by Hujjatul Islam Mirza Muhammad Ali Baig, Chancellor of Imam Ali Seminary
As Muslims living in the U.S., we must ask ourselves, “What is our purpose?” More precisely, what special responsibilities do we have to the movement of Imam Mahdi (a)? When we ask this question, many of us will see clearly that a major part of our special responsibility must be to foster the growth and spread of Islamic guidance to the non-Muslims around us, that awaiting our Imam (a) means laying the foundations for his reappearance in this society and culture.
In the traditions of the Ahlul Bait (as) regarding the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as), it has been narrated that the Imam (aj) will be assisted by Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) (as), who will be the commander he appoints in the fight against Dajjal.
Dajjal is known as the antichrist as it will be built using the name of Prophet Isa (a). So it is rightly so that Prophet Isa brings it down. Prophet ‘Isa (as) will call to the Christians and they in turn will listen to his call. Accept his invitation and come under the banner of truth.
If we make an honest assessment, however, we see that, at this moment, the typical Christian believer in America seems unready to respond to Prophet ‘Isa’s (as) call. Then what is Allah’s plan to prepare them?
A believer’s outlook is always to see what Allah has planned for him not what he planned for himself. So the question we need to ask ourselves is not why we came here but why did Allah bring us here?
From here it may become clear to us that we have been brought here to make the people ready for the coming of Prophet Isa and to build them so that they are ready to accept him.
What are we supposed to do?
Our current efforts to reach out to them are seen as the token attempts of foreigners or outsiders who are not really part of this society. We must face the fact that the only ones who can have a lasting Islamic impact on this society and guide people to Ahlul Bait (as) are those who are from here and have roots here.
Allah is guiding many a seeker of truth into the folds of Islam. These jewels in the society that Allah is picking out for his work need to be given the tools and structure to be capable of giving the message to the people.
But simply being born in America or being an American convert to Islam does not make one qualified or trained to guide others. We must also have an educational program, an Islamic Seminary here in America on the traditional model of the Howzah Ilmiyyah which is part of the legacy of our Imams (as), and which will make it easier for the future Islamic scholars to begin their studies. These students will then be able to continue their higher studies in the Islamic seminaries overseas and become the ones who will guide our communities and, inshaallah, the American society at large.
This is the purpose of Imam Ali Seminary, which over the past four years has graduated fifteen students from our program and sent eight students to continue their studies in the Qom and Najaf, with more graduating and leaving every year, inshaallah.
We ask you to help this cause with your khums payments and donations, so that Islam may truly have an impact in this land and on the people of this society, inshaallah, and we may all fulfill our special responsibility for laying the foundations for our Imam (as) in America..