Philosophy Of Ghaybah 3/14 - Imam Mahdi (AJ) in the Global Context

A'uzubillahi minash shaytanir rajeem. Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil 'aalameen, Al-Hamdulillahil ladhee hadaanaa lihaadha wa maa kunna linahtadiya law laaa ann hadaanal laah, wassalaato wassalamo 'ala ashrafil anbiyai wal mursaleen, khaatimin nabiyeen, sayedinil mumajjad, basheerinil musaddaq, al-mustafal amjad mahmudil ahmad, abil Qasimi Muhammad [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]. Wa 'ala ahle bayti at-tayyibeen at-tahireen al-ma'sumeen wa la'natullahi 'ala al-dhalimeen minal-awwaleena wal akhireen.

Amma baad, faqad qal Allahu subhana wa ta'ala fi Kitabih il-Majeed wa Furqanih il-Hameed wa qawluh ul-haqq, Bismillahir Rahmanin Raheem, "Wa lammaa jaaa'ahum Kitaabum min 'indil laahi musaddiqul limaa ma'ahum, wa kaanoo min qablu yastaftihoona 'alal ladheena kafaroo falammaa jaaa'ahum maa 'arafu kafaru bih; fala 'natul laahi 'alal kaafireen"(2:89). Aamanallah billah. Sadaqallahul Aliul Adheem. Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa 'ala aali Muhammad - [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

Awaited saviour of humanity, Imam Mahdi alayhi assalam, my respected teachers, elders, brothers and sisters, asalamun 'alaikum jamee'an wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. [wa aleykum assalam, wa rahmatullahi, wa barakatu]

Welcome to the third discussion in our series, analyzing the philosophy of the ghayba of the Awaited Savior of humanity, the master and lord of our age, Imam al-Mahdi, Ajalallahu ta'ala farajahu sh-shareef [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]. We have been looking at this verse from Suratul Baqara verse number 89 in which Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala gives us the example of the Jewish community in Medina that they had prepared themselves for the coming of the great messenger, Rasul Allah Muhammad, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]

And the verse says when he came to them, 'maa 'arafoo, kafaroo bih', they did not recognize him, they did not have ma'rifa of him. And so they rejected and belied him. The conclusion of the ayat says: 'fala 'natul laahi 'alal kaafireen' - and God's curse descends upon those who are the disbelievers. We have used this verse in order to give us the understanding that in this verse we are similar to the Jewish community of Medina in the sense that we are also awaiting our savior, the Imam of our time. And we want to make sure that we don't fall into the same trap of having not correctly recognized the Imam and leader of our time.

And so this is a journey InshaAllah to have a greater degree of ma'rifa, cognizance of Imam, alayhi assalam. We pose a very important question, and from here we begin to discuss it. We asked, well, how does one human being liberate this world? How does he liberate seven billion people so that they arrive at a beautiful state of faith or progression within their lives? How does he govern a world so diverse within itself?

Yesterday, we took the discussion and looked at the theological reasonings for the ghayba and then began our discussion on the philosophical reasons for the ghayba. We stated that there is a difference between theology and philosophy, and at a very elementary level, the theology are those beliefs that you and I receive from our texts, the Qur'an and the ahadith, that mould our belief systems so that when we question why did Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala institute ghayba, a long period of occultation for Imam Mahdi, alayhi assalam, we look within these texts, and they give us a list of reasons.

This differs from our philosophical understanding. The philosophy will be governed by a series of thought processes. And so when we begin to understand why the Imam is in ghayba, we will resort back to those thought processes and extract from there. It may be that the theology and the philosophy differ with each other. It may be that our theology brings us to a certain point. But at that point, we depart into our independence on thought, and we begin to extract different reasonings that may be from within the limits of the texts that have reached us.

Yesterday, we highlighted that there were four reasons within our books for the lengthy occultation itself. The first one we stated was that the Imam goes into occultation for fear of his life, protecting his life, for had he been in apparency, it would have been that the enemies of God would have tried to kill him, therefore curtailing the opportunity of his mission, number one. The second reason for the ghayba of Imam, alayhi assalam, is that he does not give any allegiance to any tyrannical individual or tyrannical government. Had he been present now in the eyes of the people, certainly governments would have expected or tried to put him in chains, stop his movement, ensure that he gives allegiance to them.

