The question should arise - why have the non-Ahmadi Muslims Muslims not accepted this claim? To understand this, we need to understand the roles of these two personages.
First of all, the Imam Mahdi. Imam, as you know, is a person who is followed and as such leads the prayers. We must follow the Imam during the prayers, even if he has made a mistake. This is the obedience that all Muslims should show to the Imam. This is an Arabic term relating to the person who is followed and who leads the prayer. Therefore the Imam Mahdi has to be a Muslim who is their leader. In other words, we should follow the Imam. Mahdi means Guided One. Therefore Imam Mahdi will be a leader who is guided by Allah and will guide the Muslims. Now the question comes to mind, do the Muslims need guidance? Alhamdulillah we have the Holy Qur’an which is exactly the same as when it was revealed to the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, likewise we have the Sunnah – the practice of the Holy Prophet to help us understand how to follow the Holy Qur’an and we also have the Ahadith as a further support to understand the teachings of Islam. This was the main purpose of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to come and demonstrate to us, how we should be good Muslims by following the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.
If we have all the guidance, then why do we need any more? The answer is we don’t need any more guidance, we have the best guidance with us, but are Muslims following that guidance? The answer is easy to see. Islam is all about unity, Allah is One, likewise there should be one brotherhood. Sadly, this is not the case. Islam is divided. Our beloved Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, made it very clear to us, ‘No Muslim should hurt, abuse or kill another Muslim’ yet everywhere you look in the Muslim world, Muslims are hurting fellow Muslims, abusing them calling them Kafirs etc. and sadly killing their fellow Muslims. Is this unity? Likewise, Islam is a religion of peace, the word Islam itself means ‘peace, obedience and submission to Allah’, but where is this peace in the Muslim world today?
Allah has sent us the Holy Qur’an, we have the Sunnah and Ahadith so we do not need any more guidance, but we need to follow those teachings. We pray over thirty times a day ‘Ihdinassiratul Mustaqeem – Guide us to the right path’, and Allah has answered these prayers and sent us the Imam Mahdi – the Guided One to help us follow the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and to unite us to be one again. This is why the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, told us:
“When you find the Mahdi, perform bai’ah (pledge of allegiance) at his hand. You must go to him, even if you have to reach him across ice-bound mountains on your knees. He is the Mahdi and the Caliph of Allah”
If schools and other teachings establishments were filled with books and no teachers, the pupils would soon find themselves divided and leaderless. Therefore if everyone acts upon this instruction of the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then the entire Muslim world will accept him, do the Bai’at and become one, Insha’Allah.