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Mahdavia (Arabic: مهدوي mahdavi) or Mahdavism is an Islamic movement founded by Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri in India in the late 15th century. Syed Muhammad claimed to be Mahdi at the holy city of Mecca, in front of the Kaaba in 1496, and is revered as such by the Mahdavia community.


Mahdavis are followers of Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri who declared himself to be the Mahdi.[1]

The Mahdavis had strictly adhere to the five pillars of Islam, sunnah tradition, and sharia, while having high respect and reverence for the House of Muhammad and his immediate progeny (ahl-e bayt), the Rashidun caliphs, and the companions of Muhammad (sahaba).[citation needed]

Mahdavis also respect all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, but widely follow traditions similar to Hanafi jurisprudence.[citation needed]

They offer prayers five times a day led by their murshids, or spiritual guides; fast during Ramadan; offer special thanks on Dugana Laylat al-Qadr past midnight between 26 and 27 Ramadan; perform hajj; and pay zakat. They also attach great significance to zikr (remembrance of Allah), after dawn (fajr) prayers, and in the evening after asr prayer.

Syed Muhammad was disturbed by the spiritual and moral degradation of Muslims. He preached a message of non-materialism and spirituality.[1]

Mahdavis follow the seven obligations of sainthood, known as faraiz-e-wilaya Muhammadiya. These obligations are: rejection of material lust (tark-e-dunya),[2] quest for divine vision (talab didar-e-Ilahi), company of truthfuls and ascetics (sohbat-e-sadiqan), migration (hijrah) from place to place to avoid materialist lust,[1] retreat and solitude (uzlat az khalq), resignation to the will of God (tawakkul),[1] repetition of the names of God (zikr-e-Ilahi)[1] and distributing tithe (ushr). Followers of Jaunpuri strictly follow some of these obligations in their day-to-day life. Most of them initiate renunciation in the advanced stage of their lives, after getting retirement from the jobs or by handing over business to their heirs. Their renunciation is in any way not related to celibacy, because almost all of them get married.[citation needed]

Mahdavi community centers are known as da'iras.[1] Mahdavis engaged in extensive missionary activity.[1]

Mohammad Jaunpuri declared himself to be the Mahdi, and as such a "caliph of Allah". He claimed to teach the true inner meaning of the Qur'an and strictly adhere to the Sunnah of Muhammad. Jaunpuri's declaration was ignored by the ulema of Mecca, but after he repeated his declaration in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, he gained a group of followers and established a line of caliphs who led the movement after his death.[citation needed]


After Jaunpuri's demise in 1505, the Mahdavi movement went through a militant phase, lasting during the reign of the first five Mahdavi caliphs. The movement was persecuted under the Sultan Muzaffar Shah II (r. 1511–1526) of Gujarat Sultanate.

The second Mahdavi caliph, Bandagi Miyan Syed Khundmir and his fukhra disciples (the persons who renounce the world and keep remembering Allah with zikr), faced organised persecution by the regime of Muzaffar at the behest of his court-appointed Mullas and was killed in 1523 along with hundreds of unarmed and peaceful disciples. Syed Khundmir's tomb is located in the town of Champaner in the Panchmahal district of the western Indian state Gujarat, where thousands of seekers and followers, from different parts of India and other countries, arrive to pay tribute.

In 1588, prince Ismail who was only sixteen ascended the throne of the Nizam Shahs, but actual power was held by Jamal Khan, who belonged to the Mahdavi faith, and the leader of the Deccani group in the court. Jamal Khan gave his daughter in marriage to Sayyid Ilahda, a descendant of Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri, and converted the king Ismail to the Mahdavi sect. Jamal Khan Deccani lead the massacre of foreign Persian nobles and civilians at Ahmadnagar, causing all the Persian nobles to flee and take service at Bijapur, including the historian Ferishta himself.[3][4][5]

"There were massacres(qatl-i 'aam) twice in the city [Ahmadnagar], in the course of which not a single person from abroad was left alive. The killing spree lasted for three days. Good people like learned men and traders, who had assembled here in this period, were all slain, and their houses were destroyed."

Jamal Khan also enforced the Mahdavi religion on the state. Jamal Khan was killed in the battle of Rohankhed in 1591 After failure to re-appear in that year, the movement lost much of its fervor and entered a "quietist" phase, which lasted throughout the 17th century. In the 18th century, the movement mostly died out in northern India.[6]

After the 1799 siege of Seringapatam, the British government invited the Mahdavis to re-settle in Mysore.[7]


Anjuman E Mahdavia is a Mahdavia community center in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, established in 1902.[8] L. K. A. Iyer in 1930 reports the existence of a community of "Mahdavia Musalmans" in Mysore Donabaghatta, Channapatna, Kirugavalu. There is a village named Donabaghatta in Karnataka. Large groups of Mahdavis resided in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka-Bengaluru, etc. The 1962 Gazette of Karnataka State has recorded the Mahadavia Sect of Islam in the state. Mahdavis of Gujarat state mostly lives in Tai Wada area in Vadodara district along with majority Sunni Muslims. They also have a small presence in Bharuch.[9][10][11]

A Mahdavi center in north Chicago at (N Western Ave) was established by a group of South Asian immigrants in January 2016.[12][13]

See also[edit]

Others who claimed to be Mahdi[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ziaullah Yadullahi (trans.). "Maulud Sharif". Jamiat-e-Mahdavia, Bangalore (2007).


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Unesco; Nizami, KA (1 January 1998). History of Civilizations of Central Asia. UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-103467-1.
  2. ^ Unesco (1 January 1998). History of Civilizations of Central Asia. UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-103467-1.
  3. ^ Shanti Sadiq Ali (1996). The African Dispersal in the Deccan. p. 58.
  4. ^ Emma J. Flatt (2019). The Courts of the Deccan Sultanates. p. 90.
  5. ^ Muzaffar Alam, Sanjay Subrahmanyam (2012). Writing the Mughal World. p. 184.
  6. ^ Timothy R. Furnish, Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads, and Osama bin Laden, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005, pp 38–41.
  7. ^ L. K. A. Iyer, The Mysore: Tribes and Castes, Vol IV (1930), p. 383: "the benign British government issued a proclamation assuring peace and inviting all the Mahdavis to the territory of Mysore to resettle there, and they then settled in different places after their exile."
  8. ^ "Hyderabad: The State government has declared April 19 as optional holiday on the occasion of 'Hazrat Syed Mohd. Juvanpuri Mahdi Ma'ud (AS)' instead of April 20". Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  9. ^ The Mysore. 1965. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Mahdavia Masjid · 786, Tai Wada, Wadi, Vadodara, Gujarat 390017, India". Mahdavia Masjid · 786, Tai Wada, Wadi, Vadodara, Gujarat 390017, India. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Mehdaviya Badi Masjid · Milad Chock, Moti Doongri, Bharuch, Gujarat 392001, India". Mehdaviya Badi Masjid · Milad Chock, Moti Doongri, Bharuch, Gujarat 392001, India. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  12. ^ Curtis, Edward E. (2010). Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4381-3040-8.
  13. ^ "Inauguration Mahdavia Dairah of North America", Mahdavia, 20 January 2016, retrieved 2 August 2022 – via YouTube

External links[edit]