The third reasoning for his ghayba is now where we're going to open up the discussion further this evening. We said from the theology, the texts that give you your belief system, the third reason was that it is a test upon the Shi'a. That the ahadeeth specify these words. They do not specify that it is a test upon the Muslim Ummah at large. It does not state that it is a test upon the world at large. It specifically states that the ghayba is a test upon the Shi'a of Ahlul Bayt, salmullah alaih ajma'een, the third is this. The fourth is because of the sins of the Shi'a; that the sins that are unfortunately practiced by me and the Shi'a Ummah, we are directly inhibiting the return of the Awaited Saviour of humanity.

Here we posed a question; if you remember it was your homework to go home and ponder upon this yourselves for some time. I'm sure everybody did their homework and is going to be graded with an A* tonight. But the homework was: think about these last two, beyond the limitation of just the Shi'a.

It is a test upon the Shi'a and we went back into the Qur'an and looked at that verse where Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says in Suratul Baqara, 'Wa lanablu wannakum bishai'im minal khawfi waljoo'i wa naqsim minal amwaali wal anfusi was samaraat,' (2:155) - that the test upon the Shi'a is very specific. According to the narration, that the test will be 'khawf' - fear, 'wal joo' - hunger, 'wa naqsim minal amwaala' - and curtailment or a shortening of wealth, 'wal anfusi was samaraat' - and of yourselves and of your fruits, your children, your loins.

Here the question is posed: Well, yes, it is a test upon the Shi'a by virtue of us not having a leader that's present in front of us, a divinely appointed guide that knows the truth of every matter. Someone who will remove the oppression from this world. But that poses the question that if this is a test upon the Shi'a, why is this not also a test upon the non-Shi'a? As in, us not having the Imam of our time in front of us is an obvious test. But isn't that test also for the non-Shi'a in the same way? I don't have a divine guide. They don't have a divine guide. I do not have certitude and guaranteed correct answer. They do not have certainty and a guaranteed answer. We do not have someone liberating the world in his way. They do not have someone liberating the world in that way. In this way we are equal. The test is equal whether you are Shi'a or non-Shi'a.

However, at another level, the test is greater for the non-Shi'a. Why? Because at least you and I have recourse to the Imam in some way. At least we call out to the Imam. At least we know he is present, at least we can visit the sites that he's been to, we can read his history. Others who do not have or share that same belief do not have that. And so in some way, it is a greater test for them that they do not have someone to call out when something happens to them. You lose your job, who do you turn to as a waseela to Allah, Subhaanahu wa ta aala? To 'Ya Mahdi! Adrikna!' When we are diagnosed with ill health, who do we call upon? The Imam of Imam of our time - Ya Mahdi, adrikna. Others do not have that.

And so here we pose a logical question. Isn't it as big a test, if not a greater test, than it is on the non-Muslim than it is upon the Shi'a? In fact, I'll go a step further. The verse of the Qur'an that says that it is a test upon the Shi'a says: We're going to test you of fear and of hunger. Now, yes, you and I have been fasting for around 16 hours, we are pretty hungry and thirsty. Don't worry, the clock's ticking! But if you look at places within Central Africa, they are not Muslim, but they are starving to death, are they not? They're starving. I ask a simple question, which we're entitled to do: if this verse and this test is specifically upon the Shi'a, the ghayba is specifically upon the Shi'a and the test is upon us, how many other countries and communities of Shi'a around the world do you find that are starving hunger? Are the Shi'a in Bahrain starving? Are the Shi'a in Pakistan, starving? But there are others from other countries in the world who are non-Shi'a, but they are starving literally. When you see them, you see the bones of their chest plate. How is it that they are not being tested through the ghayba of al-Mahdi, salamullah alayh?

Surely the logical thing is that they are being tested at the very least the same, if not some communities are being tested greater than what the Shi'a are in some ways. Or the sins! The sins of the Shi'a are the ones that keep the Awaited Saviour from coming. What that inherently suggests is that the non-Shi'a and their sin does not affect the world in any way, whereas to have an impact on the coming or the non-coming of the Awaited Saviour of humanity.

How can that be? How can it be that there are seven and a half billion people in this world, 300 million Shi'a; only ours affects the coming of the Awaited Saviour of humanity?

Here we are forced to question and when you question, you will either confine your thought process to the theology and the text that says "X" is the reason for the ghayba and therefore you cannot think outside that box or you can begin to think about that and say that these are reasonings, but they cannot be the only reasonings for the ghayba or they cannot tell us the entirety of the picture of the reasons for the ghayba.

