Friday, July 19, 2013

Ma'bad ibn Wahb - Mahmud, Mustafa

Ma‘bad ibn Wahb
Ma‘bad ibn Wahb (d. 743).  One of the great singers and composers in Umayyad times.  He was the leading musician of the Medinan school of music and figures in Arabic poetry as a musician par excellence.

Ma Chung-ying
Ma Chung-ying (Ga Ssu-ling) (Mǎ Zhòngyīng), aka 'Big Horse' (c. 1910- 1936/1937).  Youngest and best-known of the Chinese Muslim (Hui) warlords.  These warlords comprised the “Mu Wa” clique which controlled much of northwest China during the latter half of the Republican Period (1911-1949).

Jin Shuren (Chin Shu-jen) came to power shortly after the assassination of Xinjiang (Sinkiang) governor, Yang Zengxin (Yang Tseng-sin), in 1928.  Jin was notoriously intolerant of Muslims and Turkic peoples, and openly antagonized them.  Such acts of discrimination included restrictions on travel, increased taxation, seizure of property without due process, and frequent executions for suspected espionage or disloyalty.

In 1930, Jin annexed the Kumul Khanate, a small semi-autonomous state lying within the borders of Xinjiang.  The newly subjected Kumulliks' land was expropriated by the government and given to Chinese settlers.  As a result, rebellion broke out on February 20, 1931, and many Chinese were massacred by the local population.  The uprising threatened to spread throughout the entire province.

The Uyghur leaders of the revolt appealed for help to Ma Chung-ying, a warlord in the Gansu province.  Ma was a youthful, intelligent, charismatic and popular warlord, admired by his Tungan troops, and skilled at infantry and cavalry tactics.  However, he was also cruel and brutal, and his troops were known as brigands and murderers.

Ma's troops marched to Kumul and laid siege to the government forces in the garrison there.  Although he was victorious elsewhere in the area, Ma was unable to capture the city and withdrew his forces back to Gansu after being wounded that October.  This would temporarily leave the Xinjiang Muslims to fight Jin alone.

Although the Soviets were not directly involved in these events, it is interesting to note that the government forces included a number of White Russian troops who had taken refuge in Xinjiang after the Russian Civil War.

Ma Chung-ying's retreat seemed to indicate that Jin Shuren had successfully quelled the uprising at Kumul, but the tensions continued to brew below the surface.  Rebels in the north continued to operate, albeit in a subdued fashion, and the potential for a full-scale revolt began to spread to other parts of Xinjiang.  

At the same time, Jin Shuren sought revenge on the Xinjiang Mongols for not helping him suppress the Kumul rebellion by murdering their regent and "Living Buddha,"  Tsetsen Puntsag Gegeen, in May 1932.  

Soon after, in July 1932, Jin Shuren's forces began joint operations with Soviet forces in the border regions to put down insurgency amongst the Kyrgyz.

Several months later, Ma Fu-ming, a Hui general formerly in the employment of the government, sided with the rebels still operating in the north of the province.  As a result, the Muslim rebellion in the northeast centered in the Turfan Depression, midway between Urumchi and Kumul.

Isolated uprisings also began to occur in the south.  With more and more of Jin Shuren's subjects alienated by his repressive measures, the stage was set for wide-spread rebellion.

The insurgency that had been simmering in the northeast began to spread and gain momentum.  During the winter of 1932-1933, beginning with the capture of key cities in the Turfan Depression, the rebels advanced southward to Kashgar, gradually bringing more area under their control and recruiting local residents to their forces.

At the same time, in the south, the Muslim population began to actively revolt against the government.  Here, where Islam was more influential, the religious nature of the revolt came to the forefront.

Simultaneously, rebels approached Kashgar from both the north and the south roads.  The city fell in May 1933, ending government control in the south of the province.  

A power struggle soon emerged in the rebel forces between the Huis, Chinese-speaking Muslims under the leadership of the Ma Chan-ts'ang, and the Turkic Muslims.  At the same time, there were factions among the Turkic Muslims.  Anarchy reigned throughout much of the area as different leaders attempted to seize power.  Bloodshed was widespread as rival groups fought each other, captured and executed their opponents, and ambushed and massacred each other's forces.  Kashgar was initially controlled by the Uyghur Temur and the Kyrgyz Osman Ali, while in Khotan a self-styled Khotan Islamic government was set up under the Amir Muhammad Amin Bughra and his associates.  In this environment, Hui control of the area waned and that of the Khotan Amirs grew.  As a result of continuous fighting between the Huis, Kyrgyz, and Uyghurs, morale in Kashgar plummeted.  Temur was killed, Osman Ali fled, and, in the political vacuum that was left, the Khotan Amirs emerged as the undisputed rulers in southern Xinjiang in October 1933.

While all this was happening in the south, other developments were taking place in the north.  In particular, a new figure had emerged to play a key role in Xinjiang for most of the rest of the Republican era: Sheng Shicai.  Sheng Shicai was a well-trained military man who had first come t Xinjiang during the winter of 1929-1930.  Beginning his career as Chief of Staff of the Xinjiang Frontier Army, he was promoted in 1932 to Provincial Commander-in-Chief.  An ambitious man, he did not have to wait long to move into a position of unqualified power in Xinjiang.  His opportunity came with the re-emergence of the Huis in the province.

Despite the fact that Ma Chung-ying had withdrawn to Gansu, Hui forces loyal to him had remained in Xinjiang.  During the winter of 1932-1933, -- at the same time that the Muslim rebels were moving towards Kashgar -- these forces, under the leadership of Ma Shih-ming and supplemented by troops loyal to the defected government general Ma Fu-ming, began to advance on Urumchi.  They reached the city, the gates of which had been closed in February 1933.  Fierce fighting broke out, and the city was only saved by the valiant defense of the White Russian troops and the subsequent arrival of Sheng Shicai's forces.  The final death toll was probably in excess of 6,000 Chinese and Muslims.  The rebels withdrew to the surrounding countryside as Sheng's prestige grew.  

Sheng Shicai's strength was further reinforced by the arrival in March of the Kuomintang's North-East National Salvation Army via the Soviet Union.  The Soviets, concerned about the possible victory of the Muslims over Jin Shuren's weakened regime, were willing to accommodate the Chinese in this matter.  

Meanwhile, Jin Shuren's corrupt and incompetent administration of Xinjiang had continued to alienate not only the native population, but also those he relied on for the maintenance of his power.  The matter climaxed when the White Russians carried out a successful coup in April 1933, forcing him to flee over the Soviet border.  Sheng Shih-ts'ai, who protested that he was only a common soldier (but who enjoyed the full backing of both the White Russians and the North-East National Salvation Army), was confirmed in the all-powerful position of Tupan or Border Defence Commissioner, as de facto ruler of the province.

Ma Chung-ying reappeared after a period of convalescence in Gansu, where he amassed a large army through extensive conscription. He was also appointed as Commanding Officer of the 36th Division of the National Army of China by the Kuomintang government in Nanjing.  Asked to intervene against Jin on behalf of the Turkic population, Ma readily agreed.  

Ma had no intention of sharing power with anyone.  He dreamed of forming a Muslim state under his absolute control.  This highly ambitious young warlord, who was to dream, in his wilder moments, of creating a Muslim empire which would include the whole of Soviet, as well as China, Central Asia, began his march in May 1933.

Kumul was easily taken, as well as other towns en route to the provincial capital.  Sheng Shicai's forces retreated to Urumchi.  Ground was alternatively gained and lost by both sides. During this time, Ma's forces acquired notoriety for their cruelty to both the Turkic and Chinese inhabitants, destroying the economy and engaging in wholesale looting and burning of villages. Once seen as a liberator by the Turkic population, who had suffered greatly under Jin Shuren, many Turkic inhabitants of the region now ardently hoped for Ma's expulsion by Sheng Shicai, and an end to the seesaw military campaigns by both sides.

Throughout the conflict, it was uncertain which side had the backing of Nanjing, since both claimed allegiance to the Kuomintang.  As did his predecessors, Sheng continued to employ large numbers of White Russian officers and troops, including Cossack cavalry forces, in support of his military campaigns.  

Huang Mu-sung, native of Kumul and a "Pacification Commissioner" from the Republican government, soon arrived in Urumchi on an ostensible peace mission.  Sheng Shicai suspected him of conspiring with some of his opponents to overthrow him.  As a result, he executed three leaders of the provincial government, accusing them of plotting his overthrow with Huang.  At the same time, Sheng Shicai also forced Huang to wire Nanjing with a recommendation that he be recognized as the official Tupan of Xinjiang.

Sheng Shicai's problems at this time were not all in the north, however.  As Hui armies marched on Urumchi from both sides, Ma Zhongying's forces were joined by those of Chang P'ei-yuan, the military governor of Ili, and potentially more significant events were taking place in southern Xinjiang.  The Khotan Amirs were not content to merely control most of the south.  Their eventual goal was the establishment of an independent Muslim state.  

The Khotan Amirs had attempted to create their Islamic state first in September 1933, after wooing Khoja Niyas Hajji, a leader in the Kumul uprising who had initially agreed to recognize Sheng Shicai's administration, with the offer of presidency of the "Republic of Eastern Turkestan."  However, this republic was a state in name only, and Khoja was reported to be negotiating with the Soviets, an unacceptable proposition for the Amirs.  In November of the same year, they declared the establishment of the "Turkish-Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan" (TIRET).  The domestic policy of the TIRET was directed towards the establishment of a radical Islamic system, based on the shari'a (Islamic law) but encompassing certain educational, economic and social reforms, whilst its foreign policy was as staunchly anti-Soviet as it was anti-Hui and anti-Han.

The government was led by the Amirs, with Khoja Niyas Hajji as titular President, and the capital was at Kashgar.  Their authority extended over the southern third of the province, and they soon had all the trappings of a legitimate government, including a National Assembly, a legal system, a constitution, a flag, and a national currency.  However, there is no indication that Ma Chung-ying was at any time seriously interested in ceding any power to the Islamic government.  All areas controlled by Ma's forces remained under military jurisdiction and subject to Ma's authority alone.

The attempt to establish a lasting Islamic government in the area was to prove a failure.  Neither Britain nor potential allies in the Muslim world, including Turkey and Afghanistan, were prepared to recognize or support the fledgling republic.  Furthermore, having adopted an uncompromisingly Turkic-Islamic stance, it had deprived itself of effective allies whilst ensuring the enmity of the three most powerful forces in Xinjiang -- the Huis, the provincial authorities, and the Soviet Union.  It was this last force whose influence had been limited up to this time, which was now to step firmly int Xinjiang politics.

The TIRET, if allowed to survive, could have provided a base of operations for pan-Turkic and pan-Islamic sentiments to spread into Soviet Central Asia.  There were also reports of contacts between TIRET officials and representatives of Japan and Nazi Germany.

At the same time, there were fears that Ma Chung-ying, a Muslim and ardently anti-Soviet, could be used by the Japanese to set up a puppet regime in Xinjiang, as they had done with Manchukuo.
In January 1934, Soviet troops crossed the border and attacked rebel positions in the Ili area.  Chang P'ei-yuan's forces were defeated, and the governor committed suicide.  Despite valiant resistance, Ma Chung-ying's troops were no match for the superior Soviet military machine's aerial bombing, and were pushed back from Urumchi.  Soviet assistance created the curious situation of White Russian and Soviet military forces acting in cooperation in a temporary alliance against Ma.

In the south, Khoja Niyas Hajji was wooed away from the TIRET leadership by a Soviet offer of arms.  On March 11, 1934, Ma's forces captured a mapping expedition sponsored by the German and Chinese Nationalist governments, and led by the famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin.  Hedin was nearly executed by one of Ma's lieutenants after refusing to hand over the expedition's vehicles.  After giving into the lieutenant's demands at gunpoint, Hedin's vehicles were taken and his drivers briefly impressed into service for Ma's fleeing troops before their relief by Sheng's forces and allied Soviet and Cossack troops.

Having been unable to capture Urumchi, Ma Chung-ying now turned south toward Kashgar.  In February 1934, in a development which emphasized the deeply conflicting interests of Turkic-speaking and Chinese-speaking Muslims in southern Xinjiang, the capital of the secessionist TIRET was recaptured for Nanjing not by the provincial forces of Sheng Shih-ts'ai, but by the Hui forces of Ma Chung-ying.

At the same time, Khoja Niyas Hajji was negotiating with the Soviets to dissolve the TIRET, in return for the post of "Civil Governor for Life" under Sheng's administration.

Fighting between the Huis and the forces loyal to the Khotan Amirs continued for the next several months, and by July 1934, all of the TIRET leaders had been either killed in battle, hanged or had fled to British India.  Ma Chung-ying, now firmly in control of Kashgar, denounced Sheng Shicai as a Soviet puppet and reaffirmed his allegiance to the Kuomintang government.

However, Ma Chung-ying's forces had become completely isolated in southern Sinkiang.  Sabit Damulla, Prime Minister of TIRET, rejected all Ma's offers to align with him against Khoja Niyaz Haji.  Ma Chung-ying's bid for British support also fell on deaf ears and, in a surprising move, he turned to the Soviets for aid.

Ma commenced negotiations with the Soviet Consul-General in Kashgar, Maks Dumpis, who urged him to seek asylum in Soviet territory.  Ma agreed, and on July 5, 1934, escorted by Soviet consular official M. Constantinoff, Ma crossed over the Soviet frontier near Irkeshtam.  He brought with him his adjutants and secretaries, some 30 men, and 40 camels loaded with booty and gifts to Stalin.  He left his army to the care of his uncle Ma Hushan, promising he would soon return to Xinjiang (Sinkiang).  He was believed to have been taken to Moscow as a "guest" of the Soviet Union, where most accounts hold that he was executed in 1936 or 1937.  

Chung-ying, Ma see Ma Chung-ying
Ga Ssu-ling see Ma Chung-ying
Ssu-ling, Ga see Ma Chung-ying
Ma Zhongying see Ma Chung-ying
Zhongying, Ma see Ma Chung-ying
Big Horse see Ma Chung-ying

Mada’ini, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-
Mada’ini, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al- (‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Mada‘ini) (Abu'l-Hasan al-Mada'ini) (753-c. 843).  Arab historian.  He wrote more than 200 works, an important part of them dealing with subjects that extend from the origins of Islam until his own days.

Al-Mada'ini was born in 753 in the city of Basra, in Iraq, but spent the better part of his life in al-Mada'ini, from which comes his name, and Baghdad, where he died.

Al-Mada'ini compiled a great number of books on history, including books on the Arab conquest of Transoxiana, biographies of governors from Qutayba ibn Muslim to Nasr ibn Sayyar.  Information from his books was edited around 900 by al-Tabari and incorporated into al-Tabari's History of the Prophets and the Kings.

'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Mada'ini see Mada’ini, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-
Abu'l-Hasan al-Mada'ini see Mada’ini, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-

Madani, ‘Abbasi
Madani, ‘Abbasi ('Abbasi Madani) (Abbassi Madani) (b. 1931).  Algerian Islamic activist and political leader.  ‘Abbasi Madani was born in Sidi ‘Uqbah, in southeastern Algeria.  The son of a religious teacher and imam, Madani committed the Qur’an to memory at an early age.  He then received his Arabic and Islamic education in Biskra at one of the schools of the Association of Algerian Scholars.

In his youth, Madani joined the Colonial Gardes Champetres, but after an unknown incident, deserted and was cared for by members of the Front of National Liberation (Natioanl Liberation Front - FLN) which was fighting the French in the Algerian War of Independence.

