WASHINGTON – While most of the reporting and analysis of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the U.N. focused on what he had to say about the West and specifically the U.S., his chilling closing remarks were lost on most listeners – and apparently all reporters.
The last two paragraphs of his remarks revealed his steadfast and driving conviction, as previously reported in WND ,that a messianic figure, known as the “Mahdi” to Muslims, is poised to reveal himself after an apocalyptic holocaust on Earth that leaves most of the world’s population dead.
“I emphatically declare that today’s world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet,” Ahmadinejad said. “Oh, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.”
With Iran on the verge of producing nuclear weapons and already in possession of sophisticated medium-range missiles, mystical pre-occupation with the coming of a Shiite Islamic messiah is of particular concern because of Iran’s potential for triggering the kind of global conflagration Ahmadinejad envisions will set the stage for the end of the world.
Ahmadinejad is on record as stating he believes he is to have a personal role in ushering in the age of the Mahdi. In a Nov. 16, 2005, speech in Tehran, he said he sees his main mission in life as to “pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.”
According to Shiites, the 12th imam disappeared as a child in the year 941. When he returns, they believe, he will reign on earth for seven years, before bringing about a final judgment and the end of the world.
Ahmadinejad is urging Iranians to prepare for the coming of the Mahdi by turning the country into a mighty and advanced Islamic society and by avoiding the corruption and excesses of the West.
All Iran is buzzing about the Mahdi, the 12th imam and the role Iran and Ahmadinejad are playing in his anticipated return. There’s a new messiah hotline. There are news agencies especially devoted to the latest developments.
“People are anxious to know when and how will he rise; what they must do to receive this worldwide salvation,” says Ali Lari, a cleric at the Bright Future Institute in Iran’s religious center of Qom. “The timing is not clear, but the conditions are more specific,” he adds. “There is a saying: ‘When the students are ready, the teacher will come.’”
Ahmadinejad and others in Iran are deadly serious about the imminent return of the 12th imam, who will prompt a global battle between good and evil (with striking parallels to biblical accounts of “Armageddon”). Some interpretations of the events that precede his coming include a war that wipes out most of the world’s population.
In Iran, an institute set up in 2004 for the study and dissemination of information about the Mahdi had a staff of 160 and influence in the schools and children’s magazines earlier this year. Theologians there say end-times beliefs appeal to one-fifth of the population. And the Jamkaran mosque east of Qom, 60 miles south of Tehran, is where the link between devotees and the Mahdi is closest.
As of last year, Ahmadinejad’s cabinet had given $17 million to Jamkaran.
Shiite writings describe events surrounding the return of the Mahdi in apocalyptic terms. In one scenario, the forces of evil would come from Syria and Iraq and clash with forces of good from Iran. The battle would commence at Kufa – the Iraqi town near the holy city of Najaf.
Even more controversial is Ahmadinejad’s repeated invocation of Imam Mahdi, known as “the Savior of Times.” According to Shiite tradition, Imam Mahdi will appear on Judgment Day to herald a truly just government.
Ahmadinejad made reference to the Mahdi in his first speech to the U.N., too. He called on the “mighty Lord” to hasten the emergence of “the promised one,” the one who “will fill this world with justice and peace.”
Who stands in the Mahdi’s way?
A top priority of Ahmadinejad is “to challenge America, which is trying to impose itself as the final salvation of the human being, and insert its unjust state [in the region],” says Hamidreza Taraghi, head of the conservative Islamic Coalition Society.
Taraghi says the U.S. is “trying to place itself as the new Mahdi.” This may mean no peace with Iran, he adds, “unless America changes its hegemonic … thinking, doesn’t use nuclear weapons, [or] impose its will on other nations.”
After Ahmadinejad last spoke to the United Nations, in September 2005, he told Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli in Tehran, in a videotaped discussion, about a strange, paranormal experience he had while speaking.
He recounted how he found himself bathed in light throughout the speech. But this wasn’t the light directed at the podium by the U.N. and television cameras. It was, he said, a light from heaven.
According to a transcript of his comments, obtained by WND last year, Ahmadinejad wasn’t the only one who noticed the unearthly light. One of his aides brought it to his attention.
The Iranian president recalled being told about it by one of his delegation: “When you began with the words ‘in the name of Allah,’ I saw a light coming, surrounding you and protecting you to the end.”
Ahmadinejad agreed that he sensed the same thing.
“On the last day when I was speaking, one of our group told me that when I started to say ‘Bismillah Muhammad,’ he saw a green light come from around me, and I was placed inside this aura,” he says. “I felt it myself. I felt that the atmosphere suddenly changed, and for those 27 or 28 minutes, all the leaders of the world did not blink. When I say they didn’t move an eyelid, I’m not exaggerating. They were looking as if a hand was holding them there, and had just opened their eyes – Alhamdulillah!”