WEBSITE OF THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA
Contemporary Global Challenge and the Reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as)
Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega
Senior Researcher and Youth Development Consultant
Center for Political Research, Education and Development Abuja, Nigeria
This research is aimed at given an anatomy into the contemporary global challenges visa vie the reappearance of the Imam of our time; Imam Al-Asr, Wa Al-Zaman, Al Hujja, Al Muntazar, Al Mahdi (As). The paper intends to discuss Imam Mahdi within the prism of political economy; not from the angle of theological basis, since am not a theologist, but, a student in search of knowledge from the theologies. It is against this background, that the paper intends to examine the contemporary global crises and the search for a redeemer and ideology that wills salvage the growing frustration and confusion that today’s humanity have found themselves from the unclog of contemporary global economic and political realities. The paper will in a kind of historical excursion or overview, discuss the concept of Imam Mahdism (as) from the purified family lineage of the Holy Prophet (saw), evidence of reemergence from related sources or historical document and the minor and major occultation. Also as people who are in a continent (Africa) whose future have been permanently mortgaged by their leaders in active collaboration with their former colonial master and all efforts at liberating African people from the shackles of underdevelopment, frustration and hopelessness through various slogans, reforms and revolutionary tactics have all proven difficult for the African people to change their hopelessness and confusion into prosperity and happiness. It will be the position of the paper that, the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as) will provide the needed succors and liberation for the long suffering black race in Africa from internal and external colonialism and long years of exploitation, oppression, plunders, war, genocide and underdevelopment. And finally the paper will in a kind of projections conclude with expectations and challenges before humanity before the reappearance of the last saviour of time (as).
The world has witness various transformation over the years. These transformations have had a far reaching consequence in shaping the current global order for both good and bad. Man by nature was created free, but guided by certain rules and regulations which are made to make his life easier and enjoy the celestial blessing and mercy of God, His creator. There is no doubt; man by nature is not only selfish but, he is actions and inactions often are not regulated by his reasoning, but, by, his appetite and lustful desires. So, therefore, the need to tamed man’s desire, is of important to the continues co-existence of human species; that is why, Islam as a complete religion of Allah (SWT), has set up rules and regulations towards the attainment of moral and spiritual fulfillment of man in relations to his environment. But, man’s ego and self love have made him unable to abide by these laws of natural selection. The inability of man to abide by these laws necessitated God Almighty to send His Prophets to guide and continue to remind man about his relationship and duties to His Creator in this temporal world; thereby strengthening his moral and religious obligations to His Creator and build an everlasting bound of mutual understand and felicity in this world and the hereafter.
However, inability of man to adhere to this simply rules and regulations is the byproduct of the various crises the world is facing today. The emergent of the last Prophet of Allah (SAW) at the time the world of Arabs and the world was in total darkness and full of ignorance; heighten the desires of Allah (SWT) to provide man with His felicity and mercy. The Prophet of Allah (SAW) worked assiduously to transform a once ignorant and barbaric people of the world into a community that symbolized love, unity, prosperity, and the development of Islamic community with high moral excellence. The efforts of the Prophet of Allah (SAW), not only unified the world into a community of human brotherhood, but, also, left man with guiding principles that will aid man towards spiritual and physical felicities in this world and the hereafter. These guiding lights are the book of Allah (Qur’an), and His purified Households (as).
This spiritual perfection of the human inhabitant continue through the guardianship of the Righteous and Purified Households of the Holy Prophet (as); who were best chosen to guide and expound the religion of Allah as revealed and practice by the Holy Prophet (saw). Although the world was denied the reservoirs of spiritual and moral excellence of the Households of the Holy Prophet (saw), but, teachings and guardianship continue to shine on the zenith of knowledge and governance. The failure of the Households of the Holy Prophet (saw) to guide humanity according to the instruction of the Holy Prophet (saw) seriously endangered the world inhabitants into an abysmal of darkness, wickedness, immorality, confusion, anarchy, injustice, and disunity. The Households of the Holy Prophet (SAW) survived under the most inhuman and brutal regimes, over the years; but, undeterred they (as) continue to propagate the pure religion of Islam according to how it was revealed and practice by the Holy Prophet (SAW) until they meet their martyrdom in the hands of their enemies.
The failure of man to tame his desire, ego and adhere to the teachings of His Creator as thought and practice by the Holy Prophet (saw) and expounded by his Households (as) have created the conflict and crises the contemporary global community we are witnessing today. It sad to say, the world is at the pinnacle of injustice, inequality, wars, oppression, underdevelopment, dependency exploitation, and confusion. This is as result of the desire of man to dominate and annihilate his fellow man; in order to improve his own standard of living. The world is a jungle, where the big and the powerful enslave and invade countries of their choice and harness their resources and inhabitants to their advantage. There is cry of injustice everywhere; the global bodies (United Nations Organization and related institutions) look helpless, unable to provide the much needed answers and solutions to mankind. The world today is facing challenges of unequal proportions. Man is in desire need of a redeemer and saviour to salvage his hopelessness and confusion. The lives of mankind are in what Thomas Hobbes describes in his State of Nature as; “solitary, nasty, brutish, and short”.
