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Erikl

The Mystical Menace of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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Erikl

The Mystical Menace of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

by Daniel Pipes

New York Sun

January 10, 2006

Thanks to the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a new word has entered the political vocabulary: mahdaviat.

Not surprisingly, it's a technical religious term. Mahdaviat derives from mahdi, Arabic for "rightly-guided one," a major figure in Islamic eschatology. He is, explains the Encyclopaedia of Islam, "the restorer of religion and justice who will rule before the end of the world." The concept originated in the earliest years of Islam and, over time, became particularly identified with the Shi‘ite branch. Whereas "it never became an essential part of Sunni religious doctrine," continues the encyclopedia, "Belief in the coming of the Mahdi of the Family of the Prophet became a central aspect of the faith in radical Shi‘ism," where it is also known as the return of the Twelfth Imam.

Mahdaviat means "belief in and efforts to prepare for the Mahdi."

In a fine piece of reporting, Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor shows the centrality of mahdaviat in Mr. Ahmadinejad's outlook and explores its implications for his policies.

As mayor of Tehran, for example, Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to have in 2004 secretly instructed the city council to build a grand avenue to prepare for the Mahdi. A year later, as president, he allocated $17 million for a blue-tiled mosque closely associated with mahdaviat in Jamkaran, south of the capital. He has instigated the building of a direct Tehran-Jamkaran railroad line. He had a list of his proposed cabinet members dropped into a well adjacent to the Jamkaran mosque, it is said, to benefit from its purported divine connection.

He often raises the topic, and not just to Muslims. When addressing the United Nations in September, Mr. Ahmadinejad flummoxed his audience of world political leaders by concluding his address with a prayer for the Mahdi's appearance: "O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace."

On returning to Iran from New York, Mr. Ahmadinejad recalled the effect of his U.N. speech:

one of our group told me that when I started to say "In the name of God the almighty and merciful," he saw a light around me, and I was placed inside this aura. I felt it myself. I felt the atmosphere suddenly change, and for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink. … And they were rapt. It seemed as if a hand was holding them there and had opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic republic.

What Mr. Peterson calls the "presidential obsession" with mahdaviat leads Mr. Ahmadinejad to "a certitude that leaves little room for compromise. From redressing the gulf between rich and poor in Iran, to challenging America and Israel and enhancing Iran's power with nuclear programs, every issue is designed to lay the foundation for the Mahdi's return."

"Mahdaviat is a code for [iran's Islamic] revolution, and is the spirit of the revolution," says the head of an institute dedicated to studying and speeding the Mahdi's appearance. "This kind of mentality makes you very strong," the political editor of Resalat newspaper, Amir Mohebian, observed. "If I think the Mahdi will come in two, three, or four years, why should I be soft? Now is the time to stand strong, to be hard." Some Iranians, reports PBS, "worry that their new president has no fear of international turmoil, may think it's just a sign from God."

Mahdaviat has direct and ominous implications for the U.S.-Iran confrontation, says an Ahmadinejad supporter, Hamidreza Taraghi of Iran's hard-line Islamic Coalition Society. It implies seeing Washington as the rival to Tehran and even as a false Mahdi. For Mr. Ahmadinejad, the top priority is to challenge America, and specifically to create a powerful model state based on "Islamic democracy" by which to oppose it. Mr. Taraghi predicts trouble ahead unless Americans fundamentally change their ways.

I'd reverse that formulation. The most dangerous leaders in modern history are those (such as Hitler) equipped with a totalitarian ideology and a mystical belief in their own mission. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fulfills both these criteria, as revealed by his U.N. comments. That combined with his expected nuclear arsenal make him an adversary who must be stopped, and urgently.

SOURCE

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PLO

what is kinda frightening, the mahdi is the person who will reform islam and the world before the arabic end of days, if he genuinly beleives himself to be that character then, well. Its like developing a Jesus complex. :no:

The 6th Shia Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq, is reported to have said:

"Before the appearance of the one who will rise, peace be upon him, the people will be reprimanded for their acts of disobedience by a fire that will appear in the sky and a redness that will cover the sky. It will swallow up Baghdad, and will swallow up Kufa. Their blood will be shed and houses destroyed. Death will occur amid their people and a fear will come over the people of Iraq from which they shall have no rest."

There will be an insurgence by the Sufyani, a descendent of Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan is considered by Shias to have been one of Muhammad's greatest enemies, along with his son, Muawiya I and Muawiya's son, Yazid. According to Shia narrations, the Sufyani's revolution will start from Palestine/Jordan, and his reign of tyranny will span the Middle East from Iraq to Egypt.

