Table of Contents

Chapter 7

Preface

The events regarding the end of time which have been mentioned in traditions are of two kinds: Those which are signs of the Day of Judgment and the indications of its approach, and those which occur just before awaited Mahdi’s emergence. However, majority of the Shi’a and Sunnis have combined together these two kinds in their respective literature and writings.

The second kind, which will occur before the Mahdi’s emergence and uprising, are of two types:

Firstly, those that occur before the Mahdi’s emergence and uprising. As such, the occurrence of such affairs and the non-emergence of the Mahdi will not prove the incorrectness of the traditions. This is because such traditions are not a sign or indication of his emergence. Rather, the object of mentioning such traditions is to state their occurrence just before the Mahdi’s emergence.

Secondly, those events which have been mentioned in traditions and which shall occur before the Mahdi’s emergence may be subject to bada’ (change) in which we Shi’a believe. As such, the non-occurrence of some of these events will be no proof of the incorrectness of such traditions.

For both of the afore-said events, certain proofs and evidences exist in some of the traditions. Thus, before anything else it should be first clarified whether the events which occur belong to the first category or the second one. Thereafter, the state of the narrators of the second kind and the context, which proves the correctness or the incorrectness of traditions, should be reviewed.

Introduction

If anyone ponders over the traditions mentioned by learned scholars in this chapter, he will realize that these traditions are either correct sahih (correct), dha’if (weak), musnad (hadith with the chain of transmitters) or mursal (lacking the mention of the first transmitter). Rather amongst them are traditions, which are incorrect from the viewpoint of history and context.

However we have restrained ourselves to sahih (correct) and authentic traditions or hasan (good) traditions from the viewpoint of the chain of transmission. We have mentioned only those traditions which happen to be authentic and for which we could find a context. Otherwise we have restrained from mentioning them.

Similarly we have restrained ourselves to those types of traditions where credibility and conscience adjudge the possibility of their verification and occurrence. Or those traditions where reason and exigency do not adjudge their impossibility and unattainability.

Indeed, the occurrence of some of the miracles and extraordinary customs have come down in some of the traditions and if their chain of transmission happens to be correct it is not permissible for us to reject them. Those extraordinary things are affairs related to metaphysics commonly called miracles (mu’jizah) and wonders (karamah) and Allah possesses power over all things.

The call from the heavens

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar has narrated a tradition in Section 3, Chapter 4 from Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali who said:

“If you see a fire for three or seven days from the east, then expect the faraj (deliverance) of Āl-i-Muhammad, if Allah wills.”

The Imam (a.s.) continued: “Then a caller from the heavens shall call out the Mahdi’s name in such manner that it will be heard in the East and West. None shall be asleep but that he will wake up, none shall be lying down but that he will sit up and none shall be sitting but that he will stand on his two feet in fear. May Allah shower His Mercy on the one who hears that call and answers it, for it is the voice of none other than the trusted Spirit (Jibra’il).

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda on page 414 has narrated from the book al-Durr al-Munadhdham as such: ‘Among the signs of the Mahdi’s emergence is a caller who shall call out: “Know that the “Master of the Age” has emerged”. After this, none shall be lying down but that he will arise and none shall be standing but that he will sit...’ till the end of the report.

Heavenly signs

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in section three, chapter four has narrated from Hafiz Abu Bakr ibn Hammad and he from Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘”The Mahdi shall not emerge until certain signs appear with the sun”.

In the same section and chapter of the afore-mentioned book, its author narrates from Hafiz Na’im ibn Hammad and he from Kuthayr ibn Murra al-Hadhrami who said: “The signs of events in the month of Ramadhan are a kind of heavenly signs and after that people shall dispute with each other. When you come across those, signs, procure food for yourself as much as you can”.

Again, in the same section and chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from Al-Fitan of Hafiz Na’im ibn Hammad and he from Ka’b al-Ahbar who said: “Before the Mahdi’s emergence, a star will rise in the East with a luminous tail.”

Eclipse of the sun and moon

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in section one, chapter four narrates from Al-Fitan of Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad and he, from Yazid ibn al-Khalil al-Asadi who said: ‘I was in the presence of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.). He mentioned two of the signs which would occur before the emergence of the Mahdi and which have not been witnessed from the time of the fall of Adam. One sign is that there shall occur an eclipse of the sun on 15th of Ramadhan and the other that the moon shall be eclipsed at the end of Ramadhan.

