BFnews: In a Doctrine, there are one or more basic principles with which other theories become significant. Mahdism, in the center of Islamic beliefs, is an essential Doctrine endowed with a specifically high status and values in the religious thoughts. Mahdism in Islam and the subject of the “Savior of the world” in other divine Religions are taken to be as the philosophy of history. Here, we have set forth “Mahdism” as a basic, fundamental theory on whose base many other beliefs will be interpreted.
By Doctrine of Mahdism it is meant the appearing of Mahdi (pbh), called’ Lord of Time who is supposed to deliver the people from oppressions and bring salvation to the world. His universal government is considered as a genuine comprehensive theory to be discussed in this article.
All Religions and schools in “philosophy: have depicted a perspective for the future of history. Hegel, as an example, believed in “historical determinism” in his definition of history. He thought that history has a fatal movement and humans are subdued to history in the cause of life without their free will. Ibn Khaldun, a Muslim philosopher believed in the decline and rebirth of civilizations. He thought civilizations move in a chainlike fall and rise of collapse and revival. Religions, however, believe in a theory of universal reformation in their interpretation of history and expression of its philosophy, they say that societies will be reformed finally and a just universal government will substitute oppressive despotic rulings at last.
The Doctrine of Mahdism has always been in the center of Islamic thinkers’ attention with no other subjects being so important for them. But, in spite of all its importance, this Doctrine has not been considered as a major theory or a crucial strategy to be surveyed in the best way. Now, it is the educated, enlightened scholars of ours who ought to endeavor to give the Doctrine its due culture by deep thoughts so that Mahdism can stand in its rightful position as it has been so much emphasized in our religious traditional texts.
Since Mahdism, like other messianic ideals, is a universal doctrinal belief, it should be in my idea, paid attention to in its full extent. So in this article, I will try to elaborate on the subject as well as possible and I hope, in addition, that I can introduce the matter into scientific domains for research at the side of its domination over our feelings and emotions. Including the important strategies in conveying and making known Mahdism culture are the following.
The first strategy to propagate Mahdistic culture is “theorizing around Mahdism”. The religious Doctrine of Mahdism has a long record in history and is among the most fundamental beliefs of Muslims. In other Religions too, the idea is that a Savior will come back one day to reform the situation of the world. That is why we deem it necessary that thinkers and theorists should attempt to present new opinions, discourse, views, criticisms and reasons around the Doctrine and add more to its scientific strength among other Religions. The religious believers of today’s have not been able to present the Doctrine of Mahdism as in detailed as other temporary theories in their own cultures. The theory of Socialism, as an example after the soviet Revolution, influenced the universal culture so much that it could dominate half of the world’s policy and affect most cultural elements in the literature of communistic thoughts and intermix with politics, economics, philosophy, political, campaigns, international relationships, productions, revolutions and many other fields as presented in novels, film scenarios, plays and works of art to impart a communistic purport to the world.
However, we do not enjoy a widespread scope of activities done about the Revelatory Doctrine of our great universal Savior. Today, except for a few simple writings and some old books nothing worthwhile has ever been done to deserve the dignity of Mahdi’s status. So it is much expedient not to suffice superficial stereotyped talks in this regard so that our next generation will not think unconsciously that this religious dogma has been subsidiary and not of first importance. Unfortunately, we have not been able yet to push the Doctrine of Mahdism to the field of discussing and theorizing to criticize deliberately all sides of it the same as what has been done on other scientific subjects such as hermeneutics, epistemology, pluralism, pluralistic thinking, modernism or other theories in traditions and governments.
Bringing the talks of Mahdism out of ancient archaic arenas and admitting it into scientific fields for research will cause this Doctrine to impress human life and help people to get into a link with their 12th Imam (pbh).
the second strategy will be doing a scientific and academic research about the life of all other Imams including Mahdi (pbh) proceeding to a biographical study of their policy and also of other learned religious thinkers or great philosophers in the past like Plato’ Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, etc.
Plato lived over 2400 years ago in a period of time when there was no historiography to write down events and today’s scholars had much difficulty finding sources. Nevertheless, more than 2000 books have been compiled about his personality and his ideas, but our immaculate Imams having lived around 1000 years after Plato at a time when historiography and bibliography were rife in the country, we still do not have a deep analytical knowledge of their life and have not elaborated all sides of our religious leaders’ personalities. We still do not know Imam Mahdi (pbh) as much as we have known Plato. We have not been able yet to make known the real value of those heavenly men for the people in the world. So, I suggest that some scholars engage in providing an analytical social research on each one of the Imams’ characters and deliberate over the age and time when they were living, in addition to their biographies, but avoid generalities and simplicities. Because it is not sufficient for our purpose to survey some elementary superficial issues about the Imams’ deeds and manners and not go deeply into an explicit research. Such an approach will cause their bright figures to become altered and their personalities become debased.
