There are many hadiths concerning the new laws and judgments of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘a) and the reforms he will pursue, laws that are at first glance inconsistent with existing jurisprudential texts and sometimes with the apparent purport of the hadiths and Prophetic tradition (Sunnah).
Among these new laws are laws of inheritance based on brotherhood in the “world of souls” (‘alam adh-dharr),1 the killing of winebibbers, the killing of non-praying persons, the execution of liars, prohibitions on taking interest from Muslims in transactions, the elimination of minarets from mosques, and the removal of the roofs of mosques. The approaches adopted by the Imam (‘a) in the actions and affairs indicated in the previous chapter are also related to these.
In the hadiths these changes have been mentioned in such terms as new judgment, new tradition (sunnah), new invocation, and new book, which we regard as nothing else but the revival of the Muhammadan (S) Sunnah. However, the magnitude of the transformations would be so far-reaching that when people are confronted with them they will say, “He has brought a new religion!”
Granting that the hadiths are indeed transmitted from the Infallibles (‘a), it is necessary to pay attention to the following pertinent points:
1. The conditions for the announcement and implementation of some divine laws will exist during the time of the advent of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs), notwithstanding their being established by God, and it is he who will announce and implement those laws.
2. With the passage of time, changes and distortions in the divine laws have been made by tyrants and corruptors, and after his advent Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs) will rectify and regulate them.
In the book, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, it is thus stated: “No innovation will be left unless he removes it and no tradition unless he revives it.”2
3. Since the jurists (fuqaha) apply rules (qawa’id) and principles (usul) in deducing religious rulings, sometimes a ruling they deduce might not be consistent with the true ruling although the product of such a deduction or inference (istinbat) is a religious proof for the mujtahid3 and his followers (muqallidin).4 In the government of the Imam of the Time (‘atfs), however, he will proclaim the true laws.
4. Some religious laws have been announced in particular situations and in emergencies and have not been in their true form due to dissimulation (taqiyyah).5 During the period of the Imam (‘atfs) there will be no more taqiyyah and the true rulings shall be expressed.
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “During the uprising of our Qa’im, there will be no more taqiyyah and the Imam will unsheathe his sword; he will neither take anything from the people but the sword nor give anything to them but the sword.”6
Regarding the abovementioned cases, it shall suffice to quote some hadiths:
In a lengthy hadith Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “It is (incumbent) upon you (Muslims) to submit (to our command), to entrust affairs to us, to wait for our and your government, and to wait for our and your relief and deliverance.
When our Qa’im rises up, and our speaker speaks and teaches you anew the Qur’anic instructions, and the religious precepts and laws—in the same form that they have been revealed to Muhammad (S)—your scholars will reject his style and protest against him while you will not remain steadfast and firm in the religion of God and His path unless under the sword—the sword which is over your head.
“God has given the tradition of the previous communities to these people but they changed the traditions and distorted the religion. No law exists among the people but that which is distorted from its revealed form. May God have mercy on you! Accept whatever has been asked from you so that the one who will revive the religion would come.”7
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “During the advent of Hadrat al-Qa’im, he will invite the people to Islam anew and guide them toward it (Islam) when Islam had faded and become antiquated and the people had drifted away from it.”8
It can be deduced from these hadiths that Imam al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will not present a new religion in the world. Instead, since the people would have drifted away from the true Islam, he will invite them again to the religion just as the Prophet (S) invited them to it.
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said to Barid: “O Barid! By God! In this world no sanctuary for God would be left without being violated and the Book of God and the Sunnah of His Prophet would not be implemented.
From the day the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) passed away, the legal punishments (hudud) of God have never been observed among the people.” Then he said: “By God! Days and nights will not come to an end unless God revives the dead, lets the living die, returns the right to its owner (claimant), and establishes the religion acceptable to Him and His Prophet. Glad tidings to you and give glad tidings to you! By God! The truth is only in your hand.”9
This hadith shows that the changes for the non-Shi‘ah are very remarkable although some cases would also be new for them.
