The Iranian state-controlled press is bringing attention to an Arabic report that Saudi King Abdullah is “clinically dead,” only holding onto life because of a ventilator. A film allegedly produced by Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s office in 2011 argued that Abdullah’s death will be a major prophetic sign signaling the “imminent reappearance of the Mahdi.”
The Iranian media is referencing a report in ASharq Alawsat that relies on unidentified “medical” sources to confirm that King Abdullah’s vital organs have stopped working. It observes that Abdullah hasn’t been seen in public and is being represented by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. However, the Iranian media does note that the Arabic paper previously reported Abdullah’s death in 2012 after he had intensive back surgery.
Ahmadinejad’s office allegedly produced a film titled "The Coming is Upon Us" and it teaches that the Islamic messiah named the Hidden Imam or as the Mahdi will soon arrive. He is prophesied to appear and bring a miraculous victory over the enemies of Islam during a final grand war.
The film teaches that the death of Abdullah will be a fulfillment of prophecy that sets the stage for this last conflict. It even encourages his assassination, saying, “Whoever guarantees the death of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, I will guarantee the imminent reappearance of the Mahdi.” It is unclear what immediately follows his death according to this interpretation of Islamic prophecy, but the filmmakers are certain it is the trigger for huge events.
The overall message of the film is that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah were foretold in Islamic prophecy as the ones who will wage war with the Mahdi against the “Antichrist” and “the imposters,” meaning the U.S., Israel and the West’s Arab allies.
Ayatollah Khamenei is said to be the fulfillment of a prophetic figure named Seyed Khorasani, also referred to as “the preparer” for his role in setting the stage for the Mahdi’s appearance.
President Ahmadinejad is said to be the incarnation of Shoeib-Ebne Saleh, the commander-in-chief of Khorasani (Khamenei) who will capture Jerusalem on “the threshold of the Coming.” He is to lead a coalition of Arab countries in this war and the film argues that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood will allow this to happen.
Hassan Nasrallah is said to be the embodiment of Yamani, a military commander that leads a march to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The film lists several prophecies that were allegedly fulfilled, but the death of Abdullah is the one given the most emphasis. In a possibly related development, the Iranian media is reporting that the government is deploying a “massive” amount of long-range missiles that can “crush the enemy.”
The presidential election is on June 14 but the inauguration of the new president won’t happen until August. Ahmadinejad cannot run for a third consecutive term and the candidacy of his protégé, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, was disqualified by the Guardian Council. If the film reflects the personal views of Ahmadinejad, then he only has around three months to fulfill his duties as the prophesied Shoeib-Ebne Saleh.
If Ahmadinejad is to carry out the agenda articulated in the film, then he must have the approval of Supreme Leader Khamenei. The two are engaged in a power struggle and it is often said that Khamenei does not share the eschatological views of Ahmadinejad.
There are indications that Khamenei is not at odds with Ahmadinejad when it comes to their role in prophecy. In July 2010, a senior cleric claimed that Khamenei told his inner circle that he had met the Mahdi, who promised to return while Khamenei remained alive. When mostly-Shiite protesters challenged the pro-American monarchy of Bahrain, a representative of Khamenei said it is “the best opportunity to begin setting the stage for the emergence of the 12th imam, our Mahdi.”
Khamenei representatives have encouraged comparisons between Khamenei and Syed Khorasani. Iranian defector “Reza Kahlili,” who released the film, said it includes about 10 minutes of senior clerics endorsing its content. However, a senior seminary school in Qom rebutted the film.
Luckily, Syria’s civil war is preventing an alliance between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, who are on opposite sides of the conflict. As of right now, Iran is unable to lead the Arab coalition whose formation must precede the taking the Jerusalem and arrival of the Mahdi. However, the elements of the Iranian regime that believe in the thesis of “The Coming is Upon Us” may feel that a provocative action will unite the region.
The bottom line is this: If the Iranian leadership believes in the film it allegedly produced, then the reported death of Saudi King Abdullah will be interpreted as a green light for destructive things to happen.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
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