Abu Dawud in his Sahih, vol.4, pg.88, has narrated from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri as such: - The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“The Mahdi is from me, he will have a wide and clear forehead and an aquiline nose”.1
On page 98 of al-Sawa’iq, Ibn Hajar has narrated from Abu Na’im a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: -
“Verily Allah shall make a person to appear from my progeny. His front teeth are spaced a little and his forehead wide and clear.”
The author of Is’af al-Raghibin too has narrated the same tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) from Abu Na’im.
In the afore-mentioned book, Ibn Hajar narrates (on page 98) from al-Ruyani and al-Tabarani and they two from the Holy Prophet (S):
“The Mahdi is from my progeny. His face is like a glittering star; his color is that of Arabs, and his figure that of an Israelite”. (Speaking allusively of his wheatish complexion, tall height and stoutness).
The same tradition can be seen in Is’af al-Raghibin, pg149.
Author of Is’af al-Raghibin on page 140 narrates from Hilyah al-Awliya’ of Abu Na’im al-Isbahani as such: “It is said that the Mahdi is a youth with black eyes, arched eye-brows, aquiline nose and thick beard; he has a mole on his right cheek and on his right hand...”
Author of Nur al-Absar narrates on page 229 from Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi and they from Abu Sa’id who said: - ‘I heard that the Holy Prophet (S) saying:
“The Mahdi is from me, he will have a wide and clear forehead and an aquiline nose”.
In the afore-said book, the author on page 230 narrates from Ibn Shayrawayh, from Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, from the Holy Prophet (S) who said:
“The Mahdi is my son. His face is like the shining moon. His color is that of the Arabs (wheatish complexion) and his figure is that of an Israelite”.2
Author of ‘Iqd al-Durar narrates in the third chapter from ‘Ali (a.s.) in describing the Mahdi:
“He is a man with a wide and clear forehead, aquiline nose and broad thighs. He has a mole on his right cheek and sparkling teeth.3
In the same chapter of the afore-said book, the author narrates from Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir (a.s.) who said:
“Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib was asked for a description of the Mahdi and he replied: He is a youth with an average stature and a handsome face, with his hair falling over his shoulders and light gleaming from his face.4
Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa’iq (page 98) has narrated from al-Ruyani and al-Tabarani and they from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: “The Mahdi is from my progeny.” Thereafter he said: “The inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth are happy with his reign (khilafah)”.5 Tabarani adds: “..and the birds of the sky”.
The same tradition can be found in Is’af al-Raghibin on page 149.6
Author of Is’af al-Raghibin on page 151 has narrated from Ahmad and al-Mawardi that the Holy Prophet (S) said: -
“Glad tidings be to you about Mahdi.” Thereafter he said: “The inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth will be pleased with him. He shall distribute the wealth equally, free Muhammad’s Ummah from need and want and encompass them with his justice.”
The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in the eighth chapter of his book narrates from Tāwus as such: “The sign of the Mahdi is that he shall be harsh with rulers, generous with wealth and merciful to the poor.” Thereafter he writes: Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad has mentioned this tradition in the book al-Fitan.’7
In the third chapter and the ninth section of the afore-mentioned book, the author narrates from the book of al-Fitan of Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad who narrates from Abu Ru’yah as follows: “The Mahdi shall feed the helpless.”
Author of Nur al-Absar narrates (on page 230) from Musnad of Imam Ahmad who narrates from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri who said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “I give you glad tidings about the Mahdi.”
Thereafter he said: “The inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth will be pleased with him. He shall distribute wealth equally amongst the people and will fill the hearts of Muhammad’s Ummah with needlessness (a metaphoric remark of making the people wealthy). His justice will encompass them”.8
Furthermore, in the afore-mentioned book the author on the same page, narrates once again from al-Fitan from Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “The Mahdi is my son.” Thereafter he said: “The inhabitants of the heavens, the inhabitants of the earth and the birds of the sky are happy with his reign (khilafah).”
