Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.

U.S. military intelligence experts are studying a video clip of Osama bin Laden in which he stands before a dry-erase board with an Arabic phrase written upon it – “awaited enlightened one,” reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

No one who has seen the video is quite certain of the meaning or the context. But, the Hadith, a collection of Islamic holy writings that supplement the Quran, predicts a messianic figure will arise in the last days of history. This “Mahdi,” along with the “Prophet Jesus,” will lead the believers to victory over the infidels.

Osama bin Laden

The video raises the question of whether bin Laden sees himself as this Mahdi or if he is expecting another to arise and lead. Either way, the addition of a dimension of Islamic prophecy to the global terror war may seriously complicate matters for planners in the West, G2 Bulletin reports.

According to G2 Bulletin’s military sources, some of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay have told interrogators they joined bin Laden’s al-Qaida offensive because they think he is the “awaited enlightened one.” Others in military intelligence say some of the terrorists crossing the border into Iraq with al-Qaida ties are doing so because of their belief in this Islamic prophecy.

Muslim believers – both Sunni and Shiite – expect the Mahdi to return one day to restore justice to the world. This messenger is not as great as Muhammad, but is a messianic figure found in all branches of Islam.

Interestingly, since the end of 2001, bin Laden has been signing his name “Osama bin Muhammad bin Laden,” rather than just Osama bin Laden. This is significant, reports G2 Bulletin, because it gives the al-Qaida leader an apocalyptic dimension. The Hadith says the Mahdi will be recognizable, among other things, by the fact that he carries the name of the Prophet.

“Al Mahdi” is supposed to appear at a time when Muslim believers are severely oppressed in every corner of the world. He will fight the oppressors, unite the Muslims, bring peace and justice to the world, rule over the Arabs, and lead a prayer in Mecca at which Jesus will be present, according to some religious scholars who have studied the issue.

While some Islamic analysts have expected bin Laden to declare himself as “caliph,” few have speculated about the possibility of the terrorist upping the ante. Operating as he does without a territorial base, bin Ladin could, some suggest, resort to claiming the most powerful title in Islam – the Mahdi.

The Mahdi is one of two positive prophetic figures who, according to Islamic teachings, will appear at the end of time – Prophet Jesus being the other. Together, these two will combat unbelievers and the forces of evil: the antichrist-like Dajjal, or “Deceiver”; the Dabbah, or “Beast”; and the murderous, rapacious hordes of Yajuj wa-Majuj, who appear earlier in the Bible as “Gog and Magog.”

The description of the Mahdi that emerges from these Islamic sources can be summarized as follows, according to Dr. Timothy R. Furnish:

  • he will be descended from the Prophet via his daughter Fatima;

  • he will have the same name as the Prophet, and his father’s name will have been the same as the Prophet’s father;

  • he will have a distinct forehead and prominent nose;

  • he will be extremely generous and altruistic;

  • he will arise in Arabia and be compelled by popular acclamation in Mecca to lead the Muslims;

  • he will withstand attack by an army from Syria, which will be swallowed up by the desert;

  • he will fill the earth with justice and equity;

  • he will reign for five, seven or nine years, perhaps as co-ruler with Jesus (after which, an unspecified amount of time later, the last trumpet will sound and the final judgment will ensue).

If bin Ladin – or some other Islamist leader – were to declare himself the Mahdi, should that make a difference to U.S. policy-makers?

“If the claim were believable to the Islamic world, then the U.S. could no longer claim to be fighting terrorism alone,” writes Furnish. “Indeed, it would become a global religious conflict.”

This article contains research originally published by Timothy R. Furnish, Ph.D, in Middle East Quarterly.

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