A person said: “O son of Messenger of Allah! No, in fact the sun is eclipsed at the end of the month and the moon during the middle of the month”.

Imam Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (a.s.) said: “The one who says these words knows better (than you) that right from the time of Adam’s fall till today these two signs have not occurred…”

The author of Is’af al-Raghibin too has narrated the same tradition.

Discord and hypocrisy among the people

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in section one, chapter four has narrated from Imam al-Husayn (a.s.):

“The matter that you are awaiting i.e. the emergence of Mahdi (a.s.) shall not occur until some of you disavow each other, some of you bear testimony against each other and some of you curse each other.”
The narrator says: I asked: “Will there be any good in this matter”?
The Imam (a.s.) replied: “All good will be at that time when the Mahdi emerges and he will put an end to that”.

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda narrates on page 491 from the book Arba’in of Hafiz Abu Na’im al-Isfahani that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (S):
”O Messenger of Allah! Is the Mahdi from our progeny or from other than us”?

The Holy Prophet (S) replied: “Rather he is from us. Religion will be completed by him just as it commenced from us. People shall be delivered from seditions through the Mahdi just as they were delivered from polytheism through us. Through the Mahdi (a.s.) Allah will unite their hearts after the enmity of sedition, just as He united their hearts through us after the enmity of polytheism...”

The author of Is’af al-Raghibin on page 151 has narrated from Ahmad and al-Mawardi a tradition from the Messenger of Allah (S) as follows:

“Glad tidings be to you about the Mahdi. He is from the Quraysh and from my progeny who shall emerge at the time of discord and strife amongst the people...”

Cruelty and oppression

Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa’iq narrates (on page 99) from Abu al-Qasim al-Tabarani that the Holy Prophet (S) said:

“After me, shall come the Caliphs. After the Caliphs will come the rulers, after the rulers will come the kings, and after the kings will come the tyrants. Then a man will emerge from my Ahl al-bayt who shall fill the earth with justice as it was filled with injustice...”

The author of Is’af al-Raghibin has narrated (on page 148) a similar tradition from al-Hakim.

Anarchy

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in Section 3, Chapter 9 has narrated from Hafiz Abu Na’im in his book Sifah al-Mahdi, who narrated from ‘Ali ibn Hilal who has narrated from his father as such:

‘At the time when the Messenger of Allah (S) was departing from this world, I went in his presence. He narrated for me a tradition where he concluded as such: “O Fatimah, I swear by the Lord who appointed me with the truth that Mahdi of this nation shall be from al-Hasan and al-Husayn.

“Allah shall send the Mahdi at a time when the world will be in chaos, when seditions will prevail, when means will be cut off and when each will commit aggression against the other. No old one will have mercy on the young, and no young will have respect for the old,. Then Allah, the Exalted, will send one who will conquer the forts of deviation and covered hearts. The Mahdi shall rise for the religion at the end of time just as I rose for it in the beginning. He shall fill the world with justice as it was filled with oppression”.

Killing and Death

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in section one, chapter four narrates from ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Awdi who narrates from his father who narrates from his grandfather that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) said:

“During the Mahdi’s time there will be the red death and the white death. Locusts will appear during season and also out of season, like the colour of blood. As for red death it is the sword, and white death is the plague”.

In the same section and same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from the Sunan of Imam Abu ‘Amr ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id al-Muqri and the al-Fitan of Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad, a tradition from Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) who said:

“The Mahdi shall not emerge until one-third (of the people) are killed, one-third die, and one-third remains.”

Calamity and Tribulation

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda narrates from Mishkat al-Masabih and al-Mustadrak of al-Hakim, saying: It is an authentic hadith from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri who said: The Holy Prophet (S) mentioned a calamity that would befall this nation such that a person will fail to find any shelter from the oppression.

“Thereafter Allah will send a man from my progeny and my Ahl al-Bayt who will fill the earth with equity and justice, just as it was previously filled with cruelty and tyranny...”

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in section one, chapter four, has narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) who said:

“The Mahdi shall not emerge but after prevalence of severe fear among the people, when they will be afflicted with earthquakes, seditions and calamity, and before that, the plague and the sharp sword between the Arabs. There will be great dissension among the people, when differences in religion will prevail amongst them, and when people's condition will so change that they would wish for death, day and night... (until he said): “The Mahdi shall emerge at the time of hopelessness and despair. Blessed is he who is present at the time of the Mahdi’s appearance and joins the ranks of his helpers. Woe be to the one who opposes him and his commands”.

