said Nursi also refers to a person with the power of miracles capable of doing away with the actions of the antichrist. He says that the only person capable of working miracles is the Prophet Jesus (as). Since it is impossible for a collective personality to perform miracles, he is clearly referring to the Prophet Jesus (as) as an individual.

Quotation 3.

"The Prophet Jesus (as) will come and will perform the obligatory prayers behind Hazrat Mahdi (as) and follow him," alludes to this union, and to the sovereignty of the Qur'an and its being followed. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays / The Fifth Ray - Second Station, p. 109)

In this extract Bediuzzaman states that the Prophet Jesus (as) will perform the prayer (salat) together with Hazrat Mahdi (as). This expression, which appears also in several hadiths, shows that there will be dialogue between the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), and that they will lead believers with their earthly bodies.

This expression is also another proof that Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the Prophet Jesus (as) will both appear as individuals, not as collective personalities. In the same way that the Prophet Jesus (as) performed the prayer (salat) on his first appearance on Earth, so he will continue to do so, by Allah's leave, on his second. This subject is also revealed in the Qur'an:

[Jesus said,] "I am the servant of Allah, He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. He has made me blessed wherever I am and directed me to perform prayer and give the alms as long as I live." (Surah Maryam, 30-31)

One could cite many other examples to this account that clarifies the misconception regarding the concept of the "collective personality" that Bediuzzaman employs in his works. However, just a few of these are sufficient to realize that the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear not as the collective personality of their communities, but as their leaders.

In all these extracts Bediuzzaman refers to the Prophet Jesus (as) and the collective personality of his community as separate concepts. He explains that the combination of the two forms a collective personality and describes that this esteemed and holy prophet, together with his collective personality, will personally lead the believers alongside him. Bediuzzaman has many times stated that the Prophet Jesus (as) will come as a corporeal entity, just like all the messengers and prophets who went before him.

As can be seen from all this, it would be a serious error to regard the concept of the "collective personality" separately, distinctly and independently of the individual at its head. All the communities of the faithful mentioned in the Qur'an have had a messenger or leader at their head. It is incompatible with the Divine law revealed in the Qur'an for Muslims to constitute a community with no leader at such an exceptional period in history as the End Times when the moral values of the Qur'an will rule the entire world. (Allah knows the truth) The Prophet Jesus (as) will return to Earth in the End Times, will lead believers, and will be a means, together with Hazrat Mahdi (as), whereby the light of Islam illuminates all mankind.

As in the Past, the Presence around Him of People Who Tend towards Disbelief will Prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) from Being Recognized

As in the past, when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth there may well be people who are inclined to denial around him. These people may well engage in various overt and covert activities. During his first time on Earth, in addition to waging a great struggle against unbelievers, the Prophet Jesus (as) also fought against the supposed men of religion inside the Jewish community and hypocrites around him. The presence of people with a tendency towards disbelief around the Prophet Jesus (as) is pointed to in the Qur'an in these terms:

When Jesus sensed disbelief on their part, he said, "Who will be my helpers to Allah?"… (Surah Al 'Imran, 52)

As we can see from this verse, the Prophet Jesus (as) sensed that certain people around him were prone to disbelief and to exhibiting bad manners resembling those of disbelief, and asked who his helpers were. True believers with a sincere faith in Allah and who had submitted to and obeyed the Prophet Jesus (as) replied that they were his helpers:

… The disciples said, "We are Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah. Bear witness that we are Muslims." "Our Lord, we have faith in what You have sent down and have followed the Messenger, so write us down among the witnesses." (Surah Al 'Imran, 52-53)

This state of affairs indicates the difficult circumstances in which the Prophet Jesus (as) found himself as he called on people to believe in the existence and oneness of Allah and to abide by the moral values of the true faith. Allah reveals in this verse that follows that unbelievers set a trap for the Prophet Jesus (as):

They plotted and Allah plotted. But Allah is the best of plotters. (Surah Al 'Imran, 54)

However, Allah imparts in the verse the glad tidings that He foiled the trap laid for the Prophet Jesus (as) and did not permit the unbelievers to achieve their objective.

When the Prophet Jesus (as) comes to Earth for the second time, people around him with an inclination towards disbelief may again set snares so that people do not recognize and obey him. However, by Allah's leave, in the same way that the traps set by unbelievers in the past came to nothing, all the snares set for him when he returns will again be in vain.

The Pressure Placed on Society by Eminent Individuals Will Prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) Being Recognized

We are told in the Qur'an that a large part of the prominent members of society opposed the messengers sent and the true faith they preached. This is revealed as follows in verse 123 of Surat al-An'am:

And likewise in every city We set up its greatest wrongdoers to plot in it. They plot against themselves alone, but they are not aware of it. (Surat al-An'am, 123)

This verse of our Lord's has been manifested in a great many societies throughout the course of history. When the Prophet Moses (as) called his people to the true path Pharaoh and his court, the leaders of society at that time, waged an intense struggle to obstruct the Prophet Moses' (as) message. In order to prevent people believing in him Pharaoh killed the male children of believers, threatened to cut off their hands and feet, and oppressed the faithful in various ways. When the Prophet Abraham (as) called on people to believe in Allah alone, leading members of society at the time attempted to cast him into the flames. This state of affairs remained unchanged during the time of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saas) as well, with pressure continuing to be applied by leading members of the community. The pagans of Mecca, especially Abu Lahab and those around him, applied great pressure and cruelty to prevent the companions obeying the Prophet (saas). All this oppression and cruelty led to very few people following the prophets when they first arrived and caused a large part of society to avoid the message communicated by these noble individuals.

The Prophet Jesus (as) was also exposed to pressure and difficulties from leading figures of the time when he first came to Earth. Indeed, the fact that nobody followed the Prophet Jesus (as) apart from a very small number of disciples is one of the important indicators of this. All this information indicates that the Prophet Jesus (as) may face a similar situation on his second coming. We are told in the Qur'an that leading figures in a great many societies throughout history waged an intense struggle against religious moral values. This is revealed as follows in the Qur'an:

We never sent a warner into any city without the affluent people in it saying, "We reject what you have been sent with." (Surah Saba', 34)

Similarly We never sent any warner before you to any city without the affluent among them saying, "We found our fathers following a religion and we are simply following in their footsteps." (Surat az-Zukhruf, 23)

And likewise in every city We set up its greatest wrongdoers to plot in it. They plot against themselves alone, but they are not aware of it. (Surat al-An'am, 123)

The law that our Lord reveals in these verses may once again be manifested when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth. Leading members of society may resort to various forms of pressure to stop people believing in the Prophet Jesus (as). This may lead to them hesitating to follow him and in their staying away from this holy prophet. However, it immediately needs to be stated that, by Allah's leave, no pressure or difficulty can prevent true believers in Allah from following a true prophet. The behavior of the companions who enjoyed the honor of living together with our Prophet (saas) must be adopted as a role model by all Muslims.

Allah has told us in the Qur'an that some people sought to make believers uneasy in order to turn them away from their struggle alongside our Prophet (saas) and distance them from him. This falsehood on the part of the unbelievers and believers' response to the situation is revealed thus in the Qur'an:

[Believers are] those to whom people said, "The people have gathered against you, so fear them." But that merely increased their faith and they said, "Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians." (Surah Al 'Imran, 173)

When the Prophet Jesus (as) returns, the response of true believers to those who seek to turn them away from this holy personage must be the same as that revealed in this verse. When this chosen and honored messenger of our Lord arrives, devout believers will sincerely submit to and support him, by the leave of Allah, and no difficulty will be able to wear them down.

The Fact That Christianity Has Become Corrupted Will Prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) from Being Recognized

One of the supposed excuses put forward by societies that denied the message of the prophets was the claim that the prophets were seeking to turn them away from their traditional religions. Every community has its own customs and traditions, cultural heritage and traditional beliefs. Among these beliefs there may be various superstitious practices and rites that are incompatible with the moral values preached by the prophets. Prophets rid the societies to which they are sent of such superstitious practices and rites that have become entangled with their beliefs and call on them to abide by the moral values of the true faith in the Sight of Allah. Yet some people, despite being aware of the false aspects of their traditional beliefs and practices, are unwilling to heed this call. As revealed in the Qur'an, they persist in their devotion to "the faiths of their ancestors," in other words to various false traditions and customs. The position of such people is described as follows in the Qur'an:

When they are told, "Follow what Allah has sent down to you," they say, "We are following what we found our fathers doing." What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided! (Surat al-Baqara, 170)

The devotion that these people feel towards the religion of their ancestors stems from the concern they feel at the loss of their established order. For these people, the overturning of the whole system on which they have constructed their interests, rank and station, and supposed prestige within society is something that cannot be accepted. For that reason they regard the true faith preached by the prophets as a great threat to themselves and do all in their power to oppose the prophets. We are told in the Qur'an that people possessed of such immoral values have always opposed the messengers sent to them:

Similarly We never sent any warner before you to any city without the affluent among them saying, "We found our fathers following a religion and we are simply following in their footsteps." (Surat az-Zukhruf, 23)

People similar to those who opposed the Prophet Jethro (as), the Prophet Noah (as), the Prophet Lot (as), the Prophet Solomon (as), the Prophet Abraham (as) and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saas) may well oppose the Prophet Jesus (as) for the same reason when he returns. And the false indoctrination perpetrated by these people on the community in which they live may cause the majority of people not to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as).

In addition, when he returns the Prophet Jesus (as) will rule with Islam. This may be greeted with some astonishment, especially by some Christians who have false traditions and beliefs. The fact is though that the Prophet Jesus (as) will call them to the truth and salvation. However, a failure to comprehend this may lead those concerned into a grave error. (Allah knows the truth.)

At the heart of the unease and surprise that some Christians may feel on this subject lies the fact that after the ascension of the Prophet Jesus (as) into the Presence of Allah, Christianity became corrupted, especially with regard to such distorted beliefs as that the Prophet Jesus (as) is the son of Allah (Surely Allah is beyond that) and the trinity (Surely Allah is beyond that). In order to preserve Christianity, even though it has been corrupted, these people may well oppose the Prophet Jesus' (as) preaching the message of the existence and oneness of Allah, telling people that he is Allah's servant and merely His prophet, and calling on them to adhere to Islamic moral values. Those who wish to preserve this false religion they learned from their ancestors may make very great efforts in order to prevent the Prophet Jesus (as) being recognized and communicating the message of the true faith. When called to the truth by the Prophet Moses (as), Pharaoh and his court were similarly unwilling to abandon the perverted religion of their ancestors and even sought to hinder the Prophet Moses (as) and the Prophet Aaron (as) through ugly slanders. The people's attitude towards the message of the Prophet Moses (as) is revealed as follows in the Qur'an:

They said, "Have you come to us to turn us from what we found our fathers doing, and to gain greatness in the land? We do not believe you." (Surah Yunus, 78)

As revealed in this verse, the tribe of the Prophet Moses (as) exhibited an irrational and illogical devotion to the false beliefs of their ancestors, and also attempted to neutralize the believers' message by uttering slanders. When, by Allah's leave, the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to earth and again calls people to the moral precepts of the Qur'an, similar people may well spread the lie that this holy prophet is not actually the Prophet Jesus (as) at all. They may well utter slanders against this holy prophet. This kind of propaganda from the people in question may cause a great many people who live far removed from religious moral values to be influenced by their lies and cause them not to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as).