In 1954, Madani joined the National Liberation Front (FLN) and participated in an armed operation against the French occupation.  On November 1, 1954, he planted a bomb at the French radio station in Algiers, was arrested  and was jailed by the French only sixteen days later.  He would remain imprisoned for eight years.  Following his release, Madani resumed his religious and political activism through the Qiyam (Values) Society, which was established in 1963 and advocated a reformist orientation that sought to reassert Arab and Islamic values in post-independence Algeria.  The activities of the society were restricted in 1966, following a demonstration by its members protesting the execution of Sayyid Qutb of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.  Eventually, in 1970, Qiyam was outlawed.

Madani grew increasingly critical of the FLN for its adoption of a socialist orientation.  Deciding to continue his education, he obtained degrees in philosophy and psychology.  In 1978, he received a British doctoral degree in comparative edcation and was appointed professor of educational psychology at the University of Algiers.

Madani became a public figure in 1982 during the violent clashes between the state and Islamist students at the main campus of the University of Algiers.  Along with Shaykhs ‘Abd al-Latif Sultani and Ahmad Sahnun both eminent religious scholars, he signed a fourteen point statement criticizing the secular policies of the state and demanding the promotion of Islam in government and society.  This statement also included positions advcating female genital mutilation and the banning of womenr rights.   For these activities, Madani was again arrested and imprisoned for two years.

Subsequently, the new Algerian regime permitted a margin of freedom for the Islamists, who managed to increase their activities in the mosques, schools, and universities and to broaden their following.  When a new constitution allowing the formation of political parties was adopted in February 1989, Madani announced the establishment of the Islamic Salvation Front (known by its French initials, FIS).  Headed by Madani, the FIS was legalized in September of that year.  Madani led the party through the June 1990 municipal and provincial elections, in which it won a large majority of the seats.  He pushed for early parliamentary and presidential elections and organized a general strike in May 1991 protesting the new electoral law, which favored the FLN.  In June 1991, Madani was arrested along with his deputy ‘Ali Bel Hajj.  Both were tried before a military court and in July 1992 received a sentence of twelve years for leading an armed conspiracy against state security.

In 1997, Madani was released from jail and was placed under house arrest.  In 2003, having served his 12 year term, he was released from house arrest and banned for life from all political activity.  After that, he lived in Qatar, where allegedly he agitated for the imposition of an Islamic state and the prohibition of the Shi'a clergy, which led to him being placed under house arrest in 2005.  Afterward, Madani fell ill with terminal neurosyphilis and retired from political and social life.  

Politically, he was widely considered to represent the moderate wing of FIS, contrasted with Ali Belhadj's more hardline views.  His positions included free markets, early Islamic education, Arabization of education and government, segregation of the sexes, and shari'a-based law.  He expressed support for democracy, but with the reservation that it could not override shari'a law.
As an education specialist, Madani wrote studies on pedagogy and philosophy and contributed numerous articles to the FIS’s periodicals Al-munqidh and Al-furqan.  Reflecting the concerns of an Islamic modernist, he attempted to delineate the nature of the Islamic solution to the crises of modern societies.  Madani held that contemporary Western thought suffers from ideological and moral predicaments that have emanated from a misperception of the incompatibility of science and religion.  Like many other Islamic revivalist intellectuals, he reagrded Islam as a humanistic and universal message that presents a worldview counter to Western ideologies.

Madani is known for his moderation and political skills.  He managed to integrate into his party several Islamic groups with various orientations.  In a relatively short time, he transformed the FIS into a potent political force in Algeria, challenging the historic political monopoly of the FLN and presenting itself as a viable alternative.  Throughout his leadership of the FIS, Madani was able to steer his party toward effecting change from within the system through legal and constitutional processes.

'Abbasi Madani see Madani, ‘Abbasi
Abbassi Madani see Madani, ‘Abbasi
Madani, Abbassi see Madani, ‘Abbasi

Madaniyya.  Branch of the Shadhiliyya Sufi order named after Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Madani (d. 1847).  During the nineteenth century, the order spread in Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, Tunisia, and Egypt.  Al-Madani initiated the future Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II into the order.

Madhara’i, al-
Madhara’i, al-.  Family of high officials and revenue officers, originating from Iraq, that held important positions in Egypt and Syria between 879 and 946. 

Madhhij.  Large tribal group in Yemen.  They played a significant role in the early Islamic conquests.

Madurese.  Less than one-third of the Madurese live on their island of Madura off the north coast of East Java.  While the inhabitants of the small islands along the south coast of Madura and those living on the Sapudi and Kangean archipelagos east of Madura are also known as Madurese or Orang Madura, most Madurese are dispersed to other parts of Indonesia.  The Madurese are Indonesia’s third largest ethnic group.  Nearly all are Muslim.  

While the Madurese have roots n Madura, the majority of Madurese do not now live on that island.  The Madurese migrated out of Madura over several hundred years, mostly driven by poor agricultural resources in their home island.  The Madurese were also major clients of the government transmigration programs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, through which they settled in relatively sparsely populated areas of Indonesia's other islands, especially Kalimantan and Sumatra.  As a result of this program, many regions of Indonesia have communities of former transmigrants and their descendants that maintain their Madurese identity.  Some of these migrant groups have been the subject of conflict with indigenous communities.  The best-publicized conflict was on Kalimantan where thousands were killed in fighting between the Madurese and the indigenous Dayaks during the late 1990s.

Family is important to the Madurese and they commonly live in villages that function around an Islamic religious center.  According to Islamic law, a man may have more than one wife.  Marriage proposals are usually made by the groom's parents, preferably to a first or second cousin.  If the proposal is accepted, the bride's parents are then presented with the bride price, which is usually cattle.  The groom's parents then set the date for the upcoming wedding.  Newlywed couples often live with the bride's family.

Because the island of Madura has very poor soil, farming is not important in Madurese culture.  As a result, the Madurese tend not to farm on other islands with very good soil, such as Java, and opt to herd cattle, fish, or sail instead.  A common nickname for the Madurese is "cowboys" of Indonesia.  Cattle are an important part of culture, and bull-racing is one of their favorite sports.  

Islam is an integral part of the social, political and economic life of the Madurese.  Madurese are Sunni Muslims and adhere to the tenets of the Shafi school.  In the course of the sixteenth century, Islam was spread over Madura from the Islamic centers of Giri, Gresik, and Ampel in Surabaya on the north coast of Java.  In contrast to the Javanese, the distinction between the abangan (nominal Muslims) and santri (those who endeavor to keep the Five Pillars of Islam) cannot be drawn among the Madurese.

Maghili, Muhammad al-
Maghili, Muhammad al- (Muhammad al-Maghili) (Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Karim al-Maghili) (c. 1440-1503/1505). Reformist jurisconsult of Tlemcen.  He is chiefly known for his persecution of the Jewish community of Tuwat (Touat) in the Algerian Sahara and for the advice he gave to Sudanic rulers.

Muhammad al-Maghili was an Islamic scholar from Tlemcen, a Saharan city situated in modern-day Algeria.  Maghili led a campaign to expel the city's Jewish community, which had migrated there after the Roman sack of Jerusalem.  He was successful, many of the Jews were massacred by his followers.  He also served as an advisor for Muhammad Rumfa, emir of the Hausa city-state Kano, and wrote a treatise on government, On the Obligations of Princes.

Muhammad al-Maghili see Maghili, Muhammad al-
Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Karim al-Maghili see Maghili, Muhammad al-

Maghrawa (Magrawa).  Major confederation of Berber tribes in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, belonging to the Butr groups and forming the most powerful branch of the family of the Zanata.

The Maghrawa, a tribe of Zanata Berbers, were one of the first Berber tribes to submit to Islam in the 7th century.  They supported Uqba ibn Nafi on his campaign to the Atlantic in 683.  They were Kharijites from the 8th century, and allied first with the Idrisids, and, from the tenth century onwards, with the Umayyads of Cordoba.  As a result, they were caught up in the victory over the allies of the Fatimids in 924, and soon became allied with them themselves.  When they switched back to the side of Cordoba, they were driven out of central Morocco by the Zirids, who ruled on behalf of the Fatimids.  In 980, however, they were able to drive the Miknasa out of Sijilmasa.

Under Ziri ibn Atiyya (to 1001) the Maghrawa achieved supremacy in Fez under Umayyad suzerainty and expanded their territory at the expense of the Banu Ifran.  A revolt against the Andalusian Umayyads was put down by Al-Mansur (Abi Amir), although the Maghrawa were able to regain power in Fez.  Under the succeeding rulers al-Muizz (1001-1026), Hamman (1026-1039), and Dunas (1039), the Maghrawa consolidated their rule in northern and central Morocco.  However, internal power struggles after 1060 enabled the Almoravids to conquer the Maghrawa in 1070 and put an end to their rule.

The dynastic tree of the Maghrawa tribe reads as follows:

    * Mohamed Ibn Al Khayr 970.
    * Attia 986 - 988.
          o Ziri ibn Atiyya 989 - 1001.
                + El Moez Ibn Attia 1001 - 1026.
                      # Hammama Ibn El Moez 1026 - 1033 and 1038 - 1040.
                                  o Abou Attaf Donas Ibn Hamama 1040 - 1059.
                                        + Fotoh Ibn Donas 1059 - 1062.
                                              # Ajissa Ibn Donas 1059 - 1061.
                                                    * Muanneser 1065.
                                                          o Temim de 1067 - 1068.

Magrawa see Maghrawa

Maghribi, Banu al-
Maghribi, Banu al- (Banu al-Maghribi).  Family of Persian origin that performed, during the tenth and eleventh centuries, influential functions at several princely courts in Baghdad, Aleppo, Cairo, Mosul and Mayyafariqin.
Banu al-Maghribi see Maghribi, Banu al-

Maguindanao.  The Maguindanao are the largest Muslim ethnic group in the Philippines.  They are approximately 1.7 percent of the population.  Nearly all live in the province of Cotabato on the large southern island of Mindanao.  The conversion of the Maguindanao and other nearby peoples from animism to Islam is shrouded in legend.  Traditional accounts attribute their conversion to the teachings of Sarip Kabungsuwan (Shariff Mohammed Kabungsuwan), a Muslim prince of Johore (Malay peninsula) who claimed direct descent from the Prophet Muhammad.  Kabungsuwan is said to have arrived at Mindanao around 1500 accompanied by a small group of Sama warriors.  Legends persist that through a combination of his wisdom, the force of his personality and the great appeal of his message Kabungsuwan was able to win converts peacefully.  The accuracy of these legends remains unknown, but it is interesting that both the Maranao and Maguindanao families of higher rank trace their genealogical descent from Sarip Kabungsuwan.  

Tradition holds that the Malay prince assumed the local title datu, which may be loosely translated as lord or chieftain.  His direct successors, however, were known as sulutan (sultan).  At times, there were several sultanates in Cotabato.  A sulutan was advised and supported by a council of datus known as the ruma bechara, which played a significant role in the selection of an heir to the sultanate.  Numerous military and civilian posts associated with the sultanate were often held by relatives of the sulutan.

The joint processes of Islamic conversion and political consolidation early in the sixteenth century appear to have initiated an expansionist phase in Maguindanao history.  The Maguindanao controlled most of the trade between the sea coast and the interior of Mindanao, and at various times they dominated most of the southern part of the island from the Zamboanga peninsula on the west to the coast of Davao on the east.  The powerful Muslim lowlanders were able to exact tribute and taxes from the pagan hill tribes and often took slaves from among these peoples.

When the Spanish began to colonize the northern and central Philippine islands from 1565 onward, they came into direct conflict with the Maguindanao and other Muslim people of the south.  The Spaniards identified the Islamized natives with their traditional enemies, the Moors of North Africa, and thus called them Moros, a term which is now regarded as derogatory and is resented by contemporary Muslim Filipinos.  Spanish attempts to conquer and subjugate these Muslims led to the prolonged, although intermittent, hostilities known as the Moro Wars, which spanned more than 300 years of Philippine history.  In the notorious tradition of divide and conquer, the Spanish manned their armies for these wars with Christian converts from the northern islands.  This was to have profound and lasting consequences, for it led to a bitter enmity between Christian and Muslim Filipinos, even though these peoples probably shared a similar cultural heritage in pre-Islamic, pre-Christian times.

The Spanish never fully subdued the Maguindanao, although they were able to contain them from about 1850 until the end of their colonial rule in 1898.  The Americans finally ended major armed resistance in Cotabato with the defeat of the Muslim hero Datu Ali in 1905.  From that time on, the major effort of the American colonial government, and later the Philippine government, was to integrate the Maguindanao into the rest of the nation politically and to encourage resettlement in Cotabato by non-Muslim Filipinos.

The political future of the Maguindanao and other Muslim peoples of Mindanao and Sulu has remained uncertain for several years.  A secessionist movement which came to be known as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) emerged in the early 1970s and became militarily active after the declaration of martial law in 1972.  The armed conflict between MNLF forces and government troops caused considerable social disruption in Cotabato and elsewhere during the 1970s and into the 1980s.  Like the Spanish and American  colonial governments, the Philippine government experienced difficulty in bringing lasting peace to this region and ensuring harmonious relations among its numerous ethnic groups, including the Maguindanao.

Moros see Maguindanao.

Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah
Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah (Aga Khan) (Agha Khan) (Agha Khan-i Awwal) (Hasan 'Ali Shah) (Muhammad Hasan) (Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah Mahallati) (1804 in Kahak, Iran – 1881 in Bombay, India).  Last of the Nizari Isma‘ili Imams to reside in Iran and the first of them to bear the title of Aga.  In 1836, he rebelled against the central Qajar government, and fled to Afghanistan in 1842.  He later acquired great wealth in Bombay.

Hasan 'Ali Shah was born in 1804 in Kahak, Iran to Shah Khalil Allah, the 45th Ismaili Imam, and Bibi Sarkara, the daughter of Muhammad Sadiq Mahallait, a poet and a Ni'mat Allahi Sufi.  Shah Khalil Allah moved to Yazd in 1815, probably out of concern for his Indian followers, who used to travel to Persia to see their Imam and for whom Yazd was a much closer and safer destination than Kahak.  Meanwhile, his wife and children continued to live in Kahak off the revenues obtained from the family holdings in the Mahallat region.  Two years later, in 1817, Shah Khalil Allah was killed during a conflict between some of his followers and local shopkeepers.  He was succeeded by his eldest son Hasah 'Ali Shah, also known as Muhammad Hasan, who became the 46th Imam.

Unfortunately, the family was left unprovided for after a conflict between the local Nizaris and Hasan 'Ali Shah's son-in-law Imani Khan Farshani, who had been in charge of the imam's land holdings.  The young imam and his mother moved to Qumm, but their financial situation worsened.  The Imam Hasan 'Ali Shah's mother decided to go to the Qajar court in Tehran to obtain justice for her husband's death and was eventually successful.  Those who had been involved in the Shah Khalil Allah's murder were punished and the Persian king Fath 'Ali Shah increased Hasan 'Ali Shah's land holdings in the Mahallat region and gave him one of his daughters, Sarv-i Jahan Khanum, in marriage.  Fath 'Ali Shah also appointed Hasan 'Ali Shah as governor of Qumm and bestowed upon him the honorific of Aga Khan.  Hasan 'Ali Shah thus became known as Aga Khan Mahallati, and the title of Aga Khan was inherited by his successors.  Aga Khan's mother later moved to India where she died in 1851.  Until Fath 'Ali Shah's death in 1834, the Imam Hasan 'Ali Shah enjoyed a quiet life and was held in high esteem at the Qajar court.

