However, I would like to focus on a different aspect of his message—a theme that has remained relatively consistent throughout all his speeches to the U.N. That theme relates to his core beliefs in what the future holds for the world.
What does President Ahmadinejad believe about the future? The reality is that most Americans—including the media—don’t fully know. The press has generally failed to grasp Ahmadinejad’s eschatology—his belief in what the future holds. I believe understanding this aspect of Ahmadinejad gives us greater insight into his actions and motives.
So let me trace what he has said about the future over the past six years.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Short sound bites on the evening news are insufficient to understand this issue. So bear with me as we go back and look at Ahmadinejad’s last six speeches to the UN General Assembly.
September 17, 2005
On September 17, 2005, Ahmadinejad delivered his first major address to the UN General Assembly. (For the full text of his speech click here.) Carefully read the following excerpts.
With the passing of the era of agnostic philosophies, today humanity is once again joined in celebrating monotheism and belief in the Creator as the originator of existence. This is the common thread which binds us all.
Faith will prove to be the solution to many of today's problems.
Another hope is the common global appreciation of the sources of knowledge. Although reason, experience and science are among valuable sources of knowledge, the darkness of the Middle Ages deprived major portions of the Western world of appreciating. This reactionary tendency deprived many of access to various scientific findings and knowledge and led to the exclusion of other sources of knowledge namely God and knowledge based on revelation from the life of human beings in the West; Divine knowledge that was carried and disseminated by such prophets as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad (peace be upon them).
From the beginning of time, humanity has longed for the day when justice, peace, equality and compassion envelop the world. All of us can contribute to the establishment of such a world. When that day comes, the ultimate promise of all Divine religions will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being who is heir to all prophets and pious men. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace.O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.
September 20, 2006
On September 20, 2006, Ahmadinejad again addressed the UN General Assembly. (For the full text of his speech, click here.)
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to God and peace be upon Prophet Mohammad and His Infallible Household and chosen disciples. O God, hasten the reappearance of the Imam of the times and grant to us victory and prosperity. Include us among his followers and martyrs.
Whether we like it or not, justice, peace and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world with the will of Almighty God. It is imperative, and also desirable, that we, too, contribute to the promotion of justice and virtue.
He commands His creatures to enjoin one another to righteousness and virtue and not to sin and transgression. All Divine prophets from the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), have all called humanity to monotheism, justice, brotherhood, love and compassion. Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love and respect for the rights of human beings, and thereby transform animosities into friendship?
I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.
O, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.
September 26, 2007
Ahmadinejad addressed the UN General Assembly for a third time on September 26, 2007. (For the full text of his speech, click here.)
Oh God, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness.
I will also speak to you about the need for remedying the present situation, prospects for a brighter and a more hopeful future, and about the appearance of the sublime and beauty, compassion and generosity, justice and blossoming of all the God-given human talents and the prominence of faith in God and realization of the promise of God.
The only sustainable way to the betterment of mankind is the return to the teachings of the divine prophets, monotheism, respect for the dignity of humans and the flow of love and affection in all relationships, ties and regulations, and to reform the present structures on this basis.
To fulfill this objective, I invite everybody to form a front of fraternity, amity and sustainable peace based on monotheism and justice under the name of "Coalition for Peace", to prevent incursions and arrogance and to promote the culture of affection and justice.This is the invitation of all the divine prophets from Adam to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed (P[eace] B[e] U[pon] H[im]).
If they accept this invitation, they will be saved and if they don't, the same calamities that befell the people of the distant past will befall them as well.
Striving in this way to surrender rule to the righteous and Perfect Human, the Promised One, is indeed the final cure for the wounds of humanity, the solution of all problems, and the establishment of love, beauty, justice and a dignified life all over the world.
Without any doubt, the Promised One who is the ultimate Savior, together with Jesus Christ and other holy Saviors, will come. In the company of all believers, justice-seekers and benefactors, he will establish a bright future and fill the world with justice and beauty.
This is the promise of God; therefore it will be fulfilled.
Let's play a part in the fulfillment of all this glory and beauty.
I wish for a bright future for all human beings and the dawn of the liberation of and freedom for all humans, and the rule of love and affection all around the world, as well as the elimination of oppression, hatred and violence. A wish which I expect will be realized in the near future.September 24, 2008
Ahmadinejad addressed the UN General Assembly for a fourth time on September 24, 2008. (For the full text of his speech, click here.)