In addition to the historical degeneration of Christianity, it is also possible that in the End Times Christian communities will move even further away from their faith under the indoctrination of the system of the antichrist. In his works, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has also drawn attention to the way that the system of the antichrist distances these communities away from spiritual values:

... at the command of satan and due to his temptations, the great antichrist will abrogate the injunctions of the Christian Law, and destroying the bonds in accordance with which the life of Christian society is administered, he will prepare the ground for anarchy and Gog and Magog. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays, p. 467)

According to these statements by Bediuzzaman, with its indoctrination and misdirection, the system of the antichrist will do away with precepts of the true Christianity and will corrupt the moral values that permit Christians' social order and that bind them together. All these conditions, noted by Bediuzzaman, may mean that when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to earth some people will fail to be aware of this holy prophet and his honorable struggle, and that others will pretend not to recognize him in the light of their own aims.

The Fact That the Prophet Jesus (as) Will Rule with the Qur'an Will Prevent Him from Being Recognized

Just like Muslims, Christians are also awaiting the second coming of the Prophet Jesus (as). However, when the Prophet Jesus (as) does return, he will put an end to certain corrupt beliefs and superstitions among Christians and call people to the true religious moral values revealed in the Qur'an.

All the prophets have preached the same religious moral values to the communities to which they were sent. All messengers have called on the societies in which they lived to believe in Allah alone, to serve Him, and to live the life of which He approves. They have guided their peoples in order to be saved from suffering on the Day of Judgment. Allah tells us in a verse that the faith He revealed to all the prophets and the prophets have preached to their peoples is the same religion:

He has laid down the same religion for you as He enjoined on Noah: that which We have revealed to you and which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus… (Surat ash-Shura, 13)

Therefore, when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth he will also call people to the true faith revealed to all the prophets. That true faith is Islam. We are told that Islam is the faith in the Sight of Allah in the verse, "The religion with Allah is Islam" (Surah Al 'Imran, 19). When he returns, the Prophet Jesus (as) will rule among people with the Qur'an, the true Holy Scripture, and by Allah's leave, will unite all people under Islamic moral values.

Said Nursi also revealed in his own statements that Christianity would be freed from falsehood with the return of the Prophet Jesus (as) and would return to its true essence:

At that point when the current appears to be very strong, the religion of true Christianity, which comprises the collective personality of the Prophet Jesus (as), will emerge. That is, it will descend from the skies of Divine Mercy. Present Christianity will be purified in the face of that reality; it will cast off superstition and distortion, and unite with the truths of Islam. Christianity will in effect be spiritually transformed into a sort of Islam. Following the Qur'an, the collective personality of Christianity will be in the rank of follower, and Islam, in that of leader. True religion will become a mighty force as a result of its joining it. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters / Fifteenth Letter, p. 79)

As Bediuzzaman says in these words, Christianity will be cleansed and purified from falsehood, distortions and corrupted features with the second coming of the Prophet Jesus (as). Christianity will combine with Islam, the true faith and will turn into Islam in spiritual terms.

This will be greeted with concern by those people who wish to continue with their corrupt beliefs and false practices, and may well cause the great majority of people not to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as). Believers of good conscience, who have true faith in Allah, who fear Him and know that they will give account on the Day of Judgment, will immediately believe in the Prophet Jesus (as) the moment they see him, and will follow him with all their hearts.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saas) also revealed that when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth Muslims will enjoy the honor of helping this worthy individual. We are told in one hadith of our Prophet (saas) that:

... I swear by Allah Who sent me as a true prophet that (when he is sent close to the Day of Judgment) the Prophet Jesus (as), son of Mary, will find people to take the place of his disciples in my community. (Al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, wa-manhajuhu al-Hadithi fi Nawadir al-usul, 2/92)

There is no doubt that being the Prophet Jesus' (as) helpers is both glad tidings for genuine believers as well as a significant responsibility. It is the sincere wish of all believers to attain such an honored position as being a follower of the Prophet Jesus (as).

In the Past the So-Called Men of Religion Also Failed to Recognize the Prophet Jesus (as)

In the time of the Prophet Jesus (as), the whole of the Mediterranean was under Roman rule. Like all the societies around the Mediterranean, the Romans believed in a polytheistic, false religion. Jewish society also contained several sects that interpreted Judaism in various ways. There had been a move away from the true faith imparted by Allah to the Prophet Moses (as), and superstitious customs and corrupt beliefs had grown up. At this time when the Prophet Jesus (as) first came to Earth he engaged in a great struggle with both the pagan Hellenic culture and various polytheistic groups among the Jews. He described the religion of Allah to them using wise parables.

However, a number of supposed men of religion headed the opposition to the true path to which the Prophet Jesus (as) called people. These had become uneasy at the revelation sent down to human beings by Allah through the Prophet Jesus (as). That was because the Prophet Jesus' (as) message showed both those who possessed a materialist mindset and also those who had turned towards show and superstition by losing their true faith that they were on the wrong path.

These so-called men of religion who benefited from the established order refused to comply with the Prophet Jesus' (as) message, even though they knew it was a call to the truth. The people in question possessed considerable authority over Judaic society. By being regarded as men of religion they enjoyed respect from everyone. The false system they had established had become an institution that provided them with status and even with money. They were also collaborating with the Roman governor who ran the country. This allowed them to benefit from the privileges accorded to them by Rome. In the light of these circumstances it is easy to see why the Prophet Jesus' (as) message made these supposed clergymen so uneasy. That is because, like all the prophets, the Prophet Jesus (as), too, told the society he was sent to about the evils of this corrupt, false system that regarded all forms of immorality as legitimate, and called on people to abandon it. He told people to abandon all injustices, unfairness, immorality and their pagan religion and to live for Allah alone. He counseled people to fear and love Allah and to submit to Him.

It is described in the Gospel how the Prophet Jesus (as) revealed the fraudulent nature of these so-called men of religion before the public:

Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely. (Luke, 20: 46-47)

We are told in the Qur'an that the Prophet Jesus (as) was sent in order to confirm the Torah and to rid the Jews of their false beliefs and practices. The Prophet Jesus' (as) message is described as follows in Surah Al 'Imran:

[Jesus will say,] "I come confirming the Torah I find already there, and to make lawful for you some of what was previously forbidden to you. I have brought you a sign from your Lord. So have fear of Allah and obey me. Allah is my Lord and your Lord so worship Him. That is a straight path." (Surah Al 'Imran, 50-51)

Some Jewish men of religion of the time refused to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and waged a great struggle against him, even though they were waiting for the Messiah mentioned in their scriptures and witnessed the superior moral virtues and faith of the Prophet Jesus (as) as well as the miracles imparted to him by our Lord. In the same way that some supposed men of religion in the past, whose own interests were threatened, opposed the Prophet Jesus (as), when he returns to Earth people with those same immorality may well also oppose him. The way that these people, who have the appearance of men of religion, speak out against the Prophet Jesus (as) and make propaganda against him may well mislead one section of the public. However, someone who sincerely believes in the faith revealed by Allah and who lives solely for His approval will, by Allah's leave, immediately recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) through his conscience the moment he sees this holy prophet and will fully submit himself to him. True believers will have no concerns about securing rank and position or protecting the positions they have already obtained. The only thing true believers desire is to please Allah and to be able to live the life of which He approves. When the Prophet Jesus (as) returns, since they observe only the approval of Allah, they will, by Allah's leave, follow this holy prophet and support him in the best possible way.

The Fact That He Comes in Human Form Will Prevent Some People from Recognizing the Prophet Jesus (as)

One of the distorted beliefs of Christianity is the supposed deification of the Prophet Jesus (as) (Surely Allah is beyond that) and the claim that he is the son of Allah (Surely Allah is beyond that). These corrupt beliefs may prevent some people from recognizing the Prophet Jesus (as) when this holy prophet returns to Earth. This twisted belief is revealed as follows in the Qur'an:

Those who say that the Messiah, son of Mary, is Allah are unbelievers… (Surat al-Ma'ida, 72)

People of the Book! Do not go to excess in your religion. Say nothing but the truth about Allah. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He cast into Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. Do not say, "Three."… (Surat an-Nisa', 171)

Like all the other prophets, the Prophet Jesus (as) is a holy human being, chosen, honorable and valued in the Sight of Allah. He is a servant whom our Lord has created with moral virtues and faith that will serve as a role model for all people. He preached that people should believe in Allah, the One and Only, without falling into polytheism. When the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth he will rid Christianity of these corrupted beliefs. He will call on people to turn to our Lord, to live for His approval alone, to remember that they will give account on the Day of Judgment, to abandon all forms of false belief and practice and to adhere to religious moral values. The Prophet Jesus (as) will personally explain how the claims made by some people who hold Christian beliefs are a great falsehood and how he is merely a human being and a prophet of Allah. We are told in the Qur'an how the Prophet Jesus (as) told people to have faith in Allah without falling into polytheism:

… The Messiah said, "Tribe of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. If anyone associates anything with Allah, Allah has forbidden him the Garden and his refuge will be the Fire. The wrongdoers will have no helpers." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 72)

One of the false claims that unbelievers have made throughout the course of history in order to avoid believing and heeding the calls of the prophets is that, like them, the prophets were humans, for which reason they would not believe in them. In fact, such ideas are dishonest excuses made by these people in order not to have faith. Allah has revealed in the Qur'an how such people asked the messengers to perform miracles so that they could believe, but that when our Lord worked these miracles as a blessing they still refused to come to faith:

They have sworn by Allah with their most earnest oaths that if a sign comes to them they will believe in it. Say: "The signs are in Allah's control alone." What will make you realize that even if a sign did come, they would still not believe? (Surat al-An'am, 109)

Indeed, the answer given by the past unbelievers to the messengers once again reveals the distorted logical framework of such people. Our Prophet Muhammad (saas) received a similar response when he called on his own community to live by religious moral precepts. The corrupt attitude displayed by these people is revealed as follows in the Qur'an:

They say, "What is the matter with this Messenger that he eats food and walks in the market-place? Why has an angel not been sent down to him so that it can be a warner along with him? Why has treasure not been showered down on him? Why does he not have a garden to give him food?" The wrongdoers say, "You are merely following a man who is bewitched." See how they make comparative judgments about you. They are misguided and cannot find the way. (Surat al-Furqan, 7-9)

As we are told in these verses, the excuses they made caused these people to deviate from the true path. Some people may well make the same excuses in order to avoid following and supporting the Prophet Jesus (as) when he returns to Earth. The propaganda engaged in by such people, using the distorted logic in question, may prevent a great many people from recognizing the Prophet Jesus (as). With the support of circles that are eager to preserve the distorted beliefs of Christianity, these people may engage in activities to deter people from going along with the Prophet Jesus (as) when he returns. They may seek to turn people away from the Prophet Jesus (as) by means of various lies and false suggestion. They may seek to deceive people using lies similar to those revealed in the Qur'an:

They said, "Are we to follow a human being, one of us? Then we would truly be misguided, quite insane!" (Surat al-Qamar, 24)

If you were to obey a human being like yourselves, you would, in that case, definitely be the losers. (Surat al-Muminun, 34)

However, as revealed in another verse, "The Messiah, the son of Mary, was only a Messenger, before whom other messengers came and went. His mother was a woman of truth. Both of them ate food. See how We make the signs clear to them!..." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 75), believers know that the Prophet Jesus (as) is only a messenger of Allah, but also a very valued human being in His Sight. When the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth at the times deemed appropriate by Allah, they will bind themselves to him with a sincere love and respect based on that awareness, and will support him in the finest manner.