Soon after the ascension of Muhammad Shah Qajar to the Persian throne, the Imam Hasan 'Ali Shah was appointed governor of Kirman in 1835.  At the time, Kirman was held by the rebellious sons of Shuja al-Saltana, a pretender to the Qajar throne.  The area was also frequently raided by the Afghans.  Hasan 'Ali Shah managed to restore order in Kirman, as well as in Bam and Narmishair, which were also held by rebellious groups.  Hasan 'Ali Shah sent a report of his success to Tehran, but did not receive any compensation for his achievements.  

Despite the service he rendered to the Qajar government, Hasan 'Ali Shah was dismissed from the governorship of Kirman in 1837, less than two years after his arrival there, and he was replaced by Firuz Mirza Nusrat al-Dawla, a younger brother of Muhammad Shah Qajar.  Refusing to accept his dismissal, Hasan 'Ali Shah withdrew with his forces to the citadel at Bam.  Along with his two brothers, he made preparations to resist the government forces that were sent against him.  He was besieged at Bam for some fourteen months.  When it was clear that continuing the resistance was of little use, Hasan 'Ali Shah sent one of his brothers to Shiraz in order to speak to the governor of Fars to intervene on his behalf and arrange for safe passage out of Kirman.

With the governor having interceded, Hasan 'Ali Shah surrendered and emerged from the citadel of Bam only to be double crossed.  He was seized and his possessions were plundered by the government troops.  Hasan 'Ali Shah and his dependents were sent to Kirman and remained as prisoners there for eight months.  He was eventually allowed to go to Tehran near the end of 1838-39 where he was able to present his case before the Shah.  The Shah pardoned him on the condition that he return peacefully to Mahallat.  Hasan 'Ali Shah remained in Mahallat for about two years.  He managed to gather an army in Mahallat which alarmed Muhammad Shah, who travelled to Delijan near Mahallat to determine the truth of the reports about Hasan 'Ali Shah.  Hasan 'Ali Shah was on a hunting trip at the time, but he sent a messenger to request permission of the monarch to go to Mecca for the hajj pilgrimage.  Permission was given and Hasan 'Ali Shah's mother and a few relatives were sent to Najaf and other holy cities in Iraq in which the shrines of his ancestors, the Shi'a Imams were found.

Prior to leaving Mahallat, Hasan 'Ali Shah equipped himself with letters appointing him to the governorship of Kirman.  Accompanied by his brothers, nephews and other relatives, as well as many followers, Hasan 'Ali Shah left for Yazd, where he intended to meet some of his local followers.  Hasan 'Ali Shah sent the documents reinstating him to the position of governor of Kirman to Bahman Mirza Baha al-Dawla, the governor of Yazd.  Bahman Mirza offered Hasan 'Ali Shah lodging in the city, but Hasan 'Ali Shah declined, indicating that he wished to visit his followers living around Yazd.  Hajji Mirza sent a messenger to Bahman Mirza to inform him of the spuriousness of Hasan 'Ali Shah's documents and a battle between Bahman Mirza and Hasan 'Ali Shah broke out in which Bahman Mirza was defeated.  Other minor battles were won by Hasan 'Ali Shah before he arrived in Shahr-i Babak, which he intended to use as his base for capturing Kirman.  At the time of his arrival in Shahr-i Babak, a formal local governor was engaged in a campaign to drive out the Afghans from the city's citadel, and Hasan 'Ali Shah joined him in forcing the Afghans to surrender.

Soon after March 1841, Hasan 'Ali Shah set out for Kirman.  He managed to defeat a government force consisting of 4,000 men near Dashtab, and continued to win a number of victories before stopping at Bam for a time.  Soon, a government force of 24,000 men forced Hasan 'Ali Shah to flee from Bam to Rigan on the border of Baluchistan, where he suffered a decisive defeat.  Hasan 'Ali Shah decided to escape to Afghanistan, accompanied by his brothers and many soldiers and servants.

After arriving in Afghanistan in 1841, Hasan 'Ali Shah proceeded to Kandahar which had been occupied by an Anglo-Indian army in 1839.  A close relationship developed between Hasan 'Ali Shah and the British, which coincided with the final years of the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842).  After his arrival, Hasan 'Ali Shah wrote to Sir William Macnaghten, discussing his plans to seize and govern Herat on behalf of the British.  Although the proposal seemed to have been approved, the plans of the British were thwarted by the uprising of Dost Muhammad's son Muhammad Akbar Khan, who defeated the British-Indian garrison on its retreat from Kabul in January 1842.  The uprising spread to Kandahar where the Afghans were in active hunt of the "infidel" Hasan 'Ali Shah.  Hasan 'Ali Shah managed to escape and helped to evacuate the British forces from Kandahar in July 1842.  The Afghans in Kandahar claimed that they would not rest until they had captured the "traitor of the Ahl ul Beit."

Hasan 'Ali Shah soon proceeded to Sind, where he rendered further services to the British.  The British were able to annex Sind and for his services, Hasan 'Ali Shah received an annual pension from General Charles Napier, the British conqueror of Sind with whom he had a good relationship.

Hasan 'Ali Shah also aided the British militarily and diplomatically in their attempts to subjugate Baluchistan.  He became the target of a Baluchi raid, likely in retaliation for his helping the British and to whom they considered a traitor and a "kufar" or infidel.  However, Hasan 'Ali Shah continued to aid the British, hoping that they would arrange for his safe return to his ancestral lands in Persia, where many members of his family remained.  

In October 1844, Hasan 'Ali Shah left Sind for Bombay, passing through Cutch and Kathiawar where he spent some time visiting the communities of his followers in the area.  After arriving in Bombay in February 1846, the Persian government demanded his extradition from India.  The British refused and only agreed to transfer Hasan 'Ali Shah's residence in Calcutta, where it would be more difficult for him to launch new attacks against the Persian government.  The British also negotiated the safe return of Hasan 'Ali Shah to Persia, which was in accordance with his own wish.  The government agreed to Hasan 'Ali Shah's return provided that he would avoid passing through Baluchistan and Kirman and that he was to settle peacefully in Mahallat.  Hasan 'Ali Shah was eventually forced to leave for Calcutta in April 1847, where he remained until he received news of the death of Muhammad Shah Qajar.  

Hasan 'Ali Shah left for Bombay (Mumbai) and the British attempted to obtain permission for his return to Persia.  Although some of his lands were restored to the control of his relatives, his safe return could not be arranged, and Hasan 'Ali Shah was forced to remain a permanent resident of India.  While in India, Hasan 'Ali Shah continued his close relationship with the British, and was even visited by the Prince of Wales when the future King Edward VII was on a state visit to India.  The British came to address Hasan 'Ali Shah as His Highness.  Hasan 'Ali Shah received protection from the British government in British India as the spiritual head of an important Muslim community.  

The vast majority of Hasan 'Ali Shah's Khoja Isma'ili followers in India welcomed him warmly.  However, some dissident members, sensing their loss of prestige with the arrival of the Imam, wished to maintain control over communal properties.  Because of this, Hasan 'Ali Shah decided to secure a pledge of loyalty from the members of the community to himself, and to the Isma'ili form of Islam.  Although most of the members of the community signed a document issued by Hasan 'Ali Shah summarizing the practices of the Isma'ilis, a group of dissenting Khojas surprisingly asserted that the community had always been Sunni.  This group was outcast by the unanimous vote of all the Khojas assembled in Bombay (Mumbai).  

In 1866, the dissenters filed a suit in the Bombay High Court against Hasan 'Ali Shah, claiming that the Khojas had been Sunni Muslims from the very beginning.  The case, commonly referred to as the Aga Khan Case was heard by Joseph Arnould.  The hearing lasted several weeks, and included testimony from Hasan 'Ali Shah himself.  After reviewing the history of the community, Justice Arnould gave a definitive and detailed judgment against the plaintiffs and in favor of Hasan 'Ali Shah and his fellow defendants.  The judgment was significant in that it legally established the status of the Khojas as a community referred to as Shia Imami Isma'ilis, and of Hasan 'Ali Shah as the spiritual head of that community.  Hasan 'Ali Shah's authority thereafter was not seriously challenged again.

Hasan 'Ali Shah spent his final years in Bombay (Mumbai) with occasional visits to Pune.  Maintaining the traditions of the Iranian nobility to which he belonged, he kept excellent stables and became a well-known figure at the Bombay racecourse.  Hasan 'Ali Shah died after an imamate of sixty-four years in April 1881.  He was buried in a specially built shrine at Hasanabad in the Mazagaon area of Bombay.  He was survived by three sons and five daughters.  Hasan 'Ali Shah was succeeded as Imam by his eldest son Aqa 'Ali Shah, who became Aga Khan II.   

Aga Khan see Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah
Agha Khan see Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah
Sayyid Hasan 'Ali Shah Mahallati see Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah
Hasan 'Ali Shah see Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah
Agha Khan-i Awwal see Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah
Muhammad Hasan see Mahallati, Sayyid Hasan ‘Ali Shah

Mahalli, Abu ‘Ali Jalal al-Din al-
Mahalli, Abu ‘Ali Jalal al-Din al- (Abu ‘Ali Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli) (1389-1459).  Egyptian scholar.  He is known above all as co-author of the famous Qur’an commentary called The Commentary of the Two Jalals, the other author being Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, who had been al-Mahalli’s pupil and completed the work.
Abu 'Ali Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli see Mahalli, Abu ‘Ali Jalal al-Din al-

Maharashtrians (Marathis).  Muslims constitute one of the small, yet significant cultural and social segments of the population of the west Indian state of Maharashtra and its capital, Bombay (Mumbai).  It is the largest minority in the state.  Although the various parts of the state were once under Muslim rule, the extent of Muslim cultural impact on Maharashtra is much less than on northern India.  Some of the factors limiting this impact are the state’s geographical location far south of the Muslim-dominated areas, the Hindu influence on former Muslim rulers, continuity of revenue administration, composition of the armies and the relative absence of intolerance.

The overwhelming majority of Maharastrian Muslims were converted from Hinduism, but a small number are descended from the original Muslim migrants who settled in the coastal region of Kakan around 700 C. C.   These are known as Kufas and originally lived in Egypt, but fled from persecution there.  Even today, surnames such as Khalib and Fakhi show the Arab origins.

Conversion began in the twelfth century in the wake of the Muslim invasion from north India.  This period also witnessed the continuous flow of Arabs, Turks, and Persians into western India.  In addition to the Mughals, some Muslims also migrated from south India.  After the establishment of British rule, some left western India, but many who had come as camp followers settled in the area.  Muslim communities of Kakars, Bedras, Mukris and Gaokasais are instances of those who came from different parts of India and stayed in Maharashtra.  Except in Marathwada, a large number of converts belonged to the lower stratum of Hindu society.  In Marathwada, which was a part of the old Hyderabad state, high-caste Brahmins and Marathas embraced Islam in order to safeguard their traditional rights and privileges.  During the British period, Shi‘a Muslim communities, such as Bohra, Khoja, and Memon, migrated from Kutch Gujarat and became Maharashtrians.

Kufas see Maharashtrians
Marathis see Maharashtrians

Mahdi (al-Mahdi -- “the rightly guided one”).  Name of the restorer of religion and justice -- the precursor of the Day of Judgment --  who, according to a widely held Muslim belief, will rule before the end of the world. The term mahdi is the name given to the divinely inspired prince who appears at the end of times, restores Islam to its previous glory and brings justice to bear.  The mahdi will carry the name Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah.  For the Shi‘a, the mahdi is the hidden imam whose arrival is awaited. Throughout Islamic history there has been a recurrence of Mahdi movements.  In early days, the best known Mahdi was Ibn Tumart, the founder of the Almohad movement.  In modern times, the best known Mahdi was the Sudanese Muhammad al-Mahdi.  In radical Shi‘ism, belief in the coming of the Mahdi of the family of the Prophet became a central aspect of the faith.

The Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on earth seven, nine, or nineteen years (depending on the interpretation) before the coming of Yaum al-Qiyamah -- "The Day of Resurrection".   Muslims believe the Mahdi will rid the world of error, injustice and tyranny alongside Jesus.  The concept of Mahdi is not mentioned in the Qur'an nor in any reliable hadiths such as Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.  Many orthodox Sunni theologians accordingly question Mahdist beliefs, but such beliefs form a necessary part of Shi'a doctrine.

The advent of the Mahdi is not a universally accepted concept in Islam.  Among those that accept the Mahdi there are basic differences among different sects of Muslims about the timing and nature of the Mahdi's advent and guidance.  The idea of the Mahdi has been described as important to Sufi Muslims, and a powerful and central religious idea for Shi'a Muslims who believe the Mahdi is the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi who will return from occultation.  However, among Sunni, it never became a formal doctrine and is neither endorsed nor condemned by the consensus of Sunni Ulama.  It has gained a strong hold on the imagination of many ordinary self-described orthdox Sunni due to Sufi preaching.  

While there are different perspectives held by Sunni and Shi'a with regards to the Mahdi, they agree on five principles: (1) The Mahdi will be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad of the line of Fatima; (2) the Mahdi will bear the name Muhammad; (3) the Mahdi will rule for either seven, nine or nineteen years; (4) the coming of the Mahdi will be accompanied by the raising of a Black Standard in Khurasan; and (5) the coming of the Mahdi will be accompanied by the appearance of Dajjal (the anti-Mahdi) in the East.

Among Shi'a Muslims, the Mahdi symbol developed into a powerful and central religious idea.  Shi'a Muslims believe that the Mahdi is the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Twelfth and last Imam, who was born in 868 and was hidden by Allah at the age of five.  According to the Shi'a believers, Muhammad al-Mahdi is still alive but has been in "occultation" -- in hiding -- awaiting the time that Allah has decreed for his return.

The Hidden Imam will return as the Mahdi with a company of his chosen ones.  Also part of the return will be his enemies led by the one-eyed Dajjal and the Sufyani.  The two forces will fight one final apocalyptic battle where the Mahdi and his forces will prevail over the forces of evil.  After ruling earth for a number of years, Isa al-Maseeh (Jesus Christ), Imam Husayn and other Imams, prophets and saints will return to earth.

Human intellect and conscience are guides toward the establishment of a just Islamic order, but in addition God has entrusted to certain individuals the key function of “guidance.”  In the Qur’an, the chosen ones of God are termed muhtadun (recipients of guidance) and hudat (guides), and so they attain the status of hudat al-muhtadun -- the rightly guided leaders.  

While the concept of the mahdi does not appear in the Qur’an itself, the title “mahdi,” virtually a synonym of the Qur’anic term hudat al-muhtadun, seems to have gained importance through its usage in the hadith, where it refers to certain individuals in the past and to a future messianic figure.  A mahdi is divinely guided in a specific and individual way.

Muslims have the responsibility of establishing the ideal religio-political community, the umma, with a worldwide membership of all those who believe in God and his revelation through Muhammad.

Muhammad himself planted the seeds of this responsibility, which carry the revolutionary challenge of Islam toward any social order which might hamper its realization.  In the persistent aspiration for a more just society these seeds have borne fruit in rebellion throughout Islamic history.  

Muhammad’s message embodied in the Qur’an provided tremendous spiritual as well as political impetus for the creation of a just society.  Consequently, in the years following Muhammad’s death, there emerged a group of Muslims who, dissatisfied with the state of affairs under the Caliphs, looked back to the early period of Islam as the ideal epoch, unadulterated by the corrupt and worldly rulers of the expanding Islamic empire.  The idealization of the Prophet himself gave rise to the notion that he was something more than an ordinary man; he must have been divinely chosen and thus was the true leader who could guide his people.

