Islamic literature considers his belief heretical, as several tenets of his teaching contrast with orthodox Islam, such as capital punishment for theft, unlimited wives, unlimited divorces, fasting of the month of Rajab instead of Ramadan, and ten obligatory daily prayers instead of five. Politically, its motivation was presumably to establish their independence from the Umayyads, establishing an independent ideology lending legitimacy to the state. Some modern Berber activists regard him as a hero for his resistance to Arab conquest and his foundation of the Berghouata state.
The son of the eleventh Iman Hasan al-Askari and of Narjis, he was said to have been born in 868 and to have gone into minor occultation from shortly after his father's death in 874 until 939, and then to have gone into major occultation. His followers believe this will continue until a time decided by God, when the Mahdi will reappear to bring absolute peace and justice to the world.
His Da'i Abu 'Abdullah Al-Husayn Al-Shi'i helped secure for him parts of north Africa using the support of the Berber locals. The Fatimids later built Cairo as capital in Egypt and their descendants continued to rule as Caliphs (the sixth, Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, is believed by the Druze to be in occultation and due to return as Mahdi on Judgment Day) until Saladin took over Egypt and canceled the Fatimid state. He imprisoned the last Fatimid Caliph and his family in the Fatimid Palace until death.
Although declaring himself mahdi, imam, and masum (literally in Arabic: innocent or free of sin), Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Tumart consulted with a council of ten of his oldest disciples, and conform traditional Berber representative government, later added an assembly of fifty tribal leaders. The Almohad rebellion began in 1125 with attacks on Moroccan cities, including Sus and Marrakech. But as Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Tumart died in 1130, his successor Abd al Mumin took the title of Caliph -claiming universal leadership in Islam- and placed members of his own family in power, converting the system into a traditional sultanate.
He claimed being the promised Mahdi on three occasions. He announced his claim; first in Mecca and then two places in India. He attracted a large following, and received opposition from the ulema.
The widespread but lesser known community of the followers of Muhammad Jaunpuri, who find him being the Promised Mahdi are called Mahdavis, who follow strict sunnah as stressed by him and their belief is called Mahdaviat. Now centralized in the Indian city of Hyderabad, yet larger settlements are found in Gujarat. Wide spread in Karnataka, Maharashtra. Some other states have minor populations scattered, while some in southern Pakistan. Many have recently migrated and settled in United States and the United Kingdom.
The Báb established a religion independent from Islam. He established his religion as a precursor to an even greater message yet to come. As most Bábís believed the claims of Bahá'u'lláh to be the author of this greater message, the Báb's religious tradition continues today by way of the Bahá'í Faith.
Muhammad Ahmad, who founded a short-lived government in Sudan in the late nineteenth century, made a claim to be the promised Mahdi. His army laid siege to Khartoum starting on March 13 1884 against the defenders led by British General Charles George Gordon. The heavily damaged city fell to the Mahdists on January 26 1885. Muhammad Ahmad died later that same year, but the Mahdist state he created lasted until 1899, when the British once again took control of Sudan. Descendants of Muhammad Ahmad are sufi religious leaders of the Ansar sufi brotherhood and Umma Party in Sudan.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (1835-1908) claimed to be the awaited Mahdi as well as the promised Messiah (Second Coming of Christ) being the only person in Islamic History who claimed to be both. He founded the Ahmadiyya Movement within Islam in 1889 envisioning it to be the rejuvenation of Islam, and claimed to be commissioned by God for the reformation of mankind
Ghulam Ahmad appeared within British India. He was actively engaged in religious polemics and controversies with the Christian, Hindu and even Muslim priesthood. He authored around 80 books on various religious, spiritual and theological issues. He promoted the peaceful propagation of Islam and emphatically argued agaisnt the necessity of Jihad in its form of physical fighting in this age.
He was a charismatic figure credited by his followers with supernatural powers. At first peaceful, he began attacking neighbouring tribes friendly to the British and declared himself the Mahdi.
The forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda THE SIEGE of MEKKA by Yaroslav Trofimov (2007) ISBN 978-0-385-51925-0 Publisher Doubleday