Those Who Propagandize the Error That the Prophet Jesus (as) is Dead will be One Reason Why He is not Recognized

Some people at the time when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth will constantly maintain the delusions that the Prophet Jesus (as) is actually dead and will not be returning, and this may be yet another reason why he is not recognized. The fact is, though, that it is made clear in the Qur'an that the Prophet Jesus (as) was neither killed nor died. Our Prophet (saas) has also imparted many detailed glad tidings in the hadiths to the effect that the Prophet Jesus (as) will return. In addition, many verses of the Qur'an also refer to the fact that the Prophet Jesus (as) will return.

Nonetheless, some people still persist in the error that the Prophet Jesus (as) is dead, either from a lack of sufficient knowledge on the subject or else because of their own preconceptions, and claim that he will not be returning to Earth. Propaganda by people who have been taken in by this error may influence many others and cause them to act in the same mistaken manner. Under these circumstances, a great many people may again fail to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) when he does return.

 

The Prophet Jesus (as) will Have Few Followers When He Returns to Earth

Very Few People Will Recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) When He Returns to Earth

As a result of the erroneous opinions, negative activities and propaganda techniques listed throughout this section, the number of people who recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) during the early years of his return will be very small. The great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has also described this state of affairs that will apply in the End Times:

When the Prophet Jesus (as) comes, it is not necessary that everyone should know him to be the true Jesus (as). His elect and those close to him will recognize him through the light of belief. It will not be self-evident so that everyone will recognize him. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters, p. 60)

In another extract, Bediuzzaman describes how the Prophet Jesus (as) will not be recognized by the great majority of society:

Indeed, including his descent, and that the Prophet Jesus (as) is himself Jesus, is known by the light of his faith; not everyone will know. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays, p. 487)

According to that quotation, when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth, he himself will not know that he is the Prophet Jesus (as), and will only come to realize this later. His disciples will only be able to recognize him from the light of his faith. But society in general will not recognize him. On the contrary, as a result of the indoctrination and propaganda inflicted on society by the antichrist, the great majority of people will be hostile to and struggle to neutralize him.

The Numbers of the Prophet Jesus' (as) Community Will Be Very Small

It is indicated in the Qur'an that when the Prophet Jesus (as) was first on Earth the numbers of his followers was very small. According to accounts, only a very few disciples believed in the Prophet Jesus (as), and nobody else supported this holy prophet. The situation is described thus in the Qur'an:

You who believe! Be helpers of Allah as Jesus son of Mary said to the disciples, "Who will be my helpers to Allah?" The disciples said, "We will be the helpers of Allah." One faction of the tribe of Israel believed and the other disbelieved. So We supported those who believed against their enemy and they became victorious. (Surat as-Saff, 14)

On his second coming, the number of those who believe in and support the Prophet Jesus (as) will again be very small. Bediuzzaman also tells us of this situation that will be encountered during the return of the Prophet Jesus (as) in the End Times:

... "The antichrist will have a colossal form, he will be extraordinarily big and taller than a minaret, while the Prophet Jesus (as) will be very small in comparison." None knows the Unseen save Allah, one interpretation must be as follows: it is an allusion and sign that quantitively the spiritual community of mujahiden who will recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and follow him, will be very few and small comparatively to the scientific, physical armies of the antichrist. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Rays, p. 495)

In another extract Bediuzzaman describes this state of affairs indicated in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas):

There is an account that says that in the time of his struggle with the antichrist, the Prophet Jesus (as) will leap 10 yards in the air but only be able to plunge his sword into the antichrist's knee, so tall is he. This means that the antichrist must be 10 or perhaps 20 times taller than the Prophet Jesus (as)…

First Point: If the community of Christian clergy who believes in the essence of Christianity and the community that begins to impose godlessness in opposition to them assume substance and physical form they can be no more than a child beside a man the height of a minaret. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Kastamonu Addendum, p. 75)

Bediuzzaman is making it clear that, like the material and spiritual power the antichrist will possess, the number of those around him will be very large, but that the community of the Prophet Jesus (as) will consist of very few people in comparison with that of the antichrist. As a result of the propaganda the antichrist will engage in with the wide means and mass of people at his disposal, the Prophet Jesus (as) will not be recognized by the vast majority of society. (Allah knows the truth.)

Why will Hazrat Mahdi (as) Not be Recognized When He Appears?

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saas) has told believers of the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and stated that all Muslims must join this holy individual when he does so:

O People, certain it is that Almighty Allah has forbidden you the oppressors, the hypocrites, and those who follow them, and has made Hazrat Mahdi (as), the most auspicious of the community of Muhammad, he who is in Mecca, whose name is Ahmad, son of Abdullah, your leader. Join him. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 31)

Nonetheless, the great majority of people will fail to recognize this holy personage when he first makes his appearance. Some people will even be totally mistaken, will avoid supporting him, stay away from him and engage in negative activities against him.

There are many reasons for the failure to recognize this holy person whom all Muslims have been awaiting with great excitement down the centuries. Some of these may be listed as follows in the light of the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) and of statements by great Islamic scholars:

Injustice and Slander will Prevent Hazrat Mahdi (as) Being Recognized

We are told in the Qur'an that the messengers of Allah and others who, like them, called on people to abide by religious moral values, were slandered and accused of such things as self-interest, madness, arrogance and magic. However, devout Muslims have always exhibited exemplary patience and submission in the face of the slanders to which they have been subjected, and have continued to call people to live by the moral precepts commanded by Allah and to invite them to the true path, despite all the pressure placed on them by unbelievers. In some verses of the Qur'an the situation encountered by messengers are described as follows:

Alas for My servants! No messenger comes to them without their mocking him. (Surah Ya Sin, 30)

How shall they be reminded when a clear messenger has already come to them? But then they turned away from him and said, "He is an instructed madman!" (Surat ad-Dukhan, 13-14)

Equally, no messenger came to those before them without their saying, "A magician or a madman!" Did they bequeath this to each other? Indeed they are an unbridled people. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 52-53)

Remember when Moses said to his people, "My people, why do you mistreat me when you know that I am the messenger of Allah to you?" So when they deviated, Allah made their hearts deviate. Allah does not guide people who are deviators. (Surat as-Saff, 5)

As revealed in these verses, some people turned their backs on the messengers who called on them to believe in Allah, despite their having seen evident proof and miracles, and joined forces against them. It is stated in the Qur'an that this is a law of Allah, and that all Muslims may be tested with similar difficulties, be subjected to slanders of one kind or another, and be subjected to psychological pressure to make them turn away from the moral values of the Qur'an. Allah has revealed this in another verse: "Or did you suppose that you would enter the Garden without facing the same as those who came before you?..." (Surat al-Baqara, 214) In another verse of the Qur'an He describes how believers will be exposed to various forms of pressure from unbelievers:

You will be tested in your wealth and in yourselves and you will hear many abusive words from those given the Book before you and from those who are idolaters. But if you are steadfast and guard against evil, that is the most resolute course to take. (Surah Al 'Imran, 186)

Again as a requirement of the law of Allah revealed in the Qur'an, every snare laid for believers was defeated right from the outset, and every slander turned out to be empty. In the Qur'an, Allah has revealed that such measures will always end in favor of believers. Allah also reveals that these people who unjustly oppressed His messengers and devout believers will receive a humiliating punishment in the Hereafter:

As for those who abuse Allah and His Messenger, Allah's curse is on them in this world and the Hereafter. He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them. And those who abuse men and women who are believers, when they have not merited it, bear the weight of slander and clear wrongdoing. (Surat al-Ahzab, 57-58)

Unbelievers and idolaters opposed true believers because they thought that the message communicated by the messengers would damage the order under which they had furthered their own interests for so many years. This is a method that unbelievers have implemented for hundreds of years in order to prevent people believing in Allah and to neutralize the message of His messengers. In his hadiths our Prophet (saas) revealed that all the messengers and saintly personages who would come after him would be subjected to various difficulties in communicating and spreading their message. In one hadith our Prophet (saas) reveals that those descended from his line will be confronted by great many troubles and difficulties:

 

... We are such a household that Allah has preferred the Hereafter to the world for us. The Family of my House will surely suffer tribulations, be kidnapped, and exiled after me. The Family of my House will encounter trials and tribulations and be exposed to violence. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 14)

As our Prophet (saas) has stated in several hadiths, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will also be descended from the Prophet's (saas) household, in other words he will be one of his line. One such hadith states:

Hazrat Mahdi (as) is one of us, one of the Ahl al-Bayt. (As-Suyuti, Al-Hawi Lil-Fatawi, 2/24)

It is also revealed in hadiths that, like other saintly personages and messengers, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will also be subjected to all kinds of injustice and harsh accusations:

... He prays two rakaat. When he returns from the prayer he says: "People! The Community of Muhammad and especially his Ahl al-Bayt have undergone many troubles and we have been subjected to distress and injustice …" (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 55)

In another account, we are told that pressure will be applied by the supporters of the antichrist against Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the Prophet Jesus (as), who will wage a great intellectual struggle against the antichrist during the End Times. According to the indications in the hadith, the antichrist and his supporters will set various traps to hinder, arrest, exile or kill Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the Prophet Jesus (as) in their intellectual struggle against the former.

It can be seen from all these hadiths of our Prophet (saas) that Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community will have to combat an intensive campaign of character assassination and slander. Since the period concerned is the End Times, the profound skepticism, insecurity, impatience and disloyalty that prevail over a large part of mankind will lead most people to pay heed to these slanders, and not to trust true Muslims.

Bediuzzaman describes this period in the following extract:

... And being under destructive and violent oppression for twenty years it has suffered such moral degeneration and lost such fortitude and loyalty that perhaps one in twenty is not to be trusted… (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Kastamonu Addendum, p. 86)

As Bediuzzaman says, because of the moral degeneration in the End Times people will harbor doubts about Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the Prophet Jesus (as), will fail to appreciate the importance of their activities aimed at spreading the moral values of the religion of Allah, and will even seek to hinder these worthy individuals' service. According to Bediuzzaman, that is why the Great Mujaddid so excitedly awaited by the whole Islamic world will not be popularly known by the title of Hazrat Mahdi (as) for many years. On the contrary, a large part of society will issue groundless slanders against him, as has been experienced by all Muslims in history, accusing him of corrupting their religion, perversion, falsehood and much more. However, as indicated in the hadiths, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will respond to all this character assassination and slander with a most superior fortitude and submission. He will make no concessions when it comes to his determination to live according to the moral values of the religion and preaching His message.