In this chapter, we shall discuss the changes and reforms at the time of the Imam of the Time (‘atfs) in three parts: new laws, reforms, and the renewal of foundations and new judgments.
Aban ibn Taghlib reported: “Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said to me: ‘In Islam, based on the law of God, there are two types of blood that are lawful (to shed), however, no one will implement its ruling unless God sends the Qa’im of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). He will judge according to the law of God and seek no proof and witness. He will stone adulterers and adulteresses to death, and behead non-payers of zakat’.”10
Imam as-Sadiq and Imam al-Kazim (‘a) said: “During the uprising of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘a), he will pass judgment on three cases in such a manner that no one before him had done so. He will execute old adulterers, kill anyone who hinders the payment of zakat, and give the inheritance of a brother to his positional brother (who were both brothers in the “world of souls”).”11
Regarding the ruling on the execution of those who do not pay zakat, the late ‘Allamah Hilli said: “In all periods the Muslims share consensus of opinion regarding the existence of zakat, as one of the five pillars of Islam. As such, anyone, who denies its compulsoriness (wujub), who is a ‘natural Muslim’ (fitri Muslim),12 and has grown up among Muslims, will be executed regardless of his repentance.
And if this person is a ‘national/community Muslim’ (milli Muslim),13 he has to repent three times of his apostasy (irtidad) and thereafter he shall be executed (in case it persists). This ruling is implemented on condition that the person in question is knowledgeable and aware of its being obligatory (wajib). If he does not know its compulsoriness, the ruling shall not be passed for his infidelity (kufr).”14
On the commentary of this hadith, Majlisi al-Awwal said: “Perhaps it means that in these two cases the Imam (‘atfs) will pass judgment based on his (esoteric) knowledge, and there will be no need for witnesses as this method will also be employed in other judgments of the Imam. The secret behind the emphasis on these two cases has something to do with their importance.”15
Imam al-Kazim (‘a) said: “God created souls two thousands years before bodies. Those who were acquainted with one another in the heavens will also be acquainted with one another on the earth. Similarly, those who were alien to one another in the heavens will also be unfamiliar with one another on the earth. When Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs) rises up, he will give inheritance to one’s brother-in-faith while cutting off the inheritance of one’s consanguineous brother. This is the purport of God’s saying in Surah al-Mu’minun when He says:
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Two thousand years before creating bodies, God established brotherhood among the souls. When the Qa’im among us, the Ahl al-Bayt, rises up, brothers whose brotherhood had been established will inherit from one another while the consanguineous brothers having the same father and mother will not inherit from one another.”18
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “When our Qa’im appears, he will first go to Shi‘ah liars and kill them.”19
They are probably referring to the hypocrites, false Mahdis and innovators in religion who caused people to deviate.
The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said: “God will not destroy the world unless our Qa’im rises up; extinguishes our enemies; accepts the jizyah no more; breaks the cross and idols; puts an end to the period of war and bloodshed; invites the people to receive assets and properties; fairly distributes properties among them; and behaves justly with the people.”20
Regarding the breaking of the cross and the killing of pigs, which means the end of the period of Christianity and the ruling on the jizyah, the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will appear as a just ruler and he will break the crosses, kill the pigs, and order his functionaries to take assets and properties—to place them in the cities so that anyone who is in need can take from them—but no one would be found who would express his need.”21
Perhaps, this hadith alludes to the end of Christianity and the decline of the People of the Book (ahl al-kitab).
Hirawi said: “I asked Hadrat ar-Rida (‘a): ‘O son of the Messenger of Allah! What is your opinion regarding this statement of Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) when he said: ‘When our Qa’im rises up, the living offspring of Imam al-Husayn’s (‘a) murderers will be killed as punishment for the act of their forefathers?’ Hadrat ar-Rida (‘a) said: ‘That statement is correct.’