There are urgent calls by the world inhabitant for reforms, leadership and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities by the global citizens and leaders. These calls have reached its high heave without any solution from the so-called global players. There is growing uncertainty and frustration due to the inability of the contemporary global economic and political arrangement to give man the needed felicity and direction towards prosperity and build a just and equal world of opportunity and development. Out of this hopelessness and confusion lies the solution human horizon and celestial felicity of the appearance of Imam of our time; Imam Al-Asr, Wa Al-Zaman, Al Hujja, Al Muntazar, Al Mahdi (As), who will not only clean the world from impurity, injustice, inequality, but, will also fulfill Allah’s proof and the Prophecy of His Prophet (SAW) and the eleven rightful guided leaders of the Muslim world (as).
1.2 Contemporary Global Challenges and the Reawakening of Mankind
The world, they said, is a global village; this is as results of breakthrough in information and communication technology. Information and communication technology has not only broken the barriers of distance among global citizens, but, has enable transaction and exchange of information, opportunities, investment, exploitation in a world of inequality and uncertainty. However, with sophistication in information and communication technology which ought to have created a better world, but, unfortunately have deepens crises, conflicts, wars and insecurity. These crises were the product of man desire to accumulate, dominate, and exploit his fellow man and subject him to greater hardship and hopelessness. These uncontrolled desires of man had plunged the world into various centrifugal crises of confusion and despondency. The desire of man not to follow the rules and regulations ordained by the Almighty gave rise to the hopelessness man have found himself. Man made laws replaced God’s laws, constitutionality replaced Shariah, democracy and the power of the people replaced the power of God Almighty. The question how can man who is characteristically selfish give the world equity and justice?
It is these desires that made nations to invade and destroyed one another. The desire of certain people to acquired resources and territory was what gave birth to the First and Second World War; where millions of God inhabitants where killed and maimed to further the greed of some neophytes. The removal of the religious ethics in world affairs seriously undermined the progress and development of the world. The world today, is in crises as result of greed and injustice; especially in the way the world economic is been managed for the benefits some few countries/people against the majority of the people who actually possesses these wealth, but are disempowered and excluded from the benefits of these resources that God have endowed the people for their felicity. The contemporary global economic and political arrangement is tailored towards furthering dependency, exploitation and underdevelopment. The growing global inequality, exploitation, and economic enslavement of weaker nations by the stronger nations called for sober reflection on the need for the continue co-existence of this anarchical world economic and political arrangement.
Interestingly, the contemporary global economic arrangement is a single social community. This social community is a mix of wealth and poverty, progress and despair, exploitation and assistance, dependence and interdependence. For sure, some countries are rich and the others are rather poor. The rich countries have certain common characteristics. They are economically prosperous, politically stable, social harmonious and technologically sophisticated. Given the link between politics and economics, the rich countries are very competitive in international trade and exchange relations. They have the general capacity to bargain, negotiate or respond flexibly in the open-club market system from a position of strength rather than weakness.1
While in contrast, the poor countries are in the majority, and are characteristically backward in economics, unstable in politics, socially disharmonious and technologically dependent. About 65% of the poor countries are monocultural single commodity exchange producers. Together, this reduces their capacity to participate effectively in international trade. Being weak in a number of indices of development, the poor countries are highly indebted externally. They seem to adopt a similar attitude of begging situation in a “non-negotiable” competitive economic system.2
This is how the world economy is been stratified and tailored to suit some certain interests in Europe and America. This stratification has had a serious repercussion on the world inhabitants. These repercussions have given birth to dangerous network of countries who feel they owned the world the duty to police the affairs of the world to their advantage. Today, the role of United State of America in endangering the world is a major concern to the world inhabitants. The United State of America has destroyed world inhabitants more than any nation of the world. They have killed maimed, exploited, plunder, invaded and destroyed nations and her inhabitants in collaboration with her Western allies especially the state of Israel; in order to satisfy their whimsical desires. The disregard and frustration of the good and spirited people of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon, years of atrocities in the Americans, and Africa have shown how the United State of America and her Allies have endangered the world peace and security; which have aggravated the contemporary global terrorism on large scale. Terrorism is now the new modern weapon by the belligerent people of the world to fight the source of international capital who are armed bent of controlling the world’s resources for their benefits.
It is imperative to say, the greatest causalities of these inhuman maltreatment of the global system is the Muslim nations of the world. Ironically, God in His mercy blessed the Muslim world with abundant resources that today, the whole civilization deeps on, (i.e oil and gas). These Middle Eastern nations of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Brunei control about 66.2 to 75.9 percent3 of the world oil reserves. But, yet, the Muslim world are unable to utilize these potentials to their advantage; until in 1979; when Allah in His infinite mercy gave the spirited people of Iran the energy and assistance, under the guardianship of Imam Khomeini to established an Islamic Federation through a successful revolution. This was a major turning point in the historical development of the world. The revolution did not only create a nation that will checkmate the excesses of the global injustice, but, also the Muslims worlds have found a voice. And this I believe raise the consciousness of Muslims all over the world to realized that it is possible to challenges their hopelessness and frustration and build a just and morally sound society under the rules and regulations of Allah. But, due to egotism and self love of some certain groups of Muslims and their leaders; this enthusiasm was seriously undermined; thereby allowing the enemies of Islam to finally regain their stronghold on the Muslims land and further advance their sinister evil desire that have created further bloodshed and economic enslavement of the Muslims land and its resources.
