Iran Awaits Imam Mahdi

IRAN AWAITS IMAM MAHDI (TEHRAN TIMES of April 16, 1987 published a speech by President Khamenei under the caption: ISLAMIC IRAN PAVING WAY FOR APPEARANCE OF IMAM MAHDI. Among other things the President said “deprived nations should comprehend that their uprising and struggle will accelerate the appearance of Imam Mahdi, who is the Saviour of Mankind.” Continuing the speech he said “If the deprived are deprived of such a hope (appearance of Mahdi) they will become despondent and as a result their will to struggle will gradually diminish.” And he added “The Iranian nation is more deserving than any other nation to shoulder the heavy burden of laying the ground for the appearance of Imam Mahdi”. Since we, Ahmadis claim that the long awaited Mahdi has already appeared in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Persian origin, we feel spiritually and morally bound to make a sincere effort to convey the truth to the most revered President Khamenei in particular and to our Iranian brethren in general with the hope that a serious thought will be given to our statement. – Editor) From time immemorial the history of Iran is full of awe inspiring feats of fortitude and chivalry. There was a time when this nation clashed with the mighty Roman Empire in Europe. Never-dying impressions of Iranian culture and civilisation are still existing in Asia. It has merited many distinctive qualities from the Islamic point of view. For example Shahr Bano, the blessed wife of Sayyed-us-Shohada Hazrat Imam Husain and the prominent companion Hazrat Salman AI-Pharisi, whom the holy Prophet honoured as being a member of his own household, also belonged to the spiritually rich land of Iran. This has also been proved in the books of commentary and traditions that on the occasion of the revelation of the Ayat ‘W A AKHAREENA MINHUM’ of Surah AI-JUMOAH, the holy Prophet put his hand on the shoulder of Hazrat Sal man AI-Pharisi and said that if the fundamentals of faith have been forsaken to the extent that they have left the earth and have risen to heaven, then the people of his nation will bring them back and re-establish them on earth. The holy Prophet also explained the same aim and object of the advent of Imam Mahdi. He said: “A time is destined to come upon my Ummah (followers) when Islam will remain only in name and the Quran will remain 30 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS only in print. At that juncture God will command the Mahdi to appear and will cause Islam to dominate and revive through him’. It proves that Hazrat Imam Mahdi and his successors are those chivalrous Persian personalities who will bring back the lost Iman (faith) from Surrayya and re-establish it on the earth. And it is a marvellous Divine device that out of all the Muslim countries the credit and honour of cherishing the idea and image of the Mahdi in their bosoms for so many centuries goes to Iranians. In addition to that in the past few years the Iranian Government has published so much precious literature on the subject and in such large quantities the parallel of which is difficult to find. Very recently the President of the Republic of Iran and its Spiritual leader Hujjat-ul-Islam Sayyed Ali Khamenei gave a statement under the caption: “ISLAMIC IRAN PAVING THE WAY FOR APPEARANCE OF IMAM MAHDI.” Speaking at a mosque in the Holy City of Qom the President said: “Deprived nations should comprehend that their uprising and struggle will accelerate the appearance of Imam Mahdi who is the Saviour of Mankind.” “If the deprived are deprived of such a hope (appearance of Imam Mahdi), they will become despondent and as a result their will to struggle will gradually diminish.” “The Iranian nation is more deserving than any other nation to shoulder the heavy burden of laying the ground for the appearance of Imam Mahdi.’ (Tehran Times, April 16, 1987). No doubt every syllable of this forceful statement depicts a deep devotion which is extremely welcome to us. But inspite of the love and reverance that we cherish for the president of The Republic of Iran and for the renowned and eminent scholar of the Imamiyya sect, we regret to say that we do not agree with the strange and innovative idealogy that the appearance of Imam Mahdi is linked with the political struggle and progress of the deprived nations. We have three submissions in this connection which we intend to explain with great respect and pathos. First, the authentic commentators on the Holy Quran and the sacred sayings of the eminent Ahl-Bait decisively define that the status of the Imam Mahdi is that of a great spiritual leader , a Divine Reformer and a Messenger of God and that the Ayat: “He it is who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all ADVENT OF IMAM MAHDI 31 religions.” (61:10) will be applicable on him. God himself will appoint him a Prophet, like others, and will guide him Himself through His revelation. Moreover he will announce that he is the Boruz (reflection) of all the prophets. This is also an established fact that all the righteous researchers of the Shi’ite sect throughout the 13 centuries unanimously confess that the above mentioned Ayat was revealed for Imam Ql:iim. In the book Fraid-ul-Matin vol 2 chapter 