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Paper submission

  Foundations and Purposes of Imam Mahdi’s (a) Global Government

by Shahnaaz Alidina

Source : The Scientific Committee of the International Conference of Mahdism Doctrine

To comprehend the foundations and purposes of Imam Mahdi’s (a) global government it is necessary to analyse the prevailing world situation and how the present status will pave way for the ultimate revolution of mankind. In doing so, this paper begins by outlining the prospect of the global government and presenting the existing global conditions to draw from the need of his return. In evaluating mankind’s needs, this paper will not substantiate his return, since his coming has been ordained. It will however examine the ‘time of his appearance’ to meet these needs. These will help to formulate the purpose of his global governance. His coming will be in response to the peaceful kingdom of God on earth that has been promised to man. The paper will then cite evidence of his coming through the Quran and Hadith, to prove his return being authentic and then draw upon past governed systems to project the foundation of his governance. This will lead to proposing the foundations of the Imam’s governance in the global perspective, which will remain purely hypothetical.
The idea of a global government is not wishful thinking; rather it is an aspiration of every individual who believes in the essence of humanity and who looks towards an ideal world where kindness and humanity intertwines in spirit. This expectation of solace is geared towards the ‘Saviours return’ alias the Mahdi (a) who will lead to the emergence of the system of governance that will dominate the entire world arena. This belief in universal peace forms an anchor of faith which one cannot lose hope in, yet stirs resistance to despair and oppression. The foundation of this belief springs from several divine books such as the Quran, Torah and Psalms and the notion that ‘The righteous among my slaves shall inherit the earth". (Surah al-Anbia. 21:105) is a sign towards hope.
The current world governing powers constitutes the Group of Eight (G8) with the United States of America (US) leading. They dictate who is to be supported and maintained, who is to be alienated and sanctioned. Their decisions are based on who tows the line of the big powers or stands up to oppose them. To work against these powers often means walking alone as Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and some other nations have chosen to do. One of the global bodies which was formed to freeze world crisis was the United Nations Organization (UN). However the UN’s inability to establish authoritative rules has been its greatest failure. The genuine desire to make the UN more effective is being underplayed by forces controlling the world economy namely the G8 which is strongly influenced by the US. They are maintaining pressure to ensure international economic policy is kept out of UN’s control and transferred to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank which they totally control. Right now these very nations that talk of democracy make dirty deals with strategic allies who have no use of democratic values. These are double standard policies which govern the world.
The global situation shows that the world economy is being looted by powerful nations under the pretext of democracy. Nearly 80% of the known oil reserves of the world are in the hands of government controlled national oil companies. Countries are attacked and their economies are looted under the guise of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and undemocratic rule, whereas the real reasons are found in enriching their own coffers and those of their allies.
The world economy is controlled by these oppressive nations. Bribery and corruption is a menace that is undermining democracy. Examples of such are like the British based company, BAE systems, the world’s largest military contactors who landed a $19 million contract with the Arabs through bribery but the prosecutor’s investigation were not concluded as Tony Blair said “it would hurt UK’s relationship with the Arabs’ which was vital to fight terrorism (The War and Peace digest, 1996). Another example is US company Halliburton winning contracts of over $600 million from the Development Fund in rebuilding Iraq, out of which more than half cannot be accounted for (Kerr, S. 2003). The real reason of invading Iraq was to take control of their oil fields and controlling their economy. Weapons of mass destruction were just a cover. This was recently admitted by Australian Defence Minister Brendon Nelson when he said, ‘securing oil supplies is a key factor behind the presence of Australian troops in Iraq’ (Sands, N. 2007). The US is still moving on to gain control of the broader Middle East economy.
It will not be surprising that the drive for Darfur may be under the same pretensions. It is common knowledge that there is oil in Southern Sudan and the reason to rush there now is under the pretensions of ‘war’. Intelligence reports indicate that the policies of the US have created more terrorists than it has killed (Nye, J. 2007). The US has enough nuclear weapons that can wipe off the whole face of the earth, yet they pose restriction to who can have these weapons and who cannot. The US administration’s plotting in acquiring power and control knows no boundaries. It takes them whatever cost to accomplish their greed. It is bent on creating divisions within the Muslim world. Their current strategy is using Muslim allies to fight Muslims within the Muslim world resulting in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias. The unrest in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Iraq are a direct result these plottings. Democracy in such countries is no longer free and fair unless the US gives its approval. The rightly voted Hamas government was ousted out by Mahmud Abbas under pressure from Israel and US. This is just one of such example. Freedom of rule is being curbed within Muslim lands for those who do not tow the line. Turkey, Iran, Syria and Lebanon are the current targets.
