Now you must be wondering how will he be helping Christ. Well...can he imagine himself to be Mahdi, the hidden Imam?
Long wary of the media and portrayed as the guru of a sect, Oktar has opened up recently, possibly because of a trial in Istanbul on charges of creating a criminal organization. He was sentenced to three years in May but denies the charges and is appealing the verdict.
Oktar says the "Atlas of Creation" campaign and Harun Yahya publishing empire are part of his religious vision of the end of the world in which he plays a role hinted at in his pseudonym.
Harun is Arabic for Aaron, the brother of Moses. Yahya is Arabic for John -- in this case, John the Baptist, he said.
"Harun was the helper of the prophet Moses. Yahya was also the helper of Jesus Christ," Oktar said. "When Jesus Christ comes to the world, we also would like to be helping him ... You might say this is a prayer for that."
Of course, he himself is not going to make such a claim. Except that his recent books are obsessed with Mahdi and end-0f-the-times talk. While Muslims have wildly different interpretations of Mahdi, epecially between the Sunnis and the Shia, in Oktar's books Mahdi is described as a "non-Arab", "having a thick beard", "a mole on his cheek" etc. Oh wait, let him describe it himself (this is from an al-Jazeera interview):
Oktar said Koran verses and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed about the end of the world revealed Jesus would return soon as a Muslim to help Islam's savior, the Mahdi, defeat the Dajjal or Islamic Anti-Christ and establish Islam around the world.
"Our biggest project right now is to lay the grounds for the coming of Jesus Christ," he said. "We understand this is going to be in the next 20 to 25 years."
The idea of Jesus returning as a Muslim is standard Islamic teaching about the end of times. But Muslims normally stress the end times less than evangelical Christians do, and Oktar's focus on this has prompted rumors he thinks he is the Mahdi.
"I do not make such a claim," he said. "Because of parallels in what I have written and the hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammad, some people have thought I could be him... but in Islam it is forbidden for me to make such a claim."
There is a rumor that has been going round for a long while that I have claimed to be the Mahdi. The reason for that is that I have written a book on that subject. I have cited all the relevant hadith in that book. They said that I had described myself, that the information about the Mahdi in the hadith was the same. As a result, [they said] you are claiming to be the Mahdi. They say that his forehead is broad, and your forehead is broad, too. That his brow is curved, and your brow is also curved. They say that the Mahdi has a small nose, and a big body. He is a Sayyid of medium height, they say. He has a mole on his cheek, and one on his back. Because you have all these characteristics, you are probably claiming to be the Mahdi.Of course it could be anyone. And here Oktar estimates time frame of Mahdi based on his interpretation of Bediuzzaman Nursi's sayings (see if you notice any similarities):
Bediuzzaman calls attention to Hijri 1400 as the beginning of Mahdi's ideological struggle against disbelieving philosophies. He further points out that between the years 1401-11 (1981-91), he will unite the benefits of science, skills, and the goodness of civilization to be used in his struggle, and discloses Hijri 1421 (Gregorian calendar: 2001) as the date when the Mahdi will ideologically destroy the disbelieving philosophies.
Coincidentally, Oktar started his anti-evolution crusade (ha!) in 1980-81. But I don't know if he actually claimed victory against disbelieving philosophies in 2001 or not.
Read the full Reuters' article here.