4.3.2. Jesus Christ and the Mahdi
Unlike Christian eschatology, which is populated by a single messianic figure in the person of Jesus Christ, in the Islamic one there are two messianic figures with similar roles: Isa (Jesus, the son of Mary) and the Mahdi.
The first, Isa, was an important prophet, but his mission and teachings only foreshadowed – and at the moment they complement – the true teachings received by Muhammad. According to lots of hadiths, at a moment known only by Allah, Isa will return in a physical and visible way, concurrently with the advent of the eschatological entity the Mahdi and shortly after the rise of al-Dajjal. Jesus will descend to the earth from the clouds of heaven, will guide the righteous through the power of Allah, will kill al-Dajjal, will put an end to all wars and will establish an era of peace and prosperity. Jesus will perform the role of the Messiah (mahdi), but only as an apostle of God.
The second, the Mahdi (or Mehdi – the “Guided One”), is a controversial messianic entity. The Sunni doctrine still debates if the idea of the Mahdi is an invention with political tint or he is indeed Muhammad’s successor who is yet to come.40 The concept is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran and in the Sunni hadiths such as the famous Sahih Al-Bukhari; these