If a government is supported up by God and implements the divine laws and rules in the society, by its grace, the people will also be transformed and direct their steps toward piety and goodness. As a result, the favors of God will be showered on His servants from all directions.
We read in the Holy Qur’an:
وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْقُرَى آمَنُواْ وَاتَّقَواْ لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِم بَرَكَاتٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاء وَالأَرْضِ
“If the people of the towns had been faithful and God-wary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth.”1
In the government of al-Mahdi (‘atfs) in which the people will direct their steps toward submission to God and obedience to the Proof of Allah, there will be no more reason for the sky and earth to withhold their blessings from the servants of God.
As such, seasonal rains will pour; rivers will become full of flowing water; the soil will become fertile; agriculture will bloom; gardens will become green and full of fruits; desert climates in places such as Mecca and Medina which had never become verdant will at once turn into palm-groves; and animal husbandry will flourish.
The society’s economy will boom; poverty and indigence will be wiped out; there will be progress everywhere, and commerce will flourish considerably.
There are many hadiths transmitted concerning the economic boom at the time of the Imam of the Age (‘atfs). It shall suffice for us to quote some of them here:
What can be deduced from the hadiths in this context is that as a result of the improvement in economic conditions, poverty and indigence will be uprooted from human society, and a needy person will be endowed with so many assets and wealth that he would be incapable of carrying them. The condition of the society will be such that those who are liable to pay zakat will find difficulty in finding recipients entitled to it.
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “When the Qa’im of the Ahl al-Bayt rises up, he will distribute the public treasury to the people evenly and he will behave justly with them.
Riches on the ground (such as zakat and khums) as well as underground wealth (like treasures and minerals) will be gathered through him. Then, the Imam will address the people, thus: “Come and take those things for the sake of which you used to sever relationships, shed blood and commit sins. He will give wealth such that no one before him had ever done.”2
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “At the end of time, a caliph will appear who will bestow properties without reckoning.”3
The Messenger of Allah (S) also said: “At the time of despair and the emergence of seditions, a person with the name of Mahdi will appear whose generosity to the people will be wholesome.”4
The munificence of al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will be like that of a father, without reservation. Therefore, his generosity will be pleasant. His munificence would be contrary to the munificence of others which leads to the servitude of the recipients, trampling upon their religion, and their humiliation.
The Prophet (S) also said: “A person from Quraysh will appear… and he will distribute wealth among the people and act based on the Sunnah of their Prophet.”5
In another hadith, he (S) said: “The Mahdi will take out treasures from under the ground, distribute wealth among the people, and restore the splendor of Islam.”6
The Prophet (S) also said: “During the last period of my ummah, there will be a caliph who will give handfuls of possessions to the people without counting them.”7
‘Abdullah ibn Sinan reports: “My father said to Imam as-Sadiq (‘a): ‘I have at my disposal some tributary lands which I have cultivated.’ The Imam (‘a) remained silent for a while and then said: ‘If our Qa’im rises up, your share from the land will be more than that’.”8
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “When the Qa’im of the Ahl al-Bayt rises up, he will distribute the public treasury among the people evenly and he will behave justly with them.”9
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The name of the last Imam will be similar to mine. He will appear and fill the world with justice. When wealth would have been stored up, a person will ask for property from him. The Imam (‘atfs) will say: ‘Take it yourself from these possessions.”10
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “When Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) rises up… Properties and zakats will be brought in the alleys, but one could hardly be found who would be willing to receive them.”11
He (S) also said: “The Mahdi (‘atfs) will be from my ummah and during his rule property and wealth will be stockpiled.”12
This hadith alludes to the elimination of society’s needs to the extent that wealth will exceed consumption. In other words, the government of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) apart from having no budget deficit will have surplus income.
