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Other Opinions from Ibn Khaldun

imam mahdi (a.s)

Ibn Khaldun concludes this section on the traditions concerning the Mahdi thus:

The truth one must know is that no religious or political power’s propaganda can be successful unless power or group feeling exists to support the religious and political aspirations and to defend them against those who reject them and until God’s will concerning them materializes. We have established this before with rational arguments which we presented to the reader. The group feeling among the Fatimids and Talibids indeed that among all the Quraysh has everywhere disappeared. The only exception is a remnant of the Talibids -- Hassanids Husseinids and Ja’farites -- in the Hejaz in Mecca al-Yanbu’ and Medina.

They are spread over these regions and dominate them. They are Bedouin groups. They are settled and rule in different places and hold divergent opinions. They number several thousands. If it is correct that a Mahdi is to appear there is only one way for his propaganda to make its appearance. He must be one of them and God must unite them in the intention to follow him until he gathers enough strength and group feeling to gain success for his cause and to move people to support him. Any other way -- such as a Fatimid who would make propaganda for (the cause of the Mahdi) among people anywhere at all without the support of group feeling and power by merely relying on his relationship to the family of Muhammad (peace be upon him) -- will not be feasible or successful for the sound reasons that we have mentioned previously.[39]

In response to this assertion by Ibn Khaldun it must be pointed out that there is no doubt that anyone who wishes to revolt and gain power so as to establish a government must have the unquestioning support of his followers in order to reach that goal. Similar conditions must be fulfilled in the case of the awaited Mahdi and his universal revolution. However it is not necessary to require that his supporters be among the descendants of Ali and the Quraysh.

The reason is that if the government and leadership are based on ethnic and group feeling then the support has to come from that feeling.

Moreover these should be the ones to support him unquestioningly. This was certainly true in the case of ethnic groups and dynasties that came to power by means of this sense of loyalty and solidarity. In general a government that comes to power through the specific and limited sense of group feeling is necessarily dependent upon a specific and limited group of supporters. This is true in all such cases of nationalistic ethnic and ideological states.

However if a government is founded upon a specific program then it has to gain support of those who favor it. And this order can succeed only if a group recognizes the value of the program and desires to implement it by supporting the leadership that is committed to it. The revolutionary program of the Mahdi is of this kind. The Mahdi’s program is profoundly universal. It desires that humanity which is being driven into extreme forms of materialism and opposition to divine commands respond to the divinely ordained system which rests upon moral and spiritual goals.

It wishes to resolve the problems facing humanity by clarifying the boundaries in such a way as to remove any cause of conflict in society. It wants to bring people together under the banner of the Unity of God and universalize submission and service to God. Such a program if implemented would end tyranny and injustice and spread peace through justice all over the world.

In order to achieve this universal goal it is not sufficient to rely on the leadership of the descendants of Ali who are spread all over the Hejaz and to expect that the group feeling would help the Mahdi to reach his universal goal. To be sure there is a need for the peoples of the entire world to prepare themselves to respond to the call of the Mahdi.

imam mahdi (a.s)

Besides the divine endorsement of this program the Mahdi’s victory is dependant upon a reasonably large and earnest group of people who being aware of the merits of the divinely ordained system would seriously aspire to see such an order implemented.

Moreover they would be willing to sacrifice their lives for that cause. Consequently if the people see an infallible and incontestable leader who has access to the divine plan for humanity and has divine endorsement of his program they would not hesitate to assist him in establishing the ideal public order even if this means that they would have to sacrifice their lives.

Note: This time we will work on just ten parts of this useful book but as always accompany us for other parts of this book in  future.

(39). Muqaddima p. 327.

Source: The book named The Just Leader of Humanity

By Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

Translated by: Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina

Other links:

The Beginning of the Belief in the Mahdi

The Mahdi from among the Descendants of the Prophet

The Sunni hadith on the Subject of the Mahdi

Ibn Khaldun and the Traditions about the Mahdi

Responding to Some Points Raised By Ibn Khaldun (Part 1)

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