Imam al-Mahdi’s Globally Unified Government is indeed, a response to the anxiety of man in the future. Twelver Shiites, the followers of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) are optimistic about the future, for their belief in the “`Intazar al-Faraj” (the expectation of future deliverance) gives meaning and vivacity to their lives. Islamic doctrines concerning this doctrine in particular, those of the Imami Shi‘a are very clear and unambiguous.
A close look at Islamic doctrines proves that Islam intends to remove the obstacles of delusory privileges and illusory titles in order to establish the word of “Tawhid” (Divine Unity) which is the source of all unity, harmony, relations and co-operation. Through monotheism, Islam desires to eradicate all discrimination and conflicts that present themselves under various names. All discriminations of race, class, nation, homeland, geography, school, party, language and even of religion must be eradicated and all of us must surrender ourselves to Allah’s command:
“Say! O` People of the Book, Come to a word common between us and you…” (1) Islam has predicted that day in question and the Shari`ah (Islamic Law) has been prepared for it however putting it into practice depends on the future when the conditions become totally conducive.
As mentioned before, the course of global developments in material life and the close relations between people and nations through the rapid expansion of the means of communication has made everyone feel an urgent need for some genuine unity and brotherly co-operation. The more we develop the more we feel such a need. The global village assumed by Western scholars in the 20th century, was definitely declared by Islam 1400 years ago. Islam has also mentioned how it will be made a reality and who will rule over such a global village. Islam has asserted that the dominant religion will be Islam and that the oppressed and the righteous shall be victorious under the rule of a man of Abrahamic lineage. He will be a descendant of Muhammad(p.b.u.h.), from the offspring of Ali and Fatima (A.S.) and his name is M-u-h-a-m-m-a-d(م ـ ح ـ م ـ د), his nickname is Abu al-Qasim, and his cognomen is al-Qa`im.
Now, we are going to refer in brief to some verses and traditions in this connection:
“Certainly We wrote in the Psalms, after the Torah: Indeed My righteous servants shall inherit the earth” (2)
In his Majma` al-Bayan, following this verse, al-Tabarsi quotes from Imam al-Baqir(p.b.u.h.) the following: “Those people are the companions of al-Mahdi(A.S.) at the end of time.”
“Allah has promised those of you who have faith and do righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors, on the earth just as He had made those who were before them successors, and He will surely establish for them their religion which He approved for them, and that He will surely change their state to security after their fear…” (3)
In this verse, three promises are given to the people of faith and the righteous servants:
1- That they will be made to inherit the earth, i.e. a theocracy which amounts to the rule of justice and observation of the legitimate rights of man throughout the earth in the name of Allah.
2- The establishment of religion, and the spiritual influence and the dominion of divine laws on the whole expanse of the earth.
3- Changing fear to security, where all fears and insecurities will disappear and absolute peace and security will be settled instead.
In his Majma following this verse, al-Tabarsi quotes from Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (p.b.u.h.) the following:
“By God they are followers of us, the Ahl al-Bayt. Allah will achieve that for them through the hands of a man of ours and he is the Mahdi of this [Islamic] community.”
“It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth that He may make it prevail over all religions though the polytheists should be averse.”
When reciting this verse, according to some tradition, Imam Ali asked his companions: “Has this victory occurred?” They answered: “Yes.” Imam said:
“Certainly not, I swear to Him who holds my soul, until no village remains but that in which the testimony that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger is called day and night.” (5)
From the above verses and traditions, we can understand the following:
1- Righteous servants will at last be successors over the whole world from the east to the west and from the north to the south.
2- Righteous people will succeed those who preceded them on the earth and their power will dominate.
3- Islam will prevail over all religions and be dominant throughout the earth.
4- All of the aforementioned will occur during the government of al-Mahdi(A.S.).
As a result, the rule of al-Mahdi(A.S.) will be tantamount to a globally unified government which is the unbreakable promise of Allah, for ـ «إن الله لا يخلف الميعاد» “He surely does not break His promise.” (6) The belief in a globally unified government stems from both the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt(A.S.).
Comparison and Distinction
Having clarified the meanings of globalization and the globally unified government of al-Mahdi(A.S.), we can say that al-Mahdi’s globally unified government definitely cannot be described as corresponding with the globalization. The government prescribed by Islam has characteristics too great to occur to human mind.
The Merits of the Government of Islam over the Globalization
1- Within a unified government of the great family of humanity as suggested by the globalization theory, many low and wicked people would be found who could not see beyond their narrow interests. They are those bigots, tyrants, and egoists who have right of veto and who see everyone else as their servants. The right of veto, for instance, takes humanity back to the law of brute force that says: “might is right”, and “the strong must survive but the weak must perish”. This is indeed what we see nowadays.
