23. “MOA is Asleep. They are asleep. They are a bomb.”

The concern of Ali Abdelaziz about the cult reached a new height in 2009 when something significant happened that would only be properly understood by those familiar with MOA’s apocalyptic prophecies.

MOA announced that Gilani had met with a handful of senior MOA officials (called “Khalifahs”) and students (“talibs”) and introduced them to the Hazrat Imam Mahdi, a figure prophesized to appear during Armageddon.

The momentous event had been kept secret for six months. Now, during the holy month of Ramadan, it was time to announce it.

The announcement described the scene in Lahore, Pakistan, as told by one of Gilani’s followers:

“My Murshid Kamil [Sheikh Gilani] walked into the room and we stood. He was smiling as we all were. Then he asked if we knew who the man was, chuckled, and said, ‘You have just met the Mahdi.’ After the introduction, Imam Mahdi presented our Murshid with gifts. Our Murshid smiled at this and commented, ‘You have completed your studies.’

Imam Mahdi was neither tall nor short. He was average height. He had a bright complexion. His beard was neatly shaped. He was handsome and had a mature disposition. He looked to be in his mid to late thirties.”

His appearance is “not a matter of decades for physical appearance, rather just a matter of years,” MOA’s announcement said, and that he will only appear again at the Kabaa in Saudi Arabia.

It finished by saying that shortly after the Mahdi appears in Saudi Arabia, Jesus will descend from the heavens into Jerusalem. Then, “Armageddon will later on take place.”

Another key sign that war is about to commence will be the death of Sheikh Gilani—or, as MOA believes, his decision to leave behind his body in order to rule from the spiritual realm.

Sheikh Gilani claims to be the “6th Sultan.” According to the group’s prophecies, the 7th Sultan will only be in power for a short period of time before the Mahdi appears. Sheikh Gilani’s old age and poor health will be proof that the final End Times period has begun.

Abdelaziz explained that MOA believes there will be 73 Muslim groups during this apocalyptic period, but “only one group is worthy” of being the Mahdi’s army. And, he says, “Gilani tells them that they are the one group.” He continued:

“That’s what they’ve always said. The ultimate purpose is to be ready when the time is right…this Mahdi thing is scary. It’s very, very scary because I know the rest of the story. When Gilani came out and said he knows the Mahdi in the [MOA] newspaper…I was shocked.”

“This is the sign they all have been waiting for,” he said.

MOA has not yet announced who the Mahdi is, though our sources say most members believe that he will not be a member of MOA. Rather, he will be a follower (and perhaps a son) of Gilani’s in Pakistan. He will be protected by two divinely-guided bodyguards from MOA.

Gilani has also not announced who the 7th Sultan is. It is assumed it will be one of his sons.

Gilani’s American sons have since moved to the U.S. and Canada. 

His oldest American son, Sultan Ahmed Gilani, was announced as Gilani’s successor as leader of MOA during a private meeting in October 2016, according to our sources. This does not necessarily mean he is the 7th Sultan, though some believe that to be the case.

But if the Mahdi doesn’t appear, and therefore Armageddon isn’t about to happen in MOA’s eyes, is there a reason to be concerned about their preparation for this apocalyptic jihad?

Declassified documents show that MOA has prepared to violently resist law enforcement entries into their camps. The group directly orchestrated a series of terrorist attacks and plots on U.S. and Canadian soil in the 1980s and early 1990s. And MOA believes it is required to contribute to jihad around the world, whether the Mahdi has appeared or not.

Abdelaziz warned that MOA is unpredictable and illogical. Assuming the group won’t become violent on U.S. soil because it hasn’t attacked in decades is irresponsible, akin to treating David Koresh’s cult as benign because the Waco incident hadn’t happened yet.

“MOA is asleep. They are asleep. They are a bomb. Here is the scariest part of MOA: Anything can happen with them at any time,” he told Mawyer.

Ryan Mauro

Professor Ryan Mauro is the National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the threat of Islamic extremism and provides a platform for voices of moderation and tolerance within the Muslim community. Clarion Project films have been seen by over 50 million people. Mauro is a frequent contributor to Clarion’s dynamic website ClarionProject.org, providing insightful analysis of the latest news around the global on this subject. The site is viewed by over 250,000 visitors per month.