Our Prophet (saas) has referred to this superior moral virtue of Hazrat Mahdi (as) in his hadiths:

He will continue his struggle until people return to the truth. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar , p. 23)

Days and nights will not come to an end until my Ahl al-Bayt has a member [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] who will not find it difficult to prevent fitnah and who cannot be dissuaded by killing him. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 12)

In another hadith our Prophet (saas) has indicated that all this pressure and these attacks will further strengthen Hazrat Mahdi (as):

When that Muslim personage [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] sees the antichrist, he says: "People! This is the antichrist of whom the Prophet (saas) mentioned." The antichrist gives his order about him right away and that person is laid upon his stomach and then it is said: "Take him and beat him." Then that person's back and stomach is broadened by beating. This time he [the antichrist] grabs him by his two hands and two feet and hurls him. People assume the antichrist throws him into a fire. But in fact he is thrown away into a Garden. (Ibrahim Suleymanoglu, Mehdilik ve Imamiye [Mahdism and Imamate], p. 40)

This metaphorical term employed in the hadith may be indicating that all the traps set for him will further strengthen Hazrat Mahdi (as) and further increase the effect of his message. (Allah knows the truth.)

It is also indicated in the hadith that every verbal or written onslaught by the antichrist and his supporters, every slander and character assassination issued to damage the prestige of Muslims in the public eye, will still work in favor of the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as). All these activities intended against Hazrat Mahdi (as) may be means whereby true believers come to be better known the world over, whereby the virtues of believers emerge more fully, whereby their faith in Allah deepens, and whereby, by Allah's leave, their degrees in Paradise are enhanced. (Allah knows the truth.)

The Prophets Sent Throughout History Have Been Subjected to Slanders

Throughout the course of history, people who have wished to disseminate immorality and corruption on Earth have employed the technique of slandering true believers who called them to the true path. This method was employed against the Prophet Noah (as), the Prophet Solomon (as), the Prophet Moses (as), the Prophet Muhammad (saas), and all of Allah's messengers and those around them. However, by Allah's will, it never succeeded in achieving its aims, and the slanders uttered never harmed these worthy individuals. Allah always protected His devout servants against them. One of the examples given in this regard in the Qur'an is that of the Prophet Moses (as):

You who believe! Do not be like those who abused Moses. Allah absolved him of what they said and he was highly honored with Allah. You who believe! Fear Allah and speak words which hit the mark. (Surat al-Ahzab, 69-70)

The fact that all the messengers and prophets sent throughout history have faced the same situation shows that the slanders directed against Hazrat Mahdi (as), verbal or physical attacks, are an important portent regarding the End Times.

In the same way that the slanders against Muslims in the past failed to achieve their objectives, however, so those uttered in order to hinder the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) in their work of spreading Qur'anic moral values among all mankind will, by Allah's leave, also be ineffective. In one verse Allah reveals the situation of those who set traps for believers:

And likewise in every city We set up its greatest wrongdoers to plot in it. They plot against themselves alone, but they are not aware of it. (Surat al-An'am, 123)

The hadiths of our Prophet (saas) also contain indications that the slanders against Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community will be ineffective, and that all this will merely enhance that holy community's enthusiasm, excitement and devotion to the religion of Allah. In one hadith our Prophet (saas) describes this characteristic of that blessed community in these terms:

After you, the most auspicious of Muslims [the congregation of Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will emerge to strive against them, and these are the people of Islam, who fear no condemnation or slander on the path of Allah... (Sunan Ibn Majah, 10/259)

All this goes to show that devout believers should not be alarmed in the face of the slanders uttered either against them or against other believers, and that Muslims should not be suspicious of one another. What the believer needs to do is to evaluate every event, every verbal and physical onslaught from the unbelievers, according to the perspective revealed in the Qur'an. All contemporary believers must exhibit the same submission as the patient and moderate approach adopted in the face of slander by Allah's messengers and those around them in the past. Thinking in this way, in the light of the verses of the Qur'an, will by Allah's leave be a means whereby the obstacles to people recognizing Hazrat Mahdi (as) are lifted.

The Sorcery Slander

We sent Moses with Our signs and clear authority to Pharaoh, Haman and Qarun. But they said, "A lying magician." (Surah Ghafir, 23-24)

Equally, no messenger came to those before them without their saying, "A magician or a madman!" Did they bequeath this to each other? Indeed they are an unbridled people. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 52-53)

Do people find it so surprising that We should reveal to a man among them: "Warn mankind and give good news to those who believe that they are on a sure footing with their Lord"? The unbelievers say, "This is downright magic!" (Surah Yunus, 2)

The Falsehood Slander

Pharaoh said, "Council, I do not know of any other god for you apart from me. Haman, kindle a fire for me over the clay and build me a lofty tower so that perhaps I may be able to climb up to Moses' god! I consider him a blatant liar." (Surat al-Qasas, 38)

They are surprised that a warner should come to them from among themselves. The unbelievers say, "This is a lying magician." Has he turned all the gods into One God? That is truly astonishing!" (Surah Sad, 4-5)

Thamud denied the warnings. They said, "Are we to follow a human being, one of us? Then we would truly be misguided, quite insane! Has the Reminder been given to him of all of us? No indeed! He is an impudent liar." 'They will know tomorrow who the impudent liar is. (Surat al-Qamar, 23-26)

The ruling circle of those of his people who disbelieved said, "We consider you a fool and think you are a liar." He [Hud] said, "My people, I am by no means a fool, but rather am a messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, transmitting my Lord's message to you, and I am a faithful counselor to you." (Surat al-A'raf, 66-68)

The Madness Slander

Or is it that they do not recognize their messenger and therefore do not acknowledge him? Or do they say, "He is a man possessed," when he has brought the truth to them? But most of them hate the truth. (Surat al-Muminun, 69-70)

They say, "You, to whom the Reminder has been sent down, are clearly mad." (Surat al-Hijr, 6)

Those who disbelieve all but strike you down with their evil looks when they hear the Reminder and say, "He is quite mad." (Surat al-Qalam, 51)

But then they turned away from him and said, "He is an instructed madman!" (Surat ad-Dukhan, 14)

The ruling circle of those of his people who disbelieved said, "We consider you a fool and think you are a liar." (Surat al-A'raf, 66)

[The ruling circle of Noah's people said,] "He is nothing but a man possessed so wait a while and see what happens to him." He [Noah] said, "My Lord, help me because of their calling me a liar!" (Surat al-Muminun, 25-26)

Before them the people of Noah denied the truth. They denied Our servant, saying, "He is madman," and he was driven away with jeers. (Surat al-Qamar, 9)

He [Pharaoh] said, "This messenger, who has been sent to you, is mad." (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 27)

But he turned away with his forces, saying, "A magician or a madman!" So We seized him and his armies and hurled them into the sea, and he was to blame. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 39-40)

We know how they listen when they listen to you, and when they confer together secretly, and when the wrongdoers say, "You are only following a man who is bewitched!" (Surat al-Isra', 47)

They said, "You are merely someone bewitched. You are nothing but a human being like ourselves, so produce a Sign if you are telling the truth." (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 153-154)

... The wrongdoers say, "You are merely following a man who is bewitched." (Surat al-Furqan, 8)

The Perversion Slander

They said, "These two magicians desire by their magic to expel you from your land and abolish your most excellent way of life, so decide on your scheme and then arrive together in force. He who gains the upper hand today will definitely prosper." (Surah Ta Ha, 63-64)

Pharaoh said, "Let me kill Moses and let him call upon his Lord! I am afraid that he may change your religion and bring about corruption in the land." (Surah Ghafir, 26)

The ruling circle of his people said, "We see you in flagrant error." (Surat al-A'raf, 60)

Those who did evil used to laugh at those who believed. When they passed by them, they would wink at one another. When they returned to their families, they would make a joke of them. When they saw them, they would say, "Those people are misguided." (Surat al-Mutaffifin, 29-32)

Unbelievers' Mockery and Hate-Filled Words

The ruling circle of those of his people who disbelieved said, "We do not see you as anything but a human being like ourselves. We do not see anyone following you but the lowest of us, unthinkingly. We do not see you as superior to us. On the contrary, we consider you to be liars." (Surah Hud, 27)

Pharaoh called to his people, saying, "My people, does the kingdom of Egypt not belong to me? Do not all these rivers flow under my control? Do you not then see? Am I not better than this man who is contemptible and can scarcely make anything clear?" (Surat az-Zukhruf, 51-52)

In that way he made fools of his people and they succumbed to him. They were a people of deviators. Then when they had provoked Our wrath, We took revenge on them and drowned every one of them. We made them a thing of the past, an example for later peoples. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 54-56)

The Slander of Pride and Arrogance

Thamud denied the warnings. They said, "Are we to follow a human being, one of us? Then we would truly be misguided, quite insane! Has the Reminder been given to him of all of us? No indeed! He is an impudent liar." They will know tomorrow who the impudent liar is. (Surat al-Qamar, 23-26)

The Slander That They Sought Their Own Advantage and Self-Interest

They said [to Moses], "Have you come to us to turn us from what we found our fathers doing, and to gain greatness in the land? We do not believe you." (Surah Yunus, 78)

... "This is nothing but a human being like yourselves who simply wants to gain ascendancy over you." (Surat al-Muminun, 24)

The Slander That They Threatened the Public Peace and Security

He [Pharaoh] said to the High Council round about him, "This certainly is a skilled magician who desires by his magic to expel you from your land, so what do you recommend?" (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 34-35)

Pharaoh said, "Have you believed in him before I authorized you to do so? This is just some plot you have concocted in the city to drive its people from it." (Surat al-A'raf, 123)

The Slander Against the Prophet Joseph (as)

And then when he [Joseph] became a full-grown man, We gave him knowledge and right judgment too. That is how We reward all doers of good. The woman whose house it was solicited him. She barred the doors and said, "Come over here!" He said, "Allah is my refuge! He is my lord and has been good to me with where I live. Those who do wrong will surely not succeed." She wanted him and he would have wanted her, had he not seen the Clear Proof of his Lord. That happened so We might avert from him all evil and lust. He was Our chosen servant. They raced to the door. She tore his shirt at the back. They met her husband by the door. She said, "How should a man whose intention was to harm your family be punished for what he did except with prison or painful punishment?" (Surah Yusuf, 22-25)

She said, "You see! It's him you blamed me for. I tried seducing him but he refused. If he does not do what I order him, he will be put in prison and brought low." (Surah Yusuf, 32)

The Slander against Mary (as)

Mention Mary in the Book, how she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and veiled herself from them. Then We sent Our Spirit to her and it took on for her the form of a handsome, well-built man. She said, "I seek refuge from you with the All-Merciful if you guard against evil." He said, "I am only your Lord's messenger so that He can give you a pure boy." She said, "How can I have a boy when no man has touched me and I am not an unchaste woman?" He said, "It will be so! Your Lord says, 'That is easy for Me. It is so that We can make him a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us.' It is a matter already decreed." (Surah Maryam, 16-21)

She brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, "Mary! You have done an unthinkable thing! Sister of Aaron, your father was not an evil man nor was your mother an unchaste woman!" (Surah Maryam, 27-28)

Since all the slanders in the above verses and more are reported in hadiths and the words of great Islamic scholars, they will also be made against Hazrat Mahdi (as). Accusations of madness, falsehood, perversion, self-interest, and turning people away from the true path may cause the public to form a negative impression of this holy individual. It is indicated in the hadiths that because of this fear, unease and uncertainty people will keep their distance from Hazrat Mahdi (as).