2- Within the government favoured by Islam, Allah, His commands, and Islamic doctrines constitute the pivot that meets all the requirements of a global human society. In a government under the globalization, the governing principles are secularism, positivistic human laws, and atheism.
3- In the global government of the Mahdi(A.S.), religion and politics are two inseparable realities. Indeed, politics ends up working for religion and highly religious ideals and Islam will be dominant over the entire world. In the globalization, on the other hand, religion specially Islam has no clear position.
4- In the global government of the Mahdi(A.S.), the Qur’an will be the pivot of human life. Imam Ali(p.b.u.h.) said: “And he [Mahdi] restores opinions to the Qur’an when they will have turned the Qur’an to their [private]opinions.” (7)
5- Al-Mahdi’s global government would be established on the basis of ethics, society and security, whereas the world of today suffers from spiritual crises. The security of both the individual and society, nationally and internationally, is at risk, and the levers of power are known to be in the hands of superpowers.
6- Scientific development is one of the prominent characteristics of Imam Mahdi’s government.
7- Imam Mahdi’s global government would be founded on the essential doctrines of religion, while the globalization is the consequence of the conscious or unconscious developments in politics, economics and technology within the dominant capitalist system.
8- Imam Mahdi’s unified government would receive its legitimacy from God. It would be a theocracy whose ruler would be ordained by God and embraced by all people, i.e. from one aspect it would be confirmed by Allah and from another it would be supported by the people. In the globalization, however, legitimacy is based upon people’s votes won by charlatans through hundreds of conspiracies and lies.
9- Imam Mahdi’s unified government would be based upon human reason and intellect, which at that time will reach their perfection. Conversely, governments under the globalization would be established upon carnal desires and sensuality. A tradition from Imam al-Baqir(p.b.u.h.) says:
“When our Qa`im (the One who Rises up) emerges, Allah will put his hand upon the heads of people by which he will bring together their reason and perfect their morals.” (8)
10- In the unified government of al-Mahdi(A.S.), the development of knowledge and reason, will lead to the uncovering of the economic capacities of nature. Resources and financing will be easily available, and there will be an efficient and just distribution system. Hence, the division of countries into advanced and underdeveloped, based upon poverty and class cleavage will no longer be relevant. In this government nowhere will be left barren, and people everywhere will enjoy the gifts of nature.
11- With regard to the holy government of al-Mahdi(A.S.), Imam Ali(p.b.u.h.) says:
“At that time, Ya`asub al-Din (the master of religion) will settle on the earth, and then people will come together towards him as the cumulus clouds in the autumn.”(9)
12- In government of al-Mahdi(A.S.), all human wishes will be coloured with divine guidance.
“After people have turned guidance to their wishes, he will turn wishes to guidance.”(10) In the globalization on the other hand, all governmental attempts are directed toward carnal desires.
13- In the government of al-Mahdi(A.S.), the party of those who go astray will be overwhelmed and truth-seekers will unite to organize a party. “[He will] make a single party disperse and unite another dispersed party”.(11) In the globalization, however, the oppressors come together to destroy those truth-seekers.
14- In the global government of al-Mahdi(A.S.), the oppressors, tyrants and devils will be punished and the righteous will be rewarded.
“Behold. Tomorrow –a day the time of which no one knows – the ruler [Mahdi], who is not of them [tyrants]will punish their governors for their evil deeds.”(12)
15- In the unified government of al-Mahdi(A.S.) ruler ship will be conducted on the principle of justice and equality and justice will expand throughout the earth. In many traditions this meaning has been construed as “Yamla`a” (he will fill the earth with justice).The Holy Prophet(p.b.u.h.) said:
“A man of my Ahl al-Bayt whose name is the same as mine and whose character is the same as mine will arise. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it has been filled with injustice and oppression.”(13) The governors of the era of the globalization are themselves tyrants who behave unjustly. The globalization era indeed shares in the characterization of the pre Mahdi(A.S.) era as one where the world is filled with injustice.
A Comparison between the Government of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) and the Globalization
In what follows we are going to briefly compare the effects of al-Mahdi (A.S.) government of justice and those of the globalization.
The Effects of al-Mahdi (A.S.) Government
A. The Utopia of Justice:
Justice is one of the most conspicuous features of al-Mahdi global government. This feature has been so emphasized in the traditions and religious doctrines that one might think it is the only noted quality. The other features, on the other hand, are either not well known or fail to get noticed. Tens, or rather hundreds of books such as Muntakhab al-Athar and Sheikh al-Saduq’s Kamal al-Din show that in many traditions the holy Imam is introduced as the “Symbol” and “the Perfect epiphany” of Justice:
1- Under the light of this justice, no body will be left in bondage. This denies oppression and colonialism.
