It Is Vengeful Man - Not God - We Need Fear

by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET) June 1, 2011
 
The 12 Shia imams, from Ali ibn Abi Talib (center) with the last imam depicted (left) with his face hidden.
 
For most of us, last month’s day of the Rapture, May 21st, proved uneventful. The Day of Judgment prophesized by a Christian fundamentalist group leader came and went without the predicted global natural disasters occurring. That leader, Minister Harold Camping, supposedly was to be among those achieving eternal salvation that day—ascending to Heaven for having lived a strict Christian life, leaving all sinners remaining here on Earth to be subjected to torment.
 
Camping emerged a few days after his failed prophecy to explain his calculations were wrong (as they had been 17 years earlier when he also incorrectly predicted we would witness the world’s end). Apparently, Camping’s new date for global destruction is October 21st. At this rate, if his prediction slides another 14 months, it will eventually fall in line with that of the Mayan Indian “long count” (5,126 year) calendar, which suggests the world will end December 21, 2012.
 
While a date with destruction does await us, it is not the date predicted by Camping or by the Mayan calendar we should fear. It is a date, predicted to be coming soon by an Islamic fundamentalist leader, that we need fear. The basis for fearing the date predicted by an Islamic fundamentalist but not by a Christian fundamentalist is the perceived role man is to play in both events: Man need do nothing for the Christian apocalypse to occur while the Islamic apocalypse depends on an active role by man.
 
According to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Day of Judgment and destruction for the West is close at hand. It is the day of the return of the 12th or “Hidden” Imam—a religious leader who disappeared in the 9th century at the age of five to remain in a state of occultation until then. It is believed the Imam’s return is to restore Islam to world dominance. It is further believed his return will only occur in the aftermath of world chaos. But it is here that this Islamist minority splits in its belief as to how the Hidden Iman’s return will be triggered. Most believe the required world chaos must evolve naturally; but Ahmadinejad is part of a minority within a minority believing man can be a catalyst in creating it.
 
 
One should not dismiss Ahmadinejad’s beliefs as lightly as one might dismiss those of Camping. Ahmadinejad’s belief in the Hidden Imam’s return has been evidenced by his actions both when he held office as mayor of Tehran and as president, after taking office in 2005.
 
As mayor, Ahmadinejad dedicated funding to widening some of Tehran’s main streets, seeking to have them sufficiently wide so a parading 12th Imam could “tread spacious avenues.”
 
As president, he begins all his speeches with a prayer beseeching Allah for the Hidden Imam’s hastened return. He claimed after his September 2005 appearance at the United Nations that, during his speech, he was engulfed in an “aura” that made it impossible for listeners to even blink as they were mesmerized by his words. Such visions convince Ahmadinejad to believe when the Hidden Imam returns, Ahmadinejad will become heir to the Prophet Muhammad.
 
Just like Camping’s earlier prediction proved wrong, so too did Ahmadinejad’s as to when the 12th Imam would return. In 2006, Ahmadinejad told other regional leaders 2008 was the Hidden Imam’s year. Like Camping, Ahmadinejad too made a new prediction—claiming it will now be 2012. But, unlike Camping, Ahmadinejad is looking to undertake actions that, according to his fanatical beliefs, will give his prediction credibility.
 
Not only does Ahmadinejad believe man can be a catalyst in creating world chaos to trigger the Imam’s return, he also believes he is the man chosen by Allah to create it. He envisions the chaos coming in the form of the detonation, most likely somewhere within the borders of the US as the “Great Satan,” of a nuclear weapon—a weapon Iran has sought to develop for ten years now. 
Ahmadinejad anticipated having such a weapon by now, but his plans were delayed in 2009 when an unknown country (believed to be either the US, Israel or both) introduced into Iran’s nuclear facilities a computer malware that has since disrupted production.
 
Recently, Ahmadinejad sanctioned production of a film to educate Iranians as to the role their nation—led by Ahmadinejad—will play in the 12th Imam prophecy. The film documents that an Ahmadinejad-led Tehran will fight a war against Islam’s enemies—the US and Israel. It also makes clear “the final chapter (leading to this war) has begun.”
 
Camping’s prediction depends on world destruction being caused by a vengeful God; so too does Ahmadinejad’s, but only on the precondition a vengeful man acts to create the necessary chaos to trigger it. Where Camping sees God acting first, Ahmadinejad sees man doing so.
 
As chaos looms over the horizon and mankind awaits its release, it is the actions of the vengeful man believing he is ordained to act on behalf of a vengeful God—and not the actions of the vengeful God—we need fear. 
 
 
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (ret) is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam War, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war.  He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields" and frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.
 

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