The Same Slander Techniques Were Also Employed Against Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

All Muslims known for their devotion to Allah's religion and determination on His path, sincerity and purity have been subjected to actual and verbal assaults from unbelievers. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, the Great Renewer of the 13th century who encountered hostility from atheistic circles in the recent past and who lived with great fortitude in the face of oppression and trouble right up until the end of his life, is one important example in this regard. Bediuzzaman, who called on people to appreciate the existence and boundless might of Allah, to reflect on the proofs of Creation in the universe, and to live by the moral precepts of the Qur'an, was subjected to slanders by people opposed to religious moral values, just like all the messengers sent over the course of history. Even though he was the Great Renewer of the 13th century he was not recognized as a renewer by the society in which he lived. Indeed, some scholars of the time failed to realize just what a superior and blessed individual he was, and opposed him and slandered him in various ways.

For these reasons, Bediuzzaman spent much of his life in prison or in exile. This worthy personage was never fully appreciated in his own time, and certain circles that wished to eliminate his wisdom-filled works attacked him with all the force at their disposal. Instead of benefiting from this worthy person's thoughts and ideas, they aimed to silence him.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi is one of the greatest Islamic scholars of the 20th century. Throughout his 87 years of life he told people about Islam and waged a great intellectual struggle against materialist philosophy and the opponents of religious moral values and spiritual matters. His giant, 6000-page Risale-i Nur Collection is both a profound commentary on the Qur'an and also a magnificent masterpiece that demolishes materialist philosophy and reveals the signs leading to faith in an exceedingly wise manner. In his works, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi expounded on a great many subjects, including the Hereafter, death, destiny, faith and the evils of worldly desires, giving a great many wise examples and employing a profound and effective style. This sincere and wise style was a means whereby thousands of people came to believe in Allah and to deepen their faith.

In this intellectual struggle he waged in order to call people to Qur'anic moral values and to the true faith, one of the main obstacles that confronted Bediuzzaman Said Nursi was circles that regarded materialist philosophy and opposition to religious morality as a way of life. These circles made intense efforts to achieve their objective of "establishing a society far removed from religious moral values." Bediuzzaman Said Nursi demolished such baseless philosophies, revealed that religion was not incompatible with reason and knowledge but that on the contrary it brought them together, and initiated a huge spiritual awakening in society. He describes his intellectual struggle and one of its important objectives in these terms:

... But flowers appear in the spring, and the ground has to be prepared for sacred flowers such as that. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Ratifying Stamp of the Unseen, p. 189)

I believe I am a servant of this wondrous person who will appear in the future, a rear-guard to set a background for him, and a pioneering soldier of that great commander... (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Barla Addendum, p. 162)

As Bediuzzaman's words make clear, he describes himself as a private soldier preparing the way for holy individuals, in other words for the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as). The lies and slanders set forth in order to hinder him during the time in which he lived are without doubt the most important indications of the greatness and significance of his intellectual struggle. The fact that some of these slanders are still brought up today shows how great the influence of his work is.

Circles made uneasy by the way Bediuzzaman described the existence of Allah and the importance of patriotic and spiritual values used various press organs they controlled to spread the most unlikely slanders against him. One newspaper, for instance, slandered Bediuzzaman by accusing him of "making money by deceiving the naïve." (Daily Cumhuriyet, May 10, 1935) At another time that same newspaper published the untrue report that "Said Nursi is not someone to be considered important at all. He is someone whose aim is to accrue material and spiritual advantages."

Bediuzzaman, who expected nothing from this world, possessed no goods or property, who described himself as one who made a career out of humility (Letters, p. 456) and lived an exceedingly modest life, was actually subjected to such totally unjust slanders as "squeezing money out of his students" or "satisfying his lust for leadership," which were totally at odds with the true facts. For certain circles the aim behind these ugly slanders was to make Bediuzzaman "ineffective, untrustworthy and unheeded." These slanders are similar to those made against the prophets in the past. The prophets were also accused of using the religion for their own gain. As a result of these slanders Bediuzzaman was sentenced to jail and sent to Eskisehir prison. Released from Eskisehir, he was detained in a room in a house opposite the police station in Kastamonu. Eight years later he was sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment by the Denizli Court, after which he was sent to Emirdag for "compulsory habitation."

While all this was going on, he was oppressed and tortured, and also poisoned several times. In later years, despite being old and sick, he was deliberately kept in cold, damp and airless cells. However, he responded to all this oppression with patience and submission, and everyone witnessed just how deep his faith and devotion to Allah were.

irtica velvelesinin içyüzüBediuzzaman Said Nursi was also accused of "madness," another of the examples cited in the Qur'an. In 1908 he was again sent to court on trumped-up grounds, and the medical committee assigned by the court reported that he was "mentally unbalanced." In the mental hospital to which he was later transferred, the doctor emphasized the groundlessness of that diagnosis after speaking with him, saying, "If this man is mad, then there are no sane people in the world." (Necmettin Sahiner, Bilinmeyen Yonleriyle Bediuzzaman Said Nursi [The Unknown Aspects of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi], pp. 89-95) Frequent accusations of madness were later made against Bediuzzaman in press publications belonging to the circles in question.

Another of the slanders made against Bediuzzaman and his students appeared in one of the daily papers of the time in a series of articles called "Exploiters of Faith." The series repeated the slanders of the unbelievers in the Qur'an and said that Said Nursi's students had been bewitched; it was said "they are devoted to him solely out of religious fanaticism, their eyes can see nothing else, they have became devoid of understanding." (Daily Cumhuriyet, April 21, 1964)

All the accusations made against such a great Islamic thinker as Bediuzzaman and his students are exactly the same as the slanders uttered against believers in the past. We are told in the Qur'an how believers living in the past who followed the messengers sent by Allah were subjected to such foul and baseless slanders as limited reason and shallowness of view:

When they are told, "Believe in the way that the people believe," they say, "What! Are we to believe in the way that fools believe?" No indeed! They are the fools, but they do not know it. (Surat al-Baqara, 13)

The ruling circle of those of his people who disbelieved said, "We do not see you as anything but a human being like ourselves. We do not see anyone following you but the lowest of us, unthinkingly. We do not see you as superior to us. On the contrary, we consider you to be liars." (Surah Hud, 27)

The fact is, however, Bediuzzaman and the believers around him were pure, rational and sincere people with a powerful faith in Allah. They behaved in the light of reason, conscience and the moral values of the Qur'an. Those who slandered them were in fact perfectly well aware of this. In fact none of these slanders could do Bediuzzaman and those around him any harm. On the contrary, as in the case of all other believers, the patience and submission they displayed in the face of these incidents, by Allah's leave, became a means to increase their spiritual maturity and devotion to Allah.

Sinan GüvenAnother of the imputations made against Bediuzzaman was that he supposedly propagated his own personal religious conception and indoctrinated those around him towards that so-called perverted faith. The aim of this provocation, which maintained that Bediuzzaman did not adhere to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas), but had established a religion according to his own lights, was to incite the public and certain religious circles who were not fully informed of all the relevant details, and thus to misrepresent Bediuzzaman to them.

However, this slander by the unbelievers also served no purpose because rational Muslims of good conscience clearly saw that this accusation of so-called "perversion" against Bediuzzaman was similar to that issued against the Prophet Noah (as) in the Qur'an, "... We see you in flagrant error." (Surat al-A'raf, 60)

In the Risale-i Nur, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi described the good and auspicious aspects of the prison sentence he was given as a result of the slanders made against him and of the troubles inflicted on him:

Then they arrested me during the most intensely cold days of winter on some trite pretext, and put me into solitary confinement in prison in a large and extremely cold ward, leaving me two days without a stove. Having been accustomed to light my stove several times a day in my small room, always having live coals in the brazier, with my illness and weakness I was only able to endure it with difficulty. While struggling in this situation suffering from both a fever from the cold, and a dreadful distress and anger, through Divine grace a truth unfolded in my heart. It uttered the following warning to my spirit: "You called prison the 'Madrasa-i Yusufiya' - the School of the Prophet Joseph (as). And while in Denizli, things like relief a thousand times greater than your distress, and spiritual profit, and the other prisoners there benefiting from the Risale-i Nur, and its conquests on a larger scale, all made you offer endless thanks instead of complaining. They made each hour of your imprisonment and hardship like ten hours' worship, and made those passing hours eternal." (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Flashes, The Twenty-sixth Flash, Fifteenth Hope)

In another extract, Bediuzzaman described how believers around him who were exposed to the same slanders and oppression were unaffected by these incidents and did not fall into despair:

With all their stratagems, the dissemblers' attacks these last ten months and their getting hold of an official has not shaken even the youngest student... such slanders from such people have virtually no effect on us, and, Allah willing, they will cause no harm to the Risale-i Nur circle... (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters, Fourteenth Ray)

The attitude displayed by Bediuzzaman and the people of faith around him in the face of difficulties, slander and misrepresentation is the kind of which that all Muslims must adopt as a role model. In the Qur'an, Allah reminds us of the kind of moral values to be adopted in the face of unbelievers' snares:

Be patient. But your patience is only by Allah. Do not be grieved by them and do not be constricted by the plots they hatch. Allah is with those who have fear of Him and with those who are good-doers. (Surat an-Nahl, 127-128)

Excuses Stemming from Worldly Desires Will Prevent People Following Hazrat Mahdi (as)

The faithful put their trust in our Lord at every moment of their lives, knowing that He is their only friend in this world and in the Hereafter. They know that there is great wisdom, auspiciousness and beauty in every event He creates. Whether they are confronted by trouble and difficulty or whether they find themselves with great blessings and abundance they still maintain a moderate, grateful and humble attitude. In the same way that wealth and plenty do not spoil them and lead them into heedlessness, so troubles and difficulties do not wear them down or lead them into making concessions.

