أَلْحَمْدُ للهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ
وَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلىٰ سَيِّدِنَا وَ نَبِيِّنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ الطَّاهِرِيْنَ وَ لَعْنَةُ اللهِ عَلىٰ أَعْدَائِهِمْ أَجْمَعِيْنَ
The region of Shush1 had been then newly liberated from the clutches of the infidel Ba‘athist forces and the people were gradually returning to the town. At that time, I had the honor to be in the presence of a group of the dear combatants. Given that opportunity, I delivered a series of lectures at the central mosque of that historical city on the topic of the Imam of the Time (‘atfs)2 based on the book Bihar al-Anwar compiled by ‘Allamah Majlisi.
At that moment, my attention was drawn to the point that concerning the Imam of the Time (‘atfs), notwithstanding the diverse discussions being raised such as the secret behind longevity, the philosophy of occultation (ghaybah), factors leading to the advent and the like, no sufficient research and worthy investigation had been made on the manner of his uprising, system of government and method of rule. As such, I decided to conduct a research on this subject; perhaps, I could offer answers to the questions that everybody, more or less, would pose.
One of the questions that occupy the mind of many people is this: How will the Imam (‘atfs) eliminate the various political systems—having different views and capabilities—and establish a unified global system?
How will his administrative system and program operate in which there will be no oppression and tyranny, corruption, and starvation in the world?
This idea prompted me to conduct intensive research and study for four years, and the result of such an endeavor is the book, which is hereby presented to you, dear reader.
In the first part of this book, the state of affairs in the world prior to the advent of the Imam (‘atfs)—which is replete with war and killing, destruction and famine, death and disease, tyranny and oppression, and insecurity and aggression—is examined. It is concluded that the people at that time will be in despair with respect to the various doctrines, schools and governments each of which will claim to be the proponent of human rights, happiness and salvation; they will lose hope as to the improvement of the undesirable conditions in the world, and will expect a reformer to come to give them salvation.
The second part of the book deals with the manner of the global uprising and revolution of Hadrat3 Mahdi (‘atfs); a movement that will start by his declaration at the vicinity of the Ka‘bah in Mecca.
His true followers and companions throughout the world will join him. The central command headquarters will be formed; the army organized; commanders appointed; and extensive operations conducted.
Imam Mahdi (‘atfs) will appear and engage in uprooting tyranny and oppression in society. This society is not confined to the land of Hijaz,4 the Middle East and Asia; instead, it is global in scope.
Reformation of such a society full of injustice and corruption is indeed not an easy job, and the claimant reformer—the true claimant—would claim a great miracle and this miracle will be shown by him.
The third part of the book touches on the government of the Last Imam (‘a). In a bid to rule the world freed from tyranny and corruption as well as to realize the sovereignty of Islam, he will establish a powerful and efficient government through the assistance of his capable companions at his time and the great personalities from among the pious predecessors such as Hadrat ‘Isa (Jesus the Messiah) (‘a), Salman al-Farsi, Malik al-Ashtar, Salih (‘a), etc. Albeit, their roles in overthrowing tyrannical governments cannot be dismissed, their main roles will be in the reconstruction and reformation of the world under the aegis of the universal government of Hadrat Mahdi (‘atfs).
In this preface, what is worth-mentioning, though briefly, is that the present book is made possible by utilizing tens of books—both Sunni and Shi‘ah—and studying hundreds of hadiths in a detailed and well-documented manner.
It is hoped that this book, which is an overview—though an inadequate one—of the Islamic society after the advent of the justice-spreader of Muhammad’s (S)5 Progeny, would be accepted by the Imam of the Time (‘atfs), be beneficial to all Muslims who are truly awaiting him throughout the world, and make them ready in paving the ground for his advent.
I beseech God, the Exalted, for the eminent religious authority Imam Khomeini (r)6 who showed us a manifestation of the government of Mahdi (‘atfs) in Iran, to join the company of the prophets and the Imams (‘a); for the success of those serving the Ahl al-Bayt7 (‘a) and the country of the Ahl al-Bayt, and succor in safeguarding this prototype of the ideal community of Islam. At this juncture, it is necessary to mention some points:
1. I do not claim to have presented a new subject in this book as the hadiths mentioned therein have been compiled by the ‘ulama’ in the past; they have also made conclusions on some cases. The peculiarity of this book, however, lies in trying to present the subjects in a new and simple fashion understandable to laymen and free from technical terms and religious controversies.
