Ahmadinejad’s Apocalyptic Faith

An excerpt from Ahmadinejad’s Apocalyptic Faith:

Ahmadinejad’s worldview is shaped by the radical Hojjatieh Shiism that is best represented by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the Iranian President’s ideological mentor and marja-e taqlid (object of emulation), of the popular Haqqani religious school located in Qom. The affection seems to be mutual: in the 2005 Iranian presidential campaign, Ayatollah Yazdi issued a fatwa calling on his supporters to vote for Ahmadinejad.

The Hojjatieh movement is considered to be so radical that it was banned in 1983 by the Ayatollah Khomeini and is still opposed by the majority of the Iranian clerics, including the Supreme Leader of the Supreme National Security Council, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. That should be telling in and of itself. That opposition notwithstanding, it is believed that several adherents of the Hojjatieh sect are in Cabinet-level positions in Ahmadinejad’s government.

Most Shiites await the return of the 12th Shiite Imam, Muhammad ibn Hasan, the last direct male descendent of the Prophet Mohammed’s son-in-law Ali, who disappeared in 874AD and is believed to be in an invisible, deathless state of existene, or “occultation”, awaiting his return. Though it is discounted even by the most extremist clerics, a popular belief in Iran holds that the 12th Imam, also called the Mahdi or the sahib-e zaman (“the Ruler of Time”), lives at the bottom of a well in Jamkaran, just outside of Qom. Devotees drop written requests into the well to communicate with the Mahdi. His reappearance will usher in a new era of peace as Islam vanquishes all of its enemies. The Sunnis, who reject the successors of Ali, believe that the Mahdi has yet to be born.

But rooted in the Shiite ideology of martyrdom and violence, the Hojjatieh sect adds messianic and apocalyptic elements to an already volatile theology. They believe that chaos and bloodshed must precede the return of the 12th Imam, called the Mahdi. But unlike the biblical apocalypse, where the return of Jesus is preceded by waves of divinely decreed natural disasters, the summoning of the Mahdi through chaos and violence is wholly in the realm of human action. The Hojjatieh faith puts inordinate stress on the human ability to direct divinely appointed events. By creating the apocalyptic chaos, the Hojjatiehs believe it is entirely in the power of believers to affect the Mahdi’s reappearance, the institution of Islamic government worldwide, and the destruction of all competing faiths.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has clearly indicated that he is a true believer in this faith. It has been reported that he has told confidants that he anticipates the immanent return of the Mahdi. When he previously served as Mayor of Tehran, he advocated for widening the roads to accommodate the Mahdi’s triumphal entry into the city. One of his first acts of office as President was to dedicate approximately $20 million to the restoration and improvement of the mosque at Jamkaran, where the Mahdi is claimed to dwell.

This personal belief directs his official policies as President. He has publicly said, “Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi. We should define our economic, cultural and political policies on the policy of the Imam Mahdi’s return.”

Upon his return to Iran from speaking at the UN, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli, where the two discussed an alleged paranormal occurrence while Ahmadinejad spoke.

They should have just thrown some holy water on him. That usually silences the demon-possessed. Read the rest of Ahmadinejad’s Apocalyptic Faith here.

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