The traditions that indicate he will lead (the prayers) for Jesus, son of Mary, and Jesus will follow him in prayers
Comprised of thirty-six traditions
756. Al-Bayān fī akhbār Ṣāḥib al-Zamān1: Al-Ḥāfiẓ Yūsuf informed us at Aleppo2, from al-Qāḍī Abū l-Makārim, from [Abū l-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad] Abū `Alī al-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad, from al-Ḥāfiẓ [Abū l-Faraj] Abū Nu`aim, from Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī, from Aḥmad b. al-Ḥasan b. Shu`ba, from his father, from Ḥaṣīn b. Mukhāriq, from al-Khalīl b. Laṭīf, from Abū Hārūn al-`Abdī, from Abū Sa`īd al-Khudrī, from the Messenger of Allah, Allah’s blessings be on him and his family, who said: “From us is the one behind whom, Jesus, son of Mary, will pray.”
[The author of al-Bayān says] al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū Nu`aim has recorded it in his book Manāqib al-Mahdī `alayhi al-salām.
757. Ghāyat al-ma’mūl3:
The Mahdī will turn his face [towards] Jesus, son of Mary— who will have descended. It will be is as if water is dripping from [Jesus’] hair. The Mahdī will say to him, “Come forward and lead the prayers for the people.” He will reply, “The prayers have been established for you.” So, [Jesus] will pray behind a person from my descendants and he is the Mahdī.
758. Al-Fitan4: From more than one person, from Ḥammād b. Salma, from `Alī b. Zaid, from a person, from `Abd-Allah b. `Amr: “The Mahdī is the one that Jesus, son of Mary, will descend in his presence and will pray behind him—peace be on them.”
759. Al-Fitan5: Narrated to us Abū Usāma, from Hishām, from Muḥammad who said: “The Mahdī is from this nation. He is the one who will lead the prayers for Jesus, son of Mary—peace be on them.”
760. Al-Muṣannaf6: Narrated to us Abū Usāma, from Hishām, from ibn Sīrīn that “The Mahdī is from this nation. He is the one who will lead the prayers for Jesus son of Mary.”
761. Al-Fitan by Abū Ṣāliḥ al-Salīlī7: Narrated to us al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, from Sufyān b. Sa`īd al-Thaurī, from Manṣūr b. al-Mu`tamir, from Raba`ī b. Khirāsh, from the Messenger of Allah, Allah’s blessings be on him and his family, who mentioned a long tradition about the unrests (fitan) that will occur and said: “Triumphant is that nation from whom I am the first and Jesus is at its end. [Jesus] will pray behind a person from my descendants . . . (to the end of the narration).”
762. Al-Durr al-manthūr8: Ibn Abī Shaiba, Aḥmad, al-Ṭabarānī, and al-Ḥākim have recorded the (following) tradition and have regarded it as authentic (Ṣaḥīḥ): From `Uthmān b. Abī l-`Āṣ, from the Messenger of Allah, Allah’s blessings be on him [and his family], who said:
. . . Jesus will descend at the time of the morning prayers (ṣalāt al-fajr). The commander of the people will say to him, “Come forward, O Spirit of Allah, and lead the prayers for us.” He will reply, “Surely, you from the people of this nation, some of you are commanders of others. You come forward and lead the prayers for us.”
Thus, [the Mahdī] will go forward and will lead the prayers. When he finishes, Jesus will take his spear towards the Antichrist (al-Dajjāl). When he sees him, he will melt like the melting of lead. Then, he will pierce between his breasts with his spear and will kill him and then he will defeat his followers. On that day, nothing will give cover to [the Antichrist’s followers]—to such an extent that the stone will call out, “O believer! Here is a disbeliever, kill him.” And the tree will call out, “O believer! Here is a disbeliever, kill him.”