“I asked: ‘So, what does this verse of the Qur’an mean:
“No bearer shall bear another’s burden,”22?’
“The Imam replied: ‘What God states is true, but the remaining offspring of Imam al-Husayn’s (‘a) murderers would be pleased with the act of their forefathers and take pride in it, and anyone who is pleased with an act is like the one who has done it. If a certain man in the east is killed and another man in the west is pleased with the killing of the former, in the sight of God he has a share in the sin.’
“‘Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs) will exterminate the descendants of Imam al-Husayn’s (‘a) murderers during his advent because of the fact that they are pleased with the act of their forefathers.’
“I asked: ‘With which tribe will your Qa’im start?’ He replied: ‘He will start from the Bani Shaybah and amputate their hands because they are robbers of the House of God in the holy city of Mecca (Makkah al-Mu‘azzamah)’.”23
‘Ali reports that his father, Salim, asked Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) regarding the hadith, “I loathe anyone who has more confidence in mortgage (rahn) and deposits (wathiqah) than his faithful brother.”
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “This subject belongs to the period of the Qa’im among us, the Ahl al-Bayt.”24
Salim reported: “I said to Imam as-Sadiq (‘a): ‘A hadith has been reported which states that earning profit and interest from a believer by his fellow brother-in-faith is unlawful and usurious’.” The Imam (‘a) said: “This subject belongs to the time when the Qa’im from among us, the Ahl al-Bayt, rises up. But today it is permissible for a person to sell something to a believer and earn a profit from him.”25
After regarding the chain of transmission of this hadith as strong (qawiyy), Majlisi al-Awwal said: “It can be learnt from this hadith that the hadiths stating that making a profit off a believer is discouraged or reprehensible (makruh), regarding it as usurious, are not exaggerations. It is possibly makruh at the present but during the time of Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs) it will be unlawful (haram).”26
While regarding this hadith as unknown (majhul), Majlisi ath-Thani, however, said: “Maybe the unlawfulness (hurmat) mentioned in this two cases refers to the time of the uprising of Hadrat al-Hujjah.”27
Ishaq said: “I was in the company of Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) when he was talking about help and cooperation between brethren-in-faith and then he said: ‘When Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘a) appears, it will be obligatory to help brethren-in-faith and they have to be assisted and supported’.”28
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “When our Qa’im rises up, qatayi‘(and the ownership of immovable properties) will cease to exist in such a way that there will be no more qatayi‘.”29
The qatayi‘ which refers to huge properties such as villages, vast tracks of land and castles that kings and powerful individuals see as their own, will belong to the Imam of the Time (‘atfs) during his time.
Mu‘adh ibn Kathir reported that Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Our Shi‘ah are at liberty. They are free in the sense that they spend whatever they earn in the way of good and righteousness, but when our Qa’im rises up, it will be unlawful (haram) for every rich man to amass wealth except that he would turn it over to the Imam and spend the same in war against the enemy, and this is the statement of God when He says:
Asbagh ibn Nabatah said: “On his entrance into the Kufah Mosque—which at that time was made up of sundried earth and baked clay—the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said: ‘Woe unto him who destroyed you! Woe unto him who facilitated the way to your destruction! Woe unto him who built you with mud and baked clay, and changed the direction of Nuh’s (Noah) (‘a) qiblah!’
