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n. pl. Mah·dis Islam
a. The messiah prophesied to appear at the world's end and establish a reign of peace and righteousness.
b. In Twelver Shia belief, the 12th imam, who is expected to emerge from occultation to fulfill this role.
2. A person who claims to be or is seen as the messiah.

[Arabic mahdī, rightly guided one, Mahdi, passive participle of hadā, to lead; see hdy in Semitic roots.]

Mah′dism n.
Mah′dist n.


1. (Biography) the title assumed by Mohammed Ahmed. ?1843–85, Sudanese military leader, who led a revolt against Egypt (1881) and captured Khartoum (1885)
2. (Islam) Islam any of a number of Muslim messiahs expected to convert all mankind to Islam
[Arabic mahdīy one who is guided, from madā to guide aright]
ˈMahdism n
ˈMahdist n, adj


(ˈmɑ di)

n., pl. -dis.
1. the Muslim messiah destined to establish a reign of righteousness throughout the world.
2. a claimant to this role.
[1790–1800; < Arabic mahdīy he who is guided]
Mah′dism (-dɪz əm) n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Mahdi - (Islam) a messianic leader who (according to popular Muslim belief) will appear before the end of the world and restore justice and religion
Mohammedanism, Muhammadanism, Muslimism, Islam, Islamism - the monotheistic religious system of Muslims founded in Arabia in the 7th century and based on the teachings of Muhammad as laid down in the Koran; "Islam is a complete way of life, not a Sunday religion"; "the term Muhammadanism is offensive to Muslims who believe that Allah, not Muhammad, founded their religion"


[ˈmɑːdɪ] Nmahdi m
References in periodicals archive ?
Interestingly, the rising had strong millenarian features which may be compared with similar movements in other parts of the world--the Mahdists of Sudan, the Taipings of China, et cetera.
As Vandervort (1998: 177) notes, "The many thousands of Mahdists dying and wounded on the battlefield received no aid from the British, who simply turned their backs and marched away.
Moreover, the social disruption associated with the Mahdists' policy in Darfur and the execution and forcible relocation of tribal leaders eroded what was left of the local administrative and political structure in the region.
During these campaigns, the Mahdists captured large numbers of Italian Mo.
While Mahdists have never forgiven the Egyptians for making common cause with the alien invaders, the Khatmiya cultivated Cairo as a counter-balance to Ansar influence.
Having defeated the Mahdists at Omdurman, the British regained their influence over the Sudan, which they had lost before.
using them like Mahdists in medieval armor but relying more on prayer,
These treasures had been taken by him from the ancient capital of Gondar, which he pillaged and set ablaze in 1866 (the buildings that escaped his torch were mostly destroyed by the Mahdists from Sudan several years later).
The latest incarnation of the Mahdi army, led by Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr in Iraq, is less than one fifth the size of the dervish army butchered at Omdurman, and yet these modern Mahdists have won concessions from a military force infinitely more lethal than ten Maxim guns.
He claims that Gordon should not have treated the Mahdists as "civilized Europeans" because the "Sudanese respect and regard only those whom they fear" (153).
In spite of the fact that large parts of the South backed the Mahdists and fought against Turko-Egyptian rule, believing they (the Mahdists) would be fairer, slavery was not abolished.
In July of the previous year, while the British were engaged in a war against the Mahdists in the Sudan, a French contingent, with the cooperation of the Belgian authorities in the Congo, took possession of Fashoda, on the Nile.