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “When our Qa’im rises up… The earth will bring out its treasures and expose them in such a manner that the people could see them on the ground with their own eyes. The payers of zakat will look for someone needy to whom they could give their zakat but they would not be able to find anyone. Owing to the grace and munificence of God, the people will become needless of others.”13
‘Ali ibn ‘Uqbah narrated: “During that time, no one would be able to find a place where they can give charity and spend money in the way of goodness because the believers will be free from want everywhere.”14
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “The people will go to al-Mahdi paying their taxes. God will endow our Shi‘ah with a comfortable and easy life and they will live while being free from want. And if the grace and felicity of God had not encompassed them, they would have risen up with such freedom from want.”15
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘a) will give gifts to the people twice a year. He will give salaries twice a month and he will treat the people equally in such a manner that nobody who is in need of zakat could be found in society. The payers of zakat will bring the share of the poor to them but the poor will not accept them. Having no alternative, they will place the revenue in specially bags and bring them where the Shi‘ah are located but they will say, ‘We are not in need of your dirhams’.”16
From the abovementioned hadiths two points can be learned. Firstly, the people during the rule of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will have intellectual maturity such that, even without any force and pressure exerted on them, they will perform their obligations in every respect. One of these obligations is the payment of taxes on their income to the Islamic state.
If all the Muslims would pay the khums on their income and zakat on their assets to the Islamic government, their aggregate will be huge and the government would become able to undertake any measure of reform and public service.
Secondly, although Hadrat al-Mahdi’s (‘atfs) grants to the people at that time will be countless and the people will have incomes through various means that would render them free from need, what is worthy of attention is the sublime nature and spirit of contentment they will have.
For, there are many rich people who have hungry natures and greedy spirits while there are many people who, in spite of their being poor, have lofty natures and spirits of contentment. The people during the period of the Imam of the Time (‘atfs) will possess the spirit of contentment and this is the very spiritual transformation that will occur at that time.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “…At that time, al-Mahdi (S) will appear and he is from the progeny of this person (‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a)). Through his hand, God will eliminate liars, remove difficult circumstances, and take away the rope of slavery and servitude from your necks.”17
The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said: “When the Imam of the Time (‘atfs) appears, no Muslim slave will remain without being bought by the Imam and freed in the way of God, and no debtor will remain without his debt being paid by the Imam.”18
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “When al-Mahdi (‘atfs) appears, he will go to the city of Medina and free everyone from the Bani Hashim who was imprisoned there.”19 Then, Ibn Artah said: “He will go to Kufah and set free the prisoners from the Bani Hashim there.”
Tawus al-Yamani said: “The salient feature of al-Mahdi (‘atfs) is that he would be strict in relation to his rulers and officials and would be generous in giving wealth. In relation to the helpless, weak and indigent, he will be kind and magnanimous.”20
Abu Ru’bah said: “The Mahdi will give presents to the weak with his own hands.”21
This probably means that in distributing gifts and presents, the Imam (‘a) will pay particular attention to the deprived and weak, giving them more property. In addition to the right that every Muslim has with respect to his share in the public treasury, he will give to the poor as much as he deems appropriate.
We will realize the magnificence and importance of the prosperity and development during the rule of the Imam of the Time (‘a) when we try to take into account the magnitude of the destruction prior to his advent. Yes, the world that had suffered from ruinous war, that had fallen prey to the carnal desires of the power-mongers, that had been burnt in the fire of war for long periods, and had left behind death and destruction, will be more in need of prosperity and development. The government of al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will undertake the repairing of those destructions and make the entire world prosperous and developed.
Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said: “The Mahdi (‘atfs) will dispatch his companions to different lands. He will send companions who had paid allegiance to him from the beginning of the uprising off to the cities, enjoining justice and benevolence. Each of them will become the ruler of a territory on the earth. Afterward, all cities of the world will flourish through justice and benevolence.”22
In this regard, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “During the rule of al-Mahdi (‘atfs) no ruined place will remain on the surface of the earth without it being rehabilitated and developed.”23
The same Imam (‘a) also said: “After entering Kufah… Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will assign a group to dig a river from behind the shrine of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) (outside the city of Karbala’) toward the Ghariyin for the water to flow toward the city of Najaf, and they will build bridges across this river.”24
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “When our Qa’im rises up… The houses of Kufah will be connected to the river of Karbala and Hirah.”25
This hadith indicates the expansion of the city of Kufah, which will spread in the direction of Hirah, which is at present approximately sixty kilometers away from Kufah and to Karbala’, in another direction, which also is the same distance from Kufah.