18 a tradition of the Holy Prophet has been mentioned which says that when the earth will become full of corruption and crisis God will cause The Mahdi of the U mmah to appear. Allama 1 afar bin Mohammad al-‘ Askari has also narrated this Hadith on page 303 in the second volume of his book Al Mahdiyy-ul-Moud-ul Muntazar. This book was published in 1397 H/1977 AD from Beirut. On pages 272, 296 of the first volume of this book the following narration has also been stated with reference to Asaaf-ur- Raghibeen and Mashariq-ul-Anwar. “The Angel of revelation will reveal Shariat (Canonical Law) to Hazrat Mahdi and he will deliver his judgments according to it i.e. the Angel will reveal the Mohammadan Law on him and he will judge according to it just as there is a tradition of the Holy Prophet in connection with the Ahwal of the Mahdi that he will follow my foot steps and will commit no mistakes.’ Hazrat Allama Baqir Majlisi has narrated a very detailed hadith in Vol13 on page 209 of Bihar-ul-Anwar. The essence of the Hadith is that our Mahdi will proclaim that whosoever wishes to see Adam, Shaith, Nuh, Ibrahim, Ismaiel, Musa, Isa and Mohammad Mustapha should see me because I am Adam, Shaith, Nuh, Ibrahim, Ismaiel, Musa, Isa and Mohammad Mustapha (peace be on them). It will be extremely unfair to base the advent and appearance of such an elevated Apostle and such an eminent Imam on the struggle and material progress of the deprived nations. This ideology will annihilate the actual image of the Mahdi that has been described in the authentic literature of Shi’ite Sages for many centuries. Secondly the mission of Imam Mahdi will be purely religious and spiritual. He will establish the superiority of Islam through solid and strong arguments. Righteous people who receive revelations and godly people will take Baiat (initiation) on his hands. Not a single drop of blood will be shed for his Caliphate. He will conquer the cities of idolatry and castles of misguidance. All these attributes are recorded in the ancient books of Imamiyya Schools and traditionists. A few excerpts out of them are quoted here. (a) The commentator of lami-ul-Bian under the Ayat Liyuzhirahu Alladin-E-Kullehi writes: 32 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “The Mahdi will cause the dominance of Islam through strong irrefutable arguments.” (b) The Holy Prophet said: “Not even a handful of blood will be shed in the founding of the Mahdi’s Khilafat.” This tradition has been taken from an authentic Shi’ite book Nasikhut-Tawarikh Vol 1 page 86. (c) Another Hadith says: “When there will be abundance of crisis and nations will assault and aggress against each other, God will cause The Mahdi to appear at that time who will conquer the castles of misguidance and will win the sealed hearts.” (Yanabi-ul Mawadda wlr Al Mahdiyy-ul-Muntazar Voll, page 310. Published at Beirut.) (d) Hazrat Ibn-e-Arabi says: “The righteous and lovers of God will initiate at the hands of The Mahdi due to Divine evidences and revelations.” (e) Hazrat Ali ibn-e-Abi Talib prophesied: “There are many other kinds of treasures with God besides gold and silver and they are those bold believers on whom God bestows the blessing of pure and genuine knowledge and such are the people who are going to be the helpers of the Mahdi in latter days!” (Kifayatul Matalib Fee manaquibi Ali Bin Abi Talib pp. 491-2 by Imam Mohammad Bin Yousuf). All these prophetic statements show that Hazrat Imam Mahdi will be sent to cause a spiritual revolution. His weapons will be scholarly and his sect will be formed of righteous and Godly people. If we admit that the appearance of Imam Mahdi depends upon the political success of the deprived nations then we have to admit as well that the vanguard of the Ansars of The Mahdi will be those deprived or backward nations that are already engaged in the struggle for freedom and are making use of material weapons and resources to get their rights. But the stark reality is that in the whole heritage of Hadith and traditions of the Ummah there is nothing like this. Thirdly, the Holy Quran says: (a) “Alas for my creatures! Whenever a Messenger comes to them they deride him and make fun of him.” (Yasin). According to Divine custom the opposition of the Promised Mahdi is inevitable. We find in writings: “A barrier will be constructed between the community of The Promised Mahdi and Kaba.” (Tafsir Safi by Allama Hazrat AI-Faiz ADVENT OF IMAM MAHDI AI-Kashani commentary of lumush-Shamsu Wal-Qamaru Ch. AI-Qiyamah (b) Hazrat Imam Mahdi will be labelled as an apostate and most of the people will say: “We do not recognize you because you are not from among the progeny of Hazrat Fatima just as the idolators opposed the Holy Prophet”. (Biharul Anwar Vol. 13, pp. 14, 192). (c) A renowned scholar of the sub-continent Sayyed Mohammed Sibtain As-Sarsawi writes on page 507 of his book: “Only those people can testify and recognize the Mahdi and supersede in his fellowship and obedience who are believers in the true sense of the word. And those who are expecting him will not come forward to accept and obey him until they wait for his appearance restlessly. If it is not so they, on the other hand, will resort to opposition and enmity. They will make attempts to torture him and persecute his followers. The Ullema will issue fatwas for his murder and rulers of some Republics will send troops to murder him. All such people will be Muslims.” 