The world will ultimately disappear, but God has created man for eternity and has made them a manifestation of Himself.
God Almighty has tied their perfection and true freedom of humans to their devotion and obedience to Himself. True freedom and obedience to God are in balance and in fact are two sides of the same coin.
Obeisance to God means confessing to monotheism and obeying His commands, and to be free from ungodly worship.
The complete and full-scale manifestation of such characteristics can happen only under the rule of the righteous and perfect human being who is obedient to God and who is promised by the divine Prophets.Be aware that living with obedience to God and carrying out His orders, compassion for people and striving for the fulfillment of justice is to your advantage too. I invite you to return to the path of God, the Prophets and to the path of the people of the world and to the truth and justice.
The only route to salvation is a divine straight path. Otherwise, God’s hand of power will emerge from the sleeve of oppressed nations and will make your life difficult, and will put an end to your hegemony.
A global community filled with justice, friendship, brotherhood and welfare is at hand, as I have elaborated. A community which will tread the path of beauty and love under the rule of the righteous and perfect human being, the One promised by all divine prophets and the One who is the true lover of humanity. A community that will be devoid of any fear, despair and privation. Such a community will soon be ours. The community promised by the great divine Prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and Mohammad (PBUH) is about to materialize.
Let us, hand in hand, expand the thought of resistance against evil and the minority of those who are ill-wishers. Let’s support goodness and the majority of people who are good and the embodiment of absolute good that is the Imam of Time, The Promised One who will come accompanied by Jesus Christ, and accordingly design and implement the just and humanistic mechanisms for regulating the constructive relationships between nations and governments.
Let’s have a proper share in the establishment of that illuminated and promised divine age.
September 23, 2009On September 23, 2009, Ahmadinejad delivered his fifth major address to the UN General Assembly. (For the full text of his speech click here.)
Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness.
Today we must rise together in a collective commitment against the present challenges; we must take change seriously and help others through collective work to return to the basic moral and human values. Messengers were sent by God to show the light of the truth to human kind, they came to make people aware of their individual and social obligations. Piety, having faith to Allah and its judgment of human behavior or conduct in the next world, belief in the primacy of justice in both lives, seeking one's happiness, well being and security in the happiness, well-being and security of others, respecting human kind, making efforts to expand love and compassion against hostility were all on top of the teachings offered by the Messengers of God from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and the last one Prophet Mohamamd (PUH). All of them came to do something to eliminate war and ignorance, to eradicate poverty and uproot discrimination in order to spread happiness in the entire world. They are the best gifts that God Almighty has granted to human beings.
If the belief in Entezar( A waiting patiently for the Imam to return) will turn into a common and we join hands to achieve prosperity for all, then there will be more real and increasing hopes for reform.
The world is in continuous change and evolution. The promised destiny for the mankind is the establishment of the humane pure life. Will come a time when justice will prevail across the globe and every single human being will enjoy respect and dignity. That will be the time when the Mankind's path to moral and spiritual perfectness will be opened and his journey to God and the manifestation of the God's Divine Names will come true. The mankind should excel to represent the God's "knowledge and wisdom", His "compassion and benevolence", His "justice and fairness", His "power and art", and His "kindness and forgiveness".
These will all come true under the rule of the Perfect Man, the last Divine Source on earth, Hazrat Mahdi (Peace be upon him); an offspring of the Prophet of Islam, who will re-emerge, and Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) and other noble men will accompany him in the accomplishment of this, grand universal mission. And this is the belief in Entezar (Awaiting patiently for the Imam to return). Waiting with patience for the rule of goodness and the governance of the Best which is a universal human notion and which is a source of nations' hope for the betterment of the world.
They will come, and with the help of righteous people and true believers will materialize the man's long-standing desires for freedom, perfectness, maturity, security and tranquility, peace and beauty. They will come to put an end to war and aggression and present the entire knowledge as well as spirituality and friendship to the whole world.
Yes; Indeed, the bright future for the mankind will come.In waiting for that brilliant time to come and in a collective commitment, let's make due contributions in paving the grounds and preparing the conditions for building that bright future.
September 23, 2010
On September 23, 2010, Ahmadinejad delivered his sixth major address to the UN General Assembly. (For the full text of his most recent speech click here.)
This is the promise of God that the earth will be inherited by the pure and the righteous. And the people free from selfishness will take up the management of the world. Then, there will be no trace of sorrow, discrimination, poverty, insecurity and aggression. The time for true happiness and for the blossoming of the true nature of humankind, the way God has intended, will arrive.
