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Pseudo-Messianic Movements in Contemporary Muslim South Asia

Yoginder Sikand (Translator)
Synopsis Messianic hopes and expectations are common to almost all religions. Jews expect the Messiah to arrive to re-establish their temple in Jerusalem; Christians pray for Jesus to return to earth in his ‘Second Coming’; Hindus believe that Kalki, the tenth and last avatar of Vishnu, would appear just before the end of times; and the advent of the Imam Mahdi, who will usher in the end of the world, is a cardinal tent of the faith of Shia and many Sunni Muslims. The messianic figure that almost all religions expect to arrive some time towards the end of the world is generally portrayed as representing the forces of good, as an agent of God and as eventually vanquishing, in a war of global and cosmic proportions, the forces of evil. Messianic expectations and beliefs are not present in the Qur’an, which, although it speaks of a final Day of Judgment, does not contain any references to a messianic human figure who would herald the end of the world. This figure, however, is referred to on numerous occasions in the form of the Imam Mahdi in the corpus of Hadith, traditions attributed to or claimed to be about the Prophet Muhammad. Almost the entire limited corpus of writings on pseudo-messianic movements in Muslim South Asia consists of historical surveys of such movements in the ‘medieval’ period. On contemporary or near-contemporary such movements almost nothing substantial has been written. It is hoped that this book, by focusing on three such movements that emerged in twentieth century Muslim South Asia and which are still alive, will add to our understanding of pseudo-messianic movements in Muslim environments, in particular, and messianism in general. Given the fact that messianic expectations and claims have now assumed such importance in global politics (the clash between certain Jewish, Christian and Islamic forces in West Asia, each driven by their own messianic visions, being the best example), more intensive studies on the phenomenon and often frightening implications of contemporary messianic movements and trends in all religious environments are called for.
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About the author

Yoginder Sikand

Yoginder Sikand is the author of over a dozen books on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. He has a PhD in History from the University of London, and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, Leiden, The Netherlands. He is presently associated with the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion at the National Law School, Bangalore.

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Bibliographic information

Title Pseudo-Messianic Movements in Contemporary Muslim South Asia
Format Hardcover
Date published: 03.09.2008
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8188869287
length 137p., Notes; Index; 24cm.
Subjects History