Messiah and Mahdi are One
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Messiah and Mahdi are One

A primary difference between the Ahmadi Muslims and non Ahmadi Muslims is in regards to the Messiah Mahdi being one person, with two titles. This concept is misunderstood by many and if one pays attention to the Qur’an and Ahadith, this issue becomes clear. If one needs an indepth explanation one should refer to An In Depth Analysis of the Mahdi above.

Firstly, it is clear from the Holy Qur’an that prophets are also called rightly guided Imams or leaders. Allah States:

وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ {74}

And We made them leaders who guided people by Our command, and We sent revelation to them enjoining the doing of good works, and the observing of Prayer, and the giving of alms. And they were worshippers of Us alone.(Chapter 21 Verse 74)

Now when we turn to the books of the Ahadith, all Sunni Muslims agree that Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are the two most authentic books of the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw. A topic as important as the Mahdi would have surely been included in these two compilations if the Mahdi was to be a separate person from the latter day Messiah. Both books in reality prove to us that the Messiah of the latter days would be the Imam Mahdi and it is clear that both imams did not relate the ahadith in regards to the Mahdi because of the inauthenticity of majority, which made them disregard the belief of a separate mahdi from the Messiah.

The Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw states:

حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ بُكَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ يُونُسَ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، مَوْلَى أَبِي قَتَادَةَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ كَيْفَ أَنْتُمْ إِذَا نَزَلَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ فِيكُمْ وَإِمَامُكُمْ مِنْكُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ تَابَعَهُ عُقَيْلٌ وَالأَوْزَاعِيُّ‏.‏

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said “How will you be when the son of Mary descends amongst you and is your imam among you.”(Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 658)

We find similar words in Sahih Muslim:

حَدَّثَنِي حَرْمَلَةُ بْنُ يَحْيَى، أَخْبَرَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي يُونُسُ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي نَافِعٌ، مَوْلَى أَبِي قَتَادَةَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ كَيْفَ أَنْتُمْ إِذَا نَزَلَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ فِيكُمْ وَإِمَامُكُمْ مِنْكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed: What will be your state when the son of Mary descends amongst you and is an Imam amongst you?(Sahih Muslim, Sahih Muslim 155 d)

This shows us that the messiah who would come would indeed be the imam as well according to the most sahih Books of ahadith. Now when we move forward there is another hadith of Musnad Ahmad which declaress the Messiah to be the Imam mahdi. It states:

عن أبي هريرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال : يوشك من عاش منكم ان يلقى عيسى بن مريم إماما مهديا وحكما عدلا فيكسر الصليب ويقتل الخنزير ويضع الجزية وتضع الحرب أوزارها

“It is near that one who lives from amongst you shall meet ‘Eisa bin Maryam. He will be the Imam Mahdi, a leader and a just ruler..”(Musnad Ahmad #9117)

The word Mahdi has been used in the prayers of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw for many people and refers to one who is simply rightly guided. He Stated:

حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ نُمَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ إِدْرِيسَ، عَنْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، عَنْ قَيْسٍ، عَنْ جَرِيرٍ، قَالَ مَا حَجَبَنِي النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مُنْذُ أَسْلَمْتُ، وَلاَ رَآنِي إِلاَّ تَبَسَّمَ فِي وَجْهِي‏.‏
وَلَقَدْ شَكَوْتُ إِلَيْهِ أَنِّي لاَ أَثْبُتُ عَلَى الْخَيْلِ، فَضَرَبَ بِيَدِهِ فِي صَدْرِي وَقَالَ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ ثَبِّتْهُ وَاجْعَلْهُ هَادِيًا مَهْدِيًّا ‏”‏‏.‏


Narrated Jarir:The Prophet (ﷺ) did not screen himself from me (had never prevented me from entering upon him) since I embraced Islam, and whenever he saw me, he would receive me with a smile. Once I told him that I could not sit firm on horses. He stroked me on the chest with his hand, and said, “O Allah! Make him firm and make him a guiding and a rightly guided man.(Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Hadith #112)

This itself shows that having the title of the mahdi for the messiahas of latter days is an obvious fact as the Prophetsaw prayed for his own people to be rightly guided. Can one say the messiah will not be an imam or the mahdi? Of course not. Its clear that these are only titles for the same person.

