The Holy Quran, while relating the stories of the past for the purpose of reflection and instruction, puts forth the life of the past nations as an admonishing material for the benefit of other people: “That nation is gone. They have reaped what they sowed, and the same applies to you. You are not responsible for their deeds. You are responsible for your deeds only.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:134-141) The Holy Quran repeatedly refers to the subject of the existence of the nations and their duration. For example, “Every nation can only live for an appointed time. When its time ends, it will not remain (alive) even for a single hour, nor will they die before the appointed time”. (Surah al-A’raf, 7:34 and Surah al-Nahl, 16:61) It emphatically refutes the idea that destiny can in any way be affected by the blind forces of fate. It clearly states that the destiny of nations is subject to and governed only by the firm and consistent laws of nature. It says: “Are they waiting for the punishment which has been the lot of the earlier people. You will not find any change in Allah’s way (of dealing with such people).” (Surah al-Fatir, 35:43) It also draws attention to a point which is of vital importance. It points out that the people, by looking at their deeds and behaviour, can find out for themselves whether a good or a bad destiny awaits them, for the forces which determine the destiny are just a sequence of reactions set in motion by their own deeds. In other words, particular acts are always and invariably followed by particular reactions. Thus, though the course of history is ordained by the Divine Will, the role of man as a free agent is not eliminated. There are many passages in the Quran which refer to this subject. We quote just one verse here. “Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people, unless and untill they change their own conduct, behaviour, customs and manners.” (Surah al-R’ad, 13:11) Now we come to the last question which is about the method which the Mahdi is likely to adopt to achieve his objective of the final victory of justice and of the complete eradication of injustice? A definite answer to this question depends not only on the knowledge of the timing and the stage at which the Mahdi will reappear but also on the possibility of imagining what particular circumstances will be prevailing at that time. It is only in the light of those circumstances that a picture of his possible strategy can be drawn. So long as we do not know at what stage the Mahdi will reappear and what will be the prevailing circumstances at that time, it is not possible to make any prediction on scientific lines. Any presumptions made in this connection will be based mostly on fiction and not on facts. Anyhow, there is one basic presumption which can be accepted in the light of the traditions and the historical experiences of the great changes. This much can in any case be predicted safely that the Awaited Saviour will appear when the stage for his appearance is set, neither earlier nor later. Let us be clear as to the meaning of this stage for his appearance. This stage means the conditions prevailing in the world and in the human society. It means the decline in man’s moral life when oppression and tyranny will be rampant and when mankind will have fallen into the abyss of crime and immorality. In additions, this stage for his appearance means that the conditions then prevailing would create the necessary psychological atmosphere for the reception of a saviour. Mankind would be dead tired and fed up with the shape of things and would quite naturally look forward to a saviour for its liberation. This will happen when wickedness will reach its climax. There will be a great upheaval, a great conflagration, that will send this universe to its doom. In the darkness that will then prevail, there will dawn a new Sun in the form of the Mahdi, spreading light and lustre. Having liberated mankind from its misery and curse, the Mahdi will then bring about a transformation of life in which justice, peace, virtue and righteousness will abound. Thus will the Awaited Imam accomplish his mission. Certain Islamic traditions speak of a government of the virtuous which is to continue until the appearance of the Mahdi (May Allah hasten his advent) and, as we know, some Shia scholars who held a high opinion about their contemporary rulers have hinted at the possibility of the continuance of their dynasties until the appearance of the Mahdi. On the whole, it is derived from the Quranic verses and the Islamic traditions that the rising of the Mahdi will be the last in the series of fights between the good and the evil, which have continued from the very inception of the world. It will be the Mahdi who will give a concrete shape to the ideal of all the Prophets, the saints and the fighters in the way of Allah. During the period of the occultation it is our duty to be expecting the Awaited Imam. We must devise a sound and judicious system of social development based on the Holy Quran and present it to the world. We must prove the excellence and efficacy of Divine laws to the people and attract their attention to the Divine system we must fight superstitions and false beliefs and pave the way for the establishment of Islamic world government. In the light of the teachings of the Holy Quran and traditions of the Holy Prophet, we must chalk out a program for solving the world problems and put it at the disposal of world reformers. We must enlighten the thoughts of the people of the world and at the same time, prepare ourselves to receive the Awaited Imam and the emergence of a just world government.

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