Habah ‘Arani said: “The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) went to Hirah. There, pointing toward Kufah, he said: ‘Certainly, the houses of the city of Kufah will be connected to the city of Hirah and it will be so developed that every dhara‘26 (approximately one meter) of land in these two cities will be sold and purchased at great expense for many dinars.”27
Perhaps, the future expansion of Kufah and the expensiveness of its property will be due to its being the capital of the Islamic government in the future and based on hadiths, the faithful will go there.
In the same vein, roads and highways will expand during the period of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) and special rules will be observed in this context. In this connection, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said:
“When Hadrat al-Qa’im rises up, he will go to Kufah… Then, no corniced mosque (having a porch or crenation or overlooking other houses) will remain on the surface of the earth without being destroyed by him and restoring it to a form lacking their previous features, and he will expand the main roads.”28
Imam al-Kazim (‘a) said: “When our Qa’im rises up, he will inform those who own means of transportation (animal or otherwise) to travel along the middle of the highways and roads just as he will order pedestrians to walk on the sidewalks of the street. Thus, anyone riding who traveled along the edge of the street and harmed somebody will be obliged by the Imam (‘a) to pay blood-money. Similarly, any pedestrian who walked in the middle of the street and was harmed by somebody would have no right to receive blood money.”29
We can understand from this hadith that the cities will be so developed, main roads so expanded and means of transportation so multiplied that a law will be imposed not only for the means of the transportation but also for pedestrians.
Yes, a government that will use science and technology, expand the main roads, and construct expressways will also impose a law for driving with strong executive guarantees.
One of the sectors that will experience considerable transformation during the rule of the Imam of the Time (‘atfs) is the agricultural sector (farming and animal husbandry). After the people had tasted the pain of scant rain, long draughts, lack of foodstuffs, the destruction of sown fields, and a lack of news about domesticated animals and animal husbandry, when in order to procure a loaf of bread one sometimes had to sacrifice the most valuable things he possessed, i.e. chastity and dignity, a tremendous transformation in agriculture will occur and foodstuffs will become abundant in society.
Prior to the advent of the Imam (‘a) if there was any rain, the earth was not receptive to it and when the earth was receptive, the rain did not come or would sometimes fall at the wrong time and agricultural products would be destroyed. During the time of the Imam (‘a), the rain would change.
Initially, rain which had not so far been experienced by the people throughout their lives would fall. Thereafter, divine grace will descend opportunely upon the people, and as a result, the blessings of God for them will become abundant to such an extent that it would seem as if they had received ten years of produce in one day. It has been stated in hadiths that for every man (three kilograms) of wheat one could harvest a hundred man of produce.
Some hadiths mention the fall of twenty four rains after the advent of Imam al-Mahdi (‘atfs). Thereafter, accordingly, great blessings will envelop the people, encompassing flora and fauna as well. Plains, mountains and deserts, and perennially barren fields will become verdant; the divine blessings will be so bountiful that the people would wish for a new life for the dead.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The sky will shower upon them abundant rain.”30
In another hadith he (S) said: “God will send down for him blessings from the sky.”31
He (S) also said elsewhere: “He (‘atfs) will fill the earth with justice and equity while the sky will send down rain, and as a result, the soil will produce its crops permanently and my ummah during the rule of the Imam (‘atfs) will enjoy blessings the like of which has not been seen before.”32
In this connection, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said: “Because of our existence, God, the Exalted, began His creation and will also end it because of our existence. He extinguishes whatever He wills through us and creates anything He wills through us. Owing to our existence, He removes difficult circumstances, and sends down the rain for our sake. So, let (the world’s) deception not deviate you from the way of God. From the day God closes the doors of the sky, even a drop of rain will not fall, and if our Qa’im rises up, the sky will send down its rain of mercy.”33
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “When the time for the advent of Hadrat al-Qa’im comes, in Jumadi ath-Thani and ten days in the month of Rajab, a rain will fall the like of which the people have not seen.”34
Sa‘id ibn Jubayr said: “The year when Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) rises up, it will rain twenty four times whose effects and blessings will be made manifest.”35
Concerning the abundance of water during the period of Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs), the Noble Messenger of Islam (S) said: “During his (al-Mahdi’s) rule, water will be abundant and the water (level) of rivers will rise.”36
