In this beautifully compiled short book the reader may learn some important proofs about Imam of our time Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) from authentic sources based within both Shia and Sunni schools of thought, as well as based on the Holy Quran and other ancient scriptures. The book is divided into fourteen separate questions and answers all of which eloquently describe his existence, his purpose, his birth and some of his merits (a.t.f.s.)
In today’s world, we find people with intense and diverse religious beliefs. Some of them are gifted orators. Others are writers who are apt at transforming their thoughts to exquisite expressions. There are still others, who lost in their own thoughts, can be easily impressed by any misinformation. They make all efforts to justify their false beliefs. However, the counterfeit and false can never be transformed into genuine and fair. Thus, deviation from truth becomes their as well as their proponents’ destiny.
The example of Ibn Khaldun in this context is quite relevant. He was skeptical about the belief in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s). However, the Muslim world at large agrees that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had twelve successors. The first of whom is ‘Ali (a.s.) and the remaining eleven are from the children of ‘Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.). The twelfth of them will be Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) who will fill this earth will justice and equity just as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has made many such prophecies.
Another example is that of Haafez Jalaluddin Suyuti who displays his startling ignorance by enumerating these twelve successors thus: The four rightly guided Caliphs, four Caliphs from Bani Umayyah and two from Bani Abbas; he considers the last two as unknown.
But reliable traditions establish that the twelfth one will rise in the last age and will fill the earth with absolute justice and equity. Another authentic tradition accepted by all Sunni Scholars is: “Anyone who dies without recognizing the Imam of his time dies the death of ignorance”. Such evident traditions that cannot be rejected are then easily subjected to misinterpretation, which in turn lead to baseless and absurd justifications. In the horde of these justifications, the feeble voice of the one crying for his Imam (a.t.f.s.) is drowned. The voice that directs towards “Hazrat Hujjat Ibn al-Hasan (a.t.f.s.)” the last leader of the oppressed is subdued. As a result, doubts arise not only among the deniers but also among the believers.
This book is thus meant to address the doubts that have invaded the hearts of those who are skeptical and also to respond to the queries that may arise in the minds of others. It’s an effort to help in protecting ourselves from the present sinful and corrupt atmosphere. At the same time, it is also for strengthening our recognition of our last Imam (a.t.f.s.).
The life of this world is short and will soon come to an end. However, it will be subjected to a strict reckoning in the Hereafter. None can escape this accounting. Only the one who will be under the pleasant protection of his Imam (a.t.f.s.) will be rescued.
O Lord! Keep us steadfast on the belief of Your last Hujjat (a.t.f.s.) till our last breadth. Ameen!
What is the purpose of the belief in “Mahdawiyyah” and when did it originate?
“Mahdawiyyah” is the belief about a universal saviour. All heavenly religions like Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam make a prominent mention about it. They hold that the last age will witness a person who will emancipate the people from all corruption and evil. Through him, the oppressed will regain their rights and breathe freely.
This creed is not limited to Islam but is an established faith of all religions. Support for the weak, termination of oppression and enlivening the dead are all matters related to the belief in the promised Mahdi. Studies establish the archaism of “Mahdawiyyah”.
This matter has been subjected to distortion in all divine books except the Holy Qur’an. But truth can never be eradicated completely. Some sentences still remain in these ancient scriptures that help us in tracing the belief about the Promised Mahdi in them. It is related to prophecies and the Holy Qur’an testifies about it. Its origin is in Divine revelation and beyond the reach of any human.
Many traditions prove the coming of the Mahdi, as evidenced by this tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.):
“Even if one day remains for the end of the world, Allah the Almighty will prolong it to such an extent till a man appears from my family. His name will be my name and his agnomen will be my agnomen. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with oppression and corruption.”
What has been mentioned about Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the books of other religions?
An examination of the religious books of the different religions conclusively proves that the belief in the Promised Mahdi is not exclusive only to the Muslims. Even other religions have this belief as is illustrated:
1) Kitab us Zind the religious book of the Parsis mentions about the end of Injustice and the victory of the righteous as follows:
“There is a constant conflict between the armies of Ahreman and Yazdan for supremacy in the land. Though mostly Ahreman is victorious yet Yazdan is never fully vanquished such that neither he nor his progeny remain. In difficulties, he receives help from God (Avarmazd) as he is His son. Thus, their war will go on for 9000 years until finally Yazdan receives a great victory. Ahreman’s army will be defeated and no trace of his followers will remain in the heavens and the earth. Following the complete defeat of Ahreman and the conclusive victory of Yazdan the world will progress towards its perfection and happiness. Men will enjoy lasting peace and victory.”1
In the book Jamsabnaamah it is mentions that: “In the land of Taziyaan, from the progeny of Bani Hashim, a person will rise. He will possess a large head, a husky voice, and long shins. He will follow the religion of his ancestors. He will come to Persia with a big army. He will enliven the land with justice and equity.”
