Isaiah 2: 4 must have been a comfort many times as observers cried out in the plummeting process of a fallen world. “And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.” (Isaiah 2: 4)
Those words are comforting and assuring. But events in the world today are not so uplifting. For instance, the 24th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran is under way. Muslim scholars from 57 countries including Australia have gathered at a strategic time.
They are not gathered to talk about the weather or to simply rub shoulders. Their focus is clear and specific.
Something of the motives were summed up in pre-conference remarks by Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, the Secretary General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools.
He began by congratulating the Egyptian and Tunisian nations on their recent success. He described the nature of the many protests throughout the Arab world as Islamic in nature: He said: “… it is obvious that religious motives were behind these movements, and… (the uprisings) were inspired by the Islamic Revolution of Iran… the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia started from mosques.”
The Islamic Revolution of Iran is aroused and enthused by a firm belief in the soon return to the 12th Imam, The Muslim leader who will bring unity and peace throughout a world in chaos.
In 2009 Khamenei called on Muslims in neighboring countries to intensify preparations for the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the Mahdi or the “Twelfth Imam.” He specifically urged Muslims to mobilize forces to defeat the United States and Israel.
“We have to train honest forces that can stop the obstacles that may hinder the coming of the Mahdi like the United States and Israel,” the Ayatollah said through a spokesman, in a story reported by al-Arabiya, the Arabic-language news channel based in the Gulf.
“Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s spokesman, Ali Saeedi, said countries like Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan should gather together all their forces….”
There is a burning ambition for the creation of a Muslim Caliphate (Kingdom) where Sharia law is embraced and enforced.
In fact considering the advantage of unity in Sharia law is an item for consideration this weekend.
Scholars from Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Denmark, Egypt, Britain, France, Gambia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, and 21 other countries were invited to the gathering.
The conference is hosting 250 international scholars. Five hundred Shia and Sunni scholars from various Iranian cities have also been invited to the conference.
The Sunni/Shia division has caused much bloodshed in the Muslim world. Sunnis believe that any devout man can be chosen as Islam’s supreme leader. Shi’ites insist the leader should be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are predominantly Sunni. Iran is Shi’ite.
The gathering of Sunni and Shi’ite scholars and intellectuals to consider unity is very significant.
The chaos in the world is fertile ground for a plan which is uppermost in the thinking of Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Psalm 83 comes to mind.
“For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones.
“They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
“For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant:
“The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them;
They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah.” (Psalm 83: 2-8)
I will pray into this story with three verses in Psalms in mind.
“Though they intended evil against You And devised a plot, They will not succeed.” (Psalm 21:11)
“The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.” (Psalm 33:10)
“I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.” (Psalm 57:9”