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Building a New Islamic Civilization based on the Concept of Awaiting

Belief in the reappearance of the 12th Imam has always been stressed in the Shi’a faith, and it has led to a duty which is known as “awaiting.”

“Awaiting deliverance” (Intizar faraj means the reappearance of the 12th Imam) has always been an influential factor for creating movement and dynamism in the Shi’a community. It has helped for people not to have any fears or concerns in the face of various problems and obstacles so that they may prepare the ground for the movement of the Imam of the Time (may God hasten his reappearance). From the viewpoint of Imam Khamenei, awaiting deliverance has a special status. He believes that establishing the government of Imam Mahdi (aj) and achieving the final solution, which is complete justice, is entirely compatible with the natural movement of the world toward good.  In this Op-ed, the Jurisprudence and Ethics Division of KHAMENEI.IR has analyzed the concept of awaiting and its relationship with the building of an Islamic civilization based on the thoughts of the Leader of the Revolution.

What does “awaiting deliverance” mean?

“Intizar” (awaiting) means anticipating something,[1] and “faraj” (deliverance) means deliverance from a certain problem.[2] In other words, what we are awaiting in “Intizar faraj” is a solution that is brought by God’s representative.

The activities of various Shi’a scholars, in particular those of Imam Khomeini, have led to the emergence of an active, constructive outlook toward the concept of awaiting. Awaiting is thus a light of hope. Sitting idly and only hoping for a better future is a meaningless way of awaiting. The final solution that will be realized with the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (a.j.) is the perfect manifestation of “deliverance.”

The meaning of deliverance from our problems

In analyzing the tradition, “Awaiting deliverance is an act of worship,” Imam Khamenei said, “This awaiting does not just mean the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (a.j.). The important issue is the “deliverance.” When you are awaiting deliverance, or in other words, if you have a serious problem and are waiting for it to be solved, what does this mean? It means that you should never become hopeless in any situation.”[3] The Leader mentioned certain characteristics of this deliverance, which are as follows:

  1. Deliverance is for all of humanity

In awaiting deliverance, manifested through the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (may God hasten his reappearance), the issue is not only about the solution of a problem for a certain individual or for the Shi’a in general. Rather, the solution and deliverance is for all of humanity.[4]

  1. 2. Preparing the ground for the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (a.j.)

 This issue has been stressed by Imam Khamenei many times. In his opinion, the effort put to bring about the reappearance,[5] all the actions of the officials in establishing justice, Islam and Islamic rules in the Islamic Republic,[6] progress in acquiring knowledge, reforms in society, altruism and martyrdom,[7] the formation of the Islamic government thanks to the Islamic Revolution of Iran, and the continuation of the Islamic Revolution[8] will cause the time to the reappearance to be shortened. If such things are absent, it will be impossible for the Imam of the Time (may God hasten his reappearance) to reappear.[9]

  1. The beginning of humanity’s movement toward perfection after deliverance (after the reappearance)

Humanity’s perfection in the world begins after the reappearance. In Imam Khamenei’s statements, he has likened humanity’s movement before the reappearance to turns and twists in mountains and marshes. And humanity’s movement after the reappearance has been likened to driving on a highway. In other words, the main, true life for humanity will be realized after the reappearance.[10] Of course, humanity’s perfection after the reappearance will not come about all at once. Rather, it will take place gradually and go through certain phases.[11]

The requirements for awaiting deliverance

The most important requirements for awaiting deliverance are struggle, hope and awaiting.[12] Hope is one of the terms that has been repeated the most by Imam Khamenei regarding the issue of Imam Mahdi and awaiting. It appears to be the most important requirement for awaiting deliverance. The other requirements are as follows:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the existing situation

Awaiting for something to come about requires that the one who is awaiting believe that the event has not yet completely come about. Therefore, he/she is not satisfied with the existing situation. At the present time, the existing situation is a world filled with oppression and cruelty, which will be resolved with the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (a.j.) and the establishment of complete justice.[13]

  1. Conviction that deliverance will come and oppression will be eliminated

Another requirement for awaiting is the anticipator’s conviction that the awaited promise will surely come about. The awaited promise is primarily the establishment of justice by the Imam of the Time (a.j.).[14] Awaiting deliverance requires that it be possible to remove the current oppressive order from the world. This in itself engenders hope for fighting in nations.[15]

  1. Hope and movement

Imam Khamenei believes that a nation which is not hopeful that they can achieve victory will not fight oppression. Therefore, being hopeful of deliverance will cause nations to fight their enemies, and it will give them enthusiasm and happiness.[16]

  1. Acquiring power

 According to the Quranic teachings,[17] administering justice in the world requires power. The global oppressors do not stop oppressing others, showing oppressive behavior and exploiting others just due to being given some advice.[18]

Objectivity in awaiting in the Shi’a school of thought

The fact that unlike in other Islamic schools, Mahdi in the Shi’a faith is a true person with a true identity that is based on solid evidence – he was born and is currently witnessing our actions – has caused the hope for the reappearance of Mahdi not to be a vague hope. And it has prevented the Shi’a from having false illusions about the promised Mahdi.

