Paving the Ground for the Second Coming and Advent of Imam Mahdi
By: Syeda Saminah Sughra
Collective life in a society demands for its survival, the presence of a political governing body called government. Political efforts in a society are in the true instinct of man that Allah almighty has created first human being as His vicegerent and also assigned political role to His prophets along with the prophet hood. During his apostleship, Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to receive revelations and deliver the laws and commands of Islam to the people and besides this he was designated as the head of the state and was nominated to administer the affairs of state e.g. to establish an economic system, introduce an independent judicial system, provide the basis of international law and introduce the Holy Quran as constitution and equitable civil law in the state of Medina. So, we have clarified that need of government is undeniable in the society which should prevail with justice and equity simultaneously where ever these concepts are ignored people demand for a “savior” who with a “revolutionary system” can make their lives more secure and prosperous. Thus, we have to admit that throughout the history of mankind these two concepts remained present such as, “importance of Political governing body in every society” and “concept of savior” (a concept which emerged when the dictatorial, atrocious and seditious powers started to rule the society).
Likewise, while discussing about the “Concept of Mahdism” in Shiite belief we consider significant the foremost ideals of “Occultation age”, “presence of savior among us”, “paving the ground for his reappearance” and “governmental role”. The pivotal point of “reappearance” is focused in this concept and “Governments along with their role” are of utmost significance. The political role and formation of an equitable Government by savior makes us to focus on the role of Governments in the occultation age and paving the ground for reappearance. The political role of savior cannot be denied as we observe that throughout the history of mankind concepts of “society”, “State”, and “Government” always remained correlated and were never new-fangled but actually these were present in the true instinct of Man. Thus we have to realize that if the prime objective of the “Savior” is to establish a good governing system full of justice and equity then while paving the grounds for his appearance we have to support him with the “governmental reforms”.
The significance of governmental role for “preparing the grounds” is evident. So far, we are looking forward for a “Worldly Government” based on justice, equity, love, peace, brotherhood and equality. It makes it comprehensible that instead of waiting for any miracle, we have to pave the way through a “governmental revolution” which would be a part of “Worldly Government of Savior” in the future. Occultation age of the savior (Imam Mehdi) is like a blessing for the society and people having strong belief about savior does not wait passively but perform revolutionary acts to pave the ground for his appearance and try to make their elegant acts adjacent to the great worldly revolution. This paper can make it clarify that though during the occultation there is lack of worldly divine governments yet prevailing governments by enforcing the laws based on justice, equity, brotherhood and equality can give their support to the divine government of the savior. This is the only way through which ground for appearance of savior could be paved and aims and objects of the worldly revolution of him could be fulfilled. Through this paper, while turning the pages of history we can look over the Islamic dynasties in the distinct era of times e.g. Safavid and Al-Booyeh dynasties in the ancient Persia, their significance in a specific region and their role for providing a foundation stone to the present Islamic government of Iran. It is obvious and understood fact that an Islamic government running on the principals of Willayat can pave the ground for appearance of savior and could be a part of his worldly divine government.
“Savior” and Significance of Occultation Age:
“Mahdism” or concept of savior is not mere a part of Islamic doctrines but it is a symbol of that hope which all humanity in spite of their different believes keep securely in their hearts. This doctrine is actually an interpretation to the sweat dream in which all humanity according to their different affiliations are waiting for a day when all divine religions will reach to their perfect objectives and exhausted and fagged journey in the history will finish consolatory on the destination of peace and prosperity. Though this concept is present in all religions of the world yet people not having belief on supernatural phenomena also accept it from whole heartedly. The specialty which Islam has given to this concept is “Description of basis, standards and logics”. Hence, in Islam it has been described as a “Doctrine” where “Occultation age” has its significance (according to Shiite beliefs). Now it is not necessary to wait for a “strange savior” who will come in the near future and will work for the welfare of humanity but “savior is already among us” and not only we have to wait for the circumstances which will demand His appearance necessarily so He may start His greatest mission but we have to work for His manifestation, adopt his political strategies and to form a just and fair government.