Many began to look forward to the rule of a descendant of Muhammad, the Mahdi, who would also be named Muhammad.  The Mahdi would bear a title similar to that of the Apostle of God and would fill the earth with equity and justice.  The growth of such a hope was the inevitable outcome of the consistent stress Islam lays on the realization of the just society under the guidance of divine revelation.  With the establishment of various dynasties which failed to promote the Islamic ideal, the desire for a deliverer grew.  Those who looked for the appearance of the Mahdi were generally sympathetic to the claims of the Prophet’s descendants as heirs to the prophetic mission, and were the early adherents of the Shi‘a.  The idea of a messianic imam who would bring an end to corruption and wickedness was especially important in Imamite Shi‘ism where the firm belief in the return of the twelfth imam as the Mahdi continues to be expressed in the most repeated Shi‘ite prayer: “May God hasten release from suffering through his [the Mahdi’s] rise.”

The title “mahdi” was first used of Ali and al-Husayn as a designation of a righteous Islamic ruler.  In the messianic sense it seems to have been first used by al-Mukhtar ibn Abi ‘Ubayd al-Thaqafi, a man with Shi‘ite sympathies, to designate Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya, a son of Ali by a wife other than Fatima, in the context of a two year rebellion against Umayyad authority.  Ibn al-Hanafiyya apparently declined the extravagant claims made for him and died without achieving anything significant.  But the result of the movement were far-reaching.  Many of its adherents did not accept his death as a reality and declared that he was in hiding and would eventually return.  

The refusal of Ibn al-Hanafiyya’s followers to accept his death marked the beginning of the two central beliefs about the Mahdi: (1) the Mahdi’s ghayha (concealment) and (2) the Mahdi’s raj’a (return) at the appropriate time.  These beliefs helped Shi‘ites to endure under difficult circumstances and to hope for reform pending the coming of the Mahdi.  Such expectation did not require that they oppose the establishment actively.  Instead, a lack of information concerning the exact time when the Mahdi would appear required Shi‘ites to be on the alert at all times.

The decades prior to the end of the Umayyad rule in 750 C.C. were marked by several Shi‘ite revolutions and uprisings headed by adherents of the party of Ali or other members of the Hashimite clan who demanded a new social order.  Although the ‘Abbasids based their revolution on Shi‘ite expectations, they abandoned their messianic role after being established as caliphs and adopted Sunnism.  Nevertheless, they persisted in assuming messianic titles in the hope that the caliphate would have some resemblance to the ideals of the Shi‘ite imamate and its function of restoring the purity of Islam.  

Even after this disappointment, Shi‘ite hopes continued to run high, and it was believed that almost all imams from that time on had not died, but might return as the Mahdi.  This was especially true of the followers of the first twelve imams.  The twelfth was, however, by no means the last of those who were proclaimed as mahdi, and the title has continued to be bestowed to the present day.

In Africa, since the tenth century, several self-proclaimed mahdis have appeared in northern Africa, the best known was the late 19th century Sudanese leader Muhammad Ahmad.

The main principle of the mahdi is that he is a figure that is absolutely guided by God.  This guidance is a stronger form of guidance than normal guidance, which usually involves a human being willfully acting according to the guidance of God.  The mahdi, on the other hand, has nothing of this human element, and acts the will of God directly.

Neither the figure of the mahdi, nor his mission, are mentioned in the Qur’an, and there is practically nothing to be found among the reliable hadiths on him either.  The idea of the mahdi appears to be a development in the first two to three centuries of Islam.  In the case of the Shi‘a mahdi many scholars have suggested that there is a clear inspiration coming from Christianity and its ideas of a judgment day in the hands of a religious renewer.  

While there are many similarities between the Mahdi and the Messiah, there are also many variations over the Mahdi theme, which have differed from time to time and from region to region.

The first time we hear of the term “mahdi” is in 686 C. C., by the Muslim leader Mukhtar Thaqafi in reference to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya.  

There are more than one way of defining the mahdi in Sunni Islam, but never is it given such an importance as we can see it in Shi‘i  Islam:

“Mahdi” has been used as an honorific title for several prominent figures in Islam.  This applies to Ali, the fourth caliph; his son Hassan; as well as the Ummawiyy caliph Umar II.  In the latter case, theologians meant that Umar II was the first of altogether eight renewers of Islam.  The last of these eight would be a figure simply called Mahdi or Isa (Jesus).

When “mahdi” was used for the Abbasid caliph Nasir, he was defined as the final mahdi, and there was no need to expect any future mahdis.

“Mahdi” has sometimes been used for converts to Islam, because these people are believed to have been guided by God to find the truth.  

“Mahdi” has been frequently used for military leaders, both leaders that were occulted as well as leaders that appeared in flesh and blood.  Among the best known were El Mahdi of nineteenth century Sudan, and Ibn Tumart of twelfth century Morocco.

Even in Shi‘a Islam, there are variations, but these all give the Mahdi an elevated and unique position.  In the now extinct sect of Kaisaniya, founded around Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya, son of Ali with another wife than Fatima, this Muhammad was defined as “mahdi.” Muhammad appears to have refused this status, but nevertheless the Kaisaniya sect developed especially after his death.  They developed a theology where they waited for his return from his grave in Mount Radwa, where they believed that he was living, and not dead.

Over the course of history, there have been several individuals who have declared themselves to be the Mahdi prophesied in Islam.  Similar to the notion of a Messiah in the Judeo-Christian religions, the notion of a Mahdi as a redeemer to establish a society has lent itself to various interpretations leading to different claims within minorities or by individuals within Islam.

The first historical recorded reference to a movement using the name of Mahdi is al-Mukhtar's rebellion against the Umayyid Caliphate in 686, almost 50 years after Muhammad's death.  Al-Mukhtar claimed that Ibn al-Hanifiya, a son of the fourth Caliph Ali (the first Imam of the Shi'a), was the Mahdi who would save the Muslim people from the unjust rule of the Umayyads.  Ibn al-Hanifiya was not actively involved in the rebellion, and when the Umayyads successfully quashed it, they left him undisturbed.

Another claim was that of the Bab in 1844.  The Bab is the founder of the religion of Babism.  He was later executed in the town of Tabriz by a firing squad.  His remains currently reside in a tomb at the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, Israel.  The Bab is considered to be the forerunner of Baha'ullah.  Both are considered Prophets of by Baha'is.

The late nineteenth century saw another person, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who appeared in British India and claimed to be the promised Mahdi as well as the Promised Messiah being the only person in Islamic history to have claimed to be both.  He founded the Ahmadiyya religious movement in 1889 which, though claims to be Muslim in every sense of the word is not recognized as such by a majority of mainstream Muslims.

The Sudanese Sufi, Muhammad Ahmad, declared himself to be the Mahdi in 1882, and defeated Ottoman-Egyptian forces to set up his own state.  Muhammad Ahmad died in 1885, but his Mahdist state lasted until 1899 when a British army destroyed it.

The most recent notable claim to Mahdism was by Mohammad Abdullah a-Querishi whose brother-in-law, Juhayman ibn-Muhammad ibn-Sayf al-Otaibi, led several hundred men to take over the Grand Mosque in Mecca in November of 1979.  This uprising was defeated after a two week siege with at least 250 rebels, soldiers and pilgrims killed.    

The Rightly Guided One see Mahdi
al-Mahdi see Mahdi

Mahdi, al-
Mahdi, al-.  See Mahdi.

Mahdi, Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-
Mahdi, Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al- (Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Mahdi) (b. 743) was an ‘Abbasid caliph who ruled from 775 to 785.  His reign was in the main a period of peace and prosperity.
Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad al-Mahdi see Mahdi, Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-

Mahdi, Al-Sadiq al-
Mahdi, Al-Sadiq al- (Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi) (Sadiq al-Mahdi) (Sadiq Al Siddiq) (b. 1936).  Sudanese Islamic-Mahdist theologian and contemporary political leader.  As great-grandson of the Sudanese Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah (d. 1885), Sadiq was born into a leading Islamic family and trained for his leadership role from birth.  He received a broad traditional Muslim education and later a modern one at Victoria College in Alexandria.  He then studied at the University of Khartoum and graduated from St. John’s College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics, and economics.  Sadiq rose to prominence in 1961 following the death of his father, Imam Siddiq al-Mahdi.  The shura council of the Ansar decided that he was too young to become their imam and appointed his uncle al-Hadi instead.  With the leadership divided and Sadiq heading the Ummah party, a split within the Ummah and the Ansar became unavoidable.  It paved the way for a long-term pact between Sadiq and Hasan al-Turabi, the leader of Sudan’s Muslim Brothers.  This was probably one of the factors that led Sadiq, a presumed liberal, to announce his intention, on becoming prime minister in 1966, to promulgate an Islamic constitution and found an Islamic state.  Sadiq and his followers were defeated in the 1968 elections and had to seek a reconciliation with his conservative uncle.  This seems to have turned him into a conservative, and the Ummah-Ansar complex in the 1980s was as autocratic as it had been under previous imams.  As prime minister after the 1986 elections, Sadiq was in full control of both the Ansar and the Ummah.  His failure to lead on the most crucial issues, the Islamic nature of the state and its inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, probably caused his downfall in June 1989.

Sadiq was the most prominent leader to oppose the so-called shari ‘a laws implemented by President Ja‘far Nimeiri in September 1983.  He denounced them as un-Islamic because shari ‘a could only be implemented in a just society in which Muslims were not forced to steal in order to survive.  He failed to abolish these laws, however, while he was prime minister in 1986-1989, owing both to his ambivalence and to his weak leadership.  His ambivalence was the result of his reluctance to abolish the existing Islamic laws, which after all he too had advocated, without introducing alternative ones first.  He assumed that he would lose popular support if he submitted to southern and secularist demands for unconditional abrogation.

Sadiq expressed his views on the Islamic state in many of his writings, and in these his ideology is by far more liberal and progressive than his political career would suggest.  He asserts that the modern formulation of shari‘a should be entrusted to universities, with lay scholarly supervision.  Otherwise, shari‘a will wither away, and Muslim leaders will have abdicated their trust.  Islamic states may be traditional, moderizing, or revolutionary, as long as they abide by the general constitutional principles of Islam and as long as their legal systems are based on a traditional or modern formulation of shari‘a.  In the sphere of economics, two principles should be applied.  First, wealth is collectively owned by humanity, and while individual ownership is legitimate, society has to provide for the poor.  Second, it is mandatory to implement special injunctions such as zakat, inheritance laws, and the prohibition of usury.  Hence there is no contradiction in an economic system that is both Islamic and modern.  Islamic international relations, according to Sadiq, are to be based on peaceful coexistence; war is justified to deter aggression and is not permitted as a way of enforcing Islam.  Even pagans are not to be converted by force.  In Islamic international relations there are four basic principles: human brotherhood, the supremacy of justice, the irreversibility of contracts, and reciprocity.  Finally, Sadiq regards taqlid, or the uncritical adoption of a tradition or a legal decision, as a major curse.  He claimed that when non-Muslim opinion refers to Islamic fundamentalism, it is taqlid they have in mind, which therefore should be abolished.

Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi see Mahdi, Al-Sadiq al-
Sadiq al-Mahdi see Mahdi, Al-Sadiq al-
Mahdi, Sadiq al- see Mahdi, Al-Sadiq al-
Sadiq Al Siddiq see Mahdi, Al-Sadiq al-
Siddiq, Sadiq Al see Mahdi, Al-Sadiq al-

Mahdids.  Dynasty at Zabid in Yemen (r.1136-1176).  It took its name from the father of the first leader, ‘Ali ibn Mahdi (d. 1159).

Mahdi, El
Mahdi, El (El Mahdi) (Muhammad Ahmad) (Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah) (Muhammad Ahmed Al MahdiMuhammad Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah al-Mahdi (Muhammad Ahmad ibn 'Abdallah) (the Mahdi) (August 12, 1844 - June 22, 1885).  Sudanese politician and religious leader.  His original name was Muhammad Ahmad, and he was arguably the single most influential personality in the history of the modern Sudan.  A descendant of an “Arabized Nubian” family from Dongola, he was born in 1844 in Dirar Island off Dongola.

His father was a descendant of a respected religious man, a shariff known for his good “faith” among the people of that area.  He migrated to Khartoum for better prospects for his family.  All Muhammad’s brothers preferred to master the father’s profession of building boats, but he found himself attracted to religious studies like his great grandfather, the shariff.

Muhammad Ahmad learned the Qur’an in Khartoum and Kararie and later he studied fiqh under Sheikh Muhammad Kheir’s patronage.  Muhammad Ahmad mastered different aspects of Islamic Studies and was known for his Sufi tendency among his mates.  In 1861, he approached Sheik Muhammad Sheief, the leader of the Sammaniyya Sect, and requested to join his students and learn more on Sufism.  Muhammad had shown a great deal of devotion and dedication to his Sheikh and teacher as well as a great deal of faith which distinguished him from his colleagues.  When sheikh Muhammad realized Muhammad’s dedication and devotion, he appointed him shaykh and permitted him to give tariqa and uhud to new followers wherever he wanted to be.

In 1871, Muhammad Ahmad migrated with the rest of his family to Aba Island in western Sudan where he built a mosque for prayers and started to teach the Qur’an and Islamic Studies.  Shortly he could gather all the inhabitants of Aba Island around him and got a wide popularity and fame among them.

The following years, and until he declared himself Mahdi, he spent time visiting people in different neighboring areas warning them and asking them to follow the “path of God Almighty.”  He roamed all the areas as far as Dongola in the north, the Blue Nile region, Kordofan in the west, Sinnar and East of Sudan.  He noticed the people’s discontent with the ruling Turks (the Ottoman-Egyptians) and their desire to get rid of the Turks – a desire that made many wish for the appearance of the awaited Mahdi to save them.  Thus, whenever the people found in a man a great deal of knowledge, dedication and devotion to the religion they thought that he was the Mahdi.

Muhammad found in the people the desire and belief that he was the awaited Mahdi.  Meanwhile, he was very much concerned by the bleak condition of Islam in Sudan under the self-proclaimed Shaykhs.  Compelled by all this, in addition to his consideration of the wish and desire of the majority of the people and the sense of expectation of El Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad started to prepare himself to proclaim Mahdism.   

During this period, the Khalifa Abdullahi came to recognize Muhammad Ahmad as “Mahdi” even before Muhammad himself had proclaimed it.  From then on, and until the fall of Khartoum, to the Mahdi’s forces in January 1885, there was a continuous triumphal progress of volunteer armies fighting for the victory of Islam and the accomplishment of the eschatological mission.

It was in 1881 at Aba Island that Muhammad Ahmad proclaimed himself as the “Mahdi” and started to unify central and southern Sudanese tribes to exploit their increasing social and economical discontent with the ruling Turks and their exploitation of the country’s resources and mal-administration.  El Mahdi led a national revolution and an “Islamic revivalism” uprising against the ruling Turks which was culminated by the fall of Khartoum and the assassination of Gordon Pasha in 1885.

Even though El Mahdi died shortly after the fall of Khartoum, his Mahdist Islamic regime survived until 1898 when the Anglo-Egyptian forces under Kitchener captured Khartoum, regained control and proclaimed a British-Egyptian condominium dominated mainly by British policies.  The British presence would last until 1956 when Sudan achieved its independence.

Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah (otherwise known as the Mahdi or Muhammad Ahmed Al Mahdi Arabic:محمد أحمد المهدي) (August 12, 1844 – June 22, 1885) was a Sufi sheikh of the Samaniyya order in Sudan who, on June 29, 1881, proclaimed himself as the Mahdi or messianic redeemer of the Islamic faith. His proclamation came during a period of widespread resentment among the Sudanese population of the oppressive policies of the Turco-Egyptian rulers, and capitalized on the messianic beliefs popular among the various Sudanese sufi sects (or tariqa/turuq) of the time. More broadly, the Mahdiyya, as Muhammad Ahmad's movement was called, was influenced by earlier Mahdist movements in West Africa, as well as Wahabism and other puritanical forms of Islamic revivalism that developed in reaction to the growing military and economic dominance of the European powers throughout the 19th century.