If we examine our environment, signs are that we are destroying our universe through our selfish ambitions. Humankind faces new untimely challenges of catastrophic climatic changes and without any aggressive preventive actions, it will lead to serious energy and climatic shocks that will disrupt agriculture, industry and people in general. The abstaining of signing the Kyoto Protocol by the US and some of its allies is a sign of defiance in maintaining a peaceful environment. Every nation must be able to take responsibility of its own actions. As Mayur Roshni, a leading urban environmentalist and head of Mumbai based Global Futures Network rightly analysed, ‘it is becoming apparent that the governments ruling the world are in fact being controlled by multinational companies who call the shots’. These trans-nationals buy governments and rule the world. Mayur further comments that ‘trans-national corporations have become the real power of the earth, the de-facto government, outside the rule of law’ (The War and Peace digest, 1996). The UN has proved ineffective in dealing with the challenges of trans-nationals like governments. These companies even walk out of the world court.
Abject poverty and suffering coupled with dependency has risen beyond the control of many nations’ power to resolve it. The benefits of globalization seem to have bypassed more than 3 billion of the world’s neediest people. When self made entrepreneurs can accumulate enough money to purchase that country then it is an embarrassment to human society. When a single person from the elite takes home monthly incomes which are 100 times more than what an average worker in society earns in a year, something is totally out of place. The imbalance in economy, power, and world control being in the hands of dictators is very evident as the gap grows wider between the elite and ordinary citizens.
People have to question their governments and the decisions their leaders make. Why do military budgets in most countries exceed health and education budgets combined?
Shirin Ebadi stated that if people want to free themselves from this cycle of terror and the wars of the 21st century then there is no other way but to put into practice the laws of human rights for all mankind (Gay, A. 2004). If enough people want change it will happen. But it cannot just happen by itself. People must be active in their pursuits for their own futures and should continue their struggle against oppression and oppressive rule. History has recorded that when the oppressed rise against their oppressors in unison, their might and power crushes the fort of the oppressors. The uprising of the people against the apartheid in South Africa and the rising of the people against the Pahlavi regime of Iran are some valid examples. This indicates that real power is in the hands of the ordinary, when they are driven with faith in their struggle for justice. Then no matter how sophisticated the weaponry or military, the opposition have, the will of perseverance leads the down trodden to victory. The Mahdi’s (a) revolution will bring triumph of the downtrodden people as in reality they are the majority and form the real manpower. The world scenario depicts the stage being right for the coming of the saviour as narrated from the Hadith. However at this point it cannot be ascertained as to how close we are to that time, since that will depend on the will and actions of the people and God’s command.
The number of true people needed to set off this revolution may just be 313 (Al-Bahrani H., 2006). This is indicated as the initial force required by the Imam when he reappears. In assessing this number one cannot be sure whether we have reached the target or not, or have we surpassed this number and wait for it to dwindle to these few? It is difficult to conclude; however the general feeling is that there may not be enough individuals with the will to save humanity at large. Although there are those who are willing and are concerned with fighting oppression and injustice, they may be operating within their own regions. The scale of this global revolution requires those who will fight for all mankind. This will then pave way for the global rule of Imam Mahdi (a) as mankind’s problems can no longer be solved by national governments whose interests lie only in promoting national interests.
World governance is now necessary to match global institutions of civil society with a global reach. A need for structural change reflecting a full range of world member states is direly essential. The power of veto which gives favour and power to certain ‘godly’ states is unrealistic and needs to be abolished. What is needed urgently is one unified government to take control of governing the globe. Re-distribution is the core political issue of the coming century. There has to be a shift of paradigm to be able to develop improvement in human conditions. A just and sustainable society for the people rather than sustained economic growth and building of fortunes and power houses is what humanity requires.
