Islam and End Times: The Confrontation of Ideology and Culture
03 Oct, 2007
November 2, 1981,
General Leopoldo Galtieri of
Today, four years after Galtieri's death, those words have developed a wider resonance as significant as Samuel P. Huntingdon's now-famous phrase and thesis from 1993, "the Clash of CIvilizations."
Huntingdon stated that the civilization clash will not be ideological, but cultural. Yet in the threat currently posed to the Free World, a cultural clash is being driven by extremist ideology. For most Muslims, Islam is cultural and rarely political, yet for Islamists, a ruthless political ideology is seeking to create conflict. The ideologues of Islamism draw from the cultural history of Islam, selectively interpreting religious texts to justify Holy War. By proclaiming a strict adherence to these religious texts, they aim to drive the cultures of Western freedom and the cultures of Muslim peoples into an irreversible conflict, certain that Islam will prevail. The methodology of Islamists may differ – from the political insinuations of the Muslim Brotherhood to the violent actions of al Qaeda – but the ultimate aim is still the same: subjugation of non-Muslim cultures through conflict.
Last November, General John Abizaid, head of U.S. CentCom, spoke at Harvard. He said:
"We must defeat the extremism of bin Laden and his associated movement. It's murderous. It's ruthless. It's very capable. It's got strength as a network unlike any nonstate actor [the world] has ever seen before. We've got to defeat it... Think of it as an opportunity to confront fascism in 1920 if only we'd had the guts to do it then. I believe that if we don't have guts enough to confront this ideology today, we will move toward World War III tomorrow."
General Abizaid was discussing the
need to prepare for a long war in
Last week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
Ahmadinejad has flouted IAEA directives and U.N. Security Council condemnations regarding its nuclear programs, and has continued to fund terror groups such as Hizbollah, as well as Sunni groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
There is a deeply sinister side to
Ahmadinejad's beliefs, which would explain his attempts to foment
chaos in the
Shias believe that this mythical individual is the same as the "Mahdi," a descendant from the line of Fatima (Mohammed's daughter) whose appearance is predicted in the Hadiths of Sunan Abu-Dawud and Muslim, but not in Bukhari nor the Koran.
The Mahdi who will appear at the
Last Hour is believed in by many Sunnis and Shia, but belief in the
Mahdi as the "12th Imam" is an exclusively Shia belief. The Shia
split from the Sunni after the fourth Caliph, Ali bin Abi Thalib,
husband of Fatima, was murdered in 661 AD and his son Husayn was
killed in 680 AD. The Shia disagree with Sunnis about the succession
of the Caliphs. Globally, 80% of Shia revere a line of succession of
the individuals they consider to be the 12 true imams, and thus are
The last of these 12 imams was
Abul-Qassem Mohammed (also called Hojjat ibn al Hasan), who was born
in 868 AD and then is said to have disappeared in 941 – his
"occultation." Some Shia believe that the 12th Imam will
return from his occultation to rule the world as the Mahdi, and
Ahmadinejad is one of these believers. A fiery conservative cleric
who also believes this is
Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi.
Before the 2005 elections, Mesbah-Yazdi issued a
fatwa to the two
million-strong Bassij, endorsing Ahmadinejad. This cleric has close
ties to the Haqqani theological school in the holy city of
What should be of deep concern to all who watch Ahmedinejad's progress should be the belief propagated by the Hojjatieh Society and also Mesbah-Yazdi. The 12th Imam can only come out of his occultation to rule the world with justice after the world has been plunged into chaos. Four of the ministers in Ahmadinejad's cabinet were said to be Hojjatieh members. Before Khomeini banned the group, many of the non-clerical individuals involved in the 1979 revolution were Hojjatieh followers.
The 12th Imam is
popularly believed to currently reside down a well at
The Sunni Islamists are not driven by Messianic prophecies of a 12th Imam, but there is an element of a similar belief in an impending crisis, connected with "End Times" – Islam is under attack and its power has diminished because of the corrupting influence of infidels. By going back to the basic tenets of the Koran (which contains more than 100 verses referring to armed Jihad) they aim to spread Islam as it was spread during the time of Mohammed and his successors.