763. Sunan ibn Māja9: Narrated to us `Ali ibn Muḥammad, from `Abd al-Raḥmān al-Muḥāribī, from Ismā’īl b. Rāfi` Abī Rāfi`, from Abī Zur`a al-Shaibānī Yaḥyā b. Abī `Amr, from Abū Umāma al-Bāhilī who said:
The Messenger of Allah, Allah’s blessings be on him [and his family], gave a sermon to us and most of his sermon was about the Antichrist (al-Dajjāl) and he cautioned us about him . . . He continued the narration until he said, “And their Imam will be a righteous man. When their Imam goes forward to lead the morning prayers, Jesus, son of Mary, will descend in the morning. Then, the Imam will withdraw a bit—walking backwards—so that Jesus would come forward to lead the prayers for the people. On [seeing] this, Jesus will place his hand [on the Imam’s back] between his shoulders and say to him, ‘Go ahead and pray! The prayers have been established for you.’ So, their Imam will lead the prayers for them . . .”
764. `Uyūn al-mu`jizāt10: From the Messenger of Allah, Allah’s blessings be on him and his family . . . who informed about the emergence of the Mahdī who is the seal of the Imams, who will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as it will be filled with unfairness and injustice. That Jesus will descend upon him at the time of his emergence and reappearance and will pray behind him. [The author of `Uyūn al-mu`jizāt says,] “This is a report on which the Shias, scholars, non-scholars, the Sunnis, the elite, the masses, the old, and the children are all unanimous and agree to due to its fame.”
765. `Uyūn al-mu`jizāt11: From Abū Sa`īd al-Khudrī, from the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, who said: “I swear by the One in Whose Hands is my life! The Mahdī of this umma—behind whom Jesus will pray—is from us; then, he patted the shoulder of Imam al-Ḥusayn with his hand and exclaimed, ‘From him, from him.’”
766. Al-Tafḍīl12: Some of the Shias and also some of the Sunni traditionists (muḥaddithīn) have recorded that
When the Mahdī appears, Allah, the Exalted, will send down Jesus upon him and they will come together. When the time of the compulsory prayers comes, the Mahdī will say to Jesus, “Come forward, O Spirit of Allah” suggesting that he should lead the prayers. The Christ will reply, “No one is allowed to precede you Ahl al-Bait.” So the Mahdī will go forward and the Christ will pray behind him, peace be on them both.
767. Ḥāshiyatu fatḥ al-mubīn13: One narration mentions that he will descend after the Mahdī has commenced the prayers. He will go back a bit so that Jesus may lead the prayers. Jesus will place his hand between his shoulders and say to him, “You go ahead.” Before narrating this tradition [the author of the book] says, “His descent will occur at the time of the morning prayers.”
768. Anwār al-tanzīl14: It has been narrated that
Jesus will descend at a mountain pass in the Holy Land called Afīq. In his hand will be a lance by which he will kill the Antichrist (al-Dajjāl). Then, he will come to Bait al-Maqdas while the people are busy with the morning prayers. The Imam will withdraw but Jesus will stand back and will pray behind him in accordance with the sharia of Muḥammad, blessings and peace be on him.
`Alī b. Burhān al-Dīn al-Ḥalabī al-Shāfi`ī writes in al-Sīrat al-Ḥalabiyya, “[Jesus’] descent will be at the time of the morning prayers. He will pray behind the Mahdī after the Mahdī says to him, ‘Come forward, O Spirit of Allah!’ and he will answer, ‘You go ahead, for indeed, the prayers have been established for you.’”
Similar to the above has been recorded in Rūḥ al-bayān under the saying of Allah, the Exalted, “And surely, it is a knowledge of the Hour” (Quran 43:61). Similar to it has also been mentioned in Tafsīr al-kashshāf.
It has been recorded in Tafsīr rūḥ al-ma`ānī that “It is famous that his descent will take place at Damascus while the people are busy with the morning prayers. On his arrival, the Imam—and he is the Mahdī—will withdraw a bit but Jesus will want him to lead the prayers and will pray behind him saying, ‘It has been established for you.’”