It is not possible to justify fully all the issues facing mankind in such a short discussion: nevertheless having presented some of the issues facing human kind today, the situation depicts the need of a saviour. This analysis should not be considered as the need to justify the reason for the reappearance of the Imam as that is inevitable and has been ordained. The promise of God in spreading His religion in the Quran (Tawbah 9:33) certifies that it is He who has sent His messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, to make it prevail over every other religion, however much the disbelievers dislike. Therefore the coming of the last awaited guide is a known fact to all believers and the issues facing mankind indicate that the appropriate time of his reappearance is not very far (Sheriff Dewji, M. 1982). The Holy Prophet (saw) emphasized on waiting for this last from his Ahlul Bait and encouraged joining hands with him. He said: ‘if you see him then pledge allegiance to him even if you have to crawl on an iceberg, because he is the Caliph of Allah, \'The Mahdi\' (Sihah e Sitah). The emphasis laid by the Prophet (saw) was to draw attention of the people to recognise the status of the Imam being a divine representative and for men to join hands with him to achieve salvation. Nonetheless, it will not be easy to make this pledge as the revolution of the Imam will not be an ordinary one. It will bring a sea of change in the cosmic order.
The present world governances depict oppressive rule of democracies, favoured military supremacy, bribery and corruption, enriching of powerful nations, unfair distribution of the economy, polluting of the environment with no accountability, poverty and war, which leaves the majority of the world citizens in dependency and despair. The purpose of the global revolution in the coming of Imam Mahdi (a) will be to rid man of these situations
Appleby S (2007) in ‘Solutions to save the world’ proposes that if meaningful alliances are to be made among societies that have recently clashed or harbour historic resentments, religion must play a central role. Such thoughts are an indication that human society is becoming more aware of the need of faith and conviction. The coming of the Imam will address this need and release man from slavery and enable him to realise his true worth.
To be able to put forward the foundation of Imam’s governance and the events that will develop is like putting forth a hypothesis. The fact that our knowledge about future events is limited, it is challenging for anyone to define exactly what the future destiny holds for mankind. As there is not enough supporting evidence to back up or deduce the coming events that will procreate after the coming of the Imam, the analysis presented forth is based from historical recordings of his ancestors and the traditions from the household of the Prophet (saw). The basis of argument is thus taken from literature with aspiration from Sura Nur (24:54) in which God gives glad tidings to the righteous people by saying….‘God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will surely make you successors in the land’. These indicators point to his rule being a reality; however it is defining the proposed manner of governance that is hypothetical.
In presenting forth the foundation of Imam’s governance, it is necessary to demonstrate the situation that will face him on appearance, how he will handle this situation, what principles he will adopt in governing, the kinds of people and nations he will need to come to his support and the mandate of his rule.
The reign to his rule will not be a smooth takeover. Just like the Qureish who fought the Prophet (saw) to exile, the perpetrators will challenge the Imam equally. Their arrogance will blind their vision and greed will overcome their reason: however the rule of man will be in accordance to what God has planned. The struggle against tyrants will not be something new as the Quran documents histories of Prophets who rose and fought against the tyrants to liberate the people from the shackles of oppression (Nahl 16: 36).
The situation that will face Imam on his coming will be quite similar to that which faced his grandfather Ameerul Momineen, Ali ibne Abi Taleb (as). At that time people had lost sympathy for their government and were openly hostile to it. Rank, favouritism and greed had led to chaos resulting in people losing every respect for authority and they revolted. The revolt was due to the terrible treatment from the oppressive regime and its refusal in listening to the people’s grievances. The people had also realised that they were being kept ignorant of the true teachings of Islam and were made to concentrate on worldly benefits. Ameerul Momineen (as) thus led the people on a path of tranquility and justice by restoring human values (Reza, A., 2000). The world situation today too has no place for religion and society has no room for humility or modesty. The focus is more towards material gain which does not provide contentment, and in search for this, man will look for a system that will lead him towards inner peace and restoration of his dignity. This will be the system that Imam ul Asr will rise to offer.