2- The apparent and hidden chains of bondage and slavery will be released from necks and hands of all mankind, and the grounds for exploitation will be eradicated. This denies exploitation.
3- The elements of tyranny will be superseded by justice, impartial judges and unfair governors will be deposed, and the earth will be wiped clean of all treachery and evil. This is the denial of discrimination and the establishment of public justice.
4- Disobedient oppressors will be wiped out but the oppressed and deprived men will succeed in recapturing their legitimate rights. This denies oppression and recognizes human rights.
5- No longer will groans be silenced in the throat, there will be no more sorrowful sighs of the broken-hearted, no more tears of the disconsolate one, no stomach will go to bed hungry, and no deprived person will live in the anxiety of insecurity. This supports the establishment of absolute justice.
B. The Utopia of Comfort and Welfare:
With reference to this point the Holy Prophet(p.b.u.h.) said: “Al-Mahdi (A.S.) will rise up in my community, …In his time the people [all people throughout the world], whether good-doers or evil-doers, will enjoy such blessings and prosperity that they had never enjoyed before. The sky will rain down [metonymically means the overflow of natural gifts]and the earth will hide none of its vegetables.”
C. The Utopia of Peace and Security:
The need for peace and security, according to sociologists, has a prominent position on the hierarchy of major human needs. This need manifests itself in different facets of human life such as security of morals, economic security, legal security, social security and family security, and is so important that any type of neglect thereof would result in irrecoverable and bitter consequences.
D. The Utopia of Education and Training:
As an idea that encourages us to return to the sublime doctrines of early Islam, al-Mahdi (A.S.) theory takes into consideration man and his capacities. According to this theory, man is not only considered as not being confined to the limits of his body, but he is also regarded as a multi-dimensioned being whose growth needs to be holistic and well-balanced. Hence in this theory, the education and training of both the material and spiritual aspects of humanity are among the most important projects in the time of al-Mahdi (A.S.).
E. The Utopia of Knowledge and Science:
It is held that the age of al-Mahdi’s appearance will be a time for the development of knowledge and science. As justice will supersede injustice, all social disorders will be rectified and ignorance will give way to knowledge and wisdom. In this way the whole world will be filled with the light of knowledge. In this utopia, the intellectual and rational faculties of all mankind will be developed and perfected.
F. The Utopia of the Oppressed and Deprived:
One of the other useful results of al-Mahdi’s utopia is the radical shift in the structure and pyramid of power. In such a utopia the government will be in the hands of the oppressed and deprived masses of society. After such a long time of being suppressed under the inhumanities of the affluent and the oppressors, it will now be the time for the oppressed to enjoy divine justice and secure their legitimate rights to being the true inheritors and masters of the earth.
The Consequences of the Globalization
1- The most prominent sign of the globalization is the weakening of national sovereignty and the strengthening of international integration. As national sovereignty is one of the major obstacles in the way of international integration, the globalization, according to its advocates, paves an important path to international integration and restricts the domain of national authority.
2- Another major consequence of the globalization is the decrease in the limitations imposed by tariffs and other similar international regulations on trade, the profits of which will inescapably flow into the pockets of the industrially advanced countries. According to research findings and available statistics, the relative decrease in tariff restrictions has made the relative share of the foreign trade of advanced countries in gross national products increase from 27% in 1987 to 29% in 1997, while the share of developing countries has increased only from 10% to 17% in the same period.
3- The astonishing progress in the technology of communication leads to alterations at the international level and is an effect of the globalization. This alteration is also a consequence of such phenomena as the widespread transformation of the environment and the free flow of capital, goods, services, and information. These phenomena are the effects of the globalization, and they themselves in turn, strengthen the development of the globalization.
4- The inner contradictions of the globalization intensify the ever-increasing gap between the poor and the rich.
Having compared al-Mahdi(A.S.) government’s complete justice with the globalization, one will surely come to the conclusion that the globally unified rule suggested by Islam and other revealed religions amounts to union on the basis of justice, human dignity, and equality. On the basis of Tawhid (divine unity) all human beings may enjoy all their human rights regardless of their color, race and language. Contrary to what we observe in the world today, it is hoped that such a dark and oppressive world would be illuminated by the light of Imam Mahdi’s justice and legitimate government.
1- Al- ‘Imran 64.
2- Al-Anbiya 105.
3- Al-Nur 55.
4- Al-Saff 9.
5- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 60 ; Ta`wil al-Ayat, p. 663.
6- Al-‘Imran 9.
7- Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon138.
8- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 336.
9- Aqd al-Durar, ch. 7, p. 207.
10- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 130.
11- Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 150.
12- Ibid, Sermon 138.
13- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 82.