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The Mahdavis

- Azmath Syed

The advent of the Promised Mehdi is a universally accepted and established concept in Islam. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) have prophesied about the advent of the Promised Mehdi, in more than three hundred traditions (sayings of the Prophet).

The Mahdavis are the believers and followers of Hazrath Syed Muhammed Jaunpuri Mehdi Al Mawood Alaihis Salam. He was born in a priestly and scholarly family in jaunpur (in present day Uttar Pradesh) India on 14th Jamada I, 847 Hijri corresponding to 9th September 1423 AD. He memorized the whole Quran at the tender age of seven and completed his religious studies at the young age of twelve, when he was proclaimed Asad ul Ulema Lion among scholars. He started preaching and called upon the people to the essence of Islam: spirituality, asceticism and the love of God, pure and simple.

In the year 887A H (1482 AD) he left Jaunpur with his family and a group of followers called the fakirs, with the intention of performing the Hajj.

He traveled through different parts of India, calling upon the people to the essence of Islam, to the selfless devotion to and love of God. In the year he sailed for Hajj from Dabhol Bandar.

After performing the hajj, in the year 901 AH (1495 AD) at Mecca, by Divine Decree he proclaimed himself the Promised Mehdi, and numerous people accepted his claim. Then he returned to India arriving at Khambait in present day Gujarat. He continued his preaching, and travlling with his group, through Rajasthan, Sindh and Baluchistan reached Farah near Khandahar in present day Afghanistan, where he passed away and left for the heavenly abode at the age of sixty three on 19 Zee Qaada 910 AH (23th April 1505 AD) and his tomb is located there.

The Mahdavis are scattered around the globe with concentration in the sub-continent. The Mahdavis are a distinct Muslim community in India with huge populations in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Also in significant numbers in Sindh and Baluchistan.

The Mahdavis basically follow the Sunni tenets of Islam, with special emphasis on asceticism and spirituality, with distinct social and religious traditions and customs centered on their Dairas, which are headed by Murshids (spiritual guides).

The teachings of the Promised Mehdi include strict adherence to the Sunnah, constant remembrance of God, complete reliance on God, Non-Devotion to world, desire for the Vision of God, Company of the righteous, charity etc., which gives them little time for anything else other than the love and devotion to God. They are the peaceful and law-abiding communities co-existing peaceful with the believers of all faiths and religions.

Some comments from reputed scholars and historians:

Maulana Abul kalam Azad, a reputed Sunni scholar and the first minister for education of the independent India, in his famous book Tazkira Aulia e hind (Treatise on the saints of India) has this to say about the life and eminence of the Promised Mehdi:

* The really practical period of Islamic teachings was started by the Mahdavia society.

* In this period, thousands of such people were seen who, for the sake of pronouncing the truth, leave all their beloved, and in the path of Allah gladly tolerated harsh oppressions which they underwent at the hands of the worshippers of falsehood.

* Syed Mohammed was a resident of Jaunpur, born in the year 847H. Even his bitter enemies acknowledge that in addition to formal education, he was matchless in continence and saintliness, and abstinence and piety.

* An occurrence fell on him and it appeared that a voice "YOU ARE THE MEHDI" (Ant'al Mehdi) was coming. He was hesitant for many years, and when the same affair kept repeating consistently, he openly declared his claim of Mehdi ABDUL QADER BADAYUNI (A renowned historian of 16th century):

[In Nija'at-ur-Rasheed]:

"I have lived among many Mahadavis. I found their pleasing manners and pleasing qualities, piety and annihilation at an exalted rank. Though they had not acquired formal education, yet I have heard from them so much about explanation of Qur'an and its subtle points regarding the hints of the Truth and elegant significance of the mystic knowledge of God (Ma'rifat), that if one wants to compile some of that as an abstract in a book, it will itself be another volume.

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