Why do we come here? Why do we arrive at this point of the thought? And this is where we move in into this evening's specific discussion. When you and I want to think correctly about any issue, school, work, politics, religion, tafsir of Qur'an, there are always structured ways to do this correctly.

One of the ways is to create correct and strong suppositions of thought, meaning a starting thought process that is correct within itself, that is essentially true within itself and from that point of correctness begin to emanate the rest of your thoughts. This is a supposition. How do we understand or challenge or think about the purpose, the reasoning for the ghayba, is not solely confined to the matters of Shi'a ithna-'ashariya and may be beyond the limitations of just 300 million people.

The supposition is this: the Awaited Savior of humanity, the master and lord of our age, is a human savior, which means he is not just an Imam for the Shi'a. He is not just an Imam for the Muslims. He is not just an Imam for the believers in one God. He is an Imam for the entirety of the world.

Now, that may be an obvious point. And you may say, well, I know that. But if we're going to truly understand and truly begin to interpret the Imam of our time, we need to do so in light of who he really is. If he is truly a global Imam and truly he is coming for all seven and a half billion people on this planet, irrespective of your faith, irrespective of your denomination, irrespective of the color of your skin, irrespective of your geographical location, then we need to understand the Imam in light of him and who he truly is.

If he is an Imam for the entirety of the world, saying that the ghayba is a test only upon the Shi'a do not correlate with each other. Yes, it's present within the text. But what this text does is, it confines our thought process to make the Imam a very Shi'a-centric Imam. I do not get to think about the Imam in a global context. I interpret the Imam solely within the framework of a Shi'a ithna-'ashari thought process; I do not understand him wider than that. And those two things are contradictory of each other.

I cannot say the Imam is for people of Peru and New Zealand and China and Muslims and Christians and Jews, but then at the same time only understanding in light of Shi'a movement; that's contradictory within itself.

And this is where we begin to depart from that. And theology is correct. And then your philosophical understanding needs to bring you to a higher pedestal of thought. Now, let me explain this very simply. Our Prophet, Rasul Allah Muhammad, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [ Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad] was sent for the entirety of mankind. Are we happy with that? They won't to be anyone that disputes that, correct? Irrespective of whether you are a Shi'a or a Muslim, he was sent to you to help liberate you, to help make you a better human being. 'Bu'ithtu li utammima makarimal akhlaq,'- I was sent not just to the Shi'a, not just to the Muslims, but to the entire world to bring them to a state of righteous akhlaq.

The Qur'an says this very beautifully in Suratul A'araaf; in Chapter number seven Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala reveals a verse where He says to the Prophet:

قُلۡ يٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنِّىۡ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰهِ اِلَيۡكُمۡ جَمِيۡعَاْ 'Say - "Qul yaaa aiyuhan naas,' (7:158), 'O mankind', people, not Muslims, not Shi'a, the whole world, 'Qul yaaa aiyuhan naas innee Rasoolul laahi ilaikum jamee'an' (7:158), - I was sent, I am the Prophet of Allah to you all. In Medina, when Rasul Allah was de facto governor of a plural society that included Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians. Rasul Allah was there for them all; he was present to help, to liberate, to instruct guidance to all of them, not just to some of them. In the same way his inheritor, 12 imams later, is sent to the entirety of mankind. And just like Rasul Allah was governor of Medina and Jews and Christians and Zoroastrians and Muslims and munafiqs alike, when the Awaited Savior of humanity comes, he is sent to the entirety of the world.

He will be present and he will be witness and the governor over atheist, over Muslim, over Christian, over Jew, over Hindu, over Buddhist, over Sikh; whether you are in Peru, to New Zealand, to Canada or to China, every corner of the world. Now, if we understand this, this is very important because the moment I say that the Imam's presence is for the entirety of the world, but then I say his absence is only a test upon the Shi'a, 300 million of them, it becomes contradictory within itself. Can you see that?

He's there for the world, yet his absence isn't a test upon those in Peru. How can it be? He's there for the entire world, to liberate everybody, but those people in Cambodia - it's not a test for them, the fact that he's not there. It doesn't make sense. What this does, when we solely read this text that says his absence is a test upon the Shi'a, his absence is because of the sins of the Shi'a, what we do, is we only interpret the Imam by virtue of the Shi'a madhab.

