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The return of the Mahdi

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invited to speak at the United Nations in October 2005. At the conclusion of his discourse, he called upon Allah to quickly usher in the re-emergence of the “Twelfth” or “Hidden Imam,” sometimes referred to as the “Mahdi.”

The fanatical leader later claimed that while he spoke to that august body, he was surrounded by a halo of light. Mr. Ahmadinejad regaled a local ayatollah with the story of how “The leaders of the world” stared at him during the time he spoke. He further claimed that they were unable to blink or turn away, as though some unseen force held them in a trance-like state. “When I say they didn’t bat an eyelid, I’m not exaggerating, because I was looking at them,” intoned Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad is a Shia Muslim. Many of them believe that the Twelfth Imam, or Mahdi, the last in a line of saints descended from Ali, the founder of their sect, vanished down a well near Jamkaran, Iran, in A.D. 941. According to their beliefs, he went into a state of “occultation,” like the sun being hidden behind the clouds; and, after a stormy period of apocalyptic wars, the clouds will part, and the “sun” (the Mahdi) will be revealed. They believe that when he is released from his imprisonment, the entire world will submit to Islam.

The world may smirk as they hear the president of Iran talking of the return of the Mahdi and think it is just a bunch of religious foolishness. But, he is dead serious. Not only does he believe it, but the tens of thousands of mullahs controlling ancient Persia believe it also. It is their mission from God.

But just who is this “Mahdi,” this Hidden Imam? Some thought it was the Ayatollah Khomeini. In fact, when he returned to Iran in February 1979 following the overthrow of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, the roads leading into Tehran were lined with nearly 2 million Shia Muslims screaming “al-Muntazar.” The grand ayatollah was quick to deny that he was “al-Muntazar,” one of the names given to the Hidden Imam. In other words, many thought Khomeini was the awakened Mahdi. Khomeini did, however, explain to his followers that he was the forerunner, the one who had come to open the way for the Hidden Imam to make his reappearance.

The Hidden Imam, upon his unveiling, will, according Iran’s constitution, assume leadership in the Islamic republic. All will acquiesce to his authority in what is essentially an end-time paradigm based on what some call the Muslim messiah. Ahmadinejad’s belief in this Hidden Imam is so compelling that he may well be persuaded to go to any lengths, including a nuclear attack on Israel and/or the United States, to precipitate an apocalyptic event, a means to an end.

Initially, Ahmadinejad’s threats seemed but the idle ranting of a megalomaniac. But now, armed with the capability to produce nuclear weapons, Iran will be a menace with which to be reckoned. The spirit of the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini lives on in Iran. This is the same Khomeini who said in 1981, “I say let Iran go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.”

The ummah or Muslims worldwide are comprised of Sunni and Shia Muslims. The two different sects evolved following the death of Muhammad. The Sunnis readily accepted his successor, while the Shia Muslims demanded their leader be a direct descendant of Muhammad. This personage is known to the Shia as “Ali.” Hence the designation, “The Party of Ali.”

Through the ages, additional subdivisions in the Shia sect have pitted one group against another, all led by recognized descendants of Muhammad. Their individual designations are derived from the number of the imam which they follow. Thus, Iran is comprised mainly of followers of the “Twelfth,” or the Hidden Imam. He succeeded Al-Hassan al-Askari who died in A.D. 874.

Shiite Muslims believe that the Twelfth Imam disappeared down a well near Jamkaran in A.D. 941, and will emerge from this location at his Second Coming. But first, they believe, the world will go through great calamities and upheavals. This “apocalypse” will set the conditions for the Mahdi’s return.

The Hidden Imam is known by several monikers, which translate to “expected one,” the “hidden one” and, of course, Mahdi (promised one). His mystique is enhanced by the legend that the young successor in the lineage of Muhammad was secreted because he was unaccepted by the majority of Muslims. He will apparently be kept in seclusion until the day he emerges to reunite Muslims, conquer the world and establish an Islamic caliphate.

Ahmadinejad has taken up the banner of the Hidden Imam. His hate-filled rhetoric aimed at the Jews and America is stirring fanatical Muslims the world over. On April 20, a group calling itself the Islamic Thinkers Society rallied near the Israeli Embassy in Queens, N.Y. Carrying placards and banners picturing an Islamic flag flying over the White House, they shouted such vile pronouncements as:

Zionists, Zionists You will pay! The Wrath of Allah is on its way!

Israeli Zionists You shall pay! The Wrath of Allah is on its way!

The mushroom cloud is on its way! The real Holocaust is on its way!

We will not accept the United Nations, they are the criminals themselves

They get paid by the Israeli and the U.S. government to do their job.

We don’t recognize United Nations as a body; We only recognize Allah.

Israel won’t last long … Indeed, Allah will repeat the Holocaust right on the soil of Israel

Islam will dominate the world

Islam is the only solution.

Another mushroom cloud, right in the midst of Israel!

As days pass, Ahmadinejad becomes more defiant. It is as if he is daring the nations of the world to try to stop him. How far will he go? Will he, indeed, launch a murderous attack against Israel or the United States in a misguided attempt to see his dream of the return of the Hidden Imam come to fruition? It becomes more obvious that he is willing to stop at nothing to reach his goal.