At another place it is mentioned: “The Great Reformer will spread the religion in the Land. He will eradicate poverty and scarcity. He will successfully support Yazdan against Ahreman. He will lead humanity through an ethical, moral and intellectual revolution”.
2) Shakmuni is considered as an intellectual in Indian Mythology. He is also believed to be a messenger and a possessor of divine communication. He describes the spiritual leader of humanity thus: “In those days there will be a religion (All worldly authority will terminate in the hands of the son of the leader of the two worlds Jamnad Kishan). The mountains of the east and the west will be under his authority. He will travel on the clouds. The angels will be his servants. Men and Jinn all will submit to him. His rule will spread in the lands of the east and the west and even beyond the oceans. There will be only one divine religion. Divine religion will be enlivened and everyone will believe and have recognition of only one God.2
The Vedas which is considered as the divine book of the Hindus record thus: “After the world suffers heavy destruction, a King will appear in the Last Age. He will be called “the Helped One” and will be a Universal Leader. He will rule on the entire world and will collect all people on one religion. He will recognize every person from the believers as well as the disbelievers. He will be the one who actualizes God’s will.
In the Old Testament, it is written that: “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning. Be like men watching for their lord, when he returns from the marriage feast; that, when he comes and knocks, they may immediately open to him. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord will find watching when he comes….. Therefore be ready also, for the Son of Man is coming in an hour that you don’t expect him.” (Luke 12:35-36)
In the Old Testament, the divine book of the Jews, it is mentioned that; “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him…… with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. …… The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the lair of the cobra and put his hand into it. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:1-10)
5) In the Psalms, it is mentioned that: “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” (Psalm 37: 9-12)
Do the verses of the Holy Qur’an prove the existence and reappearance of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)?
First and foremost, it is not necessary that the Holy Qur’an explains in detail all the concepts. Given that it actually deals with many things, so it does not get involved with the finer aspects and intricacies.
Yet, there is an affirmative reply to this question as well. Many verses of the Majestic Qur’an do prove the existence and also mention about the government of Hazrat al-Hujjat (a.t.f.s.). Eminent scholars have listed such verses in their books. Among them Allama al-Majlisi (r.a.) deserves special mention for having brought numerous such verses in his book “Behar al-Anwar”, some of which are mentioned hereunder:
وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِي الزَّبُورِ مِنْ بَعْدِ الذِّكْرِ أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ
“And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.”(Surah al-Anbiya’, 21:105)
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ
“He it is Who sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of truth that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.” (Surah at-Tawbah, 9: 33)
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange; they shall serve Me, not associating aught with Me.” (Surah an-Nur, 24:55)
Elucidating this verse in his book “al-Ghaibah”, Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) testifies to it being revealed about the occultation, reappearance and the supporters of Imam (a.t.f.s.).
وَنُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ
“And We desire to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak in the earth and to make them the Imams and to make them the heirs.” (Surah al-Qasas 28: 5)
In the same book “al-Ghaibah”, Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) reports a tradition from Ameerul Momineen ‘Ali (a.s.), expounding this verse as follows:
“When the earth becomes restricted and a killing field for the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) progeny, then Allah will send Mahdi, to degrade the enemies and elevate the friends.”
لَنْ تُغْنِيَ عَنْهُمْ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُهُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
“Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you that you may understand.” (Surah al-Hadid, 58: 17)
Explaining this verse Sheikh Tusi (r.a.) narrates in his book “al-Ghaibah” from Ibn Abbas as follows: “The giving of life to the earth after its death in this verse refers to the Qa’im (a.t.f.s.) from the progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.). After reappearance, he will purify the earth from all evil and enliven it through justice and equity.”
Likewise Allama Majlisi (r.a.) brings 60 verses from the Holy Qur’an about the occultation and reappearance of Imam (a.s.). The discerning should therefore refer to this reliable book.
Have the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Infallible Imams (a.s.) informed us about the “Promised Mahdi”?