Al-Suyūṭī—while refuting the claim of those who deny that Jesus will pray behind the Mahdī, peace be on him, because a Prophet’s position is so great that he cannot pray behind a non-Prophet—writes in al-I`lām bi ḥukmi `Īsā `alayhi al-salām, “This is extremely amazing! The praying of Jesus behind the Mahdī is proved beyond doubt in a number of authentic traditions based on the news of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him [and his family], who is the truthful and the verified whose prophecies no one can refute . . . ” He then proceeds to mention some of these traditions and then says, “I am not surprised by their denial [because they are claiming something] they do not know, rather, I am amazed at them for writing these claims in pieces of paper which will remain forever after they have passed away.”
769. Tafsīr al-Qummī15: My father narrated to me, from al-Qāsim b. Muḥammad, from Sulaimān b. Dāwūd al-Minqarī, from Abū Ḥamza, from Shahr b. Ḥaushab who said:
Al-Ḥajjāj said to me, “A verse from the Book of Allah has exhausted me.” I asked, “O Emir! Which verse is it?” He replied, “‘And there is no one from the people of the Book (ahl al-kitāb) but that he will most certainly believes in him before his death’ (Quran 4:159). By Allah, I summon the Jews and the Christians and [order] their heads to be chopped off. Then, I carefully observe them with my own eyes but I do not see them moving their lips until they die.”
I said, “May Allah redeem the Emir! The verse is not as you have interpreted it.” He said, “Then how is it?” I answered, “Jesus will descend to the world before the Day of Judgment. Then, no one will remain from the nation of the Jews and Christians except that he will believe in him before his death and [Jesus] will pray behind the Mahdī.” He said, “Woe to you! Where have you got this from? What is your source?” I answered, “Muḥammad b. `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on him, informed me.” He exclaimed, “By Allah, You have brought this narration from a pure source.”
770. `Uyūn akhbār al-Riḍā16: Tamīm b. `Abd-Allah b. Tamīm al-Qurashī, may Allah be satisfied with him, from his father, from Aḥmad b. `Alī al-Anṣārī, from al-Ḥasan b. al-Jahm who said:
One day, I went to al-Ma’mūn’s court and (Imam) `Alī b. Mūsā al-Riḍā, peace be on him, was with him. The jurists and dialecticians from various sects had gathered there and one of them asked [the Imam], “O Son of Allah’s Messenger! How can a person’s claim of Imamate be verified?” He replied, “By divine text (al-naṣṣ) and reasons . . . (and the narration continues until he said,) Whoever claims divinity for the Prophets, or claims prophethood for the Imams, or claims Imamate for others other than the Imams, then we dissociate ourselves from such a people in this world and the hereafter.”
At that point, al-Ma’mūn said, “O Abū l-Ḥasan! What is your opinion about the Return (al-raj`a)?” (Imam) al-Riḍā, peace be on him, answered, “Verily, it is the truth. It occurred in the previous nations and the Quran has talked about it. The Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, has said, ‘Whatever has occurred in the previous nations will occur in this nation in the exact same manner.’” Then, he continued, “When the Mahdī from my descendants emerges, Jesus, son Mary, peace be on him, will descend and will pray behind him.”
771. Al-Burhān fī tafsīr al-Quran17: From ibn Bābawayh, through his chain of narrators from Mu`ammar, from Imam Abū `Abd-Allah (al-Ṣādiq), peace be on him, in a long tradition from the Holy Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, who said: “From my progeny is the Mahdī. When he emerges, Jesus, son of Mary, will descend to help him and will ask him to lead [the prayers] and will pray behind him.”
The traditions which encompass this concept are too many to be listed here and the chapter will become too long if they are all mentioned. The following traditions also prove the above concept: 118, 153, 219, 284, 327, 361, 399, 429, 530, 539, 553, 582, 668, 669, 910, 1066, 1071, 1081, 1083, and 1105.