Awaiting the Divine Savior
On the 15th Sha'ban, Muslims celebrate the auspicious birth anniversary of the 12th Imam, Hazrat Mahdi (AS) and we extend our heartfelt greetings to all the Muslims and the oppressed people of the world on this blessed occasion.
Some Western theoreticians are of the strong conviction that man has discovered the ultimate and the most perfect way of life and that now no other major changes or developments are expected to take place in his present way of life. They have also gone to the extent of calling their theory, the "End of History"! But can these tall claims really be valid and can they be digested by an unbiased mind? Are we really at the end of history? Can the present condition of mankind, with so much suffering and injustice be justified as the ultimate and the most perfect level of existence? Is it possible for us to turn deaf and blind to the cries of human suffering, coldly ignoring the oppression and injustice that is rampant in different parts of the world? What has been happening in Palestine for the last fifty years - in broad daylight and right under the banners of human rights and peace processes? An evil gift from the civilized West, delivered by Zionist criminals in the most brutal inhuman manner!
The flaring up of the"Intifada" (Uprising) of the Palestinian people, clearly defies this theory of the `End of History' and proves that such simplistic claims are baseless and crumble up at the slightest probing. The ongoing resistance of the Palestinians and the recent uprising indicate that mankind is hopeful and is actively working towards a better and different future - free from misery, force and oppression.
Human experience cannot deny the fact that it is every man's innate ideal to witness a time in which truth will overcome falsehood and justice will prevail in human society. Had it not been for this innate ideal, a divine blessing, mankind would not be able to move ahead due to the imposed global sufferings; and the human race would probably have perished a long time ago. Of course, this innate quest of human nature has been supported and validated by all divine religions that have promised the arrival of a divine `Savior' who will come before the end of time and establish peace and justice in the whole world. This awaited Savior, the "Promised One" - is known in Islam by the name, "Imam Mahdi (AS)".
Just as the coming of the noble Prophet (SAW) was prophesied well in advance by all the preceding Prophets, similarly the impending news of the blessed birth of this Awaiting Savior and Guide - Imam Mahdi (AS) - was foretold by the Messenger of Islam (SAW).
According to various authentic Traditions (Ahadith), "if there remain from the life of the world but a single day, Allah will extend that day until he (Imam Mahdi (AS)) becomes manifest, and fills the world with justice in the same way that it has been filled with iniquity." *
Based on these Traditions, all Muslims unanimously believe that the Savior will appear one day to establish a unique world order, based on justice and truth, in which everyone will enjoy the benefits of divine law and order. However, the date and time of his awaited arrival are known only to Allah. During the period of Imam Mahdi’s (AS) occultation, all believers are expected to await his coming. No believer should lose hope in this divine and Prophetic promise and this awaiting is certainly not in vain. The waiting, however, is not passive - it is a faith, full of dynamism and is like waiting to enjoy the fruits of one's labor. It calls for sincerity, hard-work and preparation instead of lethargy and despair, in accordance with all the other universal laws that call for due action before expectation of results.
Thus, it is incumbent on all believers to struggle earnestly to pave the way for the arrival of Imam Mahdi (AS) and the establishment of the rule of justice that will materialize with his re-appearance. It is everyone's duty to endeavor tirelessly on the path of eradicating oppression and fighting evil because only then will one be considered as truly having awaited the auspicious arrival.
In the words of Imam Al-Mahdi (AS): "Indeed my existence is an amnesty for the people of the earth. Pray much to Almighty Allah to hasten the Relief (al-Faraj), for therein also lies the release from your sufferings."**
* Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal
** A Brief History of The Fourteen Infallibles, p. 180, World Organization for Islamic Services - WOIS.