In the same section and the same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that the Holy Prophet (S) said:

“After me, seditions (disasters) will arise the deliverance of which would not be possible. In those seditions, wars and sporadic fighting will occur. Thereafter, more severe seditions will arise such that if seditions would calm down in one place, the same would continue in another place. Things would extend so far that there would remain no Arab house and no Muslim who would not be affected by it. It would be then that a man from my progeny will emerge”.

This tradition has been narrated by Hafiz Abu Muhammad al-Husayn in his book al-Masabih and by Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad in his book al-Fitan. There exists an evidence too for this tradition in the book of Sahih al-Bukhari.

Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa’iq (page 97) has narrated from the Sahih of Hakim Abu ‘Abd Allah that the Holy Prophet (S) said:

“At the end of time, severe calamity shall befall my nation - such severe calamity which was never heard of before and which people will fail to find any shelter from. At that time Allah will appoint from my progeny, my Ahl al-Bayt, a man who will fill the earth with equity and justice just as it was filled with cruelty and tyranny…”.

A Sayyid from Khurasan

The author of ’Iqd al-Durar in chapter five narrates from Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad who narrates from Sa’id ibn Musayyab that the Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“From the East will emerge black flags of the Bani ‘Abbas and whatever Allah wishes will take place. Afterwards, men with small black flags will rise and will battle with a man from the progeny of Abu Sufyan. They will prepare the ground for and return obedience and submission to the Mahdi”.

In the same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from Na’im ibn Hammad (from his book al-Fitan) that Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya said:

“A flag will emerge from Khurasan. Then another flag will appear, with white garments. At their vanguard will be a man from the Banu Tamim who will pave the way for the Mahdi’s rule. Between his appearance and his handing the people over to the Mahdi will be a period of 72 months. The man from the Banu Tamim will be called Shu’ayb ibn Sālih…” (until he said): “It will be then that people will wish for the Mahdi and seek him”.

Again, in the same chapter of the same book, its author narrates from Na’im ibn Hammad and he from Shurayh ibn ‘Abd Allah, Rāshid ibn Sa’d and Ḍumra ibn Habib, from their shaykhs who said:

“The people of the East will swear allegiance to a man from the Bani Hashim who shall emerge among the people of Khurasan, with a man from the Banu Tamim in their vanguard… “ (until he said): “If immovable mountains confront him, he will destroy them. He will encounter the cavalry of Sufyani and will defeat them. He will kill them in a mighty battle. He will continue to expel them from one town to another until he will defeat them in Iraq.

“Thereafter an incident shall occur between them as a result of which Sufyani will gain victory and the Hashimi man will flee to Mecca. Shu’ayb ibn Sālih (who is one of the leaders of the army of Hashimi) will secretly escape to Bayt al-Maqdas. When the Mahdi reappears, the Hashimi man too will emerge.

The killing of al-Nafs al-Zakkiyah

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in section one, chapter 4, narrates from Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad (from the book al-Fitan) that Ammar Yasir said:

“When al-Nafs al-Zakkiyah will be killed a caller will call out from the heavens: “Be aware that your ruler is so and so - meaning the Mahdi - who shall fill the earth with truth and justice.”

In the same section and the same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from Hafiz Na’im ibn Hammad (from the book al-Fitan) who in turn narrates from Ka’b al-Ahbar who said, when mentioning the events that would occur before the appearance of the Mahdi :

“Plundering of Medina will become lawful and al-Nafs al-Zakkiyah will be killed.”

Again in section 3 and chapter 4 of the afore-said book its author narrates from Imam al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (a.s.):
“There will be five signs for the Mahdi:
(1) Al-Sufyani (2) Al-Yamani (3) The call from the heavens (4) The sinking of the land of Baydā’ (5) The killing of al-Nafs al-Zakkiyah.

The uprising of al-Dajjal

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in chapter 5 narrates from al-Bukhari and Muslim, and they in turn narrate from Ma’adh ibn Jabal that the Holy Prophet (S) said:

“A part of my Ummah will continue to fight for the truth and will gain victory over their enemies until the last of them will fight Dajjal”.