Then, he continued: ‘Blessed is he who will be the witness of your destruction during the time of Hadrat al-Qa’im of the Ahl al-Bayt! They are the excellent ones of the ummah who are in the company of the excellent ones of the progeny (‘itrat)’.”32
The same Imam (‘a) also said: “Undoubtedly, when our Qa’im rises up, he will destroy the Kufah Mosque and fix its qiblah.”33
Abu Basir reported that Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “During the uprising of our Qa’im, he will destroy four mosques in Kufah and he will not allow any embellished mosque to remain without having destroyed its crenation and extravagance and make it simple, free from any extravagance. He will also destroy all mosques located along highways.”34
Perhaps, the four mosques refer to those built in Kufah after the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) by the commanders of Yazid’s army as a gesture of gratitude for the murder of the Imam, and which later on became known as “the cursed mosques” (masajid al-mal‘unah). Although those mosques do not exist now, a group will possibly rebuild them later on account of its enmity with the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).35
Regarding these mosques, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “Out of joy for the murder of al-Husayn (‘a), four mosques were constructed in Kufah such as Ash‘ath Mosque, Jarir Mosque, Samak Mosque, and Shabath ibn Rub‘i Mosque.”36
Abu Hashim Ja‘fari said: “I was in the company of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (‘a) when he said: ‘During the uprising of Hadrat al-Qa’im, he will order the destruction of the minarets and maqsurahs37 in the mosques.’ I said to myself: ‘Why will the Imam do so?’ Imam al-‘Askari (‘a) turned toward me and said: ‘It is because they are innovations, which neither the Prophet nor any Imam has built’.”38
Based on a hadith, the late Shaykh as-Saduq said: “On passing by a mosque whose minaret was high, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) ordered the destruction of its minaret.”39
Majlisi al-Awwal said: “From these hadiths, the unlawfulness of building high minarets can be inferred because the presence of extravagance and dominance over the houses of Muslims is unlawful (haram). Most jurists (fuqaha), however, infer that what is meant by this hadith is the abominable (instead of haram).40 As reported by Mas‘udi and Tabarsi, “He will order the destruction of minarets.”41
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “The first thing Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs) will do from the beginning is related to the roof of mosques. He will destroy them and in its stead he will place roofs similar to the ‘arish42 of Musa (Moses) (‘a).”43
This hadith is related to the acceptance of prayers. It is because the absence of obstacles and buffers between the worshippers and the sky is recommended (mustahabb) while the removal of buffers is one of the conditions for the acceptance of prayers and the granting of requests in invocations.
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs) will destroy the structure of Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Mecca) and restore its original structure and size. After being destroyed, Masjid an-Nabi (in Medina) will also be restored to its original size. He will also erect the Ka‘bah in its original location.”44
The same Imam (‘a) also said: “When Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs) rises up, he will restore the House of God to its original size,45 and he will also do the same to the Mosque of the Prophet (S) (in Medina) and the Kufah Mosque.”
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) said: “After the advent of Hadrat al-Mahdi (‘atfs), God will send a wind to announce in every land: ‘This is Mahdi who will pass judgment based on the method of Dawud (Prophet David) and Sulayman (Prophet Solomon), and he seeks no witness in his decree.”46
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘atfs) has some decrees and judgments against which even some of his supporters and those who wield the sword on his side will protest. This will be the (method of) judgment of Hadrat Adam (‘a) and he will behead the protesters. Then, he will also pass judgment based on a different method, which is that of Dawud. Another group from his supporters, however, will protest and the Imam will also behead them.
“For the third time, he will adopt the method of Ibrahim (‘a) in passing judgment and again, another group from among his supporters, who wield the sword on his side, will protest and the Imam will also execute them. Afterward, the Imam of the Time (‘atfs) will behave based on the conduct of Muhammad (S) and no one will protest against him anymore.”47
Large and grandiose institutions with diverse names, symbols and having eloquent bylaws today only talk about human rights and the protection of the deprived, but have behaved toward people in such a manner as if they have no other business but enmity against all of humanity.
Finally, the government of al-Mahdi will become the inheritor of a world in which the tyrants, with all their might, had waged war and engaged in combat against humanity. They would have slaughtered a large number of people and those who have remained alive will no longer pin their hopes on other governments. They will seek refuge instead in the government that will fulfill its promises, and that government is no other than the government of al-Mahdi from the Progeny of Muhammad (S).