2. The interpretations made on quoted hadiths and in places where there are no references indicated are those of the author. As such, through more meticulousness and further research and collation of the hadiths, other subjects can possibly be presented.
3. I also do not claim that all the hadiths quoted in this book are authentic (sahih) and flawless. It has been tried, instead, to quote those that have been regarded by the scholars of hadith (muhaddithin) and authors as reliable. Similarly, in some cases, no discussion about the chain of transmitters (sanad) of the hadiths has been undertaken as I have not been in a position to posit or negate them. In many cases, meanwhile, through a brief tawatur8 we will find the issuance of authority of the hadith especially those that are traceable from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).
4. The hadiths in this book have been compiled prior to the writing and compilation of the book, Mu‘jam Ahadith al-Imam al-Mahdi (‘atfs) (An Anthology of Traditions on Imam Mahdi).9 Therefore, those who are interested to conduct further research on this matter are advised to refer to that book which, thanks to God, I was able to compile, write and publish.
5. In so many hadiths the words “as-sa‘ah” (the time) and “al-qiyamah” (the uprising) have been interpreted as the advent (zuhur) of Hadrat Mahdi (‘atfs). Thus, the hadiths that indicate the conditions or signs of the “time” and the “uprising” have been presented in this book as the signs of the “advent”.
6. Some topics of this book require further research notwithstanding the fact that I have tried to explain them. It is hoped that through the help of God, we could publish subsequent editions of this book with further research.
In the end, as the saying goes, “He who does not extend gratitude to the people does not extend gratitude to the Creator,” I have to express my thanks and appreciation to my brothers and friends especially to my two esteemed brothers, Hujjat al-Islam Muhammad Jawad and Hujjat al-Islam Muhammad Ja‘far Tabasi for their guidance, and to Hujjat al-Islam ‘Ali Rafi‘i and Hujjat al-Islam Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Shahrudi for rewriting and arranging the topics of this book.
Qum, 1373 AHS
- 1. Also known as Susa, Shush is an ancient town located in the Iranian western province of Khuzestan and famous for being the site of the Tomb of Daniel. It was once occupied by the Iraqi forces during the 8-year Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-88). (Trans.)
- 2. The abbreviation, “‘atfs” stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, ‘ajjalallahu ta‘ala farajah ash-sharif (may Allah, the Exalted, expedite his glorious advent), which is invoked after mentioning the name of Imam al-Mahdi (‘atfs).
- 3. Hadrat: The Arabic word Hadrat is used as a respectful form of address. (Trans.)
- 4. Hijaz: the region in Western Arabia that includes Ta’if, Mecca and Medina.
- 5. The abbreviation, “s”, stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam (may God’s salutation and peace be upon him and his progeny), which is used after the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S). (Trans.)
- 6. The abbreviation, “r” stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, rahmatullah ‘alayhi, rahmatullah ‘alayha, or rahmatullah ‘alayhim (may peace be upon him/her/them), which is used after the names of pious people. (Trans.)
- 7. Ahl al-Bayt: according to authentic hadiths recorded in both the Sunni and Shi‘ah sources, the term Ahl al-Bayt, and interchangeably Itrah and Al, is a blessed Qur’anic appellation that belongs exclusively to the Prophet, ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn (‘a). The members of this Family of five, with the Prophet Muhammad (S) at its head, were the ones alive at the time the Qur’anic verses regarding their virtue were being revealed to the Prophet (S). However, nine other Imams from the descendants of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) are also in this chosen Family, the final one being Imam al-Mahdi (‘a). For further information, visit: http://www.al-islam.org/faq. (Trans.)
- 8. By tawatur is meant the multiplicity of the sources of a certain report that leads to certitude in the listener that the report is indeed true. A mutawatir hadith is one which has been reported by so many different chains of transmission that such a number of narrators in every generation would normally not be able to agree on fabricating a tradition without the fact of its fabrication becoming known. (Trans.)
- 9. With the cooperation of some seminary scholars, I wrote the said book in five volumes and was published by the Islamic Sciences Foundation of Qum in 1411 AH. In the near future, we will review it, God willing.