The hope for the Saviour is not only anticipated amongst Muslims, but also shared among great religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism who await the coming of the king in the last days. In this quest for the saviour of truth there is no ‘distinction of caste, creed, or country, the quest is universal, exactly in the same way as Mahdi (a) himself is universal’ (Al-Sadr, B; Mutahhari, M). The solace is that his coming will be followed by the coming of Prophet Isa (as) who will join hands with the Imam. It will behove his followers to follow in his foot steps. This will see the combining of forces of Islam with Christianity that will spring forth a force large enough to form the ruling majority. However there will be no compulsion for anyone to join the Imam as freedom of worship will prevail.
The Holy Prophet (saw) said: ‘The Qaim among my children will have my name, possess my features, follow my conduct and command people to my obedience and to my law and will call them to the book of the my Lord’ (Amini I, 2003). Consequently it is fair to imagine that the Imam will govern under a similar charter as the Holy Prophet (saw) did with the citizens of Yathrib. Among the clauses of the Yathrib Charter were:
All practising Jews will enjoy the same rights as Muslims; however they will not meddle in the affairs of each other.
In the event of an attack, all will rise to defend the central government
(Bodley R., 1946).
Therefore just as the Jews enjoyed security and freedom, all other religions will be offered the same treatment. Freedom in practising religion will be upheld and through this act of equality and justice, people will be drawn towards the true Islam.
His appearance will spring forth from the House of Allah and will spread towards Kufa and beyond. The city of Qum has been indicated to be the centre of piety and the teachings of Islam will be proclaimed from it. Upon his establishment he will first address the believers and bring to task those who have shunned their responsibility. He will question why people have abandoned the essence of religion to fit their preferred meanings. They will be given an opportunity to re-learn Islamic social and moral teachings and apply it to their lives. The whole approach towards real Islam will surface and eliminate practices of sinful behaviour. Paying lip service to the sacrifice of Imam Hussein (as) will be seen as destroying the goals of Kerbala. Piety will not be limited to the mosques but will require participation of everyone in society by exercising the duty of commanding good and forbidding evil and fighting off innovations that have invaded Islam.
The foundation of governance will surpass any current governing system. The transition from injustice and turmoil to tranquility and peace will not be a smooth one. His first and foremost directive will be maintaining a powerful army in order to gain control of territories. With the support of his 313 close helpers, the Imam (a) will establish a Central Bureau of governance. He will appoint governors among these 313 to represent the approximately 200 countries of the world. The Imam will lead the hub of this governance.
In forming the foundation of his global government, Imam Mahdi (a) shall realize the principles of all Prophets in the path of truth. His coming will materialise the failing and collapse of the current governances.
With the coming of the Imam the oppressing powers ruling the earth will be defeated as promised… “every nation can only live for an appointed time. When its term ends, it will not remain alive for a single hour nor will they die before the appointed hour’ (Surah al A\'raf 7:34 and Surah al-Nahl 16:61). His mandate in establishing a world government will focus on reclamation and rehabilitation of the whole earth so that no area remains wasted. It will involve the maximum utilization of the gifts of the earth and will strive for equal distribution of wealth and property among all human beings. He will open the scope of opportunities for everyone and all the lands will derive benefit from their own natural resources. The syndicate of the multinationals to loot any country’s oil or gas reserves will be sanctioned and natural resources will benefit the people of their own land. The Imam’s government will ensure that there is no monopoly or restrictions in military power or technology. The prospect of eradicating weapons of mass destruction will be witnessed and the will to abide by nuclear non-proliferation treaty will be controlled by the Imam. The finances used to acquire weapons will be diverted to alleviate poverty. It is only then that the millennium development goals will be fully realised, as the means to serve humanity will be led by one whose aim will not be in promoting himself but in developing human kind.
The government will endeavour to eradicate all vices that have engulfed mankind such as adultery, fornication, usury, intoxication, treachery, theft and homicide. The mission will also focus on eradication of war and restoration of peace, friendship and co-operation with coherence between man and nature (Al-Sadr, B.; Muttahari, M.).
