Islamic Eschatology or “Ghostbusters:” Which Makes More Sense?

October 2020 proved a horrible month in France–not because of Halloween, which is only slowly becoming celebrated; but because of two horrific Islamic terrorist attacks. In the first one, a French schoolteacher was beheaded by a Chechen Muslim; in the second, an as-yet unidentified Muslim killed three people at a Catholic church in Nice, one of them by decapitation. (For background on the popularity of this mode of murder for Muslims, see my article “Beheading in the Name of Islam.”) Both sets of killings were allegedly sparked by incessant Islamic ire over the (in)famous Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Islam’s founder.

In early November a Tunisia-based terrorist group called “al-Mahdi” claimed responsibility for the murders at the church. For those new to my site, the Mahdi is the “divinely-guided one” of Islamic traditions (Hadiths, alleged sayings of Muhammad) who will come before the end of time to make the entire world Muslim, mainly by conquest. This group is believed to have ties to ISIS and/or al-Qa`ida, which makes sense, since both organizations are eschatological themselves–although the former (as I spell out at length in my book Ten Years Captivation with the Mahdi’s Camps) is more overtly so.

“Somebody’s comin’….whoa oh!”

Not to be outdone, the Iranians weighed in via regime spokesman Hujjatollah Muhammad Mousavi, who sermonized that when the 12th Imam al-Mahdi returns, he will not merely lop off a few infidel Christian heads; oh no, he will full-bore “annihilate the peoples of the West.” (Twelver Shi`is of Iran, Iraq and a few other places believe that the Mahdi has already been here, in the form of the 12th descendant of Muhammad through Ali’s progeny–and that he will return as the End Times Mahdi. Sunnis believe that the true Mahdi will emerge into history as a great Islamic warlord, but that he has not yet come to earth.)

So we’ve got that to look forward to. When I went to the annual Mahdism conference in Iran in 2008, I heard the same sort of fulminating–as I wrote about in an article in The Washington Examiner, “The Importance of being Mahdist.

In a related story from earlier in 2020, an Iranian professor and former government official said that the Americans never made it to the moon: only after the 12th Imam comes will space travel to other worlds be possible. It’s not clear who will have the technology to do this, since he will also have wiped out all the Westerners with their spaceships. But on the plus side, Imam al-Mahdi will get rid of all diseases–so finally we’ll be able to take off these damn masks.

The contention that “the 12th Imam will wipe out all Westerners” reminded me of the classic scene in Ghostbusters where Louis Tully, possessed by the Keymaster, Vinz Clortho, tells the NYC carriage driver that “you will perish in flames, you and all of your kind!Gozer, Vinz’s boss, does share some characteristics with the Hidden Imam. The former is an ancient deity worshipped by the Hittites and other contemporary cultures which periodically reappears in history from a nearby parallel dimension and destroys entire civilizations with a “Destructor” minion based on a particular civilization’s cultural icons; the latter is a small child who disappeared, in the 9th century AD, into a nearby parallel dimension and will reappear at some point, now post-puberty, and destroy entire non-Muslim civilizations. Who’s to say whether Gozer or the 12th Imam is more fictional–or which one makes more sense?