The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 493 narrates from al-Manaqib of al-Khawarizmi who in turn narrates from Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Masrur who narrates from al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Āmir who narrates from his uncle, ‘Abd Allah ibn Āmir who narrates from Muhammad ibn Abu ‘Umayr who narrates from Abu Jumaila Mufadhdhal ibn Saleh who narrates from Jabir ibn Yazid who narrates from Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari who said:
‘The Messenger of Allah (S) said: - “The Mahdi is my son. His name as well as his agnomen shall be the same as mine. Amongst all the people, he shall resemble me the most in appearance and in character.9
In the afore-mentioned book, the same tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) has been narrated from Abu Basir who has narrated from Imam al-Sadiq Ja’far ibn Muhammad who in turn has narrated from his father Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.).
The author of Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah in the 366th chapter writes about the characteristics of Mahdi as such: - ‘He resembles the Holy Prophet (S) in appearance. However in character, he resembles the Holy Prophet (S) to a lesser degree because none can be like the Prophet (S) in character, as Allah says:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
“You are of an exalted standard of character” (68:4)
The author says: ‘Two persons being alike from any viewpoint (whether appearance or character) is usually impossible. However such remarks are meant to indicate the nearness of one to the other, as conveyed in the first tradition which says that amongst all the people, he resembles the Holy Prophet (S) the most. That is to say, if at all the appearance and character of the people is to be compared with the appearance and character of the Holy Prophet (S) then amongst all, Mahdi (a.s.) is the one who resembles the Holy Prophet (S) the most and he is the one who is nearest to him. This matter is not incompatible with the matter of the Holy Prophet (S) being “..of an exalted standard of character” ( خلق عطيم) for no character is similar to his.
Abu Dawud narrates on page 88 of his Sahih a tradition from Umm Salama, the wife of the Holy Prophet (S), from the Holy Prophet (S) in a tradition in which he mentioned the Mahdi and the allegiance given to him between ‘Rukn’ and ‘Maqam’ and said:
“He will act among the people according to the practice of their Prophet (S) and will establish Islam and spread its precepts all over the earth.”
The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda narrates on page 437, from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Amir al- Mu’minin (a.s.) who said about Mahdi’s characteristics as such:
“He will incline (people’s) desires towards the path of guidance at a time when they have inclined guidance to follow (their) desires. He will turn (people’s) opinions to the direction of the Qur’an at a time when they have turned the Qur’an to follow their opinions. Mahdi shall demonstrate to you fairness in conduct. Mahdi shall enliven the commandments of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which were until then, dead and lifeless”.
On page 98 of al-Sawa’iq, Ibn Hajar says:
Ibn Hammad narrates a tradition, whose chain of transmission culminates in the Holy Prophet (S) who said: “The Mahdi is from my progeny (‘itrah). He shall fight for my Sunnah just as I fought for the revelation of Allah.”10
The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda narrates on page 445 from al-Hamawayni who narrates from Ibn ‘Abbas: The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“Verily Allah granted victory to this religion through ‘Ali. When he is killed, the religion will be corrupted and will not be set right until the Mahdi comes.”
The author says: Traditions about the Mahdi that he shall fill the earth with equity and justice after it has been filled with cruelty and oppression come to the level of mustafidah. Allah - willing, you shall soon come across these and other traditions.11
In the third chapter of ‘Iqd al-Durar its author narrates from Harith ibn Mughira al-Nadhari that he asked Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali: By what sign should we recognize Mahdi?
He replied: “By (his) calmness and (his) dignity”. Once again I asked: “By what sign”?
He replied: “By the knowledge of the permissible (halal) and forbidden (haram) affairs, and by people’s need of him and his freedom of need from others”.
On page 401, the author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda narrates from the book of Durrah al-Ma’arif as follows:
‘The Mahdi shall bring out books from the cave in the city of Antioch, and shall bring out the al-Zabur from Lake Tiberias; in it will be:
“..the relics left behind by the House of Moses and the House of Aaron, borne by angels…” (2:248);
in it will be the Tablets and the staff of Musa (a.s.)
The Mahdi is superior to all the people in knowledge and clemency.’12
In the afore-mentioned book, the author narrates from Khawrazmi where the chain of transmission leads to Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (a.s.) who, while speaking, about the Mahdi and his resemblance to the Holy Prophet (S) said: “And he shall bring out the relics of the Prophets”.
The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar narrates (in chapter 3, Section 9) from ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Aṭā who said: ‘I asked Imam Abu Ja’far (al-Baqir) to inform me about the Qā’im and he replied: “I am not that Qā’im and neither the one whom you have perambulated around”. I asked him about the Mahdi’s behaviour and he replied: “Just as the Holy Prophet (S) used to behave.”
