It’s very frustrating and sometimes disillusioning to see all the pain and suffering in this world. One asks, how can humans have so much ill feeling towards one another? How can people, educated, well fed people desire so much to the extent that they are ready to kill their fellow human beings to fulfill that desire?
I look at myself, my friends and family, and I see a microcosm of what I see on TV. I see the same self-interest, the same tactics, and the same greed. I see the same altruism dog-eat-dog competition. I see it everywhere. I see decisions motivated by the search for the quick buck, for superiority, for power. I don’t see an intentional love for injustice among most people, but just a belief that “that’s how things go. You have to practical. Idealism gets you nowhere.” In this sense, “idealism” is justice, fairness and honesty.
Basically, in this world, the view held by most of us is that if you want to succeed, you have to step on toes. If you want something, it doesn’t matter how you get it. Just go get it.
This is the prevailing mentality of the human race. Most of us are guilty.
The funny thing is that we expect our leaders, our representatives, to make things right, to make things better for us. Those leaders of ours were born in the same societies as we were, societies of lies and corruption, societies seeking success – success, in this context, referring to material affluence – by any means necessary. We expect our leaders to truly represent us, and they do, we just refuse to accept that a leader who does terrible things like plunder and invade other countries is a reflection of the society he was a part of. Our leaders are corrupt, selfish and ruthless because the societies they were members promoted those very same values. We as individuals pride on our individualism. We do what we want. How can we expect our presidents and ministers to do what’s best for US when they grew up like us, and were taught the same things as we were taught: look out for yourself, the ends justify the means, do what you want.
If one feels angered by the atrocities people carry out against each other, he should be angry at himself, first and foremost.
Imam Ali says that we should want for others what we want for ourselves. So when one says he wants justice for Palestinians, I do not and will not believe him until I see him deal with himself justly. The oppressed and subjugated peoples of this world will never be freed from their situation unless societies reform themselves at the individual level. Freedom, equality and justice must arise from within and be implemented within before they are implemented without.
Many of us say we’re tired of the way things are, that criminals are not brought to court to account for their crimes, and so we call to the Imam of our time, we beg Allah and pray to Him to hasten the Return of Imam al-Asr (”may Allah hasten his reappearance”). Well, when he comes, do we honestly think he’s going to bring about a utopian society by sweet talking everyone to support him? Is he going to campaign for two years and then get elected? Is he going to appear on Oprah and show everyone how charming and sweet he is? No, he is not.
I don’t know what exactly the Imam is going to do, but I do know a few things. He will NOT be a democratically elected leader. He will not rule one country, but the whole world. He is going throw out every single constitution in front of him, and write a new one. He is going to punish a lot of people, starting with the very ones who supplicated for his Return. He is going to have a great number of enemies, just as Imam Ali had a great number of enemies when he became the Caliph of the Muslims. Each one of those enemies, however, will be annihilated in one way or another. A great number of people will call him an oppressive, unjust tyrant because of all the blood that will be spilled, that HE will spill, in order to form the Last Government. His government will not be based on self interest. These are hard facts, mentioned in numerous, undoubtedly authentic traditions.
He will not care at all about the people who oppose him. He will put to death every individual who deserves the death sentence with no pity or remorse for his verdict, because he knows that his government will be approved by Allah Himself, and the constitution will be written by Allah Himself. Imam al-Asr’s government will be just, fair, and there will not be a single flaw in his system. Now let us ask ourselves very honestly: are we ready for this government? Do we even believe this government is the definition of justice? I doubt it. I myself am finding it difficult just to type this because I cannot comprehend what sort of state humanity will be in for it to be cleansed and purged.
Do we understand what justice even means?
There will be supporters of Imam Mahdi’s government. Assuming the Imam Returned today: out of one and a half billion Muslims and six and a half billion people, only three hundred and thirteen people will initially accept the government of the Imam without question. What does that mean? Only three hundred and thirteen people will correctly recognize the Imam’s government to be based on justice, Divine justice, and that the rest of us don’t really have a clue what justice is. Only three hundred and thirteen people will truly desire justice for others. Imam Ali says that we should want for others what we want for ourselves.
At present, we claim to want justice for the oppressed and subjugated peoples of the world. This is a lie, because if we honestly wanted justice for them, we would have wanted it for ourselves. Right now, we don’t want justice for ourselves. We cheat and oppress ourselves by not acknowledging the fact that we are under Allah’s watch all the time. Yes, we have acknowledged this fact with our mouths and maybe even with our intellect, but not our hearts. If we acknowledged this with our hearts, not one of us would commit sins in private let alone against others. By telling a small lie, or by losing our tempers, by committing any sin, we are doing an injustice to ourselves. If we deal unjustly with ourselves, how can we deal justly with others? How can we expect our heads of state to even run a country when they are unjust to themselves? If they were just with themselves, they would be just with others. They would not steal and plunder and invade. They would build relations with other countries, hold to agreements and trade fairly with all nations. Justice must rise and be implemented from within before it rises and is implemented without.
Before Imam Khomeini even started criticizing the Shah, he was leading a revolution against his nafs (self). He was overthrowing the despot and implementing justice within himself before he overthrew the monarch and implemented justice in Iran. If we cannot purify ourselves and wage Jihad on the wrongdoer within ourselves, we will not be able to wage Jihad on any wrongdoer in this world. We will not be able to bring the perpetrators of genocides to answer for their crimes, we will not be able to eliminate the corrupt businesses that control the world, we will not be able to successfully tackle and permanently solve any problems. Until we bring ourselves to justice for the crimes we have committed, the human race will remain a shackled prisoner, and the Imam will remain in occultation.