And what that does is that limits the Imam. Let me explain. We end up having a conversation and we say, 'Imam's going to come and he's going to answer all our questions'. And you have one camp that says, for example, Zanjeer is permissible. You have another camp that says Zanjeer is not permissible. And when the Imam comes, he's going to resolve the differences for us and tell us which camp is right and which camp is wrong. And what we've done is we've limited the Imam to this level of discussion.

We haven't understood him for his global nature. We haven't understood the task at hand, the greatness of one human being liberating seven billion minds of all faiths, all constitutions, of all challenges. What we end up doing is because we speak of him solely within the Shi'a framework, we end up limiting him to these sorts of discussions.

I remember, my uncle, he told me a story and this is one of the most interesting stories that I have had with him, and it really surmises this point very well. He says, this is in 1984, so he's walking with me, we were going to dinner. He says ' '1984 - were you born then?' I said no. So he says, 'OK, this is before you were born. My father, his brother living in England and their mother, my marhooma grandmother, went to England from Mombasa to go and visit dad and spend time there in the UK. My uncle is telling me this story.

He says, 'Mum calls from London to Mombasa and says to me, 'Your brother, my father, has just taken money out of the wall'. Now, what is that thing? ATM machine, isn't it? Yes, but my uncle tells me, he says I couldn't fathom it, I couldn't understand it. We had never had this. I couldn't understand my mom telling me that someone went to a wall and took money out of the wall, because when we went to get money, we went to a bank and there was a teller and we said how much we needed and they counted the cash. Why? Because he was limited to his experiences. He couldn't fathom beyond that. That ATM machine hadn't reached Mombasa then, at that point. And so for him to be told there was something to take money out of the wall, he couldn't fathom that discussion. He couldn't imagine the way it was. I said to him, 'Look at that, that's so beautiful.'

What does that mean? You and I are nothing more than the sum total of our experiences. You may be 12, you may be 30, you may be 80, but all you and I are, are the sum total of our experiences. The books that we've read, the conversations that we've had, the discussions that we've engaged in, the reflections that we've had, the majalis that we've listened to, that's all we are. We are so confined. We have nothing more to offer. We are so limited. But in our limitations, what we end up wanting to do is placing our limitations upon someone as grand as Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi assalam. I am limited in my experience, in my thought process, therefore, I confine someone as grand as Mahdi, salamullah alaih, in my own limitations. What do I do? I make him as limited as I am.

How could I do that? I'm nothing, I'm nothing. What I've done is read five books in my life and I have the audacity to place a box on the way in which I conceive this grand individual. It doesn't make sense, but this is what we end up doing. Instead of thinking of him in light of a global reality, a world that is challenged with so much, decimated by so much that he has to liberate so much. What I end up doing is confining him to my Shia thought process and then I think when he comes, all of a sudden the entirety of the world is going to be reciting Dua Kumayl on a Thursday night.

Really? That's what's going to happen? There's no logical process, he's not going to struggle, have to work with people the same way Rasul Allah had to work with people? People aren't going to reject him the way people rejected Rasul Allah? He's not going to have to convince people the way Rasul Allah had to convince people? He's not going to have different communities, like Rasul Allah had different communities to go to? Here we begin to really think about ma'rifa of the Imam, alayhi assalam: what do I really understand of this human being, his mission, his task, the way in which he will liberate seven billion people?

But the longer I confine him within the premise that he is only there for the Shi'a and he's only going to save the Shi'a and he's only going to liberate the Shi'a from killings and butcherings, I have forgotten about the rest of the world and the trials that they are undergoing. I've forgotten that today, 60 million people around the world are displaced from their homes, 60 million refugees living in tents, seas of tents, basements, school floors, church floors, masjid floors. But I've limited him to just saving me and my people. I've limited him and made him as limited as I am.

A story and event that took place around the world recently and again, I want you to think about this in light of who this individual is and open up our minds to the genuine human nature of the task at hand for this grand Imam, alayhi assalam. In 2010, this occurred at the very end on December 29. This news broke and of course, therefore it carried into early 2011.

You may know that just south of the border here in the United States of America, just south of Texas, there is a small town in Mexico called Guadalupe or Guadalupe. I don't know how to pronounce it very well. Guadalupe. Yes. Small town of a few thousand people. This particular town that is along the border of northern Mexico, is famous within the news, especially very recently, because it is a staging point for many of the drug traffickers and drug gangs.