Many reliably narrated traditions emanate from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the infallible Imams (a.s.) about the existence and reappearance of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.). These leave no room for any doubt whatsoever for the seekers of truth. Following are some examples of the sayings of these Holy Personalities (a.s.):
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed,
“Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is my name (Muhammad) and his agnomen is my agnomen (Abul Qasim). He resembles me most in the creation and in the manners. He will be associated with occultation and confusion, till most people deviate from religion. He will appear as a bright shining star, will fill the earth with truth and justice just as it was filled with oppression and injustice.”1
Amir ul-Mu’minin ‘Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) said:
“My Qa’im will have a long occultation. I can foresee that our Shi’as in spite of their lifelong efforts to find him will not be able to do so. Know you all that the one who in his occultation is steadfast on his religion and does not deny him in his long absence will be with us on the Day of Judgment.” He (a.s.) then continued: “When my Qa’im reappears he will not have the allegiance of any one on his neck as his birth was hidden and his personality was in Occultation.”2
Once, Jaabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari was present in the service of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.). Before her was a tablet in which the names of the successors (a.s.) were written. Jaabir says that he counted them and found 12 names, the last of which was “Qa’im”. Three names were “Muhammad” and four “‘Ali”.3
Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.) said:
“People are not exempted from the obedience of any of us Imams. Yet, our rights have been trampled upon by oppressive rulers and their followers. This will go on until the time of Qa’im (a.s.), behind whom Prophet Isa Ibn Maryam (a.s.) will pray and whose birth will be kept a secret by Allah. He will be kept in occultation. When he reappears, paying allegiance to him will be compulsory on everyone. He will be a great descendant from the progeny of my brother Husain (a.s.). Allah will lengthen the age of his occultation. By His power, He will make him reappear and when he reappears, his age will seem to be like a man of 40 years or even lesser. Know him, as Allah has power over everything.”4
Imam Husain (a.s.) said:
“The characteristics of one of my descendants is the same as that of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) and Hazrat Isa (a.s.). He is the Qa’im from us Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Allah will transform his condition in one night.”5
Imam as-Sajjad (a.s.) said:
“In our Qa’im are found the characteristics of the Prophets (a.s.). They are similar to those of our father Hazrat Adam (a.s.), Hazrat Nuh (a.s.), Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.), Hazrat Isa (a.s.), Hazrat Ayyub (a.s.), and Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.). As regards Hazrat Adam (a.s.) and Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) it is their long life. As regards Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) it is the secret birth and his staying away from the people. In case of Hazrat Musa (a.s.) it is the fear and his disappearance. In case of Hazrat Isa (a.s.) it is the controversy among the people about him. (Some people believe that he is alive and on Allah’s order resides on the fourth sky. While others allege that he was crucified.) In case of Hazrat Ayyub (a.s.), it is his perfection after his great test. And in the case of Hazrat Muhammad (a.s.), it is his reappearance with a sword.”6
Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (a.s.) said:
“Worse conditions will afflict the world. People shall express differing personal views about the existence of the Qa’im (a.s.). Is he alive or dead? Has he gone towards the desert? His deniers will claim that his bones have decayed. They will thus question the possibility of his reappearance. It is your duty to wait for his reappearance. When the news of his reappearance reaches you, then hasten to reach unto him, even if you have to face thousands of obstacles.”7
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“The occultation of our Qa’im will be like that of the Prophets (a.s.). All the characteristics of our Qa’im flow from us Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)…..My son is similar to Hazrat Musa (a.s.). He is the son of the queen of the maidens. His occultation will be such that the wrong doers will be in doubt. Allah will then make him reappear. The entire universe will submit to him. Prophet Isa (a.s.) will appear and pray behind him. The earth will illuminate with his existence and not a piece of land will remain where any one other than Allah will be worshipped. Allah’s religion will be found everywhere, no matter how much the polytheists may detest it.”8
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) said:
“Al-Qa’im will purify the earth from the enemies of God. He will fill it with justice and equity just as before him it was filled with tyranny and oppression. He is my fifth descendant. He will be in occultation for a long period due to the fear of his life. In that period, many will become deviated from religion. Praised are our followers who remain steadfast on our mastership, are firm on our friendship and on the enmity of our enemies in the period of Qa’im’s occultation. These are from us and we are from them. They are satisfied with our leadership and we are satisfied with them as our followers. Thus congratulations are due to them as Allah will place them with us on the Day of Judgment.”9
Imam ‘Ali ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said:
“When our Qa’im reappears, he will appear like a youth. His strength will be such that if he extends his hand towards the biggest tree it will be uprooted. The mountains will break up on his pleadings. He will have the staff of Hazrat Musa (a.s.) and the ring of Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.). He is my fourth descendant. Whomsoever and howsoever Allah wishes, He will conceal him from the eyes of the people. When the Qa’im reappears, he will fill the earth with justice and equity just as previously it was filled with oppression.”10
Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (a.s.) said:
“Qa’im is our Mahdi, who will guide (the people). It is necessary upon everyone to wait for him in his occultation and obey him when he reappears. By Allah Who raised Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) for Prophethood and selected us for Imamat, even if a single day remains from the life of this world, Allah will lengthen it to such an extent that our Qa’im reappears and fills the earth with justice when it would be filled with tyranny and oppression.”11
Abdul Azim Hasani asked Imam ‘Ali Naqi al-Hadi (a.s.):
“Who will be my master after you?