The global reawakening as experience in the Arab revolution that started in Tunisia and spread to the whole of Arabian peninsular showcase the hopelessness and frustration of the people against unproductive leaders and global political and economic system that tenders to downplay the feelings, perceptions, expectations and religion teachings of the people. The Arab peoples’ revolutions have not only collapsed the biggest stooges in government but, also, just like the Iranian revolution of 1979, took the global empire builders unaware and unguarded; thus there inability to provide the shock therapy they are use to. Although, the revolution has not consolidated the needed gains towards establishing Islamic government; but, have offers the people and the new global empire builders to realized that, the people can really inspire a fundamental change in the global economic and political arrangement.
There is no doubt; the Muslim nations and spirited global citizens have suffered and are still suffering from the cruelties of the global empire builders. The growing injustice, exploitation, poverty, insecurity, and underdevelopment of the world, which promote and engendered despairs and frustrations are what is giving rise to the growing number of uprising, rebellions, terrorist and revolution across the global. The desires of people to be free from deprivation and underdevelopment which was artificially created by some few individuals in collaboration with national leaders is what is contributing to the growing numbers of agitation against injustice and exploitation. From Palestine, Somalia, Nigeria’s Niger-Delta region, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe to Madagascar and Guinea Conakry. the struggle for self emancipations against agents of underdevelopment is assuming a new dimension and shaping the contemporary global realities search for a redeemer and ideological underpinning that will provide succor and direction in building a new world where people will be respected and accorded freedom to live in peace and harmony and enjoy life.
It is evidently clear today, that, the various centrifugal crises and confusion in the contemporary global world from instability in the Middle East, to economic downturn across Europe and America, hopelessness and confusion in Africa, the world is coming to the ganging point of ideological and spiritual bankruptcy. The world and mankind are searching for a solution to the plethora of problems confronting the contemporary global system. There is no doubt, with the passage of time the efficacy and failure of manmade formulated and implemented theories and postulation have failed the contemporary global system; as the universe is still grasping with the crisis of injustice, equality and underdevelopment. Various revolutions and counter revolutions have occurred, but, yet, answers to problems are still bedeviling man in the world of anarchism. It is perplexing that mankind has been searching for an alternative from the available options; which will make him to have felicity and peace of mind. I make bold to say, it is only through adherence to the teachings of Islam as thoughts and practice by the Holy Prophet (saw) and as expounded by the Holy Imam (as) lies the solution to man problems; this is because Islam have clear-out rules and regulation for continues existence of man and his society. These rules and regulation will not only guide man through happiness and spiritual perfections, but, will also ensure peace and understanding among the world inhabitants. As man continue to search for a redeemer; it is my believe that man should not waste his time thinking of redeemer from the plethora of leaders we have; this because doing so, will only be temporal, because God Has already choose a redeemer for him from the righteous and purified households of his Holy Prophet (SAW); who is Imam Al-Asr, Wa Al-Zaman, Al Hujja, Al Muntazar, Al Mahdi (As).
It my believe that, the activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the confusion of the contemporary global order is not only giving us hopes and aspiration, but, also is assuring us that the reappearance of the awaiting saviour is almost near; due to the growing global injustice and oppression of the world inhabitants by some tiny groups of countries for their whimsical desires. The time for unjust rulers, injustice, oppression, exploitation and plunder is nearing its end and the world will be filled with justice and equity as prophesy by the teachings of the Holy Prophet (saw) and members of his Households (as).
1.3 Imam Mahdi (as) the Guidance and Saviour of Mankind: An Historical Overview
“The world will not come to it end unless there rises Qa’im from my offspring who will fill it with equity and justice after being filled with injustice and oppression”-4 Prophet of Islam (SAWA)
Man has been searching for guidance in order to attain moral excellence in a life full of hardship and injustice. It is evidence today, a pious person has to first subdue his own desires and animal instincts to achieve moral and spiritual excellence in a world of uncertainty. The environment one found himself; play significant impact on his social and religious consciousness in attaining spiritual and moral excellence; especially as regard to his relationship with his creator. Today, the environment, value system, the pace of time and oppression, all united to distract man from the path to righteousness. The floods of injustice, the storm of tyranny and downpour of insecurity, wars and death of innocents God creators, make it impossible for man to focus his attention in defining the shape and scope of his celestial life under God giving instructions. In such situation, it is not possible for everyone to lay down his life for the cause of defending the truth. Fortitude, forbearance, patience, and courage are words written in dictionaries and narrated as tales or legends or recorded in books of ethics. But, to demonstrate the actual meaning of these words during time of hardship, or advance bravely towards the valley of death, or to quicken the staggering legs towards a real challenge, we need a living guide2 who will not only call mankind to righteousness, but, will guide and liberate man from the shackles of injustice and inequality in today’s world of anarchy. There is no doubt, man have try all methods and theories to navigate himself or country out of the global unclog, but, such efforts in that direction have led to greater hardship and hopelessness. Does that mean man cannot attain life of felicity, happiness, justice and celestial condition under God rules? The Answer is on the positive side, as man will definitely achieve life of celestial and justice, as promised by the Holy Prophet (saw) and the righteous guided Imans (as). There is no doubt, the world redeemer is none other than the Imam of our time; Imam Al-Asr, Wa Al-Zaman, Al Hujja, Al Muntazar, Al Mahdi (As).