Presence of savior in the Occultation age gives hope to the people who have been detained in the shackles of tyranny and injustice. This is a positive feeling which makes the people not to sit passively and to work actively for the coming worldly revolution of the savior. There is an important illustration quoting that presence of savior in the occultation age is like “sun behind the clouds”, thus He provides the same benefits to the humanity as the sun gives to the objects of this universe. Presence of savior (Imam Mahdi ajf) in the occultation age and afterward appearance of Imam with assigned political role has been proved from the narrations of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Infallible Imams; hence it has been mentioned in the sacred books: “Divine inspiration to you people about Mahdi (ajf), who will become manifest in the time when humanity will suffering separation, anxiety, distress and inconvenience; and the earth will be filled with oppression and tyranny, He will fill it with equity and justice, He will inebriate the hearts of His followers with the eagerness of worship and His justice will be accessible for everyone”
“In the last epoch my adherents will face a lot of obstinacy from the king of the times that will be such affliction that no one has seen such type of calamity, in the result of such disaster this vast land will get scanty for my brethren in faith, earth will be filled with oppression and cruelty. No asylum will be available to believers and in this environment of tyranny and oppression no one will reach to redress their grievances. Then God Almighty will send one of pious person from may sacred generation so He may fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be filled with injustice and tyranny……..”
“Re-appearance; Pivotal Point in the Doctrine of Mahdism”:
It has also been discussed while emphasizing in the above mentioned lines that Islam has given a unique characteristic to the concept of savior or doctrine of Mahdism. Islam (according to Shiite beliefs) narrates that Savior is present among Mankind and they are advised to pave the ground for His appearance instead of waiting for those circumstances which could pave the way for his soon arrival. Actually, concept of re-appearance of Imam is considered a pivotal point in the sacred doctrine of Mahdism. Keeping in view the worldly divine role of the savior following significant points can be mentioned in regard of appearance of the savior: Appearance of Imam (savior) depends on the circumstances and conditions of that time, thus if considered suitable for His appearance He will be allowed to appear as soon as possible. Terms and conditions will be provided by the followers or lovers of Imam that how much they work to pave the ground for His appearance. It was the reason that Holy Prophet (PBUH) also mentioned during his sacred life about the making of preparation for the appearance of promised Mehdi (ajf). He narrated for the followers of Imam Mehdi (ajf) to be prepared, even, at least with “an arrow” to be saved for the assistance of Imam Mehdi (ajf).
- Savior (Imam) has been assigned political role. He has to form a worldly government with the formation of which Allah Almighty will predominant His religion on all religions or the world and people will penetrate in that true religion in large number. Hence mentioned in the Holy Quran, “Allah hath promised such of You as believe and do good work that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who were before them to succeed (others); and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He hath approved for them, and will give them in exchange safety after their fear. They server Me. They ascribe nothing as partner unto ME. Those who disbelieve henceforth, they are the miscreants”
- Appearance of savior makes it sure that a worldly government will be established based on justice and equity, whose laws and political philosophy will be based on divine laws, where plenty of justice will be available to everyone without any discrimination, concept of equality before law will be enforced with true spirit. Holy Quran also narrates this ideal situation as “And we desired to show favor unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them inheritors.”
Shortly, Doctrine of Mahdism has pivotal point of appearance of Imam (savior) with an assigned political role especially for the formation of a worldly government. A government which could be able to abolish the political system based on tyranny, oppression, exploitation, injustice, self interest, cheating and artifice. Under this doctrine according to Shiite faith, we believe on the presence of “alive and vanished” Imam who is living among us, supervising our activities, helping or guiding us in crisis. Now we are waiting rather we are made responsible to work actively and not to sit passively, hence we could pave ground for His appearance.
