Four Feathers, The - TROUBLE IN SUDAN

When Britain proclaimed a protectorate over Egypt, western ideas increasingly affected the court in Cairo. Muhammad Ahmed-Ibn-el-Sayed, later called "The Mahdi" (meaning "he who is divinely guided"), was an Islamic leader greatly disgusted by this turn of events.

Ahmed’s country - the Sudan - had been under Egypt’s control since 1819. Forty thousand Egyptian soldiers occupied Sudan. As western influence increased in Egypt during the early 1880s, Ahmed’s anger grew.

Equipped with significant oratorical skills, Muhammad Ahmed (whose family claimed to be descended from The Prophet Muhammad) wanted Sudan to be a "pure Islamic state." His interpretation of Islam (which also called for burning of all books except the Koran) promised paradise for the destitute. It wasn’t long before he had a large following.

The Sudan had been a slave-trade hotbed for many years. After Britain dominated Egypt, the government banned slave trading. People who had barely eked out a miserable living now faced economic disaster.

As his popularity grew, it is said Muhammad Ahmed declared himself to be the Mahdi. His version of Islam prohibited Muslims from making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Instead, his adherents would engage in a holy war (jihad) against unbelieving infidels.

In 1884, the Mahdi set up military headquarters at Omdurman, across the river from Khartoum. The cities are located where the White Nile and Blue Nile converge:

As he tried to create a "pure" Islamic state, between 1881 and 1885, the Mahdi’s followers brutally killed "infidels." He became one of the West’s "most wanted" men. To the British, Ahmed was the "Mad Mahdi." To his followers, he was "The Purifier of Islam." Today, in Sudan, he is remembered as "The Father of Independence."

It is interesting to note, parenthetically, that Osama bin Laden spent what he described as several "productive" years in the Sudan.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Apr 17, 2018

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"TROUBLE IN SUDAN" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2002. Sep 20, 2018.
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