The Islamic Mahdi is being eagerly awaited by millions of Muslims around the world. Ironically, this includes arch enemies ISIS (Sunni branch of Islam) and Iranian leaders (Shiite branch of Islam).
While there are differences about the details of who he is and what he will do, both share the belief in the establishment of a global Islamic state under his rule and in the annihilation of non-Muslim nations. And both are actively working towards the fulfillment of the prophecies that would see the Mahdi rule the world.
As Dr. Majid Rafizadeh further explains in his recent analysis for frontpagemag.com, these apocalyptic Muslims believe that what we are seeing in the world is proof we are in the end times. As such, Muslims should prepare the world for the coming of the Imam Mahdi (also known as Muhammad al Mahdi) who would establish global Islamic rule and eradicate non-Muslims.
Apocalyptic Muslims have long believed that the appearance of the Mahdi would coincide with a civil war in the lands of sham [Syria], which will destroy the country. In addition, Iraq will be in engulfed with domestic militia wars. They also believe that other non-Muslims will become vulnerable to Muslims and Islamic rulers.
It’s interesting to note that all these developments have been taking place especially over the past few years, encouraging and lending credence to the beliefs and hopes of apocalyptic Muslims. But who exactly is this Mahdi expected to be?
According to Dr. Rafizadeh, the Shiite clerics of Iran believe that Mahdi is the child of Muhammad, the hidden Imam and the twelfth Imam. They argue that Muhammad al- Mahdi was born thousands of years ago and disappeared to reappear later when certain signs emerge. On the other hand, the apocalyptic Muslim leaders of the Islamic State believe that Mahdi has not yet been born but this is the time that he will appear in the world.
More importantly, anyone who rules the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic State (currently Khamenei and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi) considers himself as the only true representative of Imam Mahdi on earth, as long as the Mahdi remains hidden.
This belief is hinged on prophecies attributed to the prophet Muhammed: “Even if the entire duration of the world’s existence has already been exhausted and only one day is left before Doomsday, Allah will expand that day to such length of time as to accommodate the kingdom of a person from my Ahlul-Bayt [family of Muhammad] who will be called by my name…”
Both Iran and ISIS are not passively waiting around for this outcome; rather they are actively and aggressively pushing for its speedy realization. As Michael Kaplan for Ibtimes.com recently reported, Iran has prepared almost 200,000 young men in countries across the Middle East to help with the arrival of the Mahdi, according to Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari.
“The formation of [the Islamic State group] and Takfiri [extremist] groups, and the events that occurred in the past years are paving the ground for the emergence of Imam Mahdi…you can now see the positive results in the readiness of nearly 200,000 young armed in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen,” said Gen. Jafari according to a report attributed to the Middle East Monitor.
Some may be tempted to dismiss these developments as wishful thinking, far removed from Western civilization. As such, they should not give the militarily superior Western nations cause for major concern. At this point, few really expect the entire world to be soon controlled entirely by Islamic jihadists, despite ongoing concerns about ISIS and Irans ambitions.
In a recent piece published in Christiantoday.com, Hazel Torres quoted U.S. evangelical Christian political strategist Joel C. Rosenbergs views on this. Rosenberg believes that America, in particular, needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
Quoting a Pew Research study, Rosenberg noted that in nine of the 23 nations where the adult Muslim respondents were asked if they believe the Mahdi is coming, half or more said they believed the Mahdi’s return would occur in their lifetime.
“In recent years, I’ve written two series of novels, not simply to entertain, but to help the American people, members of Congress, presidential candidates and others become aware of such Islamic apocalyptic thinking, and various worst-case scenarios that could result if Western leaders are blindsided by enemies they do not understand. Yet far more must be done to ensure that American voters and the leaders they will choose truly understand these facts…The stakes are too high for anything less, Rosenberg wrote.
And its one more reason that Israel also needs to be prepared for an increased motivation to obliterate it. William Wagner, author of “How Islam Plans to Change the World,” supports Rosenberg’s call, adding that this prophecy about the coming of the Mahdi explains the anti-Semitism in the Middle East, particularly in Iran and among the ISIS jihadis.
As Wagner told CBN: “They feel like one of the major blocking points for the Mahdi’s return is Israel, and that is one reason why they feel like they must destroy Israel”.
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