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The Eschatology of Islam

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Europe is quickly becoming Muslim. Conservative estimates predict that “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century.” Less optimistic estimates have this happening much sooner. France has had its troubles with young, anxious and unemployed Muslims. More recently, England has found itself in the middle of a terror scheme to explode trans-Atlantic planes. What was an interesting demographic upsurge is now being found to have real social and economic consequences. A united front that includes Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (the true leader of Iran[1]), and thousands of young Muslim converts, is beginning to emerge and demands notice by the rest of the world.

England is still shaking its head in disbelief over the terror plot that its anti-terror police were able to thwart. 24 suspects were arrested in connection with the plan to smuggle liquid explosives on planes from United, American and Continental Airlines. A neighbor of one of the suspects asked, “If you truly believed in God, you wouldn’t go out and do that kind of thing. It’s all about peace, isn’t it?”[2] Well, no, actually it’s not. It’s about victory and supremacy; and it’s about time that we realize this fact. All religions are not equal, all religions do not lead to God, and all religions do not promote peace. It is this very naïve, pluralistic approach that is allowing terrorism to flourish.

This is the principal reason why jihad terrorists routinely refer to American troops as “Crusaders.” In their view, the War on Terror, which began for Americans on September 11, 2001, is only the latest installment of a conflict that has continued for over a thousand years. This conflict, in their view, is destined to end with the hegemony of Islam. In the words of Osama bin Laden, jihad warriors the world over are fighting, “so that Allah’s Word and religion reign supreme.”[3]

All religions have an eschatology—a view of the future—that informs how its adherents live their lives today. The so-called “radical Muslim terrorists” are simply living in accordance with their scriptures. But why does it seem that all of this terrorist activity is increasing? It could very well be the result of the eschatology of the Shiite Muslims that are looking for the 12th Imam.

In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time—Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.[4]

A corollary to this apocalyptic belief is the leveling of Israel, the “Mini-Me” or Little Satan to the Great Satan, the United States. In fact, Khamenei broadcast his support of Hezbollah in their recent attacks on Israel. “Your unprecedented holy war and steadfastness are beyond the limits of my description. It’s a divine victory. It is a victory of Islam. With God’s help you were able to prove that military superiority is not (measured) in the number (of soldiers), planes, warships and tanks. Rather, it depends on the power of faith and holy war. You have ridiculed the myth that the Zionist army is invincible.”[5] The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah could very well be the barometer by which to measure the potential for Iran to use their nukes. If Hezbollah appears to be weakening or falling back, the Shiite Iranians would have no problem with pulling out the big guns to ensure that the stage is clear for the “Hidden Imam’s” return.

The phrase "Allah will know his own" is usually used to explain such apparently callous unconcern; it means that while infidel, i.e., non-Muslim, victims will go to a well-deserved punishment in hell, Muslims will be sent straight to heaven. According to this view, the bombers are in fact doing their Muslim victims a favor by giving them a quick pass to heaven and its delights—the rewards without the struggles of martyrdom. School textbooks tell young Iranians to be ready for a final global struggle against an evil enemy, named as the U.S., and to prepare themselves for the privileges of martyrdom.[6]

How can you possibly defeat an enemy that wants to die? This is one of the main attractions for young Muslim converts, like the plane bombers of Britain. Why struggle through life, hoping your good deeds outweigh your bad, when you can accept the call of martyrdom and get head-of-the-line privileges into “heaven?” Here at American Vision we struggle on a daily basis to convince Christians to get involved and take dominion of this world; instead of sitting around, believing the rapture is coming and this is all just a prophetic inevitability. Muslims are having the exact opposite problem. Their eschatology is such that they have volunteers waiting for a chance to sacrifice their life for Allah. The story of Ibrahim Savant, one of the 24 suspects arrested in England, brings a sobering reminder.

“My cousin, who went with Ibrahim to the same class, said that he converted, because one day he went to a priest and asked him some questions that he wanted to be answered,” [said] Hamza Ghafoor, 20, a Walthamstow resident and friend of Mr. Savant. “But the priest couldn’t give him any plausible answers,” Mr. Ghafoor added. “And so some of his friends told him to go to the mosque and ask the imam there. And he liked the way, how the imam answered him the questions. He was 18 years old when he converted.”[7]

Apologetics matter. The priest didn’t have the answer, so the 18-year-old went looking elsewhere. It’s about time that the Church and Christians begin to understand the very real danger of “spiritual warfare.” One’s belief in “first principles” will inform his entire walk of life. Jihad has been declared and the bombs and rockets are only the results of the individual or group’s beliefs and ideas. You can’t convince someone who is hell-bent on dying as a martyr with a machine gun or a tank. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The real holy war is a war of ideas, and the Church has the real nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, most Christians aren’t prepared to launch nuclear weapons. Much training is needed, much work is still to be done. We need to begin to view our churches as boot-camps and armament centers, instead of rest homes and hospitals.


[1] “ Iran in fact has two governments: its formal democratic government run by Ahmadinejad and a religious-ideological command structure headed by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” John von Heyking, “Iran’s President and the Politics of the Twelfth Imam,” Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, November, 2005. Online here.
[2] Ian Fisher, “Shock Reverberates Among Acquaintances of the Young Suspects,” NYTimes, August 12, 2006. Online here.
[3] Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2005), 184.
[4] Bernard Lewis, “August 22; Does Iran have something in store?” Opinion Journal,, August 8, 2006. Online here.
[6] Lewis, “August 22.”
[7] Fisher, “Shock Reverberates.”

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