A loud call from the sky signals the Mahdi's appearance

if anyone's read Dune by Frank herbert you'll kinda get the picture, i just hope that loud noise and red sky isnt a nuke lol.

havin said that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also stated

"Greater power or wealth should not accord expanded rights to any (UN) member," he said in a speech to a UN summit, adding: "The host country should not enjoy any right or privilege over the rest of the memberships."

But like Bush, he is clearly a religious fanatic. So apparently you cant hold it against him.

Edited by PLO

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bathory

he makes Bush look like an Athiest

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Erikl

He makes the KKK look atheist.

Oh wait no, he looks exactly like a muslim equivalent of the KKK, a shiia equivalent of Bin Laden, etc.

His messianic complex will lead us all towards a war.

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__Kratos__
The most dangerous leaders in modern history are those (such as Hitler) equipped with a totalitarian ideology and a mystical belief in their own mission.

Interesting...

user posted image

:ph34r:

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zephyr
"Belief in the coming of the Mahdi of the Family of the Prophet became a central aspect of the faith in radical Shi‘ism,"

That belief is the central aspect of the faith even in non-radical Shi'ism! Belief in the coming of a Messiah is common to a lot of faiths, this doesn't make Shi'ism any more radical than the others! :no:

This thread is another good example of people talking about matters they don't fully comprehend. These matters, mixed with biased and narrow views on mundane politics and political figures lead to exaggerated and sometimes silly comments.

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PLO

possibly lol, but by even mentioning it, seems to indicate two things, one he believes there a messiah cometh, and two the end of days in inevitable, if of course the source can be trusted. An actualy copy of the full U.N transcript would be handy. As it really doesnt seem to be something leaders say in something like that.

Edited by PLO

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Erikl

That belief is the central aspect of the faith even in non-radical Shi'ism! Belief in the coming of a Messiah is common to a lot of faiths, this doesn't make Shi'ism any more radical than the others! :no:

This thread is another good example of people talking about matters they don't fully comprehend. These matters, mixed with biased and narrow views on mundane politics and political figures lead to exaggerated and sometimes silly comments.

Zephyr, no one attacks Shiism for it's messianic nature.

Heck, even my own people's religion awaits for a messiah.

Christianity is based around a messiah revisiting this world.

The criticism here, or should I say, the grave concern, is that your current president seem to think the Messiah is coming soon and that he should act towards such an event. He believes he himself and his ideas will play a role in the coming of the messiah.

Being that messianic ideas are coupled with the end of times, with huge wars, and so forth, it's quite easy to see why it raises concern of what that man might lead his country into with these kind of beliefs.

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zephyr
one he believes there a messiah cometh, and two the end of days in inevitable, if of course the source can be trusted.

The source can be trusted with that part anyway! It's not only Ahmadinejad who believes in those two events, all Shias do.

Zephyr, no one attacks Shiism for it's messianic nature.

I didn't say anybody attacked Shi'ism, I just said there were some silly comments.

is that your current president seem to think the Messiah is coming soon and that he should act towards such an event

As mentioned to PLO, it's not only the president who believes so, all Shias do. However the time for that event is unknown to man and it's only god who has that knowledge.

He believes he himself and his ideas will play a role in the coming of the messiah.

The role people are supposed to play while waiting for the Imam is to purifying themselves spiritually so that they can recognize him when he is there (it's believed that only very few pure and enlightened followers will really manage to recognize the Imam when he presents himself to the world). Messing up the world in the hope that it will accelerate his coming is not part of the Shia doctrine and is rather blasphemous, so is the idea of making wars as a means of influencing the timing of that event.

Being that messianic ideas are coupled with the end of times, with huge wars, and so forth, it's quite easy to see why it raises concern of what that man might lead his country into with these kind of beliefs

Of course it's always dangerous for politicians to believe that they are on a mission from god or his Messiah and Ahmadinejad is no exception. Ahmadinejad has been heavily criticized by prominent clerics for his statements such as being surrounded by divine light while making his speech at the UN, and constantly making references to the Mahdi and his relations to his government. This is seen by many as exploiting the religious beliefs for mundane, day to day politics, especially when it's done by weak politicians who have a hard time with that day to day politics and running of the affairs of the state .

The belief that Ahmadinejad could actually start an atomic world war on his own in the hope of influencing the coming of the Mahdi sounds like a joke at best, and completely stupid at worst. I think people tend to attribute more powers to Ahmadinejad than he really has and build an atmosphere of paranoia around that exaggeration. An atmosphere that they go on to exploit in order to drill their own cynical propaganda into the public opinion.

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