The Shaikh said, “Not too long ago I had a meeting with a man who claimed that he was the Mahdi. So we met and I put this frank question to him:
“Are you the Mahdi meaning a Muslim who is rightly guided, a righteous Muslim, or are you ‘the’ Mahdi about whose arrival we have been given glad tidings?”
He said, “No. I am the Mahdi about whose coming glad tidings have been mentioned in the hadiths.” Then he started to speak.
I wanted to know how best to tackle him, so I listened to him and then he said, “Some of the hadiths regarding the Mahdi are authentic and others are weak.” This was sound.
After he finished, I said, “Can I ask you a question?”
He said, “Please do [tafaddal].”
I said, “If you could please give us some of the authentic and weak hadiths you just alluded to.”
So the miskeen was at his wit’s end and did not know what to say. He twisted and turned, saying what he had said before, until finally he said, “Tonight, I will not speak about these hadiths.”
Interjector: Allaahu Akbar!
Al-Albaani: He didn’t want to speak. So I said, “Why? Do you think this discussion is going to be according to how you want it? I asked you a question, you have to answer. You claim to be the Mahdi … the one who is a guide for the people, amongst the people are scholars and ignorant folk, righteous people and sinners–the real [Imaam] Mahdi is supposed to bear [the responsibility of guiding] the people not the other way round, with the people bearing [the responsibility of guiding] him. Because the Mahdi is all good, he is full of knowledge and so on. For this reason, I ask that you present us with some of the authentic and weak hadiths [that you alluded to].”
He said, “Tomorrow, I will bring them.”
I said, “No. I will not continue until tomorrow, and who can guarantee for himself that he will live until tomorrow?”
[Again] he started to go this way and that.
At the end I said to him, “Okay! We will give up half of the request but not the other. I asked you to bring some authentic and weak hadiths, I will let you off regarding the weak: bring some of the authentic ones.”
But he had nothing, and if he had mentioned any, they would obviously have been a proof against him. He was a man from whose appearance you wouldn’t judge him to be a Muslim: clean-shaven, head uncovered, obese, and he couldn’t recite an aayah correctly as it had been revealed by Allaah.
And the strange thing was that this miskeen thought that he was a Messenger from Allaah.
Interjector: His brother followed him.
Interjector: The person who followed him was his brother.
Al-Albaani: Right, his brother followed him. So he said that he was a messenger from Allaah but not a prophet. Look at the miguidance?! He had made a plan so that he could deceive the people: you know the clear hadiths, “There is no prophet after me …” but because of his ignorance it seems as though he did not picture there to be a hadith which says, “There is no messenger after me,” and that is why he claimed to be a messenger but not a prophet.
So I said to him, “You say you are a messenger …” and he said that Allaah revealed the Quraan to him afresh yet along with that he couldn’t even read it properly, making clear mistakes when reading it, reading a dammah in the place of a fathah and a fathah in the place of a dammah and so on.
Interjector: Had he memorised the Quraan?
Al-Albaani: No … only some aayahs. He brought a mushaf, and the mushaf has all the diacritical marks yet along with that he still made mistakes. So I said to him, “How can revelation have come down upon you … if we were to read the Quraan and make a mistake there would be nothing strange about that because it was not revealed to us afresh: [but] how can you make mistakes when reading it [since you claim it was revealed to you all over again]?”
I asked him some questions to uncover his ignorance and misguidance, saying, “What do you believe, are the messengers infallible or not?”
He said, “Infallible in some things and not others.”
I said, “Clarify.”
He said, “Infallible in their delivery of the message and not infallible in what is besides that.”
I said, “Do you have anything else you want to add?”
He said, “No.”
So I said, “So [according to what you just said], it is possible that they can steal, it is possible that they can fornicate and so on.”
Naturally, this was a strong doubt [I raised concerning his futile definition, a definition which, once this doubt was raised] he did not apply to himself, but instead, as was his habit, he fled from it.
I asked him [moving the argument along since he couldn’t answer the previous one], “So a messenger is infallible in delivering the message?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Okay, but just an hour ago you [in fact] made it clear that you are not infallible: the Quraan has been sent down to you again [as you claim] but you couldn’t read it as it has been sent to you, afresh. So this is a proof that you are not infallible and following on from that, you are not a messenger as you claim.”
The debate continued like this between me and him until finally I said to him, “Is there a difference between a messenger and a prophet?” I wanted to see what the difference [in his eyes] was since he had confined himself to being a messenger and not a prophet.
He said, “There is a difference but no-one except Allaah knows it .”
I said, “Okay. You’re a messenger and not a prophet?”
He said, “Yes.”
So I said, “That is a proof that you know a messenger differs from a prophet: so how does this go with your statement that, ‘No-one knows the difference except Allaah?’”
In summary, the group of people present detected his misguidance and his ignorance of the Sharee’ah.
And subhaanallaah! His brother … in the end I admonished both of them, saying to his brother, “Fear Allaah. The least that can be said about your brother is that the issue has become obscure to him [such that he sees himself to be correct] and that he is a person imagining things and is deluded and so on. Don’t you see how he is asked questions but cannot answer them?”
And I challenged them, saying, “What do you know about the sharee’ah? Do you know how the Prophet used to pray? I challenge you now. Stand and pray.”
He said, “I don’t want to pray.”
… during the debate between me and him, this person, what was his name, Khaleel?
Interjector: Khaleel … Khaleel is his brother’s name.
Al-Albaani: When I was debating with the self-professed Mahdi, his brother would interrupt. [I would say to him], ‘Yaa akhi, this is not the way to debate. I’m speaking to your brother why are you interfering? If your brother allows you to speak I have no objection but I’m only one person and can only speak to either you or him …” because there was a chair here and there and his brother was next to me. “So I speak with him one time and the other with you … who am I supposed to talk to.” In order to defend his brother’s mistake [the claimant to prophethood] said, “I give him permission to speak.”
So I said, “Then we will leave you [i.e., the false Mahdi] now and speak to your brother. When we asked him [i.e., your brother, the false Mahdi] to get up and pray … who didn’t want to? [He didn't], your brother, the ‘Mahdi.’ So we said okay.
[Now], you’re his brother–you stand and pray so we can see.’”
He said, “No. Not until he [my brother, the ‘Mahdi’] gives me permission.”
[I said], “He [already] has given you permission … didn’t he say that he gives you permission to say or do anything?”
In summary, their ignorance has blinded their hearts.
You know the [false] Mahdi whose name is Ghulaam Ahmad al-Qadiyani, he was a man who had knowledge, a complete Dajjaal with knowledge, but these miskeens are ignorant people who don’t know a thing from the Sharee’ah and don’t [even] know how to read the Quraan … they don’t know the language … they don’t know anything.”
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 28.