It will be a government based on righteousness, virtue, justice and will lead people to freedom from forces of egoism, tyranny, deceit and fraud. He will bestow recognition to every human being, irrespective of his religious background with peace and equality. His foundation will be to ‘restore man to follow the true path of religion of their own free will and develop the habit of simple living and high thinking and give up the desire of seeking undue favours and unjustifiable pleasures’. This is the kind of men God and the Prophet wanted people to be. He will attach more importance to general welfare than to personal good. He will introduce equality and equity and make people accept the principles of brotherhood of man and general amity towards human beings. He will make people model subjects of the kingdom of God, to be adopted by those who desire peace and prosperity under a benign rule (Reza A., 2000).
Reference of the fall of oppressors taking place is cited in many supplications of the Ahl ul Bait, but most beautifully in the supplication of Nudba (Almanac) where the news of the demolisher of polytheist and hypocrisy will spread the flag of victory and annihilate the oppressors. The supplication of Iftitah also describes how his coming will put ‘order into our affairs and gather and unite the flocks of believers and increase the numbers from being minority and easing of difficulties (Kassamali, H.; T.). These citations offer proof to the kind of rule that we look forward to. It is through supplications that we realize the importance of the belief in the Mahdi (a) as a form of salvation from hopelessness. Persistence in this belief brings about certitude in waiting for his appearance. It is this hope that gives reason to perseverance in today’s struggles.
To bring about such an unparalleled revolution, the Imam will need a legion of companions who are determined and can endure all sorts of untold calamities in their way. The men who will form the Imam’s government and become his army generals will need to have strong commitment in serving God. These qualities will be found in the 313 who will come immediately to help Imam (a) after his appearance.
It is not possible to determine which country or nation will lead in backing the Imam’s revolution. It is likely that Muslims will rise in unison to defeat the big powers. On the other hand it could also be isolated states joining hands and coming to heed the call of Tawhid to take up the challenge of becoming leaders of human civilization. It is the response to his call that will decide who takes precedence in offering support to the Imam’s revolution.
Will the people accept him as a true leader? This may not be very difficult, as human beings are becoming more aware that their traditions and religions do not have the ability to satisfy their conscience. The natural thirst in moving towards God and the search for attaining peace has not been quenched. Thus this drive in search of truth will lead people to be open and approachable for the right guidance and when Imam Mahdi (a) will present the true Islam, it will appeal to their hearts and they will come towards the truth. It will be a time when human beings will have attained the level of perfection that is necessary to accept the government of truth (Amini A., 2003). The time will then be right for the world stage to relive the scene of the Prophet’s (saw) victory at the time of Fath Makka in 8 A.H (Razwy A.,1997) with the banner of ‘truth has come and falsehood has vanished` (Isra 17:81).
This final rule on earth will be the result of the toil of 124,000 Prophets and the 11 guided Imams and this governance will prevail to show the manifestation of the Almighty. The essence of the whole creation of mankind will come to life on this stage. It will be a time when man will witness the rule of justice and peace functioning on a global scale. When the final victory will prevail over all evils, the Imam will govern the world under one Islamic government. His appointed governors will rule under his guidance and the rulings will reflect the most equitable for the right and be the most universal way of justice. The fundamental constitution will reflect the rights of the ummah. The ummah of Islam will comprise members living anywhere on earth and also include non Muslims living in the Muslim lands who are at peace with Islam. The ummah will also comprise members who will perform collective responsibilities and attain collective well being and will be bound by moral outlook with a commitment to do what is right and shun what is wrong. The significance of this ummah will be the absence of any racial, political, territorial or any other discrimination. A similar rule of this notion of the ummah was started by Ameerul Momineen Ali ibne Abi Taleb (as) during the period of his Khilafat.
In conclusion the foundation of the governing rule will uphold the famous creed of Ali ibne Abi Taleb to his governor whereby he declared:
“Control your passions and check your hearts from doing what is not lawful for you. Train your heart to feel compassion for the people, to love them and be kind to them. Do not stand over them like a ferocious beast. For the people are of two categories: If he is not a brother to you in religion, he is a fellow like you in humanity’. (Extract from the document of the letter of Ameerul Momineen sent to Malik e Ashtar, Nahjol Balagha).
The supremacy of God in His might to manifest Himself as the Most Kind and Merciful Lord through His last guide, the Mahdi (a) will then become apparent. The Imam (a) will triumph and the people will finally realise the essence of real living within the spectrum of brotherhood. Islam will conquer the hearts of man and become the rule of the globe.

References

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