Another hadith which goes in line with the hadith of Sahih Bukhari, Muslim and Musnad Ahmad clears up this issue. The Holy Prophetsaw stated:

حَدَّثَنَا يُونُسُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الأَعْلَى، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِدْرِيسَ الشَّافِعِيُّ، حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ خَالِدٍ الْجَنَدِيُّ، عَنْ أَبَانَ بْنِ صَالِحٍ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ‏ “‏ لاَ يَزْدَادُ الأَمْرُ إِلاَّ شِدَّةً وَلاَ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ إِدْبَارًا وَلاَ النَّاسُ إِلاَّ شُحًّا وَلاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ إِلاَّ عَلَى شِرَارِ النَّاسِ وَلاَ الْمَهْدِيُّ إِلاَّ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

“Adhering to religion will only become harder and worldly affairs will only become more difficult, and people will only become more stingy, and the Hour will only come upon the worst of people, and the only Mahdi (after Muhammad (ﷺ)) is ‘Eisa bin Maryam.”(Ibn Majah Hadith #4039)

Furthermore, it is clear from an Islamic point of view that there will only be one khalifa at a time. It is clear that the Mahdi and Mesiah are both given the titles of a Khalifa in the traditions. It is stated in Tabarani that the latter day Messiah would be a Khalifa. It is narrated:



(حديث مرفوع) حَدَّثَنَا عِيسَى بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الصَّيْدَلانِيُّ ، قَالَ : نَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عُقْبَةَ السَّدُوسِيُّ ، قَالَ : نَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ سِنَانٍ الْقُرَشِيُّ ، قَالَ : نَا كَعْبٌ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيِّبِ ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” أَلا إِنَّ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ لَيْسَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَهُ نَبِيٌّ وَلا رَسُولٌ ، أَلا إِنَّهُ خَلِيفَتِي فِي أُمَّتِي بَعْدِي ، أَلا إِنَّهُ يَقْتُلُ الدَّجَّالَ ، وَيَكْسِرُ الصَّلِيبَ ، وَتَضَعُ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا ، أَلا فَمَنْ أَدْرَكَهُ مِنْكُمْ فَلْيَقْرَأْ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامَ ” ، قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ : ” إِنِّي لأَرْجُو أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَقْرَأَهُ السَّلامَ مِنْ أَبِي الْقَاسِمِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، وَآكُلُ مِنْ جَفْنَتِهِ ” .

Narrated Abu Hurairahra: The Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw said: “Hearken! There is no Prophet and Messenger between me and the Forthcoming Jesus. He is the Khalifa in my Ummah after me. Verily, He will kill the Dajjal, and break the cross, and abolish war. Anyone from among you who sees him, should convey my Salam to him” (Tabarani, Hadith #5040)

And it is narrated in Ibn Majah:

فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَبَايِعُوهُ وَلَوْ حَبْوًا عَلَى الثَّلْجِ فَإِنَّهُ خَلِيفَةُ اللَّهِ الْمَهْدِيُّ ‏”‏ ‏.

“When you see them, then pledge your allegiance to them even if you have to crawl over the snow, for that is the caliph of Allah, Mahdi.”(Ibn Majah Hadith #4084)

The concept of the Messiah being the Mahdi is supported by many scholars. Hazrat Ibn al Qayyim stated:

إنما المهدي عيسى ابن مريم، يعني المهدي الكامل المعصوم.

“Al Mahdi is only Jesus son of Mary, who is the Perfect and infallible Mahdi” (Al-Manar al Munif Page 148)


Imam Al Qurtubi stated something similar:

لا مهدي كاملا معصوما إلا عيسى.