Things are very different, however, for people with no belief in Allah and the Hereafter. Since they are heedless of the fact that they will be resurrected and have to account for themselves in the Hereafter, they take the life of this world as their only purpose. For that reason they become strongly attached to worldly values, and are unwilling to see these come to any harm. They are greatly alarmed at even the possibility of this happening. The same thing applies to people whose faith is weak or who have a hypocritical character. People who live by such immorality have throughout the course of history turned their backs on the message of the prophets, out of a concern that harm might befall their worldly interests, and have refused to follow the true path shown them by the prophets.

One of the reasons for this is described as follows in the Qur'an:

And they repudiated them wrongly and haughtily, in spite of their own certainty about them. See the final fate of the corrupters. (Surat an-Naml, 14)

As related in the verse, some people rejected the truths to which the messengers called them because they were incompatible with the desires of their lower selves, even though they actually grasped the truths in their hearts and consciences. According to indications in the hadiths, this state of affairs that has been repeated throughout the course of history will also apply to Hazrat Mahdi (as) as well as to the Prophet Jesus (as). People will grasp, in their consciences, the superior nature of these holy personages, but will pretend not to understand the true position, under the influence of worldly desires. They will shelter behind various excuses in order not to accept the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), not to support them and in order to keep their distance from them. This way of putting up excuses is revealed in the Qur'an as being a method employed by all hypocrites throughout history: making all kinds of excuses to avoid the truth even though they have actually grasped it perfectly clearly in their consciences, hearts and minds. People eager to avoid participating in the struggle alongside our Prophet (saas) made such excuses as "they had not been able to" (Surat at-Tawba, 42), "their houses were exposed" (Surat at-Tawba, 13) and "their wealth and families kept them occupied." (Surat al-Fath, 11)

This state of affairs that has been experienced so many times in the past will also be experienced in the End Times. A great many people will turn their backs on Hazrat Mahdi (as) out of concern that their interests will be harmed and that they will suffer material or other losses, and may even oppose him. Some families will also be afraid of harm befalling their assets, children and businesses, and will act against Hazrat Mahdi (as). Since these people act out of their worldly desires instead of following their consciences they will be unaware of the situation in which they find themselves. The following is revealed in the Qur'an about the situation in question:

Say: "If your fathers or your sons or your brothers or your wives or your tribe, or any wealth you have acquired, or any business you fear may slump, or any house which pleases you, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His Way, then wait until Allah brings about His command. Allah does not guide people who are deviators." (Surat at-Tawba, 24)

However, we are told in the Qur'an that all forms of excuse made in the light of worldly desires are invalid. Therefore, any thinking person who employs his conscience in the light of the verses of the Qur'an can see the truth in this regard and grasp the invalidity of such excuses that might prevent Hazrat Mahdi (as) being recognized when he appears.

The Fact That He Appears at a Time When People are Completely Distanced from the Moral Values of the Qur'an will Prevent Hazrat Mahdi (as) Being Recognized

It is reported in hadiths that the End Times will consist of two parts. The first phase will be one in which the world suffers material and spiritual troubles, when people suffer great moral degeneration. The second phase, on the other hand, will be a time of well-being when Islamic moral values prevail over the world, a time referred to as the Golden Age by Islamic scholars.

This first period, when most of the people are totally distanced from religious moral values and chase after their earthly desires, and when excess, perversion and immorality are unbounded, is one of the most important signs of the End Times, in which Hazrat Mahdi (as) will make his appearance. Close examination of these signs, revealed by the Prophet (saas) around 14 centuries ago and referred to as Signs of the Day of Judgment, shows that we are looking at a most extraordinary situation: A great many of the signs of the Day of Judgment have taken place in our own time. This shows that the time when the Prophet Jesus (as) will return to Earth, when Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear, and when the moral values of the Qur'an will rule the whole world is now approaching. (Allah knows the truth.) On the other hand, however, phenomena such as the present intensity of moral degeneration, the way that what is forbidden is regarded as lawful, the difficulties people have in making ends meet, rising poverty and the way that denial of Allah is now openly expressed, is causing people to forget about Allah and the Hereafter and turn instead to the life of this world. Hadiths reported from the Prophet (saas) describe the turmoil into which the world will fall during the End Times:

Signs following one another like bits of a necklace, falling one after the other when its string is cut. (Tirmidhi)

The Day of Judgment will not happen…until prostitution is blatant. (Ahmad Diya ad-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, 91/7)

Respect for the old and compassion for the very young will disappear. Children of adultery will multiply. So much so that people will commit adultery with women in the street. (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 140)

Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not appear until innocent people are massacred and the slaughter in the Earth and sky becomes intolerable... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 37)

In the End Times scourges from their leaders will afflict my community, so much so that there will be little room for Muslims. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 12)

Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear after a corruption in which all forbidden things are regarded as lawful. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 23)

In another hadith, our Prophet (saas) describes the confused state of affairs confronting believers in the End Times:

Due to the evils among them he is unable to change or rectify, the heart of a believer possessed of taqwa [piety and fear of Allah] will dissolve like salt in water... (Mufid al-'ulum wa-mubid al-humum, p. 218; Al-Sharani, Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 456)

The activities of Hazrat Mahdi (as) may not at first be grasped by the majority of people at a time when there is such great corruption going on. People far removed from the moral values of the Qur'an may not fully understand the great intellectual struggle waged by Hazrat Mahdi (as) in order to disseminate his work, his message and religious moral values. They may fail to comprehend that the disorder, poverty, war and moral degeneration being experienced in the world can only come to an end by people living according to the moral values of the Qur'an. This may prevent them understanding the importance and purpose of the work of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community. Indeed, on the contrary, the sincere efforts on the part of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community to preach the moral values of the Qur'an may make these people uneasy and lead them to back the unjust accusations and slanders made against Hazrat Mahdi (as). They will insist that he and those around him cease their efforts to spread the moral values of the Qur'an. These perverted wishes of those who have no faith are reported as follows in the Qur'an:

... They would dearly love you to become unbelievers. (Surat al-Mumtahana, 2)

According to the indications in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), this state of mind that will develop in society in general during the End Times will prevent Hazrat Mahdi (as) being recognized and known by his true titles by the public. It will hinder people seeing the moral virtues of this holy personage and his genuine and beneficial endeavors on the path of Allah.

The Claim That Hazrat Mahdi (as) is a Collective Personality will Prevent Him Being Recognized

The appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as), whom our Prophet (saas) said will be sent in the End Times and described as a holy individual who will eliminate fitnah on Earth and bring to it peace, justice, plenty, security, happiness and well-being, is an auspicious event the Islamic community has been awaiting for hundreds of years. The fact that a great many of the events revealed as portents of the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) are taking place one after the other is a clear sign that these glad tidings are about to be made a reality. The Qur'an contains various metaphorical glad tidings about the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as), who is described in detail in terms of his name, qualities and activities in many hadiths of the Prophet (saas).

Statements by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi follow the same lines as the signs in the Qur'an and the hadiths of our Prophet (saas). However, the concept of the "collective personality" employed by Bediuzzaman in his works has led to the same misunderstanding with regard to Hazrat Mahdi (as) as it has with regard to the Prophet Jesus (as). It can be seen from accounts and from statements by great Islamic scholars that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not be a collective personality, but rather a holy individual who has been described in great detail, right down to his physical features, character and good manners, and line of descent. Of course, however, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will have a collective personality, just like all the messengers who have gone before him. Indeed, it is revealed in accounts that this collective personality will enfold the whole world.

This means that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be at the head of his followers, in other words of his collective personality. Indeed, there are several analyses in Bediuzzaman's writings that make this transparently clear. The quotations from Bediuzzaman below are perfectly clear and distinct as to leave no room for doubt that Hazrat Mahdi (as) is an individual, not a collective personality. Terms such as "that person" and "that individual," used by Bediuzzaman in reference to Hazrat Mahdi (as), perfectly clarifies the misunderstanding regarding the concept of the collective personality:

Moreover, they imagined the mighty works pertaining to the collective identity or community which those individuals represent to be in their persons and expounded them in that way, so that they ascribed a form to them whereby when those EXTRAORDINARY INDIVIDUALS [the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as)] appear, everyone will recognize them. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words / Twenty-Fourth Word, Eighth Principle)

In this passage Bediuzzaman uses the expression "extraordinary individuals" to refer to Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the Prophet Jesus (as), thus making it clear that both are real individuals rather than collective personalities.

... THAT GREAT PERSONAGE of the End Times will be from the Ahl al-Bayt [descended from the Prophet (saas)]. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Emirdag Addendum, pp. 247-250; Rays, p. 442)

In the words "that great personage of the End Times," Bediuzzaman reiterates that Hazrat Mahdi (as) is an individual who will appear in the End Times. The fact he states that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be descended from the Prophet (saas) clearly reveals that Bediuzzaman is not referring to Hazrat Mahdi (as) as a collective personality because it is out of question for a collective personality to be descended from another human being.

... And I told them: "I cannot be sure I am a sayyid [descendant of the Prophet (saas)]. The generations are unknown at this time. But THAT GREAT PERSONAGE of the End Times will be one from the Ahl al-Bayt [the family of the Prophet (saas)]. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Emirdag Addendum, p. 267)

In this passage, Bediuzzaman again refers to "that great personage of the End Times," thus clearly revealing that Hazrat Mahdi (as) is an individual, not a collective personality.

In saying that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be descended from the line of the Prophet (saas), Bediuzzaman again clarifies the issue. As explained above, in order for him to be descended from the Prophet (saas), Hazrat Mahdi (as) has to be a human being, which is what Bediuzzaman makes crystal clear in this extract.

Since His custom has proceeded in this way, certainly, at the time of the greatest corruption at the end of time, He will send a mujtahid, a mujaddid [reviver], and a judge, and ruler, and a Mahdi, and a guide to the true path, and a Qutb al-Azam [a great saint to whom Muslims adhere], and A RADIANT INDIVIDUAL, and THAT PERSON will be from the Family of the Prophet (saas). (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters / Twenty-Ninth Letter - Seventh Section, p. 515)

... mujtahid (a scholar who derives legal rulings)
... mujaddid (reviver)
… judge
... Mahdi
... guide to the true path
... Qutb al-Azam
... a radiant individual

As can be seen from their meanings, the qualities cited by Bediuzzaman can only belong to a human being.

In addition, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi refers to Hazrat Mahdi (as) as "a radiant individual." If Bediuzzaman had wished to emphasize that Hazrat Mahdi (as) was a collective personality he would have referred to him as a "radiant collective personality," not as a "radiant individual."

Furthermore, the above use of the word "a" before the word "individual" again clarifies the issue. The word "individual" is also used in the sense of a single person. Bediuzzaman uses the words "an individual" here, not "two" or "individuals." Therefore, all the descriptions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi clearly prove he is not referring to Hazrat Mahdi (as) as a collective personality.

