August 22, 2006 is generally accepted by Shiite Muslims as the day on which the Hidden Imam is to be revealed. (This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427.) The return of the Hidden Imam would be coupled with the return of the Messenger Isa (Jesus) and signifies the end of days (Armageddon in the Christian faith).
What makes August 22, 2006 even more worrisome for some, however, is that Iranian President Ahmadinejad – whom Iranian clerics have named the "chosen" of the Hidden Imam and who has spoken many times about his desire to ready the world for the return of the Hidden Imam – has chosen this day (a Tuesday, oddly enough) to "answer the world" regarding his country's plans for nuclear power.
So, what will Ahmadinejad say? Or, even more worrisome, what might Ahmadinejad attempt to do to bring about the Hidden Imam?
Bernard Lewis says that Iran may attempt to launch a direct nuclear strike against Israel and to attack the United States with its terrorist network.
With the 22nd approaching, Iran is conducting war games and testing new missles with increased ranges this week.
Is it possible that he would follow the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini, as Iranian schoolchildren are taught?
"I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."
In the past, the prospect of a nuclear was has always been somewhat mitigated by the assurance that –even if you bombed your enemy– you were likely to meet the same fate. But, in the context of Khomeini's teachings, is mutual destruction even a deterrent?
There hasn't been much out there in the US media about August 22nd and the Hidden Imam. I hope that's a good sign.