From his announcement of the Mahdiyya in June 1881 until the fall of Khartoum in January 1885, Muhammad Ahmad led a successful military campaign against the Turco-Egyptian government of the Sudan (known as the Turkiyya). During this period, many of the theological and political doctrines of the Mahdiyya were established and promulgated among the growing ranks of the Mahdi's supporters. After Muhammad Ahmad's unexpected death on 22 June 1885, a mere six months after the conquest of Khartoum, his chief deputy, the Khalifa Abdullah took over the administration of the nascent Mahdist state.

    * 1 Early life
    * 2 Announcement of the Mahdiyya
    * 3 Response of the 'Ulema
    * 4 Early conflict with the Turco-Egyptian authorities
    * 5 Turco-Egyptian Rule, Taxes, and Slavery
          o 5.1 Ottoman rule and Gordon's governor-general term
    * 6 Rebellion
          o 6.1 Mahdi and jihad declarations
          o 6.2 Advance of the rebellion
    * 7 Khartoum
          o 7.1 Arrival of Gordon
          o 7.2 Siege
          o 7.3 Fall of Khartoum
    * 8 Mahdiyah
          o 8.1 Modifications of Sharia
          o 8.2 Death of Muhammad Ahmad and his succession
    * 9 Aftermath
          o 9.1 Political heritage
          o 9.2 Religious heritage
    * 10 In popular culture
    * 11 See also
    * 12 References
    * 13 Bibliography
    * 14 Literature

[edit] Early life
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Muhammad Ahmad was born on 12 August 1844 on Labab Island in the province of Dongola in Northern Sudan to a family that claimed to be descendants of the Prophet Muhammad through the line of his grandson Hassan.[1] As a child, the family moved to the town of Karari, north of Khartoum, where Muhammad Ahmad's father, Abdullah, could find a supply of timber for his boat-building business.

While his siblings joined his father's trade, Muhammad Ahmad showed a proclivity for religious study. He studied first under Sheikh al-Amin al-Suwaylih in the Gezira region around Khartoum, and subsequently under Sheikh Muhammad al-Dikayr 'Abdallah Khujali near the town of Berber in North Sudan.[2] Determined to live a life of asceticism, mysticism, and worship, in 1861 he sought out Sheikh Muhammad Sharif Nur al-Dai'm, the grandson of the founder of the Samaniyya Sufi sect in Sudan. Muhammad Ahmad stayed with Sheikh Muhammad Sharif for seven years, during which time he was recognized for his piety and asceticism. Near the end of this period, he was awarded the title of Sheikh himself, and began to travel around the country on religious missions. He was permitted to give tariqa and Uhūd to new followers.

In 1870, his family moved again in search for timber, this time to Aba Island on the White Nile south of Khartoum. On Aba Island, Muhammad Ahmad built a mosque and started to teach the Qur'an. He soon gained a notable reputation among the local population as an excellent speaker and mystic. The broad thrust of his teaching followed that of other reformers, his Islam was one devoted to the words of Muhammad and based on a return to the virtues of strict devotion, prayer, and simplicity as laid down in the Qur'an. Any deviation from the Qur'an was therefore heresy.

In 1872, Muhammad Ahmad invited Sheikh Sharif to move to al-Aradayb, an area on the White Nile neighboring Aba Island. Despite initially amicable relations, in 1878 the two religious leaders had a dispute motivated by Sheikh Sharif's resentment of his former student's growing popularity. The dispute led to violence between their followers, and while they temporarily reconciled their differences, the experience revealed to Muhammad Ahmad his mentor's faults. At a subsequent celebration in honor of the circumcision of Sheikh Sharif's sons, Muhammad Ahmad expressed his disapproval of the dancing and music, which reignited the latent tension between the two men. As a result of this second dispute, Sheikh Sharif expelled his former student from the Samaniyya order, and despite numerous apologies and emotional appeals, refused to forgive and re-admit him.[3]

After recognizing that the split with Sheikh Sharif was irreconcilable, Muhammad Ahmad approached a rival leader of the Samaniyya order named Sheikh al-Qurashi wad al-Zayn. The elderly sheikh eagerly accepted him and his followers, and under his new master, Muhammad Ahmad resumed his life of piety and religious devotion at Aba Island. During this period, he also travelled to the province of Kordofan, west of Khartoum, where he visited with the notables of the capital, el-Obeid, who were enmeshed in a power struggle between two rival claimants to the governorship of the province. While in Kordofan, he also enhanced his reputation by granting baraka to the common people who attended his sermons en masse.[4]

On 25 July 1878, Sheikh al-Qurashi died and his followers recognized Muhammad Ahmad as their new leader. Around this time, Muhammad Ahmad first met Abdallahi bin Muhammad al-Ta'aishi, who was to become his chief deputy and successor in the years to come.
[edit] Announcement of the Mahdiyya

On 29 June 1881, Muhammad Ahmad publicly announced his claim to be the Mahdi.[5] In part, his claim was based on his status as a prominent Sufi sheikh with a large following in the Samaniyya order and among the tribes in the area around Aba Island.[6] Yet the idea of the Mahdiyya had been central to the belief of the Samaniyya prior to Muhammad Ahmad's manifestation. The previous Samaniyya leader, Sheikh al-Qurashi Wad al-Zayn, had asserted that the long-awaited-for redeemer would come from the Samaniyya line. According to Sheikh al-Qurashi, the Mahdi would make himself known through a number of signs, some established in the early period of Islam and recorded in the Hadith literature, and others having a more distinctly local origin, such as the prediction that the Mahdi would ride the sheikh's pony and erect a dome over his grave after his death.[7]

Drawing from aspects of the Sufi tradition that were intimately familiar to both his followers and his opponents, Muhammad Ahmad claimed that he had been appointed as the Mahdi by a prophetic assembly or hadra (Arabic: Al-Hadra Al-Nabawiyya, الحضرة النبوية). A hadra, in the Sufi tradition, is a gathering of all the prophets from the time of Adam to Muhammad, as well as many Sufi holy men who are believed to have reached the highest level of affinity with the divine during their lifetime. The hadra is chaired by the Prophet Muhammad, known as Sayyid al-Wujud, and at his side are the seven Qutb, the most senior of whom is known as Ghawth az-Zaman.[8] In the belief system of the Mahdiyya, it was this divine assembly that bestowed upon Muhammad Ahmad the title of al-Mahdi. The hadra was also the source of a number of central beliefs about the Mahdi, including that Muhammad Ahmad was created from the sacred light at the center of the Prophet's heart, that the Mahdiyya was eternal and the basic institution of the universe, and that all living creatures had acknowledged the Mahdi's claim since his birth.

In order to frame the Mahdiyya as a return to the early days of Islam, when the Muslim community, or Ummah, was unified under the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad and his immediate successors, Muhammad Ahmad drew many parallels between his manifestation as the Mahdi and the career of the Prophet. For example, he referred to himself as the Successor of the Messenger of God (Arabic: Khalifat Rusul Allah, خلفية رسول الله), and named his four closest deputies after the four successors to the Prophet Muhammad. Later, in order to distinguish his followers from adherents of other Sufi sects, he forbid the use of the word darwish (commonly known as "dervish" in English) to describe his followers, replacing it with the title Ansar, the term the Prophet Muhammad used for the people of Medina who welcomed him and his followers after their flight from Mecca.

This revivalist vision of the Mahdi intersected with the popular beliefs and legends of the Mahdi. Many of these beliefs have obscure origins in unsubstantiated Hadith, or are influenced by a convergence of local mythologies, Shi'a concepts, and Sufi traditions. It was believed that the Mahdi would manifest himself at the turn of an Islamic century, that his coming would herald in the end of time, that he would revitalize the faith and restore unity to the Ummah, and that his reign would last for eight years. At the end of his reign, it was believed that he would be defeated in battle with the anti-Christ (al-Dajjal), who would subsequently be vanquished by the return of Jesus (Nabi 'Isa).[9]
[edit] Response of the 'Ulema

Despite his popularity among Sufis of the Samaniyya and other sects, and among the tribes of western Sudan, the Ulema, or Orthodox religious authorities, ridiculed Muhammad Ahmad's claim to be the Mahdi. Among his most prominent critics were the Sudanese Ulema loyal to the Ottoman Sultan and in the employ of the Turco-Egyptian government, such as the Mufti Shakir al-Ghazi, who sat on the Council of Appeal in Khartoum, and the Qadi Ahmad al-Azhari in Kordofan.

These critics were careful not to deny the concept of the Mahdi as such, but rather to discredit Muhammad Ahmad's claim to it.[10] They pointed out that Muhammad Ahmad's manifestation did not conform to the prophecies laid out in the Hadith literature. In particular, they argued that he had been born in Dongola, that he lacked proof of descent from Fatima, that he did not have the prophesied physical characteristics of the Mahdi, and that his manifestation did not conform with the "time of troubles" "when the land is filed with oppression, tryanny, and enmity."[9]

While his challenge to the legitimacy of Turco-Egyptian rule, and the Sublime Porte by extension, set many of the religious elite against him, some of his radical changes to Islamic doctrine and practice alienated other Muslim scholars, both Sudanese and foreign.[11] In particular, the Mahdi abolished the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence (Arabic: madhahib, مذاهب), rejected all authoritative texts in the history of tafsir or Qur'anic exegesis, changed the Sha'hada, or profession of faith, to include the phrase, "Muhammad al-Mahdi is the Khalifa of the Prophet of God," and revised the five pillars of Islam by replacing the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca with the obligation to undertake jihad, and adding a sixth pillar, which was belief in the Mahdiyya.[12]
[edit] Early conflict with the Turco-Egyptian authorities

Linguistically, the Arabic term al-Mahdi (المهدي) is the active participle of the Arabic root ه-د-ى which means "to guide", and can be translated as "the one who guides". The term is not found explicitly in the Qur'an, nor is it recorded in two of the most prominent collections of hadith, that of Bukhari and Muslim.[13]
[edit] Turco-Egyptian Rule, Taxes, and Slavery

Beyond his charismatic leadership, early military success, and religious appeal, there were numerous social and political factors that led to the rapid growth of Muhammad Ahmad's influence and the ultimate success of the Mahdiyya under his command. One of the most salient factors was the way in which Turco-Egyptian rule (1821–1885) interfered with local power structures, disenfranchised many influential segments of the Sudanese population, and subjected Sudan to the increasing penetration of the European powers.

Throughout the period of Turco-Egyptian rule, many segments of the Sudanese population suffered extreme hardship due to the system of taxation imposed by the central government. Under this system, a flat tax was imposed on farmers and small traders and collected by government-appointed tax collectors from the Sha'iqiyya tribe of northern Sudan. In bad years, and especially during times of drought and famine, farmers were unable to pay the high taxes. Fearing the brutal and unjust methods of the Sha'iqiyya, many farmers fled their villages in the fertile Nile Valley to the remote areas of Kordofan and Darfur. These migrants, known as "Jallaba" after their loose-fitting style of dress, began to function as small traders and middlemen for the foreign trading companies that had established themselves in the cities and towns of central Sudan. At the time, trade was dominated by two goods: ivory and slaves. The slaves were kidnapped in extensive slave raids led by Egyptian, European, and Sudanese slave traders in the provinces of Bahr Al-Ghazal and elsewhere in what is today South Sudan. While in the early years of the Turco-Egyptian rule, many slaves were sent north to serve as soldiers in Muhammad Ali's army, those taken captive later in the century were often forced to undertake the labor-intensive cultivation of crops in the Nile Valley.

In 1863, concern in Europe about the slave trade was ignited by the Speke and Grant expedition to discover the source of the Nile. The British government, increasingly involved in the administration of Egyptian affairs under the Khedive Ismail, began to target slave-ships transporting their cargo up the Nile. Recognizing that this approach was ineffective, the British eventually succeeded in establishing The Convention for the Suppression of the Slave Trade, which granted the British navy the right to search Egyptian ships leaving from Suakin (the site of Port Sudan today) on the Red Sea. This two-pronged assault on the slave trade not only threatened the prosperity of all those involved directly in the procurement and sale of slaves, but also the large segments of northern Sudanese society that relied on slave labor for agricultural and domestic work. In many cases, the same Jallaba that had been forced to flee their land due to excessive taxation were now under threat of losing their livelihood from the slave trade.
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[edit] Ottoman rule and Gordon's governor-general term

By the middle 19th century the Ottoman Imperial subject administration in Egypt was in the hands of Khedive Ismail. Although not a competent or devoted leader, Khedive Ismail had grandiose schemes about Egypt. His spending had put Egypt into huge debt and when his financing of the Suez Canal started to crumble, Great Britain stepped in and repaid his loans in return for controlling shares in the canal. As the canal took on a vast strategic importance as a control point for British trade with India, the need to ensure its security and stability became paramount. Thus, control of the canal required an ever increasing role in Egyptian affairs. With Khedive Ismail's spending and corruption causing instability, in 1873 the British government supported a program where an Anglo-French debt commission assumed responsibility for managing Egypt's fiscal affairs. This commission eventually forced Khedive Ismail to abdicate in favor of his son Tawfiq in 1877, leading to a period of political turmoil.

Ismail had appointed General Charles "Chinese" Gordon Governor of the Equatorial Provinces of Sudan in 1873. For the next three years, General Gordon fought against a native chieftain of Darfur, Zobeir, who had erected, on the basis of slave-traffic, a dangerous military power. Zobeir's organisation was eventually dismantled. Although unsuccessful at total pacification, Gordon was successful in limiting the power of the slave traders. Thus, he was made Governor-General of the Sudan in 1877. Soon after he arrived at his new post he started to end the slave trade, which at that point dominated the economy and was controlled by the tiny minority of Arabs. Before his arrival some 7 out of 8 blacks in the Sudan were enslaved by the tiny minority of Arabs; the native Africans formed well over 80% of the overall population. Gordon's policies were effective, but the effects on the economy were disastrous, and soon the Arab Social Ascendancy came to see this not a liberation from slavery, but a modern-day European Christian crusade and a threat to Muslim and Arab social dominance.[citation needed] It was this anger that fed the Ansars' ranks.

Upon Ismail's abdication Gordon found himself with dramatically decreased support. He eventually resigned his post in 1880, exhausted by years of work, and left early the next year. His policies were soon abandoned by the new governors, but the anger and discontent of the dominant Arab minority was left unaddressed.[citation needed]

Although the Egyptians were fearful of the deteriorating conditions, the British refused to get involved, "Her Majesty’s Government are in no way responsible for operations in the Sudan", the Foreign Secretary Earl Granville noted.
[edit] Rebellion
The Mahdist State (1881 – 1898)

Among the forces historians see as the causes of the uprising are ethnic Sudanese anger at the foreign Turkish Ottoman rulers, Muslim revivalist anger at the Turks' lax religious standards and willingness to appoint non-Muslims such as the Christian Charles Gordon to high positions and Sudanese Sufi resistance to "dry, scholastic Islam of Egyptian officialdom".[14]
[edit] Mahdi and jihad declarations

In 1881 Muhammad Ahmed declared himself Mahdi and ruler so as to prepare the way for the second coming of the Prophet Isa (Jesus),. "After consulting the ulama", Egyptian authorities "attempted to arrest him for spreading false doctrine." A military expedition was sent to reassert the government's authority on Aba Island, but the government's forces were ambushed and nearly annihilated by the Mahdi's followers.[citation needed] Muhammad Ahmed retaliated by declaring jihad.

