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Shiite scholar denies Obama link to Muslim savior

Prophecy circulated on Iranian website

A prominent Shiite scholar denied recent reports circulated on an Iranian website and in an American magazine that Barrack Obama's victory in the American election foretold the appearance of the Islamic redeemer, al-Mahdi.

According to the text that is the foundation of modern Shiite Islam, a prophecy that a tall black man would rule the West portends the coming of the Islamic redeemer.

Ali Ibn Abi-Talib—the prophet's cousin and son-in-law and the most revered figure in Shiite Islam—prophesied that before the return of the Mahdi, the ultimate redeemer in Islam, a tall black man will rule the West and will carry a "clear sign" from the Third Imam,Hussein Ibn Ali, according to the report by Iranian-born, London-based journalist Amir Taheri.

Forbes magazine published a story about the Iranian pro-government website that published a hadith (saying or tradition) from the 17th century Shiite text Bahar al-Anvar (Sea of Light) setting off a string of rumors about the prophecy’s connection to Obama.

The link between this black man and the American presidential candidate started with his name. In Arabic and Persian, "Barrack Obama" means "the blessing of al-Hussein." When written in Persian alphabet, the word "O Ba Ma" means "he is with us."

Other coincidences contributed to establishing the theological link, including the view of the Iranian government that an Obama victory would signify the decline of the West and the triumph of Islam. Obama's relative lenience in pledging unconditional talks with Iran is also seen as a sign of American weakness.

The Mahdi (Arabic for "the guided one"), is supposed to return before Judgment Day to eliminate injustice and tyranny. The appearance of the Mahdi is not mentioned in the Quran or the Sunnah (Prophet's teachings), and many Sunni scholars view it as a Shiite invention.

The Mahdi figure is an essential part in the Shiite doctrine. For Shiites, Mahdi is believed to be the Twelfth Imam, a descendant of the prophet who went into hiding, but will return one day return to restore justice to the world.

Barrack Obama means the blessing of al-Hussein and when written in Persian the word O Ba Ma means he is with us

Prominent Shiite scholar Mohamed Hassan al-Amin, however, denied the rumors and said that not everything mentioned in the renowned book is necessarily true, particularly prophecies.

"All texts related to the future are sheer guess work. If God had wanted to reveal the future of the world, he would not have created human beings with the ability to make the future themselves," Amin told AlArabiya.net.

Amin said he doubted that Ali Ibn Abi-Talib actually uttered this prophecy and added that there are even stranger sayings in the 132-volume work by Shiite scholar Mullah Majlisi.

When asked about the real signs of the appearance of al-Mahdi, Amin said it is hard to consider any signs as real ones sincethey are related to the future.


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

All texts related to the future are sheer guess work

Mohamed Hassan al-Amin, Shiite scholar