According to today”s edition of Egypt’s Al-Wafd, a popular political website, the latest candidate for the Egyptian presidency, Muhammad Muhammad Musa, claims he is the hidden Mahdi — a savior figure in Islamic eschatology.
After exiting from the Supreme Council for Elections, Musa said that “he is the awaited Mahdi who will liberate the Arab world, and that the anti-Christ [al-Masih al-Dajjal] appears to him daily in dreams trying to prevent him from running for the presidency and liberating the Arab countries from tyranny. He confirmed that he ran for presidency in 2005 against [ousted Egyptian president Hosni] Mubarak, but that the military intelligence service and police arrested his son in an effort to force him to withdraw from the race,” which he did.
The Mahdi, of course, is “the rightly-guided one” who, according to Islamic tradition, will come immediately before the end times to battle the evil Dajjal and make the entire world Muslim. One of his signs is that “Muhammad” must be part of his name — and Musa has it twice — or some derivation, e.g., “Ahmad.”
Nor is this some arcane fiction ignored by all. As Timothy Furnish writes over at Mahdi Watch:
Over the last 1400 years numerous claimants to the mantle of the Mahdi have arisen in both Shi`i and Sunni circles. Modern belief in the coming of the Mahdi has manifested most famously in the 1979 al-`Utaybi uprising of Sa`udi Arabia, and most recently in the ongoing Mahdist movements (some violent) in Iraq, as well as in the frequently-expressed public prayers of Iranian President Ahmadinezhad bidding the Mahdi to return and, in the larger Sunni Islamic world, by claims that Usamah bin Ladin might be the (now occulted?) Mahdi.