Awaiting deliverance effects building an Islamic civilization

Awaiting deliverance has significant effects on building an Islamic civilization, and Imam Khamenei has highlighted these effects in his statements as follows:

  1. It gives people the power to take action

The belief that the world is not to remain like this with its current system of the Arrogant Powers generates hope in nations, which have been oppressed and deprived, for liberation from oppression. This hope manifests itself in various ways in one’s individual and social life. Therefore, awaiting deliverance is a deliverance in itself.[19]

When people see oppression and cruelty in the world, nations and particularly the youth may become disappointed and hopeless. But belief in the future and the establishment of justice in the world will prevent nations from becoming hopeless.[20]

  1. Resistance and fighting oppression and arrogance

The discussion about hope as mentioned by his Eminence in his statements is closely related to fighting and resistance, because nations’ hope for the future gives them identity. And this helps them to fight and struggle on the path of good, justice and for bringing about reforms in society. With such a struggle, the problems of oppressed nations will be resolved to a great extent.[21]

The responsibilities of a society that is awaiting

  1. Struggling to establish the rule of Islam

True awaiting requires preparing the ground for the reappearance. Preparing the ground for the reappearance means acting in accordance to the Islamic rules. And this is only possible with the rule of Islam and the Holy Qur’an. In a society that is awaiting, the rules and regulations in the society should become closer to Islam on a daily basis in terms of both form and content.[22]

  1. Embracing and administering justice

Since the Imam of the Time (a.j.) is the manifestation of God’s justice, and since awaiting requires that the one who is awaiting become close to what the Imam of the Time (a.j.) expects of him, he is obliged to firstly accept and secondly administer justice in society. Because justice is the most important thing in building a society.[23]

  1. Preparing the society in terms of material and spiritual needs and eliminating social shortcomings

Being prepared is one of the requirements to awaiting deliverance. Examples of being prepared are as follows: 1. Intellectual preparedness and people understanding the concept of justice[24] 2. Spiritual, religious and moral preparedness and having an emotional bond with the Imam of the Time (a.j.), which requires self-edification 3. Having a religious, emotional bond with believers 4. Being prepared to fight and confront oppressors 5. Possessing physical strength 6. Strengthening one’s determination and willpower 7. Gaining insight 8. Increasing one’s general knowledge 9. Bringing about public reforms 10. Improving the welfare of society 11. Ensuring public security, and endeavoring to eliminate every shortcoming that exists in society.[25]

  1. Showing steadfastness and resistance

 Considering the tests and challenges that will arise before the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (a.j.), as has been stated in different narrations, showing resistance and steadfastness during these various tests and challenges is another responsibility of those who are awaiting.[26] In other words, one should always be engaged in Jihad and Resistance. There are various levels of Jihad. The smaller fight, fighting external “Taghuts” (manifestations of falsehood and evil), and in greater proportions, fighting the unbelievers and the enemies of Islam, and most importantly, fighting one’s internal Taghut.

The popularity of the government of the Imam of the Time (a.j.)

From the viewpoint of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, the government established by the Imam of the Time (a.j.) is a popular government. This means that his government relies on the people’s will, faith and determination. Secondly, it means that officials will not be thinking about trying to abuse the power vested in them and that they will live like ordinary people.[27]

The need to establish an Islamic government as a prelude to the reappearance of the Imam

The movement toward the reappearance is a gradual process. This gradual movement will achieve perfection with the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (may God hasten his reappearance) and the establishment of his entirely just government.[28] On this basis, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution believes that the formation of such a government is dependent on the establishment of another government before that which enjoys some degree of justice and basis in Islam. In fact, without the formation of such a government, the ultimate establishment of the Imam of the Time’s (a.j.) government will not be possible.

The Islamic Revolution prepares the ground for the reappearance

Imam Khamenei believes that the Islamic Revolution’s experience and the Iranian people’s exemplary resistance for preserving it indicate that the people have the power to take on the responsibilities that are a necessary part of the reappearance. Of course, this is dependent on the people preserving their unity and preparedness.[29] In other places he has also stated that he believes the reappearance depends on the capability of all of humanity – not just the Iranian people – for confronting the Arrogant Powers and standing by the truth.[30]

Similarities between the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the Islamic Revolution of the promised Mahdi

In the opinion of the Leader of the Revolution, the Islamic government and Revolution in Iran is a small example of the global revolution which will be led by the Imam of the Time (a.j.). He has stated that their similarities are as follows: 1: Both revolutions address people throughout the world, or in other words, both are global 2. Both revolutions confront global powers 3. Both revolutions disrupt worldly calculations.[31] Moreover, the government established by the Islamic government of Iran and the government that will be established by the Imam of the Time (a.j.) are similar in that in both of them: 1. Islam and Islamic rules have authority and 2. Both enjoy a divine leader. Of course, it is clear that our limitations in terms of knowledge, experience and the social obstacles that have remained with us from the past will prevent us from establishing a government which is on an exact footing with that which is established by the “Righteous Ones” (Salehan).[32]

Conclusion

Awaiting deliverance during the time when the Imam of the Time (a.j.) is absent is a source of support for the establishment of his Islamic government and preparing for the reappearance. Imam Khamenei believes that the issue of awaiting is an active, constructive concept which invites the Islamic community to move toward justice and building an Islamic civilization. An Islamic civilization means an environment where one can achieve spiritual and material maturity and reach the ideals of creation. Therefore, in order to achieve the highest level of human transcendence in the new Islamic civilization, the theory of awaiting serves a cognitive function for improving our religious understanding. It serves a motivational function in giving hope and liberating people from despair and hopelessness. And it serves an emboldening function for developing human destiny and fighting against oppression and arrogance.

