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(born Aug. 12, 1844died June 22, 1885, Omdurman, Sudan) Sudanese religious and political leader. The son of a shipbuilder in Nubia, he was brought up near Khartoum. After orthodox religious study, he turned to a mystical interpretation of Islam in the Sufi tradition, joined a religious brotherhood, and in 1870 moved to a hermitage with his disciples. In 1881 he proclaimed a divine mission to purify Islam and the governments that defiled it, targeting the Turkish ruler of Egypt and its dependency, Sudan. In 1885, after he defeated Charles George Gordon to capture Khartoum, he established a theocratic state, but he died the same year, probably of typhus. See alsomahdi; Mahdist movement; Sufism.
Variants of MAHDI, AL-
Mahdi, al- orig. Muhammad Ahmad ibn al-Sayyid 'Abd Allah
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