The Emergence of Widespread Slaughter

 

The Mahdi will only appear at a time when people are experiencing great fear and are afflicted by disturbances, civil war, and other disasters. (Narrated by Abu Ja`'far Muhammad ibn `Ali)

 

 

Most painful situations and grievous sights will be seen. Strife will go on and on… It will kill mothers, fathers, daughters, men, and everyone… Among these will be strife, violence, destruction, and looting. People will ask when it will end, but it will still go on.
(Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat
al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 36)

 

Most hadiths about the Mahdi's advent focus on the prophecy that turmoil, insecurity, and disorder will rule the world before his coming. Massacre, war, and conflict are some of the major features of such a period. In addition, the hadith draws attention to the fact that massacres will occur all over the world.

During the two world wars of the twentieth century, an estimated 65 million people were killed. The number of civilians slaughtered for political reasons during the same century is estimated to be well over 180 million. This is an extraordinarily high figure when compared with those of previous centuries.

In fact, wars used to be fought at various fronts by soldiers until the twentieth century. However, the advancement of weapons technology and "improved" military strategies in the twentieth century introduced the concept of all-out war, one in which no distinctions were made between soldiers and civilians. Such concepts as bombing cities; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; genocide; and concentration camps emerged in the twentieth century.

(Left) A photograph taken in a Nazi death camp (Nordhausen, Germany)
in 1945 as evidence of the Second World War's savagery.

(Right) This 1945 photograph of Nuremberg, Germany, reveals
the dimensions of the war's massacre and destruction.

Such atrocities still continue, for bloody wars and battles are in full swing all over the world. Their common feature, as indicated in the hadith above, is massacre. The use of weapons of mass destruction on the one hand, and the ideological domination of views that encourage conflict and bloodshed on the other hand, have caused modern massacres to be very comprehensive in scope.

A look at recent history reveals many large-scale massacres. For instance, the Bosnian war went down in history as one that targeted the civilian population and thus resulted in the murder of thousands of civilians regardless of gender and age. The mass graves uncovered laterofferred striking evidence about just how large such massacres were.

Another "ethnic cleansing" campaign has been carried out against the Palestinian people since the 1940s. This is no more than a long-term policy of massacre. The exemplary massacres of Sabra and Shatilla, overseen by Ariel Sharon in 1982, as part of this policy fully expose the exact dimensions of the drama.
(left) A mass grave in rural Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992.
(right) The Sabra and Shattilla massacres made during the Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. This event went down in history as an extremely cruel and great massacre. More than 3,000 people, most of them women and children, were murdered by the Lebanese Christian Falangist groups who were guided and supported by the Israeli soldiers.

There are also frequent violent conflicts between Africans, in which thousands of people die. For example, in the spring of 1997, a large-scale ethnic war broke out between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes, which finally involved five countries: Zaire, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania. Nearly one million people lost their lives in this war, and tens of thousands of people had to fight poverty, misery, and contagious diseases in the jungles. Many of them died. Even children and babies were savagely murdered just because they were from the "wrong" tribe.

In Rwanda, the clashes between Hutus and Tutsis that began in the 1960s turned into a bout of ethnic cleansing that killed an estimated 800,000 people and made many more refugees. (Above left) A Hutu stoned to death by Tutsis. (Above right) Tutsi soldiers murdered Hutus without discriminiation.

 

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