As can be seen from all these statements by Bediuzzaman, like all the messengers sent over the course of history, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will come as an individual. He will also have a collective personality, however. A Mahdi movement will emerge from his preaching, intellectual struggle and activities. But Hazrat Mahdi (as) will personally be in charge of matters. Indeed, it is essential that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be personally sent as an individual in order for these things to take place. Therefore, Hazrat Mahdi's (as) collective personality will be the ones who follow him. And he will be at the head of this collective personality as the leader. However, although the explanations regarding this matter in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) and in statements by Islamic scholars are perfectly clear, the claim that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be a collective personality rather than an individual may prevent people making a correct analysis of the subject. Belief that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will come as a collective personality may prevent people awaiting the coming of this holy individual, trying to recognize and locate him, and thus identifying him. (Allah knows the truth.)

Hazrat Mahdi (as) will Have Few Followers When He Appears

Although the Superior Moral Values and Incomparable Actions of Hazrat Mahdi (as) Will Be Evident, Very Few People Will Support Him

It is revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be someone with a powerful fear of Allah and very elevated moral values:

A son of mine will appear, whose manners will be just as mine. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 21)

Hazrat Mahdi (as) is totally submissive to Allah. He resembles the Prophet in terms of manners. (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 163)

I find Hazrat Mahdi (as) in the books of the prophets as follows: Neither cruelty nor shame will exist in his practices. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 21)

It can be seen from this information in the hadiths that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be a remarkable person, devoted to Allah, possessed of purity and elevated moral values. Our Prophet (saas) has revealed that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will render many services of benefit to the faith and to Muslims, and will perform very important deeds. Under normal circumstances, an auspicious and worthy person whose moral values are compared to those of the Prophet (saas), who seeks the approval of Allah alone, who makes sincere efforts for the salvation of all mankind in this world and in the Hereafter and who will bring peace, security, plenty and abundance to Earth should collect a large number of people around him.

All Muslims who clearly see these moral virtues and auspicious deeds must wish to take their place alongside this personage and support the community of truth that acts together with Hazrat Mahdi (as), and they must compete with one another in joy and enthusiasm in order to assist them. Nonetheless, it is still indicated in the hadiths that the number of Muslims supporting Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be very small. This state of affairs is most surprising and thought-provoking. It means that although the people in the society in which Hazrat Mahdi (as) lives clearly perceive his virtues and the auspicious actions he takes, they will still not fully recognize Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community.

This situation of Hazrat Mahdi (as) strongly resembles the life of the Prophet Joseph (as). In the verse "The brothers of Joseph came into his presence and he knew them but they did not know him." (Surah Yusuf, 58), Allah reveals that the prophet's brothers failed to recognize him, although he recognized them. The hadiths indicate that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will, just like the Prophet Joseph (as), recognize other people though they will be unable to recognize him.

Some people may even form the exact opposite opinion and avoid supporting him, and even regard him as odd and stay away from him and engage in negative activities in opposition to him. It is reported in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) that:

A community from my people supported by Allah and that can never be harmed by the people who do not help them will never be lacking until the Day of Judgment. There will always be such a grouping within my community. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol 1, p. 16)

The Day of Judgment will only happen when a group from my community will come out victorious to people. This group will regard neither those who help them, nor those who do not. (They will attach no importance to their behavior.) (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol 1, p. 19)

There is no doubt that this is a miracle from Allah. The way that words spoken by the Prophet (saas) some 14 centuries ago are coming true now is exceedingly important. Although Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community are very important and beneficial to the future of everyone in the world, they will initially not be known by Muslims and will receive no support from the public.

Of course some of these people will realize the superior nature of this blessed individual with their consciences. Yet despite their seeing all the evidence they will pretend not to recognize him, will not support him, will attempt to keep their distance from him and will conceal these truths from others, all out of a concern for their personal interests. The fact that society as a whole does not support him will also lead these people to avoid supporting Hazrat Mahdi (as), and they will fear that doing so will damage their material and other interests.

Hazrat Mahdi (as) will have around 300 Followers

The fact that Hazrat Mahdi's (as) community will number around 300 people again shows that they will not be recognized by the greater part of society. It is most astonishing that so few people will believe in such a valuable personage who calls on people to have faith in Allah and who performs such valuable services for the faith. The hadiths describe how so few people will follow Hazrat Mahdi (as):

It was related from Muhammad ibn Hanafi that: Their numbers will be those of the people of Badr [313]. In the same way that those before them cannot match them, neither can those who come after. Their number is as many as those who crossed the river with Saul. (Mari' bin Yusuf Karami Hanbali, Fawaid Fawaid al-Fikr fil Mahdi al-Montazar)

Upon this call, 313 people, as many as the People of Badr, who were not previously allied together will immediately appear, and worship by night and act as lions by day. (Mari' bin Yusuf Karami Hanbali, Fawaid Fawaid al-Fikr fil Mahdi al-Montazar)

They consist of a group, including women, of 314 people. They will overcome all tyrants. Their hearts are like iron, and they are lions by day and devout believers by night. Neither those before nor after them can match them in self-sacrifice. (Al-Uqayli, An-Najmu's-saqib fi Bayan Anna'l Mahdi min Awladi Ali b. Abu Talib Ale't-Tamam wa al-Qamal)

Three hundred and fourteen people, among them women, will pledge allegiance to Hazrat Mahdi (as). (Al-Uqayli, An-Najmu's-saqib fi Bayan Anna'l Mahdi min Awladi Ali b. Abu Talib Ale't-Tamam wa al-Qamal)

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has also recalled this fact, and stated that no matter how small their number, each of the members of the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be spiritually very strong:

The force and spiritual army this duty depends on is some followers in full possession of titles of loyalty and solidarity. No matter how few they may be, they are as powerful and valuable as a literal army. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Emirdag Addendum, p. 259)

Another striking element in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) is how valuable the believers in the End Times will be. In the End Times, when irreligion is prevalent all over the world and moral degeneration is gathering increasing pace, believers and those living by religious moral values will be exposed to great difficulties and social pressure:

Believers being less valued than rams among the people is a condition and portent of the Day of Judgment. (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, 8th edition, p. 138)

Such a time will come that it will be as if someone who has fortitude in the faith is holding a glowing coal in his hand. (Tirmidhi; Ash-Sharani, Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 413)

According to the indications in the hadiths, very few people will follow Hazrat Mahdi (as) because of this climate of pressure that will be directed against Muslims in the End Times, and because of the propaganda and slanders made against him. (Allah knows the truth.)

The fact is, however, that Hazrat Mahdi (as) is a most worthy and esteemed individual who will act as imam during the prayer when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to Earth. As our Prophet (saas) says:

A section of my people will not cease fighting for the Truth and will prevail till the Day of Resurrection. Jesus son of Mary would then descend and Muslims' commander would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: "No, some amongst you are commanders over some (amongst you). This is the honor from Allah for this community." (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, 293)

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi also referred to this in his works:

... The Prophet Jesus (as) will come and will perform the obligatory prayers behind Hazrat Mahdi and follow him. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Rays / The Fifth Ray - Second Station, p. 109)

One would expect there to be countless people around such a worthy individual and that people would compete with great joy and enthusiasm to take their places as his helpers. However, the fact that the period concerned is the End Times, when truth will in practice be replaced by falsehood, when people will turn away from the moral precepts of the Qur'an, and when moral collapse will reach enormous dimensions, may prevent people from following such an honorable believer and joining his community.

Some People Will Leave Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Community

Our Prophet (saas) has revealed in the hadiths that some people will leave the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as), which will in any case number very few people. This is again a miracle from Allah. These people will depart from his side even though they are closely acquainted with Hazrat Mahdi (as), witness his attributes as revealed in the hadiths and also witness Hazrat Mahdi (as) performing deeds that we are told only he can perform. This means that, like the great majority of people, these people with such an opportunity to come to know Hazrat Mahdi (as) from close up will also not be properly aware of him.

This is how the hadiths reveal that some people will leave Hazrat Mahdi's (as) community:

The army of Hazrat Mahdi (as) will suffer defeats from time and will be inclined to relax and not assume that hard task, and there will be those who abandon them for various reasons, such as fear for their lives, goods or rank... (Ahmad Diya ad-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, p. 476 [from Sunan Ibn Majah])

Those who leave and those opposed to him will be unable to harm him. Despite those who abandon him, they will continue on the path of victory. (Ahmad Diya ad-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, p. 487 [from At-Tabarani's al-Mu'jam al-Kabir])

It is narrated from Muawiya ibn Kirra that: A group from my community will continue to receive help until the Day of Judgment. The departure of those who abandon them will do them no harm. (Ahmad Diya ad-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, p. 472)

A group from my community will continue to act under Allah's command. Since the truth is with them, those who abandon them and those who oppose them will do them no harm until the Day of Judgment... (Ahmad Diya ad-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, p. 472 [Muawiya Ibn Kirra (ra)])

However, it is revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) that there is something good and auspicious in these people's leaving the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as). With the unmasking of insincere people who infiltrate that community of the truth, the mutual devotion of the members of that community will, by Allah's leave, be further enhanced, and the departure of the wicked will strengthen them still further.

It is revealed in verses of the Qur'an that there will be people with a hypocritical mindset in every Muslim community. These are people who act together with the faithful, claim to share the same beliefs, but who are in fact insincere. These people, who live among those who live solely for Allah's approval, and who appear on the surface to be just like them, are never actually true believers. Allah reveals the position of these people in the Qur'an:

Among the people there are some who say, "We believed in Allah and the Last Day," when they are not believer. They think they deceive Allah and those who believe. They deceive no one but themselves but they are not aware of it. There is a sickness in their hearts and Allah has increased their sickness. They will have a painful punishment on account of their denial. (Surat al-Baqara, 8-10)

The hypocrites think they deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. When they get up to pray, they get up lazily, showing off to people, and only remembering Allah a very little. They vacillate between the two – not joining these or joining those. If Allah misguides someone, you will not find any way for him to go. (Surat an-Nisa', 142-143)

When they are told, "Come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger," you see the hypocrites turning away from you completely. (Surat an-Nisa', 61)

When the hypocrites and people with sickness in their hearts said, "What Allah and His Messenger promised us was mere delusion." and a group of them said, "People of Yathrib, your position is untenable so return!" some of them asked the Prophet to excuse them, saying, "Our houses are exposed," when they were not exposed; it was merely that they wanted to run away. (Surat al-Ahzab, 12-13)

In the same way that such people have been present in all communities of true believers throughout the course of history, they will also be present in the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as). According to what is revealed in the hadiths, those who leave the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as), despite having spent years in it, will subsequently turn in the direction of the unbelievers. These people, who lack the same faith and sincerity as Muslims, who show no loyalty to Allah and the Qur'an, and whose fear of Allah is weak, may depart from Hazrat Mahdi (as) in the event of a situation that conflicts with their own interests.

The fact that there will be people who leave Hazrat Mahdi (as), despite his services in such a difficult period as the End Times and despite seeing his superior moral virtues, may also prevent other people in society from seeing the true facts. After abandoning Hazrat Mahdi (as), these people may spread lies and slanders about him and cause a great many other people to be unable to appreciate Hazrat Mahdi (as) or even misunderstand him entirely. A great many people will be taken in by the lies and baseless imputations of the hypocrites, for which reason they may be reluctant to support Hazrat Mahdi (as). (Allah knows the truth.)