Imam (a.s.) replied:
“After me, it is my son Hasan. But what will be the condition of the people after him?”
On being asked to explain his concern, he (a.s.) further reasoned:
“As nobody has seen him and it is prohibited to take his name till he reappears and fills the earth with justice just as it was previously filled with tyranny and oppression.”12
Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) said:
“I can foresee your dispute about my successor after me. Beware that if a person believes in Imamat and the past Prophets (a.s.) but denies my son, then his example is as if he believes in all Prophets but denies the Prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.). If someone denies the Prophethood of the last Prophet (s.a.w.a.) after believing in all the Prophets (a.s.), he is like the one who obeys our first but denies the last. (His obedience is just as necessary as the obedience to all of us.) One who denies our first infallible is like the one who denies our last.”13
- Kamaaluddin by Shaikh Sadooq (a.r.), p. 287 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 303 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 308 ↩
- Isbaatul Hidaayah by Shaikh Hurr al-Aameli, vol. 5, p. 155 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 318 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 322 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 326 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 345 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 361 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 376 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 377 ↩
- Kamaaluddin, p. 380 ↩
- Mahdi al-Mau’ood translated by ‘Ali Davaani, p. 391
Whether the original books of the Ahlul Sunnat mention and relate about the matters related to the existence, life and reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)?
It is an accepted fact that the belief of the promised Mahdi is found with the Shi’as who are the believers in Imamat. Many verses from the Holy Qur’an and thousands of traditions are available in this regard. Numerous books of the Ahlul Sunnat that contained traditions on this topic became the target of bias. The reigns of Bani Umayya and Bani Abbas were the periods when the enemies of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) were in power. They never gave a chance to Muslim historians to relate traditions on this subject.
Petty politics and concealment of the truth were the foundations on which the governments of Bani Umayya and Bani Abbas were raised. Their main aim was to keep a partisan attitude in matters of Imamat. How could the usurpers of Imamat allow any such tradition to remain in the books? Yet, the mention of Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is found in some of the important books of Ahlul Sunnat. We produce some examples hereunder:
Huzaifa said: “The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was delivering a sermon in which he was forewarning about the future conditions. In the same sermon he (s.a.w.a.) said that:
“Even if the life of the world remains only for a single day, Allah will lengthen it to such an extent till a person from my progeny appears (to rule the world). His name will be my name.”
Salman asked, “O Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)! From where will your son appear? He (s.a.w.a.) placed his hand on the back of Imam Husain (a.s.) and said: ‘That son of mine will be from him’.”1
Abdullah Ibn Masood narrates that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
“Even if one day remains for the end of the world, Allah the High shall lengthen that day to such an extent that a person from my nation and my family will establish divine leadership. His name will be the same as mine. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression.”2
Elsewhere he (s.a.w.a.) mentioned that:
“The promised Mahdi is from my progeny and from the children of Fatimah.”3
Abu Saeed Khudri narrates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that:
“In the last period, kings will subject my nation to calamities. One cannot even bear to listen to their atrocities. The vast earth will become small and narrow for them as it would be replete with oppression and tyranny. The believers will not find any sanctuary from oppression. Then, Allah will send a man from my family. He will fill the earth with justice and equity just as it was previously filled with oppression and tyranny. The inhabitants of the earth and the skies will become happy with him. The earth will reveal its treasures for him. The skies will shower rains. Men will desire life again. He will live among the people for 7 or 9 years.”4
It is also narrated from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that he said:
“Our Mahdi has a broad forehead and a deep insight. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it was filled with oppression and tyranny. He will rule for 7 years”5
Yanaabee’ al-Mawaddah, Shaikh Sulaiman Qunduzi, vol. 3, p. 163
Fusul al-Muhimmah, Ibn Sabbag al-Maliki, p. 293