    I am the Mahdi, the Successor of the Prophet of God. Cease to pay taxes to the infidel Turks and let everyone who finds a Turk kill him, for the Turks are infidels [15]

Unlike other Muslim reformers, the Mahdi did not advocate the application of ijtihad but "claimed to receive direct inspiration from God", so that his own proclamations superseded traditional jurisprudence. This, however, did not usurp the prophet Muhammad's position as seal of the Prophets, because the Prophet was — in some way — the intermediary of his revelations.

    Information came from the Apostle of God that the angel of inspiration is with me from God to direct me and He has appointed him. So from this prophetic information I learnt that that with which God inspires me by means of the angel of inspiration, the Apostle of God would do, were he present.[16]

[edit] Advance of the rebellion

The Mahdi and a party of his followers, the Ansār "Helpers" (known in the West as "the Dervishes"), made a long march to Kurdufan. There he gained a large number of recruits, especially from the Baqqara, and noble leaders such as Sheikh Madibbo ibn Ali of Rizeigat and Abdallahi ibn Muhammad of Ta'aisha tribes. They were also joined by the Hadendoa Beja, who were rallied to the Mahdi by an Ansār captain in east of Sudan in 1883, Osman Digna.

The Khatmiyya sufi order which had enjoyed popular support in east and north Sudan rejected the Mahdi's claim outright. Mahdist forces attacked the Khatmiyya adherents and even ransacked the tomb of sayyid Al-Hassan grandson of the revered religious leader Mohammed Uthman al-Mirghani al-Khatim in Kassala. The head of the Khatmiyya sufi order was forced into exile in Egypt for fear of assassination.

Late in 1883, the Ansār, armed only with spears and swords, overwhelmed an 4000-man Egyptian force not far from Al Ubayyid ("El Obeid"), and seized their rifles and ammunition. The Mahdi followed up this victory by laying siege to al-Ubayyid and starving it into submission after four months. The town remained the headquarters of the Ansar for much of the decade.

The Ansār, now 40,000 strong, then defeated an 8000-man Egyptian relief force led by British officer William Hicks at Sheikan, in the battle of El Obeid. The defeat of Hicks sealed the fate of Darfur, which until then had been effectively defended by Rudolf Carl von Slatin. Jabal Qadir in the south was also taken. The western half of Sudan was now firmly in Ansārī hands.

Their success emboldened the Hadendoa, who under the generalship of Osman Digna wiped out a smaller force of Egyptians under the command of Colonel Valentine Baker near the Red Sea port of Suakin. Major-General Gerald Graham was sent with a force of 4000 British soldiers and defeated Digna at El Teb on February 29, but were themselves hard-hit two weeks later at Tamai. Graham eventually withdrew his forces.
[edit] Khartoum
Main article: Mahdist War

Given their general lack of interest in the area, the British decided to abandon the Sudan in December 1883, holding only several northern towns and Red Sea ports, such as Khartoum, Kassala, Sannar, and Sawakin. The evacuation of Egyptian troops and officials and other foreigners from Sudan was assigned to General Gordon, who had been reappointed governor general with orders to return to Khartoum and organize a withdrawal of the Egyptian garrisons there.
[edit] Arrival of Gordon

Gordon reached Khartoum in February 1884. At first he was greeted with jubilation as many of the tribes in the immediate area were at odds with the Mahdists. Transportation northward was still open and the telegraph lines intact. However, the uprising of the Beja soon after his arrival changed things considerably, reducing communications to runners.

Gordon considered the routes northward to be too dangerous to extricate the garrisons and so pressed for reinforcements to be sent from Cairo to help with the withdrawal. He also suggested that his old enemy Al-Zubayr Rahma Mansur, a fine military commander, be given tacit control of the Sudan in order to provide a counter to the Ansār. London rejected both proposals, and so Gordon prepared for a fight.

In March 1884, Gordon tried a small offensive to clear the road northward to Egypt but a number of the officers in the Egyptian force went over to the enemy and their forces fled the field after firing a single salvo. This convinced him that he could carry out only defensive operations and he returned to Khartoum to construct defensive works.

By April 1884, Gordon had managed to evacuate some 2500 of the foreign population that were able to make the trek northwards. His mobile force under Colonel Stewart then returned to the city after repeated incidents where the 200 or so Egyptian forces under his command would turn and run at the slightest provocation.
[edit] Siege

That month the Ansār reached Khartoum and Gordon was completely cut off. Nevertheless, his defensive works, consisting mainly of mines, proved so frightening to the Ansār that they were unable to penetrate into the city. Stewart maintained a number of small skirmishes using gunboats on the Nile once the waters rose, and in August managed to recapture Berber for a short time. However, Stewart was killed soon after in another foray from Berber to Dongola, a fact Gordon only learned about in a letter from the Mahdi himself.

Under increasing pressure from the public to support him, the British Government under Prime Minister Gladstone eventually ordered Lord Garnet Joseph Wolseley to relieve Gordon. He was already deployed in Egypt due to the attempted coup there earlier, and was able to form up a large force of infantry, moving forward at an extremely slow rate. Realizing they would take some time to arrive, Gordon pressed for him to send forward a "flying column" of camel-borne troops across the Bayyudah Desert from Wadi Halfa under the command of Brigadier-General Sir Herbert Stuart. This force was attacked by the Hadendoa Beja, or "Fuzzy Wuzzies", twice, first at the Battle of Abu Klea and two days later nearer Metemma. Twice the British square held and the Mahdists were repelled with heavy losses.

At Metemma, 100 miles (160 km) north of Khartoum, Wolseley's advance guard met four of Gordon's steamers, sent down to provide speedy transport for the first relieving troops. They gave Wolseley a dispatch from Gordon claiming that the city was about to fall. However, only moments later a runner brought in a message claiming the city could hold out for a year. Deciding to believe the latter, the force stopped while they refit the steamers to hold more troops.
[edit] Fall of Khartoum

They finally arrived in Khartoum on 28 January 1885 to find the town had fallen during the Battle of Khartoum two days earlier. When the Nile had receded from flood stage, Faraz Pasha had opened the river gates and let the Ansār in. The garrison was slaughtered, and Gordon was killed fighting the Mahdi's warriors on the steps of the palace, hacked to pieces and beheaded which the Mahdi forbade. When Gordon's head was unwrapped at the Mahdi's feet, he ordered the head transfixed between the branches of a tree "....where all who passed it could look in disdain, children could throw stones at it and the hawks of the desert could sweep and circle above." When Wolseley's force arrived, they retreated after attempting to force their way to the center of the town on ships, being met with a hail of fire.

The Mahdi Army continued its sweep of victories. Kassala and Sannar fell soon after and by the end of 1885 the Ansār had begun to move into the southern regions of Sudan. In all Sudan, only Suakin, reinforced by Indian troops, and Wadi Halfa on the northern frontier remained in Anglo-Egyptian hands.
[edit] Mahdiyah
[edit] Modifications of Sharia

With Sudan now in Sudanese hands, the Mahdi formed a government. The Mahdiyya (Mahdist regime) modified the Shariah, (Islamic law) which would be implemented by Islamic courts headed by various Islamic imams, in accordance with the view of an Islamic state. The courts enforced a Sharia law that the Mahdi claimed was founded on instructions conveyed to him by God in visions.

According to this doctrine loyalty to him was essential to true belief. The recitation of the shahada was modified to include and Muhammad Ahmad is the Mahdi of God and the representative of His Prophet. Among the five pillars, service in the "jihād" replaced the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) as a duty incumbent on the faithful (though Jihad-warfare is central to orthodox Islam, it is not considered one of the five pillars of faith).

He also authorized the burning of lists of pedigrees and books of law and theology because of their association with the old regime and because he believed that they accentuated tribalism at the expense of religious unity.
[edit] Death of Muhammad Ahmad and his succession
The rebuilt tomb of Muhammad Ahmad in Omdurman

Six months after the capture of Khartoum, Muhammad Ahmad died of typhus. He was buried in Omdurman. The Mahdi had planned for this eventuality and chosen three deputies to replace him, in imitation of the Prophet Muhammad. This led to a long period of disarray, due to rivalry among the three, each supported by people of his native region. This continued until 1891, when Abdallahi ibn Muhammad, with the help primarily of the Baqqara Arabs, emerged as unchallenged leader. Abdallahi, referred to as the "Khalifa" (Caliph, lit. "successor"), purged the Mahdiyya of members of the Mahdi's family and many of his early religious disciples.

The "Khalifa" was committed to the Mahdi's vision of extending the Mahdiyah through jihād, which led to strained relations with practically everyone else. For example, the "Khalifa" rejected an offer of an alliance against the Europeans by Ethiopia's Emperor, Yohannes IV. Instead, in 1887 a 60,000-man Ansar army invaded Ethiopia, penetrated as far as Gonder, and captured prisoners and booty. The Khalifa then refused to conclude peace with Ethiopia.

In March 1889, an Ethiopian force commanded personally by the Nəgusa nagast (Emperor, lit. "King of Kings") marched on Gallabat; however, after Yohannes IV fell in battle, the Ethiopians withdrew.

After the final defeat of the Khalifa by the British under General Kitchener, Muhammad Ahmad's tomb was destroyed and his bones were thrown into the Nile. Kitchener retained his skull.[17] Allegedly the skull was later buried at Wadi Halfa. The tomb was eventually rebuilt.
[edit] Aftermath
[edit] Political heritage
FIAV 111111.svg Flag ratio: 1:2

In modern-day Sudan, Muhammad Ahmad is sometimes seen as a precursor of Sudanese nationalism. The Umma party claim to be his political descendants[18]. Their leader Imam Sadiq al-Mahdi, is also the imam of the Ansar, the religious order that pledges allegiance to Muhammad Ahmad. Sadiq al-Mahdi was Prime Minister of Sudan on two occasions: first briefly in 1966–67, and then between 1986 and 1989.
[edit] Religious heritage

As Sayyid Al Imaam Isa Al Haadi Al Mahdi more commonly known as Dr. Malachi Z. York leader of the Nuwaubian movement, Ansaaruallah community, Brooklyn, New York. Once claimed association with the Ansar of Sudan while he was teaching as a Muslim, yet no longer a Muslim, he still rumor claims to be the great grandson of Muhammad Ahmad and cousin to Sadiq Al Mahdi through his fathers lineage.
[edit] In popular culture

    * In the 1966 movie Khartoum, the Mahdi was played by Laurence Olivier.
    * In the British sitcom, Dad's Army, Lance Corporal Jones often talks about his encounters with the Madhi.
    * A 2007 episode of the crime drama Waking the Dead featured an attempt to locate the Mahdi's missing skull, in order to diffuse tensions due to the hunger strike of a Sudanese Mahdist politician. The episode also made reference to the 1966 film in particular reference to Olivier's portrayal of the Mahdi.
    * In Desert and Wilderness, a young adult novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz (1912)
    * In the 1999 film Topsy-Turvy, characters discuss the news of the Mahdi's destruction of the British garrison at Khartoum.
    * Mahdi-Trilogie (Mahdi Trilogy, 1896) by Karl May, where Kara Ben Nemsi meets Muhammad Ahmad.

[edit] See also

El Mahdi see Mahdi, El
Muhammad Ahmad see Mahdi, El
Ahmad, Muhammad see Mahdi, El
Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah see Mahdi, El
Muhammad Ahmed Al Mahdi see Mahdi, El
Muhammad Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah al-Mahdi see Mahdi, El

Mahdi li-Din Allah Ahmad, al-
Mahdi li-Din Allah Ahmad, al-. Title and name of a number of Zaydi Imams of Yemen, occurring in the thirteenth, fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Mahdi, ‘Ubayd Allah al-
Mahdi, ‘Ubayd Allah al- ('Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi) (Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah) (Said ibn Husayn) (Abdul'Allah al-Mahdi Billah) (873-934).  First “manifested” Isma‘ili Imam and the first caliph of the Fatimid dynasty in Ifriqiya  (r.910- 934).

Said ibn Husayn is considered the founder of the Fatimid dynasty, the only major Shi'ite caliphate in Islam, and established Fatimid rule throughout much of North Africa.

After establishing himself as the first imam of the Fatimid dynasty Al-Mahdi 'Ubayd Allah made claim to genealogic origins dating as far back as Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, through Husayn, Fatima's son, and Isma'il. It was at this time as well that he changed his name from Said ibn Husayn to 'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi.  

'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi began his conquest by establishing his headquarters at Salamiyah and began riding towards northwestern Afric, which at the time was under Aghlabid rule, following the propagandist success of his chief dai', Abu 'Abdullah al-Husayn al-Shi'i.  Al-Shi'i, along with laying claim to being the precursor to the Mahdi, was instrumental in sowing the seeds of sedition among the Berber tribes of North Africa, specifically the Kutamah tribe.  

It was al-Shi'i success which was the signal to 'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi who set off from Salamyah disguised as a merchant.  However, he was captured by the Aghlabid ruler Ziyadat-Allah and thrown into a dungeon in Sijilmasa.  Al-Shi'i was then required to rescue 'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi in 909 after which the Aghlabid dynasty, the last stronghold of Sunni Islam in North Africa, was expelled from the region.

'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi established himself at the former Aghlabid residence at Raqqdah, a suburb of al-Qayrawan in Tunisia.  Two years after he achieved power, 'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi had his missionary commander al-Shi'i executed.  After that his power only grew.  At the time of his death, he had extended his reign to Morocco of the Idrisids, as well as Egypt itself.  In 920, 'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi took up residence at the newly established capital of the empire, Al-Mahdiyyah, which he founded on the Tunisian coast sixteen miles southeast of al-Qayrawan, and which he named after himself.  

After his death, 'Ubayd Allah was succeeded by his son, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad al-Qaim, who continued his expansionist policy.

Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah see Mahdi, ‘Ubayd Allah al-
Said ibn Husayn see Mahdi, ‘Ubayd Allah al-
'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi see Mahdi, ‘Ubayd Allah al-

Mahdiyya, al-
Mahdiyya, al- (Mahdiyah).  Movement in the Egyptian Sudan, launched in 1881 by Muhammad al-Mahdi for the reform of Islam.  It was continued by ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Ta‘a’ishi and came to an end in 1898 with the battle of Karrari, often called the battle of Omdurman.

The mahdiyya was a politico-religious movement which, in the last twenty years of the nineteenth century, dominated the northern territories of the present day Democratic Republic of the Sudan and which aimed initially to reform worldwide Islam, but which was ultimately realized in the formation of a territorial state along the Nile.  Although its fortunes and ideals changed with the fluctuating political conditions within and outside the Sudan, the movement -- popularly called the Mahdiyah after its founder -- succeeded in creating symbols and evoking an ethos that had lasting importance to Sudanese identity.