1.3.1 Imam Mahdi (as), the Purified Lineages, and Related Prophesies
The history of Imam Mahdi (as) can be link with the history and survival of Islam. Imam Mahdi is the son of Imam Hassan Askiri (As). He was born on the 15th of Sha’ban in the year 255 of Hijra in Samarra. The awaited Imam was born of a Roman mother who was called Narjis. She was the daughter of one of the Roman Kings. Her Mother’s lineage is traced back to Shimoun (Shemon) Al-Safa, one of the disciplines of Jesus (AS).5
The awaiting saviour is a direct descendent of the Holy Prophet (saw) through his grandson Imam Hussein (as). The Prophet (saw) has predicted the coming of the Imam of the time (as) in various narrations by both Sunnis and shia alike. Imam Mahdi (as) is the son of Imam Hassan Al-Askari (as), son of Imam Ali Hadi Naqi (as), Son of Imam Mohammad Jawad (as), son of Imam Ali Al-Raza (as), son of Imam Musa Al-Kasim (as), son of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as), son of Imam Mohammad Baqir (as), son of Imam Ali Zanul Abeedena (as), son of Imam Hussein (as), brother to Imam Hassan (as), sons of Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as), Cousin and Husband to the Daughter of the Holy Prophet (saw), Fatimatu Zahra (as). While his mother is the Narjirs, or maryam, or Malike granddaughter of Yashshu the Emperor of Byzantine, daughter of Simon mother of Yashshu, Simon (Shamun) the disciple of Jesus (as), Jesus (as) the Prophet of Allah.
As it was predated just like other Imams of Islam; the coming of Imam Mahdi (as) was predicted by the Holy Prophet (SAW) and expounded by other Imams and the companion of the Holy Prophet (saw). The Holy Prophet was narrated to have said; “The world will not come to it end unless there rises Qa’im from my offspring who will fill it with equity and justice after being filled with injustice and oppression”.6 Also in another narration reported by bn Abbas May Allah be please with him was quoted to have said that the Holy Prophet said;
“Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (As) is the Imam of my nation and my successor therein after me, and among my offspring is the awaited Qa’im who shall fill the world with justice and equity as it has been filled with injustice and equality. By the One who sent me in truth bearer of glad tiding, and a Warner, I swear that those who persist adhering to his imamate even during this ghaybat (occultation) are more rears than red sulphur”7
Also it was reported on the authority of Abdullahi Ibn Umar (as) that the noble prophet of Allah narrated that;
“The day of resurrection will not occur until the earth is ruled by a man from my household whose name is my name. He will fill the world with justice after it has been filled with oppression.8
Also there are verses of the Holy Quran that are links with the appearance of the Imam of the time. In Surah al-Nur 24: verse 55 Allah (SWT) was saying that;
Allah has promised those ye who believe (in God and awaiting messiah) and do virtuous deeds that will (in time of his rising) depute them in the earth as he deputed those before them; and that He will establish for them their religion the one which He has chosen for them, and that he will substitute for them after their fear security, they will worship me and not associate aught with Me. If any do reject faith this they are rebellion and corrupt.9
According to Imam Sadiq (as) and his father Imam Baqir (as) testified to the fact, this verse was revealed in connection with Imam Mahdi; that by his hands the world will be filled with justice and happiness. In another verse Allah is giving glad tiding to the believers that;
And certainly We wrote in the Psalms, after the reminder, indeed the earth – my virtuous servant shall inherit it. (Surah Al-Anbiya chapter 21: verse 105).10
It was narrated during the time of Imam Mahdi (as) that humanity will embrace Islam and justice will filled the world. This narration was supported by the verses of the Holy Qur’an where Allah (SWT) is saying;
Do they seek for other than Allah’s religion? While all creatures in the heaven and earths have, willing or unwilling bowed to his will. And to Him shall they all be brought back. (Surah Al-Imran, verse 83 )11
According to Zahiri Najafi in his book Mahdi (as) narrated that Imam Sadiq as saying that the holy verse was referring to Imam Mahdi’s (as) rise up and the verse will become apparent all over the world, for there would be no land or village or country from which the sound of “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger” is not heard”12 This summation by Imam jafar (as) was further strengthen by Allah Swt as reveled to the Holy Prophet (saw); where Allah is saying;
And there is none of the people of the book but must believe in him before his death, and on the day of resurrection he will be a witness against them. (Surah al –Nisa (4) verse 159)13
Although disparity exist between narrators; while some are of the opinion that the verse was reveal to against the reappearance of Jesus Christ (as); but, my understanding at the time of Imam Mahdi (as) Jesus Ibn Maryam (as) will not only pray behind the imam; but will be among his helpers; because Jesus (as) will be descending from heaven and pray behind the Imam. Jesus will be back to the world to clean his name from been associated as the son of God; and he will help delivered the people into Islam and the people proclaiming their believe in his Prophethood under the leadership of Imam Mahdi (as).
