[Dr. Sa’ad Al-Faqih] A question says that if victory is predicated on jihad, how can the Mahdi be a sudden cause for victory? Also, how can the earth be engulfed in injustice and tyranny, and then the Mahdi is sent down and as if by magic he will change everything? This question is pertinent because there is a culture both within the Sunnis and the Shiites — of course, within Shiism, it takes on exaggerated proportions – but this is found even within Sunnism, which is that the solution is to await the Mahdi’s arrival, and let corruption spread while we await the Mahdi. This is a misunderstanding of some of the texts. Whereas within Shiism, this used to be the established belief, and not a misunderstanding. This is the established belief among Shiites, which is that we should await the Mahdi until this was changed by Khomeini and he came up with his theory of Wilayat-al-Faqeeh (”Governance of the Jurist”).
Originally, it was forbidden to attempt to establish a state and a political system, because that would delay the appearance of the Mahdi. However, this concept is not an established belief within Sunnism, but there are those among the masses and ignorant people who also hold this belief, which is that the Mahdi is the hope, and they indulge in talking about the hadiths regarding the tribulations of the End-Times, and hanging their hopes on the future, while being helpless awaiting the Mahdi. As if that Mahdi would suddenly turn from being a corrupt to a pious person. They come up with stories that go against Allah’s laws. Admittedly, there are authentic and good narrations about the Mahdi, and there are weak and fabricated as well. All the authentic narrations are in line with Allah’s laws, in that the Mahdi will not suddenly appear and break Allah’s universal laws and rules.
It is impossible for the Muslim Community to gain victory under a great leader unless it is deserving of that great leader. Even if one of the greatest Sahaba (Companions) were to appear today, it would be of no avail, because the Community does not deserve victory or power. But, when people strive through struggle and jihad and enjoin good and forbid evil, in the hope of effecting change, they will deserve to have someone appear— appear doesn’t mean rise up from underground, or that it was an ambiguous figure who then reveals himself. Instead, he would be someone who already has leadership qualities and he would be a time-tested character whom people would see as deserving of leadership. Not a legendary character that suddenly makes an appearance. The narrations regarding the Mahdi are in line with the cosmic laws. Even the hadith that says that, “The Day of Judgment will not come until the earth is filled with injustice, tyranny and oppression. Then, out of my Family will appear someone who will fill it with equity and justice like it was filled with injustice and oppression.”
This doesn’t mean that injustice and oppression are prevalent and suddenly the situation is turned upside down. It means that events will take place –examine the rest of the hadiths on this topic and this will give a more complete picture. Time doesn’t allow us to cover all the hadiths. What it means is that events will occur, and there would be social repercussions such that they would set the stage for the appearance –not appearance, but for this leader to assume this position that he deserves among the people. This is the rebuttal to the issue of the Mahdi. If anyone brings up the subject of the Mahdi to you or indulge in talking about it by hanging on to myths about how we would extricate ourselves from this crisis by magic or miracle without us having recourse to the means of achieving that, give them this rebuttal. This is because it’s impossible for any great leader, regardless of who they might be, to break Allah’s laws and rules governing societies and states.