“There is no Perfect and infallible Mahdi except Jesus” (At-Tahkirah, 2/723)

A student of Hazrat Ibn Abbasra and Hazrat Alira named Mujahid Ibn Jabr stated:

حدثنا الوليد بن عتبة؛ عن زائدة، عن ليث، عن مجاهد، قال: المهدي عيسى ابن مريم.

“Al Mahdi is Jesus Son of Mary (Al Musannaf, Kitab al Fitan, #38660)

Ibn Kathir stated:

وعند التأمل لا يتنافيان، بل يكون المراد من ذلك أن المهدي حقا هو عيسى ابن مريم.

“But the meaning is that al-Mahdi in the true sense is Jesus son of Maryam” (Al Bidayah Wa’an Nihayah 19/67)

It is clear that Islam rejects the concept of two khalifas at one time, to a point where it states that if there are two khalifas at one point, kill the latter. It is stated by the Holy Prophetsaw:

وَحَدَّثَنِي وَهْبُ بْنُ بَقِيَّةَ الْوَاسِطِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، عَنِ الْجُرَيْرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي، نَضْرَةَ عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِذَا بُويِعَ لِخَلِيفَتَيْنِ فَاقْتُلُوا الآخَرَ مِنْهُمَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏

When oath of allegiance has been taken for two caliphs, kill the one for whom the oath was taken later.(Sahih Muslim Hadith #1853)

Now would the people who believe they are two different entities kill the latte day Messiah right when he claims that he is a khalifa? No Muslim can have such a belief. The concept of one Khalifa at a time is further supported by the scholars of the non Ahmadi Muslims themselves:

واتفق العلماء على أنه لا يجوز أن يعقد الخليفتين في عصر واحد سواء اتسعت دار الإسلام أم لا.

Imam an-Nawawi who is one of the most well known Shafii scholars stated: “The scholars have come into an agreement that it is not permissible that two disparate caliphs are appointed at one single period, whether Islam expands or not “(Sharh Sahih Muslim 12/232)

ولا يحل أن يكون في الدنيا إلا إمام واحد.

Imam Ibn Hazm az-Zahiri who was a scholar of the fourth centuryo f Hijri stated ” It is not legal in the world, except to have one single Imam” (Al-Muhalla 9/360)


وإذا عقدت الإمامة لإمامين في بلدين لم تنعقد إمامتهما لأنه لا يجوز أن يكون للأمة إمامان في وقت واحد.


Imam al Mawadi who is also well known stated : “If Imamah is disposed for two imams in two different countries, their imamah is not valid as it is not permissable to have two imams at one single time” (Al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah 1/10)

Some people also try to misquote ahadith that state that Sahih Muslim claims that the Mahdi would lead the Messiah in prayers. This is totally false and not narrated in Sahih Muslim, rather it is narrated that the Messiah would lead the prayer:

إِذْ أُقِيمَتِ الصَّلاَةُ فَيَنْزِلُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ فَأَمَّهُمْ

Certainly, the time of prayer shall come and then Jesus (peace be upon him) son of Mary would descend and would lead them in prayer.(Sahih Muslim #2897)

The hadith the non Ahmadi Muslims quote is:

حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ بْنُ شُجَاعٍ، وَهَارُونُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، وَحَجَّاجُ بْنُ الشَّاعِرِ، قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا حَجَّاجٌ، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ – عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي أَبُو الزُّبَيْرِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ جَابِرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ لاَ تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي يُقَاتِلُونَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ ظَاهِرِينَ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ – قَالَ – فَيَنْزِلُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَيَقُولُ أَمِيرُهُمْ تَعَالَ صَلِّ لَنَا ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ لاَ ‏.‏ إِنَّ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ أُمَرَاءُ ‏.‏ تَكْرِمَةَ اللَّهِ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported:I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: A section of my people will not cease fighting for the Truth and will prevail till the Day of Resurrection. He said: Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their (Muslims’) commander would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: No, some amongst you are commanders over some (amongst you). This is the honour from Allah for this Ummah.(Sahih Muslim Hadith #156)

This has nothing to do with the Mahdi being a different person, rather shows that the Messiah would let his followers lead the prayers as Ahmadas did. A key point is Amirs is mentioned here rather rather the Mahdi.