1.3.2 Other Related Prophecies of the Coming of the Messiah (as)
There various religious books apart from the Quran and the various hadiths have also uniquely predicted the coming of the messiah. These unique ways and historical linkage are all through the mercy of Allah (SWT); Who has promised the pious that they will inherent the earth and fills the world with justice and prosperity with the appearance of Imam Mahdi (as); after it has been filled by oppression and injustice as proclaimed by the Prophetic sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the righteous Imams (as). These books of narrations include;
Zoroastrian Book of Zand: Contain a discussion of the collapse of the rule of the wicked and the inheritance of the earth by peace-loving people. It state that;
The army of evil will fight constantly against the army of God, on the earth. Often the victory is borne by the evils ones, but, not the extent that the army of God is destroyed. At the time of difficult the God of skies send help. The war will last nine thousand years. The victory will be with the followers of God, and evil will finally be destroyed.14
The Book of shakmony: In the book of shakmony, and it’s messenger who is one of the greatest apostles of India and is, according to his followers, a bearer of divine book, he points to the religious unity that will exist in the time of the world-liberating holy man. He argued that;
The kingdom and government of the world will ultimately end up with the son of the king of the creature of the two worlds, Keshen (is the hindu name given to the Prophet). His noble progeny is known as Gha’em (meaning one who rises up; which is one of the names of Imam Mahdi). He is the one who will rule the mountains of the East and the West, and who will ride on the cloud and command the angels who are his servants and the humans and the jinns, who are at his command from Sudan under the equator till the land under the north pole, he will conquer them all up to the distant land. The religion of the gods will become one and God’s religion will become alive. His name is Gha’em, he is pious and virtuous.15
The book of Jamaseb: More evidence in Hindus sources can be found in the book of Jamaseb. It also states that a man will appear from the land of the Arab, from the sons of Hashim (the tribe of the Holy Prophet (saw)). He is described as having a large head, large status and strong calves. He will rise with his army from the religion of his ancestors and face towards Iran, bringing prosperity and filling the land with justice.16
The book of Bask: In the Hindu divine book of “bask”, it is stated that the world will come to an end with a just king who is the leader of angels, jins and human being. Right and justice are with him. Whatever is hidden in the depths of the sea, high in the mountains or in the loftiness of the skies-He will know it none will be more noble-born than him.17 So also in the Hindus books of Patikel, Jamasb Nameh, Dadang, Wash Jook, and Gaats .
The Holy Bible: Also the Holy Bible carried a lot of Prophecy of the coming of the Imam of our time (as); which is refers to as the Messiah. In the book of David “Zabur”, chapter 37 where forty verse were dedicated to the rule of God about the coming of the messiah. The book of Daniel Chapter 12, the book of Isaiah, Chapter 65 verse16-25, the book of Zephaniah chapter 3, verse 7-9, the revelation of John chapter 2 verse 26-29, the book of Mathew verse 23-42, the book of Luke chapter 21 verse 5-36, etc. All these verses eulogies the coming of the saviour and messiah that will filled the world with justice and happiness. May be when we make an intensive research into African traditional practices and religions we might come in contact with lots of postulations and traditional rhythms and saying of the priests and ancestors over the coming of the messiah. There was no time to do that for now; but subsequently that will be included God’s willing.
1.3.3 Minor and Major Occultation
Although it is still an argument between the two schools of thought over the longevity of the life span of the Imam in this world of uncertainty and spiritual suspicions and confusion. While the sunnis where of the opinion that the Imam is not alive but will be given birth to. The shia from all historical and the hadith of the Holy Prophet argued that the Imam was alive but in hidden. Whatever, pedestal bridge you decide to be; my contention is from the fact that Allah’s mercy and perfections is second to know; he can make and prolong the life of his friend Imam Mahdi or anybody as long he want; so I subscribe to the notion that the Imam is alive and very active within the realm of spirituality. But, the questions to ask are; if the Imam will be born recently that means we can be able to see him? And at what age will he be when Jesus (as) will pray behind him? Such mysteries have existed before, where Allah make people to slept for thousands of years; only to be reawaken to realized that they have slept for thousands of years. But, am not saying the Imam (as) is asleep; the Imam of our time is active everywhere assisting the unjust people to attained liberation.
However, from the historical document it was shown that, the enemies of Islam tried not to allowed the prophecy of the purified Birth to come through, by frequently incarceration of his father Imam Hassan Al-Askiri (AS) by the leadership of the Al- Mu’atamad who was the then caliph of the Muslim Ummah; but, with all the difficulties the blessed infant was born enjoying the concern and care of the Divine will. He was called Mohammed Al-Mahdi In conformity with a prophetic tradition quoted above. The Birth of Imam of our time; finally sealed the hope and aspiration of oppressors and unjust rulers of the world; who wanted/are still continuing to oppress the free creators of Allah (SWT).