One tradition mentions him (S) as saying: “A group from my Ummah.”

In section 3, chapter 9 of the same book, the author narrates from the book al-Mustadrak of Hakim Abu ‘Abd Allah (who reckons the chain of transmission of this tradition to be correct according to the criteria set by Muslim) who narrates from Jabir ibn Samura from Nafi’ ibn ‘Utbah who said: I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying:

“You will battle with the people of Arabian Peninsula and Allah will grant (you) victory over them. Thereafter you will battle with the Persians and Allah will grant (you) victory over them. Then you will battle with Dajjal…”.

In section 2 chapter 12 of the same book, the author narrates from Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Tha’lab who said:
“The reason why Dajjal is called Dajjal is because of his covering and falsification (of the truth). For example, when a sword is polished and plated it is said ‘dajalat al-sayf’, and when the camel is coated with tar, it is said ‘dajalat al-ba’īr’.

Again, in the same section and the same chapter of the afore-said book, the author narrates from al-Bukhari, from Anas ibn Malik, from the Holy Prophet (S):

“There is no Prophet who did not warn his people about the one-eyed, lying Dajjal”.

Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa’iq (page 99) has narrated from Abu al-Husayn Ājari who said:
‘Successive traditions related by numerous transmitters have come down from the Holy Prophet (S) regarding Mahdi’s emergence: that he is from his Ahl al-Bayt, that he will rule for seven years; that he will fill the earth with justice; that he will emerge along with Isa and the latter will help him in killing the Dajjal...’.

The uprising of al-Sufyani

The author of ‘Iqd al-Durar in section 2, chapter 4, narrates from ‘Abd Allah ibn Safwan who said: Hafsah (wife of the Holy Prophet) informed me that she heard the Messenger of Allah (S) saying:

“An army will attack this House, until when it is on plain ground, the center row will sink in the ground while the first row would seek help from the last row. Then they will also sink and no one shall remain from them except the one who will inform about them”.

A person addressed ‘Abd Allah ibn Safwan: I bear witness that you have not lied about Hafsah and she too has not lied about the Holy Prophet (S).

This tradition has been narrated by Imam Muslim in his Sahih.

In the same chapter of the afore-said book, the author narrates from Imam Muslim’s Sahih, who in turn narrates from ‘Ubayd Allah ibn al-Qibtiya who said: “I approached Umm al-Mu’minin (i.e. Umm-Salamah, the wife of the Holy Prophet) along with Harith ibn Abi Rabi’ah and’ Abd Allah ibn al-Safwan.

Both inquired from Umm-Salamah about the army which would sink into the ground – and that was during the days of Ibn al-Zubayr (governor of Mecca). Umm Salamah replied: ‘The Messenger of Allah said:

“A person will seek shelter in the House (Ka’bah), and an army will be sent to him (to attack him) and when it reaches the plain ground it will sink in it”.
I asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what of one who is unwilling (to be part of the army)”?
He replied: “He too shall sink with them but Allah will raise him on the Day of Judgment according to his intention”.

In one tradition, Abu Ja’far, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says: By ‘plain ground’ it is meant Medina.

In section 3, chapter 4, of the same book, the author narrates from Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad in al-Fitan from al-Zuhri who said:

‘When the Sufyani and the Mahdi will encounter each other for battle, a cry will be heard from the heavens:
“Be aware Allah’s friends are from the companions of so and so a person – meaning the Mahdi...”’.

In section 2, chapter 4, of the same book, the author narrates from Na’im ibn Hammad and he from Khalid ibn Mahdan as saying:

‘Sufyani shall rise and he will be have three pipes in his hand. He will not play on it for anyone but that he will die”.

In section 2 chapter 4 of the same book, the author narrates from Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah Na’im ibn Hammad in his al-Fitan, and Hafiz Abu ‘Abd Allah in his al-Mustadrak. He said: This hadith has an authentic chain of transmission, although they (al-Bukhari and Muslim) have not reported it. He reports from ‘Alqamah who said: Ibn-Mas’ud said: The Holy Prophet (S) said to us:

“Be on your guard against seven calamities, which would occur after me:
The sedition which will come from Medina, the sedition which would arise in Mecca, the sedition from Yemen, the sedition which would approach from Syria, the sedition which would appear from the East, the sedition which would approach from the West and lastly the sedition which would arise from central Syria (al-Sham) which would be the sedition of al-Sufyani”.

