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Ahmad al-Hassan, full name Ahmad bin Ismail bin Saleh bin Hussain bin Salman (Arabic: احمد بن اسماعيل بن صالح بن الحسين بن سلمان‎) (born 1968) is the leader of the Shia Iraqi movement Ansar of Imam al-Mahdi who claims to be the savior of mankind.[1] His followers believe him to be al-Yamani, the eschatological leader from Yemen who will precede the return of the Imam, although this is not a mainstream belief in Shia Islam.[2] He has written some books, and answers questions posed to him by his followers on his website.

Ahmad al-Hassan
احمد الحسن
Born
Ahmad bin Ismail
احمد إسماعيل

1968 (age 50–51)
NationalityIraqi
Home townBasra, Iraq
MovementAnsar of Imam al-Mahdi
Parent(s)Ismail bin Saleh bin Hussain bin Salman bin Muhammad bin al-Hassan al-Askari

There has been speculation that al-Hassan was involved in the Battle of Najaf. He has denied any such involvement and called such violent groups as the path of Satan. His adherents have asserted that their movement is peaceful, and have blamed the Iraqi authorities for false accusations.[3] [4]

Early lifeEdit

Ahmad al-Hassan was born in Basra, Iraq. His uncle, Muhsin ibn Saleh, attested that the family tree traces back to Muhammad al-Mahdi. This was corroborated by Sayyed Hasan bin Muhammad Ali al-Hamami (son of the late Marja' Sayed Muhammad Ali Musawi al-Hamami, a tribal leader from Bani Abas) and two other regional clerics.[5][better source needed]

Al-Hassan studied civil engineering at the University of Basra, where he graduated in 1992.[2] After having a vision during which the Imam Mahdi, a messianic figure, told him to enroll in the Hawza Ilmiya (religious institute) of Sayyed Muhammad al-Sadr in Najaf, Iraq, al-Hassan started claiming to be the messenger of the Imam Mahdi.[2] He isolated himself at home to learn the sciences of the Hawza with an attempt of reforming it, as he claims it to be disordered. He later formed a group called the Ansar.

Religious callEdit

I want freedom and salvation for you, so, for the sake of yourself assist me. I am calling you on behalf of Imam Mahdi. I do not want anything for myself but for him. I do not want my glory but his glory. Whoever does not answer my call, he has not accepted my father's call who has sent me to you. Let me tell you the truth: whoever does not respect the child, he has not respected the father.

Ahmad al-Hassan[2]

Ahmad al-Hassan started his religious call privately, only first announcing it publicly in 2002, during the last months of Saddam’s rule, after his attempted Hawza reformations. Middle East Research and Information Project has reported that "the majority of his public affrays—they often take the form of theological duels known as munazarat—have been with Sadrist followers."[6] He uses the Star of David as his logo.[5][better source needed]

Current statusEdit

Al-Hassan's present whereabouts are unknown. There is some conjecture that he is currently living in Australia, where he manages several business interests.[2]

ClaimsEdit

Ahmad al-Hassan makes a number of claims, which include that he is the son, messenger, vicegerent, and executor of the affairs of Imam Mahdi, al-Yamani, an infallible Imam, the first of 12 Mahdis, a messenger of the prophets Isa and Elijah.[1]

Regarding the purposes of his movement, he claimed:

SupportersEdit

The adherents of Ahmad al-Hassan collectively identify themselves as Ansar of Imam al-Mahdi ("Supporters of the Imam Mahdi"), or Ansars. His followers have described his call as being universal,[9][6] because his preaching addresses Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all of mankind.[citation needed]

While many of his supporters are in Iraq, where there are more than 15 official public offices and representatives in major cities, he is believed to have followers in many other countries as well, including Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United States and Australia. Many of these followers access his teachings through websites in several languages.[2] In Iran, the Yamani movement is more popular among the clerics than the common people, especially due to similarities between al-Hassan's characteristics and the descriptions given of the promised al-Yamani in the Shīʿa scriptures. There are also university professors and other professionals among his followers there. This support has begun to cause friction with the Iranian government, whose supreme leader holds a competing claim to a strong affiliation with the Mahdi.[2]

ControversiesEdit

Mahdi claimEdit

The Yamani is one of the major signs that is awaited by Shi'a Muslims before the appearance of the 12th Imam Mahdi. The Shia clerics that are informed about Ahmad al-Hassan's call have largely condemned him, and issued corresponding fatwas classifying Ahmad al-Hassan as an impostor, a fabricator, a deceiver, an innovator, and a liar.[10][11] According to Iraqi Basra police, investigations conducted revealed that his ancestry does not go back to the prophet.[12] Shi'a Muslim scholars such as Sheikh Ali al-Korani and Jalal al-Din Ali al-Saghir have expressed their negative views of al-Hassan's claims in numerous TV broadcasts.[13] He has been accused by his opponents of plotting to assassinate Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.[2]

Al-Hassan claims that Shia Muslims are being "deceived" by the Marja'.[2] He claims that imitating a scholar is not obligatory for Muslims, and it is considered Shirk (polytheism) to blindly follow a scholar.

