Shia Leader: The Awaited Imam Mahdi Will Fight the Kurds


29/08/2012 RUDAW – By HEVIDAR AHMED – BAGHDAD, Iraq — Jalal al-din Ali al-Sagheer, a prominent leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), denies saying that the awaited Imam al-Mahdi will fight the Kurds when he emerges.

Sagheer also sent a letter to the president of Iraq Jalal Talabani and Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani explaining his intentions behind a lecture he delivered on Aug. 10.The lecture, delivered in Baghdad’s Buratha Mosque, was about recent political activities of Kurds in Iraq and Syria and the relation of these activities to the appearance of the awaited Shia imam.

Sagheer cited some texts about the subject and concluded that “these could be some of the signs of the appearance of the awaited imam, but in order for these expectations to come true, a strong earthquake needs to hit Syria and Turkish soldiers must land in Cizre region.”

According to Sagheer, events must match the chain of events mentioned in the narratives of Jabir bin Yazid al-Jufi. If the events do not match, then the recent activities of the Kurds will have no relation to the appearance of the awaited imam.In his lecture, Sagheer analyzed the current situation in Syria and expected that the country would be divided into five regions. This division of Syria Sagheer sees as the earthquake which Imam Baqir mentions.

“As a result of this earthquake, the Kurds of Syria will announce a political entity of their own, but the Turks and Arabs will suppress this Kurdish entity and eventually be eliminated by the Turks,” Sagheer said.

Sagheer referred to the Kurds in Iraq and Syria as “mariqa” in Arabic which means “renegades.” This has compelled Kurdistan Islamic Scholars Union to release a letter of condemnation.

However, in an interview with Rudaw, Sagheer said that he did not intend any religious or moral dimension in his use of the word mariqa. “For ordinary people, mariqa means someone who has abandoned his religion and morals. In Arabic, if this word is used to describe behavior, religion or laws, then it becomes very offensive. But, when the same word is used to describe a region, then it is very normal.”Sagheer claimed he was using the word to describe the Kurdish autonomous region, and therefore did not deem it necessary to apologize.

However, in his lecture — now published on the Internet under the title “The Kurdish Movement and the Dawn of Mahdi Vanguards” — Sagheer explains that “mariqa means departure from something. For example, we can say ‘the arrow departed from the bow,’ but this departure has a negative sense. In Arabic, the word describes a group of people who desert or depart from a certain system.”

“In Iraq, the largest group that Imam Mahdi will fight, after the converted Shia, are the Kurds,” Sagheer said in his lecture. “Not as a nation, but the Kurds who rebel against the new Iraqi government, which is the Islamic government.”

According to Sagheer, it is still unclear if events are indicating it is time for Imam Mahdi to appear. However, he said, “The secession of the Kurds from Iraq and Syria and forming an indecent Kurdish state is nearing and they are just waiting for the zero hour.”

Sagheer denied that he was inciting people against the Kurds, but in his lecture he clearly talks about the need to prepare for “the time of decisiveness” and that “such times need decisive people,” which could be interpreted as a message to the Iraqi Shia to be prepared for a war with Iraqi Kurds.

In his interview with Rudaw, Sagheer said that he was a follower of the school of Imam al-Hakeem, referring to a deceased Shia cleric who prohibited fighting against the Kurds during the September Revolution.”My father had strong relations with Mustafa Barzani and the Barzani family,” Sagheer said. “I have distanced myself from the current tensions between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad and have always been against those who want to deepen the strife between the Shia and the Kurds.”

He added, “I believe the Kurdish nation has seen many injustices and is an oppressed nation. Imam Mahdi will come to save them.”

Professor Nawzad Khoshnaw, an expert of the Arabic language and lecturer at Salahaddin University in Erbil, explained the meaning of mariqa in the context of Sagheer’s lecture. “It means the Kurds are deserting the laws and the rules of the Iraqi government, and therefore Imam Mahdi will appear and fight the Kurds,” he said. Khosnaw added, “Sagheer compares the Kurds to the khawarige (renegades) who Imam Ali ordered to be killed during his time.”