The Facebook Messiah?

Yesterday I blogged on a fellow arrested in Egypt for claiming to be the Mahdi. A story last night in The New Arab shed more light on this: “Egyptian ‘Facebook Messiah’ Arrested after Claiming to be Muslim Mahdi.” According to the latter, his name is Muhammad Habash and he had posted on social media–not just via a sign on his house–that he was the Mahdi, and that “helpers of the Dajjal” were hindering the promulgation of his message. Egyptian authorities arrested him for “spreading false beliefs about the Islamic religion and claiming that he was the promised Mahdi….”

The staff writers of this article do manage to admit hat “over the course of modern and medieval Islamic history, many people have claimed to be the Mahdi….” And that Egyptian security forces had arrested similar Mahdi claimants in 2020 and 2017.

As I have explained at length, and many times–starting in 2005 with my first book, Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, Their Jihads, and Osama bin Laden–the Mahdi is predicted in a number of hadiths; dozens (at least) of Muslim men over the centuries have claimed to be him; and belief in his imminent coming is held by at least 1/3 of the planet’s Muslims.

So how was Sayyid Habash spreading false beliefs? Although not in the Quran, the statements about the Mahdi by Islam’s founder are accepted by hundreds of millions in the Islamic fold. And maybe Habash really is the Mahdi–because when it comes to Islam’s militant “messiahs,” past performance may not always be indicative of future results.

By the way: if Facebook is so obsessed with preventing the spread of “disinformation,” why did its “fact checkers” allow Habash to make his eschatological claims on that platform?

The coming of the Mahdi, according to the cover of a book in my library. The dove belies the jihads he will wage.

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