“Governments during Occultation Age”:
This article has mentioned very clearly that presence of a political governing body is of utmost importance for the survival of a society. Political movements or Political role of human beings collectively or individually is in the true instinct of Man. Great scholar of 20th century Imam Khomeini has mentioned that “I could not found a single principal of Islam without the element of politics”. It is an admitted fact that Allah almighty has assigned political role to his pious peoples i.e. Prophets and infallible Imams. Hence, He mentioned in the Holy Quran that “And verily We have written in the scripture, after the Reminder: My righteous slaves will inherit the Earth”. Keeping in view the political philosophy provided by Allah almighty in the Holy Quran and from the Holy life of Prophet (PBUH) the renowned Muslim political philosophers have mentioned their political philosophies. These great philosophers such as Al-Farabi (870-950A.H) Ibn-e-Khaldun (1332- 1406 AD) and Allamah Muhammad Iqbal (1873- 1938) have mentioned the significance of politics and formation of governments in a society. Almost all Muslim political philosophers had consensus on the point that “Political or governmental role” has such pivotal place in a system as “heart” maintains in the body. These philosophers have given their political theories and provided pattern of Governments based on such political philosophies. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal was a great scholar and philosopher of earlier 20th century who has mentioned the co-relation and importance of religion with that of politics. Even in his poetry he has delivered the message of “co-existence of politics and religion” and said “if politics separates from religion, it has no worth but it becomes the politics of changez khan”. During the late 20th century, it was Imam Khomeini who has up hold the banner of Islam and stood up right in front of the seditious and tyrannical powers of the society. Imam Khomeini (1900-1989) popularized the concept that there is no difference between “Religion and politics”. He made it clear, through historical facts, that because of following reasons establishment or formation of Government is necessary in a society;
1. It is proved through the Holy life of “Prophet (P.B.U.H)” that formation of Government is of utmost importance.
2. The enforcement of “Divine laws” is not only confined to the era of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) but their demand is eternal.
3. “Divine laws” in their nature are not only theoretical but practical. Thus, for their proper application law enforcing agency (Government) is necessary.
Contrary to Muslim philosophies, Western political thinkers also focused on the political role of man individually as well as collectively but they were never convinced of the fact that religion has a place even in the collective life of a man. It was only in the medieval ages (11th to 16th century) when the role of church was observed in the politics but it ended with the “state and church controversy”. Medieval Philosophy was greatly concerned with the “nature of God” and the application of Aristotle’s logic and thought to every area of life. It was the time when “State and Church” controversy emerged which was because of the dictator ship of church. St. Thomas Aquinas (1227-1274) a famous philosopher of this era described “state” as ‘God established or natural institution’. He claimed that Man cannot live without society and society must have “Government”. He mentioned the source of Political authority is “God” Who is “supreme Governor” and people under Him are sovereign and may delegate their authority to any form of ‘Government’. Era of modern western political philosophy is considered the time of 17th to 19th century, this era is characterized as “Modern” because it was age of “Reason”, “Renaissance” and “Enlightenment”. In few usages, modern philosophy ended in 1800B.C. with the rise of “Hegelianism” and “idealism”. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) given the concept of “ideal state of nature” where in every person had equal right to every resource. Karl Marx (1818-1883), the founder of scientific socialism and communism, holds that the “state” is the political organization of ruling class which uses its power for the purpose of suppressing the resistance of its class enemy. Keeping in view the all above philosophies it can be concluded that Muslim philosophies could not remain in vogue properly mostly they had given the “caliphate system” which could not be enforced but according to western philosophies following models remained applicable in the society in different times. These models could be enlisted such as:
1. Stateless Societies of the Primitive times.
2. The tribal Kingdoms.
3. The oriental Empires.
4. The Greek City-states.
5. The Roman Empire.
6. The Feudal States.
7. The National States of the Modern times.
- Monarchical or Despotic states
- Democratic states (Prevailing with the concepts of|;)
While giving an analysis to the presence of Governments during occultation age, it is worthy to mention that along with the states based on western philosophies there remained reign of Muslim dynasties during different era of times. Hence, we can mention that during the age of occultation there were following Muslim dynasties in distinct reigns.
1. Ottoman Empire in Asia (14th-20th centuries).
2. Safavid Empire in Persia (16th-18th centuries).
3. Mughal Empire in India (16th-19th centuries).
While especially referring to the safavid dynasty of ancient Persia it is worthy to mention that the Safavid dynasty had its origin in the “Saffawiyah” which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over all of Persia and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sassanid to establish a unified Iranian state. Despite their demise in 1736, the Safavids have left their mark down to the present era by establishing and spreading in major parts of the Caucasus and West Asia, especially in Iran.
