The dire state of Iran and Hezbollah can be observed in the decline of their discourse in “Divine Victory” in the favor of the “Era of second coming” speech. When they are in a state of victories and expansion, you never find Hezbollah allude to the eminence of the second coming of Imam Al-Mahdi, but instead you find them basking in their “Divine victory” speech. However, when they are in an unfavorable position or in a strategical disadvantage you find them evoking the speech of the second coming. This is one of the consequences of the involvement in the Syrian war, which they are facing, as well as the disastrous results of the Iran sponsored Iraqi administration. Through evoking this rhetoric in the face of failures, Hezbollah tries to evade responsibility by linking it to these religious accounts.
The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative to the Revolutionary Guard Ali Saidi confirmed in a statement on the Iranian revolutionary guard’s official website a few days ago that the Iranian revolution has set the stage for the emergence of Imam Al-Mahdi, and is preparing for the last stage before his appearance. Adding: “There are however two parties preventing this; Americans on the one hand, and liberals and secularist on the other.”
“I have reviewed our history, since Ashura and further, and I cannot find, with no exaggeration, a better time than now regarding the suitable conditions for the second coming of Al-Mahdi.” said Sheikh Malik Wehbe, one of Hezbollah’s leading representatives, stated this on his page a few days earlier. Wehbe added: “It has taken over one thousand three hundred years for the preparation of the nation and for the emergence of these circumstances, and I say: Sayyidi (Al-Mahdi), peace be upon you, if it is not now, then when?” Wehbe concluded that if the second coming did not occur in this age, then it will be a thousand years later.
It can be seen from the above that when the discourse of ‘Mahdism’ is invoked and progresses, it often comes in response to the public’s concern over its continued exploitation by authorities. The Mahdism doctrine today serves the Iranian ideology in addressing and alleviating this concern. This doctrine is used today by this ideology as it was used by previous authorities in history, and that is in its evocation of the future to serve the present that the authority fails to find answers for. They can only do so through utopian discourse.
In the logic of Iran’s ideology, which is used to justify all this destructive involvement at the regional level; the destruction of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are one of the signs of the era of appearance. Religious narratives are evoked to avoid logical explanations to the current situation resulting from Iranian policies as well as causing sectarian divisions between Shiites and their surrounding environment. These narratives are also used to induce hatred through even using religious accounts that are strongly questioned by most religious figures. All serving the case that the bitter reality we live in is destined and not simply caused by the authority’s adopted policies; that it is merely God’s will.
Following the narrative of “Divine victory”, that has lost its luster and exhausted its meaning; expect the narrative of the age of appearance to follow. That is to affirm that in both cases the reason for calamity is either god or the devil. As for authorities, investors, and promoters of ideology, they only act in execution of god’s will. For are those who act only in obedience questioned for their actions?