- the Muslim messiah, an expected spiritual and temporal ruler destined to establish a reign of righteousness throughout the world.
- any of various claimants to this role, especially Muhammad Ahmed, who established an independent government in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan that lasted until 1898.
Origin of Mahdi
- the title assumed by Mohammed Ahmed. ?1843–85, Sudanese military leader, who led a revolt against Egypt (1881) and captured Khartoum (1885)
- Islam any of a number of Muslim messiahs expected to convert all mankind to Islam
Word Origin and History for mahdi
1792, from Arabic mahdiy, literally "he who is guided aright," past participle of hada "to lead in the right way." Spiritual and temporal leader expected by some Muslims. Applied c.1880 to insurrectionary leaders in the Sudan who claimed to be him. Related: Mahdism.