From the viewpoint of the Islamic Revolution, the establishment of a government by the Imam of the Time (a.j.) and the formation of an Islamic civilization requires certain prerequisites. The Islamic Revolution is an important, vital prerequisite due to how it influences people’s way of thinking about the issue of awaiting. And it is certainly a step toward the establishment of global justice with the help of divine assistance.

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References

[1] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on July 9, 2011 in a meeting with Professors and graduates in the field of Mahdaviat.

[2] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on June 19, 1981.

[3] Ayatollah Khamenei’s statements made in his at Dars-e-Kharij Lecture delivered on January 13, 2020.

[4] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on August 17, 2008 in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds on the occasion of the 15th of Sha’ban.

[5] Ayatollah Khamenei’s statements made on June 2, 2015 in a meeting with the personnel of Ayatollah Khamenei’s Office and their families.

[6] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on May 17, 1984 in a meeting with the people of Qom.

[7] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on November 12, 2000 on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the Imam of the Time (a.j.).

[8] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on May 17, 1384 in a meeting with the people of Qom, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on June 17, 1981 on the occasion of the 15th of Sha’ban.

[9] Ayatollah Khamenei’s statements made on May 17, 1984 in a meeting with the people of Qom.

[10] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on December 1, 2010 in the First Strategic Thoughts Summit, and also Ayatollah Khamenei’s statements delivered on May 11, 2017 in a meeting with the personnel of the Leader’s Office and their families.

[11] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on June 11, 2014 in a meeting with officials and researchers from the Darul-Hadith Association, and also the Leader’s speech delivered on May 10, 2003 in a meeting with the members of the Imam of the Time Cultural Association.

[12] Leader’s speech delivered on March 13, 1990 in a meeting with officials and people from various social backgrounds.

[13] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on July 9, 2011 in a meeting with professors and graduates in the field of Mahdaviat, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on March 2, 1991 on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the Imam of the Time (a.j.).

[14] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on March 13, 1990 in a meeting with officials and people from various social backgrounds, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on December 5, 1998 in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds.

[15] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on January 17, 1997.

[16] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on January 28, 1994 in a meeting with the participants in the International Ahlul Bayt Conference, and the Leader’s speech on February 19, 1992 in a meeting with a large number of people from Qom.

[17] The Holy Quran, “We sent aforetime our apostles with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice. And We sent down iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help, unseen, Him and His apostles, for Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might (and able to enforce His Will).” [57:25]

[18] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on October 22, 2002 in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds on the occasion of the 15th of Sha’ban.

[19] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on April 13, 1987 in a meeting with the people of Qom, Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on May 10, 2003 in a meeting with the members of the Imam of the Time Cultural Association, and the Leader’s speech delivered on January 28, 1994 in a meeting with the participants in the International Ahlul Bayt Conference.

[20] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on February 19, 1992 in a meeting with the people of Qom.

[21] Based on the Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on March 13, 1990 in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on February 7, 1993 in meeting with foreign participants in the Ten-Day Dawn Celebrations.

[22] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on February 19, 1992 in a meeting with a large number of people from Qom and also taken from the book “Friday’s School.” [Friday’s School, vol. 2, p. 203]

[23] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on March 13, 1990 in a meeting with officials and people from various social backgrounds, and the Leader’s speech delivered on July 9, 2011 in a meeting with Professors and graduates in the field of Mahdaviat.

[24] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on July 20, 1986 in a meeting with the clergy from Neishabur.

[25] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on October 22, 2002 in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds and the Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on January 28, 1994 in meeting with the participants in the International Ahlul Bayt Conference.

[26] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on February 19, 1992 in a meeting with a large number of people from Qom, and the Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on October 30, 1996 on the occasion of the International Day of Fighting Global Arrogance.

[27] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on October 22, 2002 in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds.

[28] Of course, the movement will not stop and humanity will move toward monotheism and the complete implementation of Islam in the shade of justice.

[29] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on April 13, 1987 in a meeting with people from various social backgrounds and the Leader’s speech delivered on June 29, 1989 in a ceremony for the pledging of allegiance of a number of businesses in Mashhad, the 15th of Khordad Foundation and other organizations.

[30] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on November 12, 2000 on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the Imam of the Time (a.j.).

[31] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speeches delivered on June 10, 1981 and May 28, 1983.

[32] Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech delivered on September 29, 1983.

About Ali Teymoori

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