33 In the face of all these prophetic statements when Hazrat Imam Mahdi will have to face opposition in the campaign of the victory of Islam even at the hands of his own people (i.e. the Muslims) how can the political and material struggle on the part of the deprived nations be of any avail to his appearance and to the accomplishment of his mission? After these three submissions we now divert our attention to the most fundamental and basic aspect in connection with the advent of The Promised Mahdi, and it is that most of the heavenly and earthly signs foretold in the Shi’ite literature have already been fulfilled. We will enumerate them one by one: 1. Prior to the appearance of the Mahdi a meteor will rise. (Bihar-ul- Anwar Vol. 13, p. 171). This meteor appeared in 1881. 2. Hazrat Imam Baqir foretold that there will be solar and lunar eclipses in the month of Ramadhan as a sign for the appearance of the Mahdi. (Darqutni Vol. 1, p. 188). This celestial sign did happen in 1896/1311 A.H. 3. The Holy Prophet said that the Mahdi will be due for appearance when Islam and the Quran will remain only in name. The Shiate researcher Allama Ali At-Tairi says in this connection: “The traditions and signs of Islam and the pillars of religion and belief will totally become extinct and the situation prevailing at that time will present the picture that nothing is left of the Holy Quran except its words’. 4. The Persian translation of Allama Baqir Majlisi’s book Bihar-ul- 34 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Anwar has been done by Ali Dawani and has been published by the famous Department of Dar-ul-Kutub Islamiyyah. On page 986 of this book the epidemic has been mentioned which ravaged this earth in the beginning of the 20th century, causing unparalleled loss of life and striking awe and fear in the minds of the people of that time with an extra-ordinary death toll. The translator has confessed in many places in the footnotes that many signs of the appearance of the Madhi have already taken place. For example, according to the prophecy, musical instruments are being used in Mecca and Medina (Footnotes 106). Mosques have become the centres of din and noise due to their being used as polling stations (Footnotes 1046). The epidemic of sudden death has spread far and wide and has become quite common (Footnotes 1053). The prophecy of a bloody wind storm mutilating the limbs and faces and raining of the stone storm has been fulfilled by the bombardment on Hiroshima (Footnotes 1047). 5. The most significant sign of the advent of the Mahdi is the crisis of the Dajjal. Commenting on this Allama Mohammad As-Sadr says on page 532-537 of his book Tarikh-ul-Al-Kubra that by Dajjal means the European civilisation, the destructive devastations of which have engulfed the whole world. This book was published in AI-Imam Amir-ul Momeneen Ali’s Press at Isphahan. After the occurrence of all these magnificent signs only two doors are left open for the Ahl-e Bait of the Holy Prophet and his true servants. Either they admit that all these signs have taken place but they are still waiting for the Mahdi for whose proof these signs were meant or they should be filled with the certainty that after the occurrence of all these signs then he has certainly appeared. Ahmadis believe that the prophecy which is the shining proof of the truthfulness of the Holy Prophet and his Household has been fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He proclaimed in the beginning of the 14th century Hijra that according to a Divine revelation he had been chosen by God as the Promised Mahdi. He was of Persian origin and Haji Berlas was his ancestor who was the uncle of the renowned Mughal Conqurer, Emperor Taimur. The founder of Ahmadiyya Movement spent the whole of his life in the struggle to make Islam dominate over all false religions by strong arguments and he achieved a magnificent victory in this field which has borne witness on his superb literary services. Numerous criteria of the truthfulness of the Apostles of God have been mentioned in the Holy Ouran. For example: Sacred and innocent life before the claim. (Yunas). Opposition and ridicule after the claim. (Yasin). ADVENT OF IMAM MAHDI 35 Blessing of long life after the claim. (AI-Haqua). The Holy Prophet lived for 23 years after his claim of Prophethood which would not be the lot of a false claimant. On the test of all these criteria The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement can surely be regarded as true from God by the test of these criteria. In one Hadith the Holy Prophet says: “Whatever coincides with the Book of God hold it fast and act on it.” (Tahzibul Ahkam Vo!. II, pp. 193, Kitabul-Nikah). Not even the greatest researcher of Islam can claim that every word of all the traditions and Ahadith about the advent of the Mahdi are as preserved, secure and intact as every word of the Holy Ouran. In this situation, in the first instance, turn to the Book of God to know about their actual meanings and then we should look for the evidence of their