It is interesting to say, so many people have meant the Imam when he was small and the narrations have confers the fact that the Imam was born and active. He also appearance in public to lead the funeral prayer of his demised father Imam Al-askiri at the age of five (5) years in conformity of imamate tradition of the successor of the Imam leading the funeral prayer of his deceases father. Resting the case of whether he is alive or not. Since then he has gone into occultation. It is Allah promised to protect and elongate his life until that time he pleased to make him reappears among people and filled the world with justice and equity when these virtues might have been lost among the people of the world.
Before his final disappearance, the Imam used to speak to his followers through intermediaries. That period was refers to as the Minor occultation, which lasted from 260 AH – 329 AH. These intermediaries/deputies that communicate with the Imam during the minor occultation were namely; Uthman Ibn Sa’eed, Mohammed Ibn Uthman Ibn Sa’deed, Al-Hassan Ibn Rawh and Ali Ibn Mohammed.
Since the death of his last deputies Ali Ibn Mohammed (ra), the Imam has gone into major Occultation lasting this long. Major occultation was the period of uncertainty and divine blackout; but the Imam (as) has handedover the affairs of the Ummah in the hands of learned scholars to guide the people through spiritual excellence. These scholars in the shia world are refers to as Marjans or ayatollahs. We hope and Pray to Allah to hasten his Appearance and make us among his helpers Amin.
1.4 The Oppressed Africans and the Awaiting Saviour (as):
Although the appearance of Imam Mahdi (AS) is not only meant for any specific group of people, but, as a mercy to mankind; who were injured and oppressed by some wicked, self centered and ungodly groups of people and their country. But, in a nutshell I intend to discuss the appearance of Imam Mahdi (AS) visa-vise the liberation of the African continent, who have suffered long years of underdevelopment, exploitation and plundering of her destiny. Africa is one continent that has suffered from the brutality of the global empire builders. Over the years the destiny of the continent has been tied to destiny of Europe and America; while Europe and America are progressing, serious underdevelopment is occurring in the Africa continent. The African continent is finally caged and mortgaged as primary supplies of raw materials and consumers of finished goods. This has not only stagnated the economy, but, has built the ratio of dependency and underdevelopment.
The case of Africa is quite pathetic. This is because, this is one continent whose destiny has been sold by her leaders in all season to international capital for maximum exploitation. While some nations of the world are busy confronting their hopelessness and despair with courage and determination; nothing seem to be happening in Africa, except malnutrition, poverty, spread of diseases, inter/intra ethnic/religious crises/conflicts, hopelessness and despair, sit-sighted leaders that have nothing to contribute than furthering underdevelopment, and dependency. All attempts at liberating the continent from the strong hold of the Western countries have all proven abortive. Today, Africa is looking like a permanent state of accident; nothing seem to be working apart from acrobatic display of incompetence and policy somersaulting. This is one continent that desire liberation; various leaders who attempted to change the course of history where either eliminated or overthrew. These leaders include; late Patrick Lumumba of Zaire, late Amilca Cabral of Genuine Bissau, late Michel Samora of Mozambique, late Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, late General Murtala Mohammed, General Muhammadu Buhari and Ahmed Seko Toure of Guinea etc.
It saddening to say, the Africa continent have become the sick child of mother earth; all attempt at salvaging her have led to ultimate crash before taking off. Between leadership failure and docility in the hearts of the followers where lies the solution to the general hopelessness and despairs the people have found themselves? It is only within the horizon of the light of Al-Islam as expounded by the households of the Holy Prophet (SAW) can bring us out of this despondency. Since all attempt at liberating Africa has proven abortive, then it was our believe, that, the appearance of the awaiting saviour (as) will not only liberate us from the shackles of poverty, frustration, despairs and underdevelopment, but, will provide the much need synergy for the enhancement of the economic potentials and happiness of the people. We take consolation from the Prophetic teaching; that assure us that; “The world will not come to it end unless there rises Qa’im from my offspring who will fill it with equity and justice after being filled with injustice and oppression”- 18 if not we could have suffered in this world of lost opportunities, both spiritually and physically and also suffer in the next world of uncertainty because of the almost of Islamic ethics in Africa.
The people of African have suffered tremendously within the context of global economic arrangement. This suffering have ended up fragmented the societies into world of unequal. The crises of nation building confronting the continent have seriously crippled the potentials of Africa to play any dominant role. These injustice have led to war, crises and conflicts in the continent leading to death of millions of wretched Africans in Rwanda, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, Congo, South Africa etc. it is our prayers that, we the people of Africa will be among the major helpers of Imam Mahdi by the time he appears. The awaiting Saviour is the panacea to the crises of nation building bedeviling Africa today.
