Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » World Religions » Abrahamic Religions » Islam » Denominations & Sects » Sunni » Mahdavi

Also known as Mahdavism, Mahdavia is a Mahdist Islamic sect that was founded in India by Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri in the late 15th century.

In the holy city of Mecca, Syed Muhammad declared himself to be Imam Mahdi in 1496, and is accepted as such by the Mahdavi community.

Making up a small percentage of Muslims, Mahdavis are found throughout India, including a couple of villages that are inhabited primarily by Mahdavis, and large groups in Gujrat, Karnataka-Bengaluru, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Tamilnadu. In Pakistan, they are the majority in the Gwadar District, and there are communities in Karachi, Makran, and Quetta. There are small groups of Mahdavis in Afghanistan and Iran, as well as in some Central Asian countries. In recent years, some have emigrated to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

With the increasing support for terrorism and jihadism in Pakistan since the 1980s, Mahdavis have been targeted for discrimination, attacked, and killed by Sunni militants. Because of this, the Mahdavis have been in hiding or shrinking. Although police protection has been made available, several Mahdavis have been killed by Islamic terrorists.

Zikris are a branch of the Mahdavi movement who are found mostly in western Pakistan. They have also been the victims of Islamic persecution and terrorism, along with Shias and Hindus.

Mahdavis believe in the oneness of Allah, that the Prophet Muhammad was the last messenger of Allah, and in the Quran as their holy book. They adhere to the Five Pillars of Islam, Sharia, and the Sunnah tradition. They follow traditions similar to that of Hanafi jurisprudence, but have respect for all four schools of Islamic thought.

The Mahdavis follow the Sufi order as defined by their founder, Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri. Relative to the literal meaning of Sunni, Mahdavism is a Sunni sect, as they follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as the doctrine of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. They do not subscribe to the Shia doctrine.

However, they differ from most Sunnis in that they believe that the Mahdi has come and gone, that Syed Muhammad, who was born in Jaunpur, India in the 9th century, and died in Farah, Afghanistan at the age of sixty-three, is the promised Mahdi. Other Sunnis, on the other hand, believe that the Mahdi has not yet come.

There are other lesser differences. The Mahdavis believe in performing religious acts for the sake of Allah rather than for rewards in this world or in paradise. The Mahdavis do not hire Imams in their masajid to lead prayers, as they consider being paid for leading prayers to be contrary to the Sunnah of the Prophet.

The focus of this category is the branch of Islam known as Mahdavism or Mahdavia, as well as the Mahdavis community. Whether informational or representational, if the topic is largely that of Mahdavism, the site is appropriate for this category.



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