Battle of NajafEdit

Shortly after the January 2007 Battle of Najaf, conflicting reports and news coverage emerged as to who exactly was involved in the clashes. The Los Angeles Times and RFERL identified the leader of the Soldiers of Heaven group as Dhiyaa' Abdul Zahra, who was killed in the clashes.[14][15] However, The New York Times reported that Iraqi officials at a press conference had named the group that was involved in the clashes as Soldiers of Heaven (Jund al-Samaa’), but offered several names for the group's leader, including Ahmad Ismail and Diyah Abdul Zahraa Khadom. The Times article also reported that Diyah Abdul Zahraa Khadom was the same person as Ahmad Hassan al-Yamani, and whose alleged role was deputy of the group, not the leader.[16]

Timothy Furnish of mahdiwatch.org wrote, "Security officials say that Ansar Ahmad [al-Hassan] al-Yamani and the Jund al-Samaa [Soldiers of Heaven] are one and the same, while National Security Minister Shirwan al-Waili denies any relation between the two [groups]."[17][unreliable fringe source?]

Sheikh Saadiq al-Hasnawi, who is a teacher in the Scientific Hawza of Honorable Najaf says, "This movement (Soldiers of Heaven), we have never heard about it before, and we used to guess that the leader of it is Sayed Ahmad al-Yamani, and they told me about the book Qathi al-Sama which was spread around in multitudes and by anonymous people, and when I read the content of the book I was shocked in its strange ideas completely, over the method of Ahmad son of al-Hassan al-Yamani."[18]

Sayyed Hasan bin Muhammad Ali al-Hamami (son of the late Marja Sayed Muhammad Ali Musawi al-Hamami) states that Soldiers of Heaven was led by Dhiyaa' [Abdul-Zahra] Al-Qara'wi, who had rejected the 12 Imams of Shia Islam, had claimed to be the 12th Imam Mahdi himself, and had later died in the battle.[19]

Ahmad al-Hassan himself and representatives of his group Ansar of Imam al-Mahdi have denied any involvement in these clashes, and claim they have no links to the group Soldiers of Heaven.[20]

BooksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Glad Tidings". saviorofmankind.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pargoo, Mahmoud (1 April 2019). "Who is Ahmad al-Hassan al-Yamani". ABC Editorial Standards. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Bloody Ashura and a Shia Group which denies having a connection to the Battle of Najaf". AlJazeera. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2012-08-01. The adherents of Ahmad Hassan AlYamani - who describes himself as the Messenger of awaited Imam Mahdi - say that their movement is peaceful and has no connection with the group known by the name "Soldiers of Heaven" which participated in the battle; and that the Iraqi authorities falsely accused their leader (Ahmad AlHassan) of being involved in the fight.
  4. ^ الحسن, احمد (2005). الجواب المنير عبر الأثير (PDF). p. 89.
  5. ^ a b "ABOUT - Savior of Mankind". Savior of Mankind. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  6. ^ a b "MERIP Basra analysis". Dr. Reidar Visser. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  7. ^ "Interview with Ahmad al-Hassan by independent journalist Zyad Qasim Al-Zubaidi". the-savior.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
  8. ^ الحسن, احمد (2006). بيان الحق والسداد (PDF). p. 16.
  9. ^ "Questions sent to Ahmad al-Hassan followers (Ansars)". Dr. Timothy Furnish. 2008-03-13. Archived from the original on 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  10. ^ "»الإجابة على الأسئلة العقائدية »مركز الأبحاث العقائدية". Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  11. ^ "سماحة الشيخ جلال الدين الصغير - الموقع الرسمي". Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Iraqi police expose doomsday cult chief". Al Arabiya. 4 February 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  13. ^ "جديد مكتبة الوسائط". alameli.net.
  14. ^ Fakhrildeen, Saad; Daragahi, Borzou (2007-01-31). "Cult had dug in for huge battle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  15. ^ "Iraq: Al-Najaf Mystery Reflects Iraqi Divisions". RFERL free press. 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  16. ^ Cave, Damien (2007-02-01). "Mystery Arises Over Identity of Militia Chief in Najaf Fight". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  17. ^ "Dr. Timothy Furnish reporting on Battle of Najaf". mahdiwatch.org. 2008-02-02. Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  18. ^ "Sheikh al-Hasnawi on Soldiers of Heaven". akhbaar.org. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  19. ^ "Interview with the son of the late Marja Sayed Muhammad Ali Musawi Alhammamy". Ansar Imam Mahdi. Retrieved 2012-05-19 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "Analysis of what happened in the Battle of Najaf". Dr. Reidar Visser. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  21. ^ "Ahmed al-Hasan's books in English". Ahmad al-Hassan. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018-01-10.