In fact, this state of affairs is exceedingly important in terms of understanding just what a tumultuous period the End Times will be. Despite witnessing countless portents and other similar phenomena, the hypocrites in question leaving Hazrat Mahdi's (as) side show just how far people will have turned away from the moral values of the Qur'an. The emergence of such people even from among those who know Hazrat Mahdi (as) well, at a time when good is replaced by evil and the lawful by the unlawful, indicates what a troubled time this will be. It is revealed in the hadiths that the End Times are a period when people who lack genuine faith, who do not fear Allah as they ought, will lose their beliefs:

The Day of Judgment will not happen until fitnah [tribulation, trial] appears like the parts of dark nights. People will rise as believers and go to bed as unbelievers, or go to bed as believers and rise as unbelievers. They will sell the faith for worldly gain. (Sahih Muslim; Ash-Sharani, Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 388)

There will be such fitnah [trial] in the future that apart from people Almighty Allah protects and preserves with His knowledge, a man will be a believer in the morning and an infidel in the evening and will abandon the faith. (Tabarani, Sunan Ibn Majah; Muhammet Sevgili-Hasan Akdag, Son Zamanlarla ilgili Hadisler [Hadiths about the End Times], pp. 36-37)

A great many people will fail to recognize Hazrat Mahdi (as) on account of all the reasons we have been considering in this section. However, when the time appointed by Allah comes, everything will change completely. Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear and everyone will know that he is a blessed personage appointed by Allah for the End Times. According to the hadiths, a period in which Hazrat Mahdi (as) is clearly known and when nobody will be able to deny him will, by Allah's leave, be born:

A man [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will be called by name from the sky, and proof will not deny him and the despicable will not hinder him. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 52)

A voice will come from the sky, and no evidence will deny him [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] nor will he be prevented from being evidence. (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 200)

A voice from the sky will call him by name and no one will doubt that he is Hazrat Mahdi (as). (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 47)

A hand will reach out from the sky, and people will look at and see him [Hazrat Mahdi (as)]. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 55)

With the dawning of this age, the years of disorder, trouble and difficulty will come to an end and a "Golden Age" will begin. The Golden Age will be a time of abundance of goods and products of all kinds. Trust and security, social justice, well-being, peace and happiness will be its main distinguishing features. Hadiths reveal the glad tidings that this age will be one when the world is full of peace. Technological progress will reach a peak during this phase of the End Times, and people will be able to enjoy all the blessings of technology. People will be so content with their lives in the Golden Age that they will be unaware how time passes and will beg Allah to prolong their lives so that they can enjoy more of this beauty. This delightful age, which will be ushered in by the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), is described as follows in hadiths:

There would be a successor in the last (period) of my community who would freely give handfuls of wealth to the people without counting it. (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, 6961)

... The younger ones wish they were grown-ups, while the adults wish they were younger. ... The good become even better, and even the wicked ones are treated well. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 17)

Everywhere food will cook in pots, unseen prosperity will dominate, and material wealth will be disregarded. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 66)

At that time, my community, the good and the bad, will be blessed with blessings more numerous than they have ever seen. Allah will send them much rain. The earth will hold nothing back. Goods will be despised. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 16)

Like the cup fills with water, so will earth fill with peace. There will be no enmity left between any people. All hostility, fighting, and envy will disappear. (Sahih Muslim, 1/136)

Since their causes will disappear, there will be no hatred or dispute among people... (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 242-243)

The Prophets Sent in the Past were also not Recognized by their Communities

Most of the prophets and messengers sent in past times were also not recognized and rejected by their communities. For example, the fact that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saas) was a holy messenger sent to lead all mankind to the true path was denied by the majority of people, during the early stage of his prophethood. The majority of Jews and Christians in particular denied the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), despite having considerable information in their possession. Despite there being enormous evidence that our Prophet (saas) had been sent to confirm the scriptures revealed before him, to do away with the disputes among people and to impart glad tidings and warn them, these people still did not follow him. Yet the scriptures revealed prior to the Qur'an said that a messenger would come after those prophets, and that when he appeared everyone should obey him. This fact is stated in the Qur'an:

Those who follow the Messenger, the Unlettered, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel... (Surat al-A'raf, 157)

In another verse, it is revealed that some of those to whom a Book had previously been given, some Jews and Christians in other words, would conceal the truth, despite being well acquainted with our Prophet (saas) and knowing that he was the true prophet:

Those We have given the Book recognize him [the Prophet] as they recognize their own sons. Yet a group of them knowingly conceal the truth. (Surat al-Baqara, 146)

In another verse it is stated that the people in question also knew that the Noble Qur'an was the True Scripture:

"Am I to desire someone other than Allah as a judge when it is He Who has sent down the Book to you clarifying everything?" Those We have given the Book know it has been sent down from your Lord with truth, so on no account be among the doubters. (Surat al-An'am, 114)

However, true believers of good conscience from the Jewish and Christian communities immediately recognized and joined our Prophet (saas) when he appeared. Allah informs us in verses that:

... You will find the people most affectionate to those who believe are those who say, "We are Christians." That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. When they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they recognize of the truth. They say, "Our Lord, we believe! So write us down among the witnesses. How could we not believe in Allah, and the truth that has come to us, when we long for our Lord to include us among the righteous?" (Surat al-Ma'ida, 82-84)

Nonetheless, some Jews and Christians still did not believe that our Prophet (saas) was the last true prophet and that the Qur'an was the true Divine scripture, and refused to obey the Prophet (saas) despite all the portents and evidence. It is also revealed in verses of the Qur'an that many prophets, including the Prophet Abraham (as), were not recognized by their own communities (Surat al-'Ankabut, 16-25). The way that the Prophet Joseph (as) was not recognized by his own brothers is described in another verse "… he knew them but they did not know him." (Surah Yusuf, 58) Similarly, when the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) appear some people will pretend not to recognize these blessed personages, out of concern for their own interests and despite seeing all the evidence, and will conceal the true facts from others.

 

The Numbers of People Believing in the Prophets In the Past Were Always Very Small

The fact that the number of Hazrat Mahdi's (as) followers and helpers will be very low in the End Times is part of the law of Allah revealed in the Qur'an. This has applied to all communities of the faithful that have ever existed throughout the course of history. The Qur'an contains information to the effect that the number of people around them who have truly believed in the prophets has always been very small. For example, very few people, consisting of the young, believed in the Prophet Moses (as):

No one believed in Moses except for a few young people of his tribe out of fear that Pharaoh, and the elders, would persecute them... (Surah Yunus, 83)

Allah reveals in another verse that very few people believed in the Prophet Moses (as) and that the Pharaoh of the time said, "These people are a small group" (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 54).

The same thing applies to the helpers of the Prophet Jesus (as) when he first appeared. The accounts tell us that only a very few disciples believed in him, and nobody else from among the general populace. The situation of those who believed in the Prophet Jesus (as) is revealed thus in the Qur'an:

You who believe! Be helpers of Allah as Jesus son of Mary said to the disciples, "Who will be my helpers to Allah?" The disciples said, "We will be the helpers of Allah." One faction of the tribe of Israel believed and the other disbelieved... (Surat as-Saff, 14)

We are told in the Qur'an that the Companions of the Cave were also very few in number:

They will say, "There were three of them, their dog being the fourth." They will say, "There were five of them, their dog being the sixth," guessing at the Unseen. And they will say, "There were seven of them, their dog being the eighth." Say: "My Lord knows best their number. Those who know about them are very few." (Surat al-Kahf, 22)

It is revealed in yet another verse that the number of those who followed the Prophet Noah (as) was also very small:

... But those who believed with him were only few. (Surah Hud, 40)

It is also revealed in the Qur'an that very few people believed in the Prophet Lot (as). When catastrophe struck the people of Lot, Allah saved only those members of his family who had faith in the prophet, and excluded his wife, who did not believe:

... We are going to rescue him and his family – except for his wife. She will be one of those who stay behind. When Our messengers came to Lut, he was distressed on their account, feeling incapable of protecting them. They said, "Do not fear and do not grieve. We are going to rescue you and your family – except for your wife; she will be one of those who stay behind." (Surat al-'Ankabut, 32-33)

There are many reasons why people may not believe in the messengers of Allah. One of these is, as described in previous sections, the negative images that form because of groundless slanders and character assassination. People have preferred to keep their distance from devout believers accused by unbelievers of being "liars," "self-interested," "mad" or "perverted." This is of course a serious error on the part of the people concerned. Many people will also be reluctant to join Hazrat Mahdi (as) and will keep their distance from him for exactly the same reason.

Another reason is that the superstitious beliefs and false practices generally accepted in society will lose all their foundations with Allah sending down the true faith by means of His messengers. For that reason, those messengers have been subjected to powerful reactions, slander and character assassination from people whose interests would be damaged with an end being put to the established order based on unfairness and injustice. As a result of this state of affairs, very few people have ever believed in the prophets and messengers. According to indications in the hadiths, the numbers of those in the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be very small for just those same reasons. The great majority of people will be influenced by the slanders made and concerned about pressure and difficulties that might arise, and will thus keep their distance from Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community.

Social pressure has always been one of the main causes preventing people assisting the faithful. The young people who believed in the Prophet Moses (as) are cited as an example on this subject in the Qur'an:

No one believed in Moses except for a few young people of his tribe out of fear that Pharaoh, and the elders, would persecute them. Pharaoh was high and mighty in the land. He was one of the profligate. (Surah Yunus, 83)

It is stated in the above verse that nobody believed in the Prophet Moses (as) "except for a few young people of his tribe out of fear that Pharaoh, and the elders, would persecute them." People thought that if they did believe in the Prophet Moses (as) they would be oppressed, exiled, imprisoned or killed. Because of that fear they kept their distance from the faithful, and failed to draw near because they feared the consequences of doing so. The fact is, however, that by the will of Allah the Prophet Moses (as) and the devout believers with him lived very honorable and blessed lives. In the Hereafter they hope to receive the finest reward for their moral virtues, patience and good behavior. According to the indications in the hadiths, the same thing also applies to Hazrat Mahdi (as), and the great majority of society will be reluctant to draw close to or support him out of a fear of their own interests being harmed.

Another piece of information contained in the verse is that only a group consisting of the young people in society believed in the Prophet Moses (as). It is also indicated in the hadiths that the young will join Hazrat Mahdi (as). According to this information, the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be both small in numbers and will consist of young people. (Allah knows the truth.) Some hadiths indicating that there will be young people around Hazrat Mahdi (as) read as follows:

Hazrat Mahdi (as) is a young man from the Ahl al-Bayt [from the line of the Prophet (saas)]. Your old people will be unable to see him; your young will hope to. Allah will do what He wills. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 23)

Hazrat Mahdi's (as) standard bearer will be a small, young man, with a light beard and yellow coloring. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 51)

His standard bearer will be a young man from the people of Temimi in the East. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 26)

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