Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fletch Who Is the Twelfth Imam?

I've just finished reading a novel called The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg, which is a thriller set in the current political climate of today, with Iran developing as a nuclear power, etc. It's interesting because it's very close to reality; in fact, Rosenberg predicted the 9/11 plane attacks in a novel before they happened.

What really interested me is that I hadn't heard anything before about this 'Twelfth Imam' who is a person many Muslims (particularly Shia) believe in, in real life. Just as Christians believe in the coming of Jesus again as Messiah, many Muslims believe in the return of the Imam, with Jesus as his lieutenant, who will destroy the "Little Satan" (Israel), and the "Great Satan" (America) and herald a return to a global Islamic caliphate.

This post is more of a heads-up rather than a detailed break down, as it would probably take a lot of cutting and pasting, but Rosenberg has a 10 point Q&A here, which reads in part -
Q: Explain who the Twelfth Imam, or the Mahdi, is for those may not know.
A: The Twelfth Imam was a real, flesh-and-blood person who lived during the ninth century AD. Like the eleven Shia religious leaders who went before him, he was an Arab male who, as a direct descendent of the founder of Islam, was thought to have been divinely chosen to be the spiritual guide and ultimate human authority of the Muslim people. His name was Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali. It is generally believed by Shias that he was born in Samarra, Iraq, in AD 868, though few details of his brief life are certain or free from controversy. Sunnis, for example, believe he was born later. Before he could reach an age of maturity, when he could teach and counsel the Muslim world as was believed to be his destiny, Ali vanished from human society. Some say he was four years old, while others say five and some say six. Some believe he fell into a well in Samarra but his body was never recovered. Others believe the Mahdi’s mother placed him in the well to prevent the evil rulers of the time from finding him, capturing him, and killing him—and that little Ali subsequently became supernaturally invisible. This is where the term “Hidden Imam” is derived, as Shias believe that Ali is not dead but has simply been hidden from the sight of mankind—Shias refer to this as “occultation”—until the End of Days, when Allah will reveal him once again. 


As far as belief in the Imam, it seems clear that Iranian president Ahmadinejad, certainly believes in him, and has spent $20 million building a mosque and a triumphant roadway that the Iman is supposed to take on his arrival.

Q: Is it true that as mayor of Tehran, current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a grand avenue built in anticipation of the Mahdi’s return?
A: Ahmadinejad campaigned for Mayor promising to prepare the way for the coming of the Twelfth Imam, but most of his significant accomplishments occurred after coming to power as President in the summer of 2005. He has spent millions to build roads leading to the Jamkaran Mosque, where the Twelfth Imam reportedly once appeared to a farmer and told him to build a mosque and intimated that he might return there one day to a well in the courtyard. Not all Shias believe this so-called messiah will return there, but Ahmadinejad does. As a result, millions of Shias have visited the mosque and like to write prayers and toss them down the well, hoping they are heard and answered.
Q: Shouldn’t Christians welcome the return of the Mahdi since he is supposed to bring Jesus with him when he returns?
A: The Twelfth Imam, should he actually come, will be a false messiah. True followers of Jesus Christ should never welcome agents of deception. That said, Jesus Christ warned three times in Matthew chapter 24 that we should expect many false messiahs to come in the last days of history and to deceive many. Shia “Twelvers” do believe that Jesus is coming back at the end of time, but they believe that Jesus is not the Savior, Messiah and Lord of the universe. They believe Jesus will be the Twelfth Imam’s deputy, and will force all Jews and Christians to convert to Shia Islam, or perish. Nothing could be further from the truth.

According to a Wall Street Journal story on November 30th -

Ahmadinejad constantly talks of the Hidden Imam but almost never mentions Ruhollah Khomeini, the mullah who created the present regime. Nor is Ahmadinejad keen to pay tribute to Khamenei. A man who talks to God wouldn't bother with mere saints.
Several times a year, Ahmadinejad takes his entire cabinet to Jamkaran, a suburb of the "holy" city of Qom south of Tehran, to report to the Hidden Imam. In Jamkaran there is a well that is supposed to lead to the place where the Hidden Imam is in hiding. In a solemn ceremony, Ahmadinejad throws copies of his government's budget and other edicts into the well for consideration by the Hidden Imam.
The message is clear: A government that is preparing for the end of times, under the command of the Hidden Imam, does not need the mullahs.
There is a website HERE which also gives insight, including references to many of Ahmadinejad's speeches, where he mentions the Iman. One of the instances was in 2007 when the EU called for sanctions. The story says -
In his response, Ahmadinejad invoked his fervent belief in the "hidden" 12th imam Mahdi who Shiites believe disappeared 1,200 years ago and will one day return to save the world.
"As God promised, the oppressors will have their noses rubbed in the dirt. Now they are fulfilling this promise by themselves," he said.
"Let it be known that in whatever we do, I see the hand of God and the hidden imam at every moment." 
Here's Ahmadinejad again (taken from a Glenn Beck interview with Rosenberg) in a youtube video at a speech at the UN saying he prays Allah would "hasten the arrival" of the Imam.

Whether this "Imam" is the antichrist or not is not sure, but Ahmadinejad sure believes he's coming. The Iranian president's actions are based on this ideology. I think this makes him very dangerous indeed, as he won't hesitate to use nuclear weapons to hasten the Mahdi's return.

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