To the end, Hitler rued the Third Reich’s failure in rousing Muslims en masse to his cause.
MOST GERMANS saw Adolf Hitler as the savior of the Aryan race, but he was an equally epochal figure for Iranian Muslims. That’s because the Fuhrer was the “Hidden Imam,” the Mahdi, a long-awaited Islamic messiah expected by Iran’s Twelver Shi’ites to usher in an era of universal justice on earth. Or so Nazi propagandists would have Iranians believe. Let no one say the Nazis weren’t creative: if turning Muslims against the Allies required a bit of religious legerdemain, so be it.
Or rather, make that a lot of sleight of hand. In their zeal to draw on Islamic sources and traditions for their outreach to Muslims during the war, Nazi propagandists weren’t above producing their own textual readings of the Koran and the hadiths. They identified Jews as the Masih ad-Dajjal, a sinister false messiah who is the Mahdi’s arch enemy in Islamic eschatological tradition and was now out to subjugate Muslims worldwide. Only Hitler could save the faithful from this supreme evil.