Though Islamists claim to act with
a future purpose, they are looking backwards for their inspirations
and for the sources of their grievances. Most of the Taliban follow
Deobandi ideology. The first Deoband institution was founded
directly after the Moghul empire in
One former colony of Islamic
April this year, the
terror group Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (formerly known as the
Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat or GSPC) issued a statement
proclaiming that: "We will not be in peace until we set our foot
again in our beloved al-Andalus." This month, an 80-minute video was
released by al Qaeda. In this, Ayman al-Zawahiri again referred to
said: "O our Muslim
nation in the Maghreb (north Africa) restoring al-Andalus (is
impossible) without first cleansing the Muslim Maghreb of the
children of France and Spain, who have come back again after your
fathers and grandfathers sacrificed their blood cheaply in the path
of God to expel them." The Spanish colonies in the Maghreb are
Islamists desire to "reclaim" territories they historically conquered, but the ideology of Islamism goes beyond issues of territory and history. Understanding the ideology behind Islamist aspirations also requires comprehension of the "prophecies" and mythologies of Islam.
Most Islamists want
The tenuous link connecting
Despite never physically visiting
Islamists' contempt for
Mohammed's prophecies mostly involve the events to come at the end of the world and the day of judgment (Qiyamah), and are recorded in the Hadiths. The fighting against Jews is one of the many "signs" of the final days. Islamist ideologues are fully aware of the end-time prophecies, and are working to implement them.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi is the "spiritual
leader" of the Muslim Brotherhood. He uses Muslim prophecies to
inspire his followers. He
wrote of the conquest of
"Nowadays, the conquest of the
other city Romia [
Qaradawi is referring to a hadith by Muslim, which claims that the last hour will not come until 70,000 persons advance upon Constantinople but “they will neither fight with weapons nor would shower arrows but would only say: ‘There is no god but Allah and Allah is the Greatest,’” causing it to fall into their hands.
Al Qaeda already has a plan by which global conquest will be achieved. Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein interviewed Seif al-Adi, an al Qaeda planner, for a book entitled "Al-Zarqawi: The Second Generation of Al Qaeda," (published in Arabic). The Egyptian terrorist's description of Al Qaeda's seven-point strategy was described in Der Spiegel in 2005.
Stage 1 – the "Awakening" –
involved provoking the
The timeline seems overly
optimistic. Assuming Hussein's source is truthful, it is interesting
to note that
Bukhari states: "Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Turks; people with small eyes, red faces, and flat noses. Their faces will look like shields coated with leather. The Hour will not be established till you fight with people whose shoes are made of hair."
Many of the details in Islamic eschatology are common to other faiths. Religion will decline, with mosques in conflict and no imams available, there will be earthquakes and smoke. The Mahdi will appear, and will give people money without counting it. Another figure, the Dajjal (a sort of Antichrist) will appear, but will be defeated by the Mahdi. Christ will return, but he will wield a sword, unlike the Biblical Christ, and he will “kill pigs.” Once all the signs are fulfilled, there will be no infidels left on earth, and Muslims will live happily for an unspecified time until their Resurrection.
Ten signs will appear:
"land-sliding in the east, and land-sliding in the west, and land-sliding in the peninsula of Arabia, the smoke, the Dajjal, the beast of the earth, Gog and Magog, the rising of the sun from the west and the fire which would emit from the lower part of 'Adan... out of the ten one was the descent of Jesus Christ, son of Mary (peace be upon him), and in another version it is the blowing of the violent gale which would drive the people to the ocean."
A rough chronology of Islamic end times can be found here. Prophecies can be made to fit any number of real world scenarios, if one chooses. But the eschatology of Islam, as described in the Hadiths, needs to be understood if we in the West are ever to face down the threat of Islamism, which believes in these ideas, and attempts to put them into action.
It could be argued that, much as Millenarian ideas took root at times of crisis, such as the Black Death, or the cult of the Arapaho Ghost Dancers in the 19th century arose at a time of certain defeat, Islamism's ambitions are born out of desperation. Al Qaeda has tried to mount spectacular attacks and draw attention to itself, but within its hierarchy there appears to be some disagreement between bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The Muslim Brotherhood has tried to
present a more "moderate" front, and has already managed to gain
favor in Western circles.
In the 21st century, many Western politicians do not appear to understand the true agenda and ideology of Islamism. They mistakenly believe that negotiation with Islamists is possible, as if these do not have an intransigent agenda, designed to infiltrate or weaken the West. Islamists have failed to influence so-called most "Muslim countries" to accept their ideology, yet the West accepts Islamists' "advice" at its own peril.
Since 2001, coalition troops have
fought to give
Failure to adhere to fundamental principles of belief will be the signs of weakness that will only strengthen the hands of those who have already declared that we are their enemies.
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Adrian Morgan, aka
Giraldus Cambrensis of
Western Resistance, is UK-based writer and artist. He also writes for
Family Security Matters and