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said: “Our government and state will be the last state and no party, group or family will remain to have any government unless that government would have been established prior to ours. The reason behind this is that if they could not see our modus operandi and government policy, they could not say, ‘If we had been in charge, we would have behaved in that manner,’ and this is the purport of God’s statement when He says:
“And the outcome will be in favor of the God-wary.”48
Justice is a familiar word which is liked and pursued by everybody. Justice is something good and wholesome irrespective of where or whom it emanates, and it becomes more meaningul if it stems from officials and rulers. It is lamentable to note, however, that most of the time no other trace of justice except its name can be found, and mankind has not witnessed justice except in very few instances—in the governments of men of God.
The imperialists abuse this sacred word in various forms for further imperialist ventures and political influence. By chanting this false slogan, they gather groups around them. It will no longer take much time for them to be disgraced; they would not find any alternative to perpetuate their rule except by resorting to the use of force and injustice.
The late Tabarsi made a speech regarding Hadrat al-Mahdi’s (‘atfs) revival of the Sunnah, which we will partially quote here:
If it is posed that—“All Muslims believe that after the Seal of the Prophets (S) there will be no more prophet to come, but you Shi‘ah believe that during his uprising, al-Qa’im will not collect jizyah from the People of the Book; he will kill twenty year olds who are ignorant of the precepts of his religion; destroy mosques and religious sites; pass judgments based on the method of Dawud, which does not require witnesses in issuing verdicts; and the like, which are mentioned in your hadiths.
This belief leads to the abrogation of religion and nullification of religious precepts. In fact, in view of this belief, you have posited the existence of prophethood and a prophet after the Seal of the Prophets although you have not named him as a prophet”—what should be our reply?
We will say: We are not aware of the things mentioned in the question—that al-Qa’im (‘atfs) will not collect jizyah from the People of the Book and that he will kill twenty year olds who are ignorant of the precepts of their religion. And even assuming that there had been a hadith in this regard, it cannot be absolutely accepted.
What is possibly meant by the destruction of certain mosques and religious sites is that these mosques and religious sites have been constructed contrary to the spirit of piety and God’s command, which of course, will be a legitimate act for the Prophet (S) did a similar act.49
That al-Qa’im will pass judgment similar to that of Dawud and not be in need of witnesses and evidence in issuing verdicts is also an issue which is not absolute and certain according to us. If it is correct, it should be so understood that in cases where he has knowledge of the truth of the cases and the nature of the disputes, he will pass judgment based on his knowledge.
For, whenever an Imam or judge acquires certainty on a subject, it becomes necessary for him to give a verdict in accordance with his knowledge and he will no longer be in need of any witness or evidence, and this point will not cause the abrogation of religion.
They have also said: “The Qa’im will not collect jizyah, and he will neither listen to the testimony of witnesses nor pay attention to evidence. Even assuming it to be correct, it will not lead to the abrogation of religion either. This is because the proof of abrogation (naskh) comes after the abrogated (mansukh) law, precept or decree and they do not come simultaneously. If the two proofs (proof of abrogation and proof of the abrogated law, precept or decree) came together, one could not abrogate the other although the former is contrary to the latter in meaning.
For instance, if we assume that God said, “On Saturday up to a certain time, you have to stay at home, and after that time you are free to go wherever you like.” This statement cannot be said to be an abrogation because the “lifting proof” (dalil ar-rafi‘) is together with the “proof of effect” (dalil al-mawjib).
As this fact becomes clear and since we know that the Prophet (S) had informed us that “The Qa’im is from my progeny; follow his orders and accept whatever decree he will issue,” it is obligatory upon us to follow him and act upon whatever decree he would issue.
Thus, if we accepted his ruling—although it might be different from some of the previous precepts—we would not regard it an act of abrogating the precepts of the religion of Islam because as we have said, abrogation of laws or precepts on an issue whose proof has emerged cannot be realized.50