Even though Safavids were not the first Shia rulers in Iran, they played a crucial role in making Shia Islam the official religion in the whole of Iran. There were large Shia communities in some cities like Qom and Sabzevar as early as the 8th century. In the 10th and 11th centuries the Buwayhids, who were of the Zaidiyyah branch of Shia, ruled in Fars, Isfahan and Baghdad as a result of the Mongol conquest and the relative religious tolerance of the Ilkhanids, Shia dynasties were re-established in Iran, Sarbedaran in Khorasan being the most important. The Ilkhanid ruler Öljaitu converted to Twelver Shiism in the 13th century. In Number of ways the Safavids affected the development of the modern Iranian state: first, they ensured the continuance of various ancient and traditional Persian institutions, and transmitted these in a strengthened, or more 'national', form; second, by imposing Ithna 'Ashari Shi’a Islam on Iran as the official religion of the Safavid state, they enhanced the power of Mujtahids. The Safavids thus set in train a struggle for power between the urban and the crown that is to say, between the proponents of secular government and the proponents of a theoretic government; third, they laid the foundation of alliance between the religious classes ('Ulama') and the bazaar which played an important role both in the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1905–1906, and again in the Islamic Revolution of 1979; fourth the policies introduced by Shah Abbas I conduced to a more centralized administrative system.
On the contrary, Mughal Empire in India and Ottoman Empire were Sunni states and even some of their rulers were much prejudice to the Shiite Islam. Thus it can be notified that Safavid dynasty played a pivotal role for the spread of Shiite Islam in Iran which could be mentioned as foundation stone of present Islamic government. This government based on the pure system of Willayat is providing the beam of hope and a strong prediction that in the nearby future worldly Islamic government could be established based on the ideals of “Willayat”, justice, equity, brotherhood and equality. This Islamic government is considered a best illustration for establishment of a “worldly Islamic Government” by the savior of the world. No doubt, it can be mentioned clearly that during the Occultation age, government playing its role for paving the grounds of appearance is the same based on the elegant principal of Willayat.
“Governments During Occultation Age and Paving the Ground of Appearance”
Above mentioned discussion makes it clear that different established governments throughout the world are based on different Islamic and western political philosophies. Though, the government based on true Islamic rules and system of willayat is the best of form of government playing its role actively for paving the ground of appearance yet other governments based on the true principles of justice, equity, brotherhood and equality can also have their proportional part for paving the ground of appearance. Keeping in view these all fundamental divine principles following points can be considered important:
- As we know that “Mehdavi state” will be established by elegant revolution and in the result of which a worldly government will be founded. It is also worthy to mention that this government will be based on the fundamental divine principles of justice, equity, brotherhood and equality. Hence, It cannot be denied that the governments playing their role for upholding the banner of justice though not an Islamic government are actually playing their part for the appearance of savior.
- In the worldly government of savior, rules or basis for international law will be “equality before law” rather than “might is right”. So we should keep in mind that governments having such character in the international community are actually an important figure for paving the ground of appearance and can be a part of this worldly revolution. These states always stood up right in front of the seditious and tyrannical elements of the world community and always played their role for righteousness. These all are the attributes of the “Mehdavi revolution”.
- Projects of education from the governments of throughout the world can also play a vital role for leveling the grounds of appearance. This is the most important thing for paving the ground of appearance as when the level of intellect and education of people will rise, they will be more cultured, conscientious and aware. Thus they will be able to play their role for paving the ground of appearance and to be a part of the worldly revolution of savoir.
- Last but not the least, Union of Muslim countries enhancing the scope of globalization of Muslim world can be a very positive step from the Islamic countries in regard of paving the ground of appearance. Just a few years ago, it was a difficult thing to think over about the “worldly government” but now the establishment of United Nations as well as European Union is the best examples to be considered for the worldly government of Savior in the nearby future.
Sacred revolution of (savior) Imam Mehdi (ajf) contains political elements in its movement. To establish a just and equitable worldly government is the manifesto of the infallible Imam. Governments in the present era thought not fully an Islamic government by upholding the banner of justice, equity, equality and all other fundamental divine laws can be a part of the worldly government of the Savior. May Allah hasten His appearance and we could be a part of His worldly government playing our role positively for His early appearance.
1. Holy verses of the Quran
- Chapter:24, Verse:55
- Chapter:21, Verse:105
2. Narrations by holy Prophet (PBUH)
- Behar-ul-Anwar Vol:51, page:74
- Albian page:72
3. Inspiration of peace and prosperity by Safi Gulpaegani
4. Revolution of Imam Mehdi by Nasir Makarim Shirazi
5. Muslim Political thoughts & administration (by Sherwani)
6. Muqaddamah by Ibn khaldun
7. Iqbal the poet of Tomorrow
8. Western political thoughts
9. Wikipedia (Encyclopedia)
10. Explanation to the belief of Mahdiism, Safi Gulpaegani