In the third chapter of ‘Iqd al-Durar its author narrates from Ka’ab al-Ahbar who said: ‘I have found in the Books of Prophets about the characteristic of the Mahdi and that his ruling is neither unjust nor tyrannical in nature.’
Thereafter he writes: ‘Imam Abu ‘Amr and al-Muqri in their Sunan and Hafiz Abu Na’im ‘Abd Allah ibn Hammad has also narrated this tradition.13
About the characteristic of the Mahdi, the author of al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah writes in chapter No. 363 as such:
“He shall distribute wealth equally, will execute justice among the people and bring to a halt the altercations.”
The author of Is’af al-Raghibin narrates on page 161 of his afore-said book from al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah as follows:
‘As research goes, Imam Mahdi will judge according to the Shari’ah that the Angel of inspiration will reveal to him, and that will be the Shari’ah of Muhammad. This can be seen in one of the traditions where the Holy Prophet (S) says:
“The Mahdi shall follow my footsteps and he is free from every error.”
Thus the Holy Prophet made us realize and recognize Imam Mahdi in this regard that his commands are the very commands of the Holy Prophet and are not innovations. Moreover it shows that he is infallible and will not issue any order but that which the truth is.
Thereafter he says: Notwithstanding that Allah inspires him to the truth, his comparison is forbidden. Rather, some of the researchers have forbidden comparison for all men of conscience and men of God for this reason that the Holy Prophet (S) is present in their sight. Thus, if they should occasionally doubt the authenticity of a tradition or decree, they ought to refer to him and he in turn shall inform them about the true and manifest affairs. The one who possesses such a status is not in need of following any leaders save the Holy Prophet (S)’.
The magazine Huda al-Islam in its 25th weekly publication in its third year narrates from Ibn Mājah who narrates from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that the Holy Prophet (S) said: -
“Verily the Mahdi shall be from my Ummah.” Thereafter he said: - “A person shall approach him and say: ‘Mahdi grant me something’. Then he shall pour wealth unto him to the extent which he can carry”.14
The author of Is’af al-Raghibin on page 149 has narrated from Abu Dawud, Abu ‘Abd Allah Hakim al-Nisaburi and the author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 431 from al-Tirmidhi, and all three from Abu Sa’id the same tradition of the Holy Prophet in its exact form.
Ibn Hajar in his al-Sawa’iq on page 98 narrates from Abu Na’im that the Holy Prophet (S) said:
“Allah shall appoint a person from my progeny.” Thereafter he said: “He shall bestow wealth abundantly.”
The same has been narrated in Is’af al-Raghibin on page 149.
Also, Ibn Hajar on page 98 of his al-Sawa’iq writes that Ahmad and Muslim have brought a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) stating: - “In the end of time, there shall be a Caliph who will bestow wealth abundantly and unlimitedly.”
The same tradition has been narrated on page 149 of Is’af al-Raghibin.15
The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar narrates from the Tarikh of Abu ‘Abd Allah ibn Jawzi and he from ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas and he from the Holy Prophet (S) as saying: - ‘The rulers of the earth are four - two of them believers and two unbelievers. The two believers are Dhu al-Qarnayn and Sulayman, while the two unbelievers are Bakht al-Nasr (Nebuchadnezzar) and Nimrod. Soon a person from my progeny shall gain control over it (i.e. the earth).16
The author of Is’af-al-Raghibin on page 152 says: “It has come in traditions that the Mahdi will become the Master of the earth from East to West.”
The author says: In some of the traditions it is mentioned that his rule will envelop the East and West.
The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda narrates from the author Jawahir al-Aqdayn and he from ‘Ali who said: - “When the Qa’im from the progeny of Muhammad (S) emerges Allah will gather for him the inhabitants of the East and West.”
In vol. 4, pg. 87 of Sahih Abu Dawud narrates from ‘Ali (peace be upon him) that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, Allah will appoint a person from my progeny. He shall fill the earth with equity and justice just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression”.17
The author of Nur-al-Absar has narrated (on page 231) from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) who said: ‘I said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), will the Mahdi be from us, the family (Āl) of Muhammad, or will he be from other than us”?