The third strategy is the clarification of different issues or subjects around the personality of Imam Mahdi and his prospective government on the earth. I suggest that some encyclopedia, dissertations, academic theses, internet sites, specialized magazines, creditable films and other works of art and literature be prepared and written however well as deserves the Doctrine of Mahdism. Many things can be done in the framework of films, plays and short stories to be publicized all over the world. Perhaps, the westerners have managed, today, to make movies on their mystical experiences they have for their saints but we have not been able yet to create beautiful permanent works for our 12th living Imam.
The fourth strategy is for the growth of Mahdism culture and the concept of “Expectation”. We should survey traditions and historical speeches present in religious books and important Islamic sources to elaborate the ideas. If we do not present the Doctrine of Mahdism efficiently and adequately, this will be an effective factor in dissuading people from the belief in Mahdism or this may change them to disbelievers in the Imam’s being alive. The prevalence of some baseless, untrue words about the Imam’s heavenly personality has led them to form a mythical, imaginative figure in their mind. It should never be thought of Imam Mahdi (pbh) as a fabulous entity: while he is actually living among us and is aware of everything happening in the environment and in the surroundings.
This incorrect image of the Imam is the result of an inexact analysis of traditions. Sometimes our discussions of the Imam’s personality, the signs of his appearing or descriptions about his coming back for the universal government seem unreasonable and contradictory. By writing commonplace words and trite phrases in the books, we ought not to depict a rough awkward figure of him not compatible with any geometric dimensions. How can we expect the modern man pray to God for a person whose features seem incongruous with human qualities? Hence, we should try to give a perfect description of the Imam’s personality after an exact comparative study of traditions or Hadiths.
The fifth strategy concerns the expansion of Mahdism culture. I suggest that a department be established for teaching the Doctrine of Mahdism in the universities and theological colleges. In comparison with other countries, we see that there are teaching departments for the works of great thinkers of the past. Some college teachers have their major in only one field of study about a learned scientist’s works in philosophy, art, literature, etc. As an example, some professors may be majored in Aristotle’s ideas, some others in Kant’s or Heidegger’s. Are Aristotle and Heidegger more important than our prophet Muhammad (MGSPG) or other religious leaders? Have they been more effective in giving shape to cultures and civilizations? In the opinions of all researchers in religion, no one has ever been so influential in shaping the history of civilization and cultures as our resolute prophets and heavenly personalities. Then, it is necessary for faculties of theology, Sociology or Religions to have departments for the knowledge of great thinkers, historical characters and experts. They should have course for each of the Imams. Specially Imam Mahdi: to familiarize students with their life manners, conducts, discourses and writings, so that the educated in such fields can become authorities in the knowledge of Revelation and guidance.
Also, it is essential for Theological schools and colleges to engage in widespread studies of Jurisdiction around Mahdism together with their other theoretical discussions. They should know, however, that discussing Jurisdictional precepts is less important than talking about epistemology of Imamate. Deciding on the quality and quantity of water in “Cleanliness Chapter” (Taharat) is not as valuable as one’s knowledge on the Doctrine of Mahdism! Why should several sessions in teaching courses of theological Colleges be appropriated to discussing “water less than Korr: but not on discussing Wali-e-Asr, the 12th Imam? So, Theological Colleges are charged with the duty of studying Mahdism in order to meet people’s needs to that rich culture.
At the end I would like to remind the readers of a point, after the Renaissance man thought he does not need Religion any more. So, he broke his relations with Heavens since he had experienced all sciences that he guessed, would give him relaxation and convenience. He had tested technology, empirical sciences, wisdom, new philosophies, methodology of sciences, etc. But now, after a lapse of several centuries he has understood none of such findings can help him. He is exhausted, distressed and frustrated in his attempts and is looking for a small island to resort to. He is searching the lands to find the elixir of life to cure his ailments.
Therefore, he runs behind an individual, a group, a community, but the finds all of them to be a mirage. He has all pleasures and enjoyments in front of him but still feels more perplexed and tired. So, we get to a conclusion: creating a link between the contemporary man and the Imam Mahdi: (pbh), who is alive by the will of God, would render the greatest service to the tired wandering man. Tying Mahdism to contemporary man makes known the importance of macro-beliefs of Religion. It familiarizes modern man with a new arena. Therefore, it is worthwhile that Religions offer their valuable commodities for display on the markets of thought, so that they can attract the people and remove Samaritan idols.
It is reasonable to say that the appearance of a Savior or Reformer will be at a time when people turn to rebellion and corruption, but finally they become disillusioned and return asking for salvation since they are wholly desirous for religious values.
Now, the last reserve of all religions, the rising, living man of Muhammad’s household (MGSPH) will come back at a time when all the people want him. This Savior or Reformer belongs to all the people: He is a deep ocean that will wash everyone in itself with its transparent water. He will then quench the thirst of all the people with his refreshing water. With the hope that it would be so.