All those seeking for justice and all the free spirits have been waiting for this moment and have promised such glorious time.
The complete human, the true servant of God and the true friend of the mankind whose father was from the generation of the beloved Prophet of Islam and whose mother was from the true believers of the Jesus Christ, shall wait along with Jesus the son of Marry and the other righteous to appear on those brilliant times and assist the humanity.
In welcoming them we should join ranks and seek justice.
Praise to Love and worship, praise to justice and freedom, praise to the true humanity, the complete human, the true companion of the humankind and peace be upon you and all the righteous and the pure.
WHAT DID HE SAY . . . AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
When Ahmadinejad urged the world to adopt “monotheism,” he was referring specifically to Islam. Christians are not viewed as monotheistic since we believe Jesus is the Son of God, not just a prophet from God. The first pillar of Islam is the creedal statement “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” This is the profession of monotheism he is calling on all to accept. His messages were "evangelistic."
The “Promised One” announced by Ahmadinejad is not the first coming of the Messiah as envisioned by the Jews, or the Second Coming of Jesus longed for by Christians. This “Promised One” is the Mahdi—the Twelfth Imam of Shiite Islam. So who is the Mahdi?
Ahmadinejad, like most Iranians, is a Shiite Muslim. The largest sect within the Shiite tradition, sometimes called Twelver Shiism, believes God raised up a series of twelve Imams (spiritual leaders) through history. The Twelfth Imam, Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ali, has been hidden from view (called the “major occultation”) since A.D. 939. Shiites believe he will reappear in the last days as the Mahdi (“the directed one”) and will join with Jesus to defeat the Islamic version of the Antichrist. Together they will deliver humanity and convert the world into a perfect and just Islamic society. In 2006 The New York Times published an article on "Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age" that said, in part:
"Twelver Shiism is, at its core, an eschatological faith, focused on the ultimate return of the imam-mahdi, who will restore the Shiites to their rightful place and redeem their generations of suffering. Since the vanished imam is by tradition a human who has never died, but remains in occultation, he is also believed to affect the course of events even from his hidden place. And Shiite tradition fills in the picture of the Mahdi’s return with an elaborate account of signs that will herald the event, including advance messengers, earthquakes and bloodshed."
Shiite eschatology includes several signs of the Mahdi’s coming, but Shiites refuse to set a specific date for his return, since “Anyone who fixes the time of the appearance is telling a falsehood.” However, one key sign that precedes his return is the rise of Dajjal (“the deceiver”), an evil individual who will be defeated by the Mahdi and Jesus. They will return when the earth is full of injustice and tyranny and ruled by evil men (key themes in Ahmadinejad’s speeches).
So what impact does Shiite eschatology have on us? The answer is that it could have a great impact because it seems to be a key part of Ahmadinejad’s worldview. And he rules a country in the heart of the volatile Middle East that is developing nuclear weapons—and that has a history of providing support for terrorist organizations that oppose the United States and Israel.
Historically, most Shiites have taken a passive approach to the return of the Mahdi. Since no one knows the day or hour of his return, nothing can be done to hasten that event—or to hinder it. It will happen in its God-ordained time. However, there have been Shiites who have taken a more active approach, who believe there are things they can do to help hasten that day.
The key unknown variable is Ahmadinejad’s personal beliefs on this issue. From his speeches it is clear he believes in the return of the Mahdi. It is also clear that he expects it to be “realized in the near future.” More troubling is his call to the nations to “play a part in the fulfillment” of this event. While that could be nothing more than a call to embrace Islam—and in that way hasten the approach of the end—he keeps making the statement in the context of his hope for the soon coming of the Mahdi. Is it possible he sees himself as being placed by God in his current position for this very reason?
Most secular reporters downplay this possibility. They can’t imagine someone longing to start a worldwide conflagration—possibly one involving nuclear weapons. But they don’t understand the internal logic of such a decision. An Islamic suicide bomber can willingly take his or her own life because of the firm belief that such an action results in immediate entry to Paradise. If Ahmadinejad believes such a conflagration is part of God’s end-time program—and if he believes God has raised him up “for such a time as this”—he could very well be willing to bring about his own destruction if that is what it takes for the Mahdi to return. Perhaps this is what he had in mind in his 2006 address when he asked Allah to “Include us among his followers and martyrs.”
If the West underestimates Ahmadinejad’s devotion—or his determination—it could be to our harm.