Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdī (محمد بن الحسن المهدي), also known as Imam Zaman (Persian: امام زمان), is believed by Twelver Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī, an eschatological redeemer of Islam and ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams who will emerge with Isa (Jesus Christ) in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world. Twelver Shī‘a believe that al-Mahdī was born in 869 (15 Sha‘bān 255 AH) and assumed Imamate at 5 years of age following the killing of his father Hasan al-Askari.
We can not confirm nor totally deny this matter during the Ghaibah of the Imam (AS) as it is part of the personal life of Imam Al- Mahdi (AS) which is kept by Allah as secret and away from the public knowledge.
Some narrations mentioned his marriage and children but our leading scholars did not find such narrations authentic enough to establish a confirmed fact. Many leading scholars openly refused such narrations like Shaikh Al-Mufeed and Shaikh Al-Toosi and Shaikh Al-Bayadhi.
We have narrations refuting the claim of his marriage, such narrations are mentioned in many books like Ethbaat al-Wasiyyah by al-Mas'oodi, page 201, and Al-Ghaibah by Shaikh Al-Toosi, page 134, and Dala'il al-Imamah by Al-Tabari, page 130, and Al-Irshad by Shaikh Al-Mufeed, page 366 (Arabic edition).
We may advise Mo'mineen to leave this personal matter of the life of the Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) to the Imam (AS) himself when he will come back to the public life.
This Hadeeth ( Al-Mahdi's name is the same name of the Prophet and his Kunya is the same Kunya of the Prophet ) is narrated in many Shia and Sunni books. These are few Sunni books:
1. Sunan Al-Tirmithi, V. 3, P.343.
2. Al-Mo'jam al-Awsatt by al-Tabarani , V.8, P. 178.
3. Al-Mustadrak 'ala al-Saheehayn by al-Haakim al-Nisaboori .
And many others.
Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) is in occultation according to Allah's order, waiting for suitable time to come to the public life to establish the world government of peace and justice.
Allah (SWT) only knows when He will permit Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) to come to the public life to establish that great aim which is in fact the aim of all the Prophets and Infallible Imams.
Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) is living on this earth and he guides the scholars and helps people in the way that Allah (SWT) guides him. He is away from publicity and even those whom he helps do not know him. They will recognize him after his re appearance.
The evidence of the birth of any one is either witness from two trusted persons, or witness of trusted persons who saw him alive.
We have thousands of witnesses of trusted persons who witnessed his birth or / and saw Imam Al-Mahdi (AS).
Many Sunni scholars have also recorded his birth in their books like
1. Al-Dhahabi in Siyar A'lam al-Nubala 13: 119.
2. Mohammad Ibn Talha al-Shafi'ee in Matabilb al-Sa'ool .
3. Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki in al-Fosool al-Muhimmah 237.
4. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi in Tathkirat al-Khawaas.
5. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami in Al-Sawaa'eq.
6. Al-Shabraawi al-Shafi'ee in al-Et'haaf.
7. Al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi in Yanabee' al-Mawaddah .
8. Al-Shiblianji al-Shafi'ee in Noor al-Absaar.
9. Ibn Khallakaan in Wafayaat al-A'yaan .
10. Ibn Toloon and many others.
Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) is alive on this earth and he meets , guides and helps people. He knows them but they do not recognize him during the major occultation.
Few of the very sincere believers can recognize him after the meeting is over. The most sincere servants of Allah who are very rare, can recognize him during seeing him. Such sincere and humble servants never speak in public that they saw the Imam (AS).
This is a good question and one that doesn't have a clear answer.
One would assume that it would happen using modern weaponry (whatever that happens to be at the time), and there are some narrations suggesting the Dajjal might have some sort of modern machinery, and some of the signs of end times seem (God forbid) similar to the results of modern warfare. From this angle, the word "swords" in narrations could be taken as a figure of speech to represent weaponry.
However, it is also entirely possible that, at that time, something will have happened to make modern technology unworkable. (Some people have suggested a magnetic pole shift; one could also consider a massive solar flare, or really anything that would result in the destruction of the means of production or use of such items such as an environmental crisis.) This would also be concordant with the general description of chaos preceding the arrival of the Mahdi (A).
So, basically, there is no clear evidence either way; it is one of those things which we will have to wait and see. Of course the important thing is to be on the side of the Imam (A), regardless of what kind of technology is available.
The letter to Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) can be put in sea, river, well or any water. If you have no access to any water, then it can be buried.
I personally give a lot of credence to the practice of writing a letter to Imam al-Mahdi (A) and dropping it in water, as is done by some people on the night of 15 Sha'ban (but can be done on any day): http://www.duas.org/ariza.htm This is because I have seen a lot of quick responses from it.
If it is difficult for someone to write the Arabic, they could print it or even just skip it and just write a respectful personal letter; since it is a non-required act it is not necessary to focus on all the details. However it is good to respect the framework if possible. One can write one's own letter in any language since the Imams understand all languages.
Du'a Mashlool and Ziyarat Ashura are also good things to recite in times of difficulty.
It seems like a lot of people have been going through challenging circumstances recently (even before the coronavirus situation, although that exacerbated things for many people). Sometimes you just have to hold on and push through and have faith that things will eventually get better.
With prayers that things improve for you speedily!
There are many minor signs before the re appearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) mentioned in many books, but no one can claim timing or expectations for any of the major signs because the major signs are definite signs before the Re appearance which is not known to any one except Allah (SWT).
This narration which you quoted (Hazrat Mahdi's father's name is Abdullah) is weak and not authentic even among Sunni scholars. The authentic Hadeeth stated : Al-Mahdi's name is like my name, and his Kunyah is like my Kuniyah). Liars added (His father's name is like my father's name.
Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) was born in Samarra in 266 Hijri. The birth of Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) has been mentioned by many Sunni leading scholars in their well known books.
There are many narrations in Sunni books about the Sun rising from the
west as a sign of the Day of Judgment as it is narrated in Sahih
Bukhari (vol. 5 pg. 195 and also vol. 7 pg. 191) and in Shahih
Muslim (vol. 1 pg. 95). The narrations says that after that incident,
the repentance will not be accepted.
In our Shia books of Hadeeth, we also have many narrations that the
rising of the Sun from the west will take place but not as s sign of
the Day of Judgment. In Kitab al-Irshad by Shaikh Mufeed (pg. 358)
narrated from Abi Hamzah al-Thimali saying : “I asked Abu Ja’far
al-Baqir (AS) : “Is the coming of Sufyani definite?” He (AS) said
“Yes. And the huge sound from the sky and the rising of the Sun from
the west and the dispute between Bani Al Abbas and the killing of
al-Nafs al-Zakiyah and the coming back of Imam al-Mahdi (ATFS) are all