Why has the leader not appeared during all this long period? If he were really prepared to assume his social work? What prevented him from emerging during the period of the minor occultation or after, instead of extending it into a greater one, when the conditions for any social and transformative work were much simpler and easier and when the leader's relation with the people, owing to the minor occultation organizations, could have made it possible for him to organize the ranks and start the work with strength. Also the authorities that existed then did not have that tremendous level of strength and power which humanity has achieved thanks to its technical and scientific evolution?
The answer is: That the success of any operation of social change is bound by certain conditions and objective circumstances without which it cannot achieve its aims.
However all the operations of social change that are sent to earth from heaven are marked by the fact that the contents of their message are not bound by any objective circumstance.
Since the message on which the whole operation depends is of the Lord's making and is not created by these objective circumstances, but rather relies on them on its executive side as well as for its timing, heaven waited five centuries of ignorance (al-jahiliyyah) before sending its last message into the hands the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his progeny), since the connection that should exist between the objective circumstances and the execution required its postponement although the world had been waiting for it for a long time
Among the objective circumstances that have an effect on the executive part in the operation of change, are those that create the right climate and the general atmosphere for the intended change, while others form some details required by the movement of change in its elaboration.
For example, in the case of the operation of change led by Lenin in Russia, this operation was connected to an important factor manifested in the first world war and the decline of the Tsar, which played a major part in creating the appropriate climate for the operation of change. It was also linked to partial and limited factors such Lenin's health, during his trip and when he entered Russia and led the revolution For had he met with an incident while on his way, he would have been delayed and the revolution would have lost its ability for that swift move.
However, the unchangeable custom of Allah in every Divine operation of change proceeded, in its executive side, in accordance with the objective circumstances that created the appropriate climate and the general atmosphere for its success.
Hence Islam came only after a great gap and long period which lasted for centuries after the messengers.
Although Allah, the Exalted, could have overcome all the obstacles and difficulties that were on the way of the Divine message and created the appropriate climate by way of miracles, He preferred not to use such a style, since the tests, trials and the afflictions that make the human being perfect required that this Divine task be natural and objective.
However, this did not prevent Allah, the Exalted, from interfering from time to time with some details that did not shape the appropriate climate but which were sometimes needed for the movement within such a climate, such as the support that Allah, the Exalted, bestows on his saints during some of their difficult moments, so as to protect the message So suddenly Numrud's fire becomes cool and a peace for Ibrahim.
When the traitor's hand which was bearing the sword to strike the Prophet's hand was suddenly paralysed and lost its ability to strike, also when suddenly the storm swept away the unbelievers and the polytheists' camps, when they were encircling Medina, on the Day of the Ditch (yawmu'l-Khandaq), thus terrorizing them. However, all of these events did not go beyond certain details and the provision of assistance during some decisive moments after the appropriate atmosphere had been already formed for the operation of change in a natural way and in accordance with the objective circumstances.
In this light we can examine al-Mahdi's position to find that the operation of change, for which he had been prepared, is linked, on the executive side, as is the case with any other operation of social change to certain objective circumstances that participate in securing the convenient climate under which it will occur.
We must bear in mind that al-Mahdi has not been prepared for a limited social task nor for an operation of change limited to a particular part of the world or another. Since the message which Allah decreed for him has been a comprehensive change of the whole world and the leadership of humanity away from the darkness of transgression to the light of justice.
However, it is not enough for this great operation that its message and its leader be made available, for otherwise its conditions would have been fulfilled in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) Rather, an operation of such a scale requires a world-wide climate and a universal atmosphere which will fulfil the required objective circumstances for its realization.
From a human perspective we should consider the feeling that the man of civilization experiences of exhaustion as an essential factor for the creation of that appropriate ~ climate, which paves the way for the acceptance of the new message of justice This feeling is established and implanted through the various experiments of civilization, out of which man comes overloaded with negativism regarding what has been built, and realizes his need for help, thereupon turning with his natural disposition to the unseen or the unknown.
From a material angle, it is possible that modern conditions of life are better equipped to realize the aims of the message world- wide than the conditions that existed in the previous periods - such as the period of the minor occultation - owing to what has been achieved in terms of shorter distances and a greater ease of interaction between the different nations of the world, as well as the availability of instruments and means that a central organization needs in order to carry out its programme for the awareness of the different nations of the world and their education on the bases of the new message.
Yet what I hinted at here, which is a fact, is the growth of military strength and equipment that faces the leader of the appointed day whenever his appearance is delayed But to what avail can the growth of the material aspect be, when they already exists a psychological defeat for it from within and the spiritual collapse of that man who possesses all these equipment and power?
Indeed many were the occasions, in history, when the gigantic structure of a whole civilization collapsed only with the smallest conquering gesture. That was because it has been already falling apart and loosing confidence in its existence and trust in its reality