Ibn Mas’ud said: ‘Some of you will perceive the beginning of these seditions while some of you will perceive the last part of it’.

Walid ibn ‘Ayyash said: ‘The sedition of Medina was the very one which appeared from Talha and al-Zubayr, the sedition of Mecca was the one from ’Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr; the sedition of Yemen ascended from Najdah’s side; the sedition of Syria appeared from the Bani Umayyah and sedition of central Syria is through this group’.

In section 2, chapter 4, of ‘Iqd al-Durar its author narrates from Jabir ibn Yazid al-Ju’fi that Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad al-Baqir addressed Jabir as such:

“O Jabir! Sit firmly in your place and do not move until you see the signs that I will relate to you… Three flags will set out from Syria: the red and white flag, the black and white flag, and the flag of Sufyani … Sufyani will dispatch an army of seventy thousand men towards Kufa, and they will kill, crucify and take as captives its inhabitants. Meanwhile, men from Khurasan holding flags will march forward with swiftness. They are the companions of the Mahdi... Sufyani shall despatch troops towards Medina and the Mahdi shall escape from Medina to Mecca.

The commander of the Sufyani’s army shall be informed about Mahdi’s flight towards Mecca. Najdah ibn ‘Amir al-Hanafi will be one of the Khawarij who commands his army to pursue the Mahdi, but they will not find him… The commander of Sufyani’s army shall stop at baydā’ (plain ground between Mecca and Medina) and a caller from the heavens shall cry out: ‘O baydā’! Destroy this group.’ Then baydā’ will swallow them up”.

The author of Yanabi’ al-Mawadda (page 414) has narrated from the book Al-Durr al-Munadhdham as such:

One of the signs of Mahdi’s emergence will be the revolt of Sufyani. He will dispatch 30000 men towards Mecca and the earth will swallow them up in the plain ground (baydā’) ...”

Ibn Abi al-Hadid in his commentary of Nahj al-Balagha (vol. 1, pg. 211) in discussing ‘Ali’s (a.s.) sermon on the unseen (ghayb) says: ‘Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi has narrated from Sulayman ibn Zurayq who narrated from ‘Abd al ‘Aziz ibn Suhayb who said: Abu al-Āliyah narrated to me and said: Mazra’, the companion of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib narrated to me that he said:

“An army shall advance until it reaches the plain ground (baydā’). There, they will sink into the ground.”

Abu al-Āliyah said: I told Mazra’: ‘You are giving me news of the unseen’. He replied: ‘Safeguard what I have told you, for a trustworthy one like ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib has informed me’.

Ibn Abi al-Hadid says: The tradition of the army sinking into the ground has been narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim in their books of Sahih from Umm Salamah (may Allah be satisfied with her) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying:

“A group will seek shelter in the Ka’ba until they reach Baydā’ and then the ground would swallow them up”.
I said: “O Messenger of Allah! Perhaps among them were some who were unwilling or forced (to go).”
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The earth shall swallow them but they will be gathered...” or he said: “..they will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment according to their intentions”.

Ibn Abi al-Hadid says: ‘Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (a.s.) was asked whether every plain ground was called baydā’ and Imam replied: “Never. It is the baydā’ (plain ground) of Medina”.
Al-Bukhari has narrated a part of this tradition while Muslim has narrated the rest’.

The author of Is’af al-Raghibin on page 153 says: “It is mentioned in traditions that Sufyani will dispatch troops from Syria against the Mahdi and they will sink in the ground at baydā’. None will remain alive except the person who will give news about them. Sufyani will go towards the Mahdi with those who are with him, and victory will be for the Mahdi and Sufyani will be killed...”.

The author says: I have not come across any reliable reports about the place of meeting of the two afore-said armies - perhaps it is between Kufa and Medina, and Allah knows best.

Traditions about the Mahdi in the al-Fusul al-Muhimma

Number of Signs of Mahdi’s Emergence

The author of al-Fusul al-Muhimma (who is one of the Sunni authors) says in chapter 12:

Traditions have come down about the signs at the time of the Mahdi’s appearance and the events which will occur before his uprising.
Among these signs and indications are:

(1) Sufyani’s revolt (2) The killing of al-Hasani, (3) Discord amongst Bani ‘Abbas about possession of kingdom

(4) Eclipse of the sun during mid-Sha’ban,
(5) An unusual eclipse of the moon during the end of Sha’ban contrary to astronomical calculations, since the eclipse of the moon only takes place on the thirteenth, fourteenth or fifteenth of the month. That occurs when the sun and the moon face each other in a special form. The eclipse of the sun only occurs on the twenty-seventh, twenty-eight or twenty-ninth of the month, when the sun and moon are come close in a special form,

(6) The rising of the sun from the West (7) The killing of al-Nafs al-Zakiyah among seventy pious people (8) The slaughter of a Hashimi man between the Rukn and the Maqam (9) The destruction of the wall of the Mosque of Kufa, (10) Black flags advancing from Khurasan,

(11) The uprising of al-Yamani (12) The rise of al-Maghrabi in Egypt and his becoming the ruler of Syria, (13) The Turks arriving at an island (al-jazirah) (14) the coming of Romans to al-Ramla

(15) The rising of a star in the East which would be like a sparkling moon, (16) That star would bend in such a manner that the two ends would almost meet (17) A redness in the sky that will cover the horizon (18) A fire that will appear in the East longitudinally, which will remain so for three or seven days,

(19) The Arabs will throw off their reins (20) The Arabs will seize lands (21) The Arabs would exit from the rule of Iranian kings, (22) The inhabitants of Egypt will kill their ruler (23) The destruction of Shām and three flags will advance towards it, (24) The entry of the flags of Qays and the Arabs into Egypt, (25) The (entry of) flags of Kinda into Khurasan (26) The entry of horses from some Arabs to the outskirts of Hira (27) The coming of black flags from the East

(28) A breach shall occur in banks of the Euphrates as a result of which its water would flow into the lanes of Kufa (29) Sixty liars will emerge with each of them claiming Prophethood for themselves (30) Twelve people from the progeny of Abu Talib will rise and each will claim Imamate for themselves (31) A high-ranking person from the partisans of the Bani ‘Abbas will drown near the bridge of Karkh in Baghdad,

(32) A black wind will blow in Baghdad (33) An earthquake shall occur in Baghdad where a greater portion of the city will collapse (34) Fear will encompass the inhabitants of Iraq (35) Death will swiftly overtake the people of Iraq, (36) The people of Iraq will face loss of life, property and fruits.

(37) Locusts will appear during the normal season as well as during off-season and they will attack plants and cereals (38) Harvests will be poor, (39) Discord will arise amongst non-Arabs and they will shed each other’s blood (40) Slaves will disobey their masters and will kill them.

(41) Finally, it will rain successively for twenty-four times. The earth will be enlivened after its death and would throw out its treasures. After that, all types of calamities will be kept away from Mahdi’s believers. At that moment they will realize that Mahdi has emerged in Mecca. As a result, they will move towards Mecca to help him, as is mentioned in the traditions.

Some of these events are sure and certain to occur while some others are conditional. Allah knows better what might take place. We have mentioned the afore-mentioned happenings as per the traditions.

‘Ali ibn Yazid al-Azdi narrates from his father who narrates from his grandfather that Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) said: “When the Qā’im’s emergence shall draw near, red and white deaths will appear. There will be locusts during their season and off-season, the color of blood. Red death refers to the sword and white death refers to plague.

Jabir al-Ju’fi narrates from Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) that he told him:

“Remain firm in your place. Do not move until you see for yourself the signs I will mention. I do not think that you will perceive these signs. They are as such: Discord amongst the Bani ‘Abbas, a caller who will call out from the heavens, the sinking of a village in Syria (Shām) called al-Jābiyah, the Turks arriving at an island (al-jazirah), the Romans arriving in Ramla, great discord in every land until Shām will be ruined. The reason for its destruction will be the gathering together of three flags in it: the red and white flag, the black and white flag and the flag of Sufyani.

Traditions about the year and day of the Mahdi’s emergence

Abu Basir has narrated from Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq:
“The Mahdi shall not emerge but in an odd year i.e. the first, or the third, or the fifth, or the seventh or the ninth year.”

Again Abu Basir narrates from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) who said:
“The name of the Qā’im will be called out on the 23rd night of the blessed month of Ramadhan. The Qā’im shall emerge on the day of Ashura - the day on which Imam al-Husayn was martyred. It is as if I am seeing the Qā’im emerging on Saturday, the tenth of Muharram, between Rukn and Maqam and someone standing in front of him calling out: Allegiance, Allegiance.

The the Mahdi’s helpers will go to him from all corners of the earth - which will be contracted for them - and they will give allegiance to him. Then, through him, Allah will fill the earth with justice just as it was previously filled with cruelty and oppression. Thereafter, the Mahdi will go from Mecca to Kufa and stop in Najaf from where he will send troops to the cities.

It has been narrated from Abdul-Karim al-Jath’ami: I asked Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq: “For how long will the Qā’im rule”?

The Imam (a.s.) replied: “Seven years. The days and nights during the Mahdi’s time will be so lengthy that one year of that time will be like twenty years of today and (seven) years of Mahdi will be equal to seventy years of your reckoning”.

In a lengthy tradition, Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (a.s.) said:
“When the Qā’im shall emerge, he will go to Kufa. He will expand its mosques, break every balcony overlooking the roads and destroy the wells and drain-pipes on the road-paths. There will be no innovation but that he will uproot it, and no Prophetic custom (sunnah) but that he will establish it. He will conquer Constantinople, China and the mountains of Daylam. He will remain so for seven years where each year would be equal to ten years of your reckoning.

In another tradition Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (a.s.) said: - “Our Qā’im will be aided (by Allah) through fear (of him in the hearts of the enemies). He will be supported (by Allah) through victory. The earth will contract for him, its treasures will emerge for him, and his dominion will extend from the East to the West.

“Allah will cause His religion to prevail over all religions, although the polytheists may dislike it (ref. 9:33). There will be no desolate ruin on earth but that the Mahdi will make it flourish. The earth will send forth all its vegetation, and during his time people will enjoy such blessings the like of which they had never enjoyed before”.

The narrator says: I said: ‘O son of the Messenger of Allah! When will your Qā’im emerge”?

He replied: “At the time when men will resemble women and women will resemble the men; when women will ride on saddles; when people will cause their prayers to die and follow their carnal desires; when people will take usury, when shedding of blood will become something insignificant; when the trade and business of people will be based on usury; when people will openly commit adultery; when they will make towering constructions; when they will consider lies to be lawful; when they will accept bribes; when they will follow their desires; when they will sell their religion for this world; when they sever the ties of kinship, when they will hold under obligation the one whom they feed; when they will consider forbearance to be weakness and injustice to be a matter of pride; when their rulers will be evil and their ministers liars; when the trustworthy amongst them will be traitors; when the helpers amongst them will be unjust; when the reciters of Quran will be transgressors. Cruelty and oppression will become manifest, divorce will increase, immorality will become manifest, false testimony will be accepted and wine will be drunk. Men will mount men and women shall engage with women (in indecent acts).

Zakat (fai’) will be considered booty and charity a loss. The evil people will be feared for their tongues. Sufyani shall rise from Syria and Yemen; the plain ground (baydā) which is between Mecca and Medina will sink; a boy from the progeny of Muhammad (S) will be killed between Rukn and Maqam. A caller will call out from that the truth is with the Mahdi and his followers.

It will be then that our Qā’im will emerge. When he reappears, he will stand with his back against the wall of Ka’ba and 313 of his followers will gather around him. His first words will be this verse:

بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ 

What remains with Allah is better for you, if you are believers. (11:86)

Then he will say: “I am the ‘Baqiyatullah’ (God’s remainder), His representative and His Proof over you”.
After that, no Muslim would salute him but in this manner:
Assalamu ‘alayka ya Baqiyatullah fi ardhihi (Peace be upon you O God’s remainder on the earth.)

When 10000 men gather around him, there will remain no Jew or Christian or any other who worshipped other than Allah, but that he will believe in him and confirm him. The only religion will be the religion of Islam, and everything worshipped on earth other than Allah will be burnt by a fire descending from the sky.

Some of the historians say: The Mahdi is the same awaited Qā’im. Traditions about the Mahdi’s emergence substantiate each other. Traditions manifest the radiance of his light. It will not be long when the gloomy day and night of his occultation will turn into brightness and luminosity. Due to his emergence the desired dawn shall rise and the veil of darkness of the night will be set aside. He will emerge from behind the veil of occultation and the hearts will be filled with joy. His justice will reach the horizons and the luminosity of his justice will be brighter than the luminous moon.