He replied: “No, he shall be from us. Allah shall bring the religion to completion through his hands just as he expanded it through us. By our blessings they (i.e. the people) shall be released from dissension (fitna) just as they were released from polytheism. By our blessings Allah will unite their hearts after the animosity of dissension just as He united their hearts after the animosity of polytheism. By our blessings, they shall turn into brothers in faith after animosity of dissension”’.
Some of the scholars reckon this tradition to be hasan (acceptable) and superior in the chain of transmitters and the experts in traditions have written them in their respective books. Al-Tabarani has narrated it in his Mu’jam al-Awsat, Abu Na’im has reported it in his Hilyah al-Awliya’ and ‘Abd al-Rahman has mentioned it in his ‘Awāli.18
The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in chapter 1, section 4, narrates from Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali who said:
“The Mahdi shall emerge on the day of ‘Ashura’, and that is the day when al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali was martyred. It is as if (I see him) on Saturday, the tenth of Muharram, between the ‘Rukn’ and the ‘Maqam’; and on his right will be Jibra’il and on his left Mikā’il. Allah will gather his Shi’a around him from everywhere and the earth shall roll up for them”.19
In Chapter 2, Section 4 of the afore-mentioned book, the author narrates from al-Mustadrak of Abu ‘Abd Allah Hakim who narrates from Umm Salama (peace be upon her) who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “People shall give allegiance between Rukn and Maqam to the person who is amongst my followers and their number shall match the number of people of Badr”’.
Again, in Chapter 7 of the same book, its author narrates from the book Al-Fitan of Na’im ibn Hammad who narrates from Abu Hurayra: ‘Allegiance will be given to Mahdi between the Rukn and the Maqam without a person being awakened from his sleep or a drop of blood being shed’.
The author of Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah after mentioning (in the 366th Chapter) about the Mahdi and the fact that he is from the offspring of Fatimah and is similar in name to the Holy Prophet and his forefather is al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib says: -‘People shall give him allegiance between the Rukn and the Maqam.
In the first chapter of this book, while mentioning the statements of scholars (regarding Mahdi) we had produced the following statement of Ibn Hajar from his book Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi ‘Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar: “The awaited Mahdi is one and not several.” The statement of Ibn Hajar is one of great value. Indeed it has achieved the purpose and informed of the realities.
Verily, the awaited Mahdi and the Qa’im from the progeny of Muhammad (S) is the very same person whom Allah has mentioned in His Glorious Book. His honorable Prophet has given glad tidings of his coming and the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, companions and followers and scholars, have informed that he (i.e. Mahdi) is a single and a unique person. He is not several although his name and title are many.
The traditions, which we had mentioned before and those which we shall mention in the coming chapters are clear indications and proofs to this matter. Indeed, these traditions will obviate every kind of misgiving such that there shall remain no doubt in the mind of any skeptic that the awaited Mahdi is one.
The traditions give indication to the characteristics and those things, which introduce, verify and distinguish the awaited Mahdi. As such, it is not rational to consider multiplicity and number for him. Now, we may mention those characteristics and distinguishing features as follows: -
First, the specification of his house and family.
Second, the specification of his fathers and forefathers.
Third, the identification of his father and mother by name.
Fourth, the specification of his name, agnomen and title.
Fifth, the specification of his characteristics and signs.
Sixth, the specification of his character and qualities.
Seventh, his occultation and its lengthy period.
Eighth, his emergence at the end of time.
Ninth, the occurrences at the time of his reappearance.
Tenth, the coming of Dajjal and Sufyani at the time of his reappearance.
Eleventh, allegiance to him between the Rukn and the Maqam.
Twelfth, the coming down of ‘Isa (Jesus) and his (‘Isa’s) prayers behind him.
Thirteenth, his reform programs
Fourteenth, the blessings of his emergence.
Fifteenth, his adjudication between people.
Sixteenth, his battles and victories.
Seventeenth, the range of his dominion and his authority.
Eighteenth, the period of his Caliphate and Imamate.
Ninteenth, the circumstances of his death or his assassination.
Twentieth, the return (al-raj’ah) to life of some of the dead after his emergence.