Finally, there is no doubt there are greater expectation from us to redoubling our religious obligations. We are lucky Allah in his infinite mercy has blessed the African continent with a helper of Imam Mahdi (as) in person of Mallam Ibrahim Yaqub Al-Zakzaky (H); who is not only reawakening our consciousness as regards to our obligations to our Creator, but, has shown consistency, dedication, determination, courage, honesty and redirect the minds of the people against the brutal forces of oppressors and treasure looters on these part of the continent. His tenacity and courage has send fears and confusion in the hearts of the oppressors whenever his name is mentioned or that of his followers; making us to be firm in our commitment and loyalty to him that the coming of the awaiting saviour is nearer. We can only pray for Allah’s support, good health and protection for him to see us through.
1.5 The Awaiting Saviour (as) and The Expectations of Mankind
Dear brothers and sisters in humanity, there is no doubt the challenges of our time are real and we cannot say they are not comestible; they are comestible only if we refined our hearts with the fears of Allah and doing the obligations that we are all saddled with as Allah’s creators . The Imam (as) have a lot of expectations from the people of the world. The people must return to Allah for support and mercy. There is no doubt man made laws and technology cannot guarantee happiness and tranquility to the people of the world; real happiness comes from adhering to the teaching of Islam as explained by the Holy Prophet (saw) and expounded by the Holy Imams (as).
Brothers and sisters in humanity we must fight our individual diseases that lies buried in our hearts. Chief among these diseases is the disease of egotism and self love. It is on record these two diseases are the major facilitator of violence and corruption in the world today. I take solace in quoting a teacher, mentor, motivator and the 20th century Islamic revivalist and the guardian of Islamic revolution in Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini against the effects of these diseases; Imam argued that;
It is we who are lying in a well that is as dark as possibly can be. This darkness is that of our egotism. So long as we do not give up our egoism, we cannot get out of this darkness. We are selfish and self conceited. That is why we do not attach importance to others and consider ourselves alone to be all important. If thing is advantageous to us, we accept it. If it is not, we reject it howsoever right it may be. We believe only thing, which is in our favour. All these egotism and selfishness. It is this attitude that is the cause of all troubles and is responsible for all misfortune of humanity. There can be no godliness so long as selfishness persists. Them what is remedy? Man has within himself an idol-temple. It is not easy for him to get out of it. He needs Divine help, a hidden hand which may take him out of this dungeon. The Prophet has come for this very purpose. 19
It is important we strive to sanitize our minds and hearts against the effects of these cancers. Also brothers and sisters in humanity, we need to seriously checkmate our morals uprightness. There is no way we can aspire for spiritual perfections when our actions and inactions are not in consonants with the ethos of Islam. Moral excellence conquers hearts more than one thousands swords of jihads. The ability for others to access us as good Muslims lies with our moral uprightness. It is the moral conducts of the Holy Prophet (saw) that made him to conquer the hearts of the Arabs and world in general. It is very important; we begin to see ourselves as the mirror that reflects our imperfections; not to daily blame the next person. In every of us lies sinful desires and aspiration; if only we can concentrate in ourselves as the starting points reforming our characters and attitudes; probably we can influence our children, wives, sisters, brothers and others; instead of all these blames in all circle. I take solace in the sayings of the Martyred Ayatullahi Murtada Muttahir
A faithful man holds himself responsible for his backwardness and will not blame his country and its administrators for that. He believes that if there is anything wrong, that is because he and others like him have failed to discharge their duty properly. This feeling will naturally arouse his sense of self-respect and impel him to move forward hopefully. In contract a disbeliever is in the universe like a man living in a country about which he believes that its system, laws and formations are unjust and corrupt and that he has to accept then against his will. The heart of such a man will always be full of malice. He will never think of improving himself. He will think that there were everything is wrong; his own uprightness will be of no use at all. Such a man never shall enjoy the world. For him the world will always be like a dreadful prison.20
It is therefore important to blame our individual self for the confusion and despairs we found ourselves. We have to reawaken our spirits to prayer harder to Allah (Swt) to get His felicity and mercy over our situation. We have derailing from our commitment to Allah; we have picked others as our idols such as money and fame. The way we struggle daily to acquire wealth and fortunes; if only we can devout one third of such energy to the sincere worship of Allah; our situation could have change by now. This has reminded me about the warning of Allah (Swt) to mankind in Quran Chapter 20 verse 124 where Allah is saying that;
He who turns away from remembering Me, his life will be burdensome21
Brothers and sisters in humanity, we must seek knowledge of Islam and the Western education too. These knowledge must be seek not with the mindset of getting a certificate that will be use as a meal ticket; but a knowledge that will be use to promote humanity and build a society of righteousness and happiness. This knowledge must be sanctified. We must understand we have the duty to read books and publications on Islam. Knowing the history of Islam and what happens immediately after the death of the Holy Prophet (saw) until present era is sacrosanct to our overall understanding and development of which Islam which we are practicing and who are really on the side of Allah, His Prophet saw and the righteously Guided Imams (As). We must understand that we cannot understand Islam by listening to preaching through the radio cassettes, DVD, CDs or attending lecturers; but we must have and develop a culture of reading beneficial books on Islam and it branches; that will give us more information than just listening to the above mentioned process.