And they when they send drugs into the states, when they send drugs into Mexico, this town is riddled, unfortunately, with gangs, drug gangs, drug warlords and such. By the time the end of 2010 came, the drug warlords and the gangs had been overrunning this city so much that the entirety of the police force, the entirety of the police force, had either quit, asked for a transfer and then been moved or been killed by the drug crime.

The reason why this story broke on the twenty ninth of December 2010 was because one last police officer was present within that city. One. She, a woman, had said, 'I don't care if I'm the last police officer in this town, I don't care. I'm going to serve and make this place a safer town for my people'. Imagine that. Firstly, she should be praised for her bravery that everyone else had been killed or kidnapped, and she was the last. Unfortunately, what do you think happened to her? On the twenty ninth of December 2010, she was kidnapped and not to be found again. The news broke that, that morning there was no police officer left in that entire town.

Now imagine, why do you have police here? Driving, walking - why? Because it gives you security, doesn't it? Makes you feel a sense of security to know that there are cars patrolling, that they're are only a phone call away and so on and so forth. Imagine a town. Imagine you as a parent. Imagine you as a child growing up in a town which is riddled with gang warfare, drug kingpins to the extent that there's not even a single police officer left within that town. How would you feel? Safe or otherwise? Now, think about this. When the Awaited Savior of humanity comes, if I confine him to a Shi'a centric understanding and he is just there for us, just there to liberate us, just there to save us, just there to give us our fiqh and our issues, then I will not see him in the wider world.

The reality is all of this devastation that is taking place, it is taking place around the world. He must come to you and I as much as he must come to that community in Guadalupe in Mexico. He's as much an Imam for them as he is for you and I, no less, no less by one iota whatsoever. He is an Imam for them as he is an Imam for me and you. But I ask you a question, how does the Imam liberate that town?

You see, if I had said 'al-ajjal, al-ajjal' and today he comes on Friday, yes, he has to deal with ISIS, yes, he has to deal with the occupation of Saudi Arabia, yes, he has to deal with the occupation of Palestine. But because he is an Imam for the world, he has to deal with the entirety of it. I ask you a question. How does he liberate that one town from the kingpins that are present? How does he liberate this world from poverty and lack of education and disease and natural disaster?

How does he maintain a political system which is just, an economic system that is just, how does he raise communities like Guadaloupe that is mired in such a way and elevate them to a point whereby you and I think that one day Inshallah they will be reciting Suratul Yasin and Dua Kumayl on a Thursday? Rasul Allah did it, and we are here doing it. We came from down there and he elevated us to be where we are, hopefully God centric. How does the Imam do it in a real world today in 2015? This is the question. This is an open discussion on the ma'rifa of Imam, alayhi assalam, and the reality of the task at hand, because he has an entire world that he has to liberate.

Here, we can begin to think about this slightly further and we begin to really think about the way in which Imam, alayhi assalaam, does this. I was having a discussion and it was a youth from our community. And the community member said something very interesting, very profound. We were talking about a Muslim news outlet. And every week, that Muslim news outlet will send an email updating you on what's happening in the world, what the latest stories are that might matter to us as a Muslim community and so on and so forth.

And the individual responded by saying to me that I don't know how I got onto this subscription list. You know, sometimes these organizations will just put your email in and then just send it, right? I'm not saying Jamaat does that on the weekly or monthly newsletters, but sometimes you get that. And so the individual responded and said, I don't know how I was put on this, I didn't subscribe to it, but I thought about unsubscribing. I thought about removing myself from that list. So I asked, why didn't you? Listen to this response: she responded by saying, I didn't unsubscribe myself from that update in case that was the medium for me to be told about the coming of my Imam, alayhi assalam.

Think about it very clearly, 'I didn't unsubscribe from the weekly newsletter of what's happening in the world to Muslims in case that was the medium for me to learn that Imam, alayhi assalam, had returned'. Now, it's very interesting, again, it's very beautiful. Why? Because that individual has interpreted the Imam in terms of the world that they live in. What are you told? Again, theologically, you are told and we agree, of course, when Imam, alayhi assalam, comes a voice will penetrate the skies and the entirety of the world will be told: Your Imam has arrived, irrespective of the language that you speak, correct or not?

