It has occurred to me that the fact the
title of my last entry ("Rejecting a "Mahdi" vs. rejecting the idea of the Mahdi") refers to the Mahdi while the link leads to a Harun
Yahya-affiliated website concerning not the Mahdi but rather the
Promised Messiah (i.e., the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (as)–a
belief shared in some form by Muslims and Christians alike) might cause
some confusion, or at least cause the reader to wonder whether I know the
difference between the two.
To clarify, I wrote that title after reading an article ("Harun Yahya or Adnan Oktar: The Promised Mahdi?") purportedly by a former associate, that
alleges that HY has believed himself to be the Mahdi since the late
1980s. While I again don’t know whether HY has truly made this claim,
the suspicion clearly exists at least in some quarters and the fact that some of his followers are so interested in these esoteric matters seems to warrant the suspicion.
The author of this article, Edip Yüksel, is well
known on the Internet for his defense of Rashad Khalifah‘s numerological theories about the Quran in the past. It is interesting to such a refutation coming from a "Submitter" given how they reject all hadith. (Should a Submitter really care who claims to be the Mahdi?)
If Yüksel’s characterization of HY is correct (i.e., if HY really has claimed to be the Mahdi), the fact that Harun Yahya’s promoters are discussing Hazrat Jesus is intriguing.
I’d love to know whether they believe that both figures (i.e., the Mahdi and the Prommised Messiah) have arrived and been identified. If they designate another individual, my money is on them putting forward Said Nursi (d. 1960) as the other millenial figure rather than a living person. (This would not reflect negatively in any way on Nursi, of course. It would be quite natural for his legacy to be invoked, especially in the Turkish-speaking world.) Are they busy scanning the skies of Damascus for a UFOs (i.e., a guy floating down from the heavens onto a white minaret)? (If you think this year’s moon sightings were controversial…) Or do they perhaps believe that HY is both Mahdi
and Promised Messiah?
I doubt we’re likely to get a explicit statement either way, given how controversial such claims are and how easily they are exploited by political opponents. Which is unfortunate, as silence forces observers to rely on rumors and the accusations of potentially biased critics (e.g., Yüksel).
Again, I have zero interst in promoting any
particular interpretation or candidate (whether Harun Yahya or anybody else). Beyond a healthy suspicion
towards literalistic interpretations of all these ahadtih (e.g.,
my guess is that the Dajjal will not be some Godzilla-like monster), I remain
firmly "agnostic" on this difficult questions, which are secondary matters that are open to speculation and debate.
The only thing I am very certain about is that the people who hold forth on this the loudest and with the most confidence often turn out to be the most woefully ignorant and simplistic in their analysis. If we’re not even sure who the various mujaddids were and what they really did as mujaddids (i.e., What parts of a mujaddid’s writings are divinely inspired and what are their own fallible opinion? What do we do when mujaddids appear to disagree?), how can we speak on these far more complex and ambiguous matters with precision and certainty?
P.S. This article makes charges about personal conduct that I am not endorsing or trying to disseminate. (To the contrary, I would be more comfortable if it did not get into these matters.)
I know nothing about HY beyond the English translations of his writings on Evolution that have been distributed around the world. I’m only sharing this article because it discusses the issue at hand and because all its charges appear to already be in the public sphere (e.g., it states that these issues have been discussed in the Turkish press).