He (S) also said in another hadith: “…Rivers will overflow with water, springs will gush forth and spill over, and the earth will produce crops manifold times.”37
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “How happy would life be after al-Masih (Christ) (‘a) kills ad-Dajjal because the sky will be granted permission to let rain fall and the earth to produce crops. If a seed was to be thrown on Mount Safa (which is rocky and barren), it would surely grow. At that time rancor and jealousy will fade away such that if a person passes by a lion, he will not be harmed, and if he treds upon a snake, he will not be bitten.”38
The Prophet (S) also said: “My ummah during the period of al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will acquire blessings the like of which has never been seen, and no believer or infidel has ever attained such a blessing. The sky will send down rains in succession while the earth will not keep anything from the plants but send it out (i.e., it will let the plants grow).”39
Regarding the preparedness of the earth in the time of al-Mahdi (‘atfs), the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The earth is like silver, which becomes calm after its ebullition. It will be ready for cultivation and the flourishing of plants. It was the same during the time of Hadrat Adam (‘a).”40
Concerning the blessings of the produce and their good quality, the Prophet (S) said:
“…A pomegranate will satisfy many persons41 while a bunch of grapes will be consumed by many (and satiate them).”42
Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said: “Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will conquer the east and the west… He will remove evils and disturbances and replace them with wholesome and good things so much so that a wheat and barley farmer can get from every man (a unit of measurement equivalent to three kilograms) of wheat, a hundred man of produce just as God said:
﴿ فِي كُلِّ سُنْبُلَةٍ مِائَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ﴾
The same Imam (‘a) also said: “The Mahdi (‘atfs) will enjoin his officials to observe justice among the people in the cities… A farmer at the time will sow a mudd45 (of grain) and reap seven hundred mudds of crops as God, the Exalted, said and God will also increase it manifold.”46
With regard to the fruition of trees, he (‘a) said: “At the time of al-Mahdi (‘atfs) trees will bear fruits (plentifully) and blessings will abound.”47
The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said elsewhere: “When our Qa’im rises up, the sky will send down its rain while the earth will let its plants sprout such that if a woman travels on foot from Iraq to Sham, she will tread on nothing but grasses and shrubs.”48
Maybe the Imam (‘a) mentions this region as an example. It must be noted that the present geographical condition of this region is such that on this route nothing can be found except the cacti of the desert. Perhaps, mentioning this region is meant to indicate that during the time of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) all barren lands will become verdant.
In relation to this, the Prophet of God (S) said: “When Hadrat al-Mahdi appears to my ummah, the earth will bring forth its crops, fruits and flowers will grow while the sky will send down its rain.”49
The same Imam (‘a) also said: “…By God! After the appearance of ad-Dajjal, there will be (flourishing) agriculture and trees will be planted (plentifully).”52
As narrated by Shaykh at-Tusi in At-Tahdhib, “We will do farming and plant trees.”53
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “During the last period of the life of my ummah, Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will appear… and sheep and (other) domesticated animals will become abundant.”54
The Prophet (S) also said: “At that time, there will be herds of animals and they will continue to live.”55
A point worthy of note in the statement of the Prophet (S) above is that prior to that period, it seems that on account of the scarcity of water and forage as well as the spread of diseases, domesticated animals could hardly survive.
He (S) said elsewhere: “After the killing of ad-Dajjal, God will bestow blessings on the herds of animals so much so that a young camel (which is at the age of preparation for pregnancy) would be able to satisfy a number of people; a calf would be the enough food for an entire tribe; and a goat would be enough to feed a certain number of people.”56
The growth and expansion of commerce in a society is a sign of its economic development and prosperity. The closing of markets and commercial stagnation are signs of a society’s poverty. Since the people during the rule of the Imam of the Age (‘atfs) will experience good economic conditions, commerce will flourish and markets will be active.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said in this regard: “Among the signs of Qiyamah (advent of al-Mahdi (‘atfs)) are the following: Assets and wealth will flow like a flood among the people; knowledge and learning will become manifest; and commerce will expand and flourish.”57
‘Abdullah ibn Salam said: “After the elimination of ad-Dajjal, the people will live for forty years; date palms will be planted; and markets will be established.”58