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra states:

“From the Traditions of the Holy Prophet it is evident also that the Promised Messiah was to be a follower of the Holy Prophet. One Tradition tells us that ‘the Mahdi is none other than the Messiah’:

Another Tradition says:

‘How would it be with you when the son of Mary will descend among you and you will have a leader raised from among you?

These two Traditions leave no doubt that the Messiah himself would be the Mahdi. He would lead followers of the Holy Prophet and would be one of them, not an outsider. To think that the Messiah and the Mahdi are two different persons is wrong. It is against the clear indication in the Tradition ‘The Mahdi is none other than the Messiah.’ It behoves good believers to ponder carefully over the utterances of the Holy Prophet. If the utterances seem contradictory, it is for us to try and resolve the contradictions. If the Holy Prophet said, on the one hand, that the Mahdi would appear before the Messiah and the Messiah would then join the Mahdi and his followers in worship, and, on the other, that the preliminaries Messiah himself was the Mahdi, what are we to do – accept one utterance and reject the other? Is it not rather our duty to consider the two utterances carefully and try to reconcile one with the other? The two utterances can be reconciled at once if we use one of them to interpret the other. It seems that the promise of the advent of the Messiah was couched in words which suggested that the Messiah and the Mahdi were two different persons. This suggestion is corrected by the Tradition which says, ‘No Mahdi but the Messiah. This Tradition makes it plain that the other Tradition is metaphorical. It means that a follower of the Holy Prophet will arise for the purpose of revivifying the world, but will not have the rank of a prophet. Then the promise relating to the second coming of Jesus will be fulfilled in his person and he will announce himself as the Promised Messiah. The Tradition, therefore, tells us that the Promised One will start his career as a Muslim reformer who will become invested with the office of Messiah. Divine prophecies have to employ metaphors. They would convey very little otherwise. If our interpretation of these Traditions is not correct, then there are only two alternatives left for a seeker after truth, both of them absurd and dangerous. Either we admit that the Tradition which describes the Messiah and the Mahdi as one and the same person is not a true Tradition, or we admit that the Messiah and the Mahdi are two different persons and that the intention of the Tradition is to point to a difference of spiritual significance in the two. It may mean that the true Mahdi would be the Messiah. The other Mahdi would be insignificant compared with the Messiah. It would be like saying, ‘Nobody knows but so and so.’ When we say such a thing, we do not mean literally that nobody else knows. What we mean is that the given person knows very much more. However, both interpretations are dangerous. One requires us, without good reasons, to treat as spurious a Tradition which is a well authenticated one, true according to all sound criteria The other implies that the Mahdi, in comparison with the Messiah, will be as nothing. Such a thought would be contrary to the Traditions which teach that the Mahdi will be the Imam, and the Messiah a follower who stands behind the Imam in a congregation. Both alternatives therefore, are absurd. The only worthwhile interpretation we can put upon the Traditions is that they foretell the coming of a Messenger from among the followers of the Holy Prophet. This Messenger will first present himself as a reformer and later announce himself as the Messiah of the prophecy. The same person will be the Mahdi as well as the Messiah. Except for this interpretation, there can be no plausible interpretation of the Traditions on the subject.” (Invitation to Ahmadiyyat)


Another point to make clear is that the Ahadith of the Mahdi are full of contraditions which shows that they are not authentic and were not said by the Prophetsaw. These contradictions are explained in An In Depth Analysis of the Mahdi above. Another hadith states:

كيف تهلك أمة أنا في أولها وعيسى في آخرها

‘How can that Ummah be destroyed in whose beginning is me, in whose end is ‘Eisa.”(Tarikh Dimashq)

Here the hadith only mentions Muhammadsaw and the Messiah. The non Ahmadi Muslims try to quote a different hadith which includes the word mahdi but that hadith is weak. For example one narrated is Yaman Ibn Sa’id al Massis who is called weak by Imam Dhahabi and Imam Daruqutni. Another narrated, Yazid Khalid Al Qushayri is called a liar by Abu Hatim. Despite its weakness, if it was to be accepted, the word Mahdi simply means a rightly guided leader which would include the mujadids who came before the Messiah. It is important to note that the non Ahmadi Muslims believe that the Messiah and Mahdi would come together but these ahadith show that the Mahdi would appear in the middle and the Messiah in the end showing that their would be a huge time difference in the appearance. This hadith itself is against the views of the non Ahmadi Muslims and the term mahdi would include the rightly guided mujadids who appeared before the Messiah.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas states:

“Mine and my Jama’at belief about the Mahdi and Promised Messiah is that all the hadith are not reliable and trustworthy. To me, they are under three kinds of criticism, or you can that they are only of three kinds. Firstly, those ahadith that are fabricated and wrong and their narrators are blamed of lies and dishonesty, thus no righteous Muslim can trust them. Secondly, the ahadith that are weak and broken and because of mutual contraditions and disagreements cannot be trusted. Renowned Imams of Ahadith have not either mentioned them altogether or with criticism and doubt. They have not testified these traditions by not confirming the truth and dishonesty of their narrator. The third category of such ahadith are those are though correct and authenticated by many ways but they have either been fulfilled in the past and no waiting period remains for them, or no outwardly khilafat and battles are mentioned in them. Only Mahdi, i.e a guided person is heralded in them. It is not only hinted but also explicitly stated that his kingdom and khilafat should not be outwardly and that, he would neither fight nor shed blood. He shall have no army but establish faith with the power of spiritual concentration as stated in a hadith “There is no Mahdi except Isa” in the book of Ibn-e-Majah known with the same name in Hakim’s Mustadrik narrated by Anas bin Malik who narrated from the Holy Prophetsaw. The meaning of this hadith is that there shall be no Mahdi except who shall come in the disposition and teaching-style of Jesus. He shall neither fight battles but spread guidance through examples and heavenly signs. The hadith by Imam Bukhari supports this hadith which states:

الحرب يضع

Yadha-ul-Harb means that the Mahdi whose other name is the Promised Messiah shall abolish religious battles altogether. He shall teach not to fight for religion, but spread religion through illuminations of truth, miracles of morality and signs of nearness of God. Therefore, I truly say that one who fights for religion at this time or supports such fighter or advises him apparently or secretly, or have such desires in his heart, is disobedient of Allah and His Messenger and has stepped out of the limits of their wills and obligations” (Haqiqat-ul-Mahdi Pages 3-6, Ruhani Khazain Volume 14 Pages 429-432)

What a beautiful explanation from the Messiah and Mahdi himself. It is indeed clear that they are one and the same person with both titles.

Ahmadas also states:

“Whosoever, presumes that al-Mahdi al-Maud and Masih al Maud are two different persons who will come out as two mujahids and unsheathe the sword upon CHristian and Pagans has already calminated against Allah and his Messenger the Seal of the Prophets. He has also said a saying which has no basis from the Holy Qur’an, ahadith, and sayings of the Muhaqqiq. But the fixed truth is that there is no Mahdi except Jesus and no war and no sword nor arrows will be picked. This is what is fixed from our Prophet Mustafasaw . No word is caluminated. The Sahihayn have already bore witness to it in the previous centuries by foresaking such ahadith. Therein is verily a fix for those who are endued with reason. Look then, if you are among the possessor of righteousness” (Haqiqat al Mahdi, Ruhani Khaain Volume 14, Pages 455-456)