it will have rule and splendour for a thousand years. If it does not proceed on the straight path, it will have a day of five hundred years, and will be dominant and victorious for only five hundred years.
God knows best, this narration is not giving news of the end of the world, but of Islam’s victorious rule and the sovereignty of the Caliphate, for miraculously, that is exactly how it turned out. For because towards the end of the ‘Abbasid Caliphate its politicians lost their sense of direction, it continued only five hundred years. But because the Umma in general did not deviate from the straight path, the Ottoman Caliphate came to its assistance and it took over the rule of the Umma, which has continued in existence for one thousand three hundred years. Then because the Ottoman politicians were unable to maintain their direction, its Caliphate survived only five hundred years (as the Caliphate), and with its demise it confirmed the Hadith’s miraculous prediction. This Hadith has been discussed in other treatises, so we curtail the discussion here.
In the narrations are various different prophecies about the Mahdi (May God be pleased with him), who is one of the signs of the end of time and will be from the Family of the Prophet. In fact, some scholars and saints stated long ago that he had appeared.
God knows best what is right, one interpretation of these various narrations is this: the Great Mahdi will have numerous functions. He will carry out duties in the world of politics, the world of religion, the world of government, and in the many spheres of the world of jihad. Similarly, since every century at a time of despair people are in need of a sort of Mahdi to strengthen their morale or for the possibility of a Mahdi appearing at that time to assist them, through Divine mercy, every age or perhaps every century a sort of Mahdi has appeared from among the Prophet’s (PBUH) descendants, and preserved his forefather’s Shari‘a and revived his Sunna. The narrations about the Mahdi are various because Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) saw persons who would perform some of the Great Mahdi’s works; for example, the ‘Abbasid Mahdi in the world of politics, and Gawth al-A‘zam,1 Shah Naqshband,2 the four spiritual poles,3 and Twelve Imams in the world of religion. For this reason some of the people of reality said that he had already appeared. Anyway, since this matter has been explained in the Risale-i Nur, we refer discussion of it to that and here only say this:
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Gilani (Geylani) (470/1077-561/1166), founder of the Qadiri Order.
Shaykh Baha’ al-Din Naqshband (d. 791/1389), founder of the Naqshbandi Order.
Four spiritual poles: Ahmad al-Rufa’i, Ahmad al-Badawi, Ibrahim al-Dassuqi, and Abu’l Hasan al-Shazali.