So I asked her and I said, 'Why do you need the e-mail when you are going to hear it from the Kaa'ba and Jibrael al-Ameen himself will announce the coming of Imam Mahdi, alayhi assalam?' She responded by saying, 'The hadeeth says that we will be spoken to in the language of our own. My language is social media. The way in which I received my news is through social media, I go on to my Twitter feed, I go on to my Facebook news feed and I receive my news. And so why can't Jibrael al-Ameen also tell me through my news feed that Imam Mahdi, alayhi assalam has arrived?' It's very interesting, isn't it?

Now, just think about it, look at the way in which this individual has perceived the world, how beautiful that is. Instead of confining herself just to the text and saying, I'm going to sit and I'm going to wait and the Imam is going to come, and then Jibrael is going to tell me, no, I won't leave my Facebook groups, I won't leave my email submissions, because one day it might be that I have not known that the Imam is coming. I may not know that he has appeared, but other people may be able to inform me, just like I receive information in every other way today. When Donald Trump, may Allah bless him and I mean that seriously, may Allah genuinely guide and bless him like us all, when he announced his running for the Republican candidate of the presidency, I learned it through the news.

When Mahdi, salamullah alaih, comes, do I think all of a sudden all the world's news organizations will just shut down? Will Muslim news organizations just stop writing? Will independent newspapers stop writing? Will outlets and media stop televising? No, he will come. The announcement will be made. If we're all going to hear it, we're all going to hear about it through media as well. So why can't I wait and be active in a way in which I have different sources to receive that same news about Imam, alayhi assalam.

Now you may agree. You may disagree. It's not the point. I'm not trying to convince you into subscribing to every, you know, Muslim article that is out there in the world. What I'm saying is when I read a text, it confines me within the words of the text. However, the beauty of it may be that there is more within the depths of that text itself. The hadeeth said it is a test upon the Shi'a, yes, why?

Because the Imam is speaking directly to a Shi'a centric community. But because you and I want to understand the Imam in light of the world itself, how will he liberate people in Brazil and in Cambodia and in every part of the world? I want to understand the Imam beyond just the Shi'a centric discussion of him.

And so when I read that text, I go beyond and into the depth of what it may mean for you and I in the world in which we live in. Think about these things and Inshallah, tomorrow, we will continue further and try to think about the Imam in a global context. I leave you with some more homework, InshaAllah, and I ask you to ponder upon the following question: when Rasul Allah began his mission in Mecca, how did he liberate the earliest minds of Mecca?

And how did that differ when he liberated minds in Madina that were not a pagan society, but were a society that believed in revelation, believed in jurisprudence, had a very rich theology, believed in Adam and Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus.

How did the Prophet liberate Mecca as a pagan society, and how might it have differed from the liberation mission and technique from that in Medina? Because, if we correctly understand the way in which Rasul Allah deals with vast communities that are diametrically opposed, different in their thought process, when we begin to answer that question, how might Mahdi salamullahi alaih liberate ISIS, would it be the same as how he deals with Guadalupe? Would it be the same as how he will deal with Pakistan? Will he deal the same way in China? If I understand Rasul Allah correctly, I will be given correctly to understand the Imam of our time, Imam al-Mahdi, ajjalallahu ta'ala faraja shareef [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

In conclusion, our discussions today were: we want to understand the difference between theology and philosophy; we want to understand the Imam, alayhi assalam, in light of a global context, a modern global context. When we begin to see him, we begin to see him in that light; we begin to understand him in terms of the world in which you and I live.

Wal hamdulillah Rabbal Aalameen, wasallah humma ‘ala Sayedina wa Nabiyyina Muhammad wa ‘ala alehi at-Tahireen [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aale Muhammad]. Please raise your hands. Let us join each other in dua – we ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala sincerely to hasten the reappearance of the Awaited Saviour; to be alongside him at all times in our life and in our death; if we are to pass away from this world before his coming, to raise us from our graves so that we may partake in the victory of Muhammad wa aali Muhammad. Ya Allah! There are many people around the world going through such desperate times, those people in a state of war and oppression, those people in a state of poverty, lack of education, disease, illness, natural disaster, Ya Allah, grant them all safety, security and victory for the sake of Muhammad and Aali Muhammad. And in the final moments of our life, allow us to die in the servitude of the Imam of our time. May I ask you to conclude this discussion with three loud salawaats in honor of the Awaited Savior of humanity, the master and Lord of our age, Imam al-Mahdi ajjalallahu ta'ala faraja shareef [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad - Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad - Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].