The Burden of Damascus. Behold Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Many Biblical prophecies have a dual application – an early and a latter fulfillment.
Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet. Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-hahad.
Today we are seeing the sorrow coming from the sea, the weakness of Damascus and the people feeling in panic before the inevitable attack from the West. Syria is falling and it seems that there is nothing to stop her complete destruction. Shia Islam also has prophecies for Syria, and for Damascus in particular. They watch the unfolding drama in the Middle East knowing that the fall of Damascus means, in their beliefs, the imminent return of the Al Mahdi, Muhammad’s successor in the Caliphate.
The Al Mahdi is a messianic figure. The five year old child, son of the eleventh Imam, prayed at the funeral of his father, walked into his house and was never seen again. The Twelfth Imam’s period of concealment began at this point, in the year 260 Hijri. The Shia hold fast to the belief in this infallible descendent of Muhammad’s return to fill the world with equity and justice.
“The world will not come to an end,” declared the Prophet Muhammad, “until a man from my family (Ahlulbayt) and of my name shall be master of the world. When you see a green ensign coming from the direction of Khorasan, then join them, for the Imam of God will be with the standards who will be called al-Mahdi.”
The doctrine of concealment of the Shia, declares that the Imam has been hidden by God and that his life has been miraculously prolonged. The Twelfth Imam is believed to guide and lead his followers, and to guard Islam from her enemies. This is based on the verses of the Holy Qur’an that express the idea of Divine Guidance through the Prophets and Imams.
Shia tradition declares that Al Mahdi will be “a young man of medium stature with a handsome face”, black hair and beard. He will appear in Mecca between the corner of the Kaaba and the station of Abraham and people will witness him there.
There is some correlation between Shia prophesies and Biblical prophecy.
Shia prophecy states: The Twelfth Imam will return as the Mahdi with a company of his chosen ones. His enemies will be led by the one-eyed Antichrist and the Sufyani. The two armies will fight one final apocalyptic battle where the Mahdi and his forces will prevail over evil. After the Mahdi has ruled the earth for a number of years, Isa (Jesus) will return.
Biblical prophecy: Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword will be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. Zechariah 11:17
And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army. Revelation 19:19
In this scripture however, the One seated upon the white horse is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as He returns to reclaim the kingdoms of this earth. And it is He who will rule and reign with justice and equity over all the peoples of the earth.
According to Moojan Momen, among the most commonly reported signs that presage the advent of the Mahdi in Shia Islam are the following:
- The vast majority of people who profess to be Muslim will be so only in name despite their practice of Islamic rites and it will be they who make war with the Mahdi.
- Before his coming will come the red death and the white death, killing two thirds of the world’s population. The red death signifies violence and the white death is plague. One third of the world’s population will die from the red death and the other third from the white death.
- Several figures will appear: the one-eyed Antichrist (Masih ad-Dajjal), the Al-Harth, Al-Mansur, Shuaib bin Saleh and the Sufyani.
- There will be a great conflict in the land of Syria, until it is destroyed.
- Death and fear will afflict the people of Baghdad and Iraq. A fire will appear in the sky and a redness will cover them.
Syria is facing uncertain days, and there are forces at work to ensure that she falls. Attacks against Baghdad and Iraq are almost certain to follow Syria’s demise. It seems that ancient prophecies are about to be fulfilled in our day, but it is entirely possible that those same bellicose forces are manipulating events to deliberately bring the Damascus prophecy and other such prophecies to pass. They are men with a hidden agenda.
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