The same lineage and familial dignity, truthfulness and rectitude, characteristics and signs, favors and munificence, occurrences and calamities, hardships and adversities, and such affairs cannot reasonably be supposed to be combined even in two people, let alone more than that. Maybe it is applicable after the end of this world and its lapse and then its coming into existence once again from the start. However, even though this interpretation is acceptable from the viewpoint of Power of Allah, yet the traditions are apparently inconsistent with the occurrence of such an affair because what they evidently reveal is that the time of the Mahdi will come to an end at the Day of Judgment.
Indeed, the statement that there are various Mahdis and that there is a possibility of there being multiple Mahdis all with the afore-said characteristics, such that we will have several Mahdis, each possessing those characteristics – such a statement is contrary to common sense.
In the two testaments (old and new) of Torah and Bible (Injil), some of the characteristics of the Holy Prophet (S) have been stated. Amongst the characteristics mentioned are his ways, behaviour, insight, lineage and family and none from the East or West have reckoned these insights and specifications to be referring to a variety of Muhammads. So what is the difference between these characteristics and definitions of the Prophet and those of the Mahdi, so that it can be considered possible for the Mahdi but not for the Holy Prophet?
The author says: My assumption - although assumption is of no use before the truth - is that the origin of claiming Mahdis of various kinds is one of the following three: -
Firstly, those who love leadership and power, and are desirous of kingdom and Caliphate, have propagated this ideology as a prelude to their claims and uprising in the name of the Mahdi.
Secondly, it may have appeared in some of Sufi sect because when they became helpless in claiming the position of special deputyship, they differed about the claim of Mahdawiya of various kinds.
Thirdly, as some of the adherents of Bani Umayya came across traditions wherein the name of the Mahdi was mentioned and concluded that if they were to believe in the Mahdi as being a distinct person, they would be compelled to profess that he is from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S), and offspring of Fatimah and al-Husayn, and in fact, the son of Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari. This was something unpleasing for them and irreconcilable with their aims. As a result, they started professing a variety of Mahdis.
In this regard, other sayings can be found which, from the viewpoint of logic are worthless such as the saying that; the Mahdi is from the offspring of ‘Abbas or from the children of al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.) or that he shall be born later. The root cause of all these and such other talks about Mahdi is one of the afore-said three points.
In Matalib al-Su’l, Muhammad ibn Talha writes: ‘If a person objecting to this says that although these traditions of the Holy Prophet, are many in number and clearly expressed, and there is a consensus of opinion in the correctness of its chain of transmission as well as in its narration from the Holy Prophet (S), with correct and explicit proof that the Mahdi is from the progeny of Fatimah and from the lineage of the Holy Prophet, that his name is the same as the Prophet's name, that he shall fill the earth with justice and equity, that he is from the descendants of ‘Abd al-Muttalib and amongst the leaders of Paradise, however this does not indicate the fact that the Mahdi whom the Holy Prophet depicted is this same Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, the virtuous Hujjah (Definitive Proof).
This is because the children of Fatimah are many and till the Day of Judgment anyone who is her descendant will be considered to be from the pure progeny of Fatimah and the Holy Prophet. Therefore, along with such traditions, we need more proof which indicates that that the Mahdi is the same Hujjah ibn al-Hasan’.
We reply: The Holy Prophet (S) depicted the Mahdi (a.s.) with numerous qualities like mentioning his name, lineage and his ancestry to Fatimah (a.s.) and ‘Abd al-Muttalib, that he has a wide and clear forehead and an aquiline nose, and many other qualities which have been mentioned in the afore-mentioned authentic traditions. All of these reveal that anyone possessing those characteristics and signs will be the same person called Mahdi and he will have authority over us as per what we have previously mentioned (like the necessity of following and obeying him).
We found those afore-said characteristics only in Abu al-Qasim Muhammad, the virtuous successor. Thus it is essential to substantiate these decrees for him, and he becomes the possessor of those characteristics. Otherwise, how is it possible that sign and reasoning exist but not their purport! If the Holy Prophet (S) introduces something as the sign and proof of something else but does not consider the result as the desired goal, there has occurred a contradiction in his sayings (i.e. he mentions some signs for something but rejects the result which is according to his own pre-stipulated criterion).
If someone objects and says: Signs alone are not sufficient, we should ascertain the one who possesses those signs and characteristics and attribute those characteristics exclusively to him. However, until the exclusiveness and uniqueness of that person to those characteristics is not known, we cannot say that those signs are applicable to him and it is certain that right from the time of the Holy Prophet (S) until the time of the birth of the virtuous successor al-Hujjah Muhammad (a.s.), none (other than him) from the progeny of Fatimah has been found to be exhaustive of those characteristics.
However, the time of his movement and sovereignty will be at the end of time, when Dajjal shall appear and ‘Isa (Jesus) shall descend from the heaven. These shall occur after a lapse of a lengthy period and till then, there are new and novel times in between and in the pure generation of Fatimah many will be born, one after the other. Therefore it is possible that from now onwards, a person from the pure offspring and generation of the Holy Prophet (S) shall be born who is exhaustive of these characteristics and he will be the same Mahdi whom you talk about and who is referred to in the afore-said traditions. In spite of this possibility how is it that your reasoning can be exclusively attributed to al-Hujjah Muhammad (a.s.)?
We reply: If you acknowledge that before and after birth of the virtuous successor, nobody except him has been found to possess all those characteristics and signs then this very acknowledgement will be sufficient enough to substantiate these afore-said signs and characteristics for Mahdi.
Moreover, your saying that in the future there exists the possibility of someone appearing from the progeny for the Holy Prophet (S) who would possess the afore-said signs, does not bring any damage in the effect of reasoning, nor acts as any obstacle. This is because the existing proof is preferred (due to its manifestness) to the possibility of appearance of (another) proof which is against it. Thus it is not advisable to forsake the preferable proof. Otherwise it will not be possible to act upon the existing and firm proof because there exists no reason but the possibility of an opposite proof being found against it in the future. However as per consensus of the ‘Ulama (scholars) the appearance of an opposite proof cannot serve as an obstacle to the existing proof (from being put into practice).
An example, which can perfectly clarify and accentuate this matter, is the saying of the Holy Prophet (S) to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (as narrated by Imam Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj his Sahih). It goes as follows:
“Uways ibn ‘Āmir who belongs to the tribe of Murad, and from Qaran, shall come to you with the people of Yemen in the future. He will have been cured of leprosy except for a spot the size of a dirham. He has a mother to whom he is very dutiful. If he swears an oath to Allah, he fulfils it. If possible, ask him to seek forgiveness on your behalf”.
Here, the Prophet (S) has mentioned Uways ibn ‘Āmir’s name, lineage and qualities and set them as the sign and proof such that if anyone is found possessing this name and quality and if he swears by Allah, he will fulfil the oath. Moreover, he would be competent enough to seek forgiveness and this is a very great position and status before Allah.
After the Holy Prophet (S) and Abu Bakr passed away, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab used to inquire from the people of Yemen about the person who was endowed with those characteristics. This continued until a delegation came from Yemen and ‘Umar asked them and they informed him about a person fitting that description. ‘Umar did not stop from acting upon those signs and guidelines which the Holy Prophet (S) had set forth. Rather, he took action and contacted that person. He asked him to seek forgiveness. He believed that he was the same person who had been pointed out by the Holy Prophet (S). In spite of this possibility that perhaps in the near future, another person could appear with those characteristics which the Holy Prophet (S) had referred to, (notwithstanding that the tribe of ‘Murad’ was many in numbers and their offspring rapidly multiplying). ‘Umar did not stop. The same possibility, which you give for the Mahdi, can be given here too.
The incident of Khawarij too is the same since the Holy Prophet (S) had introduced their attributes and characteristics and issued judgment about them. Thus, in the incident of Harura’ and Nahrawan, when ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) was certain that they were those same ones whom the Holy Prophet (S) had described, he fought and killed them. Therefore, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib acted upon the proof furnished by the description given by the Holy Prophet (S), although there was a possibility that some other group may have been meant. Examples of such kind of reasoning and the necessity of acting upon them (in spite of the possibility of opposite reasoning) are many. Thus, it became obvious that one cannot forsake a superior reasoning for the sake of an inferior one.
We further say: The necessity of affirmation of a decree, (with the existence of signs and reasonings, which are found in someone) is an affair, which is essential to be acted upon. The one who forsakes it and says that perhaps the one who is endowed with these characteristics and is worthy of this decree is not that intended person but is some other person who will come in the future, has indeed deviated from the truth and made himself worthy of rebuke.
The incident mentioned in Torah too denotes this matter, when Allah revealed (a sign) upon Musa and said: An Arab Prophet, who will be the Last of the Prophets, shall be appointed at the end of time. He described the Prophet by some qualities and made those signs as the sign and indicator of his Messengership and Prophethood. As such, the Ummah (nation) of Musa remembered the Prophet of Islam by those qualities and knew that he would be appointed in the future. When the time of his emergence and appointment drew near, Musa’s nation threatened the polytheists and said: ‘A Prophet with such and such signs and qualities shall soon come. We shall join him and seek his help in fighting and campaigning against you’.
However, when the Holy Prophet (S) was appointed and they discovered in him all those signs and qualities which were the proof of his Messengership and Prophethood, they denied him and said: ‘This is not the same Prophet which we often talk of. Rather, he is someone who shall come afterwards.’ When they left the existing proofs and acted upon something which was probable, God too turned away from them (for forsaking the afore-said signs and reasoning of Torah and acting upon the probable).
This account of Torah is the greatest and strongest proof for acting upon the existing proofs and substantiating the decree for the one who is endowed with these qualities. Thus, when these qualities which are the proof of substantiation of the afore-said decree, are present in al-Hujjah al-Khalaf al-Salih Muhammad, then that Mahdi, whom we spoke about will be verified without paying any regard to the possibility of a new Mahdi coining in the future.
- 1. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol.7, Pg. 186; ‘Arf al-wardi, pg.58 - narrated from Abu Na’im; Jami’ al-Saghir, vol.2, tradition No.9244, adds that the Holy Prophet said: “His face is like a twinkling star’ and in tradition No.9245 the Holy Prophet says: “The Mahdi is from me. His face is like a twinkling star.” After mentioning these two traditions, Suyuti confirms their authenticity.
- 2. ‘Arf al-Wardi, page 66, narrating from al-Ruyani and Abu Na’im adds that the Holy Prophet said: “On his right cheek is a mole.”
- 3. Commentary of Nahj al-Balagha, Ibn Abi al-Hadid, vol. 1, pg. 93, narrating from Qaḍi al-Quḍāt and Ibn Qutayba.
- 4. Author of ‘Arf al-Wardi, on page 63, narrates from Abu Na’im a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) who said: “Allah shall appoint from my progeny a person who shall have gaping teeth, sparkling forehead....”
Also, in ‘Arf al-Wardi, page 63, and Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 7, pg. 187, it is narrated from Abu Na’im that the Holy Prophet, in sequel of a tradition about Mahdi said: “He is from my offspring. He is a youth of forty with a face like the luminous moon. On his right cheek is a black mole and on him are two Qathwani cloaks. He shall look as if he is someone from the Bani Isra’il”.
Author of Kanz al-‘Ummal in vol. 7, pg.188, narrates from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: “The hour shall not be established until a person from my household becomes the master of the earth. His forehead will be sparkling and his nose a protracted one”.
In Sirah al-Halabiya, vol. 1, pg.l86, we read: The Mahdi’s face is like the luminous star and on his right cheek is one spot.
In Saba’ik al-Dhahab, chapter 6, pg. 78, it is written that the Mahdi possesses a tall figure with good appearance and hair, protracted nose and handsome face.
- 5. The author of ‘Arf al-Wardi too has narrated on page 65 the same tradition of the Holy Prophet from Hakim. Moreover, on page 82 he has brought the same contents in a lengthy tradition narrated from Daani from Shar-ibn-Hushab from the Holy Prophet.
- 6. Arf al-Wardi, page 66 - narrating from al-Ruyani and Abu Na’im.
- 7. The author of ‘Arf al-Wardi has narrated (on page 78) from Hafiz Abu Na’im that Tāwus has said: “When the Mahdi shall come, he will donate wealth, will be firm with the government officials and will be merciful to the indigent”.
- 8. The author of ‘Arf al-Wardi has narrated the same from Ahmad, al-Mawardi and Abu Na’im. The author of Kanz al-‘Ummal too has narrated in vol.7, pg.186 from Ahmad and al-Mawardi.
- 9. The author of ‘Arf al-Wardi on page 63 narrates from Mu’jam of al-Tabarani and Abu Na’im that the Holy Prophet (S) said: - “There shall emerge from my progeny a person whose name shall be the same as mine and his morals will be the same as mine.
- 10. ‘Arf al-Wardi, pg.74, narrating from ‘Ali (a.s.), from the Holy Prophet (S).
- 11. The author of ‘Arf al-Wardi narrates a tradition on pg.62, from Abu Na’im from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: - “There shall emerge a person from my progeny who will speak for my Sunnah. Allah will send rain for him from the heavens and the earth shall throw out its bounties for him. He shall fill the earth with equity and justice just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression…”
On page 64, he narrates from Abu Na’im that the Holy Prophet while mentioning the injustices and seditions of despotic rulers says: “If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, Allah will prolong the day until a person from my progeny comes and rules. Then great events shall take place through his bands and Islam shall manifest itself…”
- 12. ‘Arf al-Wardi, pg.75, states that Ka’b al-Ahbār says: - ‘The Mahdi shall bring out the Ark of Covenant from the cave of Antioch. Also it is written: The reason he lass been called the Mahdi is that he shall be a guide to the secret affairs. Then, he shall bring out the Ark of Covenant from the cave of Antioch’.
- 13. ‘Arf al-Wardi, pg.77.
- 14. The same can be found in Kanz -al-‘Ummal, vol. 7, pg.186, and ‘Arf al-Wardi, page 59, from Abu Sa’id.
- 15. Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir (vol. 1 pg. 186), Kanz al-‘Ummal (vol. 7 pg. 186) narrating from Jabir and on page 187 from Abu Sa’id and ‘Arf al-Wardi (page 60 & 61) narrating from Jabir and Abu Sa’id have brought the same and instead of ‘end of time’ the word of ‘Ummah’ has been used.
Also, the authors of Kanz al-‘Ummal (vol.7 pg. 189) and ‘Arf al-Wardi (on page 62) have narrated from Abu Humira and Abu Sa’id as such: - The Holy Prophet said: ‘The Mahdi is from my Ummah. If he endures short, it will be seven, eight or nine years. At that time, my Ummah shall enjoy such bounties which the good and evil amongst them had never enjoyed before. The heavens shall pour for them and the earth shall throw out its wealth without keeping anything in store. At that time, there will be no esteem for wealth such that a person will rise and say: “O Mahdi bestow me something” and he will say: ‘Take’.
Moreover, the authors of ‘Arf al-Wardi and Kanz al-‘Ummal have narrated on page 58 and page 186, vol. 7 respectively, a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) as such: - ‘A caller shall cry out on behalf of Mahdi: “Is there anyone having some wish? If so, then come forward.”
Then none shall come except for one person who will ask something from him. He will say: “Bring the vessel”. When it is brought he will bestow him so much so that he will be unable to carry. Then he shall take away the amount, which he is capable of carrying but afterwards will repentantly come back to return the wealth. He will say: “We shall not accept the thing which we have already bestowed...”’
The author of ‘Arf al-Wardi on page 63 narrates from Abu Na’im and on page 64 from Ibn Abu Shuiba and all three from Abu Sa’id that the Holy Prophet (S) said: - “At the time a seditions shall occur, Allah will send at the end of time a person from my progeny whose munificence will be at ease.” In some copies the words ‘will be swift’ is written.
- 16. ‘Arf al-Wardi, pg.81.
- 17. The author of Jāmi’ al-Saghir, vol. 2, pg. 277, as well as Suyuti in ‘Arf al-Wardi, Pg. 63, have narrated from Hakim and Abu Na’im that the Holy Prophet (S) said: - ‘The Mahdi shall emerge from my Ummah. Allah shall send and inspire him for the rescue of the people such that the nations will enjoy the bounties and the four-legged will live in freedom...
- 18. Suyuti has brought this tradition on page 63 of his book ‘Arf al-Wardi narrating from Na’im ibn Hammad from Makhool from ‘Ali (a.s.). Moreover, he has narrated another tradition with similar contents from the Awsat of Tabarani who lass narrated from ‘Amr ibn ‘Ali from ‘Ali (a.s.)
- 19. A tradition, almost similar to the above has been mentioned in ‘Qarmani’ (page 118) narrating from Abu Basir from Imam al-Sadiq. Thereafter it says: A person will stand in front of him and shout: Covenant, covenant. Then, his followers will hasten towards him from all sides and will conclude allegiance to him.