fulfilment. When we cast a glance upon Shi’ite traditions relating to the appearance of the Promised Mahdi we observe the seal of God’s confirmation on many of them and those are the very traditions which have come true with magnificence and resplendence in favour of the holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. A few of them are: (1) The Mahdi will have a double name. One will be Ghulam and the other Ahmad and still another Mahmud and he will also be called Isa (Jesus) Masih. (Biharul Anwar vo!. 13, pp. 7-8). Similarly he will be known as Massih-uz-zaman. (AI-Najmul- Saqib p. 478). (2) The Mahdi will hold the flag of Muhammad and the Government of Ahmad. (3) The Promised Mahdi will break the Cross i.e. he will refute and annihilate the creed of crucifixion by arguments against it. (Biharul Anwar Vo!. 3, p. 198). The holy Founder of Ahmadiyyat carried out the campaign against Cross and Christianity with such unprecedented zeal and enthusiasm that his contemporary scholars and people of renown confessed it loudly and publicly. (4) The Promised Mahdi will have a book in which the names of his 313 helpers will be written. This has also come true. (Biharul Anwar Vol. 3, pp. 180-1). (5) The Mahdi will remain alive for 19 years after his claim to be the Mahdi. (Biharal (Biharal-Anwar Vol. 13, pp. 1089). 36 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The Holy Founder founded the Jamaat in 1889 and died in 1908. (6) Mahdi Moud will be succeeded by 12 Khulafa. (Ibid pp. 1238) Alhamdo Lillah there is institution of Khilafat in Jamaat Ahmadiyya. (7) The name of one of the offsprings of the Mahdi will be “Tahir”. It should be known that the present Imam of Jamaat Ahmadiyya is Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmad Khalifatut-ul-Masih IV who is currently residing in England and is extremely busy, day and night, in various activities of spreading Islam exactly according to the Divine prophecies for it is written that the Mahdi is a sun that will rise from the West and will purify the planet. Billions of blessings and peace be upon Khatam-ul-Anbiya, Muhammad Mustapha (peace be on him) and on the Ahl-e Bait and on the other leaders of the Ummah whose prophecies God fulfilled and proved that Islam, like other religions, is not a religion offictions but on the other hand it is a living religion revealed by the Everlasting and Ever living God. In the end we want to state that the Holy Founder of Ahmadiyya Movement received a revelation in January 1906: “An upheaval occurred in the palace of the ruler of Iran. ” And just according to the prophecy the Iranian nation dethroned Raza Shah Pahlavi, the Emperor of Iran under the able leadership of their beloved Allama Khamenei and set surprising and startling examples of exciting zeal for martyrdom and faith. We fully believe that this fearless, bold and sacrificing nation will, after gathering under the flag of the Mahdi will cause a spiritual revolution and will offer many more sacrifices than in the past. The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement said: “Truth will have ultimate victory and Islam will see the same day of glory and light as it has seen in the earlier days and the sun will again shine with full force as it shone in the days of yore, but not yet. Heaven will, inevitably prevent it from rising unless we do not consume the last drop of our blood in hard work and diligence and unless we do not sacrifice all our comforts for its appearance and unless we are not prepared to accept the most ignominious humiliations for the sake of Islam. The renaissance of Islam demands a ransom from us and what is that? It is death in its service.’ (Fathi-Islam p. 16). He says further: “There will be a renewed Earth and a renewed Heaven. The days are ADVENT OF IMAM MAHDI 37 approaching when the Sun of Truth will rise from the West and Europe will recognise the real God.” “All the communities are nigh to annihilation except that of Islam. All the strategies will fail except the Divine strategy of Islam. It will neither break nor fail unless frustrates completely all the evil designs of Gog and Magog, the time is also approaching when the pure Unity of God felt in the heart of hearts of the inhabitants of deserts and the illiterates, will spread in the countries. That day no self made redemption nor artificially culled God will remain, and a single waive of God’s Mighty hand will frustrate all the designs and devices of Kufr (disbelief), but not with any sword or with any gun. On the other hand it will be wrought by imparting light in willing and well prepared souls and by illuminating the righteous hearts. It is only at such time that the sayings I am saying will be understood! (Brahini Ahmadiyya vo!. IV, pp. 502-3) . ….——– Suggestions Invited ——-, Our readers will be delighted to know that a special Centenary Edition of The Review of Religions is proposed to be printed in March 1989, Inshaallah. To make it worth the august occasion we would very much wish to have your suggestions as to its size, volume, topics of current importance and other relevant points to make it befitting and attractive. Your literary contributions are also solicited. Proposals should reach us before 30th December 1987. (Managing Editor)