Mecca Grand Mosque pulpit attacker claims to be awaited ‘Imam Mahdi’

Saudi suspect in his 40s was arrested while attempting to attack imam at mosque

Dubai: Initial investigations conducted by Mecca police have revealed that the suspect who attacked Mecca’s Grand Mosque imam pulpit is a Saudi man claiming to be the awaited Mahdi, local media reported.

The armed man, in his 40s, was detained after attempting to attack the imam in on Friday.

According to Saudi media, the public prosecution was notified of the incident and launched immediate investigation to discover the motives behind the attempted attack.

The man has also subjected to medical examinations to check his mental abilitity.

Who is the awaited Mahdi?

In Islam, the anticipated Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or nineteen years (according to various interpretations) before the Day of Judgment and will rid the world of evil.

All Islamic groups agree that Mahdi will appear at the end of time to fill the world with justice and equity and establish the government of righteousness over all parts of the earth.

1979 siege of Mecca
It is not the first time that a man has claimed to be the Mahdi. In the early hours of November 20, 1979, some 50,000 faithful from all over the world gathered for dawn prayers in the huge courtyard surrounding the sacred Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s holiest place. Among them mingled 200 men led by a charismatic 40-year-old preacher called Juhayman Al Otaybi.

As, the imam finished the prayers, Juhayman and his followers pushed him aside and seized the microphone.

They had placed closed coffins in the centre of the yard, a traditional act of seeking blessings for the recently deceased. But when the coffins were opened, they revealed handguns and rifles, which were quickly distributed among the men.

One of them began to read a speech: “Fellow Muslims, we announce today the coming of the Mahdi who shall reign with justice and fairness on Earth after it has been filled with injustice and oppression.”

The siege lasted more than two weeks before special forces broke into the mosque. Many people were killed; Al Otaybi and at least 66 others were later executed in public.

Gulf News