PRAYER ALERT: Will the Antichrist be a radical Muslim? In The Islamic Antichrist, Joel Richardson says that Islam’s end-times messiah, the Mahdi, matches in many ways the Antichrist of the Bible. Even more surprisingly, Richardson says that Muslims believe Jesus Christ will return. But instead of establishing His kingdom on earth, they say He will uphold and fight for the Mahdi’s Islamic kingdom. This Muslim “Christ” will deny the cross and all of Christianity. This “Christ” will be what the Bible calls the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11-17; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), and he will serve the Mahdi. When the real Christ comes, the Mahdi’s followers worldwide will believe that the real Christ is the Antichrist!
Richardson finds many parallels between Scriptures about the Antichrist in Islam’s sacred writings about the Mahdi. The main parallels are summarized below in italics.
Both the Bible’s Antichrist and the Muslim Mahdi are unprecedented political, military, and religious leaders who emerge in the end times. Each makes a seven-year peace treaty with Israel. Each breaks the treaty and seize Jerusalem. Each kills as many Jews as possible. Each establishes a new world religion and a new world order with new laws. Each denies the essential Christian doctrines of Trinity, the incarnation, and the death of Jesus on the cross.
As the False Prophet promotes and supports the Antichrist in everything he does, so a Muslim “Jesus” zealously supports the Mahdi. The Bible’s Antichrist and the Muslim the Mahdi have more similarities. Each has a great army for imposing and enforcing this new religion and world order in every nation on earth. Each beheads anyone who refuses to submit to this new religion and world order. Each mobilizes their forces to attack the Jesus who returns to establish His kingdom on earth.
Most Christians agree that the above two paragraphs accurately describe what the Bible says about the Antichrist and his False Prophet. However, there is much less agreement among Muslims about what their sacred writings say about the Mahdi and the Muslim “Jesus.” In fact, the Quran makes no clear reference to the Mahdi at all. And it makes only one clear reference to the second coming of Jesus, that “it shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment)” (43:61).
Instead of basing his findings on the Quran, Richardson bases them on Islamic hadiths and various traditions. He also uses commentaries about those hadiths and traditions. Hadiths are oral reports of what Muhammad did or said. The hadiths circulated for hundreds of years after Muhammad’s death in 632 AD, before they were collected into writings. By the end of the 12th century, Sunni scholars had canonized six collections of hadiths. Shiites disagree with Sunnis over which hadiths are authentic. Furthermore, Shiites don’t believe any collection of hadiths is entirely authentic.
So the above italicized parallels between the Antichrist and the Mahdi do not necessarily represent what all Muslims believe about the Mahdi. For instance, Richardson admits that the hadith about the seven-year peace agreement between the Mahdi and the Jews is only one hadith among other traditions about the timing of the Mahdi’s rise to power.* Furthermore, Richardson concedes that the hadiths are unreliable and easy to manipulate in any discussion.**
Christians find it hard enough to figure out the end times from Scriptures they all agree to be authoritative. How much harder it must be for Muslims to figure out their “end times.” Most of their end times information comes from disputable hadiths. And their Quran doesn’t even mention the Mahdi, their end-times savior.
Yet the coming of the Mahdi is the most vital of all the “Major Signs” generally agreed on by Muslims…
BPN articles related to Mahdi.
Related sources for Mahdi.
*See the Islamic Antichrist (p. 29).