Following the success of Al-Mahdi Institute’s Arbaeen programme in previous years, this year AMI decided to host Muharram programmes for 10 days. The lecture series delivered by Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain, entitled ‘Decoding the Mahdi’, was also streamed online giving online viewers the opportunity to submit their questions.
The lectures centered around the notion of the Mahdi, dealing with questions of his birth and existence, authority structures in the absence of the Imam, and the Utopian society he will create. Shaykh Arif explained the various theories regarding the Mahdi’s existence, contending that the notion is broad enough to allow for pluralistic interpretations. As such, it is immaterial whether an individual believes that Imam Mahdi is already alive or whether he will take birth in the future. In addition to being a physical being, both the Mahdi and the dajjal trend are internal realities interwoven within the fabric of humanity; these trends can be seen within individuals and within society at large. Ultimately, the purpose of the Mahdi is to bring together humanity to its completion and perfection as the leader of a global plural community. Therefore, an accurate understanding of the Mahdi would empower us to progress and resolve our insecurities which prevent us from asking questions and searching for the truth.
Aside from these central issues, Shaykh Arif dealt with the different rituals and prayers surrounding the Mahdi, analysing their authenticity and origins. He also addressed the authority structures developed in the absence of the Imam, assessing their justifications.
Watch the full series here: