Table of Contents

Chapter 2

The Mahdi is from the Arabs

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in chapter one, section 4, narrates from Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’īm ibn Hammād (from his book Al-Fiṭan) who is turn narrates from ‘Ali (a.s.) who said: -

“The kingdom of Bani ‘Abbas is such that if the Turks, Daylamites, and the inhabitants of Indus valley and India were to attack them they would fail to destroy them and Bani ‘Abbas would continue to be successful until they become aggressive towards the slaves and the weak. Then God will make a cow (‘ijl, the wicked one who will revolt against Bani ‘Abbas and destroy them) to dominate over them which shall come out from a place where their kingdom began.

“He shall not pass any city but that he conquers it; no flag will be hoisted before him but that he destroys it and he will not come across any bounty but that he misuses it. Woe be to the one who takes his side. This shall continue until victory is achieved at the hands of an Arab who shall rise for the truth and act upon it.”

It is apparent that ‘an Arab’ in the above sentence refers to the Mahdi, the Awaited One who shall appear at the end of time and his signs are the very ones which have come in the same chapter of the aforesaid book which has been taken from the book of al-Fiṭan, where its author, Imam Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’īm ibn Hammād narrates from Abu Qabil as such: “People shall always be in comfort until the kingdom of Bani ‘Abbas comes to an end. Then they will live in disturbed conditions until the advent of the Mahdi.”

The author says: History bears witness that right from the time of Hulagu’s revolt the East has not enjoyed liberty. Disturbed conditions and discord among the rulers and kings has always continued to exist. Thus ‘Ali’s saying that: ‘Until he gains victory and hands it over to an Arab’ is perhaps referring to this point that that discord and disturbed conditions are all incidental to the coming of Hulagu and his subsequent revolt and it shall remain till the advent of the Mahdi. Thus, as one of the causes and means of the Mahdi’s victory and his success in inviting the people (towards his mission) and his domination over the cities is the discord and disturbed conditions which shall follow the revolt of Hulagu. It is like this that Hulagu himself will surrender the affairs of Government to him (a.s.).

Another factor, which shows that the Mahdi is from an Arab line, is the diffused traditions which have come with regards to determination of his family and relatives. Raghib in his al-Mufradat says: “Al-’Arab ( العرب ) are the children of Isma’il (Ishmael) and al-A’rāb ( الاعراب ) its plural form. Later on the nomads were called by that name.”

The author of Sabā’ik al-Dhahab, on page 4 says: “The city-dwellers are called “al-’Arab” and the desert-dwellers “al-A’rāb” and what is common is that the word al-A’rāb ( الاعراب ) is used for both groups.”

Al-Jawhari in his Sihah says: “Al-‘Arab ( العرب) are a tribe and they are the city-dwellers. They are known as ‘Arabi and the al-A’rab are known as A’rābi. But the word ’Arab’ is commonly used at all levels. The same has been written in the dictionaries.”

The author of al-‘Ibar says: The word al-‘Arab ( العرب ) is derived from al-i’rāb ( الاعراب ), which is expression, and its meaning of expression (speech has been taken from those who say: ( أعرب الرجل عن حاجته ) - At the time when a person expresses and describes his need and since they possess the faculty of expression and eloquence in speech they have been called by this name. So know that every non-Arab - whether Iranians, Turks, Romans or Europeans are all ‘Ajam ( عجم) - non-Arab, and it is not what the people commonly believe that the word ‘ajam is particular to the Persian-speaking nation. Rather, the people of North Africa (the Maghreb) until now use this word for the Europeans and those who fall in the same category. However the word of a’jam ( أعجم ) [with the addition of an ‘alif’] is used for the one who does not clarify his speech even though he may be an Arab.

The Mahdi is from this Ummah (Nation)

Al-Tirmidhi is his al-Sahih, on page 270 narrates from Abu Sa’īd al-Khudri who said: ‘I feared that after the Holy Prophet, something bad might take place, so we asked the Prophet and he replied as such: “Indeed the Mahdi is from my Ummah and he shall emerge from amongst them.”

The magazine Huda al-Islam in its 25th publication, line No. 3 has narrated the same tradition from Ibn Majah who in turn has narrated it from Abu Sa’īd.

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar, in the first chapter narrates from Abu Muslim ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf from his father from the Holy Prophet (S) who said: -
“Surely God shall appoint a man from my Ummah (nation)”. He continued to the point of saying: “He shall fill the earth with justice.”

In the 3rd chapter of the same book, the author narrates from the book of Sifat al-Mahdi written by Hafiz Abu Na’īm who in turn narrates from Abu Sa’īd al-Khudri from the Holy Prophet (S) who said:

“The Mahdi is from us, the Ahl al-Bayt (i.e. People of the House). He is from my Ummah”.

The author of al-Fusu1 al-Muhimma narrates from Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi and these two from ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud and he from the Holy Prophet (S) who said:

“If there remains not more than a day from the life the earth, God will prolong the day until He sends a person from my Ummah and my progeny (Ahl al-Bayt) who carries the same name as mine (and who fills the world with justice.)”

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda has narrated (on page 433 of his aforesaid book) a tradition from the book Jawahir al-‘Aqdayn from Abu Sa’īd al-Khudri. In that tradition the Holy Prophet (S) says: “The Mahdi is in my Ummah”. Also the aforesaid author narrates from Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’īm ibn Hammād (from his book of al-Fitan and he from Hisham ibn Muhammad and he from the Holy Prophet (S) who said: “The Mahdi is from this Ummah and he is the one who shall lead ‘Isa ibn Maryam (in prayer).”1

Al-Raghib in his al-Mufradāt says: ‘Ummah’ is any group of people which is formed through things like custom, time or place - making no difference whether that thing brings them together voluntarily or involuntarily and the plural of ummah ( امة) is umam ( امم ).”

One group has said as such: ‘The Ummah of every Prophet are his followers and the one who does not follow his custom will not be included in his Ummah even though he may have lived during his time. Therefore, the Ummah of Islam are those people who follow the Islamic rules and all that the Holy Prophet (S) has brought, making no difference whether he has visited him or not or whether he has lived during his time or not. Moreover this applies to all, without any difference in families or tribes even though they may differ from each other from the view-point of language, time and place.

The author is of the opinion that: It is apparent that the definite article al ( ال ) in al-Mahdi ( المهدي) is for covenant; meaning that the Mahdi - the one who has been remembered in the heavenly books and about whom the Prophets have given glad tidings to their nations - shall be from this same blessed Ummah and not from any other Ummah. So this Ummah deserves to rejoice and be happy for being honored by such a merit.

It is true that in some of the exceptional and less common traditions we find such contents like this one - “The Mahdi is not but ‘Isa ibn Maryam (a.s.)”.

Ibn Hajar has written (this tradition) in al-Sawa’iq on page 89:
Ibn Majah and al-Hakim have quoted a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: -
“It will not be long when difficulties and problems will dominate the people and the world shall turn away from its inhabitants and the people will resort to greed. The Hour shall not be established but upon the wicked and the Mahdi is not but ‘Isa ibn Maryam”.

Ibn Hajar said: “Al-Hakim said: I have mentioned this tradition in astonishment, not as an argument (to prove it).
Bayhaqi says: Only Muhammad ibn Khalid has narrated this tradition.
Al-Hakim says: He (i.e. Muhammad ibn Khalid) is unknown and there exists differences in the chain of transmission of traditions narrated by him. Al-Nisā’ī too rejects such traditions.”

In the 10th Volume of Da’irah al-Ma’arif (page 475), the author after narrating the aforesaid tradition from Ibn Majah says: Imam al-Qurtubi says:

“This tradition is not inconsistent with what the previous traditions have mentioned about the Mahdi because; this tradition only aims to respect the dignity of ‘Isa ibn Maryam (a.s.) over the Mahdi. That is to say, there is no Mahdi but ‘Isa from the viewpoint of is position of immaculateness and perfection. So it does not contradict existence of the Mahdi. It is identical to this saying that there is no stalwart but ‘Ali. Moreover, this view can be supported with the tradition which says that the Mahdi is from my progeny; he shall fill the earth with justice and will emerge along with ‘Isa (a.s.) who shall help him in the killing of Dajjal at a place called Ludd in the land of Palestine. Indeed, he shall rule over this Ummah and ‘Isa ibn Maryam will pray behind him. And God Almighty knows best”.2

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in the preface of his afore-mentioned book writes as such: ‘And amongst the people, there are those who reckon that the Mahdi is none other than ‘Isa ibn Maryam, the pure and holy. So I told them: The one who denies the emergence of the Mahdi is not actually referring to Hazrat ‘Isa because there is no reason to believe that that reference is made to him and the one who thinks that the Mahdi is the same as ‘Isa ibn Maryam and insists on the authenticity of this tradition has indeed made the zeal of prejudice and error to bring him to the point of precipice’.

Thereafter he says: ‘Even though this tradition may be proverbial among the people yet, how can it be considered authentic when the traditionists have rejected it. After accurately examining its references and deliberating on its authorities if a person still relies on this tradition, it will be a matter of grave fallacy.

‘The proof of this statement is that Imam Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman has emphasized its denial and his view is worthy of acceptance because the tradition returns back to Muhammad ibn Khalid al-Jundi. Moreover, Imam Abu al-Faraj al-Jawzi narrates in his book ‘Ilal al-Mutanāhiya the weakness of this tradition from the words of Hafiz Abi Bakr al-Bayhaqi who said:

“This tradition is connected to al-Jundi and he is an unknown person. Moreover, al-Jundi narrates from Abān ibn Abi ‘Ayyāsh and he too is a rejected and unlaudable person. Abān too narrates from Hasan and he from the Holy Prophet (S) and there is an interval in his transmission (i.e. all the sources have not been narrated). Anyhow, there is no reason to consider this tradition to be authentic”.

‘Al-Bayhaqi narrates from his master, al-Hākim al-Nisaburi (and how excellent is his knowledge of the science of tradition (‘ilm al-hadith) and the position of narrators of traditions) as follows:

“Al-Jundi is an unknown person and Ibn ‘Ayyāsh, a rejected one and with such transmitters this tradition is severed (munqati’). Almost all the scholars of traditions have brought traditions about Imam Mahdi and all have mentioned his name and remembered him and for those who are clear-sighted and are also aware, it is clear that a part of those traditions are a rectification for the other parts and this is the highest proof of those traditions being better than this rejected tradition”.

‘Also, Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Hākim has mentioned this subject in his al-Mustadrak of the Sahihayn (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) and this makes us needless of other discussion.

He points out that if a tradition has been narrated by a large number of people it has priority over those traditions which are not as such and while coming across this tradition he discusses its position from the view-point of credibility and un-credibility. Thereafter he writes:
“The reason I have brought this tradition is not to argue upon it but to express my surprise.” This statement of Hākim finally proves his opinion of the extreme weakness of this tradition.
He further says: “Better than this tradition is the tradition of Sufyan al-Thawri and his adherents.”

Thereafter, he mentions the tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) which says; “His name is the same as my name” and then writes as such: “Some eminent scholars are of the view that what he (S) intends to say by this statement is that the Mahdi’s name is similar to and resembles his name”.

It is clear for one who looks at this statement with fairness that the Mahdi is from the progeny of Fatimah and not the son of Maryam. However, even if we assume this tradition to be correct, we cannot take it in its apparent form. Rather, we should resort to its esoteric interpretation, since we have not found any reason for giving up those genuine traditions which are in opposition to this tradition. Perhaps its esoteric interpretation may be like the esoteric interpretation of:

لا صلاوة لجار المسجد الا في المسجد

‘there is no Salat except in the mosque for one who is a neighbor to the mosque’,3 from this angle that a part of the wordings of the two traditions are near to each other. The number of such traditions are numerous.

This does not imply that the tradition is rejected, rather that this sentence has come in honor of the Mahdi and / or Isa or perhaps it might have some other interpretation’.

The author of Yanabi’al-Mawadda on page 434 says: Indeed the fabrication of this tradition from Ibn Khalid is apparent from various aspects:

‘Firstly, if this tradition was correct then the oppression and cruelty which was prevalent during the time of Yazid and Hajjaj should have increased manifold and until today there should have not remained any goodness in this world. However, after the afore-mentioned period, that is from the time of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and the Abbasid Caliphs up to now, peace and goodness has been settled by the Grace of Allah.

Secondly, before the appointment of the Holy Prophet (S) to the position of Prophethood, the subject of Mahdaviyat was not prevalent among the Arabs so that it could possibly reject this saying (there is no Mahdi but ‘Isa ibn Maryam).

Thirdly, God has given indication of the Mahdi in many verses of His Book and as such the Holy Prophet too has given glad tidings about him to his followers just as the previous Prophets (a.s.) had given glad tidings to others about the coming of our Prophet and the circumstances concerning Mahdi. I have collected and mentioned these glad tidings in a book entitled Mashriq al-Akwan’. (End)

What we can derive from the sayings of these great men in reply to the afore-mentioned tradition is the following:

Firstly, it is a fabricated one; secondly it is null and void and hence weak; thirdly it is contradicting the widely transmitted tradition and fourthly its actual interpretation differs from its apparent meaning.

It is possible to conclude from this tradition that the advent of the Mahdi and the descending of ‘Isa from the heavens are two related affairs connected to each other where none can be separated from the other. Therefore it is correct to say that reference to one applies to the other and it seems that both are one and the same or it can be said that something is missing from the tradition and in reality it was as such:

لا مهدي الا و عيسى بن مريم معه

(Mahdi is not but that ‘Isa is with him)

Moreover, the extensive traditions prove this meaning to be correct. Thus ‘Isa is one of the signs of authenticity of the subject of the Mahdi (a.s.).

The Mahdi is From Kinana

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in his first chapter narrates from the Sunan of Imam Abu ‘Amr ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id al-Muqri who narrates from Qatadah who said:

I asked Sa’id ibn Musayyib whether the Mahdi is the truth and he replied: “Yes, he is the truth”. I then asked: “To which tribe does he belong”? He replied: “To the Kinana”. I again asked: “To which clan does he belong”? He replied: “To the Quraysh”. I further asked: “To which family does he belong”? He replied: “To the Banu Hashim.” Again I asked: “To which one of the families does he belong”? He replied: “To the progeny of Fatimah.”

The author says: “By Kinana is meant Kinana the son of Khuzayma, who was the son of Mudrika, son of Ilyas, son of Mudhar, son of Nizar, son of Ma’ad, son of ‘Adnan.”

The author of Saba’ik al-Dhahab says: ‘Banu Kinana is a family from Mudhar and Mudhar had a son who was in the ancestral line of the Holy Prophet (S) and he was called Nizār. Moreover Mudhar had children who were not in the Holy Prophet’s lineage and they were: Mālik, Malkān, al-Hāris, ‘Amr, ‘Āmir, Sa’ad, Ghanam, ‘Awf, Mujraba, Jarwal, Jazāl and Ghurfān. Abu ‘Ubayd says: ‘They were all from the Yemen’ and in the book called ‘Ibar it has been mentioned that their place of stay was in the outskirts of Mecca.’

The Mahdi is from the Quraysh

In the first chapter of ‘Iqd al-Durar, the author narrates from Imam Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad who narrates from Ibn Wa’il who narrates from Imam Abu al-Husayn Ahmad ibn Ja’far al-Manadi who narrates from Qatadah who said: ‘I asked Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib whether the Mahdi was on the truth and lie replied: “Yes”. I asked: “To which tribe does he belong?” He replied: “Quraysh”. I asked: “To which clan does he belong?” He replied: “Banu Hashim”. I asked: “To which family does he belong:” He replied: “He is from the offspring of Abd al- Muttalib.” I asked: “Which one of the families?” He replied: “From the progeny of Fatimah.” I asked: “Which one of her sons?” He replied: “That is enough now.”

Also, the afore-mentioned book narrates (in the seventh chapter) from the book Al-Fitan of Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad which in turn narrates from Ishaq ibn Yahya ibn Talha who narrates from Tāwus who said:

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was on his death-bed and bidding farewell to his family members. He then said: ‘I do not know of any treasure, which I can bestow. The house and all that it contains from wealth and weapons should be spent in the way of Allah’.
Then ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “O Amir al-Mu’minin, leave aside this matter because you are not the owner of (this) wealth. Rather its owner is a young man from the tribe of Quraysh who shall, at the end of time, distribute it in the way of Allah.”4

Ibn Hajar writes on page 99 of his book al-Sawa’iq as such: -
Ahmad and al-Māwardi have brought a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) who said: Glad tidings be to you about the Mahdi. He is from the Quraysh; from my progeny.5
The same is narrated in page 151 of Is’āf al-Raghibin.

The author believes: ‘Quraysh is the same al-Nadhr ibn Kinana. In al-Jā’mi’ al-Latif we read as such: “Know that there exist differences in Quraysh as to why they were called by this name. So it is said: They were named after a beast living in the sea called al-Qirsh - a beast which eats and is not eaten; conquers and is not conquered (a metaphoric remark signifying power and magnificence) and this tribe too is similar to that beast due to their power and strength.”

In al-Madārik we read: “Quraysh is a mighty beast which plays with the ships and except for fire it cannot be repulsed by any other thing. Its diminutive form is due to reverence.”

Some others say: The reason they were called Quraysh was that the leader of their tribe Ibn Yakhlid bin Ghalib ibn Fihr was named as Quraysh. Thus it was said: The tribe of Quraysh came; the tribe of Quraysh went and in this way they became famous by this name.

Still some others have said: Qusayy ( قصي ) who was a person belonging to their tribe gathered them together (qarasha) and brought them to Mecca and ‘qarasha’ ( قرش ) means “to gather together”. Thus, as he gathered them together he was named ‘mujammi’ ( مجمِّع ) (gathering) just as mentioned in the poem of Fadhl ibn ‘Abbas ibn ‘Utba and also in his following poem:6

نحن كنا سكانا من قريش و بنا سميت قريش قريشا

It is also said that Quraysh was the name of Qusayy and it was because of this reason that his tribe was named as Quraysh. What is more common however is that his name was Zayd, as previously mentioned.

Yet others have said: The word of ‘Quraysh’ ( قريش ) is derived from ‘taqrish’ ( تقريش ) which means ‘to earn’ and because they were carrying on business and earning they were called Quraysh.

It is also said that since al-Nadhr was called Qurashi, his family too became famous by this name.

Some say: They were called as Quraysh because they were doing ‘taqrish’ of goods of the pilgrims going for Haj and ‘taqrish’ means ‘to inspect’. Thus they erected inspection points in their way and prevented them from moving ahead unchecked. The proof that this statement is correct is the saying of al-Hārith ibn Hillizah al-Yashkari who says:7

أيها الناطق المقرش عنا عند عمرو فهل لنا ايفاء

The Mahdi is from the Banu Hashim

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in the first chapter of his book, narrates from Imam Abu al-Husayn Ahmad ibn Ja’far al-Manadi and Imam Abu Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad and these two from Qatadah who said:

I asked Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib: “Is Mahdi the truth?” He replied: “Yes.”
I asked: “To which tribe does he belong?” He replied: “To the Quraysh.”
I asked: “To which clan does he belong?” He replied: “To the clan of Bani Hashim.”
I asked: “From which of its families?”
He replied: “From the offspring of Abdul-Muttalib.” I asked: “From which one of them?”
He replied: “From the offspring of Fatimah.” I asked: “From which one of her offspring?” He replied: “That is enough now.”

The author says: Hashim was the same son of Abd Munaf who was the son of Quṣayy, son of Kilab, son Murra, son of Ka’ab, son of Lu’ay, son of Ghalib, son of Fihr, son of Malik, son of al-Nadhr, son of Kinana.

In al-Jāmi’ al-Latif it is said: Hashim’s name was ‘Amr al-‘Ulā and the reason he was called Hashim was that during the period of drought and famine he used to break up bread in broth (yahshim al-tharīd) for his tribe.

In generosity and beneficence he had reached to such a high level that he used to provide food to the beasts and birds and slaughter camels for them on mountain tops. Whenever a famine would occur in Mecca, he would feed its people by his own doing and persuaded the rich men of Mecca to donate their wealth to the poor and indigent up to the time when God caused rain to descend.

Thereafter, he traveled to Syria, went to Caesar (king) and took from him an order vouching the safety of Quraysh. He also sent his brother al-Muttalib towards Yemen and in this way took a letter of trust from the king of that place. Thereafter he instructed the traders and merchants of Quraysh to move out in the winter and summer seasons for the purpose of trading. Thus, they would go towards Syria in summer and proceed for Yemen in winter. As such, from then on their subsistence and means of livelihood increased through such trading and by blessings of Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf, God delivered them from fear of (loss of) life and hunger.

‘Abd Manaf was named the Qamar al-Baṭḥā’ (moon of al-Baṭḥā’) because of his good-looking face and beneficence. He was the one who took the place of his father ṣ in leadership and giving water to the pilgrims. ‘Abd Manaf was called Mughira and his agnomen was Abu ‘Abd Shams b. Quṣayy.

The name of Qusayy was Zayd, and, it is said, Yazid. The reason he was called as Quṣayy was that he, along with his mother Fatimah daughter of Sa’ad, left the tribe of Banu ‘Udhra and started living with his maternal uncles and distanced himself from Mecca. Thus, for this reason he was named as Qusayy which is derived from ‘qāṣī’, which means ‘distant. He was also called Mujammi’ because, when he grew up and returned back to Mecca he gathered the Quraysh who had been scattered in the deserts and got them back to Mecca and then expelled the tribe of Khuza’ah. Fazl ibn ‘Abbas ibn Abu Lahab says:8

أبوكم قصي كان يدعى بمجَمِّعا به جمع الله القبائل من فهر

The Mahdi is from the progeny of ‘Abd al-Muttalib

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar, in the seventh chapter narrates from the books of a group of traditionists such as Imam Abu Abd Allah ibn Mājah in his Sunan, Hafiz Abu al-Qasim al-Tabarani in his Mu’jam and Hafiz Abu Na’im al-Isfahani and others, like Anas ibn Malik who said: The Holy Prophet (S) said: “We seven of the sons of ‘Abd al-Muttalib are the leaders of Paradise: I, my brother ‘Ali, my paternal uncle Hamza, Ja’far, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and al-Mahdi.”

The author says: This denotes the subject which had previously been mentioned in the tradition of Qatadah narrated from Sa’id ibn Musayyib in al-Jāmi’ al-Latif:

‘Abd al-Muttalib’s name was Shaybah al-Hamd; and sometimes he was also called by the name of ‘Āmir. He was called Shaybah al-Hamd because of the appearance of signs of whiteness on his hair. Abu al-Hārith was his agnomen since he had a son by the name of Hārith and he was called ‘Abd al-Muttalib because, when his father Hashim who was living in Mecca was about to die, he told his brother al-Muttalib: “Take care of your ‘abd (servant) in Yathrib.” So from then on he was called ‘Abd al-Muttalib.

Some say that when his uncle al-Muttalib took him to Mecca, riding behind him on his camel, he had an unseemly appearance. For this reason when al-Muttalib was asked who he was he felt ashamed to say that he was his nephew and instead said: He is my ‘abd (slave or servant). Later on when they entered Mecca itself and he had put on a decent look Muttalib revealed that he was his nephew. In this way he became famous by the name of ‘Abd al-Muttalib.

It is also said that he was brown-skinned and so when he went to Mecca with al-Muttalib, people were under impression that he was his ‘abd (slave) and said: Al-Muttalib has come with an ‘abd (slave). In this way, he became known by the name of ‘Abd al-Muttalib.

The Mahdi is from the progeny of Abu Talib

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar, in the fourth chapter of section No.3 narrates from Sayf ibn ‘Umayra who said: ‘I was near Abu Ja’far al-Mansur. He addressed me as such: -

‘O Saif! It is inevitable that a caller from the heavens shall call out in the name of a man from the offspring of Abu Talib.’ I said: ‘May I be sacrificed for you O Amir al-Mu’minin. Are you narrating what you just said?’ He replied: ‘Yes, I swear by the One in whose Hand is my life. I am narrating exactly what my ears have heard’. I said: ‘But until now I had not heard such a tradition.’

He said: ‘O Sayf, indeed he is the truth and at the time when this affair takes place we will be more worthy than others in answering (his call). However the Mahdi will be someone from our cousins.’ I said: ‘Someone from the offspring of Fatimah!’ He replied: ‘O Sayf, if I had not heard it from Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (al-Baqir) but from the most excellent person on earth, I would have not narrated it for you, but it is Muhammad b. ‘Ali (who told me this)’.

In Saba’ik al-Dhahab we read as such: Ibn Ishaq says: ‘Abu Talib’s name was ‘Abd Manaf while Hakim Abu ‘Abd Allah says: ‘Abu Talib’s name and agnomen is one and the same.’

The author of Tadhkirah al-Khawāṣṣ writes: ‘With regards to his lineage we have mentioned that he is the son of ‘Abd al-Muttalib and when the latter was about to die, he entrusted the Holy Prophet (S) to Abu Talib.

In the book of al-Tabaqāt Muhammad ibn Sa’d narrates from a group of ‘ulama’ (scholars) such as Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, ‘Aṭā’, al-Zuhri and the like of them that ‘Abd al-Muttalib passed away in the second year of the Year of the Elephant (‘ām al-fil) and the Holy Prophet (S) at that time was eight years old. ‘Abd al-Muttalib passed away at the age of one hundred and twenty and was buried in Hajun.
Umm Aiman says: I saw the Holy Prophet (S) walking and crying under the coffin of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, while it was being carried away.
According to another report, ‘Abd al-Muttalib was eighty years when he left this world. However the first report appears to be more correct.

Mujahid has narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that when a group of people from the tribe of Qāfah from Bani Muzhak saw the footsteps of the Holy Prophet they told ‘Abd al-Muttalib: “O Aba al-Baṭḥā’, take care of this child, for we have not seen any footsteps which are similar to the holy prophet’s footsteps resembling those in position”.

Then ‘Abd al-Muttalib turned towards Abu Talib and said: “Listen to whatever they have said. Indeed there shall be a kingdom for this son of mine.”

From then on, Abu Talib stood up, in the best possible manner, to help the Messenger of Allah and made himself responsible for assisting him in his affairs so much so that he would never get separated from him. He was so much attracted towards him that he would give more preference to him than his own sons and would sleep only when the Prophet (S) was beside him. He would tell him: “You have a blessed soul and your future is bright.”

In the book of al-Tabaqat, Ibn Sa’d writes: Once Abu Talib went to Dhil Mujāz along with the Messenger of Allah. When the latter felt thirsty, Abu Talib said: “O nephew, you have become thirsty and there is no water.” Then the Holy Prophet (S) came down and struck the ground with his heels. Very soon, water gushed out and the Prophet (S) drank from it.

Historians have written that as Abu Talib arose to support the Prophet (S) and would often drive off the enemies from him, the Quraysh once approached him and said: “Your nephew has insulted our gods, called our great men as insane and reckoned our fathers to be deviated. Therefore, you surrender him to us or else, there shall occur a war between us.” Abu Talib replied: “May your mouths be shut forever. I swear by Allah that I shall never surrender him to you.”

They said: “’Amara ibn al-Walid ibn al-Mughira is the most handsome and noble young man among the Quraysh. You may keep him as your son instead of Muhammad and surrender Muhammad to us so that we can kill him. Let us exchange our man with your man.”

Abu Talib replied: “Woe be upon you people. May Allah turn your face dark and gloomy! I swear by Allah that you have indeed spoken the evil. Do you mean that I should hand over my son to you so that you can kill him and will give me your son in exchange so that I take care of him! I swear by Allah that if I do so, I would be but an evil man.”
Thereafter he said: “I would like you to separate the baby-camels from their mother. If the mother camel gets attracted towards the other baby-camels (and not her own ones) then, I shall hand over Muhammad to you”. He then recited a poem.

Then, from the eighth year of his birth until the tenth year of his appointment, which totally amounts to forty-two years, Abu Talib stood up in support of the Prophet (S) and prevented the enemies from harming him. He spared no effort in taking care of him till the end of his life.’

In the Nur al-Absar, the author mentions the date of demise of Abu Talib to be the first of Dhi al-Qa’dah, 8 months and 21 days after the removal of economic sanctions.
In al-Mawahib al-Ladunniya, the age of Abu Talib at the time of his demise is mentioned to be eighty-seven.

The author says; It was in the same year that Umm al-Mu’minin, Khadija, passed away and the Holy Prophet (S) named that year as the year of sorrow (Ām al-Huzn).

For knowing more about Abu Talib please refer to historical books like Sirah ibn Hisham and Tarikh al-Tabari and recent writings, especially the book of Bughyah al-Talib fi Ahwal Abi Talib by Zayni Dahlan who is also the author of Al-Futuhat al-Islamiya. Also refer to the book Shaykh al-Abtah written by our esteemed cousin Sayyid Muhammad ‘Ali Sharaf al-din al-‘Āmili which is the best book written on this subject.

The Mahdi is from the descendant (Āl) of Muhammad

Abu Dawud in the fourth volume of his Sahih (page 87) narrates from Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, God will prolong the day until He appoints a person from my descendant.”

In the afore-mentioned book on page 81, he narrates from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “The Mahdi is from me.”

The author of Nur al-Absar on page 230 narrates from al-Tirmidhi who narrates from Abi Sa’id al-Khudri who in turn narrates from the Holy Prophet (S) one such similar tradition. Thereafter, he writes that al-Tirmidhi has reckoned this tradition to be firm and genuine and that al-Tabarani and others too have narrated this tradition.

Ibn Hajar in his al-Sawa’iq on page 98 has written that al-Ru’yani, al-Tabarani and others have brought a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: “The Mahdi is from my progeny.”

In Is’āf al-Rāghibin (page 149) and Nur al-Absar (page 230) the same tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) has been narrated from Ibn Shayrawayh who in turn has narrated from Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamān.9

Also, the author of Nur al-Absar on page 231 has narrated from Ali ibn Abi Talib as such: ‘I asked the Holy Prophet whether Mahdi would be from us, the descendants (Āl, آل ) of Muhammad or from others, and he replied: “He is from us”.’10

The author of Matalib al-Su’l writes: ‘I have reviewed the views of the people about the exegesis of (the word) ‘descendants’ (Āl) and found out that a group believes that by Āl is meant his family-members.

Another group says: The Āl of the Holy Prophet are those upon whom Zakat (alms-tax) is forbidden and instead Khums (one-fifth levy) is permissible.
Yet another group says: The Āl of a person refers to those personalities who follow his religion and adhere to his manners.

Thereafter he says: “These are the three views, which are more well-known than all other views in this regard.

However the reason that the first view is correct is a tradition which Qadhi Husayn ibn Mas’ud al-Baghawi has mentioned in his book Sharh Sunnah al-Rasul (Commentary on the Sunnah of the Messenger), which is a collection of all those traditions the authenticity of which are agreed upon, He quotes its reference from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Layla who said: Ka’b ibn ‘Ajza met me and said: ‘Should I present you with something which I heard from the Messenger of Allah?’ I replied: ‘Yes give it to me.’

He said: ‘I asked the Holy Prophet as to how one should send salutations upon them - the Ahl al-Bayt.
The Holy Prophet (S) replied:

اللهم صل على محمد و على آل محمد كما صليت على ابراهيم و آل ابراهيم و بارك على محمد و على آل محمد كما باركت على ابراهيم و آل ابرهيم انك حميد مجيد

“O Allah, send salutations upon Muhammad and his descendants just as You send salutations upon Ibrahim and his descendants and send blessings upon Muhammad and his descendants just as You send blessings upon Ibrahim and his descendants. Surely You are All-Praiseworthy and All-Glorious”’.

Thereafter he says: ‘Thus the Holy Prophet interpreted his Ahl al-Bayt as his Āl ( آل ). Thus both are similar as far as their meaning is concerned and he (S) interchanged one word for the other in a manner that his Āl ( آل) are his Ahl al-Bayt and his Ahl al-Bayt are his Āl ( آل). Therefore, on this basis, Āl ( آل ) and Ahl ( اهل ) are similar in meaning.

‘The reality of this affair can be discovered from here that the root of Āl ( آل ) had been Ahl ( اهل ) and the letter ha’ ( ها ) was changed to hamza ( ء) for this reason that the letter ha ( ها ) becomes the diminutive form (tasghir)11 and the diminutive form of Āl ( آل ) becomes uhayl (اُهيل ) as per this rule which states that tasghir returns back every noun to its original form.

The reason that the second view is correct is a tradition, which the traditionists have brought in their books. Moreover, Imam Muslim ibn Hajjaj, Abu Dawud and al-Nasā’ī are unanimous in the authenticity of this tradition and each one of them have, in their respective Sahih books narrated from ‘Abd al-Muttalib ibn Rabi’a ibn al-Hārith as such:

‘I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying:
“This alms is only uncleanness and it is not permissible for Muhammad and for the descendants (āl, آل ) of Muhammad”.

Moreover, they have supported their view by a tradition which Malik ibn Anas has narrated in his al-Muwatta referring to the Holy Prophet (S) as saying:
“Alms are not permissible for descendants (āl, آل ) of Muhammad; it is only the dirt and uncleanness of people.” Thus, he made the impermissibility of alms a distinctive feature of his Āl ( آل ). Those upon whom alms are forbidden are the Banu Hashim and the Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib.

It was asked from Zayd ibn Arqam as to who are the descendants (āl, آل ) (descendants) of the Messenger of Allah upon whom alms are forbidden and he replied: ‘The āl ( آل ) of ‘Ali, the āl (آل ) of Ja’far, the āl ( آل), of ‘Abbas and the āl ( آل) of ‘Aqil.’ This second view is nearer to the first view.

However the reason which the supporters of the third view give is the saying of Exalted Allah:

إِلَّا آلَ لُوطٍ إِنَّا لَمُنَجُّوهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

Except the āl (آل ) of Lot; We will most surely deliver them all (15:59).

The exegetes are agreed that the word āl in this verse refers to those who have turned towards him and followed his path.

Thereafter he says: Now, keeping in view all that has been said about the word āl, it becomes apparent that its meaning comprehensively fits them because they are his Ahl al-Bayt. Zakat (alms-tax) is forbidden for them and they have followed his religion and adhered to his path. Thus the application of the word āl ( آل) to them is a reality agreed upon by them.

The Mahdi is from the progeny (‘itrah) of the Holy Prophet

Abu Dawud, in the fourth volume of his Sahih on page 87 has written a tradition which has been narrated by Umm Salama from the Holy Prophet as such:
“The Mahdi is from my progeny (‘itrah).”

In ‘Is’āf al-Raghibin, page 147, a similar tradition from the Holy Prophet has been narrated by al-Nasa’i, Ibn Mājah, al-Bayhaqi and others.12

Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa’iq on page 98 writes: Abu Na’im has mentioned a tradition from the Holy Prophet as such: “Indeed, God will send a man from my progeny (‘itrah).” Thereafter he said: “He shall fill the earth with justice.”

The same has also come in ‘Is’āf al-Raghibin, page 149.13

In the afore-mentioned book on page 97, the author writes: Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Mājah have brought a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: “If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, indeed God will make a man to appear from my progeny (‘itrah).”
In another tradition the Holy Prophet (S) says: “…from my progeny (Ahl al-Bayt), who shall fill the earth with justice just as it had been filled with oppression.”

The same is mentioned in ‘Is’āf al-Raghibin on page 147.14

The author of Matalib al-Su’l writes: ‘It is said that meaning of ‘itrah, ( عترة ) is ‘ashirah (عشيرة , family) ; and it is said that ‘itrah are the dhurriyah (offspring, ذُرِّيَّة).

Thereafter he says: - “Both the meanings can be found in them because they are his family as well as his offspring. The ‘ashirah (family) are the near kinsmen and they too are as such; and the dhurriyah are the daughter’s children as indicated by the statement of Allah, the Exalted, about Ibrahim:

وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِهِ دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُوسُفَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَهَارُونَ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ وَزَكَرِيَّا وَيَحْيَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَإِلْيَاسَ ۖ كُلٌّ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ 

Thus Allah, the Exalted placed all the afore-mentioned personalities among the offspring (dhurriyah) of Ibrahim, and among them is included Prophet ‘Isa who is not linked to Ibrahim except through his mother Maryam.

Thereafter he writes: - ‘It has been narrated that al-Shu’bi who was one of the Sunni ‘ulama’ living at the time of Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi was among the lovers of al-Hasan and al-Husayn such that whenever he would remember them he would say: “Those two are the children and offspring (dhurriyah) of the Messenger of Allah.” Later some of the people informed Hajjaj about this matter as a result of which he became angry and started to imprecate him.

Once Hajjaj called him in one of his gatherings where the aristocrats and ‘ulama’ (scholars) of Basra and Kufa and the Quraysh were present. Al-Shu’bi entered and greeted but Hajjaj did not pay any heed and did not reply his greetings which was indeed the right of al-Shu’bi. When he sat down, Hajjaj said: “O Shu’bi, do you know what I have heard about you which indeed proves your foolishness”?

Al-Shu’bi replied: “What is it”? Hajjaj said: “Don’t you know that sons of men are those who are allied to him and kinship is only through fathers. Thus, on what basis do you say that the sons of ‘Ali are the children and offspring of the Holy Prophet! Except for their mother Fatimah, do they have any other connection with the Holy Prophet considering that kinship is not through daughters but rather from the fathers’ side”?

Al-Shu’bi put down his head for some time until Hajjaj exceeded the limits in his disavowal and all who were present in the gathering heard it. Al-Shu’bi continued his silence and the more Hajjaj witnessed his silence the more he rebuked him. Thereafter, al-Shu’bi raised his head and said: “O Amīr, I do not see you but a speaker who is ignorant of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and one who turns away from them”. Then the anger of Hajjaj intensified and he addressed al-Shu’bi as such: “Woe be upon you, how dare you speak to me in these words!”

Al-Shu’bi replied: “Yes, those present in your gathering - the reciters (of Qur’an) from Egypt and the bearers of knowledge of the Noble Book – are all aware of what I say. Is it not that when Allah wishes to address His slaves (i.e. servants) He says: - ‘O Bani (sons of) Adam’ or ‘O Bani Isra’il’; He says of Ibrahim, ‘.... and from his offspring (dhurriyah)…’, until He says: ‘And Yahya and ‘Isa’. Therefore, O Hajjaj how do you see the relationship of ‘Isa with Adam, Isra’il and Ibrahim? Is it through his father or any of his forefathers? Is it not that he is connected to them only through his mother Maryam! Moreover, as per the genuine narrators, the Holy Prophet (S) with regard to al-Hasan has said: Indeed this son of mine (and he pointed out to al-Hasan) is a Sayyid (Chief)”.

When Hajjaj heard such reasoning he lowered his head in shame. Later he showed kindness and politeness towards al-Shu’bi and felt ashamed of those present in the gathering.
Now that the matter has become clear, it is the pure progeny (‘itrah) that are the very offspring (dhurriyah), the children and the family of the Holy Prophet and in reality, all the meanings are applied to them’.

The Mahdi is from the Ahl al-Bayt (family of the Holy Prophet)

Abu Dawud, in volume four, page 87, of his Sahih has quoted a tradition which has been narrated by Ali (a.s.) from the Holy Prophet (S) as such:

“If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, indeed God will make a man from my family (Ahl al-Bayt) to appear”.15

Al-Tirmidhi, in volume four, page 270 of his Sahih has quoted a tradition which has been narrated by Abu Hurayra from the Holy Prophet (S) as follows: -

“If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, God will set the day so long until a person from my family (Ahl al-bayt) shall appear”.

Thereafter he says: ‘This is a good and authentic tradition.’

Moreover, a similar tradition from the Holy Prophet with a slight variation has been narrated by Ibn Hajar (on page 97 of his al-Sawa’iq) and Shaykh Ṣabban (on page 148 of Is’āf al-Raghibin) from Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi.16

The magazine “Huda-Islam” No. 2, in the third of its weekly publication No. 25 mentions:
Ibn Mājah has brought a tradition narrated by Ali (a.s.) from the Holy Prophet (S) as such:

“The Mahdi is from my family (Ahl al-Bayt)”.17

Shaykh Ṣabban on page 148 of Is’āf al-Raghibin and Ibn Hajar on page 99 of al-Sawa’iq have written that Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Mājah have quoted a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) as such:

“If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, God shall indeed make a person from my progeny (‘itrah) to appear”.
In some other traditions, we find the words ‘my family (ahl bayti)’.18

Ibn Hajar on page 97 of al-Sawa’iq and Shaykh Ṣabban on page 148 of Is’āf al-Raghibin have written that Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and Tirmidhi have mentioned a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) as follows:

“The world shall not pass”, or perhaps he said: “The world shall not cease to exist until a person from my family comes and rule.”19

The author of Nur al-Absar on page 231 has brought a tradition narrated by Abu Dawud who in turn has narrated from Dharr ibn ‘Abd Allah that the Holy Prophet (S) has said:
“The world shall not pass until a person from my family comes and rules among the Arabs”. Thereafter he said: - “He shall fill the earth with justice.”20

In the afore-mentioned book, the author writes on page 229 as such:

Abu Dawud has narrated from ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who in turn has narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) who said: “If there remains not more than a day from the life of earth, God will indeed make a person from my family to appear on that day and fill the earth with Justice just as it had been filled with oppression.21

The author of Matalib al-Su’l in the chapter of “Asking one’s wish from Ahl al-Bayt” writes: Some have said that Ahl al-Bayt refers to those people who are nearer in relation to a person in ancestry. Some others have said that Ahl al-Bayt are those who are from one womb. Still others have said: Ahl al-Bayt are those who are attached to one by lineage and relationship.

All of these meanings can be found in them because, their lineage returns back to the Holy Prophet’s grandfather, ‘Abd al-Muttalib.

Also they are with him (i.e. the Holy Prophet) from one womb and they are connected to him through lineage as well as relationship (son-in- law).

Thus they are in fact his family (Ahl al-Bayt) and the word āl ( آل) and Ahl al-Bayt are one and the same whether they differ in meaning or not. Thus the meanings of these two terms are fixed for them.

Muslim in his Sahih narrates from Zaid ibn Hassān who said: ‘I went with Huṣayn ibn Sabra and ‘Umar ibn Muslim to visit Zayd ibn Arqam. When we sat down, Huṣayn began to speak and said: “O Zayd, verily, now that you have numerous good actions in your record, have seen the Holy Prophet, have heard traditions from him, have fought beside him and prayed behind him, so narrate for us what you have heard from the Messenger of Allah (S)”.

Zaid replied: “O brother, surely I have turned old and my memory has become worn out. As a result, a part of what I have acquired from the Holy Prophet has been forgotten by me. So accept whatever I narrate to you and do not bother me about what I do not narrate to you.”

Thereafter he said: “Once the Holy Prophet (S) stood near a pond called Khumm situated between Mecca and Medina and delivered a sermon. After praising and extolling God Almighty and then exhorting the people, he said:

‘O people, I am a human being and it seems that my Lord’s emissary (i.e. Izra’īl) is going to come and take away my soul. I am leaving amongst you, two precious things. The first of them is the Book of Allah wherein you will find guidance and light. So take hold of the Book of Allah’. In this regard, he incited and exhorted the people toward the Book of Allah. Thereafter he said: ‘The other is my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of Allah with regards to my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of Allah about my Ahl al-Bayt’”.

Then Huṣayn asked Zayd ibn Arqam: “O Zayd, who are his Ahl al-Bayt? Are his wives his Ahl al-Bayt”?
He replied: “No, his Ahl al-Bayt are those upon whom alms is forbidden after him”.22

The Mahdi is from the kinsfolk (dhawi al-qurba)

When it is proved that Mahdi (a.s.) is from the family (āl) of the Holy Prophet (S), from his pure progeny (‘itrah) and from his Ahl al-Bayt, and from the offspring of Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn then it is automatically proved that he is from kinsfolk (dhawi al-qurba - ذوي القربى) whose friendship has been made obligatory upon all mankind.

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda narrating from al-Bukhari and Muslim writes on page 106 of his book: Ibn ‘Abbas was asked about this verse (of al-qurba) and to whom it referred. Sa’id ibn Jubayr said: “They are the near ones of the progeny (āl) of Muhammad (S)”.

The author of Matalib al-Su’l narrates from the tafsir of Imam Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi (the chain of transmission which ends with Ibn ‘Abbas): When the verse:

قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ

…Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives… (42:23)

was revealed, it was asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who are these people whom Allah has commanded us to love? The Holy Prophet (S) replied: “Ali, Fatimah and their children.”

Ibn Hajar in his al-Sawa’iq (page 101) and al-Qunduzi in Yanabi’ al-Mawadda (page 106) have quoted a tradition similar to the aforesaid tradition, narrating from the Mu’jam al-Kabir of al-Tabarani, Tafsir of Ibn Abi Hatim, al-Manaqib of Hakim, al-Wasīṭ of al-Wahidi, Hilyah al-Awliya’ of Abu Na’im, Tafsir of al-Tha’labi and the Fara’id al-Simtayn of al-Hamawayni.

Ibn Hajar in al-Sa’wa’iq (page 101) narrates from Zayn al-‘Ābidin at the time when he was taken as captive after his father al-Husayn was killed, and on the way to Syria, some of the foul-mouthed people of al-Shām said: “All praise be to Allah for having caused the killing of you all, annihilating you and severing the root of sedition”.

He replied: Haven’t you read (the Book) where Allah says:

قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ ۗ

…Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives….

They said: “Do they (dhawi al-qurba) refer to you?” He replied: “Yes.”

The author of Matalib al-Su’l writes: ‘Know that those in the verse who have been asked to be loved are indeed the dhawi al-qurba. Therefore anyone who is bestowed with the attribute of qurba deserves love as per specification of the afore-mentioned verse because if there is a decree for any particular case and at any other occasion, that case stipulates that the same decree too will be applicable and with regards to love towards those who have been mentioned in the verse even though they themselves are associates to each other (from the view-point of their similarity in a case which is expedient for love) yet, love possesses different levels. Therefore, anyone who is nearer to the Holy Prophet (S), that case will become more firm in him.

‘The consensus of ‘ulama is firm in this regard that the matter of the degree of (closeness) in relationship through birth does indeed carry priority over all other degrees such that in their writings and compositions they have specified that:

‘If a person endows or makes a will to the person most nearest to Zayd and if Zayd does not have a father, the most preferable person with regards to the endowment and will are his children as compared to his other near ones. If he has a father, then there exists a difference as to whether the children have priority over father or are equal to him. Through this reasoning it becomes clear and obvious that Fatimah possesses the highest level in the matter of love (mawaddah) and being the qurba (near relative).

‘When it becomes apparent to what has been written about the pleasing expressions and attractive statements about Fatimah (a.s.), (especially her purity) and the fact that the lofty virtues and elevated position which the Imams behold is through her means, then we are helpless in being loyal to her right in such affairs just as we are bound to do so in the subsequent chapters about the circumstances of Imam and the days of their birth and death.’

The Mahdi is from the offspring of the Holy Prophet (al-dhurriyah)

It is narrated in Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 234 from Dhakha’ir al-‘Uqba from the author of al-Firdaws who narrates from Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari who said:

The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Indeed Allah, the Exalted placed the offspring (dhurriyah) of every Prophet in their loins and placed my offspring in the loins of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib”.

The author says: The explicitness of this valuable tradition is that the children of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) from Fatimah (a.s.) are indeed the offspring of the Holy Prophet (S) and there is no difference between the children of al-Hasan and al-Husayn. Verily, as Mahdi, the Awaited one, is from this particular house and this pure offspring, he is therefore counted to be from the offspring of Muhammad (S) (as per research and previous explanation of the meaning of offspring).

The author of Tuhuf al-‘Uqul has brought a lengthy tradition in this regard from Musa ibn Ja’far’s conversation with Harun al-Rashid and we shall produce here only that portion which serves our discussion. He writes:

He (Imam Musa ibn Ja’far) went to Harun when the latter had intended to seize the Imam for certain false matters that people had ascribed to him. He (Harun) took out a lengthy scroll which contained accusations about his Shi’ah and read it out.

The Imam said: “O Amir al-Mu’minin, we are a family which have been afflicted with such accusations and Allah is All-Forgiving and the One Who veils sins. He refrains from lifting the veil from the deeds of His servants except when He will take their account and that will be the Day when wealth and children shall be of no avail and only the one who comes in the presence of Allah with a pure heart shall benefit”.

Thereafter he said: “My father narrated (for me) from his father from ‘Ali who in turn narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: ‘Whenever the womb touches the womb there occurs some movement and excitement and then it calms down’. If Amir al-Mu’minin (i.e. Harun) deems it advisable to maintain relationship and shake hands with me, he can do so”.

Then Harun came down from his throne and stretched out his right hand to the Imam who took hold of his hand. The he (Harun) embraced him and made him sit beside him and said:

“I bear witness that you are truthful and your father and grandfather too were truthful. When you entered I was the most severe of people in hatred and anger towards you because of what had reached me about you. Since you spoke to me in the manner which you did and so shook hands with me, the feeling of hatred and anger has disappeared from my heart and I have become satisfied with you”.

Thereafter, he felt silent for some moment and then said: “I wish to ask you something about ‘Abbas and ‘Ali. On what basis was ‘Ali more worthy of inheritance (from the Holy Prophet) than ‘Abbas, the uncle of the Holy Prophet”?
(Imam) Musa replied: “Excuse me from this matter.” He said: “I swear by Allah that I shall not excuse you until you answer me.”

He (the Imam) replied: “if you do not excuse me then grant me safety.” He said: “I guarantee your safety.”

He (the Imam) said: “Surely, the Holy Prophet did not nominate as heir one who was able to migrate but did not migrate. Indeed, ‘Abbas your father was amongst those who believed but did not migrate and Ali believed and migrated too. Allah says:

…and those who believed and did not migrate, not yours is their guardianship until they migrate.. (8:72)

Harun turned pale and then said: “On what basis do you relate yourself to the Holy Prophet and not ‘Ali notwithstanding the fact that ‘Ali was your father and the Holy Prophet your grandfather”?

He (the Imam) replied: “Surely Allah traced the ancestry of ‘Isa ibn Maryam to His friend (khalil) Ibrahim through his mother Maryam who was a virgin, untouched by evil. As Allah says:

وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِهِ دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُوسُفَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَهَارُونَ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ * وَزَكَرِيَّا وَيَحْيَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَإِلْيَاسَ ۖ كُلٌّ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

“..and of his descendants, Dawud and Sulayman and Ayyub and Yusuf and Harun; and thus do We reward those who do good (to others). And Zakariya and Yahya and ‘Isa and Ilyas; every one was of the good” (6:84-85)

Thus His tracing the ancestry of ‘Isa to Ibrahim only through his mother Mary, just as He traced the ancestry of Sulayman, Ayyub, Yusuf, Musa and Harun through their fathers and mothers is a merit for ‘Isa and lofty station for his mother herself. This has been mentioned by Him, the Exalted, in the story of Maryam in the holy Quran:

يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاكِ وَطَهَّرَكِ وَاصْطَفَاكِ عَلَىٰ نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ

“…O Maryam! Surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and He has chosen you above the women of the world” (3:42) through the Messiah.

In the same manner, Allah chose Fatimah and purified her and made her superior to all the women of the world through al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the two Chiefs of the youth of Paradise”.

The Mahdi is from the progeny of ‘Ali

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 494 narrates from al-Manaqib of Khwarizmi (the chain of transmission which ends in Thabit ibn Dinar) who narrates from Sa’id ibn Jubayr and he from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “Indeed ‘Ali is the Imam of my ‘Ummah’ (nation) after me and it is from his children that the ‘Qa’im’ will come and when he emerges, he shall fill the earth with justice and equity just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression.”

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in the first chapter, narrates from Sunan of Abu Dawud, al-Jāmi’ of al-Tirmidhi and the Sunan of Nisā’i from Ibn Isha: ‘Ali (may Allah’s blessings be upon him) looked at his son, al-Husayn and said: “Surely my son is a Sayyid (chief) just as the Holy Prophet named him. Very soon there shall come from his progeny a man whose name will be the same as your Prophet’s name. He will resemble him in character but will not resemble him in appearance. He shall fill the earth with justice”.23

In the second chapter of the afore-mentioned book, the author narrates from the book of al-Ba’th wa al-nushur of al-Bayhaqi a similar tradition up to ‘Ali’s statement: “…but will not resemble him in creation.”

Moreover, in the second chapter of the afore-mentioned book, the author writes: Abu Wa’il says: ‘Ali looked at al-Husayn and then said: “Indeed this son of mine is a Sayyid (chief) just as the Messenger of Allah (S) named him. Very soon a person, whose name shall be the same as your Prophet’s name will come from his progeny. He shall emerge at the time when people will be negligent and unaware. A time when the truth will be dead and oppression will be in force. The inhabitants of the heavens and earth will rejoice at his emergence. He will have a broad forehead, protracted nose, broad stomach, broad thighs, a spot on his right cheek and his front teeth separated from each other. He shall fill the earth with justice just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression”.24

The Mahdi is from the progeny of Fatimah

Abu Dawud in the fourth volume of his Sahih, page 87, writes: Umm Salama says: ‘I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying: “The Mahdi is from my progeny (‘itrati); from the children of Fatimah”. 25

Ibn Hajar in his al-Sawa’iq, page 97, and Shaykh Saban in ‘Is’af al-Raghibin, page 148, have mentioned the same tradition from Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Nisa’i, Ibn Mājah and al-Bayhaqi.

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 430 narrates from Mishkat al-Masabih from Abu Dawud from Umm Salama who said: ‘I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying: “The Mahdi is from my progeny (‘itrati), from the children of Fatimah”’.

Again, the same author on page 223 of his afore-said book narrates from ‘Ali ibn Hilal who narrates from his father who said: ‘I was honored by visiting the Holy Prophet (S) at the time when he was feeling unwell and Fatimah was crying besides him. Then the Holy Prophet (S) said: “O my daughter, what causes you to cry”? She replied: “I fear that after you, harm shall befall me”.

The Holy Prophet (S) replied: “O my beloved one, Allah looked down at the inhabitants of the earth and chose from them your father and then bestowed upon him the messengership. Thereafter, He looked down and chose from them your husband (‘Ali) and revealed to me that I should give your hand in marriage to him. O Fatimah, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has bestowed seven qualities on us, the Ahl al-Bayt, that He has not bestowed on those before us nor will He bestow on those after us.

I am the last of the Prophets and the most honorable of them before Allah, the Exalted, and your father; and my wasi (legatee) is the best of the legatees and the most beloved amongst them before Allah, and your husband. Our martyr Hamza is the best of martyrs and the most loved amongst them before Allah, and he is the uncle of your father as well as your husband, From among us is the one who possesses two wings with which he flies in Paradise along with the angels to whichever place he wishes, and he is your father’s cousin and your husband’s brother.

From us are the two sibt (offspring) of this Ummah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the two chiefs of the youth of Paradise, and they are your sons. I swear by Him Who sent me with the truth as a Prophet, the Mahdi is from your sons. He shall fill the earth with justice just as it had been filled with oppression.”

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda says that Hafiz Abu al-Alā’ al-Hamdani quoted this tradition in the “Forty traditions” (which has been written about Mahdi).

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 434 narrates from al-Awsat of al-Tabarani who narrates from Abaya ibn Raba’i who in turn narrates from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari who said:

The Holy Prophet (S) told Fatimah (may Allah’s peace be upon her):
“From us is the best of the Prophets and he is your father. From us is the best of the awsiya’ (legatees) and he is your husband. From us is the best of the martyrs and he is Hamza, your father’s uncle. From us is the one who possesses two wings with which he flies to whichever place he wishes in Paradise and he is your father’s cousin, Ja’far. From us are the two sibt (offspring) of this Ummah, the two chiefs of the youth of Paradise, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and they are your two sons. Moreover, Mahdi is from us and he shall be from your children”.

In the afore-mentioned book, the author on page 490 narrates from the book Fadhā’īl al-Sahabah of Abu al-Muzaffar al-Sam’āni who in turn narrates from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri a tradition almost similar to the one which was just mentioned.

The author says: Traditions in this regard (which you came across in the preface of this book) are mustafidhah traditions. Rather they are widely transmitted traditions and what we have written shall be adequate.26

The Mahdi is from the progeny of al-Sibtayn (i.e. al-Hasan and al-Husayn)

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in the third chapter of section No.3 narrates from the book Kitab al-fitan of al-Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad who in turn narrates from ‘Ali ibn ‘Ali al-Hilali who narrates from his father:

I received the honor of visiting the Messenger of Allah (S) at the time when his soul was about to depart and Fatimah was crying beside him. He recited the afore-said lengthy tradition and in the end of it he said: “O Fatimah, I swear by the One Who rightly appointed me that the Mahdi of this Ummah will be from those two (i.e. al-Hasan and al-Husayn).

“The world will become such that chaos and disturbances will be intensified, all paths (of solution) will be severed and people will fiercely fall upon one another such that neither the elders will show mercy upon the young nor the children will honor the old. When this happens, Allah will appoint someone (i.e. the Mahdi) who shall conquer the fortresses of misguidance and open out the sheathed hearts (a metaphoric remarks that the Mahdi will dominate over the false religions and tame the deviated hearts towards Islam). Indeed he shall rise up at the end of time just as I rose up at my time. He shall fill the earth with justice just as it had been filled with oppression”.

The author says: This tradition has been narrated by al-Kanji in his book Al-Bayan, from the book Na’t al-Mahdi of Abu Na’im al-Isbahani and Mu’jam al-Kabir of Abu al-Qasim al-Tabarani. Most of the experts of tradition too have narrated this tradition in their respective books with slight differences in wordings. In some of them, it is said: “..the Mahdi of this Ummah will be from us..” instead of “..from those two”.27

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 432 writes: ‘The author of Jawahir al-‘Aqdayn says; ‘As per research, the blessings of the Holy Prophet’s du’a (invocation) at the time of marriage of Ali and Fatimah (peace be upon them) became apparent in the progeny of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, as from their offspring are those who have passed away and those who are still to come. If there will not come anyone in the future except the Mahdi, it will be sufficient for the invocation of the Holy Prophet to have come into effect.

In this regard, the author says: ‘Just as we saw in the tradition of ‘Ali ibn Hilal, the Prophet’s (S) taking an oath, in spite of his being truthful and trustworthy, was only to emphasize the matter. From amongst the seven-fold characteristics, he has set apart the Mahdi and swore an oath for him only, showing the importance of this matter.

The Mahdi (a.s.) is from the sons of al-Hasan and al-Husayn as Imam al-Baqir’s mother (i.e. Fatemah), the wife of Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-‘Abidin (a.s.), was the daughter of Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.). About this noble lady, her son Imam al-Baqir has said that she was a righteous woman (siddiqah).

Thus Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir is from the sons of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and he and his honorable sons are amongst those who have attained this honor. The Mahdi, the Awaited one, too is from this blessed family tree because, he is Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Baqir ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib Amir al-Mu’minin, peace be upon them all.

The Mahdi is from the offspring of al-Husayn

In the first chapter of ‘Iqd al-Durar its author narrates from Hafiz Abu Na’im from his book Sifah al-Mahdi who narrates from Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (S) delivered a sermon and disclosed for us all that was sure to take place till the Day of Judgment. Thereafter he said:

“If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, God Almighty will prolong the day until a person from my progeny who carries the same name as me shall appear”. Then Salman stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allah, from which of your progeny shall he come”? The Holy Prophet (S) replied: “He shall be from this son (and he put his hand on al-Husayn’s head) of mine”.

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 49 says: In the commentary on Nahj al-Balagha (most probably he is referring to commentary of Ibn Abi al-Hadid) Qadhi al-Qudhāt narrates from Kafi al-Kufah, Abu al-Qasim Isma’il ibn ‘Abbad, a tradition where the chain of transmission is linked to ‘Ali (a.s.) who mentioned the Mahdi and then said:
“Verily he is from the children of al-Husayn”. 28

The author says: Traditions in this regard are mustafidhah traditions. Rather, the consensus amongst us the Shi’a Imamiyah is the same and what is well-known among the scholars of our brethren Sunnis too is the same. However we find some rare traditions which are opposite to this meaning.

Among them, Abu Dawud in his Sahih (vol. 4, pg. 89) narrates from Abu Ishaq who said:

‘Ali (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) looked at al-Hasan and said: “Surely my son is a sayyid (chief) just as the Holy Prophet called him. Soon a person will emerge from his progeny. His name shall be the same as your Prophet’s name. He will resemble him in character but will not resemble him in appearance. He shall fill the earth with justice.”

Some of Sunni ‘ulama’ have reckoned the Mahdi to be from the children of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.)

Amongst them, Ibn Hajar in his al-Sawa’iq on page 99 writes: “Abu Dawud in his Sunan has narrated a tradition that the Mahdi is from the children of al-Hasan and its secret lies in this that al-Hasan waived his Caliphate for the sake of Allah and his affection for his people. Thus Allah placed the Qa’im (who shall emerge at the time of dire straits) amongst his children so that he fills the earth with justice. The traditions which say that he is from the children of al-Husayn are weak.”

The author says: ‘As per the prescribed rules in usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence) relying on the afore-said tradition is not correct for the following reasons:

Firstly, there exists a discrepancy in the narration of Abu Dawud as the author of ‘Iqd al-Durar narrates from the Sunan of Abu Dawud that ‘Ali looked towards al-Husayn.

Secondly, as mentioned in ‘Iqd al-Durar, a group traditionists, such as al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i and al-Bayhaqi have narrated the same tradition in its exact form except that ‘Ali looked at al-Husayn.
Thirdly, there is the possibility of an error because the words al-Hasan and al-Husayn are very similar in writing, particularly in the Kufic script.

Fourth, the tradition is contrary to what is well-known among the Sunni ‘ulama’.
Fifth, the said tradition contradicts most of the other traditions, which are more authentic in their chain of transmission and more evident in expression. Some of these traditions have already been mentioned and Allah - willing, the rest too will be mentioned later on.

And sixth, there is a possibility that this tradition is a fabricated one for this reason that they wanted to get near to Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah known as Nafs al-Zakiyah. Thus they resorted to fabrication merely to please him.

The Mahdi is from the ninth descendant of al-Husayn

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 492 narrates from al-Manaqib of Muwaffaq ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi who narrates from Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilali who narrates from Salman al-Farsi who said: ‘I got the honor of visiting the Messenger of Allah (S). What I saw was al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali sitting on his lap and the Holy Prophet kissing his eyes and his lips and saying:

“You are a chief (sayyid), son of a chief and brother of a chief. You are an Imam, son of an Imam and brother of an Imam. You are a divine proof (hujjah), son of a divine proof and brother of a divine proof. You are the father of nine divine proofs, the ninth of them being the Qa’im”.
The same too can be seen in ‘Iqd al-Durar.

In the afore-mentioned book on page 258, the author narrates from the tenth chapter of Mawaddat al-Qurba as such:

It has come from Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilali that Salman al-Farsi said: When I went to meet the Holy Prophet (S) I saw al-Husayn sitting on his lap. The Prophet (S) was kissing his eyes and his lips and saying: “You are a chief (sayyid) and the son of a chief. You are an Imam and the son of an Imam. You are a divine proof and the son of a divine proof and the father of nine Divine Proofs, the ninth of them shall be the Qa’im.

There are numerous other traditions besides these, and Allah willing, we shall soon narrate them.

The author says: It does not seem likely that anyone amongst the Muslims is ignorant of these nine personalities and does not know them by name. However, there is no harm in mentioning their names for blessing and remembrance. The first of them is Abu al-Hasan Zayn al-‘Abidin, the second of them, his son Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqir, the third, his son Abu ‘Abd Allah Ja’far al-Sadiq, the fourth, his son Abu al-Hasan Musa al-Kazim, the fifth, his son Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-Ridha, the sixth, his son Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Jawad, the seventh, his son Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-Hadi, the eighth, his son Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-‘Askari, and the ninth, his son Abu al-Qasim Muhammad al-Mahdi who is the ninth of them and their Qa’im.

The Mahdi is from the offspring of al-Sadiq

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 499 has narrated from the Arba’in of Hafiz Abu Na’im al-Isbahani (which is a collection of forty traditions about Mahdi). Amongst them is a tradition, which he has narrated from the lexicographer better known as Ibn Khashsbab.

He said: Abu al-Qasim al-Tahir ibn Harun ibn Musa al-Kazim narrated for me a tradition from his father from his grandfather who said: My master, Ja’far ibn Muhammad said: “The pious successor shall be from my progeny and he is the Mahdi. His name is Muhammad and his agnomen is Abu al-Qasim. He shall emerge at the end of time. His mother is named as Narjis and above his head is a cloud, which shall provide a shadow for him from the sun. It shall accompany him wherever he goes and will call out in an eloquent voice: This is the Mahdi, so follow him.”

Besides this, there are some other traditions which Allah willing we shall acquaint you with very soon.

Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa’iq, page 120, says: ‘Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir left behind six sons, the most learned and perfect amongst whom was Ja’far al-Sadiq. It was for this reason that he was made as his father’s successor and legatee and people have narrated so much knowledge from him that his fame (of excellence) has spread far and wide.

Great Sunni scholars like Yahya ibn Sa’id, Ibn Jurayh, Malik, Sufyanin, Abu Hanifa, Shu’ba and Ayyub al-Bakhtiyani have narrated traditions from him...’.

In the commentary of the verse:

إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ

Surely We have given you Kawthar (108:1)

Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Rāzi says: ‘Among the meanings of Kawthar (river in Paradise) one meaning can be that of ‘offspring’ because, this Surah was revealed in refutation of those who were rebuking the Holy Prophet (S) for not having a son. Thus it means that Allah will give him descendants who will continue through the ages. See for yourself then how many an offspring of the Holy Prophet have been killed and yet the world is full of them whereas not even one has remained from Bani Umayya. Once again, you may see for yourself how many from his Ahl al-Bayt are great scholars, like al-Baqir, al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Ridha (a.s.), Nafs al-Zakiyah and their likes’.

The Mahdi is from the offspring of al-Ridha

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 448 narrates from the book Fara’id al-Simṭayn from al-Hasan ibn Khalid: ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (peace be upon him) said: “The one who does not have wara’ ( ( ورع (i.e. piety), does not have faith and the most honorable of you before Allah is the one who is the most pious”. Thereafter he said: “Verily the fourth from my descendant is the son of the princess of slave-maids who shall cleanse the earth from every cruelty and oppression”.

In the afore-mentioned book on page 489, the author narrates from al-Hasan ibn Khalid who said: ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (a.s.) said: “The appointed time (in Qur’an) refers to the day of emergence of our Qa’im”. Then it was asked from the Imam as to who is the Qa’im and he replied: “He is the fourth of my descendants, the son of the princess of slave-maids who shall purify the earth from every cruelty and oppression”.

Once again, in the same book on page 454 the author narrates from Fara’id al-Simṭayin as such:

Ahmad ibn Ziyad has narrated from Di’bal al-Khuza’i who said: ‘I read out my elegy which began with:

مدارس آيات خلت من تلاوة

before my master, Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) until I reached to this part of the poem:29

خروج الامام لا محالة واقع يقوم على اسم الله بالبركات

يميز فيناكل حق و باطل و يجزي على النعماء و النقمات

Al-Ridha cried bitterly and then said: “O Di’bal, the Holy Spirit has spoken through your tongue. Do you know who this Imam is”?

I replied: “No, I do not know him. But, I have heard that an Imam shall emerge from your household, one who shall fill the earth with equity and justice”.

He said: “The Imam after me shall be my son Muhammad and after Muhammad will be his son ‘Ali and after ‘Ali will be his son al-Hasan and after al-Hasan will be his son Hujjat al-Qa’im and he is the Awaited one”.30

Ibn Hajar in his Sawa’iq, page 122, says:

‘When Musa ibn Ja’far passed away, he left behind thirty-seven sons and daughters. Amongst them was Ali al-Ridha who was more renowned in name and more manifest in merit than the others. For this reason Ma’mun gave him a place in his heart and gave his daughter’s hand in marriage to him. He also placed him as his partner in his kingdom and entrusted the affairs of Caliphate to him.

‘In 201 A.H. he wrote by his own hand the “testament of guardianship” for the Imam i.e. that ‘Ali al-Ridha was the heir apparent; and he made a large number of people witness it. However the Imam passed away from this world before him as a result of which Ma’mun became very depressed and sad. Before dying, the Imam had foretold that he would die because of the poisonous effect of grapes and pomegranates and that Ma’mun would wish to bury him near his father, Rashid’s grave, but would not succeed. Thus, all that the Imam had foretold did occur.

‘Once the Imam told a person “O ‘Abd Allah! Be satisfied with what Allah wishes and be prepared for that which is inevitable for you to occur”. Then on the third day ‘Abd Allah died. This incident has been narrated by Hakim.

‘Hakim has also narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Isa who narrates from Abu Habib who said: I saw in my dreams that I had visited the Holy Prophet and greeted him. At that very moment, I saw a tray of Sayhani dates next to him and he offered eighteen of those dates to me. Then I woke up and interpreted my dream in this manner that I would live for another eighteen days. However, after the twentieth day, Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-Ridha arrived from Medina and came to the same mosque where I had seen the Holy Prophet in my dream. People hastened towards him in order to offer their greetings.

‘I too went close to him and saw him sitting in the very place which the Holy Prophet had sat and besides him was a tray of Sayhani dates, the same tray of dates which I had seen in my dream. Later, I greeted him and he called me close to himself and offered me a handful of those dates. When I counted them, I realized that they were exactly the same number of dates the Holy Prophet had offered me in my dream. I asked for more but he said: “If the Holy Prophet had offered you more than this amount, I too would offer you more”.

‘When the Imam arrived in Nishabur he was mounted on a mule and on top of the mule-litter was a cover, through which nothing was visible. Then two persons from the traditionists, i.e. Abu Zar’a al-Rāzi and Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Tusi went in his presence along with a large number of scholars. They asked him to disclose his blessed face and narrate for them traditions, which he had received from his forefathers. Then, as per his commands the mule- litter came to a standstill and his slaves drew back the cover.

‘When the people’s eyes fell on his blessed face they began to rejoice. A group was jubilating while another group was crying out of excessive happiness. Yet others threw themselves on the ground and those who were near were seen kissing the hooves of his mule. Then the scholars cried out: “O people, be quiet and listen to what the Imam says.” The people prepared themselves to listen and the two traditionists wrote down what he said.

‘The Imam said: “My father Musa al-Kazim narrated to me from his father Ja’far al-Sadiq, who narrated from his father Muhammad al-Baqir, who narrated from his father Zayn al-‘Abidin, who narrated from his father al-Husayn, who narrated from his father ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:

My dear and beloved Messenger of Allah (S) said:
Jibra’il (Gabriel) related to me: I heard the Exalted Lord saying: The words la ilaha illa’llah (لا اله الا الله ) is My castle. So anyone who recites it shall enter My fortress and the one who enters My fortress will be safe from My chastisement”.
Thereafter, he lowered the cover on the mule-litter and moved ahead.

‘About twenty thousand writers have narrated this tradition.

‘According to another report, the tradition narrated by the Imam was: “Faith (iman) is recognition by the heart, confession by the tongue and action by the limbs”.
Perhaps he said both of them.

‘Ahmad says: “If this chain of transmitters is read over an insane person he shall be cured of his madness.”’

The Mahdi is from the offspring of al-Hasan al-Askari

When you follow what we have said and understand the traditions that we have quoted, there should not be any reason for you to doubt its conclusion (i.e. Mahdi, the Awaited one is the very son of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari). However to elucidate the conclusion, we have written them under the above title in addition to the clear statements made by of some great scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah.

We say: The afore-mentioned traditions which indicated that the Mahdi is the ninth descendant of al-Husayn and fourth descendant of Abu al-Hasan al-Ridha proves this matter (i.e. that he is the son of al-Hasan al-Askari) especially the tradition which we narrated from Fara’id al-Simṭayn where Imam al-Ridha tells Di’bal al-Khuza’i:
“Indeed the Imam after me will be my son Muhammad al-Jawad al-Taqi, and the Imam after him will be his son, ‘Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi and the Imam after him will be his son al-Hasan al-Askari and the Imam after him will be his son Muhammad al-Hujjah al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar.”

Moreover, that which we shall narrate later on (the fact that Mahdi, the Awaited one, is the twelfth from the Caliphs, Imams, legatees and divine proofs) also proves this matter.

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 491 has narrated from the Arba’in of Hafiz Abu Na’im who in turn has narrated from Ibn Khashshab who said:

Sadaqa ibn Musa narrated to me from his father who narrated from ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha who said: “The virtuous successor shall be from children of al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali al-‘Askari. He is the Mahdi, the master of time.’

The author of Is’af al-Raghibin on page 157 has narrated from the book Al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir of Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani who in turn has narrated from the book of Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah as follows: -

‘Know that the emergence of Mahdi is inevitable. However he shall not emerge until the earth has been filled with cruelty and oppression. Then he shall fill it with equity and justice. He shall be from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S) and from the descendants of Fatimah (peace be upon them).

‘His forefather is al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and his father is al-Hasan al-‘Askari, the son of Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi, the son of Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, the son of Imam ‘Ali al-Ridha, the son of Imam Musa al-Kazim, the son of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, the son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the son of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, the son of Imam al-Husayn, the son of Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon them all).

‘His name is the same as the Holy Prophet’s name and the Muslims will give allegiance to him between the ‘Rukn’ and ‘Maqam’ (station of Ibrahim)’.

The author says: Many of our (Shi’a) scholars as well as the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah have narrated these invaluable and precious sentences or expressions from the book of Al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir where its author in turn has narrated from the book of Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah. However in the recent edition of that book I have not seen the above expressions. So please ponder (a metaphoric remark that perhaps the afore-mentioned tradition has been dropped).

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 451 has narrated from the book Fasl al-Khitab:

“Among the Imams of the pure Ahl al-Bayt is Abu Muhmmad al-Hasan al-’Askari….” until he says: “And he did not leave any son except Abu al-Qasim Muhammad al-Muntadhar who is known by the titles of al-Qa’im, al-Hujjah, al-Mahdi, Sahib al-Zaman, and Khātim al-A’immah al-Ithna ‘Ashar among the Imamiyah”.

The author says: The words “among the Imamiyah” is related to the last title of the Imam, ‘Khātim al-A’immah al-Ithna ‘Ashar’ (and does not refer to the other afore-mentioned titles).

The same scholar in the afore-said book, on page 470 says: Sayyid Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani in the chapter 65 of his book Al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir writes:

“The Mahdi is the son of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari.”

Once again, the same scholar on page 471 of his book narrates from Matalib al-Su’l and al-Durr al-Munadhdham of Kamal al-din ibn Talha who has written:

“The Mahdi is the son of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-‘Askari.”

Also, in the same book on page 471 the author narrates from the last chapter of the book of Al-Bayan fi Akhbar Sahib al-Zaman, whose author al-Ganji says: “Surely the Mahdi is the son of al-Hasan al-‘Askari.”

In the same book, the author on page 471 writes:
The author of Al-Fusul al-Muhimma fi Ma’rifah al-A’immah says: “Verily the promised Mahdi is the son of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-‘Askari, the son of ‘Ali al-Naqi (may Allah be pleased with them)”.

The author of al-Durar al-Musawiya writes: ‘Those whom I found to be having the same belief as we Shi’a in the matter of the Mahdi are Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Ganji in Al-Bayan’, Muhammad ibn Talha al-Shafi’i in Matalib al-Su’l, Sibt ibn al-Jawzi in Tadhkirat Khuwas al-A’imma and al-Sh’arani in Al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir who have said:

‘The Mahdi is the son of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari. He was born in the night of the fifteenth of Sha’ban 255 A.H and is still living until he and ‘Isa ibn Maryam meet each other’.

The same matter has also come in al-Yawaqit and al-Tabaqat where its authors have narrated from Shaykh Hasan al-‘Araqi, the one who has met the Mahdi as per the detailed account which has come in the book of al-Tabaqat in the biography of the afore-said Shaykh Hasan. This account is agreed to by the Shi’a as well and by Shaykh Muhyi al-Din (in his book of al-Futuhat, chapter 366).

Al-Sha’rani has reported it from him in Lawaqih al-Anwār al-Qudsiya (which is a selection from al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah), and Ibn Ṣabban al-Misri in Is’af al-Raghibin and his exact words are reported in Al-Yawaqit which are both Egyptian prints; Shaykh Salah al-Din al-Safadi has reported it in Sharh al-Dā’irah as has been mentioned by al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi in Yanabi’al-Mawadda, and it has been reported by Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Maliki in his book Fusul al-Muhimma and the same has been mentioned by Shaykh al-Hamawayni al-Shafi’i in Fara’id al-Simṭayn :

“Verily the promised Mahdi is the son of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-‘Askari, son of ‘Ali al-Naqi, may Allah be pleased with them”.31

  • 1. A similar tradition to this effect has come in ‘Arf al-wardi, page 65, narrated from Ibn Sīrīn.
  • 2. The author of ‘Arf al-Wardi too has narrated the views of al-Qurtubi on page 86 of his aforesaid book. Thereafter he has mentioned the identical view of Ibn Kathir in explanation of the afore-mentioned tradition. He then writes as such: Al-Qurtubi says: ‘The chain of transmitters of this tradition is weak and the traditions which have come from the Holy Prophet (S) about Mahdi and (the fact) that he is from the progeny of the Holy Prophet and Fatimah are more firm and sound than this tradition. Thus one has to judge in accordance with them and not others’. He further writes: ‘Abu al-Hasan Muhammad ibn Husayn ibn Ibrahim ibn ‘Āsim Sihri says:
    With respect to the overwhelming number of transmitters with regard to the tradition of the Holy Prophet we have to admit that it is on a wide scale. The tradition is as follows: “The Mahdi shall come and he is from my progeny … He is someone other than ‘Isa ibn Maryam. Rather ‘Isa will pray along with him and assist him in the killing of Dajjal.”’
  • 3. “For the one who is a neighbor to the mosque there is no Salat except in the mosque’. Its esoteric interpretation will be as such: If a person does not perform his Salat in the mosque, his Salat will not be a perfect one and not that there is no Salat for him at all.
  • 4. A tradition similar to this has been narrated in ‘Arf al-Wardi on page 78 but in this version, ‘Umar entered the Public Treasury and said: “I swear by God that I do not know whether I should leave aside the public treasury and all the arms and wealth that it contains or that I should distribute them in the way of God....” And on page 73 it is mentioned that ‘Ali said: - “Mahdi is from me, from the Quraysh”.
  • 5. In Kanz al-‘Ummāl, vol. 7, page 186, and ‘Arf al-wardi, page 58, the same has been narrated from Ahmad, al-Māwardi and Abu Na’īm. Also, Suyuti in ‘Arf al-wardi, page 79, writes: “Ka’ab says: The Mahdi is not but from the tribe of Quraysh and caliphate is not but in them.”
  • 6. We were the residents of Mecca from Quraysh and it was due to us that the tribe of Quraysh was called by this name.
  • 7. O speaker who investigates us in front of ‘Amr; Is there for us any affair to be faithful upon?
  • 8. Your father Qusayy was named mujammi’ (gatherer) because God gathered the tribe of Fihr through him.
  • 9. The author of Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol 7, p.186, and ‘Arf al-wardi, pg. 66, apart from mentioning two other traditions from al-Ru’yani and Abu Na’im, have mentioned the aforesaid traidtion from Na’im ibn Hammad and Ibn ‘Asakir.
  • 10. ‘Arf al-wardi, pg. 61, narrated from al-Tabarani, Na’im ibn Hammad and Abu Na’im.
  • 11. Tasghir ( تصغير ) in the dictionary means ‘to reduce the meaning of a word by adding the signs of tasghir’.
  • 12. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol.7, pg. 186; Jami’ al-Saghir, vol.2, pg.579, tradition no.9241.
  • 13. The author of Kanz al ‘Ummal (vol. 2, pg. 188) narrates a tradition from the Holy Prophet where in the end, he (S) says: “ ... until Mahdi appears from my progeny”. He also writes that the Holy Prophet said: “The hour shall not be established until the earth is filled with cruelty and oppression. Then, the Mahdi shall emerge from my progeny and he shall fill the earth with equity and justice just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression”.
  • 14. The author of ‘Arf al-wardi on page 74, narrates from ‘Ali who in turn narrates from the Holy Prophet (S) as saying: “The Mahdi is from my progeny. He shall fight for my Sunnah just as I fought in the path of revelation.”
  • 15. The same has been mentioned in Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol.7, pg.187, and in Jāmi’ al-Saghir, vol.2, pg.377, tradition no. 7489. The aforesaid books also mentioned that the tradition is an acceptable one
  • 16. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 7, pg 186 narrated from Ibn Mas’ud.
  • 17. Kanz al-‘Ummal vol. 7, pg 186.
  • 18. ‘Arf al-wardi, pg. 64.
  • 19. ‘Arf al-wardi, pg. 63 narrated from Ahmad and Abu Na’im who in turn have narrated from Abu Sa’id. Kanz al-‘Ummal, pg. 186.
  • 20. The same has come in ‘Arf al-wardi pg. 58 - narrated from Ahmad, Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi who in turn have narrated from Ibn Mas’ud, who has narrated from the Holy Prophet. Al-Tirmidhi reckons this tradition to be good and authentic.
  • 21. ‘Arf al-wardi, narrated from Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Abi Shayba.
  • 22. Apart from what has been written, Suyuti on page 58 of ‘Arf al-wardi has narrated two traditions from Ali (a.s.) and Abu Sa’īd; on page 59 he has narrated two traditions from Ibn Mas’ud; on page 62 he has narrated two traditions from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri and Abu Hurayra; on page 63 he has narrated two traditions from Abu Sa’id and Ibn Mas’ud and on page 64 he has narrated one tradition from Hudhayfa where the Holy Prophet (S) has said: “The Mahdi is a man from my family and his name is the same as mine. He shall fill the earth with justice and equity just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression.”
  • 23. The same has come in ‘Arf al-wardi, pg. 54, narrated from Abu Dawud and Na’im ibn Hammad.
  • 24. The author of ‘Arf al-wardi writes in page 62: ‘Al-Tabarani in al-Awsat narrates from Ibn ‘Umar that the Holy Prophet caught hold of ‘Ali’s hand and said: “Soon a youth shall emerge from the progeny of this man. He shall fill the earth with justice and equity. When you witness this, it is upon you to support the Tamimi youth. Verily, he shall come from the East and he will be the standard-bearer of Mahdi”’.
  • 25. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 7, pg.186; ‘Arf al-wardi, page 58, narrated from Abu Dawud, Ibn Mājah, al-Tabarani and Hakim.
  • 26. The author of ‘Arf al-wardi on page 66 narrates from Abu Na’im who narrates from Husayn who narrates from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: “O Fatimah, the Mahdi is from your children.” The author of Maqatil al-Talibiyin (vol. 1, pg. 143) has narrated the same from Zuhri who has narrated from ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn who has narrated from his father who in turn has narrated from Fatimah.
    Moreover, Suyuti in ‘Arf al-wardi has narrated from Ibn ‘Asakir who has narrated from al-Husayn who in turn has narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: “Glad tidings be to you O Fatimah. The Mahdi is from you.”
    Also, on page 71 he reluctantly writes: ‘Zuhri says: “The Mahdi from the sons of Fatimah shall emerge from Mecca. Then he shall be given allegiance”’. On page 74, he writes: ‘Qatada says: I asked Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib whether the Mahdi was on the truth and he replied in the affirmative. I asked: “Who shall he be from”? He replied: “From the children of Fatimah.”’ On page 78, he writes: ‘It has come from Zuhri that the Mahdi is from the children of Fatimah’. On the same page, he writes that: ‘It has come from ‘Ali who said: “The Mahdi is from our family, from the children of Fatimah”’. The author of Sirah al-Halabiya in vol. 1, pg. 185, writes: ‘As per research, it has come in traditions that the Mahdi is from the progeny of the Holy Prophet and from the children of Fatimah’.
  • 27. The author of ‘Arf al-wardi too has narrated the same on page 66 from Abu Na’im and al-Tabarani.
  • 28. The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 372 narrates from ‘Ali who narrates from the Holy Prophet (S): “The world shall not cease to exist until a person from the progeny of al-Husayn shall emerge in my Ummah. He shall fill the earth with justice just as it had been filled with oppression”.
  • 29. That is to say the emergence of Imam and his leadership is a certainty. He shall rise in the name of Allah and will be a blessing. He shall separate the truth from falsehood and recompense as per good and evil actions.
  • 30. Al-Ithaf, al-Shabrawi, pg.165.
  • 31. Apart from those which the author his mentioned, the personalities mentioned below too have reckoned Imam Mahdi (a.s.) to be the son of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (a.s.):
    Ibn Khallikan in Wafayāt al-A’yan vol.1, pg. 451; Muhammad Amin al-Suwaydi in Saba’ik al-Dhahab, pg. 78; al-Shabrawi in Al-Ithaf, pg.179; Muhammad ibn S in Rawḍāt al-Manadhir (in the margin of Muruj al-Dhahab) vol.1 pg. 294; Ahmad ibn Yusuf al-Qarmani in Akhbar al-Duwal pg. 117; Muhammad ibn Khawand Shah in Rawḍāt al-Safa, vol. 3, pg. 18; Isma’il Abu al-Fida in Al-Mukhtasar fi Tarikh, vol. 2; pg. 45; Abu al-Fallah Hanbali in Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 2, pg. 141 and 150; Shablanji, Nur al-Absar, pg. 146, and Ibn Wardi in his Tarikh.