Turco-Egyptian rule of the Nilotic Sudan, which had been established by the armies of the Egyptian viceroy Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha from 1820 to 1822, began to unravel with the spread of a revolutionary movement led by Muhammad ‘Ahmad al-Sayyid ‘Abd Allah, a shaykh of the Sammaniyah Sufi brotherhood originally from the region of Dongola, who in 1881 declared himself to be the “Expected Mahdi” (al-Mahdi al-Muntazar) and called for the overthrow of Turkish rule.  Muhammad Ahmad’s millenarian message of an age of justice and equity prior to the end of time was readily accepted by a Sudanese people suffering the dislocating effects of Turco-Egyptian rule.  Moreover, the timing of the Mahdi’s manifestation at the end of the thirteenth Islamic century accorded with messianic expectations long held across the Sudanic belt of Africa and along the Nile River Valley.  Asserting his conformity with Sunni doctrines of the Mahdi contained in the authoritative hadith literature (doctrines numerous and contradictory enough to establish almost any claim), Muhammad Ahmad confounded his critics from the ‘ulama’, and his military successess against government troops sent to arrest him enhanced his credibitlity among both sedentary and nomadic populations.  After an initial vicotry in August 1881 at his base on Aba Island, the Mahdi moved from the White Nile region to the more defensible highlands of the Nuba Mountains in the west-central province of Kordofan.  In a deliberate reference to the Prophet's own experience, the Mahdi termed this withdrawal a Hijrah and named his followers ansar (“helpers”), while calling for a jihad against all “unbelievers” who opposed him.  The name of his sanctuary in Kordofan, Jabal Qadir, was changed to Massa in further conformity to messianic tradition.  Two more government expeditions sent to capture him were defeated in 1881 and 1882.  As pastoral Arab tribesmen of the west (Baqqara) flocked to his banner, the Mahdi laid seige to the provincial capital al-Ubayyid, which surrendered in January 1883.  After destroying a British-commanded Egyptian force at Shaykan in Kordofan in November 1883, the Mahdi accepted the surrender of the remaining Egyptian garrisons in the west.  By early 1884, he was effectively in command of at least the northern provinces of the Egyptian Sudan.  The capital city Khartoum alone held out against the Mahdi’s forces, but after the fall of the city of Berber in May 1884 and the closure of the Nile escape route, Khartoum’s fate was sealed.  On January 25, 1885, Khartoum was taken, its British governor General Charles Gordon being killed in the fighting.  The Mahdi next retired to his army’s encampment at Omdurman on the western bank of the Nile, anxious to avoid the spiritual contamination of “the city of the Turks.”  Six months later he was dead, the victim of a sudden illness (typhus), and his body was laid to rest in Omdurman.  His tomb (al-Qubbah) towered over the city, a reminder of the Mahdi’s teachings and a symbol of the movement he had launched.

The man who assumed the leadership of the Mahdist state, ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad of the Ta‘a’ishah Baqqarah, had been one of the Mahdi’s earliest followers as well as his most powerful general, commanding the huge western tribal levies.  In official Mahdist ideology, the Mahdi had represented the successor to the prophet Muhammad (Khalifat Rasul Allah), while ‘Abd Allah represented the successor to the first caliph, Abu Bakr (Khalifat al-Siddiq).  Two further leaders, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Hilw of the White Nile Arabs and the Mahdi’s cousin Muhammad Sharif ibn Hamid, respectively represented the successors to the caliphs ‘Umar (Khalifat al-Faruq) and ‘Ali (Khalifat al-Karrar).  (Succession to the caliph ‘Uthman, offered to Muhammad al-Mahdi of the Libyan Sanusiyah, was declined.)

‘Abd Allah’s identification as khalifat al-siddiq helped solve the ideological problem of the Mahdi’s premature death.  However, the more practical problems of governing the Sudan plagued Khalifah ‘Abd Allah throughout his reign.  On two occasions, in 1886 and 1891, he faced overt challenges to his leadership from the Mahdi’s jealous kinsmen the Ashraf, led by the junior khalifah Muhammad Sharif.  Throughout the period, an underlying tension between the settled riverine population (awlad al-balad) and the western pastoralists who had emigrated to the Nile (awlad al-Arab) eroded the Mahdist ideal of a unified community and intensified economic and political competition within the state.  A famine in the years 1888-1890, originating in natural causes but exacerbated by the Khalifah’s policy of forced migration to the capital, decimated the population.  Meanwhile the Khalifah’s tendency to concentrate authority in his own hands and those of his brother, Amir Ya‘qub, robbed his subordinates of needed initiative and led to serious administrative failings.  The institutional development of the state did not advance much beyond what the Mahdiyah had inherited from the previous regime (many Mahdist officials had in fact earlier served the Turks) , and leadership of both the judiciary and the state treasury often fell victim to political expediency.  Finally, the jihad itself, the original raison d’etre of the Mahdiyah, came to an effective end with the destruction of a Mahdist army by the Anglo-Egyptians at Tushki, north of Wadi Halfa, in August 1889.  Although fighting continued along the state’s borders for the remainder of the period, no further effort was made to export the Mahdist movement.

To his credit, the Khalifah was able to convince most Sudanese of his personal integrity long after they had grown disaffected with his regime.  His status as Khalifat al-Mahdi continued to carry supreme moral and political authority.  However, just as the Mahdiyah was beginning to coalesce into a socio-religious and political order, foreign powers were planning its destruction.  An Anglo-Egyptian invasion of the Sudan, carried out on behalf of larger British imperial interests, began with the occupation of Dongola province in 1896.  Within a year, a railway had been built across the Nubian desert, safeguarding Anglo-Egyptian supply lines, and the invasion proceeded steadily up the Nile.  The end of the Mahdiyah came at the battle of Karari, north of Omdurman, on September 2, 1898.  The Khalifah himself survived the battle and fled with a small following into Kordofan, only to be hunted down and killed by a British force one year later.  For the next fifty-six years, the Sudan was ruled by an Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, though Mahdist belief persisted.  F. R. Wingate, governor-general from 1899 to 1916, was regarded by some former ansar as the Anti-Christ (al-Dajjal), who in theory was supposed to follow the Mahdi; and numerous neo-Mahdist revolts erupted in the first two decades of the new regime.

Viewed in the context of modern Sudanese history, the Mahdiyah represents an acceleration of the ongoing process of arabization and islamization, as the Mahdi’s practice of Islam -- essentially the normative Islam of the riverine population -- was adopted by other Sudanese peoples.  With the creation of powerful symbols of common identity (e.g., the Mahdi as leader and Omdurman as capital), a degree of national coherence was imparted to the otherwise disparate provinces of the region.  The obvious legacy of the period was the Ansar religious movement, established by the Mahdi’s posthumous son ‘Abd al-Rahman (1885-1959), and its political branch the Ummah Party (founded in 1945).  Both derive their chief support from the former Mahdist strongholds of Kordofan, Darfur, and White Nile provinces, though reverence for the Mahdi’s family and observance of his collection of prayers (ratib) are common throughout the northern Sudan.  In a wider context, the Mahdiyah has been interpreted variously as a fundamentalist movement within the Islamic tradition of reform and renewal, a proto-nationalist and anti-colonial movement, or even an example of “Semitic messianism.”

Mahdiyah see Mahdiyya, al-

Mahfouz, Naguib
Mahfouz, Naguib (Naguib Mahfouz) (Nagīb Maḥfūẓ) (December 11, 1911 - August 30, 2006).  Nobel Prize winning Egyptian writer.  Naguib Mahfouz was born on December 11, 1911 in the Gamaliya quarter of Cairo.  He was named after Professor Naguib Pasha Mahfouz, the renowned Coptic physician who delivered him.

Mahfouz was born into an ordinary family, as the youngest of seven children.  The Mahfouz family lived in two popular districts of the town, in el-Gamaleyya, from where they moved in 1924 to el-Abbaseyya, then a new Cairo suburb, both provided the backdrop for many of Mahfouz's writings.  His father, whom Mahfouz described as having been "old fashioned", was a civil servant and Mahfouz eventually followed in his father's footsteps.  In his childhood, Mahfouz read extensively.  His mother often too him to museums and Egyptian history later became a major theme in many of his books.

Mahfouz was educated at King Fuad I University (now University of Cairo).  While he studied, he wrote for professional journals, and after graduating he started writing fiction and published more than 80 short stories in less than six years.  

A longtime civil servant, Mahfouz served in the Ministry of Mortmain Endowments, then as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art, Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and, finally, as a consultant to the Ministry of Culture.  

While working at the Ministry of Religious Affairs from 1939 to 1954, he published three volumes of Pharaonic novels.  After that he started writing novels of social realism, as well as screenplays for films.  

Mahfouz wrote in strict Modern Standard Arabic.  His style was clear cut, focusing mainly on stories from everyday life, without much in the way of moralizing lectures, free from ideology and seldom with a liberal use of symbolism.

Mahfouz’s aim with writing was to tell a good story, to preserve a moment in history and to present true people for readers in a distant future.  However, beginning in the 1960s, Mahfouz experimented with more complex styles and symbolism.  This production was not counted among his best and also only managed to reach a small audience.

His main work was the Cairo Trilogy (Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street) which was finished in 1952, but was first published in 1956 and 1957.  This trilogy has been compared to Dickens and Dostoyevsky in large part due to the way Mahfouz depicts the city where the stories take place.

Many of Mahfouz's novels were first published in serialized form, including Children of Gebelawi and Midaq Alley which was adapted into a Mexican film starring Salma Hayek (El callejon de los milagros).

Children of Gebelawi (1959), one of Mahfouz's best known works, was banned in Egypt for alleged blasphemy over its allegorical portrayal of God and the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  

Mahfouz is the most read Arabic novelist outside the Arabic world, but has had a declining audience in Arab countries.  He was honored with the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature.  After supporting president Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel in 1979, Mahfouz had his books banned in some Arab countries.

In 1989, after the fatwa for apostasy was issued against Salman Rushdie, a blind Egyptian cleric, Omar Abdul-Rahman, told a journalist that if Mahfouz had been punished for writing Children of Gebelawi, Rushdie would not have dared publish his.  Sheikh Omar always maintained that this was not a fatwa, but in 1994 Islamic extremists, believing that it had been one, attempted to assassinate the then 82 year old Mahfouz, stabbing him in the neck outside his Cairo home.  He survived and lived afterward under constant bodyguard protection.   

The major works of Naguib Mahfouz are: The Whisper of Madness (1938); Mockery of the Fates (1939); Modern Cairo (1945); Khan al-Khalili (1945); Middaq Alley (1947); Beginning and End (1950); Cairo Trilogy (1952); Children of Gebelawi (1959); The Thief and the Dogs (1961); Quail and Autumn (1962); Chatting on the Nile (1966); Miramar (1967); Mirrors (1972); al-Karnak (1974); and Love and the Veil (1980). Many of these works have been translated into several languages, including Hebrew.

In July 2006, Mahfouz was taken to intensive care after an injury to his head upon falling.  He died at the age of 94 on August 30, 2006 in a Cairo hospital..

The works of Naguib Mahfouz include:

    * Old Egypt (1932)
    * Whisper of Madness (1938)
    * Mockery of the Fates (1939)   
    * Rhadopis of Nubia (1943)
    * The Struggle of Thebes (1944)
    * Modern Cairo (1945)
    * Khan El-Khalili (1945)  
    * Midaq Alley (1947)
    * The Mirage (1948)
    * The Beginning and The End (1950)
    * Cairo Trilogy (1956–57)
    * Palace Walk (1956)
    * Palace of Desire (1957)
    * Sugar Street (1957)
    * Children of Gebelawi (1959)
    * The Thief and the Dogs (1961)
    * Quail and Autumn (1962)
    * God's World (1962)
    * Zaabalawi (1963)
    * The Search (1964)
    * The Beggar (1965)
    * Adrift on the Nile (1966)
    * Miramar (1967)
    * The Pub of the Black Cat (1969)
    * A story without a beginning or an ending (1971)
    * The Honeymoon (1971)
    * Mirrors (1972)
    * Love under the rain (1973)
    * The Crime (1973)
    * al-Karnak (1974)
    * Respected Sir (1975)
    * The Harafish (1977)
    * Love above the Pyramid Plateau (1979)
    * The Devil Preaches (1979)
    * Love and the Veil (1980)   
    * Arabian Nights and Days (1981)
    * Wedding Song (1981)
    * One hour remains (1982)
    * The Journey of Ibn Fattouma (1983)
    * Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth (1985)
    * The Day the Leader was Killed (1985)     
    * Speaking the morning and evening (1987)        
    * Fountain and Tomb (1988)
    * Echoes of an Autobiography (1994)
    * Dreams of the Rehabilitation Period (2004)        
    * The Seventh Heaven (2005)

Naguib Mahfouz see Mahfouz, Naguib
Nagib Mahfuz see Mahfouz, Naguib
Mahfuz, Nagib see Mahfouz, Naguib

Mahjar, al-
Mahjar, al- (in plural form, al-mahajir).  Name given in Arabic to places in North, Middle and South America to which Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian and other Arabs have emigrated (in Arabic, hajara).

Al-Mahjar is a term that refers to the lands of diaspora of Arabs, around the world.  It can also be a general term for the diaspora.  The New York Pen League of Arab poets in the United States, which included writers like Ameen Rihani and Khalil Gibran, was often referred to as Al-Mahjar.

Mahjar is a term that refers to the lands of diaspora of Arabs,around the world. It can also be a general term for the diaspora. The New York Pen League of Arab poets in the United States, which included writers like Ameen Rihani and Khalil Gibran, was often referred to as Al-Mahjar.

Mahajir, al- see Mahjar, al-

Mahmoud, Adel
Adel Mahmoud (b. August 24, 1941, Cairo, Egypt – d. June 11, 2018, New York City, New York) was an Egyptian-born American doctor and expert in infectious diseases.  He was credited with developing the HPV and rotavirus vaccines while serving as president of Merck Vaccines.  After retiring from Merck he became a professor at Princeton University.  
Mahmoud was born on August 24, 1941 in Cairo, Egypt.  His father Abdelfattah Mahmoud, who worked as an agricultural engineer, died of pneumonia when Adel was ten. Adel had been sent to buy penicillin, but when he rushed home his father had already died. He was profoundly influenced by the experience. Mahmoud graduated from the University of Cairo in 1963 with an M.D. His mother, Fathia Osman, had been accepted by the university's medical school but was prevented from attending by her brother, who thought women should not be doctors.
While a university student, Mahmood actively participated in politics and served as a leader in the youth move
ment of President Gamal Abdel Nasser.  As the political climate changed, he moved to the United Kingdom to continue his education, and earned a Ph.D. from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1971. In 1973, he emigrated to the United States and became a postdoctoral researcher at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, and eventually rose to chair the university's Department of Medicine in 1987.
In 1988, Merck & Co. recruited Mahmoud as president of its vaccine division. During his tenure, Mahmoud oversaw the development of several vaccines important to public health, including the rotavirus vaccine and the HPV vaccine.  The former prevents potentially fatal diarrhea for young children caused by rotavirus, while the latter (Gardasil) prevents several cancers, most importantly cervix cancer, caused by the human papillomavirus.  His role was considered pivotal as he overcame significant doubt about the viability of the vaccines and succeeded in bringing them to market.
After retiring from Merck in 2006, Mahmoud became a policy analyst at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University in 2007, and professor of Princeton's Department of Molecular Biology in 2011.
On June 11, 2018, Mahmoud died from a brain hemorrhage at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City.
Mahmoud met Dr. Sally Hodder, also an infectious-disease expert, at Case Western Reserve in 1976. They married in 1993. He had a stepson, Jay Thornton.
Mahmoud had a sister, Olfat Abdelfattah, and a brother, Mahmoud Abdelfattah, both doctors.

Mahmud.  Name that was borne by many Islamic personages, among them a great number of sultans and rulers, especially in India.

In Bengal: Mahmud I Nasir al-Din (r. 1442-1459); Mahmud II Nasir al-Din (r. 1459); Mahmud III Ghiyath al-Din (r. 1533-1538).

In the Deccan: Mahmud Shihab al-Din (b. 1479), ruler of the Bahmani dynasty from 1482 to 1518.

In Delhi: Mahmud I Nasir al-Din (r. 1246-1266); Mahmud II Nasir al-Din (r. 1394-1399).

In Gujarat: Mahmud I Sayf al-Din Begarha (Begra) (r. 1459-1511); Mahmud II Nasir Khan (r. 1526); Mahmud III Abu’l-Futuhat (r. 1537-1554).

In Jaunpur: Mahmud Shah Sharqi (r. 1440-1458).

In Malwa (India): Mahmud Khalji I (r. 1434-1469); Mahmud Khalji II (r. 1511-1531).

