safe_imageIn the last two years, media outlets have published conflicting reports on Saudi King Abdullah’s health. Just last week, Saudi Arabia’s Royal Court announced that the king has pneumonia and is temporarily using a breathing tube. In fact, every time the king’s health deteriorates, news agencies speculate on what will become of the Saudi dynasty and its leadership after the king’s death. But some Shiite scholars think differently about the matter, believing that Abdullah’s death will mark the beginning of a chain of great events that will shock the world. Some Shiite scholars believe that the Saudi king’s death will signal the resurrection of the Mahdi and the beginning of the end-times. Abdullah, the 10th son of King Abdulaziz, was born Aug. 1, 1924. His mother, Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim, was a member of the Al Rashid family, longtime rivals of the Al Saud family and a historic dynasty in the Arabian Peninsula that ruled the emirate of Jabal Shammar. Abdullah ascended to the throne in 2005 following the death of his half-brother King Fahd, though power was already in his hands. According to Shiite hadiths, after the death of a king named Abdullah in the Hijaz — a western region of present-day Saudi Arabia — no successor to the throne would be accepted, and disagreements would escalate and persist until the rise of Imam Mahdi. The Shiites believe that divine Imams are heirs to the political and religious Ummah, or Islamic nation. These 12 imams are successors to the Prophet Muhammad and to the head of the caliphate, with Mahdi being the final Imam who disappeared, or went into occultation. Mahdi will be revealed only in the end-times, along with Jesus, to deliver peace to the world. According to the book “250 Signs Until the Appearance of Imam Mahdi,” Prophet Muhammad said: “On doomsday, a man who is carrying the name of an animal ascends to the throne, after which a man named Abdullah comes to the power. Whoever informs me of his death, I will inform him of the rise [of Mahdi]. After Abdullah passes away, for several days and months, the government will appear.” More