Return of the Mahdi: the Inevitable Steps to the Re-union
The signs of his re-appearance may come and go, but he may still not re-appear.
And he may come even though none of the signs have occurred.
The signs are not for him to come; rather, they are for us to prepare.
The concept of intidhaar is proactive. It is not about waiting for the signs to occur. This misconception disconnects us with the ‘present’, makes us live in our ‘past’, whilst we dream helplessly of a better ‘future’! We tend to ‘self-lockdown’ in life and keep a distance from the realities surrounding us.
Intidhaar is not waiting, but rather, working for the coming of the Saviour. The term derives from the Arabic noun ‘nadhar’ – to see, to watch out. It is to constructively engage with the world that we live in. The signs are only a ‘signpost’ for us not to lose direction. The biggest sign of his coming is ‘our’ readiness to support him.
‘Our’ refers not to a small group of people, community or nation. It indicates humanity at large, Muslims and non-Muslims, of whatever color and ethnicity. The Mahdi belongs to the global community, not only to those who believe in him.
Is the world ready to receive him? Do people know about him? Have they even heard of him? Do we know what the problems with our world are and why we need him to come? It is worth asking ourselves: Even though I believe in him, do I really see the need for him to come? And what for?? Our lack of clarity is part of our tragedy today, and, I guess, it has been so in the past as well.
Part of active readiness is to know what he will come for. A greater part of it is to prepare the global community to wake up to this reality. And yet an even greater part is to engineer a movement for social change at an international level. Yes, this is what is required of us. The Mahdi is thinking globally; his followers need to also think on this parallel plain. A global revolution requires preparation at the global level.
Preparation for his arrival requires us to live in the ‘present’ and be aware of the modern political and social systems imposed on people. Our lives are continuously manipulated by systems that have engulfed us. We need to break the shackles to be able to end the current enslavement of humanity. Working individually will get us nowhere. We have to join hands. It is not only individuals that the Mahdi will stand against, but more importantly, the corrupt systems and institutions through which people have been subjugated by a small, evil-minded elite.
New systems and dynamics need to be established. It is in this direction that believers in the Saviour need to work. This is what the enemies of justice and equity fear. The annual ‘Arbaeen Walk’ is but a small example of a breakthrough in introducing new socio-political dynamics on the global stage.
The Saviour will come amidst fear, chaos, confusion, uncertainty and insecurity engulfing our planet. COVID-19 has more or less triggered this situation in a few months. The current crisis is not a definitive sign of his arrival but it can certainly act as a litmus test of our readiness. Are we thinking of others amidst the atmosphere of fear, holding the hand of the disabled and vulnerable amidst insecurity, organising communities amidst the chaos, retaining hope amidst uncertainty, guiding the confused towards light and clarity? Are we working to create a better world?
An insular attitude of ‘self-isolation’ when he makes his appearance will be a big failure on our part. ‘Social distancing’ from our role and responsibility in supporting the greatest revolution ever to be witnessed in the history of mankind will equate to failing justice and the Saviour.
The reality is this: we are not waiting for him; rather it is he who is waiting for us! He is waiting for us to rise proactively to support his coming!
He is not far from us. Like Joseph, who remained unrecognised by his brethren, the Mahdi lives amidst us even today, but we do not recognise him.
Uplift the veils from your gazes; where has your Joseph gone?!