In Uttar Pradesh: Mahmud Khan Nasir al-Din (d. 1410), the founder of the Kalpi dynasty which lasted from 1389 to 1443.

Among the Ottoman Sultans: Mahmud I Ghazi (r. 1730-1754) and Mahmud II (r. 1808-1839), who was known as a westernizing reformer.

Mahmudabad.  Leading Shi‘a family of north India under the Mughals, the kings of Awadh and the British from the fourteenth to the twentieth century.

Mahmud ibn Muhammad ibn Malik-Shah
Mahmud ibn Muhammad ibn Malik-Shah (Mahmud II ibn Muhammad ibn Malik-Shah) (d.1131).  Great Saljuq sultan in western Persia and Iraq (r.1118-1131).  A just ruler, he is known for his Arabic scholarship, rare among the Saljuq rulers, and for his patronizing many of the leading poets of his time.  

Mahmud II proclaimed himself the Saljuq (Seljuk) sultan of Baghdad in 1118 following the death of Mehmed I (probably Mahmud's father).  Mahmud fought agains the Saljuq Sultan of Khorasan, Ahmed Sanjar, whom Mehmed I had revolted against in 1105.  Mahmud was succeeded by Dawud.
Mahmud II ibn Muhammad ibn Malik-Shah see Mahmud ibn Muhammad ibn Malik-Shah

Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin
Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin (Mahmud of Ghazna) (Mahmud of Ghazni) (Yamin al-Dawlah Mahmud) (Yamin al-Dawlah 'Abd al-Qasim Mahmud ibn Sebuk Tegin)  (November 2, 971 - April 30, 1030).  Ghaznavid ruler (r.998-1030).  During his long reign, he almost ceaselessly campaigned over a vast expanse of southern Asia, particularly in India.  He assembled an empire greater than any known in eastern Islam since the decline of the ‘Abbasids.  His centralized, despotic machinery of state typifies the Perso-Islamic “power-state.”  His court was a congenial center for the scientist al-Biruni and for leading poets such as Farrukhi, ‘Unsuri and, for a short time, Firdawsi.

Mahmud's grandfather was Alptigin, a Turkic slave-guard of the Samanids in Balkh who crossed the Hindu Kush mountains to seize Ghazni from the declining Samanid kingdom, located strategically on the road between Kabul and Kandahar.  Alptigin was succeeded in 977 by his Turkic slave and son-in-law, Sebuktigin, father of Mahmud, who enlarged upon Alptigin's conquests, extending his domain north to Balkh, west to Kandahar including most of Khorasan, and east to the Indus River.  According to Ferishta, Mahmoud's mother was a Persian noble from Zabulistan.

In 994, Mahmud was engaged with his father Sebuktigin in the capture of Khorasan from the rebel Fa'iq in aid of the Samanid Emir Nuh II.  During this period the Samanid state became highly unstable, with shifting internal political tides as various factions vied for control, chief being Abu'l-Qasim Simjuri, Fa'iq, Abu 'Ali, the General Behtuzun as well as the neighboring Buyid and Qarakhanids.

Sebuktigin was recognized by the Caliph in Baghdad as governor of his dominions.  He died in 997, and was succeeded by his younger son Sultan Isma'il of Ghazni.  Mahmud rebelled against his younger brother, Sultan Isma'il of Ghazni, and took over the Ghazni as the new sultan.

Mahmud's first campaign was against the Qarakhanid Empire in the North to his Empire.  After his defeat, he had to enlist the alliance of Seljuk Turks in southern Soghdia and Khwarazm and diplomatically secure his north by 998.  In 999, under the reign of 'Abd al-Malik II, the Samanids engaged in hostilities with Mahmud over Khorasan after political alliances shifted under a new Samanid Emir.  These forces were defeated when the Qarakhanids under Nasr Khan invaded them from the North even as Fa'iq died.  He then solicited an alliance and cemented it by marrying Nasr Khan's daughter.

Mahmud's first campaign to the south was against the Isma'ili Fatimid Kingdom at Multan in a bid to curry political favor and recognition with the 'Abbasid Caliphate engaged with the Fatimids elsewhere.  Raja Jayapala of the Hindu Shahi Dynasty of Gandhara attempted to gain of Ghazni under Mahmud's father in the late 980s that had cost him extensive territory, but was again defeated.  His son Anandapala succeeded him and continued the struggle, assembling a powerful confederacy which was defeated once more at Lahore in 1008 bringing Mahmud control of the Hindu Shahi dominions of Updhanpura.  

According to the writings of al-Biruni, Soghidan, Uyghur and Manichean texts the Buddhists, Hindus and Jains were accepted as People of the Book and references to Buddha as Burxan or as a prophet can be found.  After the initial destruction and pillage Buddhists, Jains and Hindus were granted protected subject status as dhimmis.

Following the defeat of the Rajput Confederacy, after deciding to teach them all a lesson for combining against him, discovering that they were rich, and that their temples were great repositories of wealth, Mahmud set out on regular expeditions against them, leaving the conquered kingdoms in the hands of Hindu vassals annexing the Punjab region.   

Mahmud had relationships with the leadership in Balkh through marriage.  Balkh's local Emir, Abu Nasr Mohammad, offered his services to the Sultan and his daughter to Mahmud's son, Muhammad.  After Nasr's death Mahmud brought Balkh under his leadership.  This alliance greatly helped him during his expeditions into Northern India.

The Indian kingdoms of Nagarkot, Thanesar, Kanauj, Gwalior, and Ujjain were all conquered and left in the hands of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist kings as vassal states.  Mahmud was pragmatic enough not to shirk making alliances and enlisting local peoples into his armies at all ranks.

The later invasions of Mahmud were specifically directed to temple towns (Nagarkot, Thanesar, Mathura, Kanauj, Kalinjar and Somnath) as Indian temples were depositories of great wealth, in golden idols, diamonds, and jewelry.  Mahmud's armies stripped the temples of their wealth and then destroyed them at Varanasi, Ujjain, Maheshwar, Jwalamukhi, and Dwarka.

The last four years of Mahmud's life were spent contending with the influx of Oghuz Turkic horse tribes from Central Asia, the Buyid Dynasty and rebellions by Seljuqs.

Sultan Mahmud died on April 30, 1030 in Ghazni at the age of 59.  Mahmud had contracted malaria during his last invasion.  The medical complication from malaria caused lethal tuberculosis.  He had been a gifted military commander, and during his rule, universities were founded to study various subjects such as mathematics, religion, the humanities, and medicine.  Islam was the main religion of his kingdom and the Hanafi school thought favored. The Perso-Afghan dialect Dari was made the official language.  Mahmud's mausoleum is located at Ghazni (in modern Afghanistan).   

Mahmud of Ghazna was the most important ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty and, according to the contemporary political scientist Nizam al-Mulk, the first Islamic “sultan.”  He succeeded in 998 to the command of all the territories his father Sebuktigin had administered from Ghazna in central Afghanistan on the Samanids’ behalf.  After he took Khurasan from the Buyids in 999, his authority was recognized by the caliph al-Qadir.  Thus, his line was established as an independent line.

Of greater historical significance, however, were Mahmud’s continuous campaigns to the Punjab and parts of Sind, campaigns that opened a new era of Muslim expansion into the the Indian subcontinent.  These conquests, along with his taxation policies in Khurasan, have made Mahmud a controversial figure.  Mahmud is frequently criticized for his desecration of temples and for his enslavement of many people as plunder.  Mahmud is also accused of attempting to convert non-Muslims by force.  However, what is  undisputed is Mahmud's success at building the largest empire of its day, extending from central Iran through Afghanistan and into northern India.

Mahmud supported Sunni causes, patronized poetry and learning, and built magnificent palaces, apparently motivated, however, more by convention than conviction.  Nonetheless, he achieved nearly legendary status in literary and folk traditions.

Today, in Afghanistan, Mahmud is celebrated as a national hero and a great patron of the arts, architecture and literature as well as a vanguard of Islam and a paragon of virtue and piety.

In modern Pakistan, he is hailed as a conquering hero who established the standard of Islam upon heathen land, while in India he may be depicted as raiding iconoclastic invader, bent upon the loot and plunder of a peaceful Hindu population.  Conversion to Islam of the native population also became a controversial topic with the versions of sword enforced mass conversions versus inspirational missionary activity.  With the rise of Hindutva and the partition of India, a lot more attention has been focused on casualties, temple destructions, slavery and forced conversions to Islam than before.  This controversy has been further stoked by the depictions of teh historical Mahmud as either a hero or a villain by the polarization of nationalist or ideological orientations.

Iranians remember Mahmud as an Orthodox Sunni who was responsible for the revival of the Persian culture by commissioning and appointing Persians to high offices in his administration as ministers, viziers and generals.  In addition, Iranians remember Mahmud for the promotion and preference of Persian language.instead of Turkish and patronage of great nationalist poets and scholars such as Firdawsi, al-Biruni, and Ferishta as well as his "Lion and Sun" flag which is still a national symbol in the modern state of Iran.  

Under the reign of Mahmud, Ghazni broke away clearly from the Samanid sphere of influence and hastened their end.  While he nominally acknowledged the Abbasids as Caliph as a matter of form, he was also granted the title of Sultan as recognition of his independence.

By the end of his reign, the Ghaznavid Empire extended from Kurdistan in the west to Samarkand in the northeast, and from the Caspian Sea to the Yamama.  Although his raids carried his forces across Indian sub-continent, only the Punjab and Sindh, modern Pakistan, came under his permanent rule.

The wealth brought back to Ghazni was enormous, and contemporary historians, such as Abolfazl, Beyhaghi, and Firdawsi, give glowing descriptions of the magnificence of the capital, as well as of the conqueror's munificent support of literature.  He transformed Ghazni, the first center of Persian literature, into one of the leading cities of Central Asia, patronizing scholars, establishing colleges, laying out gardens and building mosques, palaces, and caravansaries.  He patronized Firdawsi to write the Shahnama, and after his expedition across the Gangetic plains in 1017 of al-Biruni to compose his Tarikh al-Hind in order to understand the Indians and their beliefs.

The Ghaznavid Empire was ruled by his successors for 157 years, but after Mahmud it never reached anything like the same splendor and power.  The expanding Seljuk Turkish empire absorbed most of the Ghaznavid west.  The Ghorids captured Ghazni around 1150, and Muhammad Ghori captured the last Ghaznavid stronghold at Lahore in 1187.  

Mahmud of Ghazna see Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin
Mahmud of Ghazni see Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin
Yamin al-Dawlah Mahmud see Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin
Yamin al-Dawlah 'Abd al-Qasim Mahmud ibn Sebuk Tegin see Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin

Mahmud, Mustafa
Mahmud, Mustafa (Mustafa Mahmud) (Mustafa Kamal Mahmoud Husayn) (Mostafa Mahmoud) (December 25, 1921 – October 31, 2009).  Leading Egyptian Islamist philosopher, author, and scientist.  

Many scholars argue that Islamism in the Middle East is, among other things, a reaction against Marxism and that ex-Marxists have turned increasingly to Islam as an anti-modernist ideology.  Egypt’s Mustafa Mahmud, a widely known and generally respected figure, might appear to represent just such a trend.  Mahmud rejected Marxism and distinguished himself as an Islamist.  However, he is far from an anti-modernist.  Trained as a physician, Mahmud gained prominence as an Islamic entrepreneur: scientist, television personality, author of more than sixty books, cardiologist, and founder of a successful charitable organization.  One of his early books God and Man, was censored by the regime of President Gamal Abdel Nasser for its overemphasis on “materialism.”

Raised and educated in Tanta in the Egyptian Delta, Mahmud attended medical school at Cairo University.  After graduation, he practiced medicine from 1952 to 1966.  He also began to write.  Allah wa al-insan (God and Man) was banned by a state court during the Nasser era for its materialism.

After several years of adherence to leftist, secular, and materialistic values, he gave up his medical practice to write books, including a commentary on the Qur'an. Turning to Islam after years of adhering to belief in Western values (especially secularism and materialism) and leftist modes of thought, he wrote his autobiography, Rihlati min al-shakk ila al-iman (My Journey from Doubt to Faith -- 1972), which became a national bestseller in Egypt in the1970s.  He also initiated a television program -- Al-‘ilm wa al-iman (Science and Faith) -- dedicated to the precept that Islam and science are completely compatible and self-supportive. In this television program, Mahmud portrayed the phenomena and the creatures of the natural world and attempted to prove that God was their natural cause.  This program became immensely popular with Egypt's educated middle class.

He founded the Mustafa Mahmud Society much in compliance with this theory -- in the name of Islam, to promote the general welfare, and to maintain his extensive health center. The Mustafa Mahmud Society, founded in 1975, contains an aquarium, library (for the study of Islam), observatory (to mark the precise dates for the beginning and ending of holy days), geological museum, seminar hall, health center (polyclinic) and hospital.  The society also conducts tours to Islamic monuments, presents lectures and films, and sends relief aid abroad (e.g., clothes and medicine to Afghan refugees and thousands of dollars to the Red Crescent in Sudan for victims of floods).  

Dissatisfied with the efficacy of doctors and hospitals in caring for sick people, in 1975, Mahmud raised the funds necessary to build a mosque in the upscale Muhandisin district of Cairo.  In 1979, the society’s Office of Social Services began providing socio-medical services.  By the early 1990s, approximately eight thousand families annually were receiving financial aid -- monthly stipends, medical services (related to kidney, chest, cancer, heart, and leper illnesses), aid to poor students and to blind and disabled individuals.  

Located on the main street of the upper-middle class district of Muhandisin, the Mustafa Mahmud Society links a mosque with a hospital, the former raising funds through sakat (wealth tax, alms), the latter providing health services.  Beyond local contributions, Mahmud’s activities receive special assistance from his personal friends from Gulf Arab states, providing his society with hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.  The health services these help to provide run the gamut from physical exams, blood testing, urinalysis, and diagnoses to kidney dialysis, appendectomies, CT-scans, and heart treatment.  Dental and psychological services were also provided.  In the late 1980s, a high-rise apartment building in Muhandisin was donated by a friend of Mahmud and was the society’s hospital.

The hospital had sixty beds, half of which were for charitable and low-price services.  The medical staff consists of more than ninety physicians -- perhaps the largest group among the thousands of Islamic societies throughout Egypt.  Doctors and physicians receive anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of the value of their treatment.

This capitalist enterprise founded in the name of Islam was hardly representative of the vast number of Islamic societies in Egypt, but was a model of achievement with financial benefits accruing to the staff and low-cost health care for thousands of patients.  Through these achievements, Mahmud provided tangible evidence for his theories linking Islam with scientific and socio-economic advancement.

While managing this complex of religious institutions, Mahmud continued to write and speak on television.  Among his publications are two books that have been translated into English, Marxism and Islam and Dialogue with an Atheist.  Drawing on charitable contributions by Egyptians and by Arabs from the Gulf states, Mahmud has successfully provided generous benefits to a large professional staff and low-cost health care for thousands of patients, independent of the Egyptian government.  Mahmud successfully avoided any involvement in revolutionary Islamist movements and forthrightly condemned terrorism.  Although not a member of the 'ulama', Mustafa Mahmud became one of Egypt's most influential and respected authorities on Islamic beliefs and institutions because of his reconciliation of science and faith in terms understandable to modernize Egyptians.

Mustafa Mahmud see Mahmud, Mustafa
Mostafa Mahmoud see Mahmud, Mustafa
Mahmoud, Mostafa see Mahmud, Mustafa
Mustafa Kamal Mahmoud Husayn see Mahmud, Mustafa
Husayn, Mustafa Kamal Mahmoud  see Mahmud, Mustafa

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