Dear brothers and sisters in humanity; we must be wary of new teachings and some egotistic scholars who feels happy seeing us divided along sectarian lines. There is growing misused of the hopelessness and confusion around us to make us commit crimes against innocents’ people in the world. These set of Islamic preachers are using the injustice and oppression of Muslims to ginger people into committing atrocity in the name of Islam. The recent Boko Haram episode, and December 23, 2009 attempted bombing of the Delta airline for example in my country Nigeria by Farouk Umar Mutallab are some few classical example. Islam has specification on how to conduct jihad as practice and thought by the Holy Prophet (saw) and the righteous guided Imams. It is our duties to follow these steps please for our own felicity.
Dear brothers and sisters in humanity; there is need for us to see ourselves as one and vicegerent of Allah on earth; so therefore there is need for love and compassions among us irrespective of religion, tribe and sectarian divide. There is no need for all the name calling; since we agreed with the coming of Imam Mahdi (as) let us use that as a yardstick to build peaceful synergy and unity among Muslims. We must stop the name calling but, to embrace each other in dialogue of civilization in other to understand ourselves better and overcome our challenges from the domination of some psychos pretending to be the police men of the world.
Finally, we must strive to fight injustice and oppression in our endeavour. Allah is just and love just people, so why should we see injustice and remains silent. Oppression and injustice are the greatest killer instincts of man. Allah has blessed us with the entire thinking faculty and the powers of strengths; so why do we become cowards alike in facing the realities that confronts us. Have we all querns up in a line to oppress the people. This is the crisis of the country we are living today. Nobody wants to take the right step; because we have all develop the mindset of waiting for our turn. I assure you most of us, our turn will never come; except in the dens of poverty and confusions. So, brothers and sisters in humanity, let remove fears and material inclinations in our heart; and embrace the fears of Allah as Sustainer and Redeemer of our hopelessness and confusion. It is only when we believe in the awesome powers of the Almighty Allah that we can conquer our fears and faces our challenges with certainty of Allah’s protections and mercy; because He has promise believers in the Glorious Qur’an that “Allah does not change the condition of any people until they first change what is in their hearts” (Surah Al-Ra’ad 13:11).24 These are the expectations and challenges before us brothers and sisters in humanity before the reappearance of the Imam of our time (as).
There is no doubt the challenges of our time are too enormous for us tackled, therefore we need divine guidance and celestial mercy from the Almighty Creator. These challenges were created by man to satisfy his whimsical desires. There is also no doubt that Allah is Eternal and Merciful to His creators; that is why always he sent a reformer to clean the people from sins and injustices. The reappearance of the last Imam; Imam Al-Asr, Wa Al-Zaman, Al Hujja, Al Muntazar, Al Mahdi (As), is a testimony to the Benevolence and Mercy of Allah (SWT) to his servants; as reported by the Holy Prophet (SAW) that; “The world will not come to it end unless there rises Qa’im from my offspring who will fill it equity and justice after being filled with injustice and oppression”-
The World has transform for both good and bad. This transformation has had a far reaching implication to the world. This implication has endangered the world more than ever before; this is because the growing gap between the rich and poor has call for sober reflection. Also the tenacity and determination of the Islamic Republic of Iran in confronting global injustice especially as regards to protecting the sanctity of Islam and Muslims all over the world; have raise our hope of the coming of the awaiting saviour of mankind. the Islamic Republic of Iran is not only a trailblazer; but have shown that with adherence to the teaching of Allah (SWT), as practice by the Holy Prophet and expounded by the Holy Imams; Islam can be re-awakened again to take her glorious place in the sand of time. This has also rekindle our hope and enthusiasm of the re=appearance of the Imam of time; so, that, he can fulfill the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and the rightful guided Imams of filling the world with equity and justice after it has been filled with injustice and oppression. It is my prayers that Allah will make us among his helpers and lieutenants and fighter to confront the global empires builder wherever they are amin.
1. Akpuru-Aja, .A (2001): Selected Themes in International Economic Relations: Understanding Trends of Globalization & Regionalization. Enugu, Rhycee Kerex Publishers.
3. Chossudovsky, M (2007): The “Demonization” of Muslims and the Battle for Oil. In Muslim Worldview, February 2007, page 20.
4. Sayyed Ali Naqi Naqwi (1990): Biographies of leaders of Islam. Translated by Nazir H.Z and Edited Yasin T. A. Lebanon, Imam Hussein foundation
6. The Fourteen Infallibles: The Awaited Imam: Mohammed Al-Mahdi (AS), Translated by M.N Sultan, Edited by Yasin T. A, 1998, Lebanon, Imam Hussein foundation.
7. Azarmi, A. (1999): When The Time Comes. Tehran. Safir Sobh publishing
8. As cited in Ibid
9. Qur’an 24:55
10. Qur’an 21: 105
11. Qur’an Ops cit
12. Ops cit (Azarmi 1999)
13. Quran 4:159
14. Ops cit (Azarmi)
18. Ops cit (Ali Naqi)
19. Allamah Mutahhari, Allamah Tabatabai, and Imam Khumayni, (2001): Light Within Me. Qum, Ansariyan Publication, Page. 139-140
20. Mutahheri, M (1997): Man and Universe. Qum, Ansariyan Publication
21. Qur’an 20: 124