[Arab., = (he who is devinely guided)], in Sunni ISLAM, the restorer of faith. It is believed that he will appear at the end of time to restore justice on earth and establish universal Islam. Among SHIITES the concept of the Mahdi centers on the IMAM. Throughout Islamic history, many reformers claiming to be the Mahdi have arisen. One such was Muhammad Ahmad, 1844-85, a Muslim religious leader in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. In 1881 he declared himself to be the Mahdi, but he died soon after capturing KHARTOUM. Lord KITCHENER defeated his followers at Omdurman in 1898.
The Columbia Encyclopedia: Sixth Edition, 2000.