The Great Enemy We Face As Infidels Is Islam – Part 3



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January 30, 2010

The following Excerpt is from The Middle East Media Review, “The Doctrine of Mahdism: In the Ideological and Political Philosophy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi.

May 31, 2010

Inquiry & Analysis Series

Report Number 357

Clerics Criticize Ahmadinejad’s Messianic Policies

Ahmadinejad’s messianic policies have drawn growing criticism from ayatollahs and senior religious figures in the religious seminaries in Qom who oppose the politicization of the messianic doctrine.

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Two articles published in the daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami, the newspaper of the religious seminaries in Qom which represents the views of important Ayatollahs from the seminaries, emphasized the danger posed to the Shi’ite faith by the encouragement of messianic messages and by their propagation by Ahmadinejad, his supporters, and, by implication, Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi as well – a group they label “the spreaders of superstitions”:

1. Jomhouri-ye Eslami: Superficial Propaganda “Exposes Society to the Danger of Spiritual Weakness and [Leads to] Lack of Faith in the Fundamentals of Religion”
In a September 13, 2006 editorial titled “The Danger of Superstitions: The Task of the Elected [Officials],” Jomhouri-ye Eslami expressed reservations about turning the Jamkaran Mosque into a holy site of

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the validity of the traditions tying the mosque to the Hidden Imam. The article stated that clerics should fight the danger posed to Shi’ism and to Shi’ites by Ahmadinejad, his supporters, and his messianic policies. The article even derided Ahmadinejad for presuming to present himself as having contacts and meetings with the Mahdi, and accused him of destroying the faith:

“…Look at the ceremonies in the middle of the month of Sha’ban [celebrating the birth of the Mahdi]. The faith in the promised Mahdi, as expressed in Shi’ite culture and education, is the most advanced and most spiritual of religious beliefs.

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The Iranian people are arduously preparing themselves for this great day… But in essence, what is the benefit of all this preparation in terms of the people’s spiritual growth and the advancement of their level of religious thought and culture

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? What pure religious knowledge fills the thirsty mouths of the public, which tenaciously turns [to the sources of Shi’ite jurisprudence] in order to quench its thirst?…

“Unfortunately, the true answer is that we are not just failing to quench the people’s [thirst] with pure spirituality and pure religious knowledge, but, on the contrary, we are filling [their heads] with the greatest possible amount of idiotic beliefs, superficialities and falsities. Uneducated [people] have come to control the celebrations [of the Mahdi’s birthday], and they are instilling the masses with a material [approach] that is unacceptable in both ideological and material terms.

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[These people rely] on the prestige of the religious leadership [an allusion to Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi], in opposition to the clear view of the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] and of the senior clerics, who are the sources of religious authority in Shi’ism…

“This criticism… is a warning that comes to explain… that the propagation of a superficial view and of superstitions – especially in the field of religious knowledge – [exposes] society to the danger of spiritual weakness and [leads] to lack of faith in the fundamentals of religion…

“When we raise the sanctity of the Jamkaran Mosque to the point where it is presented as more important than mosques like the Holy Mosque [in Mecca], the Prophet’s Mosque [in Medina]… the Al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem], the Kufa Mosque [in Iraq] and the Sahla Mosque [in Iraq]… and when it is announced that some three million pilgrims came to this mosque on the holiday of the Mahdi’s birthday; when they drag the people, who are thirsting for spirituality, from every corner of the country to Jamkaran, using the unprecedented propaganda [employed by Ahmadinejad]… and when speeches of praise and thanksgiving [are made] in which the people are promised that the Hidden Imam will make the pilgrimage to [the Jamkaran Mosque]… we know, of course, that there will be no pilgrimage or anything else.

“How long will people continue to believe this propaganda before their faith is eventually shaken and emptied [of content]?… On what basis is [the Jamkaran Mosque] associated with all the propaganda, the miracles, and the [special] status [that is attributed to it], which are instilled among the people

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“In order to realize the implications of these actions, look at the people who exploit the superstitions and present themselves as being in contact with the Mahdi, [the people who say] that they meet with him, or even that they are the Mahdi himself. [Then you will realize] what religious beliefs they have destroyed… how many harmful elements they have introduced into religion, and what danger lies in superstitions… The proponents of religion and senior religious thinkers and scholars must step into the ring and launch the difficult battle against the danger of superstitions. They must not rest until they arrive at a clear outcome.”[xxvii]

2. Jomhouri-ye Eslami: “Myths Like ‘The Halo of Light’… Make the Fight [Against False Beliefs] Even More Difficult”

Another Jomhoui-ye Eslami editorial, published October 11, 2006 under the title “Take this Warning Seriously,” expressed strong reservations about Ahmadinejad’s messianic pronouncements and the propagation of popular traditions tying the Jamkaran Mosque to the Hidden Imam:

“…[It is] saddening that false and idiotic beliefs have recently received reinforcement backed by force.

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Myths like ‘the halo of light’ [which Ahmadinejad felt surrounding him during his U.N. speech][xxviii] and claims of esoteric knowledge and clairvoyance – coming from people who are supposed, as one of their tasks, to fight these very things – are making the battle [against false beliefs] even more difficult…”[xxix]

Senior ayatollahs also expressed reservations following the allocation of huge budgets for projects connected with the Jamkaran Mosque. Jomhouri-ye Eslami stated: “Most of the senior ayatollahs are not happy with the worsening [of the situation] regarding ossified and erroneous [beliefs] about the Jamkaran Mosque [i.e. the encouragement and propagation of popular messianic traditions regarding the Jamkaran Mosque]. Some time ago, one of the ayatollahs in Qom vigorously opposed the erroneous steps [being taken] in this mosque, like the [practice of] writing personal requests [to the Hidden Imam] and dropping them into the well near the mosque…” In addition, there were reports of the Qom seminaries’ angry reactions to the fact that development funds allocated to the district were intended largely for developing the Jamkaran Mosque.[xxx]

3. Ayatollah Montazeri: “The Fact That We Believe in [The Future Appearance of] the Hidden Imam Does Not Mean that Some [Government Officials] Should Exploit His Name for Politics

In a January 31, 2006 interview, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who is considered one of the most senior religious authorities in the Shi’ite world and in Iran, expressed his disgust at the political capital that Ahmadinejad is trying to derive from the name of the Mahdi.[xxxi] In the interview, Montazeri noted that “the fact that we believe in [the future appearance of] the Hidden Imam does not mean that some [government officials] should exploit his name for politics.

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I am opposed to this kind of exploitation. The exploitation of the holy names causes the people and the younger generation to be disgusted with religion, since there is no flaw in the essence of Islam, and every flaw that exists [due to exploitation of religion] will hurt our Islam… In the early days of the Islamic Revolution, the people shouted slogans like: ‘Independence, freedom and Islamic Republic’… [The term] Islamic [means] based on the fundamentals of Islam —Islam in which the qualified [authorities] are religious authorities, great and wise people, and not [Islam] in which anybody who has a little learning [immediately] wishes to express an opinion on Islamic issues…”[xxxii]

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